Professional Voice Talent, Amateur Actor and Knitter

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Snow day!

We had a pretty good snowstorm last Tuesday, two to three inches. The weathermen thought the temperatures were going to drop below freezing overnight and make for difficult driving (around here, everything shuts down when there’s ice on the roads… our cars just aren’t set up to drive on ice, and our people just get stupid when trying to drive on ice, so it’s just safer to keep as many people home as possible), so the university shut down a bit early and sent us home. On our way out, while cleaning the ice off the cars we played around in it a little. A couple of girls built a snow bear in the bed of one’s pick up (sic ’em bears!), we had a minor snowball fight, and I made a tiny snowman from the snow on E’s hood.

When we got home we discovered that the weight of the snow had bent the poles of the canopy we’d put over my scooter. πŸ™

I’m going to have to see if I can find something with stronger poles.

Busy days

About a year ago, I bought Lucy a new bed. It lasted intact for about three months, I think, then she started ripping out the bottom and strewing the fluff everywhere. It got a little more ripped one time when she was staying with E’s dog, Huxley. I think they decided it was a tug toy.

Poor bed.

I’d had it on top of my bedside mat so she wouldn’t be sleeping on the wood floor, but it just wasn’t pretty. I kept intending to make a sort of quilted bottom for it, to replace the torn one, but I never got around to it. Last weekend I happened to be in Tractor Supply Company and saw a pretty nice sheepskin-ish bed for not too much, so she finally has a bed with a bottom again.


Today was a beautiful day! After weeks of cold, rain, sleet, snow (yes, sleet and snow in C. Texas!! Not constant, but still), we had a warm, sunny day; warm enough for t-shirt and shorts, during the warmest part! A perfect day for a little yard work.

About eight years ago, our next door neighbours planted a few bamboo shoots along their back fence. Needless to say, there’s bamboo everywhere now. Last spring I was going out every two or three days to cut down the new sprouts that were coming up all over the yard.

I’d been meaning to thin out the thickets along the back fence for ages; there’s a rosemary bush back there that’s completely hidden in the thicket, and a pretty little tree that’s all but surrounded, but it was hard work with a hand saw, so I never did too much.

Until today.

Another thing I bought while I was at TSC last weekend was a reciprocating saw (cashier had the nerve to ask me if it was a Valentine’s present. Hmpf! Yeah, sure, Valentine’s present to myself, maybe!). We now have a mountain of bamboo in the yard.

E and I are planning on using some to make gardening stakes (for tomatoes and such). Not sure what we’ll do with the rest. If you’re in Central Texas and could use some bamboo, drop me a line!! Free to a good home! πŸ™‚

The back fence looks much better now. You can get to the back gate without resorting to a machete, you can actually see that there’s a tree back there, and there’s still enough bamboo to provide shade and privacy.

Gosh, look, there’s a door back there! And a tree!

The brown patch in the middle of the bamboo is the poor rosemary bush, which is half dead, but we’re hoping, if we trim it back and stake it down a bit, it’ll re-root and grow back this spring and summer.

E also suddenly remembered that she had a picnic canopy that was sitting around gathering dust, so she offered me the use of it so I could have semi-covered parking for my scooter. Great fun putting that up, because by that point, the temperature had started dropping again and a fairly brisk wind had picked up. Always the best time to put up tents, when it’s blowing a gale!

Finished recording the latest Ignatius book today. Just need to proof-listen the last section and upload it. Those long sections were a challenge, though, even divided up into three recording sessions each.


Left the window cracked in my car a couple of weekends ago and got rained on, and though it’s nice and dry now, it still smells. I may go through an entire bottle of Febreeze to get the smell out. The car has been living on the roof of the parking garage in the sunshine with the windows cracked while I’m at work, hopefully that’ll help too.

Finished stage managing Woman in Black this weekend. Dressed as a dead cowgirl for this year’s Masquerade Ball (which for once actually fell on Hallowe’en!). I’m hoping to get some more photos from the others who were there, but for now there are a few on my Masquerade Ball page.

Have been able to get more work done on my recording projects since the end of the show. I’ve been putting a bit more effort into Dayspring (had been concentrating mostly on Clara Vaughan before); the chapters on that one are much longer than any others to date – I have to make sure I have a glass of water handy or I won’t make it through.

Our State Fair is a great State Fair…

Only it was the Heart of Texas Fair, not the State Fair. K, one of the girls in the Woman in Black, which I’m stage managing, was given some tickets at work, and she invited me and M, another girl from the play to go with her. She’d never been before, and really wanted to check it out, and since the fairgrounds are right next door to the theatre, we didn’t even have to pay for parking.

When we got down to the end of the fairway, we came across the freak show booth; K had also never been to a freak show before, so we went in. For the most part it was a collection of live, stuffed and preserved animals of the conjoined twins gone more wrong than usual variety. One of the stuffed animals, however, was purported to be a chupacabra.

After looking at it for a couple of minutes M said, “That’s just wrong. That’s a deer butt, upside-down.”

