Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bruce is Packing Heat

All right? Who gave Bruce a gun? Company Management. Boy, will they regret that move! I enjoyed shooting anything and everything that the suction cups would stick to. Merry Christmas!

A Tale of Two Cookies

You have been waiting all season for my cooking disasters. I didn't want to disappoint so it happened Saturday night.
When I got home from the theatre after doing 4 shows, all I wanted was a cookie so I tried a cooking experiment. You know this is going to end poorly. I wanted to see if I could make a cookie in the microwave because our hotel rooms don’t have ovens. I took some cookie dough I had in the fridge and put it on a plate. I put the plate in the microwave and set it to cook for five minutes. I figured that was safe since it takes about 10-12 minutes in the oven to bake a cookie. After two minutes, I looked up and there was smoke billowing out of the microwave. I was like, “Oh crap!” I grabbed the handle and yanked open the door. More smoke came billowing out. Then I thought, “I hope the smoke alarm doesn’t go off!” It was past 10:15 PM and the other hotel guests would not be very happy with me. I opened the hotel door to the hallway and fanned the smoke out there. It was VERY smoky! My room stunk so badly! Of course, a member of the cast went past my room while I was airing it out. He asked me what happened so I told him the story. He just laughed at me and suggested I open a window. I don't know why I didn't think of that! I tried to open the window after he left but the windows were sealed. I guess the hotel didn't want the liability of someone falling out the third floor windows. After a few more hours of the door open the following morning, the smell finally left the room. Life lesson learned: Do NOT try to bake a cookie in the microwave. Heed the warnings on the label.
If I would have waited just one more night, I would have all the baked cookies I had wanted. Company Management organized a cookie decorating party at the hotel after our shows on Sunday. I rolled out some dough; I used cookie cutters in the shapes of a candy cane, gingerbread man, reindeer, bell, and snowman; and then I decorated the cookies once they came out of the oven with frosting and sprinkles.

Me, Leann, Pancho, and Alice

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Here is the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree in our dressing room. We are trying to do a whole Charle Brown Christmas theme in the dressing room. One of the stage hands made this sad little tree for us. Since I don't do anything but make inappropriate comments during the first act, I was given the awesome responsibility of decorating this beauty. Ta-da! There you have it! All of my hard work during the first act. That is pretty much the extent of my Christmas decorating this year. I do have a very small stocking hanging under my TV here in my hotel room. I'm hoping Santa will slip a big fat check into it on Christmas Eve! I have been a very good girl this year. Okay, so I've TRIED to be a very good girl this year. It's always nice to have good intentions.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mrs McGavock Is Having Some Fun

Mrs. McGavock owns the property where the Grand Ole Opry was built. She has been dead for quite a while but apparently she wasn't too happy with the building of the Opry. The legends at the Opry says that she has been known to cause problems at the Theatre. I believe she has quite a bit of fun with us from time to time. Whenever something goes a little crazy at the Opry, we always blame Mrs. McGavock.

A few weeks ago, the funniest thing happened while I was on stage. My fellow elf, Pancho, and I were flinging porridge at one another during the workshop scene. He flings porridge at me. I react and wipe it off. Then I fling porridge at him. He reacts by putting his head back and wiping off the porridge. When Pancho put his head back, his hat fell off. He was the only elf whose wig is not attached to his hat. His hat fell backwards and his wig fell forward. He exclaimed, “Oh sh**!” Luckily our microphones were turned off. He was sitting on the stage with all the lights shining on him with just his wig cap on his head. I saw the whole thing happen and was laughing my head off! He hurried to grab his hat and put it back on. He thought he fixed everything. Then he looked down in his lap and saw his wig! He didn’t have a pocket so he just stuffed the wig up his vest where he kept it until the number was over. After the elves all got off stage, we laughed and laughed! It was the funniest thing I had ever witnessed on stage! Funny Mrs. McGavock! Here is Pancho messing around with his wig. He really doesn't have a mohawk. (At least, he shouldn't!)

