Monday, May 26, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have Pee Pee!

Warning -this post is all about toddlers and pee pee and underpants. This may be very boring for the non-toddler mom and non-grandparent segment of readers.

So for a few months I have been starting the agonizing over-analyzing of the right of passage known as potty training. We have had a little stand alone potty for a year or so and for a few months we have also had a small potty topper for the big commode, all in preparation for the potty training to come. From time to time we ask if Jackson wants to sit on the potty and which potty he would like to sit on. And he has occasionally sat on one or the other for about 2.5 seconds with no attempts to actually potty in them going on.

But since he can't go back to pre-school in September in diapers because he will be in the 3's and 4's class. And since I am thinking of signing him up for a kinderdance camp this summer and they surely don't change diapers there, Jackson boy needs to be potty trained this summer. It is that time. And he has shown much more interest and more signs of readiness in the last few weeks. He wants to be changed immediately when he is dirty and often when he is wet. And when he sits on the potty, I feel like he is really trying to go. He says "it isn't coming." So I think he really wants to do it, he just hasn't quite got the motor control down yet. there.

But last night after his bath he wanted to run around naked as a jaybird and we couldn't coax him into his clothes for half an hour. And as he stood naked dancing in the living room I happened to catch him beginning to pee. I said, "Uh huh, Jackson. No peeing on the carpet." And miraculously, he stopped midstream, having only peed a little bit. So I said, "Come on, let's got to the potty, quick!" We ran down the hall and he sat down naked on his little potty and said once again "It isn't coming, mommy." So I turned on the faucet in the sink so he could hear the water and he peed in the potty for the first time ever! And he was so excited and he got lots of praise and since we read the potty book all the time he knew that now he got to pour it into the big potty and flush it like a big boy! Yay!

Today I keep asking if he wants to go pee pee on the potty and he tried once this morning, but couldn't go. But this afternoon, he peed again and was so excited. So am I.

And a little relieved (uh, no pun intended)since he will turn 3 in July and 3 seems to be the 'your kid can't do fun things if he is still in diapers' cut off age. Course my pedi says even 3 1/2 isn't unusual or worrisome for boys to potty train. But I sure am tired of changing diapers and I don't want him to be left out of the 1/2 day camps this summer because of it. I have been a little worried that because he is so small, his motor control is going to make him unable to go and not go when he wants to. And I don't think he will be able to pull up and down his own pants for a while. Some schools require that at 3 they not only be potty trained, but be able to do it all themselves. Jackson is only just now 26 pounds. He is so tiny, I worry about that. But we can work on it and see if his size affects his motor control as much as I worry it will.

Today we went to Target and bought some underpants for the boy. Which was harder than it should have been. We were at Kohl's first and they didn't have any in toddler sizes. They had tons starting at 4T. And even target didn't have much to choose from. Seems that people do the "Pull Up" diaper thing now so much that there isn't much call for toddler underpants. And when people do put underpants on a 3 year old, they are probably not a 26 pound 3 year old like mine so they can use the 4T from the boy section. And I couldn't find any actual training underpants - the old-style cotton padded crotch kind. I guess those are rare in the "Pull up" world now too. My sister handed me down 4 or five pairs of them. Not sure if I will need more. But I guess a trip to Babies R Us will be in order if it turns out we like them and want more. I bet they will have some. But we did get some Sesame Street underpants and Cars underpants. So we shall see what Mr. Jackson thinks about underpants vs. diapers. I hope he loves them and never wants to wear a diaper again.

I am optimistic that potty training will not be as hard as I have heard about. I have not pushed it thus far because all I have read indicates that starting too early does not often equal an early-trained kiddo. They say that if your kid isn't ready, you will spend months of hard work and not be done any sooner than if you simply waited. Meaning you will probably be done at the child's pace whether you start early or not. So I am trying not to stress about it. Course now I feel a clock is ticking somewhere. September is not that far away.

