Friday, December 30, 2005


Our kitty is still missing. We've canvassed the neighborhood, posted and distributed more than 100 flyers, and talked to about 75 of our neighbors. We've looked under houses, behind fences, and called kitty kitty more times than I can imagine. No sign of her for two weeks. We're sad.

Work looms on Tuesday. I have two hour-long presentations this week for the Customer Service group. I have prepared for the second, but not the first. Silly me.

Hokey Smokes Bullwinkle, It's almost 2006! We plan to party (like school marms) to celebrate. Note to self: Drain pool enough that the water level is below the spillway into the hot tub. Hopefully we'll drink enough booze so that all the bottles will fit on one shelf again.

We watched Deathstalker 2 last night. This has got to be the funniest bad movie ever with ridiculous lines like, "Is Deathstalker your first or last name?" If you want to laugh, this is the movie to watch. Tonight we have Naughty Stewardesses 1975 (bow chicka bow wow) which promises to be a hoot. (get it, a "hoot", I crack myself up) so come on over if you are feeling like you have had enough sappy Christmas stuff.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Yes, it's true

Andy passed the test and got his driver license today. Woo Hoo!

Donations to the insurance fund can be made directly to Bob.
Cash only please.

PS He's out driving right now to celebrate.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Would you like cries with that

A memory crossed my mind the other day and it has been visiting me a few times since then. It is from the summer of 1996, when my father was dying. It was his last day. My memory is from the early afternoon as we had all gathered to be with him.

I remember that we were all taking care of him, sitting with him in his front room as he lay in a rented hospital bed. We all knew what was coming; a particularly painful loss of someone we loved so very much, someone we had all loved for a long time, someone we had so many memories with. We could clearly see the end of his life coming. It was a day-long moment of anticipation of the end. We could see things would change for all of us, in mundane and profound ways.

I remember this one moment in particular; in the midst of our growing grief, I looked out the window. It was sunny and warm. Then two neighborhood children rode by on their bikes, completely unaware of us and our situation. They were happy and joking with each other as they rode. It made me happy to see it. It was in that moment I realized so many things at once.

I realized how little things can bring you a great emotional distance in an instant. That even though you may be experiencing something immensely difficult, the lives around you continue undisturbed. That the status quo you had depended on so much was really only temporary, and that you would be better off accepting that fact than denying it.

Oddly, that look out the window had given me just what I needed at that moment; hope.

I've had a long time to reflect on this since then, and I think about that day often. I suppose that day really changed me. When I have a particularly hard day I think to myself, "That day dad died was pretty hard and life looked very bleak. But my life since then has been rich and full of so much joy. I wouldn't trade it for anything." That thought gives me hope, and the will to go on.

I hope for peace for you and the people you love in the coming year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Very Merry Indeed

I hope your Christmas is going so well you are tickled pink.
Here's a bit of mine.

Remember that beard issue I was having...
It was so bad I was frowning.

I fixed that. But I still need a haircut!

So that caroling party was fun...

So fun it was blurry!

And one gift in particular was blogworthy...

All smiles.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Real Estate

That's what Lucy always wanted for Christmas. I hope she gets it this year, and that everyone else gets what they want too.

We didn't get any real estate for anyone this year, but we did do mondo shopping here on The Last Day Before The Big Day. We were on three separate expeditions, saw Santa, had fast food, drove all the way to Campbell for a few items, called each other's cell phones. You name it, we did it in the name of shopping today.

We partied like school marms (you know how those hot school marms are when they take off their glasses and let their hair down, whoa!) until the wee hours last night. We lost count of how many people were here. It was more than 50. The party officially started at 5PM and the last guest left (OK fell asleep on the couch) at about 3AM. We sang lots of carols for the neighbors (about 15 houses or so) and we sounded pretty damn good. We ate like kings, or at least dessert barons, chatted endlessly, danced a little bit, had various adult beverages, and even hot tubbed. At one point all the ladies were talking about boobs, Erik and I just shut the hell up and let them.

We'll have to have some more parties soon because we have so figging many desserts left over. Nobody seems to take things home anymore, and they all bring food for twice as many of them as come in the door. This means you have two times the food you need. I'm not complaining though, because I really like pecan pie.

Now we are wrapping up the goodies and watching the obligatory Grinch Who Stole Crhistmas movie (Max the dog/reindeer, heart grew two sizes, Little Cindy Lou Who, etc.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Shopping anyone?

Advanced Retail Therapy was applied topically to our colds. Sharon and I braved the rain and crowds for five and a half hours. We even found a few items! Jess went out for about five herself. Now we'll have to wrap a few items, but we'll probably wait till late, since the little doggie will probably want to help us unwrap things.

There are still a few things to get, luckily there are still three shopping days to go! Whee!

Time for a festive adult beverage.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Still life

We still have colds here. (The long wet weekend of fair really took a toll.) And there is still a holiday coming (soon). Still some shopping to go, and we still plan to have tea in the city. Then there is our kitty Shrimp who is still missing after six days. And I still definitely need a haircut, though I did overcome The Ridiculous Beard.

But we are still here, and we still intend to have tea, and holiday celebrations, and gifts under the tree.

And we still really hope Shrimp returns.