I was telling one of my coworkers about it, and he dubbed it the “chupacabr-ass”

On our way out, we saw one of those “Old Timey Photo” booths. Yet another thing K had never done (not that I had, either, incidentally… but then I’m not really one for voluntarily getting my picture taken). I agreed to join them in the photo under the stipulation that I was not going to wear anything frilly. They did have something in the Annie Oakley style, so I was happy.

The birthday fairy’s revenge

OK, so I don’t often let people know when my birthday is, because, though I don’t mind celebrating my birthday, I feel uncomfortable getting mobbed by well-wishers and being sung at, but thanks to facebook more people have found out when it is. I had to go to rehearsal on my birthday, and I was about two feet away from the back door at the end of the night, when I heard the rest of the cast start into ‘Happy Birthday’. No one could see me, so I quickened my steps and snuck out before anyone could catch me.

The following night I had tickets to Broadway by Request with Betty Buckley at the Hip. The ‘by Request’ part means that as you go in, you have the option of filling out a form requesting her to sing a song from her Broadway or recording career. I went with Regan, and on our way in, we saw MB, who was ushering. About halfway through the concert, Seth Rudetsky, who was acting as her emcee, accompanist, and foil, pulled out a request form (she’d been reading them all up till then). He called MB’s name and then read out her request: “It was my friend Karen’s birthday yesterday. Would you sing to her?” So, Betty Buckley sang me happy birthday in an auditorium full of strangers (at least I didn’t have to stand up!!!).

It was a fabulous concert, though. πŸ™‚

Now I’m going to have to eat this thing…

So a few weeks ago, the Cachinnator wrote a post in which he asked whether they still made whole Heath bars, or if they only ever came in crumb form these days. I am happy to announce that I have found the answer to his query. Yes, Cach, you’ll finally be able to get some sleep, instead of pacing the room all night wondering about this. Yes, Virginia, they do still make whole Heath bars.

Heath bar

This particular specimen was found at a convenience store in Georgetown.

‘Course, now I have a Heath bar on my desk. I guess I’ll have to eat it. Honestly, the sacrifices I make.

I got Lucy a new bed yesterday, since she has refused to sleep on her cushion (which she used to love) since I washed it about a month ago. I was in Ikea yesterday looking for little tables, and saw a bin full of cheap, Lucy-sized dog beds. She took to it immediately. I’m kind of shocked. It usually takes her a few days at least to warm up to new things. But not this time!


She napped in it while I took my nap, then napped some more while I was working on the computer, slept in it (as far as I can tell) all night, and is napping in it again as I type now.

I heard back from the publishing company about my audition. They were pleased with my audio (something about the accents making the text come to life :D) and will be calling me within the next few days (all email so far), so fingers still crossed!

Mea culpa

Bleh, I’ve let the whole blog thing slide again.

OK, let’s see… highlights since the last post. Finished A Christmas Carol; as usual, it was fun getting to play with friends from previous shows and meeting new ones.

I’ve discovered that Lucy only gets along with humans that she meets with their dogs (at least, that’s my theory). Mum and Nathalie drove in from California to spend Christmas.Β  I had suggested to Mum that she bring Lassie to play with Lucy, but in the end she decided not to. They were here for ten days, and Lucy never really warmed up to either of them. But people like Crista and Eileen she goes crazy over. Mum was a bit miffed (especially when Crista came home halfway through their visit and Lucy went crazy greeting her). I don’t think she’d ever before met a dog that she couldn’t win over quickly. Maybe next time she’ll listen to me and bring Lassie. πŸ™‚

I made a sweater and a little hat for Tredessa’s Jaxon. I finally finished the sweater over Christmas holiday. I found a pattern for a sweater with a train on it, and changed the colours so that it would look a bit like the Hogwarts Express. It was my first attempt at intarsia colour work. I don’t think I’ll be trying it again very soon. The knitting itself wasn’t a problem, but weaving in all the fifty thousand ends I ended up with was a pain in the patootie. Still, it turned out quite nice.

Train Jumper for Jaxon

Train Jumper for Jaxon

I was contacted by a lady from a small publishing company called I Publish. A lot of what they do seems to be out of print classics, along with some new authors. She had heard some of my LibriVox recordings and wanted to know if I’d be interested in reading for them (for pay!). Naturally, I said yes, and she sent me a couple of chapters of Clara Vaughan by Richard D. Blackmore (better known for Lorna Doone) to record as an audition piece. She wanted them by the end of this month, and I sent them in last week. She emailed me that she’d received my files and would be listening to them over the weekend, so fingers crossed!

I have my dad here for a while. With the help of some of his friends in the DR and Andy and Auntie Ruth, we got him out of the DR (we sort of hijacked him, since he couldn’t make up his own mind). He’s been here a little over a week, and will be here till Andy gets a permanent situation settled for him over in the UK (much as I love him, hopefully soon).

Pandas and Trains

Panda Hat

I’ve started working on baby projects for T. I’ve already made a little panda hat. I still need to buy eyes for it, but otherwise it’s finished.

The other project is going to be a pullover with a train on it. I found a pattern, and I’m going to change up the colours to make it look like the Hogwarts Express. I had ordered the pattern a couple of weeks ago, but they had run out, and I had to wait for their new stock to come in. It finally arrived at the end of last week. Now I just need some yarn – I have some in my stash that I want to use, in red, black, white, and yellow, but I also need some grey, blue and green.