I am also grateful that I so far have not had any competitive, negative experiences with other moms. I read a fellow toddler mom's blog (Hi Julie) and she recently was called out by a mom at a play group for not having her barely 2 year old daughter potty trained. She didn't beat the woman about the head, surprisingly. She handled it with class. But I am grateful that I haven't met that woman or any like her. I might not have been so nice. Especially since I have barely begun training my almost 3 year old and I so do not believe in the soccer mom competitive bullshit. Julie's Stella is fine just the way she is and it is wonderful that this other lady has a daughter that was ready to potty train really early. Doesn't mean shit in the broad scheme of things (pun intended).

In conclusion: Yay Jackson for starting to potty train! Yay Julie and Stella for going at their own pace and not punching the snotty lady at the park.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Amateur Night at the Palace

Friday night's show was a disaster to be remembered. Truly one for the record books. It was like a cosmic force of suck descended over the theatre and could not be lifted. First and most importantly, the air conditioner was out in the auditorium. It had been left to run after Thursday night's pick-up rehearsal and was frozen solid. And no one noticed till 6:45 pm when there was nothing we could do about it. I kick myself, since I worked in the office on Friday during the day and didn't notice that the auditorium was a stifling inferno. The unit for the lobby was fine and in our defense, we don't let the air run in the theatre when no one is working in there. Even if I did notice it was warm in there, I would have assumed the air was off, not broken. So we roasted. We roasted on stage, the band roasted on their backstage perch and the poor audience of 250 roasted in the slow-cooker.

As if that wasn't enough, pretty much immediately upon starting the show, the monitors stopped working. These are the monitors that allow the actors to hear the band and vice versa. So they couldn't hear us and we couldn't hear them. And no amount of poking and prodding, wishing and hoping, would get the monitors back online. They were out for the count. We did the whole show the best we could, often not quite in time with the music.

And weird things kept happening during the show. Not acting things - tech things. Set pieces blown over by the wind in the alley, batons getting stuck together and not raising as they should. This one was big. There is a big black curtain down during the scene when the aggie boys are in their locker room singing and dancing about their impending visit to the whorehouse. Mid song this drop is raised and the set changed to the whorehouse behind them. At the end of the song they 'arrive' at the chicken ranch. So when the curtain got stuck on the facade of the house and no amount of pushing and pulling would get it unstuck, Ron had to raise both the black curtain and the facade. In the meantime, the song ended and the boys were supposed to be there, except the black was still down and no whorehouse awaited them. But they were great, ad-libbing lines, hooting and hollering "We're goin to the whorehouse!" "Where is it?" "We gonna be there soon?"

So finally the curtain is up and the girls all rush in for the 'prom' scene already in progress musically because the band has no idea what is going on. We sort of make it in time for the dance part and get on with the scene. Problem is that the facade of the house, which is supposed to be there when we take the boys up to our rooms, is not there. So there are no windows with shades to close. We still have to go upstairs, but instead of taking a breather and getting a drink of water in the privacy of the room, we are exposed to the audience. So we all go up and get in a 'whorish' pose with our guy and freeze. For at least 3 minutes. While dialogue goes on downstairs and the Melvin P Thorpe crew comes in to raid the chicken ranch. Doesn't sound like a long time to anyone who has never had to freeze on stage. It seemed an eternity.

We managed to pull it off and finish the show. We lost people at intermission. I don't blame them for leaving. The theatre was like an oven, the sound was crap and we were pretty low energy due to the heat. Not up to the Palace standards at all.

But really, we can be proud that as a cast, we didn't miss a step. It was not a good show, but it wasn't line flubs, missed entrances or forgotten lyrics. We actually got a standing ovation. I think the remaining audience knew that the problems were out of our control. And I heard it said several times from audience members that we gave a good performance and they were impressed with how we managed it. Mary Ellen, the director, was grinning from ear to ear by the end of it. She told me that despite the crap, she was so proud of the cast that she couldn't help smiling.

After the Friday from hell, I just knew that Saturday night's show would be the best yet. And it was. The AC was back in working condition and they had a sound guy come in the afternoon to get all the monitors and mic's functioning. We did a 40 minute sound check before the show to get the best possible mix we could. It really sounded great. Downside was that we opened the house for seating 15 minutes late and I was afraid we were going to piss people off from the get go and that could ruin the this-show-must-rock mojo.

