**Disclaimer: The content of this post reflects my own personal views, opinions, and experiences.
This post does NOT express the views or opinions of my employer.**
This week I had a family emergency, which I do not want to discuss at this time so please do not ask.
I wrote this post BEFORE that emergency occurred.
Due to these circumstances, I may be posting less often for a few weeks, or with less content because I will be helping my family during a difficult time.
Thank you for your understanding and please know that at some point regular posting will resume.
Monday was my first day off on tour! Woohoo!
My friend Molly, a drummer that I worked with on the Ruby Princess, lives in Buffalo and came to get me for brunch!
Of course neither of us checked to see if the cafe we wanted to hit was open ^^; lol
But Molly knew of several other good cafes in the area, and it didn't take us long to find another!
We went to Tipico, which had a great selection of coffee and a pretty exciting menu of tasty treats to try.
There were a lot of vegan options, and since I'd had my heart set on a lox bagel I opted for the "vegan lox", which was large carrots sliced, cooked, and marinated in a variety of sauces and spices to taste similar to smoked salmon. Served with sprouts, avocado, dill, capers, fig cashew sauce, and pickled red onions on toasted sourdough. It was delicious!
While we ate we caught up with each other. Molly wanted to know all about tour life, and although there's not much to tell yet I shared what's been up so far. She told me about what she's been up to, considering secondary careers mostly, just like the rest of us who learned very quickly that the arts could not weather a pandemic very well. We talked about the other members of our Ruby Princess all-female band, what we'd heard from them lately and how we wished they could be there with us today :)
After brunch we walked around and explored some of the local shops. It being Monday, a lot of shops were closed, but we enjoyed browsing the ones that were open and that had local crafts and goods on display. In one shop we were greeted by this dapper young man in a tie. How professional!
Along our way Molly pointed out some places she recommended for meals while I'm in town. I took note of a ramen bar, and a hot dog place, and another great coffee shop. It's unlikely that I'll be able to visit all of these without gaining 500lbs, but I certainly want to enjoy what Buffalo has to offer as much as I can! We stopped in a local organic grocery and both got big giant cookies.
Here we are getting ready to chow down!
Too soon it was time for me to return to the hotel so I could deal with some non-tour issues that had come up during the day. We promised to meet again for wings next Monday. Man, it was so good to see Molly in person!! I'm so glad she made time to visit with me today!
I had a little chat with my sisters via text, then took a walk just because I had nothing else to do and wanted to see if I could find some more tabs to put in my chart tomorrow. I found another small grocery and a Rite Aid, and found this monument.
And on the way back, this lovely mural. There are a lot of murals in Buffalo, small and large.
I like this one because of the thistles <3
Back in the hotel room I ate a light lunch and practiced stenography. I came to the conclusion that I'm too slow on the new machine, and figured I'd better use my class time to practice. In class we are often asked to read back transcripts at 100wpm, and I don't want to hold everyone up because I made too many mistakes due to my own issues. Hopefully it'll only take this week to get used to the TinyMod, and I'll be able to join back in next week. We shall see!
In the evening I decided to work on shifting my sleep schedule a bit.
I've been going to sleep around 11:30, and that's a little too close to when shows and rehearsals are going to be ending for the next nine months. I need to stay up later. So I hauled my laundry down to the hotel's facilities and started a load, bringing my computer for entertainment. It didn't take all that long, about 30 minutes for the washer and 45 for the dryer. By the time I was back in my room with the laundry folded and put away, it was about 12:30, and I fell asleep at 1am. That works!
On Tuesday most of the band did not get called until 6pm, so I started my day with oatmeal, then a stroll to the theatre because I wanted to transfer notes, cues, and cuts over to my ipad. We've been using printed music, which is fine, but I tend to prefer the ipad for several reasons:
- If power goes out, I can still see my music (this happens more often than you'd think).