Here's hoping for stillness and peace for all of us and all of you.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Finally, I can shave off this ridiculous beard

Well, the last day of fair was more interesting than most by quite a bit. The storm overnight had ovewhelmed the roof drains and there was quite a bit of flooding inside. Lots of stuff got wet. One more reason to pack your belongings home nightly. Fortunately, the adult beverages were all spared. After getting things mostly dry, activities started like normal, except everyone was dressing outside of the soaked tent areas. (not as bad as it sounds, by now everyone has seen just about everything there is to see)

Then lightning struck the transformer that feeds the Cow Palace and took out the power about 20 minutes before we were supposed to open. Flashlights instantly became more useful. Most people were dressed so lots of us headed out into to lend umbrellas and serve tea to the hundreds of people in line who were waiting in the rain. The tea was supplemented later by muffins and some other goodies, all of which were handed out free for the asking as a thanks to the people waiting in the rain. Lots of people started fair carrying several pounds or water in their coats. The delay in getting people into fair and heavy turnout led to an hour long line, an hour after fair started. Yikes.

The power remained out for nearly two hours so the decision was made to extend closing time by an hour. The delayed opening thrashed play schedules, and led to some confusion and skipped scenes. Things settled down after a while and nobody got really bent about it. Due to the late closing, and immense demand, the Naughty French Postcards added a show. Later we found out that the people who saw the last show waited two hours(!) to get in. Holy crap!

Mysteriously, the gin bottle was empty when we went to make the 3PM martinis. hmmm.

The Monks interrogation went so well that it was hard to stop. I kept smacking Monks (Michael) with my gloves every time he contradicted me. This stopped even more people in the street. Then I would circle through the crowd all the while upbraiding Monks and demanding that he tell all. By the end we were surrounded by at least fifty people.

Immediately following the interrogation I went off to the back to back postcards shows. There were several substitutes, but both shows went smoothly. In the last show The Angels did a Charlies Angels pose, which was funny, but not as funny as when the The Youth of Athens slowly reached up one by one to grab David's naked butt. The audience howled. I got pictures. If you are really nice to me and send a pleading email, maybe I'll send you one.

Lots of goodbyes, then we packed the Suburban to the brim and headed home, exhausted.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Off the hook dude

As predicted, Naughty French Postcards' later show after closing was packed, really funny, and had more of what makes the show so popular: Naked Boobs. Mr. Dickens himself appeared onstage with a bare breasted corset model (nice work Anita), and we even got Scrooge up there shining in "headlights" if you get my drift. We even had Queen Victoria onstage. Jiminy Christmas, she has beautiful breasts.

It seems that some members of the cast had a few drinks prior to the show (shocking, I know) and the backstage cheering on was more enthusiastic. I'm sure that tomorrow night will be just as much fun.

The Fair was PACKED today, it seemed that everyone in the Bay Area was there, though it probably wasn't quite that many. People were still sick and missing, and tired, but all the scenes in Oliver went on schedule, with our Bet filling in as Nancy again. We have had more stand-in Nancys than real Nancy (Sarah). My voice was getting a little thin later in the day, and I think by tomorrow that Brownlow will sound more like Barry White than a British gentleman.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The end is near

If you don't go to Dickens Fair this weekend, you are out of luck dude. It promises to be a great time. The "last weekend effect" will be in effect. There will be the awards, that are sometimes regarded as stupid especially by the non-recipients. Of course Naughty French Postcards is nominated for best stage show. I predict a huge win, or at least a repeat of the giant throbbing crowds of people wanting to see the show.

We'll all be "Happy Christmasing" our way through the streets and playing our little in-joke pranks on each other. Saturday night at eight is the participants only NFP show. Something tells me that the script and or blocking will get enhanced somehow. I will pay close attention and report any discrepancies to you my loyal readers.

Between then and now we have another work/school day, and some laundry to do. Pretty exciting isn't it?

Tonight I have a cold and I am at the lovely coughing-up-junk stage. At least it's colorful. As soon as we can get the youngest flaming scroller into bed I plan to sit down with an adult beverage and a movie and forget that I feel lousy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What the hell is he wearing now

I am "sobering up gradually" as my neighbor Franklin used to say. Franklin was really cool, even though he was in his mid eighties. He wore a beret, spoke a few languages, and had run a pump sales company. He passed away a few years ago. I miss him sometimes. He was damn funny.

Now that I have recovered from Monday and Tuesday night I can share the pictures.

Now it seems that Sharon has found out (somehow, I don't know how) that I am a fan of boobs. Go figure. Maybe Grace told her.

She got this card a few weeks ago, way before the Sunday incident that will now be known as "The Thirty Nipple Singalong".

Then out comes the cake. With nice full lusty festive pink umbrellas. I like the one candle effect. It makes it easier to say the number forty five since it reminds you less of a raging gasoline conflagration.

They were evenly sized, always a plus but certainly not required.

They tweaked almost as good as the real thing...

and they make a stunning ensemble, don't you think?

Now if you aren't laughing too hard to type will you pretty please share your comments with all of us. (yes, even you)

Oh yeah, Tuesday night we got together in full Dickensian costume with a three other folks to sing some Christmas carols at a preschool cookies and singing event. The kids didn't seem to really care all that much, but the parents thought it was great.

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's my party and I'll blog if I want to

You probably already know it's my birthday. And thank you to everyone who has been so generous thus far.

Third weekend of fair was pretty good. There were lots of patrons, lots of sick cast members, and lots of fun. The scenes in the streets have an unnerving variabilty to them, they never seem to go the same way twice. That said, they always feel unique and they seem to be well received. Hooray!