It didn't. We had an amazing show. The sound was awesome, the actors excited and full of energy and the audience wonderfully responsive. They clapped along with the aggie dance, hooted and hollered a lot and generally had a great time. It was a blast. And it was so nice to remember how much fun it is to be on stage when the audience is right there with you and you're in your groove. I actually teared up a little bit on stage when I was up in my room and the black curtain came up perfectly on time and the boys were dancing so well and the audience was clapping and I stood in my window as Angel and took it all in.

We are closed in the office on Monday for the holiday. We shall see on Tuesday how many requests for refunds and angry emails we get from Friday's debacle. But I am just so glad that we gave Saturday's crowd their money's worth. Yippee!

BTW, anyone wanting to come see the show, we have three more weekends. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 2:00. Get tickets now, though, we are selling like crazy! Click here to go to the Palace site to buy tickets online or call 512-869-7469.

Heh, if anyone wants to come, that is, after my description of our glorious Friday night. But really, that was such a cosmic fluke, it can't happen again, right? *furiously knocking on wood*

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Okay, okay, here is a new post!

After finding myself under assault from friends and family about my break from blogging, I figured I had better update.

WE opened The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas on Friday to a near-capacity audience. We had rehearsed like fiends since you last heard from me and were terrified that the show wasn't ready. And it wasn't. But I am not sure that a few more rehearsals would have helped because we were all so tired and burned out on it that we would probably have stumbled through without much improvement. Instead the curtain went up and we expected the worst. And then a miraculous thing happened. The audience started laughing and responding and it was clear they were there to have a good time and didn't care if the set changes were a bit too long or that we weren't always perfectly with the band. And when they started laughing we remembered that the show is actually funny. We were so burned out that we lost any feel for the jokes and the fun, but the opening night crowd reminded us what we are doing up there and we began to have fun too. Any little bobbles we had were taken in stride; we just kept going. And it was a great show - not great as in perfect, without a hitch - great as in full of fun and energy and invigorating. The boys in the show had worked so hard on their big dance number and the audience loved them and clapped along to the music. It was so much fun. I am so glad to be back up there right in the thick of it.

Saturday and Sunday were good as well, with full houses and lots of laughs. Heh, during a quick change on Saturday, our Narrator, Kris, accidentally left his fly unzipped. It was really noticeable, enough that an audience member noticed and pointed at it. Kris, then worked the zip-up into the song he was singing and the audience loved it. IT worked out so perfectly, implying that the narrator had been 'visiting' the chicken ranch. It worked so well that he did it on purpose Sunday and got the same response. It is the little things, sometimes, that make a show. And it is the sign of a true actor when you can leave the barn door open and make it work for you. Yay, Kris!

The reviewer was there on Friday. He got a good show, but of course the tech could have been better. He might ping us on that. Scene changes were a bit too long, etc. But hopefully he will talk about the good stuff. We shall see how many Poppy's we get on the illustrious Red Poppy scale. 5 is good 1 is bad. We have never gotten less than 3. Not sure if anyone has - they are really nice over there at the Sun. I'll let you know.

I had an appt with my oncologist yesterday. My labs look good and I passed the physical exam again. My WBC was a 3.8 - normal is 4.0 to 11.0. But Dr. George says that is fine for me. We will schedule another Pet and CT scan for June. That will mark 6 months since I finished chemo. I asked about babies. I want to have another baby. Now. Not in a few years. Now. He says it is up to me. My cancer isn't hormone related, so I can't necessarily make it worse by getting pregnant. I can't get a PET scan while pregnant and a CT is risky also. He says that we can do a few chest x-rays and shield the baby and that should be fine to monitor me while pregnant. He also seems to think that is the cancer comes back, we will know it without a PET scan. It will show up in my bloodwork and physical and he doesn't think it would sneak up and be missed. That is a relief. I am thinking that if this June scan is stable and the next one in October is also clean than I will just get off the pill and see if we can't make us another baby.

