Monday, July 23, 2012

Our OPENING NUMBER at the "Fringe-For-All"!!

Hey!  Here's a video that the Minnesota Fringe Festival posted on YouTube of our performance of OPENING NUMBER from "A Cappella Love" at last week's preview!!!



Here's hoping YOU are able to enjoy live theater where you live too!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Quick Trip to Fairfield!!!

I'm beginning to realize that there's really no OTHER kind of trip...I dash to "choice location" for, APPROXIMATELY, a day and a half, and then zip back home for a rehearsal...a visit from a family member (in this case, Duane's family)...a meeting...or some other "necessary calendar item"...ugh!  Hoping to spend MORE than 36 hours somewhere sometime!!!

Even though it was quick, it was FILLED with fun, and fabulousness!!!  I arrived on Tuesday (after a three hour "wait" at the mechanic's to get a coil replaced...ugh!), just in time to meet with my friend Sarah, who's a lawyer.  Due to recent events in Duane's and my lives, I've realized the importance of a will...and a health directive...in case something happens to either of us.  Since, as a couple, we legally have NO RIGHTS AT ALL, these things are important to have in place.  So...I spent about an hour chatting and "legalizing", then headed to Tena's.

We didn't spend long at her house, because we had SERIOUS eating to do at Vivo (which used to be Regina's)...one of my FAVORITE restaurants in town.  I had the chicken over penne in a chipotle cream sauce.  Tena had the sun-dried tomato pesto and chicken over fetuccini...DIVINE!!!  I hadn't really eaten anything that day, so we were there REAAAAAAALY early, and, basically, had the place to ourselves...AWESOME!!!








After dinner, we went to Hy-Vee to pick up a few things, then headed back to Tena's to catch up.  Avery, Tena's dog, is one of the, APPROXIMATELY, FIVE dogs in the world that I actually like, so I spent awhile throwing toys across the room for him, and we spent a lovely, low key evening in Tena's delightfully cool basement!!!!



On Wednesday, we slept in, got around, then headed to Revelations for coffee, and shopped the Fairfield square.  BLESS TENA'S HEART...I have a set "routine" EVERY TIME I come to town, and she accomodates it.  We start at Revelations (for coffee), then go to the kitchen store, Thymely Solutions, the Maharishi Ayurveda store (if I need to stock up on Pitta tea), then head to the MUM campus bookstore.  We then go BACK to Revelations for wood fired pizza (where I had the great pleasure of running into some dear old friends!!!), and hit Wal-Mart, or Goodwill, and again go back to Hy-Vee to browse!

The "Fairfield Puzzle" mural on the side of the Sondheim Center!!!




The air conditioning was NOT very effective during lunch!!!!

After shopping, we went back to the house after lunch.  Tena had book club at 2:00, so she went to Batavia, and I went out to do some more "catching up".  I stopped at the library (where I worked as the children's librarian for nine years) to see my friend Claudette (who's the only remaining staff member from my time there), but, ALAS, it was her day off...EPIC FAIL!!!  I also had the "priviledge" of talking to a current employeee who was as PRICKLY and UNHELPFUL as is humanly possible.  That place has sure changed since I worked there...sigh...(you'll be HAPPY to know that I didn't pull a "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM??!!!" diva thing...!).

After the library, I wandered around Everybody's (where I got a "Cookies from the Heart" peanut butter chunk chocolate cookie made my my friend Deb H.!!!!), drove around Chautauqua Park, drove by the house in which I grew up (LOVE 801 E. Adams!!!), and then went back to Tena's to hang out for a little while before heading to my friend Carol's to hang out.  While waiting for Tena to get home, I got the GREATEST photo of Avery...EVER...


HONESTLY, I'm NOT a "dog person", but this one has me COMPLETELY wrapped around his little paw...!!!!

Tena got home about 45 minutes before I had to leave, so, again, we sat in the cool basement, and "chilled!!!

I then went to Carol's to see her "new" furniture (which I helped her pick out...TWO YEARS AGO!), the "paint job" in the dining room (replacing the HIDEOUS flower/striped blue/gray wall paper that was there), and we then headed to the Top of the Rock Grille downtown.  I had a DELIGHTFUL strip steak, and we had a FABULOUS time catching up (AGAIN the air conditioning was NOT at peak...ugh!!!!)!!!


After dinner, and a little more "chatting time", I headed back to Tena's.  Andrew joined us, and we made Pimm's Punch, and had a GREAT time hanging out.  Here's Tena preparing the "fruits and veggies"...