The postcards show appears to have grown to near legendary popularity. Patrons start lining up at 4PM, 90 minutes before the show, just to get in. It's crazy what people will do just to see some skin. We are seriously considering adding another show. There will already be an 8PM show for participants on Saturday.

Hearing that was my Birthday today the entire female cast of the show gave me a special happy birthday song, topless. There are fifteen of them, so that makes something like 30 nipples pointed right at me.

Here is what it looked like for them:

I'll let you imagine what it looked like for me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Did I ever tell you

Did I ever tell you about my grandmother Betty? Of course both of them were named Betty because it seems that our family is bad with names. (My mom's given name was Sharon, Dad's name was Bob.) Anyway, now that both my grandmothers have passed on I can safely say that Grandma Betty (dad's mom) was my favorite.

She was really cool. You could tell her anything and she would never freak out. She was easy to talk to and brimming with the wisdom of someone way older than you. One school year she was working near my high school. I would go and meet her after school and she would drive me home. We would talk, I can't remember about what, but she always had unconditional love and kindness, even for her scruffy, long haired grandson.

I was a difficult kid. I had a terrible temper and I was often moody. I was always complaining about not having enough friends, especially the female sort. I got high a lot, and I really didn't apply myself to the schoolwork. (I suppose I have overcome at least some of this)

None of this really mattered to Grandma. She always gave reasoned advice. She didn't scold me. And no matter what, it was always abundantly clear that she loved me, and that she really cared about me the person, and not how I acted, or what I did or didn't do.

After she died (lung cancer, it was not pleasant, don't smoke) I found a little framed cardboard plaque in her things. I have always cherished it because it encapsulated her incomparable philosophy of how to love your loved ones. I have tried to take her advice whenever I could.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005



how can I tell you
how much it means
to have shared a million moments

to hear your laugh
to see your smile
to take your hand

in the space of decades
in the space between us
I have found an infinte fountain

love tumbling over the edge
nurturing all around
making a pleasant burbling
lulling us to sleep

waking we discover
a new day
a new dawn
a familiar life

carrying us together
from today
to an ever sweeter tomorrow

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

So long, Frank Lloyd Wright

I like that song. It is a little sad and haunting, but at the same time it celebrates someone's life and what they left behind for others. It ends with:
So long, Frank Lloyd Wright,
All of the nights we'd harmonize till dawn.
I never laughed so long
So long
So long
Sunday at Fair we had martinis, or as someone called them, "Colliertinis". We ran out of olives, and the glassware (OK paper cups) was decidedly far down the luxury scale. I had to keep going back to the Green Man bar to get ice, and we nearly ran out of vermouth. (I drank the rest last night in a single martini.) Maybe backstage at Fair is not the ideal place for mixed drinks...

Except that they were really quite popular. It seems that just about everyone there was a martini aficionado. I'll bring a shaker just in case someone else supplies all the other stuff. *hint*

None of you slackers faithful readers have commented on my excellent haunting and sad poem from Monday. Maybe that is just as well. Perhaps I should use my poetry powers for happy not sad. I'll see if I can get my muse on.

My good buddy Walter sent me this link on a site that shows you how to tie knots. I think it's cool.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The tree in my yard

falling leaves made me think about the passing seasons

seldom seen
ceaselessly imagined
a future exists in all things

dimensions unknown
sheathed in gossamer
unexpressed until realized

we shine in sunlight
full of life
nurturing ourselves and kin
giving shaded comfort all below

our delicate lines and form
our colors and patterns
emblazon the sky
flutter in the breeze


leaves withered and fading
fall through crisp air to cold soil
reminders of our bound fate

what will remain when we wither
falling away from our twig
where we shone brightly
and gave everything of our selves

standing beside myself
I wonder
what will remain

the tree casts a shadow at my feet
reaching to the clear sky above
sunlight streams across my face

Fair was lots of fun. You should come visit, unless you are already there of course.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dew stars love yew

In rainy slow traffic this morning, a poem came to me.

dew falls
while we slumber
in silence

emerging from the air
touching everything
nurturing life
in silence

distant stars fade
as daybreak comes
in silence

waking brings me near
in silence

your touch sends waves
beginning from nowhere
ending at my skin
in silence

yellow leaves fall from trees
in silence

the silence that waits
below our rushing current

I hope this brings you a moment of peace.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

He who shall not be named

We all went to see Harry Potter. You should see it in the theatre unless you have a huge TV.

Allow me to summarize:
  1. Creepy opening
  2. Traveling through space
  3. New, more attractive schoolgirls, and a peeping ghost girl
  4. Dragons
  5. Contests that Harry wins (shocking, I know)
  6. Magic Dance Party
  7. Whatshisname comes back (played well by Ralph Feinnes)
  8. Oodles of cool effects
If you haven't read the books, you might want to get caught up, they don't waste any time on character exposition or back story.

Monday, November 28, 2005

In which picturesque advice was offered

I kinda almost didn't actually do any Dickens Fair stuff today, which felt weird indeed. OK, I did make some calling cards. I mostly just went to work, did some grocery shopping, ate dinner, and read email, and OK, some most of the email was about Fair.

Apparently the Naughty French Postcards show has received its first complaint (via email, how Dickensian). (We must be doing something right!!) There will be some slight changes to make sure that the Dickens Fair brand is maintained in top form. The picture and the dialog will change a little in one vignette, but the sentiment will remain.

