Christmas Break

The two weeks off for Christmas were really nice. I spent a few days driving down to Fort Lauderdale, via Winston-Salem, NC (where I stayed with my dear friend Ryan Hill) and Savannah, GA. I parked my car at the airport in Fort Lauderdale and flew to California, where I spent ten days with my family in Sunnyvale. It was my niece’s first Christmas, and I am so happy that I could be there to share it with her! It was also great to see so many of my old friends from high school, and to meet some of their new babies, as well 🙂 It was a much-needed break from work, but I was definitely excited to get back to the show after two weeks away from it (and excited to get back down to warm, sunny Florida!).

Tormenting Lucy with reindeer antlers

No, she wasn't happy about the antlers

Lucy big eyes

Smiley bear

With some of her Christmas loot

And of course, any trip home to Sunnyvale is not complete without a trip to Cicero’s pizza (check) and also a trip (or three) to the Duke (check). The high school gang was of course out in force whenever a trip to the Duke was in the plans.

Mary and Steve

Erika

Me and Mare

Craig-o

David and Mary

I also loved all the awesome girl time I got while in town. I actually was able to be there for the gift exchange with my best girlfriends, we had a mani/pedi day, and had a night of baking Christmas cookies at Fin’s. So great to spend time with my girls!

The day after Christmas it was back to work, though, and although I had a great time and miss everyone terribly, its not too difficult to be waking up every morning to this:

Happy new year all!

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Intentions for 2010

I have always made resolutions – I don’t know how successful I have always been at keeping them, but I like them nonetheless. I have always been a very goal-oriented person. It keeps me focused and inspired to be better if I have something to work towards. So, here is my list for 2010, which I prefer to think of as intentions rather than resolutions.

1. Stay accountable, active and fit. Go to the gym regularly (isn’t fitness always everyone’s first resolution?)

2. Work to stay inspired with photography – learning, researching, practicing, appreciating, doing.

3. Keep track of spending, reign in luxury spending (hard after tour!), SAVE money. Do not give in to impulse buying.

4. Travel one new place a year.

5. Write more letters.

6. Call one friend a week to catch up. Call my family more often.

7. Get out of the city once a month.

8. Try colorwork knitting.

9. Complete one knitting project per month.

10. Cook one new dish a week. Keep trying/practicing/learning to love and embrace cooking (which I so don’t right now!)

11. Blog once a week.

12. Work and live life with grace.

There they are. Now…to get started!

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2010!

Fireworks last night at Prospect Park.

2010: Looking back at the decade!

I saw a retrospective of the decade on someone else’s blog, and I thought it would be cool to take a look at my journey over the past ten years – especially now that I have been reunited with all my old photos and scrapbooks to help jog my memory. It has been quite a ride.

2000:

-Living in San Francisco, in a super cute apartment in the Richmond district

– Celebrated the millennium new year’s at Paula Donnelly’s house in Ashland, OR.

– Made my second trip to New York City, to visit Michele, who was there working on show with Dame Edna on Broadway.

– Shows worked on in 2000: “Two Pianos, Four Hands” – ACT, “Having Our Say” – San Jose Rep (my first job as a PSM – and most hateful!), “Cymbeline” – Shakespeare Santa Cruz (one of my favorite experiences), “Over the Tavern” – San Jose Rep, “A Christmas Carol” – ACT.

– My dear friends Tanya and Michael got married in Las Vegas, and a group of us from San Jose Rep had a blast celebrating with them.

With Tanya at her wedding in Las Vegas, 2000.

2001:

– Michele moved into my building in San Francisco – lots of fun ensued, including a Thanksgiving gathering and a Mexican-themed Christmas party.

– Lots of close friends getting married including Tiffany and Aaron, Neil and Laura.

– Shows worked on in 2001: “Goodnight Children Everywhere”, “Master Harold and the Boys”, “Texts for Nothing”, “Fool Moon” “Celebration/The Room” and “A Christmas Carol” – all at ACT.

– 9-11 happened and then just a couple of weeks later a co-worker was killed by a drunk driver. Both events helped solidify in my mind that I needed to start living my dreams and so I decided to move to New York City the following year.

With Michele on Thanksgiving, 2001.