- I can turn pages using a foot pedal instead of my hands. It's just faster, and reduces the risk of dropping my slide or a mute during a page turn.
- I can mark up my book however I'd like; I'm not limited to pale grey, hard-to-see pencil markings. I can use bright red text, bigger fonts, highlighters, all kinds of good visible markings on the ipad.
When all that was done it was about 12:30. I walked down to Public Espresso to get the lox bagel I'd promised myself, and to fulfill my "obligation" to Molly, who'd wanted to take me there! This wasn't just any lox bagel either, it was pastrami-cured lox with pickled shallot, caper cream cheese, lettuce and tomato on a BreadHive sesame bagel! SUPER good!
I also got a small apple cider chai, which I saved for "dessert" and to help perk me up for tonight's rehearsal.
On the walk back to the hotel I checked my Health app because I've been walking everywhere and was curious to see how many steps I'd been getting. As I type this it is October 5th, and I have already walked nearly 2x as much as I did during ALL of September! Isn't that wild??
I ate the bagel in my room, then spent the rest of my afternoon relaxing and doing little things: practicing steno, emailing friends, refilling my water bottles from the filtered fountain in the lobby (I refuse to continuously buy bottled water, and equally refuse to drink the chlorine-smelling tap water). Rehearsal in the evening went well, although we mostly played through the quietest numbers in between the blocking happening on stage. Theatre rehearsals are like this sometimes...the band and actors and lighting and crew and sound rehearse things separately, then we all come together in fits and starts. Tomorrow might be a longer rehearsal, or it might be the same as today. We'll see!
Wednesday. I didn't sleep very well, but some nights are like that. I did wake up later than usual, though.
In my inbox was an email update: horns not required at rehearsal until 6:30pm. Once again I've got the majority of my day free!
Jameson had pre-surgery bloodwork done today.
I can't wait for Friday's surgery to be over with, I really, really hope it will mean he gets to go back to having a normal life.
I made breakfast in my room, then poked around the hotel until I found the dumpster. I don't generate THAT much extra trash, but I DID have a lox sandwich, and the container from that is stinky. Then I went to the theatre's backstage door to get stabbed in the nose for covid testing purposes.
When that was done I took myself to a local small grocery for meat and veggies.
For lunch I decided to knock out the "beef on weck", walking to Charlie the Butcher and ordering the "small" beef sandwich.
Which was like normal hamburger-sized, so I gotta wonder what the regular size looks like!
"Weck" is short for kummelweck/kimmelweck, a German word simply meaning "caraway roll". It's a kaiser bun that is slightly chewy (possibly boiled?) and topped with caraway seeds and pretzel salt. To make "beef on weck" you slice hot juicy roast beef and layer it on a kummelweck with horseradish sauce.
Although I did scrape 90% of that salt off (and unfortunately a lot of the caraway seeds too in the process) I still got the gist of the flavors, and the beef alone was just fantastic. It's been a while since I had truly good hot roast beef! And for five bucks, what a great sandwich!
The rest of my day involved steno practice, Netflix, and a light dinner before rehearsal at 6:30.
This time we did play quite a lot, and we sounded pretty good too. Right now everything seems to be about coordination, and the band is no exception. We need to line up with the click track, and make sure we're in tune with each other and also the instrumental track, while watching the conductor for cues and listening to the actors on stage to ensure we're all together. I noticed today that I've got the instrumental track set loudest in my mix, which is unusual for me, usually it's the bass. But for this show there is a tracked bass trombone, French horn, and third trumpet, and I think my ear really wants to have that bass trombone. Hearing that track also helps me to get the articulations that those musicians used. The more we play, the more we lock in, and that's exciting!
Thursday, we were scheduled for our first full-band rehearsal! Yay!
It's an eight-hour day, but I'm glad that we are needed for more rehearsals as we get closer to opening night!