One of the istsy bitsy details details about Fair is that people are generally willing to share a sip of what they have in their flask. You get to taste what people like to sip. This weekend I was introduced (by a rather attractive young lady who I recognize but do not know the name of) to something called Stroh 80 that was really quite nice. Wicked strong, but very nice. Whatever your name is, thanks!

That's another thing about Fair, you hardly know anyone's name, but you are all friends indeed. The hard part is that everyone has at least two names, their "Fair Name" and their real name. Lots of people have several characters, which makes it even harder.

People constantly refer to others by these names interchangeably. Then to add to this, people have Faire (renfair) names too to go with the characters there... and you get lots of, "I didn't recognize you in your Dickens Fair costume until you started to talk then I realized you are also [insert renfair character here] at Faire! Isn't that funny..." Oy, my head is starting to spin.

See you at Fair!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

One down, three to go

This weekend was so incredibly full of fair stuff it is hard to know where to start...

Let's start at the bottom so to speak. Here are some of our fairmates cutting up backstage. Yes, that is a thong on Nora's head. (Yes it was brand new right out of the little bag it came in.)

Peter thought it looked inviting... or something like that. These bookish Dickens-reading types really are a pretty staid bunch.

Then Ryan decided that it wasn't enough to appear in just the union suit, so he grabbed a Dark Garden corset model to doll up his outfit backstage at the French Postcards show... Nice package Ryan. Get a room.

The postcards show is clearing the streets as people abandon all other activities to see the, um... boobs. The Mad Sal's show was experiencing "loss of crowd" on Saturday much to their dismay.

Backstage you get a lot of this "relaxing" sort of behavior. Here is Malaia keeping the floor warm.

On a much more eruidite note there was our darling daughter doing a stint in the Dark Garden window display. By all accounts she was a very good model.

No pictures of it (I left the camera backstage!) we saw a proposal of marriage (for real) out on the dance floor right after the Congress of Vienna waltz. It was touching, then we all waltzed just to celebrate.

Scenes are getting better, the audiences are getting entertained (we have a new "block the street" strategy for enticing people to stop long enough to watch scenes) and we are all having quite a bit of fun. Come and join us at Fair!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Fairly odd characters

Holy crap I'm tired. The fair is like a very long acting party. At the end of the day after you get notes from your director and then you drive home and it seems like you have been gone for like 12 hours; because you have.

We got take out. That was a great idea.

Scenes went better today, and the postcards show went better because we solved some tech issues like getting on and off stage, and how long to leave the lights on. There were many more patrons, and we had the wood-shaving snow on the "streets" today. It isn't really fair until there is wood-shaving snow.

I got lots of compliments on the coat today. See snorky picture at left of me in a stylin henly and jeans with my new coat. Seriously, people thought it was really cool. I was so jazzed. There are some details to fix (like that stinkin top button) but it really wowed all the costume geeks.

Grace, you are welcome to get you and Scott on a plane and get out here to enjoy fair. I'll even buy you a beer (of course you would have to split it with Scott).


Coat finished. Not as stunning as professionally tailored but I think it will be effective. Camera is at Mother in Law's house. (dang) Come see the coat at fair in a few hours. :-)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Whoa that's a mighty nice Fair you got there kids

Fair opened right on schedule.

No I didn't finish my flippin coat, though I did stay up till way too friggin late trying. Tonight I will triumph! There will be pictures!

Fair was way fun. We had some pretty good success with the acting in the streets, and the postcards show was very well received. Suffice to say that the theatre was packed, and many hoots and hollers were heard when the actual boobs were revealed. It was by all accounts, hootastic. Of course the big hit was Carl (older and more portly than all the other men in the cast) playing the "old gentleman with peculiar tastes" who bares his bum (well the side of it anyway) to get threatened by very cute Jessica-in-the-maid-costume and a rug beater. The miracle was that all of the scenes happened right on cue, even though we had only really rehearsed it three times. I predict packed houses for the run of fair.

All of the other stuff was so nice too. The singing by the Coventry Carolers (I was way too tired to sing with them today) in the breezeway stage was oh so very nice. Sharon and I had the opportunity to go dancing a couple of waltzes, and do some nice strolling and shopping. Our friends Lisa, Dory and Mary were there (hi guys!) and we had fun hanging out with them too. Mary and I even tried a polka at Fezziwigs, but we got embarrassed off the dance floor by people who dance way better than we did.

Oh yeah, Thanksgiving was really very nice except for the impromptu cocktails made with Martinellis sparkling apple cider. I do not recommend this product as a mixer under any circumstances.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

33 hours to go

Well, the ole clock is ticking and I have been making some progress on the ole you know what. Tonight I padded the shoulders, made and put in the lining for the bodice, made two pockets (not in the original design) and attached the lining to the modified cuffs. Now the only thing left is to make the skirt with lining, and put two slash pockets in that (that looks hard) then fitting the skirt to the bodice. Then we add a handful of buttons (only three of them need buttonholes).

I do need to sleep a couple of times and have a big holiday meal, oh and there is a hem to fix on the trousers... and a few other minor things to attend to.

But it looks like it may be possible to wear the coat this weekend, if not Friday...

