Monday, September 21, 2009

observations. or, Stefani Bitches About Stuff.

Just once, I'd like someone to come into the store where I work, looking to buy a big, honking piece of furniture, and - after paying for it- pull up to the front in their nice big, wide open cargo van.  I am done trying to cram media stands and dining room tables into MiniCoopers and VW Bugs while the customer stands by and watches, commenting " oh, maybe if you turn it around... no? ... ok, maybe the front seat?"  Done.

Is everyone nicer to nuns and priests and rabbis and the such no matter what your particular religious flavor is?

There are some people out there who just shouldn't be allowed out without supervision.  Or anti-psychotic drugs.
Example A:  today in Whole Foods - a sixty-something (at least) woman wearing daisyduke denim shorts and a tank top (no bra), with eighties-tastic eye makeup on and crooked pigtails in her hair wandering around frantically (yes, it was a frantic wandering) occasionally bending down to pick things up (loose change? a fallen pen? dead bugs? her marbles?).

That's my only example today, but I might just start keeping track everywhere I go.  Maybe if I vent here about it, I'll feel less inclined to punch people.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

when it rains it pours

I know I shouldn't complain.  And, really, I'm not complaining per se - I'm just commenting on how in the life of a freelancer, there is no even ground.  At least based on my experience in the theatre business.  It seems as if EVERYONE and their mom needs help at the same time.  Sometimes their cousins, too.  But then, when I have some free time looming ahead, there's nothing to be had!  I should cherish being wanted.  And I should cherish the free time when I can get it.  But boy is it hard to turn down work, even if it means I won't sleep for a few days and the only time I'll have to eat will be in my car on 95, especially knowing that in a few weeks I'll be living lean again.

9 (no spoilers, I promise!)

Ok, maybe not review so much as visceral gut reaction. Jake and I went to see 9 over the weekend with our friend Ann. The two of them were practically giddy about getting to see this computer animated flick, but I had hardly heard anything about it. I knew it was wee burlap critters. Slightly creepy wee burlap critters. I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.

As the movie started, I was immediately taken into it, but in a way that I couldn't react to what was going on. I was speechless, slack-jawed, staring intently at the screen and listening with every part of me. And I can't explain why. There is no specific thing that I can point out or tell you about that hit me with such strength. I am not even sure if I liked the film.

I compared it, in it's impact on me, to Pan's Labyrinth, a film that I also saw in the theater; a film that also made me weep uncontrollably. Leaving the theater after Pan's Labyrinth, I was asked if I liked the movie, and my immediate response was tears. Angry, sad tears. For three hours. My reaction to 9 was more immediate and in the moment - the last few scenes of the film had me weeping, but for reasons I couldn't vocalize. I was able to compose myself while leaving the theater, but with a feeling of complete catharsis and calm.

We discussed the movie on our drive to Ikea (another blog post for another day) but I'm still not sure I entirely understood it, or even liked it. I'll have to give it another shot. It's definitely something I could recommend to others, if even for psychological curiosity I have to find out other people's reactions to it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She Lives!

Boy, am I a slacker. More than four months since I've posted.... I obviously have follow-through issues. What has happened since May.... let me see.... where to start.....

Well, I survived my eighth (yes eighth) summer with PSF, and returned gleefully (manically?) to our apartment the first week of August. It was one hell of a summer. I won't bore you all with the gory details, but survival is definitely the word to use.

After PSF, I entered for the first official time the world of Unemployment. I have had dry spells of no work before, but never when I had such things as Rent and Utility Bills and Health Insurance to deal with. I use capital letters because these things are important and ominous enough to warrant them. So I filled out my application, waited my mandatory week and have been filing dutifully every other week for about a month now. Some work has come my way - I am back part time at the Pier1, and have pretty solid theatre work lined up through the end of November, with potential for the rest of the season. So I'm definitely less worried than I was a few weeks ago (read: no longer weeping at any mention of needing to go grocery shopping or putting gas in the car or feeding the cat)

Now, you would think that since I am obviously a responsible adult that I would have a plan in place for just such an occurrence, especially since I work in such an unpredictable business. Did I? No. Not at all. Not in the least. I had enough money squirreled away to pay September's Rent and unless something miraculous happened, I would be down to about $2. And I was for a while, because nothing miraculous happened. I couldn't even afford a decent lottery ticket to try to fool myself with.

