Monday, March 27, 2017

I Write Because I'm Happy

This recipe has been used a bazillion times
My last post about books I've recently read was so much fun that I turned around and wrote another post immediately.

Ha! Ha! Ha!

No, of course I didn't. But I thought about writing another post immediately, which should count. The fun of my books post was that you lovely readers responded with titles of books you've been reading and suggestions for more books, and wheeeee! Now all I want to do is read.

But I didn't want to leave you hanging without letting you know some of the things that are making me happy at the start of this week.

1. Boy#1 emailed last night with a request for a bread recipe I used often while the Boys were growing up. (Check out the recipe card--that puppy has been dripped on, spattered, tattered, and burned.) It was my mom's recipe and I felt as if I was giving Boy and Lovely Girl a bequest straight from her when I sent it off this morning. Of course, I had to give auxiliary instructions, which included updating for KitchenAid kneading and "Keep the rye flour in the freezer--you'll only use it for this, and it's too expensive to let it get buggy."  Gah. I'm surprised I didn't remind him make sure all his buttons were in the right buttonholes before he left for work.

2. And speaking of grown-up Boys, numbers Two and Three (and Four, for just the weekend) were in and out of the House on the Corner last week, which is another of my happy things. Two was doing research that involved camping in my brother's pasture for three days because it's far enough from power lines to not interfere with the sensors he was using, and Three was on spring break so he went along so that he could lord it over his friends who were spending their breaks in Cancun that HE had spent break in a KANSAS PASTURE, and nanny-nanny-pooh-pooh.

3. Spring is making me happy, especially since it rained last night and now I can worry a little less about our trees and shrubs being thirsty. My women's group is selling bedding plants with proceeds to support educational projects for women, and I am afraid I am going to buy All The Plants by accident because they just look so yummy in the flyer. (Also, if you want to support educational projects for women, need some dandy hanging baskets or bedding plants at good prices, and can pick them up in Small Town on April 15, hit me up. But do it quickly, because I have to turn in my orders this week. It's a good cause. Really.)

4. And finally, I'm happy because this sit-com is hilarious and is restoring my faith in NBC sit-coms. Oh, people. I thought when Parks and Rec turned out the lights in Pawnee that I would never laugh at a half hour show again, but Trial and Error is restoring my faith in funny. And sure, I would have preferred that the show description that my link sends you to not say "Something's afoot when the team finds a 'sex-print' left in Larry's room," but take my word that most of this show is not that but is watchable with a grown-up son, as I did with Boy#3 this week.

What's making you happy today?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Also, I've Been Reading

The picture that opens this post has nothing to do with what I'm actually going to write about, but since the other images today are "borrowed" from Amazon (and I'm pretty sure that if you click through to buy a book they wouldn't mind, even though I have no financial stake in that decision) I thought I'd participate in the Pi Day frenzy.

When I visited a couple of weeks ago this was the daily specials board at the cafe in the small town near where I grew up. Pie! Pie! Pie! Also, carbs over carbs with a side of carbs. It was delicious, she said defiantly.

But back to what I'm really aiming toward talking about today, which is, what I've been reading. Yes, in addition to ACTING in the opera (maybe the most fun I've had since, oh, I can't remember when), my jam-packed schedule has included more reading than any time in the last decade or so. I'm always looking for recommendations of good books (and I assume you are as well) so here's a sampling of what I've read. I recommend them all.

A Man Called Ove. I know! I was the final person in the world to read this book, largely because I am perhaps the cheapest person in the world and my spot on the waiting list at the Kansas state library's e-book collection did not come up for months. The timing was perfect, though, because the day before January's Iceamageddon was to occur I was notified that it was in my queue. Since Iceamageddon did not actually happen at all but everything was cancelled I spent the entire day cuddled into an afghan getting to know Ove. He seems to be a type I am predisposed to love, since I also love Doc Martin, and I highly recommend this to anyone who believes there is redemption for the cranky.

The Underground RailroadAnother one for which I waited until all the buzz had died down and no one wanted to talk about any more. It has been out long enough that I don't think I'm spoiling anything by revealing that this underground railroad is actually a  railroad that is underground which, hmmmm. It's an intriguing premise, and I was rooting hard for Cora, but I was not as bowled over as the critics and Oprah were.

Rules of Civility. This one I had never heard of, but someone recommended it to me and I pass along that recommendation with no reservations. I loved the narrator and her aspirations to be more than a typist, I loved the descriptions of the Depression-era music, I loved the matter-of-fact way Kate lived her life in spite of her unpredictable friends. But even this book wasn't as much of a delight to me as...

I Capture the Castle. I paid 50 whole cents for this when I saw it on the Friends of the Library sale shelf. Oh, people, if I'd have known I'd have paid up to a thousand times that. Two thousand, because what a lovely book! Wikipedia informs me it was written in 1948, when Dodie Smith was living in California. It's set in England sometime between the two Great Wars, and the narrator is a 17-year-old girl who wants to be a writer. Her family is living in a crumbling castle, and...well, you just MUST read it. It's Downton Abbey without any money, pretensions, or missing Gutenberg Bibles.

So that's what I've been doing as I'm pretend I'm super-super-busy.

What have you been reading?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

They Told Me There Would Be No Acting*

One of the multitude of excuses perfectly rational and reasonable reasons I have for being absent from this space for so long is that a couple of months ago I totally and completely lost my everlovin' mind agreed to sing in an opera.

Yes. You read that right: I agreed to sing in an opera.

"But MomQueenBee," you are saying right now, "don't you have a really terrible voice? I have sat in front of you in church and only Christian charity has kept me from shushing you and tying a preventive Ace bandage over your mouth before the next hymn."

And you would not be wrong about that assessment. I have a truly terrible voice, but what I have are pretty-darned-good sight-reading skills and a Puritanical compulsion to show up for rehearsals. Apparently those two qualities are all that are needed to be recruited for the chorus of a Gilbert & Sullivan production on the campus of Small College, so when I got the invitation I agreed with one caveat:

"I will not act," I told the organizer. "I'll buy my own score, I'll show up at every rehearsal, I'll bring my pretty-darned-good sight-reading skills, but I won't emote."

To which the director replied, "Oh, no! No acting from the chorus, please. No, no, no. No acting."

Now, three days before the curtain goes up on The Sorcerer, I'm here to report that opera directors may have voices that shiver glassware but their truth-telling skills are abysmal. I realized that when the following sentence came from his mouth:

"What we're going to want the chorus to do is pretend to be ghosts."

Say what now? Doesn't pretend=acting?

Me: "But you said there would be no acting!"

Him: "This isn't acting. This is pretending to be ghosts. Acting means walking around the stage and involves blocking."

Pfffft. That po-tay-to is a po-tah-to. I will not actually BE a ghost, so I will be ACTING like a ghost.

ACTING. And I don't know how to act.

My friend Mary who stands next to me is an awesome ghost, though. She sways and waves her arms and darned if she doesn't almost scare me. And as I watched her, trying to emulate her spooky hand motions, I realized there was only one other set of people who look like this. It's just that they do their motions faster.

That's why when you come to see the opera this weekend, at the conclusion of the first act you will see one of the altos on the front row of the chorus umpiring baseball in slow motion.


Okay, so it doesn't look precisely ghostly, but Mr. Opera Director, it's as close as I'm going to get.

You told me there would be no acting.

*Some day this will be the title of my autobiography.