Sorry, no pictures since it looks almost unchanged except that it is.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Never on Sunday

Well we had even more rehearsal today with the beginning marked by a very long and, um... interesting all-cast meeting. Suffice to say that everyone involved in the Fair are now ready to meet the public. The unseasonably warm weather makes for some fairly warm days in a lot of wool costumes. It seems to cause giddiness.

Speaking of wool, did I mention I was making a coat? I spent an hour tonight making two seams, the ones that attach the sleeves to the body of the coat. You think casting off (or whatever you call it) is hard; try "easing in the fullness" sometime. (Get your mind out of the gutter, girls. I'm sewing not, um... Never mind.)

First you start with about way too many pins. Then you baste it together by hand, then you stitch it. Hopefully you get it right.

Then after you get the sleeves on you put on the coat and find out how badly you estimated the length of the sleeves. I still have to pad the shoulders out but I think I have them at least 1-1/2 inches too long.

At least I still have three more nights to sew before opening day. It's possible to get done, but I would avoid betting large sums on it.

Oh yeah, the French Postcards "dress" rehearsal was nice. Final rehearsal is tomorrow night, in which we make an attempt at running the show without shouting instructions to each other.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

More, more, more! How do you like it?

More crapola about the coat. (Shocking, I know.) I sewed and sewed. When I looked up at the clock it was like 3 something AM. But I got a lot done. That's lining getting cut out at about 7 PM.

There are oodles of pieces. If I was knitting there would be one very long piece, but instead there are lots of funny shaped pieces that don't want to lay flat. This was about midnight.

This is an "in joke" morning-after view of the front of the coat. Go easy on me; I recently had surgery.

I thought of cropping my dorky looking long (and graying!) beard out of this shot, but it shows the velvet collar. I grew the beard back for the Brownlow part in Dickens Fair, and that's what the coat is for too. Ahh, what we do for Our Art. After closing weekend it's back to the real me.

Friday, November 18, 2005

In which I cut many many pieces of material

So I got all the pattern pieces laid out. I looked carefully at the drawings in the costume reference book we have and I decided to lose the cuffs on the coat. This allowed me some more fabric, which gave me an idea... The picture in the book shows a coat on an older man to be longer, almost to the knee. So I decided to lengthen the lower part of the coat seven inches to give it that longer look. This took some pattern drafting work to extend things. Then I was a cutting fool and got all of the fabric cut out. Now I need to cut the lining and interfacing sections. I counted pieces, there will be 68. I must be nuts.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not to be outdone

Some others had some nice shots of their handiwork so I thought I'd post mine. Sorry, not equipped as well so the pics are substantially more mundane.

In which I learn the meaning of "complicated"

Well after finishing up the vest with pleats, ties, and some plaid-matched pockets, making a garment bag, and ironing a shirt collar, I decided to grit my teeth and get started on The Frock Coat. The pattern says "Advanced" which should suit me OK since I have already made all of one garment that looks good.

So I ironed the pattern out and started cutting out the pieces I needed. There are seventeen of them! Most of the parts are lining, interfacing, and cloth, so I think the coat will have well over fifty individual pieces of material before it's done. Then I made some measurements and lengthened the pieces that need to be longer, including drafting in new cutting lines to get the seam geometry right through the extended sections. There were lots of those too. This took the better part of two hours.

I figure cutting out the wool, the lining, and the interfacing will take about a five hour evening. Assembling the coat will take maybe four or five evenings. As Sharon said the pattern assumes you really know what you are doing and only illustrates the really complicated parts.

If I can make this coat before Fair starts I'll be happy and somewhat surprised. Just the little section on how to put in the pocket is about four column inches... I may be opening Fair in the cutaway coat I bought at rehearsal.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Woo Hoo!

Finished the trousers!

Yes my faithful readers, there were many cryptic steps like "Stitch as shown." and sew forth.

But I pressed ahead and now they are fit to be tried. On that is.

Oh, and somebody here said the material was so nice it should be made into unmentionables. We shall not speak of this further.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

and it cuts like buttaah

So I stopped staring at a flat panel display long enough to actually do something with my costume. It was more funner than I thought it would be, except I am only at the easy "cut out the pieces" stage which is easier than all the much harder "put the pieces together and not make it look like crap" stages. When you read the instructions, even the ones in English, it still sounds like you really ought to leave these things to someone who knows what they are doing. The cutting out part is easy in the instructions, the other parts have far more words, some of which are in bold which leads me to believe they are important. No matter, I plan to forge ahead.

The material is a really nice weight and drape.
It is a wool silk blend and should be extremely comfortable.

Wish me luck all you fiber types.

Looks like I'll survive

Well, I'm over the lousy part of the cold after having mostly slept through Monday. Think I'll change my name to Van Winkle, cause that has a nice ring, "Bob Van Winkle". On second thought, never mind. Taking the time off was the right plan, I think I can avoid getting any sicker. (Thanks sweetie for suggesting I stay home.)

I definitely need to Get Started on the costume as time is passing without any progress at all. I think I'll get serious and cut up a couple hundred bucks worth of fabric tonight. First I'll make the trousers since I bought a tail coat over the weekend as a second costume piece/backup plan. I think I'll just have to sedate the dogs so I can concentrate. I probably need an incentive plan too; maybe "First trousers, then martini."

Of course, I will post pictures of my feeble impressive tailoring exploits. Expect to see frowns and confusion over things like which is the "right side".