The other crazy thing that happened occurred a few weeks later. We call this the Great Hold of 2009. The second show was going well. We were all looking forward to getting out of the theater an hour earlier than usual because the show started at 7 PM instead of 8 PM. After the Nutcracker scene in the first act, the show stopped. They put the curtain down and told everyone to wait. Backstage they told us they had stopped the show because they were having lighting issues. They were going to try to fix it and continue with the show. In the dressing room, Leann, Mike, Laura, and I played Phase 10. We played for quite a while. Some of us even got to Phase 5. After almost an hour, the show finally resumed. The first two numbers were done with work lights which was just white lights shining down from the ceiling. The spotlights were also working. The show looked really bad! I felt bad for those people that paid so much to see it! We had a ten minute intermission instead of fifteen minutes. The lighting looked a lot better after intermission but not all the lights were working. Our scene probably looked okay. It was good for me because I could see all the way into the house because the really bright lights weren’t working. I could see the audience in the balcony. It was nice for a change but I was grateful they fixed the lights during our day off. During the Great Hold of 2009, the Rockettes were in their soldier pants waiting for the show to resume. These pants are starched HEAVILY so they couldn't sit down. Here's a picture of one of them waiting and waiting and waiting...

Bugs in the Nativity?

I attended the Methodist's Children's Christmas Pageant last week. Here is a little snapshot of the cute kids in their costumes. As you can see, there were shepherds and the three kings. There were also angels. They were the normal characters you would find at a nativity. Then the young children (around 2-3 years old) entered the room. They were dressed as various insects and animals. There were caterpillars, lady bugs, cats, birds, dogs, zebras, lions, tigers, alligators, turtles, etc. Who knew that all those animals were in the stable at the time of Jesus' birth? It must have been VERY crowded. (I think they also use these costumes when they portray Noah and the ark. They have dual purpose.) It was a very cute (and thankfully short) program. They sang tunes such as Mary Had A Little Lamb, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with the words changed to fit the occasion. Then they ended with a rendition of Happy Birthday to You for Jesus. It was a fun evening and only a handful of kids had to be hauled off by their parents because it was such a traumatic experience for them. Oh yeah, and the back drop only threatened to fall on the children one time. With everyone saying Oh!, it pushed the cardboard back up to its proper position.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Visiting Hours Are Almost Over

I have had some great visitors here in Nashville this year. My first visitors were my Uncle Larry and Aunt Margo. They came East to visit my cousin Vanessa and her family for Thanksgiving. They spent a day and a half in Nashville. One of their stops was of course to the Christmas Spectacular. They wanted to know why I miss the family Christmas party every year. After seeing the show, they have excused me from every future Christmas party if, and only if, I am in the Christmas Spectacular. They really liked the show. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of them.

My second visitor was Liz. I worked with Liz at the Canyons School District this past year. She took a well deserved break from work and her husband and kids and ventured to Nashville for a quick weekend. Her #1 attraction was the Christmas Spectacular. She was not disappointed. I enjoyed visiting with her over some treats after the performance.

My third group of visitors were Laura and her friend Kelsi. They came for a weekend and experienced all that Nashville has to offer this time of year. They had an action-packed crazy busy weekend. I spent a day with them and was exhausted! We started the day by doing some work in the Nashville Temple. Then we went to Ice which was featuring a Charlie Brown Christmas. Then I went off to the theatre to do two shows and they went shopping. They attended the second show that night and received a backstage tour afterwards.

I hope all the visitors had a great time! I enjoyed sharing with them a little of what I do out here. My most favorite visitor is yet to come...Mom! Yea! She is going to help me close down the show this year and load out.

The Abbreviated Picture Day

I decided to be a half team player this year on Picture Day. I was only willing to be in the big group picture. I didn't want to take the time to take individual pictures with people in our costumes. Plus many people didn't stay to picture day. Here is the group shot of the cast who stayed to picture day.

As you can see, only three of the six elves stayed for picture day. Can you say party poopers? All of the Rockettes are there. They know how to team play. Here's a picture of just the Rockettes. Beautiful Ladies! (Thanks Charlie for the picture!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Opening Night

Friday, November 20th, was opening night for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I received many great presents-candy, a cosmetic bag with the show logo, water bottle with the show logo, holiday socks, Reese's Pieces, ornament, and flowers.
Here are some pictures from the party after the show.

