Well - I was supposed to start drafting out the Lincoln show today - but that didn't happen. So now it's 10:00 pm, the exhausted Pack Leader and trusty Weiner Dog have been catatonic since 6pm and I guess I'll BLOG!wiped-out.jpg It was one of those days where you have a project in mind and then you get an email and the entire day becomes about ANOTHER project. I also have 43 papers about Eurydice to grade for my classes... which I am looking forward to like the Wicked Witch of the West looks forward to monsoon season. Alas alack. Anyhoo.

Everyone keeps asking us how our vacation was. I suppose our trip to New England was technically a vacation, but we certainly didn't relax all that much. I prefer to think of it as a geographic sabbatical, involving a lot of yummy food. See Rich and Janice realllllly miss their back home comfort foods, so they get very excited about eating when heading to New England. The only firm plans the entire trip, I am not making this up, revolved around what comestible activity we would experience and to make sure we hit all the obligatory food stops. This of course meant that my attempt to diet was seiged at every turn, but I did pretty well - apart from having to give in to the insane Philly cheese steaks that really should make this town a national landmark. I also really wanted to try New England clam chowder in New England (I'd never managed it on any of our other trips, weirdly), so I did. For Janice's birthday, Janice and Rich and I and all the aunts went to a place that was opened by a former executive chef of Legal Seafood - and it was soooo good. In a bread bowl. When we do open the restaurant I am heavily lobbying for bread bowls. Because what's not to love about a container that is also a carb. BETTER OFF BREAD. bread-bowl.jpg And since it was Janice's birthday I made her take a picture with a fish. For some reason. birthday-janice.jpg

Some of the meal involved a few more tentacles than I would prefer... EIGHT IS ENOUGH tentacle.jpg

Rich planned a pretty nifty surprise outing for me. Due to my inability to not spoil anything fun I insisted upon guessing through copious iphone internet research beforehand...but it was still awesome. He took me to the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Mass. It was a two hour drive, but it was soooo worth it. I couldn't believe this place. I figure I've pretty much seen every Norman Rockwell cover he ever did, and I figured this place would just be a neat little cute museum about his homeplace. Well - NOPE. It was incredible. They must have had 50 of his original paintings there. Including all Four Freedoms... and the one of the african american girl walking to school, like all the really famous ones. I couldn't get over how SMALL some of them were. The brushwork was insane... I always figured he painted on large canvases - but not always. Some of them, with the most incredible tiny detail, were only like 8x10. It was just breathtaking and the facility is gorgeous. During the summer they have his studio open, so it was a bummer that we couldn't see that. But we spent 2 and a half hours in there and we stayed until after closing... so if you're ever in the area... you better go. I wasn't sure if they were ok with you taking pictures, so I only had Rich sneak one for me... and since I'm a fan of a Christmas Carol...


We of course got to visit with family. it's been two years since I've had a chance to visit, so there was even a brand new cousin for me to meet. This is Jake...who for some reason Janice calls Jake the Snake. He is fairly squrimy... As you can see I'm fantastic with children.

FAIRY POPPINS. help-baby.jpg

Jake seems to be quite obsessed with exposing his belly button in pictures. I suppose it could be worse...it could be Jake's..um... snake. We gave the kids belated Christmas gifts and Rich, ASTOUNDINGLY, picked out for Jake... a tool set. Which allowed him the opportunity to keep building crap while he was away from the theatre...


Now I do want to make sure I tell you about one specific event. We were on our way back to Ohio, stopped at this cute place in Marblehead for dinner and in the middle of our meal the owner comes up to Rich and says "Don't I know you?" And Rich said..."I don't think so". And then he said "Don't you CHARTER a FISHING BOAT". Yes ladies and gentleman... if you ever wondered if we had been assimilated into our environment, Rich has gone from being a Metropolitan Yuppy Manhattanite into a LONGSHOREMAN. The guy was like "I'm sure I know you". And I just said "Do you watch America's Most Wanted?".

Before you knew it we were back after a delayed flight...and a fun car trip with Po as co-pilot. Po-Pilot that is. weiner-travel.jpg

and Team Najuch were once again creating giant clouds of dust... The first floor of the new building is now totally opened up. All the old walls are out and it looks sooo big... BEFORE jolene-at-start.jpg

NOW room-cleared-out.jpg

They've been working like fiends tearing all the walls out... tearin-out-walls.jpg

There are fantastic tile floors below all the layers of stuff that Rich is really excited about. And slowly but surely Janice is chiseling away to expose the gorgeous brick wall that runs all the way down the side or where the restaurant will be. Luckily she has an air hammer. Which is like a mini jack hammer. brick-progress.jpg

OK - so we had a little time laps here which I apologize for. It's now the weekend and I wanna fish this puppy up. I should let you know that we ARE doing Treasure Island for three days only in May. May 5, 6th and 7th and the tickets are on sale now. I'm really proud of the work that we're doing on it... the sound effects are super fun and I've got a gorgeous costume that's being made. So - I'd love for you bloggies to come and see... My students are coming to see the final dress rehearsal with the instructions that they are supposed to tell me when I suck. Role reversal really. So that should be fun. I kind of love the poster - it's my favorite one we've ever had. I think I've been do so much graphic stuff in the past couple months I've gotten a little more slick at things.


I've picked the music for the summer and assigned everything - it is going to be FABULOUS. I'm so excited. The music is just so much fun. We're gonna have to work our butts off - but it's going to be worth it.

