Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Last year Cade was Batman and Mallorie wore her bathrobe and pjs. This year they both went trick-or-treating as something different. Cade went as a Marine and Mallorie was a Pirate. I wore my bathrobe and pjs and carried one of Cade's teddy bears. (There were some other parents dressed up so I wasn't the only one, as Mallorie had feared.)

We decided to trick-or-treat through a new development this year. Houses in this development run $350,000 to $450,000, so the kids were guaranteed to get the good candy. After every house Cade would run back to me and open his bag so I could see the candy he got. I was very impressed; very little crap candy was handed out. We walked around for more than an hour. Even though his treat bag was scrapping the ground, Cade wanted to get more candy. Unfortunately he wore out before his bag was "full".

Back at home, the kids dumped out their bags and sorted their candy. Even though Cade and Mallorie when to the same houses (at the same time!) they each had unique candy. After all was sorted they reviewed each other's booty and the bargaining began. "I'll give you a Take 5 for all your Nerds." I was very proud of Mallorie. She could have shortchanged her little brother (like I did when I was younger!) but she kept her trades very fair.

While we will probably be eating Halloween candy until next Easter, it's now time to focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An Afternoon at the Theatre

Mallorie and I were treated to Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance's production of Little Shop of Horrors. We saw the closing show yesterday afternoon.

I've seen the movie but have never seen the stage show. WSTA's production was outstanding. Gray Smith nailed the character of Seymour. I love watching Gray in action. He is a wonderful actor. I was equally impressed with Cheri Van Loon. With the help of vocalization, blonde wig and floozy costumes, she was spot-on as Audrey. Zack Brown was hysterical as Orin, the dentist. He has grown so much as a actor since Daddy's Dying. Cary Newberry, Emily Snow, Vanessa Martinez and Nichelle Wright were great as the Doo Wap girls. Dennis Raley and Winston Sims as the voice and operator, respectively, of Audrey II were fabulous.

Even though Ken Ashford is a close friend of mine, I can give an unbiased opinion of his performance. I was absolutely impressed with his Mr. Mushnik. I have seen Ken in many shows, but I have never seen him so energetic! This was his best role, by far. He gave a showstopping performance in "Mushnik & Son" and his tango with Seymour was priceless. I only wish Mr. Mushnik hadn't been the first to end up as plant food.

The only thing I didn't like about the show was the curtain call. Having seen many of Jamie's shows, and having been in a few myself, the curtain call is usually a performance in and of itself. Not so with this show.

Mallorie and I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon with Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance. She even has the t-shirt to prove it!

October 28, 1946

My dad's birthday was yesterday. I won't embarrass him by telling you how old he is. (You can do the math!)

I called him last night and the kids and I sang to him. He was very gracious. I talked to him for a while and we caught each other up. He is still flying around the country doing telephone installs for Pepsi. He's hitting the southern states now. He's dating Kelly, a nurse. She took him to a Robert Cray concert and he really enjoyed that. He promised to come see Steel Magnolias, and he's bringing Kelly. He sounded happy.

Before we hung up (so he could watch the Red Sox win the World Series) Cade sang him a personalized rendition of "Happy Birthday". It might have been a bad connection, but I thought I heard a catch in Dad's voice as he told Cade that was the best birthday present ever.

Word Warrior

I just took an online IQ test. The test was advertised as a "quick" test. It wasn't quick. It was 12 pages!

My IQ score is 124. The number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions I answered correctly relative to others.

My "intellectual type" is Word Warrior. This means I have exceptional verbal skills. I can easily make sense of complex issues (except those involving men and quantum physics) and I take an unusually creative approach to solving problems. (Hey, whatever gets you through, right?) My strengths also make me a visionary. Even without trying I'm able to come up with lots of new and creative ideas.

Yep. Sounds exactly like me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Annual Olsen Martini Party and Kiln Opening

THE event of the year was held last night, and I was there. I'm talking about Carole Olsen's annual Martini Party and Kiln Opening.

I've known Carole for many years through Kernersville Little Theatre. We are also in Steel Magnolias together. (She's playing Truvy.) I knew that Carole "did" pottery. I just didn't realize how talented she really is!