2002:

– Got on a train with Michele and moved to New York City, arriving on April 28th, 2002 at Penn Station after four days of train travel. Moved in with my dear friend from college, Chris.

– Started working on Broadway four days after arriving in NYC, on “The Full Monty” as a sub stage manager.

– Had an amazing summer working in Central Park on the New York Shakespeare Festival’s “Twelfth Night”.

– Started a theater company – Firsthand Theater Project” – with four other friends. We presented our first production, an evening of one-acts called “Genesis” at 78th Street Theater Lab that fall.

– Went back to San Francisco in the winter to stage manage “A Christmas Carol”.

Shows worked on in 2002: “Blithe Spirit” – ACT, “The Full Monty” – Broadway, “Twelfth Night” – NYSF, “Genesis – 7 Breakthrough Plays” – Firsthand Theater Project, “A Christmas Carol” – ACT.

Traveling on the train to NYC, 2002.

2003:

– Continued working off-Broadway in NYC, as well as doing more work with Firsthand. We presented an evening featuring works of new musical theater composers at Rose’s Turn in the Village.

– Spent another magical summer in Central Park, working this time as ASM on “Henry V”.

– Shows worked on in 2003: “Hold Please” – Working Theater, “Cavedweller” – NY Theater Workshop, “Journeys” – Firsthand, “Believe” (workshop), “Henry V” – NYSF, “Two Noble Kinsmen” – Public Theater.

– Also stage managed two big benefit concerts near the holidays (which I will never do again!): “Children of Eden” for World AIDS Day and “Great Joy!” for the Actors’ Fund of America.

Working on Henry V with Liev Schreiber, 2003

Working on Henry V with Liev Schreiber, 2003.

2004:

– Moved to Inwood, sharing an apartment with my friend Andrea, who I had met working at the Public Theater. In the spring we found a bigger apartment in Washington Heights and moved there.

– I worked on one of my favorite productions to date, a new musical called “Bare” – it became sort of a cult hit in NYC and was supposed to move to a bigger off-Broadway theater, when suddenly it was canceled at the last minute because of funding. It was a huge disappointment  for all of us involved because the initial production had been so special.

– I started working at a law firm in the very early mornings to supplement my income – as a desk manager in the word processing department. I was working 6-11am, which meant getting up at 4am. As I was still doing theater at night, I was lucky to get four hours of sleep a night. I did this for a whole year. Not. Fun.

– Was PSM for a production of “Agamemnon” starring Olympia Dukakis.

– Went home to California to celebrate my 30th birthday – had a great couple of weeks visiting with friends and family.

– Shows worked on in 2004: “Agamemnon” – Aquila Theater Company, “Bare” – Dodgers, “The Man Who Would be King” – Aquila, “Fat Pig” – MCC.

Bare, at the American Theater of Actors, 2004.

2005:

– Worked as a production assistant on “Dessa Rose” at Lincoln Center, where I met Patty, who has become one of my closest friends. We had a blast working on this new musical with such a fun cast.

– My brother Simon came to NYC for a visit.

– Spent another summer in the park, this time on “As You Like It’.

– Quit my job at the law firm – woohoo!

– Was hired to work as ASM for my friend Richard on another new musical called “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”, which was a lot of fun and ran for about five months off-Broadway.

– Got on a plane for the first time since 9-11 to go to Montreal for Michele’s wedding to Jean.

– Was hired to work as a sub at “Wicked” that winter.

– Shows worked on in 2005: “Fat Pig” – MCC, “Dessa Rose” – Lincoln Center, “As You Like It” – NYSF, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” – New World Stages, “Wicked” – Broadway.

Michele at her wedding in Montreal, 2005.

2006:

– Worked as a production assistant on rehearsals for the national tour of “Spamalot”, which at the time I thought was a huge waste of my time, until they hired me in December to go on the road as an ASM 🙂

– In the spring I worked on another Broadway show for Manhattan Theater Club, a play called “Shining City”.

– My parents came to visit NYC for the first time and we spent a lovely week exploring the city.

– My little sis got married that summer in California! I spent three weeks there hanging with family and friends. It was a blast.

– Before leaving to go on the road with “Spamalot” I stage managed a production of “A Christmas Carol” at Hartford Stage, which was incredibly fun. A really nice theater company to work with.