It's all fine now, work has started up again, unemployment payments have been enough to keep the late fees at bay, and I've only slightly run up my credit card bill (with full intention of making big fat payments as soon as the paychecks start happening regularly)

Plus, with all the free time I've had, I've turned into a total domestic goddess - watching FoodNetwork all day and trying to experiment (on the cheap) with the recipes for dinner. Jake says everything I've made has been fantastic (I think he's biased) and I haven't burned the place down yet!

Fall is starting to get pretty busy for both of us (Jake left Bristol and got a new job at Act2 Playhouse in Ambler... did I mention that?) but hopefully I'll be able to keep everyone up on the goings on.... including 3 weddings in 3 weeks this November. Oh yes, hilarity (or psychosis) will ensue.......

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thanks, PSF!

This blog comes to you fresh from room 216 at the Holiday Inn Express Bethlehem!

No, Jake did not kick me out.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival has wooed me into it's clutches for the 8th summer running. Now, those of you familiar with the workings of good old PSF are quite possibly shaking your heads at me. For those of you who don't know, the Festival tends to be a very intense summer.

This summer has started out pretty well so far.... except for the Technical Director having to leave for a week to ten days due to a death in the family....... and the outdoor stage taking over twice as long to install as planned..... and one of the designers being on vacation in Ireland for the first week of the build of 2 of his 3 shows......

No, really... it's all cool. We got this.... right?

For me, personally, I am having some serious anxiety about this being the first time I will see a show through from beginning to end in quite some time. I'm nervous about budgeting my time and resources properly. Since I've been freelancing this season, I've been jumping into the middle of shows and projects, and I've not been the one dealing with budgets or schedules or planning for anything really. This is really going to be an adventure.

In spite of these bumps in the road, most signs point to a good summer. The attitudes this summer seem to be generally more positive than in past seasons. We also seem much more prepared and willing to communicate about everything that needs to be communicated about!

Updates from the Festival will continue (as long as I can still find the time to do it!)

Living away from Jake feels kind of weird at this point. We have only lived together in the new apartment for about three months before I started last week, but we had settled pretty easily into life together. It's tough to be apart, but we'll see each other as often as we can (hopefully almost every weekend) and I told Jake that when I move back home in August it will be so exciting and just like when we first moved in together. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? We'll just run up our cell bills and send all sorts of schmoopy emails.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Arrival (and the Weeks that Followed)

We're here! Things have been crazy and internet connections have been long in coming, but we are definitely here! The move went PHENOMENALLY well thanks to our collective slew of awesome friends (to whom we also owe thanks for a good portion of our "new" furniture)! Moving day (jan 31) was cold, but sunny and full of good cheer, junk food, and beer.

Unpacking has been a little slow, mostly due to Jake being in tech rehearsals the week we moved and me lining up a ton of work in the weeks following. We have the kitchen pretty much under control at this point, minus a trash can, because, honestly, we are being picky. And by "we", I mean Jake. Well, mostly. Eventually, we'll either find THE trash can or suck it up and buy anything that will keep garbage off my floor. Feel free to take bets on which will come first.....

The bedroom is almost done, except for the need for a little bit of storage organization in the closet (i'd really love to be able to close the closet doors..... but we have a TON of clothing between us....) The bed (donated by Duffy and John, and thankfully delivered by John) is fabulously comfortable - even Zelda approves. Sometimes I find her curled up under the comforter even when we aren't in bed. I got flannel sheets for it, and with the addition of one of our down comforters, it is heaven! I also bought what i think is the coolest dresser ever from a local thrift shop. It's gigungous and takes up half the bedroom, but it holds a lot of stuff and has what seems to be the little brother of the Mirror to the Underworld that we got so familiar with at 709. Plus, it only cost me $35. And the bruise i got on my leg trying to haul it up to the apartment with my dad. in the snow.

The living room has been rearranged at least twice now. We are finally happy with the new layout and have grand plans for some of the open space. The papasan chair has definitely proved optimal for video gaming, and I have discovered that the futon (provided lovingly by Jesse and Nikki) is perfect for falling asleep on right after dinner. (we eat dinner late sometimes... don't judge!)

The studio/office (from here on out to be known as "stufice" for simplicity's sake) is another story all together.... This past weekend we decided to set up Jake's desk in anticipation of internet hookup, and that's where it ends. I don't have a desk yet, and, while I bought the wee rug i plan on putting under my easel, it sits in the middle of the room where I used it as a drop cloth for a foamcore caboose I made for Missy. (I love my work!) Hopefully over the next few weeks (after I get some bills paid...) I will be able to resume my hunt for a desk and we can finish the set-up of the stufice.

