Tuesday, March 25, 2008

OL's, FO's and an OMG

Excuse me while I gather the remaining shreds of my sanity and regroup....

...because I am still recovering from two weeks spent immersed in children's theatre!

Thickwood Heights Theatrix production of Willy Wonka Jr. was a huge success, and a hell of a lot of hard work! As usual, I designed the set for the production, but this year I thought it would be wonderful to make the kids part of the set. Great concept, especially with a cast of 74. What I didn't count on was that the reduced building time would turn into increased time working with the directors and kids on making the set work! Lots of time put in, but it was enjoyable time. For the most part, the kids were energetic and cooperative, really excited to have things to do, so they were a joy to work with.

The design concept, such that it was, was "a world of pure imagination", and we let the kids use their imaginations in bringing some of the scenic pieces to life, such as the chocolate river...

...and the nut chute that the squirrels throw Veruca Salt down!

And even the giant Wonkavision TV.

There were still several large set pieces to be built, such as the Bucket family's shack and the factory gates, which meant several evenings spent in local high school's carpentry shop with our crack set-building squad.

On top of all that, I somehow found myself volunteering at the last minute to do the make-up for the show! There were 23 Oompa-Loompas alone, not to mention all the little candies and squirrels, along with the "parents" and ''grandparents". It made for a pretty hectic two hours before each perfomance, but I had a lot of help from the kids. Between set change notes, make-up notes and costume notes, I must have written the phrase Oompa-Loompa a hundred times--thus the short-hand OL arose. OL became the catchphrase for all things pertaining to large groups for the remainder of the past week!

Of course, there was the requisite backstage drama, what with a predominantly junior high-aged cast and a couple of stage mamas thrown in, but in the end, it was well worth it as the Oompa-Loompas took their bow!

In my free time (cough), I managed to weave off the last of the Sunshine Scarf and give it a wash and a block. I'm really happy with the results, but I think it will become the first member of my "for sale" stock. Weaving it may have been what kept me from strangling OL's!

The other FO this week was Miss Lexi's Socks. She chose the yarn while I was out in Vancouver visiting and I have been putzing at them for a couple of weeks now.

The yarn is DG Confetti, self-striping in colorway 02.001. The socks are knit on 2.5mm needles, using my usual plain sock pattern with a short-row heel to preserve the color pattern. The cuff is 14 inches long, not quite knee-high, but close, so I started with more stitches than usual and did a little calf shaping with matched decreases. I really liked the evenness of the stripes and, wonder of wonders, both balls started at the same point in the pattern, so the stripes match on both socks!
Some of the knitting on these socks was done in the company of other knitters--yes, I have found fellow knitters in Fort McMurray! (Shout out to my Homies!) Or rather, they found me, via Ravelry. I now have somewhere to hang with people who speak my language without having to travel too far. The adventures have already begun, and will not doubt continue--what a great group of women!

And now the OMG. Overlapping the Willy Wonka madness, rehearsals for Angels in America began last week. What have I gotten myself into?!? My recent theatre experience has been pretty easy-going, but I now face creating 4 different characters over 3 hours of long monologues and gruelling blocking. I'm just a little overwhelmed by the scale of this thing right now, and the amount of work facing me--OMG! Help!

Not only that, but I am down to having one project on the go. One! How can that be? Nothing on the wheels, nothing on the loom, nothing more on the needles. I feel like something is terribly wrong...I must go cast something on before the universe implodes into the vacuum!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Cure for Grey

It's mud season again. That's the time of year that is not quite winter anymore, but spring is still a week or so away. Everything is grey and mucky, and this is what I look out my window at right now.

The good news is that this will only last a couple of weeks and that it has to be warmer to make snow into mud. It is not quite time to pack away the parkas, but, for now anyway, sweaters are working just fine.

I am still knitting away on my grey DAAGBF sweater, the view is muddy and grey (as are my floors) and a few unpleasant incidents over the past week have put me in a grey mood. So what's a gal to do when she is mired in grey? Warp up her own sunshine, of course!

A great big fat singles yarn, spun by Ellen Munroe, and space-dyed in reds, pinks and yellows for the warp and the matching red for weft. Sett at 5 epi on the rigid heddle and mostly woven at this point.

