New York-iversary

Saturday marked my ten year anniversary of living in New York City. I arrived here on April 28, 2002 after a four day Amtrak ride from California. I moved into an apartment in Astoria, Queens with my dear friend Christopher (a friend from college). That apartment was passed through friends for about ten years, so many different roommates came and went. This apartment was also the place where I stayed when I visited NYC for the first time in 1998.

I lived in Astoria for two years before moving into Manhattan, and I treasure the time I spent there. So many good times, so many dreams becoming a reality, so much ambition and enthusiasm.

When I thought about what I wanted to do to celebrate 10 years in New York, I knew I wanted to go back to my old neighborhood and remember just how special those first years were here. It was the perfect way to commemorate the last decade. I just felt so LUCKY all day, to have experienced all that I have since arriving in 2002 and to still be working here in this amazing city.

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Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago I moved to New York City. I had no job and about $2000 to my name, but I had a place to live, good friends, and big dreams. That first summer I worked on my first Broadway show, spent every night under the stars (and with the stars) doing Shakespeare in Central Park, and I started my own theater company with four dear friends. I haven’t looked back since. I’m so glad I came.

Taking the train to NYC from California

Michele on the train to NYC

Arriving at Penn Station - April 28, 2002.

First day as a New Yorker.

The living room of my first NYC apartment (in Astoria), decorated for my birthday.

My beloved Christopher and Steven. Christopher was my roommate for the first two years I lived in NYC.

Christopher and Steven, Summer of 2002.

Two more dear friends from those early NYC days - Michael and Ryan, on a cruise around the Hudson.

With Steven at Coney Island.

With my gay husband, Christopher, at an opening night of Shakespeare in the Park.

One of my first two jobs in the city, working as a PA on "Twelfth Night" at Shakespeare in the Park.

Oh New York, I love you so.

Back to where it all began…

On Wednesday, Eric, Lila and I went to visit our friends at the Broadway company of “Rock of Ages”. It was great to see everyone and we were able to take a family photo in front of the Bourbon Room bar, bringing us full circle. Eric and I met and fell in love on the “Rock of Ages” tour, I toured with the show until I was 23 weeks pregnant and then worked on the Broadway production until I was 33 weeks pregnant. Lila is a rock baby through and through!

We had a great day in the city. Lila was so good – she slept most of the day! She had a lot of firsts: first time in Penn Station, first time on the subway, first time in Times Square, first time on a Broadway stage, first crazy person experience on the subway, first time witnessing an arrest on the subway…a perfect New York day!

First trip to NYC

Included nursing in Central Park, outside Anthropologie at Rockefeller Center and in an Irish pub. Slept through first visit to FAO Schwartz and screamed her head off in front of the Rock Center Christmas tree. Then it took almost two hours to get home in rush hour traffic. All in all, a successful trip 🙂

Ten years.

Week of September 11, 2001.

“Dear Friends – Like many people, I’m sure, the events of the past week have given me a lot to think about and examine in my own life. I just wanted to take a minute to tell you all how much I love you and how happy I am to have so many wonderful people in my life. I feel truly blessed to know every single one of you. I’m sending all my love to you and hope that you and all your loved ones are safe and sound.” – Francesca

“Hi Francesca – Thank you for your kind thoughts. I’m glad you’re well and coming through this okay. I feel fortunate that my loved ones are safe and sound, and I have so many good people in my life. I hope we all adjust to this and appreciate what we have.” – Suzy

“Well, it took me forever to reply, but I love you, too!” – Monique

“You’re a doll. I hope you spread your love all around right now. I want badly for this to end in NY and not spread to further violence and killing of more people.” – Hans

“Thanks baby. Much love to you and yours as well.” – Benton

“What a nice message. Adam and Jeni are both living in Brooklyn now. Lara Stingley and Connie Tarbox are also in Brooklyn. Stephen Bishop’s little brother Tom (he was in “Oklahoma” as an 8-year old), who has grown into a tap dancer, is in school on Long Island, and my cousin’s son is in school at Fordham, so we had quite a crew to be concerned about. I heard that Connie was in Manhattan and hasn’t gotten back to Brooklyn yet, but Adam went over to Manhattan on Wednesday on the subway to take a bike ride in Central Park. Naturally I scolded him when I heard that! Stay home ‘til things settle down!” – Sandie