– In December I joined the “Spamalot” tour in Detroit.

At my sister's wedding, July 2006.

2007:

– On Tour!

– Cities visited: Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Naples, Memphis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Hartford, Rochester, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Louisville, Houston, Dallas, Tulsa, Des Moines, St. Paul, Kansas City, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Boise, Omaha, Columbus, Toledo, East Lansing, Washington, D.C.

– Seen/Visited/Experienced: Everglades, alligators, beaches, Disneyworld, Elvis’s grave, Graceland, Sun Studios, Beale Street, aquariums in Atlanta and Baltimore, Margaret Mitchell’s house, the hotel where Martin Luther King was shot, the Tattoo Museum, Edgar Allan Poe’s grave, Bertha’s Mussels, the Liberty Bell, the LOVE statue, the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Monk’s, Niagara Falls, Indy Speedway, Churchill Downs, Space Center in Houston, Dallas fairgrounds, 6th Floor Museum, Galveston, Betsy-Tacy’s hometown of Mankato, bbq in Texas and Kansas City, luggage lost only once!, Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helen’s, Mount Rainier, Pike Street Market, Experience Music Project, Old Boise Jail, Omaha steaks, Jeni’s ice cream, Meijer, white trash party, Michigan State, the nation’s Capitol building, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE!

– Also my parents came to visit the tour in Portland!

– Bought my Nikon d80 camera!

– Paid off all my debt that I had had since college 🙂

– Started dating Ryan 🙂

At Elaine's house in Winter Park, CO. with Jeff Dumas and Ryan (I think Fran Curry took this pic), 2007.

2008:

– Still on tour!

– Cities visited: Schenectady, Boston, Providence, Hershey, Nashville, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Clearwater, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando, Birmingham, Greenville, Raleigh, Dayton, Milwaukee, Appleton, Madison, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Hartford, Toronto, Syracuse, West Point, Ottawa, Norfolk, Boston, Pittsburgh, Sioux City, Fayetteville, Des Moines, Cincinnati.

– Seen/Visited/Experienced: Snow (lots of it), Hershey Chocolate Factory, Honky-tonks, Grand ol’ Opry, some more beaches, some more malls, O’Boobigans, the high life in Miami Beach, civil war-era mansions, the sites of a whole lotta civic rights riots, woods, hikes, mountains, breweries, the Safehouse, the capitol farmer’s market in Madison, bike rides, yarn stores, the Oklahoma City Memorial, Santa Fe, Frontier’s breakfast burritos, the Alamo, San Antonio Riverwalk, the Stockyards, Whistler, Victoria, suspension bridges, ski lifts, Lake Louise, Banff, CN Tower, hockey games, Toronto Islands, Canadian Parliament, Primanti Brothers, and more snow.

– I took my first real vacation to Playa del Carmen, Mexico with my friend Katherine.

– Ryan and I spent a fun week at a beautiful house in the Berkshires on one of our lay-offs.

– I spent another fun lay-off week in New Mexico with Tanya.

– Got back to the Bay Area for a couple of days with Ryan to celebrate Fin and Mike’s wedding. It was Ryan’s first time ever visiting San Francisco.

– Started my first year of the 365 Days project on Flickr.

Bike riding in Ottawa with Ryan, 2008.

2009:

– Still on tour!

– Cities visited (on tour) : South Bend, Peoria, Chicago, Detroit, Huntsville, Melbourne, Tampa, Austin, Atlanta, Wilmington, Cleveland, Anchorage, Eugene, Spokane, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Tucson, Costa Mesa.

– Seen/Visited/Experienced: A ton more snow, Flickr friends, more beaches, Torchy’s Tacos, the original Whole Foods, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Alyeska ski resort, moose!, snowmobiling, touched a glacier!, lots of hiking, family, museums, friends, UCSD, the Desert Museum.

– I was able to spend a lot of time with my family and friends this year, thanks to all the time the tour was in California.

– My sister gave my brother a kidney in July! The transplant was a huge success.

– Ryan and I spent one lay-off visiting the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Sedona.

– I road-tripped with Tallulah from Costa Mesa through Arizona, New Mexico to Texas. Then up through Kansas and Oklahoma to Minnesota, then over to Wisconsin to Ryan’s place. Then through Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania back to New York!