AJ Irvin (Santa) and me in the limo

Me and Matt Kubicek

Michiko Sasaki and me

Laura Atkinson, me, Nick (our dresser), and Leann Bankowski

The Little Peeps-Leann Bankowski, Laura Atkinson, Dale Krutzig, Pancho Moler, and me

Shawnda Caulfield (the Director) and me

The Kids and me
I didn't close down the party this year. I got there early. I ate some pasta (okay, a lot of pasta) and some treats from the chocolate fountain table. I took some pictures and did some socializing. Then I took the first limo home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Grand Ole Opry

Everything you wanted to know about the Grand Ole Opry and more! The Grand Ole Opry refers to two things. First of all, the Grand Ole Opry is the name of a radio show in which artists perform. Second of all, the Grand Ole Opry is the name of a theatre. The Grand Ole Opry (the radio show) usually takes place at the Grand Ole Opry (the theatre). During the months of November through January, the Grand Ole Opry (the radio show) takes place at the Ryman Auditorium because the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is performing at the Grand Ole Opry (the theatre). Got it? Good. The Grand Ole Opry (the radio show) is approximately two hours long. It is broken up into half hour increments with a different celebrity emcee each half hour.

Saturday night, I didn't have rehearsal so I figured I would venture downtown and go to the Grand Ole Opry. I have been to Nashville for four years and never been to the Grand Ole Opry. Plus Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood were performing and I couldn't pass that up. I was able to get a ticket to the sold out concert thanks to my company manager's connections.

I met some fellow cast members in the hotel lobby and we drove to downtown Nashville. We went to the will call window at the Ryman Auditorium to pick up our tickets for the evening. I ended up with the best ticket of our group even though I was the last to get my ticket. My seat was dead center on the first row of the balcony. Perfect!

We waited in line once they opened the doors to the Ryman. I headed right to my seat since it took a long time to get in the door and the show had already started. Little Jimmy Dickens was the emcee for the first half hour. He performed and also introduced the performers.

Martina McBride performed in the first half hour. She performed two songs, “This One’s for the Girls” and a song off of her Timeless album. She was amazing! I loved her!

(If you want to see the pictures bigger, click on the collage.)
Carrie Underwood performed in the second half hour. She performed three songs, “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”, a song I didn’t recognize so it must be off her brand new album, and “Cowboy Casanova”. It was fun to see her live and in person.

At this point, I am going to give you the honorable mention performer of the night. It is the back-up singer with the dark hair in the following picture.

First of all, she was crazy. That was obvious! She did this weird thing with her fingers while she sang. She just couldn't stand still. She was very distracting! (She only stands still in photos! I'm surprised the picture didn't turn out more blurry because of her constant movement.) Second, she was always messing around with the sheet music while the other singers were just sitting quietly waiting for their time to sing. Third of all, she was a microphone hog. (See how she is elbowing that guy out of the way so that she is right behind the microphone??) There's more but I will leave it at that.

Now back to the headliners. Rodney Atkins performed during the third half hour. He is TALL!! I love his music! He performed two songs.

At the end of the third half hour, they introduced a surprise performer who just showed up backtage…Vince Gill!! Vince Gill came out on stage in jeans and a sweatshirt. He said he was at the hockey game across the street at the Sommet Center and decided to come over to the Ryman after it let out to see what was going on. The Ryman told him he had to perform to earn his way in since he didn't have a ticket. Ha! Ha! He performed one song for us. We were ecstatic! He was an awesome, unexpected bonus! Of course, this was when my camera battery died. Dang! I took some pictures with my cell phone but they didn’t come out very well. I tried! Vince was amazing!

During the last half hour, Jake Owen performed two songs. He was a relatively new artist. One look at that man, and I was in love, I mean lust!! Holy cow! Jake Owen is super hot, especially when he flashes his amazing smile! Wow! His songs were great too. I don’t think I could ever get enough of looking at that man! I was mesmerized!