Thursday, we slept in, got around, then headed to Revelations for another coffee, and stopped to see Andrew at work before heading out of town.

Tena was heading to Pella to pick up Emma, our friend Jason and Suzanne's daughter, for a sleepover, so we decided to "head north" together, so we could have lunch at Fiesta Cantina in Ottumwa, and then meet Suzanne, Jack, and Emma at Jaarsma Bakery in Pella (as a surprise).

I have no words for Fiesta Cantina.  Everyone Tena and I know DESPISES this place (Duane says they put the CAN in "cantina"...), but it was our FIRST exposure to Mexican food, and we go there SOLELY for the nostalgia factor (in fact, Tena's first words when we got there were "TASTE this salsa, and tell me it doesn't take you back"...which it did...metal-ly, "fake", and UTTERLY composed of hot sauce and ketchup!!!).  I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!!








We COMPLETELY feel sorry for people who think this IS, actually, Mexican food, but we SOOOOOOO love it!!!!

As we were leaving the restaurant, my car had it's FIRST "rough idle", and the "service engine soon" light flashed briefly, but I turned the car off...started it again (while pulsing the gas peddle), and it was fine...

We then drove to Pella.  I LOVE Pella!  Such a cool little town!  We started at the "tourist information" windmill...





then shopped the square for a bit, and hit some really cool stores (and found this GREAT alley for a photo op!!!)...







I WAS able to surprise Suzanne at Jaarsma Bakery.  I told her on Facebook that I was heading home the day before, but didn't :-)

It was SOOOOO good to see her!  She and Jason moved to the Des Moines area a few years ago, and I MISS having the opportunity to see them, now that they are not in Fairfield any more!!!!






I left them all enjoying their pastries, then headed north to the cities.  UNFORTUNATELY, I stopped in Story City at the antique mall, because, when I came out and started my car, it APPARENTLY hadn't had enough of a rest, and the "service engine soon" light came on AND STAYED ON FOR THE REMAINING 200+ MILES OF THE TRIP HOME...!!!  I was a little worried that the car was going to catch on fire or BLOW UP, but I kept an eye on the temperature gauge, turned on the heater every once in awhile to blow the heat off the engine, and made it back in one piece.

I took the car to the mechanic's AGAIN last night, but today when he started it up, the "service engine soon" light did not come on.  They still have the car, trying to figure it out...sigh.  I'm afraid it's time to start doing a little car shopping...ugh!!!!!!!

A GREAT trip, getting together with GREAT friends, and a really GREAT adventure!

Here's hoping YOU were able to reconnect with some of your favorite things/people recently TOO!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fringe Festival Approaches!!!!

So..."A Cappella Love" is progressing nicely.  We had our first "run through" of the entire show yesterday.  It was a BIT of a train wreck, but there were LOTS of things to think about...lyrics, body percussion, choreography, what followed what.  All in all, it was fine, and it's going to be an AMAZING show!


I spent a large part of today on Windows Movie Maker working on the following, which will soon be uploaded to the Minnesota Fringe Festival website:

video

As I said in a previous post...if you're anywhere near the Rarig Proscenium Stage on the University of Minnesota campus, come see the show!

Performances:

- Saturday, August 4th at 1:00 p.m. (WORLD PREMIERE!!!!)
- Sunday, August 5th at 5:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, August 7th at 8:30 p.m.
- Thursday, August 9th at 10:00 p.m.
-Sunday, August 12th at 1:00 p.m.

...and...if we have the largest houses at our first two performances (Saturday and Sunday), we get the "people's choice" additional slot of Sunday, August 12th at 8:30 p.m.!!!!!!

For more information:


Check out the Minnesota Fringe Festival website:  http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/shows/

Here's hoping YOU are doing something that:

a.  stresses YOU out completely (!!!)
b.  stretches YOUR skills and talents to the max (!!)
3.  strengthens YOUR love of something amazing (!!) too!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Lovely, Low-Key Independence Day!!!!!

Initially, we were going to try to fly somewhere for the day, but I'm glad we didn't.  Getting up early, hassling with parking and the light rail, waiting to see if we made it on the flight or not, then doing the same in reverse after spending a (most likely) sweltering day somewhere (IS there anywhere that ISN'T sweltering right now??!!) just didn't sound like a good time.

So...instead, we slept in, got around at a leisurely pace, then headed to the Convention Grill in Edina for lunch.  Duane got the obligatory hot fudge malt, and I had a DELICIOUS meat loaf sandwhich.  There was, evidently, a 4th of July parade near 50th and France earlier that morning, because the place was packed, and everyone was sweaty and loud...NOT a good combination!