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Yes Virginia, there will be naughty stuff at fair

First day of Dickens Fair rehearsals today... there was a huge crowd, like two or three hundred people who are participating. Of course, almost everybody recognizes everyone else, except for the new people who got applause just for raising their hands at the morning meeting.

This year they are bringing back Naughty French Postcards! After 25 years! There will be actual sorta naughty stuff on stage (behind a scrim) but don't worry, the actors will be holding poses, not moving so you won't need your heart medicine. So don't say I didn't tell you about it in advance. The show runs every day of fair at 5:30 PM in the Victoria and Albert Theatre inside the fair.

Looks like I might be able to be in the show (yes, clothed) and that my stagehand experience will come in handy for the 25 vignettes in a 45 minute show.

Oh yeah, I'll also be playing Mr. Brownlow from Oliver Twist, AND singing with the Coventry Carolers. The rest of the family will be playing characters and singing as well.

If you want to come to see the later stuff only, the tickets at the door are $10 after 4PM, that's half off!

I can get you discounted all day tickets, just call or write. Do come see us at fair!

PS I put some mushy poems on the family site.

Time for drinkie.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I am coming down with a cold. If the usual pattern holds I'll be down for a day in the near future, followed by a day or two of sounding like Barry White. Then I'll have congestion that will keep my ears in a pressure imbalance state that is really annoying. However, none of this ever affects my sunny personality, despite the testimony of those around me who say I am quite irritable when I am sick. (I secretly think they may be correct.)

What a great way to start the Holiday Season. At least it is coming earlier this year than last, when I got the cold right near Christmas. It makes it hard to sing for the Caroling Party.

I read through the pattern instructions for my frock coat for Dickens. It sounded like assembly instructions for a nuclear power plant, translated from German. Luckily I am not afraid of seemingly impossible tasks. I just have no idea how I'll do it.

By the way, the holidays will hereafter be referred to as NewHallowThanksMas since *the holidays* seem to blend into *one* large event that begins on labor day and ends in a sudden sober awakening on January 2nd, whereupon you say, "What the hell happened to my wallet waist?"

Note to self: Start shopping sewing.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I have a favorite song

Actually I have many favorite songs, all for different moods and meanings. This morning I feel like this song by Neil Young:
I am a child
I last a while
You can't conceive
Of the pleasure in my smile
You hold my hand
Rough up my hair
It's lots of fun
To have you there

I gave to you now
You give to me
I'd like to know
What you are
The sky is blue now
And so is the sea

What is the colour
When black is brown?
What is the colour?

You are a man
You understand
You pick me up
And you lay me down again
You make the rules
You say what's fair
It's lots of fun
To have you there.

I gave to you now
You give to me
I'd like to know
What you are
The sky is blue now
And so is the sea

What is the colour
When black is brown?
What is the colour?

I am a child
I last a while
You can't conceive
Of the pleasure in my smile

It speaks to the child in me, my wonderment with the world, and my desire to have someone ("You are a man, you understand") to hold me and assure me of what is right and wrong, what is fair, what the rules are. I need something I can stake my life on. Something I don't have in hand. I have looked in myself and I cannot find it.
That's just my mood for now.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Hey, we actually finished something!

We went to the annual pumpkin party hosted by our good friends Janet and Bob and did all the eating and chatting and carving needed to get the newhallowthanksmas season started. There were lots of goodies to eat. This is Sharon's pumpkin. She drew it and I did some of the carving due to her healing shoulder. (Coming along nicely, thank you!)

Then today we got off our butts and did some work. We got the salmon bay pebbles (above) and filled in around the flagstone. This was easy compared to putting in the stone.
So now it looks like this. Note the furry black inspector with muddy paws.
Close up it looks like this, which we really like. :-)

She runs like a girl

Hello my adoring readers. If you don't want to know something about how I think (or if parenthetical asides bother you), do not read this post. If you have a thought on how I think, post a comment.

Having a great morning doing almost absolutely nothing... had pumpkin pie for breakfast (the perfect breakfast food) and mindlessly surfing the internet. Ran across a site while browsing for tame pictures of, um... (. )( .)s. It captivated me, and I read what seemed like half of the site. And no, the site has NO nakey pictures.

There are a zillion "lifestyle" sites. This one is aimed at women, with a pink home page no less. When I run across lifestyle sites, I often browse them a bit and move on, unmoved. The Men's Sites always seem to have a sort of sweaty Maxim magazine sort of thing (NEW HOT pictures of Alicia Silverstone like you've NEVER seen her!), or a too geeky college guy thing whining on about DRM and downloads. I tend to like the sites that are aimed at women (magazines too). Some sites are just to effing edgy, with harsh pictures, bad language, and too much implied narcissism for my taste. Then there are the sites that are just too earnestly wholesome for my taste. (I like salt AND pepper in my soup.) I think there is a large segment here.

That's why (I suppose) I like and read blogs that are written by women (but not gurlz!). They tend towards edgy or a bit sexy, but they retain their dignity and try not to take themselves too seriously. Yet at the same time they ultimately reveal the human feelings of fear and desire that drive us all. Men tend to hide these feelings (deeply!) and write about them even less. In this sense, I identify more with women than men, and more of my close friendships are with women than with men.

Like Goldilocks said, this one was just right. So, to put it plainly, if you want to know ONE dimension of things that I find intriguing and interesting, visit the site.