I had to put this picture in of Jake just so you can see just how hot he is! This was obviously taken at the CMA Awards last Wednesday. He just doesn't look complete without a date. Where is his date? She was sitting in a hotel room watching the show in her pajamas! Oh wait, that's what I was doing. Oh well, same difference! :) There will always be next year....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

30 Was The Best!

Let me just say, I love being in my 30s! They are way better than the 20s. This first year of my 30s beat the last three years of my 20s. Hands down! No competition! Here's the year in review that made it so great.

November 2008-My birthday. Hung out in Myrtle Beach and Nashville doing what I love to do.

December 2008-January 2009-Spent New Year's in Hawaii watching fireworks from Waikiki Beach with a French man. Ooh la la!!

February 2009-Bought my new car Bella.

March 2009-Found a great part-time job working with wonderful people which led to a full-time job. Working a little, playing a lot. Getting in touch with friends.
April 2009-San Francisco overnighter with my favorite traveling companion seeing my favorite musical, Wicked, all for less than $100.

May 2009-Started a great full-time job at the newly formed Canyons School District. Had a lot of fun entertaining my coworkers for five months.

July 2009-Enjoyed a fabulous weekend hanging out with my brother Chris and Allen when they came to Utah for a visit.

September 2009-Visited my second favorite city, Seattle, to see Wicked. Relaxed with some old friends at Lake Powell.

October 2009-Experienced five Broadway plays in my most favorite city of all-time New York City. Returned to Hawaii for some R & R. Began rehearsing for another season of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Myrtle Beach.

I ended up having at least four days of birthday celebrations. Two were before my birthday with my parents, one was on the actual day with friends, and the last was the day after with coworkers. Here are some pictures of the big days!

The Birthday Cake Mom Made For Me

Enjoying the Cake

Made Out Like A Bandit-Cards and Loot

On My Birthday-Sticky Fingers Restaurant

My Fun Friends who Celebrated with Me

The Cake from Company Management-Ooh, Pink Goes Good with Green!

The Answer is Go To Hawaii

You're probably wondering what the question is. It is, "What's the best way to start your 30s and end your first year of 30s?" After my last day of working in the Human Resources Department at the Canyons School District, I headed off to Hawaii for five days of relaxing before starting the next adventure. This time I went to the Big Island of Hawaii. I stayed on the Kona side of the island.Visited the Kona Hawaii Temple

Beautiful Hawaiian Sunset

Hawaiian Sunset

Waipio Valley

The View from our Hotel Balcony

Lots of Swimming in the Pool

The Pacific Ocean

Turn Around-The Hotel

The End of Another Perfect Hawaiian Vacation

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stamos, Central Park, and Serendipity!

The girls' annual trip to New York City didn't disappoint anyone! We experienced new things, held onto old traditions, and made new traditions. I can't wait until next year! Mom and I flew to Newark, New Jersey. Mom flew in first class because she got upgraded. I was stuck in coach, or steerage as I affectionately call it. I walked up to first class once they FINALLY turned off the seat belt sign and watched part of a movie with her. The man sitting next to her didn't seem to mind but then again he was sleeping. Mom and I were picked up at the airport by my aunt Caren, the best airport shuttle in the greater Manhattan area. The Newark Airport had gotten a new addition since last we had flown in. She drove us under the Hudson River to New York City via the Lincoln Tunnel. She dropped us off at our hotel, the Crowne Plaza in Times Square. We checked into our hotel. Our room was on the 40th floor facing Times Square. We had a great view!

I bought a cup of chicken noodle soup from a deli in Times Square for dinner. We sat at the tables near the steps of TKTS while I ate it. It was awesome to watch the sunset between the large buildings and watch the neon lights get brighter and brighter!