– The tour closed in October and I am now back in New York City, looking for the next adventure 🙂

In Anchorage, Alaska, 2009.

Its been quite a decade!

New Year's in Cinci

I left Des Moines EARLY on Monday morning (I was up at 3:30am – yuck!) and flew to Cincinnati where we were playing the Aronoff Center for the week. After lunch at First Watch, I made multiple attempts to leave the hotel and get out and explore on Monday afternoon, but I was so tired from being up so early that I resigned myself to an afternoon/evening on the couch with my cat and some movies.

Load-in went extremely well – the crew finished up in record time. The Aronoff Center is a fairly new building, so there was plenty of space for everything, and the great local crew really made life easy for us. The opening was smooth and the audience loved the show.

On Wednesday, Ryan and I ventured out to Findlay Market, a public market about ten blocks north of our hotel. There weren’t many vendors there as it was late in the day, but we picked up some fish to cook later in the week, and then stopped by the grocery store to gather some other items to go with the fish. The neighborhood north of the hotel gets a little dicey, lots of broken windows and abandoned buildings. It was a shame because the architecture in the area was really amazing. I was too afraid to really even pull out my camera, though – I didn’t want to draw attention. Even the grocery store had a police officer sitting outside, manning the parking lot. It makes me sad to see this sort of thing in so many of the cities we have visited on tour.

Wednesday night was New Year’s Eve. We had a show, but afterwards gathered at Below Zero Lounge for a party thrown by the company. It was a great space and loads of fun. Best expressed in the following photos, I think, rather than words:

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New Year’s day was LA-ZY! Ryan and I stayed in our pajamas until we had to go to work. I spent all day editing the photos from the night before and uploading them to Flickr and Facebook. The internet connection at our hotel was ASS so it took way longer than it should have (thank god the internet seems better this week in South Bend). Ryan watched a hockey game on TV.

On Friday we motivated, and went to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, down by the Ohio River. I am so dumb when it comes to geography, so I had no idea that the Ohio River was the divider between North and South, and that slaves that made it over the river were in free territory. Being right over the other side of the river, Cincinnati played a big part in the Underground Railroad. It was such a great afternoon, reading stories and looking at pictures and learning all about that time in history. I definitely recommend a trip if you find yourself in Cincinnati.

Quilt art on the wall at the museum

Quilt art on the wall at the museum

The Ohio River

The Ohio River

On Saturday, we had two shows, and in between, Ryan and I went for dinner at Bootsy’s – a restaurant owned by Bootsy Collins, across the street from the Aronoff Center. It was swankier than we expected, but downstairs there was a display of Bootsy paraphernalia and all along the stairway up to the restaurant, was cover after cover of Rolling Stone magazine. It was very cool – and the food (we had tapas, they also have a sushi bar) was delicious!

Rolling Stone covers at Bootsy's

Rolling Stone covers at Bootsy's

On Sunday Ken bought the company pizzas between shows. Cincinnati is his hometown, so he wanted to share a signature Cincinnati treat with us. The pizza was from his favorite in-town pizza place. Last week I also sampled Skyline Chili (eh – not amazing) and Graeter’s ice cream (Yum, yum, yum!!! The black raspberry with chocolate chips IS amazing). Before we dove into the pizza, though, the entire company gathered onstage for a company photo, which I had to take! Talk about nerve-wracking! The lighting was not great onstage so we couldn’t have anyone stand on top of the castle or they would have been in the dark. As it was, the folks in the back were not all that visible. Oh well, I don’t think the photos turned out too badly considering I had about three minutes to set up. We took one shot with the “Support Your Troops” sign, for Nate (our flyman) to send to his brother in Iraq, which I thought was a really sweet idea.

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And with that, we closed in Cincinnati and were off to the next stop – South Bend, Indiana. This week we start rehearsals with our new King Arthur, Richard Chamberlain. I can’t believe we only have two weeks left with Jonathan Hadary -I’ll miss him – a fellow knitter!

Christmas in Des Moines

It was a snowy, cold week in Des Moines. We had a long, long bus ride from Fayetteville on frosty roads to get to Iowa. There was an accident on the highway that caused us to have to detour onto a two lane highway for quite a while, but we finally arrived in the early evening to the Renaissance Savery in downtown Des Moines – the same hotel we stayed in when we played Des Moines in August of last year. 