THE event was held at her house/studio in Kernersville. Each party goer received a martini glass to decorate. Numerous martinis were shaken, poured and consumed. Then everyone went downstairs and Carole gave a raku demonstration. Her pottery was on display and available for purchase. (Pretty smart of her to serve martinis before a pottery show - loosens the inhibitions to buy!)

I absolutely adore pottery and Carole's pieces are wonderful. I bought several and plan to use them when I host a cast party and for our Christmas Eve party. I'm very excited to show them off!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dusty's European Tour - Greetings from Egypt

From: David "Dusty" Roberts
Sent: Fri, 26 Oct 2007 12:12 pm

We made it to Egypt safe and sound, but I must confess this sure is one CRAZY country! Soooo many people around and yes, so many friendly people trying to help you out only for the benefit of themselves. Today we saw the Pyramids at Giza.

Flying into Cairo is scary. Obviously it is like flying into Iraq (from what I've seen from TV on what Iraq looks like), but imagine if NYC was covered in dirt, that's how it would look when you come in. Red dirt and tall buildings. No green. It really is like being in another world. We have been totally fine, and tell people we are from California, though now I realize that there are terrible fires going on in San Diego. Luckily we say we're from Los Angeles or something. Many people have opinions about Bush here, of course (it went all through our travels), but all we've met are all about who you are and not about politics. I did hear about the Political things about Turkey when we first got there. A restaurant owner was telling us the US was blaming the Turks for killing the Armenians or something like that, but like here, he said that it's the sadness of the political side that makes people afraid of seeing the true people/culture.

Here's a pic of me on a camel with the 'guides' little son that cost me 1 Egyptian pound (not much- 50 cents maybe?) all because I took a picture of him on the camel to begin with, then it became a 'fun' ordeal for him to get me on the camel and later... money. haha. I just told him that's all I had and walked on. But everyone kept asking us if we wanted to ride camels or to take pictures with them, etc. It is sad that it is like that, but what can you do?

Traffic here is all over the place and I don't think they have stop lights. It is all at will and crossing the street is like the video game Frogger. hahahahaha. Mind you it looks more dangerous and sounds more dangerous than it is. You just pick a good time to walk across the street along with the breaks in traffic. One gentleman told us never to run across the road as it encourages the drivers to drive faster. haha. It does work to just walk steady, but not slow or run.

I'm sad to miss Halloween. Alan and I joked that we'd wrap up in toilet paper as mummy's and walk around Egypt for Halloween. hahaha. Wouldn't that be funny?

Love ya and miss ya!
(Walk like an Egyptian!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

David's European Tour - More From Turkey

From: David "Dusty" Roberts
Sent: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 7:34 am

Still in Turkey - got to Istanbul yesterday on the overnight express train from Ankara.

Turkey is a great place. Yesterday we walked through the GRAND BAZAAR!! It was impressive, but not so overwhelming as I thought it would be. I mean, it is just stall after stall of junk kind of. haha. I was in search of a lamp, like the ones I used to get at World Market, but these were bigger, round, and had colorful mosaic tiles in them. Of course shipping here is the biggest issue as it is about $100 USD to send a lamp home via FedEx (and using regular mail was apparently cumbersome with extra charges for customs, etc). So, getting a good deal isn't really a thing here if you have to ship it home. :-(

Love ya- Miss ya!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dusty's European Tour

To: David "Dusty" Roberts
From: Cheryl Ann
Subject: Is it cold there?

I'd love to see Egypt! I can't wait to see the picture you take of the pyramids! What do you mean that "I'll finish it up" And what do you mean by coming "home" in December? Does that mean Maryland, DC or Mom's house?

Even though the trees are turning color, the weather is still in the upper 70's and 80's during the day. We've had a couple of crisp days but few and far between. It hasn't rained since June.

Hope you enjoy Egypt, Bangkok and Phuket. (Do you really pronounce the last city the way it's spelled?)

From: David "Dusty" Roberts
Sent: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 7:44 am

The city name is pronounced Pu-ket, but you know we all want to say it like it looks. haha. It is funny- there are always something funny in names around in the places we've been. Like Furkan Market. LOL and this bus service here in Turkey called Kamil Coc (there are puncuations in there that I can't type which would make the Coc as Coach, but still...) And Pecker Jewelers.

Yes, finish up-coming home- to Maryland/DC. Things have been great with travel, but it is just wearing on me with constantly moving on and planning for the next country or city or monument to see. I am TOTALLY glad I did this and I have no regrets, but am ready to come back from my long vacation.