“I just got your email today and feel very lucky and blessed to have you in my life too. I love you very much.” – Kaks

“Thanks Fra. I’m glad I know you.” – Jenn

“Hey Folks – I’m in the big apple! Arrived here safely and am trying to get settled. It’s a strange time to be moving out here but I’m sure Nicole and I will learn a lot about ourselves and the world being here at this uncertain time. Be blessed all of you, and keep in touch. Peace.” – Benton

“Just letting everyone know that I’m alive, I love you all, and my email works again.” – Zach

“Amen. I feel exactly the same. Thank you.” – Gary

“I do not know what I would do without you, truly. I am so happy that we are not apart right now – when I think of ‘what if this happened this time last year’ I shake. I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.” – Michele

 * * *

 September 13, 2001. San Francisco, CA.

On Tuesday morning two planes flew into the World Trade Center in New York. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon, and another plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. They think it might have been headed for the White House. A couple of hours later, both towers at the World Trade Center collapsed. There are thousands of people missing.

I saw the second tower collapse live on TV. It was terrifying. It has really put life in perspective. My problems seem tiny compared to this.

It was a strange day at work. Most of downtown San Francisco had been evacuated  – but since we were in tech we stayed and rehearsed. All day people were slowly hearing from friends in New York. I got an email from Christopher the next day saying he was fine but wanted to get the fuck out of Manhattan. He tried to get a flight yesterday, but all of the New York airports were closed again after another hijacking scare at JFK.

I’ve mostly been scared for Simon. He’s in Azerbaijan right now working at a refugee camp. Although I don’t think Azerbaijan is considered part of the Middle East (its part of the former Soviet Union) – it is very close to Afghanistan where they think the terrorists might be from. Simon is just so young and naïve – I worry about the safety of a nineteen-year-old American boy traveling in that part of the world right now. My parents heard from him last night (he has very limited access to a phone) and he had just heard about what happened yesterday. I hope he has the sense to get himself to London if he can’t get back here (he’s supposed to be traveling next Thursday but all the airports in the U.S. are closed to incoming international flights).

It’s been an amazing few days in this country. Amidst all the sadness, everyone is really pulling together and trying to be nice to each other. The non-stop coverage on TV is a constant reminder of how fragile we really are. It’s so important to cherish life and others around you. You can’t take anything for granted.

In Washington today there was a memorial service at the National Cathedral. Today was designated a national day of prayer and remembrance across the country. Most of the former presidents and first ladies and most of the top government officials, including the Congress, were all present at the service. There were representatives from all the major churches/religions. It was incredibly moving to see everyone together and to hear the prayers and music offered to those who have been lost.

Sitting on the roof of the Geary now, I see four American flags at half-mast. It’s terrifying to think of what has happened and what may still happen  – especially if the U.S. retaliates. But I think this has certainly opened a lot of people’s eyes to re-examining their own lives and living in a loving way.

I pray for my brother to get home safe, for Neil and Laura’s family and friends to get here safe for their wedding on Sunday, and for God to provide comfort to those who have lost loved ones – or who are still missing loved ones.

 * * *

September 18, 2001. San Francisco, CA.

Neil and Laura got married on Sunday. It was such a beautiful ceremony and so nice to spend a day of love with everyone after such a horrible week.

Of course no one could ignore the events of the week. Thirty guests from Boston couldn’t make it so they gathered at Neil’s old frat house and listened to the ceremony via cell phone (Neil’s brother, Michael – the best man, held the phone during the ceremony) – and Laura’s parents had driven out together from Maine. They had to leave right after the ceremony to drive back. Neil’s brother, Michael, made a really touching speech at the reception, thanking Neil and Laura for reminding us of love in such an intense time of hate.