Dr. George brought up the thought that a lot of cancer patients want to wait a while to see that they have really licked the cancer before having a child because they don't want to have a child they may not be here to raise. But the way I see it, there is no guarantee that the cancer won't come back even if I am clear for ten years. And furthermore, there is no guarantee I won't be hit by a bus tomorrow. I already have a child and a cancer diagnosis. I don't want him to be alone in the world when his parents are gone. I want him to have a sibling and I don't want him to get too much older before we give him one. Yeah, I know I could die of cancer in a year. Or maybe it will never come back. I just can't make that my basis for deciding on another baby.

While I was in the doc's office, Tonya watched Jackson in the lobby and he had a grand old time watching the fish in the huge aquarium. He loves them and talked all about them. Except to his father. I tried to get him to tell Daddy about the fish. We were eating dinner and I said, "Jackson, tell your daddy about the fish you saw today." He said "Fish." David tried to get him to elaborate, "Where were the fish that you saw?" Jackson said, "In the water." That was pretty much the end of trying to include daddy in the fish adventure. He just wasn't going to share anymore fish stories.

I am taking off work tomorrow and Thursday to go to my sister's in Kingwood with my mom. We are going to see Elizabeth Edwards speak in Houston Wed night. According to the web:

Elizabeth Edwards, a breast cancer survivor, talks openly about overcoming life obstacles in a nonpolitical event. Wife of former Presidential hopeful John Edwards, she is the author of Saving Graces. She’s an accomplished attorney, law school professor, and a passionate advocate for children.

Not sure what she will talk about, but it seems like it will be an interesting event. And a nice little road trip with my Mom and Jackson.

I need to do some laundry tonight to make sure my show costume stuff - tights, undies, and other unmentionables - are clean for Friday night. I also am going to wash my wig.

I am wearing my cancer wig in the show as Angel. I love my wig. I love the color and body and cut of it. I put it on and look in the mirror and think, "Oh, there you are." I identify with its femininity in a way I don't identify with my butch do. I am enjoying wearing it in the show. It makes me feel sexy and I can't tell you how important it is to my ability to act sexy. I feel less self-conscious and more vivacious and simply prettier in it. And since I have worn it in the heat and sweat-fest of tech week and opening weekend, it is in dire need of some TLC. When I first got the wig, I babied it so much. I could not have imagined the future of me having to leave it lying on the floor backstage - on top of my shoes- waiting for the next quick change. I would have been horrified to imagine the dust and sweat and other yuck it has been in contact with for the show. But it is holding up well - unlike the cheap, ugly, black wig I wear as a Dogette. After a week of (mis)use in the show, all of them are looking pretty rough. They have to come on and go off very quickly so they end up in a pile with each girl's costume backstage. I don't think they can be washed and fixed. They are $20 wigs meant for Halloween costuming. Luckily they aren't supposed to be pretty.

So tonight is laundry and wig-washing night. And then in the morning I head south to Houston area. See you tomorrow, Jen!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The show and nothing but the show

I have spent about 22 hours at the theatre rehearsing since Friday. Needless to say I am tired and have no time to pee and eat, much less blog. We are getting there, the band sounds great and the costumes look good. We still have some work to do to get this show open. But we have Three more full tech/dress rehearsals to work it out. It is going to be tough, but I am starting to feel like we are going to have a good show.

I bought dance tights to wear under all my lingerie to cover my white and interestingly bruised legs. The elastic waistband sucks ass though and is so tight it cuts into my body and makes things bulge unattractively. But we have a couple of "real" dancers in the show and they both gave me tips. One told me to cut the elastic band in spots all the way around to make it looser. That helped, plus I pull it up to just under my bustline and it smooths my line rather than ruin it. The other tip is a stroke of genius. I have the best shoes for my outfits, but they are open toed slides, both of them. Impossible to keep on my feet onstage when running and/or dancing and coming up and down the staircase to the rooms upstairs. The dance tights just made them slip around even worse. Jessee the dance captain told me to sew a piece of elastic in together at the ends and slip it over the shoe and my foot. So I used the two pieces of flesh-colored elastic left over from when I bought my ballet slippers. It works amazingly well! So I get to wear the impossible, but gorgeous shoes in the show and I can even dance a little in them! Yay for dancers who share their knowledge with others. Thanks Sabrina and Jessee!