I swear I will work on getting pictures, but I can't get my computer going on the internet until we knock some sense into our wireless router, and I'd rather show off the place in a more finished state!

living together is proving to be fantastic :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

T minus ..... not lots of time!

Jake found a car!! Last weekend, we went to Pacifico Ford in South Philly to look at a sporty little Toyota Celica. Jake test drove it, got all the loan information started, and, after sending him home with the car for the weekend so the dealership could talk to more banks, he got a call on Monday with loan terms really close to what he had asked for! So, then, after much back and forth with a few insurance companies, we got a great deal from my insurance company and drove back to South Philly for Jake to sign the papers and write the first check! It was all very exciting (and just a little bit stressful) but it's all settled now! We will probably also get Renter's Insurance through the same company, which will allow us another discount since we now have both of us and the cars on the same policy now. But now we are both feeling very relieved about this whole move. Now we just have to get us and all of our stuff to the new place.

Which brings us to The Move. The plan as of right now is to start in Bristol at 9 am and get most (if not all) of Jake's stuff moved in first. Except for Zelda. She'll hang out at the house until the end of the day, and when Jake returns the van to the theatre and picks up Cecilia (his Celica... get it?) he'll pick up Zelda, too. We didn't want her to have to deal with being in the new place with all the commotion and comings and goings. It will be easier for her to explore her new home with us there to hopefully put her at ease a little bit.

After getting most of Jake's stuff dealt with, we move on to my parents' house. Which is currently filled with boxes full of what I am convinced is way too much stuff for one person, but I might just be crazy. I've never really "officially" moved before. I've always left stuff at my parents' house, so I've never really seen everything I own in boxes all at once. That might be what is looking like so much to me. We shall see.

More as we get closer!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


this is really scary. jumping in to having all of this financial responsibility. i'm usually very good with paying all of my bills on time, but i'm being a little paranoid about being able to make rent.

this could very well just be this season's SAD kicking in a little late - i've been feeling a lot better this winter than many in the past, but i've been slacking a bit about taking all of my vitamins and really taking care of myself, and i think it's catching up with me.

but, anyway, i'm worried. i'm worried i won't be able to get enough work. i'm worried i won't be able to keep affording health insurance. i'm worried something will go horribly (expensively) wrong with my car. i'm just worrying. and trying desperately not to. but it's still happening. and i know it's mosly irrational.

the first few months will be a little tight, monetarily, at least while we both try to figure out where we can and can't spend. it will all be ok. i have work booked for at least a few weeks out of every month up until the summer, i just have to keep my eyes and ears open to fill in the slow times. so let me know if anyone hears of any craft fairs or theatres in desperate need of a painter/props person/sassypants. i can do it all...

it will all be ok. we can do this together, i know we can.

it's still a little scary.

if i had a million dollars..... this would be a hell of a lot easier.

Now that we have the apartment (well, almost - we sign the lease this weekend, which makes it for real, for real), we have one more big step in making the transition to living in sin. Jake needs a car. otherwise, his commute from Jenkintown to Bristol is impossible. we are looking, searching, digging, and having a lot of trouble. so, if you see a car sitting around, looking forlorn, just waiting for a new owner who will love it and care for it and drive it into the ground, call me. or jake. or just grab it and show up at our door.

that's all i got.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


so, the place i mentioned before, that i wasn't going to get excited about until Jake saw it - yeah, that one... WE GOT IT!!!!! i am so freaking excited to have a place of our own! We move February 1st, and i can't wait. in the mean time, we are on a mad hunt for a set of wheels for the boy, and trying to figure out what we have, furniture-wise, between us and what we still need. packing and unpacking ought to be interesting, but here we go, on a fantastic new adventure!!!


more details after we've settled in, and probably a whole slew of pictures on the facebook!

Friday, January 2, 2009


so, we took some time off from dwelling-searching over christmas just so we didn't make ourselves crazy. (ok, crazier. shut up) tonight i went to check out another 2br in rockledge, and i think it's worth a second look, so i'll bring the boy along next week to take a closer look. my biggest qualm about it is the small kitchen, but otherwise, it looks pretty promising.

but i will say no more until i get Jake's opinions on the matter.

In other news, I went out for New Year's Eve for the first time since college. And had the time of my life, in spite of the inevitable hangover the next day. we drank Wild Monkey Pirate Punch (or some such) and stayed up too late in our pajamas and lazed around all the next day eating all the leftovers from the party and watching mummer floats run over unsuspecting drunks.

it was great.