Snowy trees on the way to Des Moines

Snowy trees on the way to Des Moines

After getting settled in, I headed over to The Royal Mile, my favorite Des Moines pub, for some bangers and mash. Then I watched a bunch of “Planet Earth” while I waited for Ryan to get home. Have you seen “Planet Earth”? I borrowed the DVDs from our prop guy, Scott, and they are amazing! I don’t know how they captured some of the things they did on film. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

On Tuesday we finished load-in. It was easy and quick, as we’d played the theater before. Tim, one of our ensemble guys, drove over and we loaded up his rental car with all the presents we had bought for the family we had adopted in town. It felt really good to be giving Christmas to a family in need. Everyone should do it if they can!

The show opened smoothly on Tuesday. It was a big friendly house. Afterwards there was an opening night party at the Court Brewery. Not as fun as the party we had there last year where everyone got drunk and silly, but the food was good, and you can never argue with free booze.

Wednesday we had the day off for Christmas eve. Ryan and I stayed in all day. I had caught a bit of a cold on the travel day, so we took it easy and hung out in the room, watching more “Planet Earth”! In the late afternoon, we got dressed up for the “Spamalot” Christmas party, which began with drinks in one of the ballrooms at the hotel, followed by dinner. After dinner (yummy roast beef), we congregated in Karl’s room (the giant penthouse on the top floor of the hotel) for dessert, drinks and to exchange our final Secret Santa gifts.

Mitchell and Suzanne at dinner

Mitchell and Suzanne at dinner

Ken and Matthew Greer's daughter, Miranda.

Ken and Matthew Greer's daughter, Miranda.

Angela was my Secret Santa – she gave me some gorgeous hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn along with a pattern book, some earrings, more chocolate and some wine. So generous! I was Mitchell’s Secret Santa, and he LOVED his punk rock knitted hat that I made him!

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The biggest hit of the party, though, was Mike Berg, our pyro guy, who dressed up as Santa Claus and passed out everyone’s presents. Everyone took turns sitting in his lap to get their photo taken. He was the perfect, perfect Santa.

Bergie Claus

Bergie Claus

The guys with Santa

The guys with Santa

You can see all my Christmas party photos here.

Paula and Cara

Paula and Cara

Annie, David and Lyn

Annie, David and Lyn

Christmas day was mellow – another stay-at-home day. We had a show that night and then gathered for drinks in the hotel bar afterwards. 

On Friday, the weather was warmer so Ryan and I ventured out. We had originally planned on going ice skating, but because of the warmer temperatures, there were giant puddles all over the ice rink, and skating through water didn’t look like so much fun. We instead walked up towards the Capitol building and looked in some of the shops along the way.

The ice rink

The ice rink

The snowy Capitol building

The snowy Capitol building

On Saturday the temperatures dropped again, and all the melted snow from the day before froze, leaving a sheet of ice across downtown. It was pretty treacherous walking to and from the theater as it was so slippery. The icicles on all the trees and street lamps were really beautiful though. I had never really seen the effects of an ice storm before, and although this one was very mild, it still left some really pretty visual effects.

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On Sunday we closed and on Monday I got up very, very early for the flight to Cincinnati where we will spend New Year’s. Wishing a happy 2009 to you and yours!

Tallulah, pooped after opening her presents.

Tallulah, pooped after opening her presents.

Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh was another busy week of rehearsals. We were readying Alexa Glover for her debut (she took over for Jenn Rias the beginning of this week in Sioux City), and BT (our associate director) was also in town to rehearse the principals, as there wasn’t really any time for them to rehearse with any of the creative team after getting Mike Nichols’ notes in Boston. Throw Thanksgiving into the mix, and there wasn’t really time to much else in Pittsburgh. 

The hotel I stayed at, the Omni William Penn, was also a big factor in me not venturing out much. My little corner room was so cozy, it was hard to leave it everyday. The hotel itself was a beautiful historic building, all decked out for the holidays. To top it all off, the Omni provides an awesome service to its Select Members (which you can sign up to be for free online) – you leave a tag on your door every night before bed which indicates which two complimentary beverages you want in the morning, and what time you want them. Then the next morning, at the allotted time, you get a knock on your door, and you open it to find a tray with a pot of hot chocolate and a glass of orange juice, or whatever it is you marked on the card. You can also add a very inexpensive breakfast to the order. It was great!!