The final dance of the night was to REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”. It meant something so different in light of Tuesday’s attacks.

 * * *

September 19, 2001. San Francisco, CA.

Michele and I can’t wait to move to New York. I think a lot of people think we are crazy after the attacks last week, but I don’t care. We’re still going.

I just keep thinking about April – New York.

April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York. April. New York.

April.

New York.

 * * *

October 7, 2001. San Francisco, CA.

The U.S. started bombing Afghanistan today. It feels like the whole world is different.

Eric Landisman, our prop guy at ACT, was killed by a drunk driver while he crossed the street in LA on Wednesday. I’m extremely saddened that Eric is gone, and this experience has once again opened my eyes to how fragile life really is. I mean, two weeks ago, Eric was with us in tech. If he had known he only had two weeks left to live, would he have done anything differently?

It’s another reminder to live life to the fullest and try to enjoy each day for what it is. I’m trying to learn to do that.

 * * *

February 4, 2002. San Francisco, CA.

I started freaking out with my parents yesterday. My dad started going on again about “what are you going to do when you get there (New York)?” I just can’t talk about it anymore. I can’t talk about the “what if’s”. I just have to keep telling myself I’ll be fine.

 * * *

September 11, 2002. New York, NY.

It was kind of an amazing day to be in New York City today. Started off like any other. Woke up to start a new job…Chris came and ate breakfast in my room like usual but at 8:25am when we were packing bags to leave, he looked at my clock and started the countdown to the time when the first plane hit a year ago.

We went to work and the day went on with constant reminders of last year. I had to run errands in the middle of the day for the workshop I’m doing – on the way to the hardware store to get an extension cord for the musical director, I almost ran into a statue of a police dog on 6th Avenue that was covered with flowers. In the deli while getting lunch for the director, they were reading the names over the radio. And everywhere you looked there were American flags. But the strangest thing, that made you remember – because it seemed so out of place, was the wind. It was so windy today – and it’s been so hot and still for the past week. Not today.

On the news they said the wind started up right as they started reading the names. They say it was the souls of those who died. I could definitely feel them in the city today.

I was at City Center all day rehearsing and there was a big tribute in the theater there tonight to all the police officers. The bagpipes started playing outside at about 5:30p – we listened to them for the entire last hour of rehearsal.

Then after rehearsal I left the building to find the wind still blowing.

Today -and everyday since 9/11/01 has been about living a life of love. If nothing else, I learned that last year. It’s a shame that it takes something that huge to remind you to treasure each moment and every person. I sit here with a postcard above my desk that says “Nothing is worth more than this day.” I try to remember that. I am so glad that I am here in New York today, and that I’m doing theater which fills my life with inspiration everyday, and that I have so many amazing people in my life – who fill my life with more love than I could ever have dreamed. I am so thankful. Tanya called me yesterday and said she wanted to spend today with family, so we got together for dinner tonight with Jenn and Nina, two other dear friends – and just appreciated being together, and being together in New York.

Tanya told her actors today at the end of their tech rehearsal that she feels so lucky to be doing theater today when a year ago nobody knew what was going to happen. A year ago everything was closing and uncertain. This fall a dozen shows are opening on Broadway. How fortunate we are to still be able to do what we love after all that’s happened to this city.

Walking to dinner tonight I was struck by how quiet Manhattan was. A lot of people were going to vigils, and I think a lot of people were just reflecting. We talked at dinner about how much Ground Zero has changed – 10 months ago when Tanya first saw it, it was filled with all the wreckage and she saw how much loss there was. When I saw Ground Zero about four months ago, not long before they ended the recovery effort, I was amazed at how much more could have been damaged by those huge buildings falling.  A year ago we were all feeling loss, and this year, at least for me, it’s about how much I treasure what I have and really trying not to take anything or anyone for granted.

I watched the skyline appear as my train emerged above ground in Queens on the way home tonight. The Empire State Building was lit up red, white and blue. But yeah, there’s definitely something missing.

I’m so glad that I spent tonight with old friends. Friends and family are everything. Without love there’s nothing.