The first four hours was great, we played through misc parts of Act One with a lot of stops for blocking and lighting and quick-changes for the actors. Listening to all of the notes the actors get, and all the things they have to pay attention to, definitely makes me appreciate how DIFFICULT it is to be an actor! There is just so MUCH...your character and your movement and costume changes and mic levels and moving props and sets...it's really amazing to think about, and I can't imagine what it must be like to actually DO it. Just, wow!
As for the band, I think we are doing really well! Most of the notes we get have to do with touch-up things like articulations, performing specific actions like glisses and crescendoes together, and getting our intonation and timing right. These are all things that we can work on now, that will definitely come to us in time. It makes me feel very confident in us!
Jameson texted partway through the day to let me know that his surgery is scheduled for tomorrow at 9am.
Of course this means he'll probably have to be there earlier than that, and it's a bit of a drive for him, so I plan to be up around 7am to ensure that I am "present", as much as I can be. His friend K--- will be looking after him, staying in the guest bedroom overnight, which really makes me feel a LOT better. I just hope everything goes smoothly. I hope I hope I hope.
During the dinner break I came back to the hotel to eat a prepared meal that I'd bought from Feature Eatery, a place down the street that pre-makes meals for busy people. I had pork meatballs with Thai curry sauce, roasted brussels, and buffalo cauliflower. It was tasty! Although too salty for my personal preference. Still, it was an affordable and healthy option :)
Rehearsals went just fine, and I was anxious to get home and check on Jameson the night before his surgery.
But first, there was a band hang at a local bar, so I popped in there long enough to thank some of our production team and participate in a group photo before heading back to the hotel (if I can get ahold of the photo I'll share it later).
Friday turned out to be a crazy and devastating day (RE: the family emergency I mentioned at the top of this post).
First I want everyone to know that Jameson was fine. I was up at 7am to be "present" while he got dressed and ready to go. His friend K--- sent me updates as they arrived at the hospital and checked in, then they waited FOR THREE HOURS before he was finally taken back to the OR. By that point I was in rehearsal while also simultaneously reeling from the family emergency, but I wanted to be there for Jameson first and foremost. An hour later he was in a recovery room, and an hour after that (after getting some anti-nausea and pain pills) he was discharged. A few hours later he was enjoying pizza while resting at home.
I was so, so relieved that everything went all right. Hopefully now he can go back to Life As Normal.
As for the family emergency, I do not want to discuss it at this time, please. If you are my friend on social media you are welcome to ask me about it in a private message. Otherwise just know that my family will need time to process things and get through this together. Posting to this blog is not going to be my priority, so there may be fewer updates for a while. Thank you for understanding.
Since some folks have already asked, YES I will be continuing the tour.
I know it looks like a fun paid vacation, but it is my only source of income, and I cannot afford to lose that at this time.
Because of all that's happened, I'm really not feeling up to posting much more about this week, although it was very nice show-wise. Everyone was extremely supportive and helpful as I dealt with the emergency while still having to sit through rehearsals (that was REALLY hard, but that is show business and I know what I signed up for.) On Saturday we had our first preview show, I thought it went very well with only a few small issues here and there, but we did not need to stop the show. It was great to have a small audience and hear their reactions and applause.
The venue gave us each a lovely gift bag with wonderful treats!
A "Tootsie" long-sleeved shirt; a bag of locally-made Buffalo bleu cheese popcorn; a little bottle of "Original Wing Sauce" from Anchor Bar, supposedly the birthplace of chicken wings; a little package of locally-made chocolate truffles; a Shea Theatre carrying case which contained a nice set of silverware and some metal straws, how considerate to include this for touring folks!; a little Band-Aid dispenser (I am surprised that I actually need this, I cut my finger while cooking this week!); and a Shea Theatre sticker. What a thoughtful gift! I'm so grateful that we get to start out in such a lovely city, in such a beautiful theatre.
On Sunday we have two more preview shows, and then our "opening night" party afterward.
If I am up for it I will post some pictures from that, but again, please be patient.
Thanks everyone. <3