Oh, and Happy Halloween too (if I don't see you before tomorrow night (that's probably all fifteen of you (wishful thinking on readership numbers)))!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Travels to Foreign Lands

Sharon and I actually left our house today and drove the 25 miles to San Francisco. (shocking, I know) We proceeded to go shopping at Britex. After finding the perfect woolen cloth for Mr Brownlow's bottle green coat we looked at the price, um... $125/yard. A little too much, eh? The very helpful Douglas Davis (what a nice guy) suggested we look in the remnants section on the fourth floor. So we did, where to our delight we found some very similar cloth for $49 for 2-3/8 yard, just enough for my frock coat. Yay!

Then we found the perfect houndstooth wool silk blend for the pants I need to make. Only $125. Okay the pants will be a bit pricey, but the stuff feels like buttah, like buttah do you hear me!?

We got the buttons on the third floor from the very helpful Louise, whose husband is really tall like yours truly, except she's kinda short. She says, "What's the deal with real tall guys and short girls?" I told her it was a family friendly sort of store so I couldn't really tell her the answer to her question. She seemed to understand.

Then we needed a spot of food cause we'd skipped lunch and it was like 4:30 or something. So it was up the elavator to the top of The Macy*s to The Cheesecake Factory. They took good care of us.

Then we bopped around a bit, then went to Coit Tower and saw the really cool 1934 era frescoes and looked out over the big ships in the surrounding bay as the sprinkling started. We then headed for home since it was getting dark and our fleeting plan to see Twin Peaks was dashed by the setting sun and mean icky traffic.

Now all I need to do is sew a pair of Victorian period mens trousers out of beautiful expensive fabric, and a Victorian frock coat out of somewhat less expensive fabric. This should be a cinch since I have sewn exactly one garment in my life. I have four weeks. Since Sharon just had The Surgery on The Shoulder, she'll be able to give helpful hints but not much actual sewing. If you want to help, (and you can really sew) give us a call.


The days tick by
Flurry of nothings
All time flies

Love pours
From a gaping wound
Flowing from my heart

To yours
I hope
In times dark
I doubt

I see my love
I see you accept it

I am in awe
My love
Is not

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Two, two, two mints in one

More like three fillings in one sitting. Now my mouth feels numb and it feels like I sound like a stroke victim, though the family tells me I sound normal. (Ha!) I just tried eating a snack. It was difficult, though when I say it, it sounds like dithiculth.

Now you might think that three fillings in one sitting is an indication that I have let myself go dentally speaking, but two of them were to replace many year old fillings that were wearing out. It seems that they are more like tires than anything else, they have a 20,000 meal lifetime. I chose to get them all done today so I only had one anesthesia to get over. It sucketh to have to replace 20 year old fillings because it doesn't seem like 20 years but you are reminded that it really is.

But enough toothy news. Healing from surgery continues apace. :-)

We all went to the big rehearsal for the Coventry Carolers and sang lots of songs that I didn't know. Also, since a bass almost never sings the melody, I had to try to remember how to read music, which I was never very good at. It was, um... fun. Eventually I got tired and then we stopped and we all ate soup and stuff. That was good too. We have another rehearsal coming up and then mopre rehearsals at workshops.

I am hooking up with the carolers this year to get more time with my sweetie and away from the Temperance Union. I actually like singing a lot more than the Temperance stuff, which was lots of improv in a character and story I didn't really like. The TU also suffers from dimunition from the Fair honchos which was harshes my mellow.

I'm looking forward to Fair. The atmosphere is unlike anything else and all of the people are like one giant circle of friends. So many people have known each other for so long and been so close that the whole experience is really intimate feeling. It is also such a safe place for the eclectic behaviors that everyone feels the freedom to be very open with each other. More than that, the general tone is supportive and celebratory so it is really easy to have a very good time. Hugging friends is encouraged.

The only downside to the whole "everybody seems to be on ecstasy" feeling is that there is a heightened possibilities for "drama". This usually manifests itself in the "I don't talk to them, EVER." sort of thing. Other times there is an actual outbreak of "words" which frequently leads to the "EVER" situation above. But as a wise man once said, "It isn't little theatre without a little drama."

Last but not least, I still need to make a costume (Frock coat & pants). We have a pattern but have not bought fabric, or anything alse... We have a ways to go.

Hope to see you all at Dickens Christmas Fair 2005 starting November 26th at the Cow Palace in South San Francisco, weekends 11 AM till 7.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Amy, what you gonna do?

Hi Amy. I heard that Amy song in the car parts store today. I never realized that I liked that song so much. I sang the whole damn thing. (Don't worry Amy, it isn't creepy at all. I liked the song way before you were born.)

We bought a car.
We needed a automatic transmission thingy for the boy to drive, plus it'll come in handy for Sharon's gimpy arm. We got some new front tires for it.

We are all healing up, and we realized today that we have lots of Vicodin left over. Oh well, we entertain a lot at the holidays.

My new boss finally shows up at work on Monday. Maybe we'll get to talk.

We helped pick up after the renfaire today. At one point there were about sixteen people working, three of them were men. (that means roughly 13 women for those of you who may be math challenged, and remember we are talking renfaire women here) Then the 'fearless leader' Lisa stood up and said that we all might go to the Collier's to go hot tubbing. Then she called for a show of hands as to who had forgotten their swimsuit. About fifteen hands went up. The other group leader turned to me and said, "Wipe that grin off your face." I'm all like, 'what grin?'. (. )( .)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thank you sir, may I have another

Well, as it turns out my surgery was not the last for October for the household. No more icky pictures but my sweetie is snoozing on the couch after a little long needed work on her shoulder this morning. Hopefully she'll be right as rain in a few days, except they sent her home with more meds than I had, which I think means they expect her to need them. :-|

Plus she got a cooling contraption that pumps chilled fluid through a pad thingy applied to the shoulder. It's made out of a lunchbox cooler! The instructions are to use this continuously for like three days. Hmmm. :-|

So, send good thoughts our way.