The melodrama goes up in less than two weeks. I’m not particularly excited at this point, but then, I hadn’t wanted to direct to begin with. I wanted to be nice and rested when auditions for Children of Eden came along. Ah, well. We do get to use the theatre space as of tonight, which is a week earlier than we’d expected, so that’s nice. Even though we don’t get to do any set building as yet (the Children’s Theatre are still officially in the space), at least the actors will get a feel for the dimensions and the acoustics.

I went downtown to watch the fireworks last Friday for the first time since coming to live in Waco. The closest I’d come to this before was hanging out with friends in one of the Baylor parking lots when I was an undergrad and setting off some of our own little ground based fireworks and then watching the big display from a distance. It was quite fun. I hung out with Beth and the 92.9 tent; and Eileen came and hung out with us too.

I’ve just started working on Anne of the Island for LibriVox. I had been working on Mr Hogarth’s Will and Angelina, but I just couldn’t get into them and I kept procrastinating and not doing any recording at all. I’ve turned Mr Hogarth’s Will into a collaborative, and started up Anne as my new English solo. I feel sort of guilty abandoning Hogarth, especially because no one has shown any interest in it in the nearly two weeks since I turned it collaborative. But I’ve also started recording more often now that I’m working on a project that interests me. If no one picks up any of the chapters, I’ll probably do one here and there just to keep it alive. Oh, and for the first time since, I think, my second project, someone beat Ans to signing up to PL one of my English solo projects!

I’m still working on Angelina too (more enthusiastically since I started Anne). Spanish is so under-represented in the catalog, that I feel it’s my duty to contribute as much as possible, both in solos and collaboratives. I’ve currently got three collaborative projects going – part 6 of Aesop’s Fables, Jose MartΓ­‘s La Edad de Oro, and I took over part 2 of Don Quijote from Gesine when she needed some time off. Angelina is only the third solo Spanish work in the catalog, and one of the other two is mine as well.

A surfeit of culture…

Tomorrow’s Evita at the Hippodrome, part of the season ticket package MB and I bought. I hope it’s a good production. Evita was my favourite musical growing up, I think, because it was the first professional production I saw (the second was Fiddler on the Roof, and I fell asleep during it. Don’t judge me! It was the tail end of a long day of school field trips and I was tired!). Next weekend BU and MCC both have productions going up, Bye Bye Birdie and Anything Goes respectively. We already have tickets to Bye Bye Birdie, and she also wants to go to Anything Goes. I don’t really know much about either of those two shows (although I’m familiar with some of the songs), but I think it’ll be fun. The weekend after that is the Producers, also part of the season ticket package at the Hippodrome. And then the following week are auditions for Nunsense at the WCT. Phew!

Starting off the year

Well, I survived the week in CA, but I was glad I was only there for a week. The place was hectic. Ten people and two dogs, and then the last couple of days, one additional person. Two people had colds when I arrived, and by the time I left, they’d traded them with two others – myself and my mother. So, I was glad I’d asked for the rest of last week off. It gave me time to get better before having to come back to work. With so many of us sick, it was interesting to see how each of us reacted to the same virus – one had really bad chest congestion; another had horrible post-nasal drip and cough; mine was all in the sinuses; mum’s had just started when I left, so I don’t know what hers was like.

I got a great new lap quilt from mum for Christmas. I’d told her how cold it gets in my office, so she made me one that folds up into a pillow to keep at work. I’d been a bit worried about the gift I got for Andy – a physics kit (like a chemistry set but with gears and wires and things), but apparently his parents found him playing with it when they went to bed Christmas Eve (an hour or so after he’d said he was going to sleep). πŸ™‚

MB and Sherry and I got to have a couple of SKVE meetings while Sherry was here for her holiday. We went to see P.S. I Love You one day and met for coffee another day. I’m not a great fan of Hillary Swank, but I enjoyed the movie ok. Sherry hadn’t heard anything about it before going, so she was disappointed that Gerard Butler dies; but then relieved that he comes back in flash-backs and hallucinations. She just likes to look at him. I made them each a short scarf with a slit in one end that you can tuck the other end into. MB opened hers while Sherry and I were waiting for our coffees, and we watched her trying to figure it out. She kept looking at the length of it, then opening the slit, then folding it back up. When she heard us giggling at her she asked me what it was, “It’s too short to be a scarf, and it has this opening thing only on one end…” Once she figured it out, she liked it. Sherry, having spent some time in a colder climate now, knew exactly what it was and how to use it. πŸ™‚

I’m off to my first programming conference this week. It’s a three day conference on XSLT. It’s the first conference I’ve gone to for Baylor. I need to do a bit of research on Austin (which is where it’s going to be), so I can visit stuff after hours.

I’ve started a new project on LibriVox to work on in conjunction with The Elusive Pimpernel. I started Anne of Avonlea last night. I had a sudden craving for some more Anne. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to get done on these two projects this coming month (while Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is in rehearsals), but I’ll always have weekends.

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