 * * *

September 11, 2005. New York, NY.

My Michele got married yesterday in Montreal. I had to brave two plane flights this weekend to attend the wedding. This morning’s flight swooped low the whole length of Manhattan and over Ground Zero and past the Statue of Liberty until it turned and headed towards La Guardia. I think there was no more perfect way to spend the anniversary of 9-11 than flying in a plane at almost the exact time four years ago when those planes hit the towers. It was especially cathartic for me, being that these are the first flights that I have taken since before September 11, 2001 – in fact, before this weekend, I hadn’t been on a plane in 5 1/2 years.

* * *

September 11, 2007. Salt Lake City, UT.

I spent last night with my beloved family, and friends of twenty years – who, let’s face it, are also family to me. This time of year I always take a minute to reflect on how lucky I am to have the best people in my life, and to thank the universe for the opportunities that have been given to me. I am happy to say that I am exactly where I want to be right now, working on a show that I love and marveling every day at new things I never would have seen if I hadn’t been blessed with this tour. I hope everyone can take a minute today to reflect on all the blessings they have in their lives.

As every year goes by, things get more and more back to normal. I want to make sure I never take for granted the lessons I learned from September 11th. Even though I’m not in New York City right now, she’s in my thoughts.

* * *

September 11, 2011. New York, NY.

Ten years.

It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years. I look back on those writings from when the attacks first happened, and then the first anniversary, and it all still seems so vivid.

With all the sadness associated with September 11th, I also associate such gratitude – because it was the beginning of my intense love affair with this city that I have now called “home” for just under ten years, and it was also when I began really living my life with purpose. I never take for granted the lessons I learned ten years ago.

It has been quite a decade. I moved to New York City less than six months after the towers fell. In the past ten years I have fallen in love over and over again with the busy streets, the electric energy, the snowy winters, the sticky summers, the glorious parks, the sidewalk cafes, the roaring subways, the street performers, the bodegas, the prewar apartment buildings, the yellow taxi cabs, the honking, the yelling, the laughter, the multitude of languages and colors, the music, the theater, the lights, the love, the LIFE. Moving here was by far the best decision I have ever made.

New York City is magic. Then, and now.

Looking back today, I realize that I did it. I grabbed hold of my dreams that day and I haven’t let go since.  This city, this life – they are mine. I feel so thankful.

And yet, those feelings are muddled with such grief for those who were not so fortunate – whose dreams were snuffed out in an instant on that sunny September morning.

Today, I had lunch with Neil and Laura, who are in town for a short visit.  They celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary in just a few days. They now have two beautiful boys and they are still such a wonderful reminder of love.

Tonight Tanya and I traded text messages from east coast to west coast, where she lives now. I’ll always think of her on these anniversaries.

This morning, I watched the names being read on TV, mostly by children who lost their parents that day, and I cried and cried – all while clutching my belly and the baby girl who lies within. I want a safer world for her. I want to protect her. But I know I can only do so much.

What I do know is that I can teach her to live her life as though there is no tomorrow. That I can do.

I will tell her over and over again to grab on to her dreams and to never let go.

 * * *

First day as a New Yorker. April 2002.

Back to Reality

I can’t believe its already been a month since the tour closed – life has been busy, busy, busy.

My parents and my brother Simon came for a visit at the beginning of August. It was great to see them and they brought lots of cute things for the baby! It was also the first time they were able to meet Eric’s family – we had dinner at their house on Long Island and it was such a nice time – so great for our families to finally meet! We also spent one lovely afternoon driving up through the lower Hudson River Valley. We visited an old house called Boscobel and had lunch in Cold Springs.

The view of the Hudson from Boscobel

The week after my family left, I went with Eric and his parents to their house upstate in Copake for the week. We spent all week making things for the baby. Eric was working day and night down in the garage building a dresser for the nursery, and I set myself up on the screened-in porch making a quilt for the crib. It was a really relaxing week, and over the weekend, some of Eric’s friends joined us, which was fun. There was lots of eating, drinking, four-wheeling and shooting of shotguns 🙂 Tallulah came with me and even she and Eric’s dog Riley were getting along swimmingly by the end of the weekend.