Of course we did get lots of "inside the procedure" pictures for both of us. Her's are better and there are more of them. All of them are fairly surreal. Essentially if you don't know what you are looking at you say, "I think that's the um... I don't know." If you want to see any of those you'll need to come over and sign the release forms.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

That's a bit better

Well the weekend has been quiet recovery time. Most of the family is away at faire.

The little one and I saw the new Wallace and Grommit movie. I can recommend it even for grown ups. There are lots of subtle jokes and little things to look for, and the characters are really funny indeed. It runs an hour and a half but it is as rich as each of the first three 30 minute movies.

I'm off pain meds now and most systems are returning to normal, though I'm still a little uncomfortable. It is actually quite a feat what is possible to fix and how quick the recovery can be even for a semi-geezer. (alas, I'm not 20 any more)

I'm looking forward to this next week being lots better than last week.

Friday, October 14, 2005


OK well there is precious little to report other than I am feeling either in pain, or stoned on Vicodin or somewhere in between while the stuff comes on or wears off. So I feel good for about a couple of hours at a time. Coming down off the Vicodin is crappy. I suppose I'll eventually recover.

PS it hurts to laugh so if you want to torture me this is the time to tell bad jokes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Surgery went just fine, though a wee bit late. It was scheduled for 2:00 but they transferred me to the operating table at 3:00 amid witty banter. I was a model patient. Dr. Conner told me the anesthetic was going to be like a really tall beer on an empty stomach. It was more like; I was normal, then 20 seconds later I was getting sleepy/woozy, then 20 seconds later I was waking up in recovery with three little bandages and a bit of a sore throat.

They gave me three juice boxes and some Nilla Wafer cookies, two Vicodin, and sent me home with orders to pee before 8 PM or I would have to come back for something that rhymes with "painful rubber thingy that gets put into somewhere you would rather it didn't".

Now I have a couple of days off to look at my beautiful flagstone patio. Ha ha ha.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


kiss my ass2
Well Grace did this quiz (which is very silly indeed) so I thought I would too. I got a dumb answer (dumb = I didn't agree) but I liked the cute bunny picture anyway. I hope you do too.
which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Almost finished

The flagstone project is almost done. No picture since it looks just like the last set. The next to last part was the cement in between the stones to form a crust over the sand base. Our hope is that this will keep down the weeds and keep the gravel from getting just mushed into the sand.

It really looks great and we're thrilled. The gravel will have to wait a while as it comes from beyond the gulf region and transportation of the stuff was held up due to the hurricanes. Once that's done we'll take pictures of us with our heads lying on the flagstone smiling. You can print them out and frame them if you like.

PS tomorrow is the surgery to correct the Unfortunate Condition. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


And now I have a $%^&# sore throat. I hope you all feel very sorry for me. I know I do. At least I have some vitamin G (Bombay Sapphire) to ease the pain. Plus today I got my scrip filled for the vitamin V in advance of The Procedure. I certainly hope I don't need all 30 of them. Wheeee!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Not so fast lady

Well the procedure will be next week, not this week. They are giving me some mesh plastic parts stitched in place to hold the muscle wall together. I had a nice long talk with my surgeon, a pretty lady named Karen that seems extremely competent, and was completely unfazed by the sight of what will from now on be referred to as "The Surgical Site".

It is easy to tell if you have this Unfortunate Condition. Take off your pants and look down at The Surgical Site. If you see bulges in the forested portion of the landscape, go directly to the doctor, do not pass go.

Luckily my Unfortunate Condition can be fixed using laparoscopic surgery. Three little incisions instead of two large ones, and um... far less shaving. Whoopee.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Welcome back.

Just about everything has been happening since my last rocky post. We put in more rocks. Kate helped. Our friend Lisa G helped. Eventually we got done. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I got an injury that sounds a little like "hyena". Surgery is planned for this week. No, I'm not kidding.

Then there was Renfaire on Saturday. There was ye olde climbing wall. The boys stayed at home. (That's Jessamy in the costume she made) There were lots of people there since the weather was nice and stuff. (That's Sharon as Lady Hundston) This nice little gal was demonstrating the method he husband showed her for eating a "Monkey Tail" which are sold at the faire. (I'm not making that up they really call them Monkey Tails.) These gals were representative of the beauties that seem to flock to the faire. They sell delightful things to eat at the faire.
This one is for you gRace. (. )( .) Two more beauties showed up in front of the camera, but one turned as the shutter opened. This fellow was the epitome of, um... minimal costumes. And there was this lady. Hard to know where to start here.
And there was this "art object" in a shop. Look closely. I don't think this functional, but with some imagination... Well let's just say there was lots to see at Faire.

Then I went and helped at strike for Skyscraper. Then the cast invited me along to help them party at a local dive bar. There was karaoke, drinks, karaoke, drinks, a couple of lifted shirts, laughing, and some cast members kissing. I escaped without making a fool of myself.