Senior Moments

In honor of the new school year, think back to your senior year of high school, and answer these questions accordingly:

1. Who was your best friend? Beth Wetheral and Kelley Birney

2. Did you play any sports? not senior year — too busy with theatre

3. What kind of car did you drive? Red and white 1984 Dodge Ram 4×4 Pickup with a tree guard on the front and steel bumper on the back, and rust spots over the wheel wells. Stickshift, and difficult to drive. I LOVED that truck.

4. It’s Friday night. Where were you? At a movie or babysitting.

5. Were you a party animal? Not at all.

6. Were you considered a flirt? Yes, but not at school. Nobody at school I wanted to flirt with.

7. Were you in the band, orchestra or choir? Not senior year. The choir director was incompetent and picked people that sucked up to him to be featured, rather than people that could really sing. I still had perfect pitch (before jaw surgery damaged my ear canals), so I couldn’t take it anymore and I quit after junior year. No regrets, either. I did musical theatre, though.

8. Were you a nerd? I prefer the word “geek.”

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled? No.

10. Can you sing the fight song? Of what? Of Randolph? Do we have a fight song? We didn’t have a football team at the time.

11. Who was your favorite teacher? Dewey Farmer, who was my physics teacher first semester until he was asked to leave because he wouldn’t follow the rules set forth by the administration (he asked us to call him “Dewey” and refused to wear a tie, and those were just the rules we knew about…). He was an awesome teacher, and it was a shame that he didn’t get to finish the year. I was ACING physics — and understanding it — because he was so damned excited about it.

12. What was your school mascot? The Raider.

13. Did you go to the Prom? Yes, but my date (a friend from church, since my boyfriend and I had broken up about a month before… he was off at college and we didn’t have much in common anymore)… Anyway… At 8:30pm on prom night my date went home with a migraine. The night ended up being fun anyway but it was still a bummer. My best proms (3 of them and one college formal) were the year before.

14. If you could go back, would you? Hell, no. As far as I’m concerned, high school was something to endure to get me old enough to go to college.

15. What do you remember most about graduation? Taunting a dropout girl in the neighborhood by calling out my window, “Guess where I’m going” as I drove by. I didn’t intend for it to come off that way, but it has bothered me ever since. Don’t remember the rest of the day, though, other than the fact that I made my graduation dress. And my baccalaureate dress, which I wore to my sorority pledge formal the next year.

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day? Ditto Landing, but it was sanctioned by the school — not rebellious.

17. Did you have a job your senior year? For the first few months until rehearsals got too demanding for Christmas Carol, I worked at The Mill Bakery & Eatery across from the hospital (where Starbucks is now).

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? Probably home or to physical therapy (I had tendinitis in my left elbow and lost the use of my hand for several months).

19. Have you gained weight since then? Yes, but I needed to. I was the same height I am now and I weighed about 45 pounds less than I do now. I looked like a bobblehead.

20. What did you do after high school? Went to Duke.

Two Hundred Thousand Nickels

That’s what I need to save.

I went to the AQS (American Quilter’s Society) show in Nashville today, and wandered around from 9am until about 4pm, wide-eyed and inspired by everything there. Absolutely WOW.

As we were about to leave, I went and played on a long-arm quilting machine again. I’ve driven lots of machines at shows (pretty much every time I walk by a vendor, if there’s a machine open I jump on it and try it out. Never asking for help, either — I don’t want a sales pitch; I just want to TRY it). But today I drove a Gammill and OHMYGOSH it was WORLDS different than any other machine I’ve driven before. I can’t really explain it, but wow. Just… wow.

Elaine drives a Gammill

And this wasn’t even the one with the stitch regulator, and it STILL brought joy to my soul. Yummy.

They have “quilts” on the frames for people to play on at these shows, and there wasn’t much space for me to work in left under all the scribbles (it was the end of the show, of course), so I did the best I could…

Elaine wants a Gammill

So. I have no idea where I’d PUT this thing… I suppose we could sleep under it… The woman I was talking to got all excited when she saw me write in cursive backwards (ah, the tricks of the left-handed… I’m accustomed to looking at the world backwards so writing that way isn’t an issue)… “You could make a good living doing this” was what she said to me.