Working on the quilt on the porch

Finished baby quilt

Eric working into the night on the dresser

Eric working on the dresser

Dresser top

Finished dresser

Eric and his friend Christiana shooting at clays

About two weeks ago the former tenants left and we finally were able to get possession of the house we are moving into! It was in pretty bad shape when Eric and his dad first went in, so they decided a complete renovation was the best way to go. Within a week they had all the walls and ceilings torn down. I went over there to take a look and to start brainstorming ideas for a new kitchen and bathroom. There is a lot to be done, but hopefully it will all come together before the baby is born. I’m getting more than a bit anxious about being so transient right now when we are so close to having the baby, but I’m trying to be patient. I really want to start working on a nursery though! And I would really like to spend the last weeks of my pregnancy focusing on the baby and the birth and just being generally low-stress. I’m having anxiety dreams about everything being in boxes when the baby is born and not even being able to find a diaper. Must take deep breaths. I know it will all be okay.

My landlord in Manhattan is also not being very accommodating about extending my lease one month until the end of the year (currently my lease is up on November 30th – 9 days after the baby’s due date). He is only agreeing to a two-month extension, until the end of January, which we really don’t need. We will likely be in the house in December, so spending that money on rent on a place in Manhattan, seems like such a waste. On the other hand, if the baby is late, I am not excited about the prospect of driving to the hospital from Long Island, while in labor, which can take up to two hours in traffic. I haven’t decided what the best course of action is yet.

I’m so thankful that my actual pregnancy has been relatively easy, because the logistical details of my life during it, have definitely been anything but! First, trying to get proper pre-natal care while touring around the country, and now trying to work out a plan for a house renovation and move in the third trimester. Its been a bit tiring. I’m so excited about our house though, and I know it will be wonderful when its done. I am so looking forward to Christmas, when we are in the house, the baby is here, and we can just enjoy our new family.

Nursery-to-be

Dining room-to-be

Living room-to-be

The front of the house

Its nice being back in New York City. I’m enjoying being back in my apartment and sleeping in my own bed. I’ve been working a little bit at “Rock of Ages” on Broadway as a sub stage manager. There are a quite a few tour cast members working there now, so it almost feels like we never closed. I’m going to continue working until the end of September, and then call it quits for the duration of the pregnancy. I’m already getting pretty big to be backstage!

On 5th Avenue, near Union Square

Waiting for the subway

Times Square, the day before Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene came and went without much incident in New York City. All the Broadway shows were canceled for the weekend. I went and bought lots of bottled water and canned food and candles, anticipating that we would lose power at some point, but we were really lucky here. Aside from a leak through my bedroom wall, there wasn’t any other damage done to my apartment. I did tape my windows, just in case of high winds, like many people around the neighborhood did. I went for a walk in the afternoon after the storm passed, and there were quite a few trees down, but otherwise Washington Heights fared okay. I know a lot of friends in New Jersey and on Long Island who had a lot of trouble with flooding and power outages. Eric’s parents lost power for a day. Our house on Long Island was luckily okay – no leaks or anything. We were really lucky!

Windows taped for Irene

Captured water from the leak in my wall

Trees down in Washington Heights

The sunset after Irene passed by

Other things happening in these parts: Tallulah is doing okay. She had a wellness check a couple of weeks ago and her white cells are down again. She’s been really picky about her food, too – but I’ve found some new foods that she seems to be enjoying. She’s been a bit lethargic lately, but she is hanging in there. Hopefully she’ll come around and perk back up. She’s a fighter.

I’ve been making more things for the baby – I finished another sweater for her, and I’m now working on a blanket. After that, I want to sew a name banner and some bunting for her room. I’ve also been buying tons and tons of baby supplies – I’ve purchased most things on our registry now. If I can’t be setting up a nursery, at least I can have everything bought and ready to go for when we do finally have a nursery to move into!