We had an AWESOME waitress, who suggested we order right away, since a bunch of large tables had just been seated, so we got our food quickly, and had a GREAT time devouring it all!




After lunch, we headed back out into the BEASTLY heat, then TRIED to see the Rembrandt exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  Unfortunately, it was closed.

I had my iPhone with me (LOVE that thing!), so checked to see if the Minnesota History Center was open.  It was, so we switched gears, and headed to St. Paul (we got to see BOTH skylines, up close and personal!).

I haven't been to the History Center for AGES, so it was nice to catch some of the new exhibits, look around the swanky updated digs, and COOL OFF in the air conditioning!




A replica of one of Charles Lindberg's airplanes



The capitol, as seen from one of the viewing atriums in the building

A terrace outside the atrium

The St. Paul skyline from the terrace

Hot reflections ready to go back into the air conditioning!!!

There were a couple of permament exhibits still in place One of my favorites is the "House through Time", which chronicles the lives of a bunch of different families that all lived in the same house during 6 or 7 generations.  Very well done, and very cool.  At the end of the exhibit, it tells how the museum found the family information, tracked down birth and death records, and contacted remaining living relatives.  There are also signs that explain that there are still a couple of gaps in occupancy, during which the house was converted into apartments and information couldn't be found because renters lived in the house.

Another favorite permanent exhibit is "Minnesota's Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom", which chronicles the early/mid 1900's in Minnesota.  Really cool displays of memoribilia and "kitsch" from the era!



  




Co-creator and co-restauranteur of Totino's Restaurant and frozen pizzas!!!

The other permanent exhibit that we like is called "Weather Permitting".  Snow, ice palaces, sun, tornadoes, record breaking hail stones...QUITE exciting!!!!





The simulated tornado...would be an EXCELLENT way to stage the tornado in "The Wizard of Oz"!!!



There were also a couple of temporary exhibits that we had the chance to see.  We were able to see one of the last remaining originals printings of the U.S. Constitution, and the constitution(s) of Minnesota (I pluralized it because, in true Minnesota fashion, there are two.  The Democrats and Republicans couldn't agree on much when it was written, and met separately in two parts of the capitol building.  Each wrote their own version, and each is signed by their respective parties.  This only happened after a committee was formed of several from each group to look at the constitutions, to see if they were similar, and a member of one of the parties "assaulted" a member of the other with a cane during the proceedings...!).  It was the last day for the exhibit, so the line was long.  Not sure it was worth the wait, but interesting, nonetheless...









The other temporary exhibit was a collection of paintings called "1934:  A New Deal for Artists".  Here's what the Minnesota History Center wrote about the exhibit: 

"In 1934, Americans were dealing with an economic situation that feels all too familiar today. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the U.S. government created the Public Works of Art Project—the first federal government program to support the arts nationally. A selection of paintings made with support from this program will be on view in the exhibit, organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. It features 56 paintings drawn from the museum’s unparalleled collection of vibrant paintings created for the program.

Federal officials in the 1930s understood how essential art was to sustaining America’s spirit. During the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration created the Public Works of Art Project, which lasted only six months from mid-December 1933 to June 1934. The purpose of the program was to alleviate the distress of professional, unemployed American artists by paying them to produce artwork that could be used to embellish public buildings. The program was administered under the Treasury Department by art professionals in 16 different regions of the country, including Minnesota.

Artists were asked to depict "the American Scene," but they were encouraged to interpret this idea freely. They painted regional, recognizable subjects - ranging from portraits to cityscapes and images of city life to landscapes and depictions of rural life - that reminded the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism. These artworks, which were displayed in schools, libraries, post offices, museums and government buildings, vividly capture the realities and ideals of Depression-era America."


"Radio Broadcast"- 1933-1934, Julia Eckel

"Chicago Interior"- 1934, J. Theodore Johnson

"Skating In Central Park"- 1934, Agnes Tait

"Subway"- 1934, Lily Furedi


VERY cool!!  For more information on the Minnesota History Center, visit their website at:  http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/.

After a tour of the gift shop, and a picture near the "Minnesota Attractions" map, we headed home:



After dinner, and putzing around the house, we headed to the parking lot of Home Depot (our "regular spot" when we're in town) to watch the Eagan fireworks.  The city always does a GREAT job with them, and, although it was REALLY hot, it provided the perfect ending to our mellow, stay at home day!!!





Here's hoping YOU found fun ways to celebrate the birthday of our country too!!!!