I also managed to finish up the new Arts Council logo this week. The biggest hurdle was I thought La Fonataine was two words (it's the LaFontaine Arts Council) and it's one word - which mean I had to reconfigure the whole shebang. But luckily it wasn't a big deal. And yes, Wintson, LaFontaine does sound like a plantation next door to your 'Homeplace' in Loo-siana. I was super nervous about the board voting on it - but everybody seemed to really respond positively. At least they said they did. :) I had like this whole gigantic silly presentation illustrating various logos that I thought showed what we needed to... Anyway - Ann is all excited about 'unveiling'... so I'm not gonna post it on here - cuz she'd kick my keester. But as soon as she gives me the go-ahead I'll share that with you too!

I've started reducing all the Lincoln stuff down to a breakdown of notes. It's not easy. I'm having a really tough time figuring out how to frame the narrative... then of course one must realize that it's being written for ten year olds, so probably worrying about verisimilitude in dramatic structure is not paramount! Rikki is turning out to be an easier job to structure than I had feared. I still have to figure out how the heck to combine all the puppets and masks and shadow crap to make a person PERSON size and another person mongoose size. yah - Any and all suggestions are welcome. I've now got some great books on shadow puppetry that I'm excited...and I've ordered a dvd on Indian traditional dance that I hope will inspire some of the fight scenes. Anyway - that's all aways down the line. But it's really fun to be actually working on a piece of writing that is plot oriented. They are all going to have songs as well - and Steve Gallant the super talented guy who orchestrated all the songs and themes for The Tempest has agreed to work with me on all the music - which should be fun. So - more skpe-ing back and forth to London in goofy time zones is in my future!

Speaking of Rikki - I would like to thank all blog buddies who alerted me to the fact that I had spelled Rikki Tikki TavE rather than TAVI in the poster. You saved us printing about seven zillion worthless flyers! Ohhh speaking of flyers - I've also created the logos for the children's theatre tour:


I like the fireworks going off in the kids imagination... it was NOT easy coming up with something that didn't seem too cheezy.

And for the series of shows that are just me (Christmas Carol, Treasure Island, Sleepy Hollow etc.) that we will offer as well (for a more economic package for schools) we came up with a series called "Page On Stage"...


Sooooo....Rich and Janice have been goin' at those brick walls like tazmanian devils. And they've had some serious help from Cindy and Madge as well. Cuz Cindy just feels like after working from 4:00am she just needs something to keep her active, y'know!!! Rich has had the dumpster being emptied by the dumpster-peeps every day this month. And so EVERY day that dumpster has gotten filled. And keep in mind a dumpster is like 6 truck loads o' crap. They've got the entire first floor gutted... CAVE OF WONDERS the-big-chasm.jpg and a big section of upstairs TOO!! busy-bees.jpg



Oh - and when Rich takes a wire brush to the brick you can see how beautifully it cleans up... this APPARENTLY is a job which has my name on it. (see the middle section....purty).


Janice has been whacking away at this stuff for such long hours I think her arm is gonna fall off. And then how will she whack the actors when they don't hang up their pants?? janice-scaffolding.jpg

And on top of this...today the Pack Leader pulled off quite the coup. Of course for this big industrial kitchen we need...um...big industrial stuff. And he's been scouting ebay and craigslist and bidding and all kinds of stuff. Well today there was an auction on a school about two and a half hours away. Now the difference between an auction on a SCHOOL and a RESTAURANT auction is that all the restaurant-supply people don't show up to bid against you. At least that was the plan. And he was RIGHT. For about $1,500 bucks Rich managed to purchase about $15,000 worth of stuff for the new kitchen... Watching him during an auction makes me pee it's so nerve racking. He just stands there like he couldn't give a crap about the stuff he wants... yawns a little... looks away... walks off for a minute...and then gets it. I just stand there bouncing up and down going "I thought you wanted that.... didn't you want that. Huh? huh?".

So - the main thing he's been searching for are the gigantic oven hood vent things... Check. HE BOUGHT THIS. img_0123.jpg

OHHHH but why just ONE? HE BOUGHT THIS TOO... img_0131.jpg

One is like 10 foot and one is like 12. Oh - he's not done friends. You thought he was DONE???? ha! He bought this huge triple sink thing with garbage disposal TOOOO....


Well, that must be it. I mean how could you plan on getting anything else home?? NOooooooooooooo...... He bought a big wall hose sprayer sink snake thing. Don't ask. And a giant walk in warmer heat thing. That I think he plans on cooking me in Mrs. Lovett style...


So yes, it was determined these items would not fit in our truck. SHOCKER! So after doing a little detective work... RICH IS IN-DUCT-ED INTO THE AUCTION HALL OF FAME img_0133.jpg

and poking around and seeing how this crap will all come out... he's gonna rent a box truck and go back on Tuesday. I am hoping to join a Mission somewhere in the Amazon by Monday evening.

Now, I know you're asking yourself, did he buy jojo ANYTHING? All I wanted was a school bus. They had THREE schoolbuses and I only wanted ONE. I figured they would be perfect for the tour. Apparently you have to have a special permit to drive one....so the actors couldn't use it. But still... I mean it was a whole SCHOOLBUS for $2,000!!!! Of course parking might be an issue.

Anyway - that's all I got now. I shall leave you with a display I noticed today at the market. Apparently someone knew I was coming and decided to make encapsulate my entire personality in seedlings... img_0137.jpg

See ya later. xoxo jojo.