My Tallulah

Baby Kimono Sweater

Finally, I leave you with a photo of me at 28 weeks pregnant – third trimester, woah! The baby will be here before we know it!

Finishing the Tour

Its been a whirlwind few weeks and I am so behind on posting here, so this is likely to be a long entry. I am home in New York now, finally getting settled after closing “Rock of Ages” a week ago.

After the last lay-off, we played one week in Atlanta at the Fox Theater. It was really hot and humid in Atlanta, so there wasn’t a whole lot of venturing outside. Eric and I mostly stayed put in our hotel. We did go out one day, though, to the aquarium. Atlanta has a great aquarium, and Eric had never been – so we braved the heat and spent an afternoon there.

At the Georgia Aquarium

On Friday of that week, I was completely surprised and blown away by a baby shower thrown for us at a bar across the street from the hotel. Eric was in on the whole thing, so he lured me over there, telling me we were having lunch with a friend of his from college. Even when the bartender totally blew the cover by asking us if we were there for the baby shower, I still didn’t catch on. It was such a nice afternoon and I am so grateful to all my coworkers for celebrating with us and being so generous with presents – my gosh! A number of the big items on our baby registry were purchased for us – the carseat, stroller, high chair. I couldn’t believe it! We also got some very cute clothes – our little rocker baby is going to be decked out in style!

Me and Eric at our baby shower

Putting on my "new mom" tiara

Rockin' baby duds

New mom tiara

On Saturday morning before the matinee, I met up with Carrie, one of my crafty friends who I “met” online through Flickr and Ravelry a couple of years ago. When I came to Atlanta with “Spamalot” in 2009, I met up with Carrie and her twin sister Cathy in person for the first time – they came to the show and we went out to lunch. In the past two years a lot has happened – Carrie and Cathy have both had babies, and now I am expecting my own!  I was so excited to meet Carrie’s little boy, Charlie, when we met for breakfast at The Flying Biscuit. It was so nice spending time with them both and getting to bend Carrie’s ear about babies and being a mom. Charlie is such a cutie, and he was enamored of all the neighborhood dogs walking by the restaurant 🙂

Carrie and Charlie

I finished the weekend off in Atlanta taking some photos of our two gorgeous Sherrie understudies, Holly and Angela. Elicia, who normally plays Sherrie, was out sick with strep throat, so I took the opportunity to take some photos of the girls getting ready for their respective shows, as it would likely be their last time going on in that role.

Holly getting ready to go on as "Sherrie"

Angela getting ready to go on as "Sherrie"

For being such a huge house (it seats almost 5000), we actually had a great week at the Fox…but it was time to move on to our final stop of the tour – Washington, DC!

I had hoped for some respite from the heat in DC, but no such luck. I think it was actually even hotter and more humid there, than in Atlanta, if you can believe it. The crew came back from load-in at the National on Monday night with horror stories of the air conditioning being out all day. We came in on Tuesday morning to a terribly hot theater. It turns out that the a/c hadn’t yet been set to “summer mode”. It took all day for the building to cool down – in the meantime, our props department thankfully went out and bought fans for all the rooms, including our office. Being hot and pregnant is no fun.

The weather stayed hot the whole two weeks we were in town. It was very hard to be outside. Luckily DC has a lot of indoor things to do, with all their amazing museums. Eric and I went to the Air and Space Museum one day, and another day we went to the Newseum, which I loved. The Newseum is dedicated to the history of the press in this country, and there were so many amazing exhibits, from Photo of the Year, to the Pulitzer Prize Photography Gallery, to exhibits about Katrina and 9-11. It actually took Eric and I two days to get through the whole museum (luckily tickets are good for two consecutive days). I definitely recommend going if you are ever in DC.

We picked the mildest day we could to walk around the National Mall and take photos of all the monuments (and by mild, it was maybe 92 instead of 102 degrees!).

At the Vietnam Memorial

The National Mall (with under construction reflecting pool)

At the base of the Washington monument

Our last week in DC was all about gearing up for “the end”. I spent hours working on a slideshow for everyone of all the photos I have taken over this past year on the road. I set it to music, and then Eric helped me convert it to DVD format, and then we spent a few days making copies for everyone in the company as a goodbye present.