The lobby of the Omni

The lobby of the Omni

The theater in Pittsburgh was huge – it felt so luxurious after being squeezed into the Colonial the week before. Most of the stagehands had worked on “Spamalot” when it was in town in 2006, so training everyone was a cinch. Unfortunately though, we had an automation malfunction on opening night causing our big castle unit to get jammed into its track. We had to stop the show for ten minutes and force the castle upstage – while Matt Allen, dressed in his frog costume for the Lady of the Lake number, entertained the crowd in front of the curtain.  We had to modify some staging during Act 1 because of the faulty castle, but otherwise all went well. The crew fixed the problem the next day and we were up and running.

Wednesday night, after notes with BT, Jenn Rias had a going away party at Tonic Bar and Grill. It was really fun – especially when a bachelorette party showed up with a list of things they had to accomplish at the bar – like giving a guy a massage, or being proposed to by a stranger. The guys in our cast and crew had fun obliging all their requests!

On Thursday, the company threw us a lovely meal at the hotel in a private dining room for Thanksgiving. We had a drink hour to start with mimosas and bloody marys, and then stuffed our faces full of delicious Thanksgiving goodies. A nap followed, and then a show that evening!

The company at Thanksgiving dinner at the Omni

The company at Thanksgiving dinner at the Omni

My Thanksgiving plate

My Thanksgiving plate

After the show, Angelina and Nigel hosted a second Thanksgiving dinner at their rental apartment. Ang had prepared all the traditional Thanksgiving foods, along with some italian dishes. Her meatballs were awesome! It was fun to have somewhere to hang out with everyone and celebrate the holiday.

Angelina, Nigel and Missy

Angelina, Nigel and Missy

Scott and Terry

Scott and Terry

Gurr and Suzanne

Gurr and Suzanne

Jenn making a face at Darryl

Jenn making a face at Darryl

Friday was Alexa’s put-in, and then Saturday and Sunday were our normal four show weekend. We bid Jenn farewell after the Sunday night performance. She will be missed!

Monday morning I awoke bright and early and began the long drive to Sioux City, Iowa. So long, Pittsburgh! More on that in the next post!

Vacation, Week Two – The Berkshires

On Monday we made our way very slowly to Massachusetts to spend our second week of the layoff. Because we couldn’t check in until five o’clock, we had a leisurely day getting there, which included a stop at Orange County Choppers, which is very close to where we had been staying in Fishkill. I haven’t actually seen a full episode of the show, but it was cool to check out all the bikes, and there is a viewing window from the retail store into the bike shop – it was neat to see the bikes being made, and actually the TV crew were there, so it was also interesting to see how a show like that is filmed. 

After that little detour we began to make our way to Massachusetts, arriving at the Ford Hill Farmhouse soon after five. Wow. The house was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was too dark by then to really check out any of the grounds, but the house itself was so inviting, it was easy to wait until morning to see anything else. The ground floor consisted of a large main room with a beautiful open kitchen and dining area, and a living area. Down the hall was another living room with a stone fireplace, and upstairs were two bedrooms and a bathroom. There were open wood beams across the ceiling, and the decor was a perfect mix of rustic and modern. It was so nice to be there. 

Ford Hill Farm

Ford Hill Farm

Front Room

Front Room

We unpacked and then headed into the nearest town, Great Barrington, to find somewhere to eat. We ended up at the Great Barrington Brewery, which was very cute and served some great home brews! We went to bed full and happy and awoke to heavy rain. You’d think rain would be a bummer, but since the whole goal of the week was to relax, we welcomed the rainy day, and after a trip to the grocery store, stayed in and watched TV and read and knit and cooked. 

That night, as it grew colder, the rain turned to snow! We awoke on Wednesday morning to a blanket of SNOW across the grounds. Snow before Halloween! Unheard of! Ryan and I bundled up and ventured out to check out the property. There was a beautiful brook that ran behind the back of the house. A small bridge took you across to the barn, which has been converted into a house for the caretakers. We took a walk up the hill behind the property and found an old logging road that is now used as a driveway to get to some of the other houses up the hill. Ryan spent the afternoon making a delicious lamb stew.