We walked to the Henry Miller’s Theatre and saw the musical Bye Bye Birdie. The Henry Miller’s Theatre was recently renovated. When you walk into the theatre, you are on the balcony level. You have to walk down the steps to get to the orchestra level. It was a fun play! The music was catchy. There were a lot of teenagers performing in the show so there was a lot of energy! After the show was over, Mom and I rushed out of the theatre to get on the front row of waiting at the stage door because John Stamos was in the cast. He played Albert Peterson. He did a great job! Mom, Caren, and I got autographs from most of the actors that came out of the stage door. The teenagers enjoyed talking with us. John Stamos was one of the last actors to come out of the stage door. He signed people’s playbills and took pictures with them. He signed Mom’s playbill first. He took a picture with her. As he was signing Caren’s playbill, he saw me and took my hand. He held my hand and asked me what my name was. I told him. He asked how I was doing. I said great. I told him he did a great job! He signed my playbill. Then I asked if I could get a picture with him. He said sure and moved the guardrails that were between me and him. He knelt down and put his arm around me. Mom took a great picture of us. After the picture was taken, he asked me if I performed in the Christmas Spectacular. (I was wearing my Christmas Spectacular jacket.) I said yes. He thought that was cool. He asked me if I sang and I said a little bit. He laughed and said yeah.

Oh how I loved being back in my city. I felt like I was home. I was in the place where I belonged. Why don't I live here??

The next day, Mom and I took the subway to the Manhattan Temple. It was great to be in the temple.

Then we walked to Central Park. We hired a guy to take us on his bike rickshaw around Central Park. He took us to all the sights in the park. We saw the Upper East Side, the Shepherds Meadow, the Central Park Zoo, the oldest carousel, the Bethesda Fountain, the Boathouse, the fountain from the beginning of Friends, Strawberry fields, the place where John Lennon was shot, Tavern on the Green, and a bunch of statues of dead people. It was a fun tour! Our bike peddler/tour guide was from Africa.

Mom and I ate a late lunch/early dinner at Ray’s Pizza. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping (or more accurately, looking) at Macy’s, a Payless Shoes Source, and Old Navy.

We walked to the Minskoff Theatre where The Lion King was playing. It had been seven years since I had last seen that show. It was way too long! The Lion King was AMAZING!! I loved that show! It had such a great message!

One of our traditions is that after the show, we have a sweet treat. That evening's sweet treats were cupcakes from the Little Pie Company! I had vanilla cake with vanilla cream inside with vanilla frosting on top. Yummy!

The next day, we walked to the United Nations building. We were going to take a tour but it cost money. Neither of us wanted to waste our money to go on the tour again. Been there, done that. It was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. Check it off the list! We walked all the way to the United Nations because there was supposed to be a street fair near that area. We walked to the area where the street fair was supposed to be but there was no one there. There were barricades along the side of the road as if there were going to be a street fair. The people and the goods were non-existent. Mom and I walked around the area for a little while.

We found a tramway that took people to Roosevelt Island over the East River. We decided to take it. We took some pictures on the way across the river. The visitor’s center on Roosevelt Island was closed. We walked along the river for a little while. There was an old hospital on the island. Then we crossed the narrow island and walked a little along that side. We stopped a lady who was walking on her lunch break and talked with her for a little while. She was very friendly. She grew up in the area and lived there all her life. She had been to Utah to hike Bryce and Zion Canyons. She thought it was very beautiful. We rode the tram back to Manhattan.

We walked to Serendipity 3 for lunch. It was delicious!! Mom and I shared the seafood pasta. So good! Mom had a frozen hot chocolate (which was their specialty). Mom loved it!! I had an ice cream treat that involved the following: lemon ice box pie, cinnamon ice cream (my creation), and whip cream (lots of it) lined with blueberries and strawberries! Holy cow, it was delicious! I loved it! I probably ate more than I should but it just tasted so good!

Caren wanted us to go to the Gershwin Theatre to see if we could win tickets to Wicked in the lottery. (Before every show, the Gershwin Theatre holds a lottery where the winners can get two front (or second) row tickets for $26.25 each.) I thought it was a fat chance on a Friday night. We lined up and put our names in the drawing. We waited a half hour while they collected names. I hung out by the stage door while I waited. I didn’t see anything spectacular. There were over 100 people that put their names in the drawing. My name was the third to the last name pulled out! I was so surprised! I bought the two tickets. Mom said we were going to sit there, and give Caren the tickets we had in the wheelchair seating which was on the last row of the orchestra level. Caren got a friend and they traveled into the city from New Jersey.