Judi, our company manager, asked me to take photos of everyone in the company “waving goodbye”. She got prints made of all of them and then pinned them all to the callboard midway through our last week. It was nice seeing everyone’s faces up there, and a little sad, too. Eric also worked on a project for Judi – he made a collage of photos of everyone in the cast, which she had printed and framed for each of us.

The Rock of Ages crew, taken the last week of the tour

On the Thursday night before closing, we had our closing party. It was a fun night of drinks and italian food, and we put my slideshow on the flat screen over the bar. Some of our crazy “Rock of Ages” fans were there, too. We couldn’t finish out the run without Goldi-roxx, our crazy blonde-wig, hot-pants wearing fan, who came to almost every performance in San Francisco, Denver, and now DC.

Joey and Holly at the closing party

Keith and Patrick at the closing party

Jamie and Amy at the closing party

Goldi-roxx and Patrick at the closing party

The closing night performance was pretty awesome. We had small houses the last two weeks in DC, so to have the final night filled with screaming fans was great. There were a few minor shenanigans onstage, but mostly everyone behaved and just really enjoyed the last show. The whole cast and crew came out onstage at the end – it was a lovely ending to the run. After the show we all congregated at a bar near our hotel in Georgetown for one last round (or rounds) of drinks before saying goodbye and heading our separate ways.

It has definitely been a challenging ten months with this show – there were lots of ups and also lots of downs. But for the most part, the people that I traveled with, were a fun-loving, generous, hilarious, awesome bunch, and I will miss them.

Some pics from closing night:

Joey, Lauralyn, Holly and Patrick at "places"

Rashad blowing me a kiss

Jon and Erika hugging at "places"

Getting ready to melt some faces for the last time

Watching the show from backstage

The end of Act One

Constantine taking in the roar of the audience (this was a standing ovation DURING Act 1)

Curtain Call

Teresa and Chris during the curtain call

 

Constantine thanking the fans at the end of the show

Skibic rocking out

So now I am back in New York and starting to try and get things ready for the baby. We are still in a bit of a holding pattern when it comes to moving, but at least we can start buying things and making things now 🙂 I have a couple of knitting projects underway and am planning a quilt, and Eric is designing a dresser that he is going to build for the nursery. Slowly but surely, we are getting it together.

It’s hard to believe only a week has passed since closing the show. Its been such a busy week of unpacking and checking things off the “to do” list. I even went and worked two shows at “Rock of Ages” Broadway, where I’m going to be subbing for a little bit (until I am too large to fit backstage!).

My parents and brother come tomorrow for a five-day visit, then next week Eric and I are going to his family’s house upstate for a few days. The week after that I am at “Rock of Ages” Broadway for a week covering someone’s vacation. The time is going to speed by until the baby’s born, I just know it.

I leave you with a few baby-related photos.

Baby's first sweater - knit by me

Cradle made by Eric's dad

Crib used by Eric as a baby, now to be used for our baby!

Me, at 23 weeks pregnant, getting ready for the closing party.

Home for a week

This week we had off from the show. Eric and I spent the first three days driving my car from Denver to New York City. We decided it was best to leave my car at his parents’ house for the rest of the tour (only three more weeks) and I will just fly with the company for the remaining two cities. It was a long drive over those three days, but since we were together and able to trade off driving responsibilities, it really wasn’t so bad. We arrived in NYC on Wednesday afternoon.

The open road

On the highway

At dusk

We spent most of the day on Thursday in Long Island, visiting with Eric’s family and friends,  and driving around the area checking things out. We are moving there some time this fall – here is the house we will be living in (we’ll be in the downstairs level which is a 2-bedroom with a basement. The upstairs is a separate apartment):

On Friday we had our 20-week ultrasound. The baby’s measurements look great and we are definitely having a girl! She was being pretty shy when the tech was trying to get 3D photos – she kept putting her hands over her face-  so we didn’t get a really good look at her on the 3D cam, but that’s okay. I’m just glad she’s healthy and that everything is on track. My blood pressure was high again at my second doctor’s appointment, but Dr. Jackson is convinced it was partially because we had just walked across the park from the east side in the heat, and partially some white coat syndrome. We checked my blood pressure monitor against hers, and it is accurate, so as long as I am getting normal readings at home, she is not worried.