On the snowy bridge

On the snowy bridge

A gate we came across on our walk

A gate we came across on our walk

On Thursday we drove to Taconic State Park to visit Bash Bish Falls. It was a beautiful drive through the hills and there was still snow on the ground. The short hike to the falls was really pretty – a lovely mix of fall leaves and snow. We walked through a couple of different trails surrounding the falls and stopped in Mount Everett park on the way back to take some photos of the lake and the snowy trees. That night we ate a really cute place called Stagecoach Tavern, which uses all locally grown food. It was a rustic, pub atmosphere lit with candles and twinkle lights. It was cozy and perfect. We went home to carve pumpkins in preparation for Halloween.

At Bash Bish Falls

At Bash Bish Falls

Snowy trees at Mount Everett

Snowy trees at Mount Everett

Friday, Halloween, was our last full day in town. We drove around for a bit in the afternoon to see some of the surrounding towns – Lenox, Lee,  and Stockbridge, and then we walked around downtown Great Barrington to see the shops and restaurants. They are all such cute little towns. We didn’t have a chance to visit the nearby Norman Rockwell museum, but his pieces are all inspired by that area of Massachusetts, and the towns look every bit like they do in his works. 

On Friday night we packed and then watched a movie. We were on our way to Ottawa shortly after ten the next morning.

It was the perfect week. No stress. No rushing around. Just relaxing. It was the perfect house and area to accomplish that. I finished quite a bit of knitting and will have some finished objects to show off soon.

My complete Flickr set of photos from the Berkshires can be seen here.

We are now in Ottawa, Ontario, which is quite a wonderful town. More on that to come!

DC Wrap-up

Our time in DC came to an end all too soon. I would have loved another week or so there to do some more sightseeing. With the holidays it just seemed like there wasn’t enough time to really get out and see all the things I wanted to see – oh well, a lot is left to see next time!

The days leading up to Christmas were consumed with shopping and preparation for the holidays. Karl had a small gathering at his place to celebrate the season and Jovon and Sheila made some kick-ass egg nog. I have never been a fan of the nog, but this stuff was GOOD! It was nice hanging out together and eating Karl’s yummy risotto and drinking wine.

The actual Christmas holiday was wonderful. Ryan had never been to New York City for anything other than work, so taking advantage of our rare two days off, we went into the city (with Tallulah in tow, of course) to celebrate Christmas. We stayed at a nice hotel across from the Museum of Natural History on 81st Street and did all the New York Christmassy things – we walked by all the storefronts on Fifth Avenue (where we ran into Jovon and Sheila!), we went to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree, we walked through Central Park, we went up to the top of the Empire State Building and had dinner in the West Village. It was great. On Christmas day we had a nice breakfast out and then went to see “Sweeney Todd” at the Zeigfeld (a great movie!).

The drive back to DC was a bit harrowing – the traffic was horrendous – it ended up taking us about seven hours to get back (normally a four hour drive). A lot of our company members got stuck on the way back in – one of our swings sat on I-95 for nine hours trying to get back to DC from New York! All in all though, it was a really nice couple of days and a great way to spend Christmas.

A statue in Central Park

A statue in Central Park

The ice rink in Central Park

The ice rink in Central Park

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Macy's

Macy's

The view from the Empire State Building

The view from the Empire State Building

The week following Christmas we went to the Corcoran Museum, which currently has a fantastic Ansel Adams exhibit, running concurrently with an equally fantastic exhibit of work by Annie Leibovitz. I had seen a lot of the Ansel Adams shots when I went to an exhibit at the San Francisco MOMA a couple of years ago, honoring Adams on what would have been his 100th birthday. I remember Michele and I being blown away by the photographs, so much so that we took a trip to Yosemite shortly thereafter to take our own photographs of the park. It was lovely to see his work again – I especially enjoyed his lesser famous photographs of some small towns in New Mexico, which were just as beautiful, although in a different way, from his National Park photographs. There were also a number of photographs taken in San Francisco, which made me nostalgic and a bit homesick.