Miss ya and can't wait to see you soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dusty's European Tour - Greetings from Turkey

From: David "Dusty" Roberts
Sent: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 6:58 am
Subject: Is it cold there?
We're just finishing up a jaunt around Turkey before heading out next Thursday to Egypt for 2 weeks. I'll finish it up with about a month in Thailand (Bangkok and Phuket), then I'll come home probably around the 8th of Dec.

Has it gotten cold there? Turkey for some reason is a bit colder than what we've had from Greece on down. Brrrr. Today we are in Goreme Turkey which is like being on a Star Wars set. Lots of dirt and these crazy rock caves. We are actually staying in a rock cave! Pretty interesting. The people here are funny as they ALL want to help with tours, directions, hotels, etc. And EVERYONE has SOMEONE that owns one of the above. haha! You need a hotel? Nooo problem... my brother-in-law's brother's sister's mother's father owns one down the street. I take you. haha. In a way it is sad because you feel you can't trust them because in about 9 out of 10 times if you DO find a nice person who seems genuine and is helping bring you to a hotel, he will get a phone call from his friend, who you know he is happy to tell them where you are going and who knows- his friend might have another hotel to offer. haha. But it's not been all that bad. I just tell Alan to stop talking to them and just say that we're not interested and to just keep going. But he likes to talk and then it's like a 15 min charade and it ends up with us saying that we're not interested. haha. Too funny.

Well, hopefully all is well. I'm sure I'll see you all in a few months!

Love ya,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Drive-Through" Mastectomies

In January 2007, U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007 (S.459/H.R.758). The bill would allow a woman and her doctor to decide whether she should recuperate for at least 48 hours in the hospital after a mastectomy or whether she has enough support to get quality care at home following this emotionally and physically difficult surgery.

Last fall, as part of Lifetime's "Stop Breast Cancer for Life" campaign, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jewel, joined by Lifetime executives, delivered more than 12 million signatures to Congress calling for an end to the cruel practice of sending women home without a sufficient recovery period, sometimes just hours after their mastectomy.

This month the petition just reached the 20 million mark!

Urge Congress to stop "drive-through" mastectomies. Please sign the petition.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm Doll 52492.

Customize your virtual self and add to the chain of supporters who want to Stop Breast Cancer for Life!

Update: Myla is doll 54118.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ohmigod, You Guys!

Of course I watched it. I also DVR'd it so I can watch it again (and again, and again, and again), though MTV will be showing an encore presentation tomorrow night.

I did not like the three girls who were "hosting" the event. Two were blonde and one wore pink. (Didn't the other two get the pink memo?) All three were stiff and dull. It's almost as if they had no clue that Broadway even exists! Go back to The Hills and stay there!

The opening number was fabulous. You could hear the audience clapping and cheering. It almost felt like you were in the theatre with them, but with much better seats! I applauded after the opening number and from upstairs Mallorie yelled, "You know they can't hear you!" She was just jealous. For several months she's pooh poohed the musical and turned up her nose. I didn't ask her if she wanted to watch since she was grounded. But she must have been listening at the top of the stairs. Even though I was recording it, I lifted the TV ban and Mallorie watched the show with me.

I wasn't really impressed with Laura Bell Bundy's performance, though I'm not sure I can put my finger on why. Jamie Lawson saw the show in New York a week ago and he wasn't impressed either. He thought she phoned in her performance. During the "Serious" number I felt like she was, well, acting.

I loved the "What You Want" number, though I was not overly impressed with the choreography. (I mean, have you seen a Jamie Lawson curtain call?) And while Laura Bell Bundy kept up with the dance moves, she isn't a dancer. Still, the number was energizing. I applauded, Mallorie beamed.

Next was a commercial and that kinda threw me. I guess I was expecting it to be uninterrupted, like real Broadway shows. There were some backstage pans of the cast warming up. Fun facts were mentioned (Paulette and the UPS man are married in real life) and secrets were explained (Elle underdresses her proposal outfit).

I was highly impressed with Michael Rupert. He commanded the stage from the moment his Callahan began singing "Blood In The Water". I usually skip through that song, but not anymore!