Here are some of the ultrasound pics:

Feets 🙂

Hands up to face

Fists up - in 3D

Tomorrow I am off to Atlanta for a week and then Washington DC for two weeks. Then home for good! Can’t wait to be here permanently and start getting things ready for the baby!

Houston and a trip to New York

I have very few photos to share of Houston – in fact I think I took two the whole week I was there. I just haven’t been feeling it with the photography lately, which is very weird for me. Maybe its the heat, maybe its because the walk to the theater from our hotels in the past two cities has been substantial (so I haven’t been wanting to carry extra things with me, like a camera), maybe I’m just uninspired by Texas, who knows. What I do know is that I hope I get my photo mojo back soon. I think having the pressure of photo projects (year in pictures and the archive project) isn’t really helping either. I’d rather just take photos when I feel inspired – so I may abandon those projects, or at least take a break. We’ll see.

Anyway, I was in Houston for a week with “Rock of Ages”, and I have nothing much to report about Houston. It is as bland as I remember it. Eric and I mainly used our free afternoons to run errands, like checking out strollers at Babies R Us. I’m kind of obsessed with strollers right now 🙂 We also made a couple of trips to this awesome seafood joint, Goode Company Seafood,  that I was introduced to by Keith Reese when I was here with “Spamalot”. In fact, one of the two photos I took this week was at Goode Company:

Its in an old train car, and the food is REAL good. Check it out if you are ever in Houston.

Other than that, I pretty much spent the week getting ready to head back to New York. Leanne, the girlfriend of our head electrician Petey, came in to train to be my cover for my week off. One of the highlights of the work week was the premiere of “Waiting for Shankman” – an original song and music video written and directed by three of our swings as a plea to Adam Shankman, the director of the movie of “Rock of Ages” (and a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance”) to put our cast in the movie. 24 hours after this video was posted on YouTube, Adam Shankman had already seen it and written about it on Twitter. We’ll see if our cast actually ends up in the movie 🙂

On Monday I took off on an early flight to New York. Originally I planned to take off a whole week because I thought I would be getting an amniocentesis and would need the time to recoup before flying back to Houston. In the end I decided against doing the amnio, but took the whole week off work anyway to get some rest and chill out at my apartment in New York.

The week has been great. Lots of rest, a couple of doctors appointments, and a trip to Buy Buy Baby to look at more strollers 🙂 I’ve also started really paying attention to what strollers people are using in Manhattan. I definitely want to pick a city-friendly model.

The highlight of the week was getting my 16 week anatomy ultrasound on Tuesday. Our little baby was all curled up, so the tech had a little trouble making out the gender but she is pretty sure it is a girl! I am going to try and restrain myself from buying anything pink until our follow-up ultrasound on July 1st when they will confirm the sex. The baby’s measurements all look great and the heartbeat is strong and fast. My blood pressure was high, unfortunately, at my appointment today, so I may have to go back on blood pressure meds. Stupid blood pressure. At least the baby is doing great 🙂

One more day in the city tomorrow and then back to Houston on Saturday. I am hanging out with my good friend Lyn tomorrow, which I am super psyched about and then Tanya meets me in Houston on Saturday to help me drive to Denver. Nothing better than good friends! Denver will be a blast, too. Two weeks there and lots of old friends to catch up with. The last week of June, we have another layoff from the show, so Eric and I are driving my car back to New York and spending a few more days here. We have the follow-up ultrasound, where they will be doing 3-D pictures, so we will be able to see our baby’s face! How cool is that?

In the meantime I am trying to stay cool. Today in NYC it was hotter than in Houston – crazy!