Ooooh! Happy colors!

The other cure for grey has been the wonderful people in my life. It's Theatrix (the school theatre group that I work with) production time again, which means I get to hang out with a lot of really committed and enthusiastic creative kids and adults for a couple of weeks. This year's production is Willy Wonka Jr., and I'll tell you, nothing recharges the batteries like 37 Oompa-loompas dancing around you! The curtain goes up a week from tomorrow, with sets and make-up design by yours truly--check it out at Keyano Theatre if you're in Fort McMurray! (I'll take pictures for those of you who can't make it.)

I will also be starting rehearsals for Angels in America tomorrow evening, so my time will get much tighter for the next 6 weeks. I have no mindless backstage knitting to keep me from mischief. I do have a pair of knee-high self-striping socks on the needles, but those will be done by the weekend (she says optimistically). We shall have to go stash diving soon...but first, let's weave a little more sunshine!

Monday, March 03, 2008

...In Which We Get Caught Up

It's been a while since the last post, breaking the promise I made to myself to post at least once a week, but once you read this, you will understand why there hasn't been time to sit down and write since I got home...

First of all, I came home to this:

after a week of this:

Now, that should be excuse enough for me to crawl into bed and not come out for two weeks. But noooo, there's more.

While I was blissfully gazing at the daffodils in Vancouver, Number One Son and his friend finally reached the breaking point with their roommates. A little background: They have been living in another unit here in the same townhouse complex as me for the past 9 months. They shared the unit (950 square feet) with friend's sister, her boyfriend, and his other sister, who has Down's Syndrome. The townhouse is owned by friend's parents. They were paying $800 a month for a bedroom. They were not allowed to use the kitchen except for limited cooking privileges. They were only allowed to use the upstairs bathroom at scheduled times. They were not allowed to leave anything in the living room, and if they did, they would come home and find that it had been thrown away. I was not allowed to visit, unless someone from friend's family was in the house (apparently, I look a little shady--hide the silverware!). These were the rules, imposed by friend's sister and her boyfriend. And the guys seemed okay with this, for some reason or another.

However, after living in close confines with these people for a while, it became evident to everyone that sister and boyfriend were in a rather abusive relationship. Door slamming, shouting, breaking of dishes and tormenting of small pets became a daily occurrence. When the guys complained, they were told that the relationship was none of their business and sent to their room. The violence escalated, broken only by episodes of loud sex and the introduction of drug usage. The guys started hanging out at my place more and more. Any attempt to intervene was met with threats of eviction from both the couple in question and friend's parents. The family is in total denial, and the guys were blamed for the fights and damage to the property, because my son is, apparently, the root of all evil.

I knew little to nothing of this situation until the week before I left for Vancouver, when I had to go to their place to do some vocal work for a puppet show. A fight broke out and I suggested calling the local constabulary, but was shouted down by the guys, who were "on probation" for arguing with the sister about her drug use. I still regret not overriding their objections. However, the next weekend, after a marathon fight, Number One Son had had enough. He called the landlords and told them he could not stand the violence and was moving out and they could eat the overdue rent. He was told he had 8 hours to vacate the premises or his possessions would go in the trash. So he called all his buddies and they moved all his stuff into my house, in less than 8 hours. His friend moved with him, even though he was told he could continue living there rent-free. He had had enough of the crap.

So. Now I have two guys camping out in my living room. And all their stuff. And Miss Lexi came home for a visit. And Miss Julia hurt her knee playing soccer while I was out of town. And then we all go off to Edmonton for 5 days "for a little break". So who has time to blog?

Things have calmed down a wee bit now. Everyone is back to work/school. The puppet building has been moved to a local yoga studio. We have worked out shower schedules and dish duty issues with our new roomies. I actually had time to knit on the weekend, and today a warp goes on the loom. The DAAGBF sweater is coming along...

...and I'm loving the lace patterns. Now that I am into the body of the sweater, I can knit a little more mindlessly, so I don't have to closet myself away and mutter "Can't anyone see I'm counting?"
The rest of March is shaping up to be busy, busy, busy, but I figure that if I could survive the past two weeks, I can deal with just about anything. And I suspect I shall have to.