Christian Borle was Emmett. I mean, really, he became that character. I love his "Chip On My Shoulder". I had a hard time with Richard H. Blake, who plays Warner. He was good, but every time he was on stage I keep thinking he looked like the son of actor Gary Cole. Kate Shindle was wonderful as Vivienne. And I'd let Nikki Snelson whip me into shape any day. The jump rope choreography for "Whipped Into Shape" was incredible.

Overall, Mallorie and I absolutely loved it. (Although, if you ask Mallorie she'll probably deny it. She's a reputation to protect apparently.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Trip to Baa Moo Farm

It's Official!

Get rid of those dark outfits that you've been saving for the fall season, it's all about pink as MTV premieres "Legally Blonde The Musical", based on MGM's hit film "Legally Blonde," on Saturday, October 13th at 1pm ET/PT.

Reinventing the Broadway experience for television, MTV offers viewers who normally would not have the opportunity to see one of the hottest shows the best seats in the house. Complete with a Pink Carpet extravaganza hosted by Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge and Whitney Port of The Hills, "Legally Blonde The Musical" was filmed on September 18th from The Palace Theatre in New York City where is continues its open-ended run.

So, I guess you know where I'll be tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Uncle" Phil Fontaine, IV

Thank you for always greeting me with your kind smiles and warm hugs. Thank you for allowing me to feel adored. Thank you for making me, and Mallorie, feel welcome. Thank you for allowing me to share the stage with you. Thank you for letting me make fun of your curtain speeches. And above all, thank you for bringing me home.

You will be missed.

Rehearsal, Ready for Love

Last night was my first rehearsal with the Golden Triad Chorus. No, I've not joined a singing group. (They wouldn't have me anyway! You have to really sing to be a part of the group.) Next week Golden Triad Chorus will be performing their annual stage show. They've put together a little program called Ready for Love. They wanted an actress to be in the show instead of using a chorus member. Robin called me and I agreed. I will be playing the Wife, and Stan will be playing the Husband.

While we were waiting to rehearse the show, the ladies warmed up. I was blown away. My goodness, these ladies are wonderful! One of the songs, One Voice, almost made me cry. Then 4 local high school students sang individual songs. They are competing for a chance at a scholarship. Sasha from RHS was fantastic. Staci (who was an orphan in Annie)was also very impressive. I hope one of them wins.

Stan and I went through the show with the chorus. It's a cute little program. Wife is getting ready for an anniversary celebration, which Husband has forgotten all about. In between our dialogue the chorus sings appropriate songs. I had so much fun with my role. I can't wait until next week's rehearsal!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Funny

A Night at the Theatre

If you didn't get to see All My Sons this weekend, you missed an excellent production.

The play centers around the Kellers, a seemingly average American family. Joe Keller, the father, has lived with tremendous guilt. During WW II, he knowingly sold the Army defective airplane parts in order to meet a deadline. This act, among others, proves to be fatal to those around him. While Joe was able to provide a good life for his family, he discovers that the price of wealth may not be one that he can afford.

The production was staged by The High Point University Theatre Department and the cast included faculty, students and alumni. April J’Callahan Marshall, who I am honored to call one of my best friends, portrayed Kate Keller. She was outstanding. Her son, Jacob, helped with scene changes but it was too dark to really see him. Everything seemed in place for the scenes so he must have done a great job. The set, which was apparently finished at 7:10p on opening night (the performance began at 7:30!) was beautiful.

It was a very poignant show. Every decision we make has a cost. We need to always be aware of whether or not we can afford the eventual payments.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rehearsals, Steel Magnolias

Our director, Norm Birdsall was in LTWS' production of Smoke on the Mountain. The show closed on Sunday, so we began Steel Magnolias rehearsals on Monday.

I've had a little over a month off from any type of rehearsal, and I was getting pretty used to having my nights free. That said, I was not really looking forward to Monday's rehearsal. The change in my schedule made me a bit grumpy. We blocked the first 20 pages and ran the scene a couple of times. By the end of rehearsal I was excited about the show. My attitude was much better at last night's rehearsal.

We've blocked all of Act 1 and by the end of the week the entire show will be blocked. At times Norm will give us specific blocking and other times he will allow us the freedom to "block" ourselves. I love this style of directing. You've got a general idea of placement, yet you can still let the emotions move you. And the emotions are going to move M'Lynn all over the stage!