My mom is picking Jackson up from school tomorrow and keeping him a few days while David and both have rehearsals. David is directing the next show up at the Palace and needs to get started on blocking. So I get to sleep in Wed and Thurs mornings at least. I will miss Jackson, he is such a good boy lately.

Except the whole throwing up thing. Saturday, he spend the day with his Dad and grandparents. It was hot, he ate lots of junk, didn't drink enough or ate something bad - we aren't sure what the cause was. But I go home at midnight after a very long day and looked in on him before going to my room. He was sleeping peacefully enough, but I thought "he's sick." Not sure what made me think that, but i remember just knowing he was sick. But I went to bed anyway and when I was just about asleep, I heard him coughing. The kind of cough that for Jackson, always proceeds him throwing up. So I jumped up and ran into his room. But I wasn't fast enough. He upchucked all over his pillow and bed and arms and shirt. Just everywhere. So David and I spent the next hour cleaning up and making sure he was done. I was so far past exhausted at that point I just had to laugh. But luckily it was a one-time thing and I slept like the dead until 10:30 Sunday morning. David let me sleep in, wonderful guy that he is.

He also gave me a gorgeous pair of earrings and a heart pendant 'from Jackson' for Mother's day. I love my boys.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fingernails and Ice Cream and Mullets

Instead of updating and talking about the insane amount of time I am spending at the theatre working on the show, I thought I would come up with something else to talk about.

Like my new fingernails that are making it really tough to type. I broke down and got some really nice falsies. I am desperate to once again stop biting my nails down to nubs and I figured this was worth a shot. The new nails look nice and are really strong. They don't look as nice as when I grow my own nails out; they have that slightly fakey quality that fake nails have. But they are a hell of a lot better than the chewed look I have been sporting since Jackson was born.

Speaking of the small boy, he has developed a new sleeping arrangement. He gets out of his bed in the middle of the night and comes to our room. He climbs up the hope chest at the foot of our bed and flops down near our feet on top of the blanket, like a dog, and goes to sleep. I barely notice, but David can't sleep with the boy all curled up in his foot space. It seems somehow wrong to let your child sleep at the foot of your bed like a pet. So we are trying to discourage the practice, but so far, no luck.

I am going to appear on stage wearing little clothing in under two weeks, but still, David, Jackson and I took a well-deserved family Dairy Queen outing after dinner tonight. Jackson asked me to ride in the backseat with him and we talked about ice cream and what kind we wanted the whole ride. He also asked me if I loved him several times, a habit he picked up from his father. Such a simple thing, a trip to Dairy Queen, but something to treasure none-the-less.

My hair is about an inch from officially being a mullet. Not sure what to do about that. Get a trim, I suppose. Because I can't walk around with a mullet. My ego would run screaming off a cliff if I let that happen.

I don't have all that much to talk about, it seems, without blogging incessantly about the show and how it is and isn't going. So I will stop now and pay attention to my cat.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Is this show gonna get there?

Just a quick blog to say that I am really busy working on the show. Rehearsing 3 hours each night and 7 hours yesterday. My singing voice has been non-existent. Truly, I open my mouth to sing and no sound comes out. But it is getting a little better every day. I have not been even trying to sing during rehearsals. And it hasn't been necessary since we are mainly trying to get the scenes and dances set on the stage. I am terrified about how much remains to be done and how much work it needs. But the others in the cast who do lots of Palace musicals are not worried. I am used to plays that are blocked and off book and nearly ready to go two weeks out. Musicals are different, at least at this theatre. But with everyone knowing what is on the line, they generally come together by opening night. We get costumes Saturday next week and hopefully the band will join us and we can set the music and be ready to go by May 16th.

In other news, Jackson saw me get out the box of blueberry muffin mix yesterday morning and said, "Blueberry muffins? Mama, I love you."