The Annie Leibovitz photographs were equally wonderful, although in a different way. Where the Ansel Adams photographs were primarily scenic shots, Leibovitz’s were primarily portraits and candids of people. Although I love scenic photography – and love taking scenic pictures myself, I actually really prefer shots of people – especially candids, because really good candid shots that tell a story about a moment in time are SO hard to get – you don’t have the luxury of set-up and composition time that you do when you are taking a still scenic shot. It is so much harder to capture a split second of a person in motion. That being said, I know most people know Annie Leibowitz from her studio portraits of rock stars and movie stars – and although those photos are pretty cool, I much prefer her candid family shots – of her parents and children. She was really able to capture sadness and joy and all kinds of other emotions in those photos. I loved them. Out of her set-up portraits though, the few that Leibovitz took of Queen Elizabeth commemorating the Queen’s visit to the U.S.  were kind of amazing.

I’m not sure if these exhibits are traveling or not, but if they are and they end up in a city near you, if you are at all into photography, definitely check them out. They are two of the best exhibits I have seen in a long time.

For New Year’s, the company had a party at Firefly, a bar in Dupont Circle near where we are all staying. It was a really nice evening – made better because Brian Bogin, one of our former stage managers, came in for the evening to hang with us! I enjoyed the night with the Spamily (a much tamer New Year’s than last year’s extravaganza at the Residence Inn in Detroit!) but didn’t stay out too late because I had to leave early the next morning to go back to New York.

With Ryan and Brian on New Year's (photo by Tony Pittsley)

With Ryan and Brian on New Year

So I spent the first four days of the New Year back in New York City. First on the list was packing up the remainder of my belongings at my apartment and moving them into storage. I had much more still at the apartment than I remembered, but I managed to get it all packed the evening of the 1st and the following morning, with the help of movers, I became an official resident of Manhattan Mini Storage! It is actually a great relief to not have the responsibility of an apartment on my plate anymore and I am looking forward to getting my own place when I finally do return to the Big Apple. The rest of Wednesday was spent catching up with friends. I had lunch with Richard Rauscher, who kindly let me stay at his 45th Street “pied a terre” (he also has a house in New Jersey, so I had the whole apartment to myself, which was lovely), and then I had dinner with Patty in the Village after she got off work at The Point – an uber-cool knitting shop/cafe. Thursday and Friday I had doctors and dentist appointments and renewed my driver’s license, and spent a good chunk of time knitting at The Point. I also ate dinner at Tea and Sympathy – my favorite restaurant in New York (it’s English!). It was a nice couple of days away from the show, and although they were busy, I felt like I accomplished a lot while still getting to see friends, and thanks to Richard’s great apartment, I also was able to rest and have some time to myself. The few days in the city also reiterated to me how much I do love New York City, and although I am not ready to yet, I do really want to go back there eventually and continue my life and career there – at least for a while longer.

I went back to Washington on Friday night and began preparing for the move out on Sunday night. The month went by so quickly and although I would have loved to have spent more time at the museums and sightseeing, it was also really nice to spend a good portion of time back “home” in New York.

On Sunday we loaded out and at midnight Tallulah and I boarded a sleeper bus which got en route to Schenectady, NY around 3am. With the help of nighttime Theraflu (I’m fighting a bit of a cold thanks to the -2 degree weather in NYC last week) and luxuriously long bunks (I fit my backpack and the cat bag on the bunk and could still stretch out), I was able to sleep over six hours last night on the bus – a record for me! We arrived in snowy Schenectady around 10am this morning. I walked around a little bit – the downtown is cute and the theater is beautiful. Plus, with a blanket of snow it just seems all the more charming. I am looking forward to a restful week before we hit Boston, and then for me, MEXICO!

I leave you with a photo of stage management with our Christmas gift from our general managers – a bucket of popcorn (this coming right on the heels of twenty buckets of popcorn sent by Mike Nichols the week before. Let’s just say we were a little popcorn-ed out).

P.S. In case you don’t remember, last year our gift was a chocolate bar…no comment.

2007 Retrospective

As 2007 winds down, here’s my look back at the past year.

First, a photo collage of things I made…

         

And the places I’ve been…
2007 Travel Highlights

And lastly, but most importantly, my 2007 VIP’s:

My 2007 VIPs

And of course…
Big eyes
 
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2008!