Elaine in Reverse

I guess for the next few years I’ll just covet these things at quilt shows, and maybe one day I’ll figure out where I could PUT it and get one… If you wanna make a donation, feel free to email me. HA! *sigh*….


Helen and Alice on the front porch

Helen started Kindergarten on August 8. I parked the car and Alice and I walked Helen into school.

Holding Hands

There were no tears, though she told me that she “might cry.” When it came time for me and Alice to leave, Helen was completely distracted by her teacher. So far, so good.

Alice asks all day long if it’s time to go get Helen yet. But the wonderful thing? I’m really getting to enjoy Solo-Alice. She’s not as …. industrious.

And Helen has gotten “green lights” in her take home folder every day so far. 🙂

Seven Years.

I have not (intentionally) been onstage in seven years. I say intentionally, because I pinch-hit for one of my actors when he hurt his back tech night of Just-So Stories in 2001. I’ve also played the clown that introduces the show for the children’s theatre, but I don’t really count that either. It’s just warming up the audience, and requires no real preparation aside from the makeup and training a little kid sidekick.

My last show was Grace and Glorie, for Renaissance Theatre, in September of 2000 (Jeff, if you’re reading this, I still need some pictures from that show. I have a blank page in my 2000 scrapbook waiting for pictures… Please please pretty please?). It was a two-woman show, and I had over 500 lines (I have an obsessive habit of counting them. It’s a sickness). I LOVED that show, except for the fact that every time my castmate stopped talking, that meant it was my turn again. Maintaining concentration for that long a period was very, very intense. LOVED it, though. Karen (who place Grace) was phenomenal, and we really bonded over that show. I’d love to play Gloria again, actually, because now that I’m the right age to play her and I’ve had children, I think I could bring a lot more to the stage. Beautiful show.

Well, I received a phone call this weekend from my friend PJ, who is co-directing A Year with Frog and Toad for Independent Musical Productions in early October. Auditions were in April, at the same time as the auditions for The Secret Garden, rather than holding separate auditions. There are only 5 actors in the show — 2 women, 3 men — and they have asked me to be in it (!). It’s a musically challenging show, with jazz harmonies reminiscent of the 1930s. I downloaded the soundtrack over the weekend and Helen is already addicted to it, shaking her little butt every time certain songs start, and requesting other songs. It was an instant hit at our house.

I’m very excited. Jerry is… supportive but not totally thrilled with the idea, for good reason… It’s a lot to ask. But it’ll be intense for a short time and then it will be over.

And something happens when I sing harmony like that… I was in an a capella group in college and I *LOVED* it. It’s amazingly satisfying to have a good blend with other people — I actually prefer it to singing alone… I try to harmonize with Jerry when we sing to the girls and usually mess him up, and I always sing the harmonies in church. It’s just a lot of fun for me…

I had TMJ surgery in 1993 (they cut through my ear canals to get to the joint) and my hearing was damaged for a while, so I pretty much stopped singing and had to quit the a capella group. I told them it was because my jaw hurt as I was recovering, but the truth was that I couldn’t hear well enough to find my notes anymore. It was heartbreaking for a while. I no longer have perfect pitch (but that’s okay — it was a pain, really, because someone singing off-key was physically painful for me before my surgery, and isn’t anymore. Now it’s just annoying, but I don’t flinch), and I have to be rock solid on my notes or the person singing next to me can throw me. But I’m going to work hard so I don’t slow things down. I’m the oldest in this cast by quite a few years… Bizarre how totally the world can shift in seven years.

The best part? 7 performances, and 4 of them are for buses of schoolkids that will be brought in. My favorite sound in the world is a roomful of children giggling. No doubt with this silly show I’ll get to experience that multiple times. And my kids will love it.

(And hopefully, Jerry won’t regret this…)