To kill some time until Wicked started, Mom and I decided to walk over to the theatre where Hugh Jackman was performing in a play and do a little stalking. On our walk to the theatre, I ran into a girl I did Radio City with last year. She was just leaving a dance class when we ran into her. I was so surprised to run into someone I knew on the streets of New York! How random!

Mom and I stalked the Hugh Jackman theatre stage door for a half an hour but then we had to go to the Gershwin for Wicked. The most exciting thing that occurred while we were there was just before we left the theatre-a black SUV pulled up to the curb! We all thought this would be him! The driver gets out and walks to the back of the SUV. He opens the back...and brings out a salad! He walked it into the stage door of the theatre. Then they put three boxes into the SUV and drove away! It was a bust! Oh well, it gave us something to do!

Mom and I met Caren and her friend outside the Gershwin Theatre. Mom and I went down to our seats which were on the aisle of the second row. Fabulous seats! Caren and her friend went to their seats. Wicked was amazing! I loved it! Anyone keeping score of how many times I have seen it?? When we came out of the theatre, it was pouring down rain. Mom and I (as true die hard fans) stood at the stage door to tell the cast they did great and get autographs anyway. Caren and her friend didn’t want to stand in the rain so they headed home. Besides me and Mom, there was a girl in her early twenties with her little sister who was about nine years old at the stage door. The security guard that was standing at the stage door felt bad for us so he let us in the backstage area of the Gershwin Theatre! We saw the sign in boards and other message boards that were backstage. It was funny because as the actors came from the stairwell, they burst in to where we were. They kind of looked at us with the "what are you doing here" look. We told them it was raining and the security guard let us in. We told them how great they were! They were very appreciative. That was a fun Wicked evening! Now I can say I have been backstage at Wicked!

Saturday before the matinee, Mom and I went on a pizza run. We found the best pizza (taste, look, and price) in Manhattan at Patzeria’s Pizza. It is located across from the Marriott Marquis Hotel alley on the north side. Delicious! We walked to the Broadway Theatre where we saw Shrek the Musical. Shrek turned out to be the surprise musical of the trip-in a good way. I wanted to see it because of one of my favorite Broadway actors was in it-Sutton Foster. Sutton is one of the most amazing actors on Broadway. She is so funny, a great singer, dancer, and actor! The complete package! She’s got it all. Shrek was so cute! I was not looking forward to the tons of kids at the show for a Saturday matinee and thought they would ruin the experience. They were actually well-behaved for the most part. Surprise, surprise! Shrek the Musical had a lot of heart. I loved the story, songs, actors, costumes, set, etc! So fun! After the show, Mom, Caren, and I ate lunch at Virgil’s. Virgil’s was one of my favorite places to eat. I ate macaroni and cheese and banana pudding (of course)! It was delicious! Caren went to see a friend’s play that evening. Mom and I saw the musical Billy Elliott. It was the kid who plays Billy’s last performance. His name was Kiril Kulish. He did an AMAZING job! The dancing in the show was AMAZING!! Kiril’s dancing was so good! At the end of the show, Billy goes off to dance school in London. He tells his friend goodbye and then heads up the aisle for his exit. The friend is supposed to say, “Goodbye, Billy”. Instead that night he said, “Goodbye, Kiril.” All of us in the audience were crying! It was a great way to end off my Broadway shows for the year. As Mom and I were approaching Times Square, I saw another coworker from Radio City, one of the Rockettes I have worked with for years! She asked me what I was doing. I told her I had just seen Billy Elliott. She said she was there too! Wow! It was so good to see her!

We almost missed our flight on Sunday because there was a Puerto Rican Parade going on near Caren's home. All the streets were blocked or full of cars. Mom and I hurried through security. Then we ran to the gate. Gratefully the plane we were going home on was late arriving because of rain at the plane's origin. We only had to wait about ten minutes before we boarded the flight. That was calling it close! Mom and I sat next to each other on the plane ride home because she didn’t get upgraded to first class. Boo-hoo!

Oh how I love my NYC! Mom and I had such a great time together! We always do! Even though we have been to NYC many times before, we keep finding new treasures in the city. It's one of the many reasons we go back every year.

Here are some extra pictures:

Rockefeller Center

The New TKTS Duffy Square Steps

Times Square during the day