Monday, February 24, 2014

"I'm Back in the Saddle Again"

Well, I don't know what happened or why it happened and I don't know how to fix it, but it appears I can no longer use Google Chrome as my browser.  I switched from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome some time ago because Google basically told me I had to, because IE wasn't supported by Google Chrome (whatever that means exactly).  So, being a girl who usually does what I am told, I switched.  And it worked fine.  I even really liked some of the features of Chrome a lot better than IE.  I thought I was set.

And I was....for a couple of years.....but it all fell apart last week when suddenly Google Chrome started acting really weird, doing things it had never done before and refusing (so to speak) to do things it had always done.  I tried (within the limitations of my minuscule knowledge of things to try) to get Google to work right, but no, but no! 

So I went back to Internet Explorer as my browser and voila "I'm Back in the Saddle Again."  I seem to be able to connect to things, and link to things, and navigate among the sites I visit.  I've lost  some of the things from Google Chrome that I liked, but I'll get over that.

Thus I am back!  At least for the moment.  I do, however, have a feeling that I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It won't surprise me if, at some time in the not too distant future, I will be forced to change browsers again.  So many people seem to use the newer browsers like Firefox and others. There must be a reason why!  I won't change unless I have to, but if I encounter more road blocks to the Internet highway, I will switch over to my third browser without hesitation.

Anybody have  recommendations or comments about the other browsers??   At this point I just want something that's not too difficult to change to, and is reasonably user-friendly.  Your thoughts??

But for now, I'm back and I am much relieved to have figured out a way to stay in touch with the computer (and Blogger) world!

Saturday, February 22, 2014


This is my third attempt to post something today.  I'm having real "Trouble" with Blogger, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer.  I can't connect to any link after whatever is my first choice.  I've been trying to figure this out for two days.  Soooo Annoying!!  It's annoying because I don't have a clue what I'm doing, why this happened, or how to fix it.  When things have happened in the past with my PC, I just muddled around until I found someway to make it work.......which probably didn't "fix" anything!

I'm trying to sort it out, but I probably won't  be able to get back to normal postings for hours.......days........months...........years??????

I'm going to try to post this through this site (which I just happened to stumble upon).....crossing my fingers!

Friday, February 21, 2014

"Call Me"

Did I tell you that I got an IPhone for Christmas?  After years and years of carrying around telecommunication dinosaurs (First, an old cell phone that I had for years, then one of the Big Guy's abandoned flip phones), I finally decided I needed to step into the 21st century and get a
weather station/
message center/
photo album/
......oh, and phone!   
So Mikey and M-t-G jointly decided to "give" me the phone of my choice.  Mikey would pay for it and M-t-G would teach me how to use it!  After a quick introductory tour into the world of IPhones from Ratchlet, I decided to get an IPhone 5c.  As a special deal from Best Buy, I was able to get the phone and sign up for a Verizon service plan.  Interestingly enough, they gave me the phone for free.  I realize that Verizon makes their money on the ongoing monthly payments, but neither Best Buy nor Apple got a dime from me, while I got the newest version of the Apple IPhone.  That seems illogical to me, but I guess there is money changing hands behind the scenes among the three companies. So if they are okay with it, who am I to judge?

It came as no surprise that there was no actual written instruction manual included in the IPhone materials.  I guess there is one on-line, but basically one has to depend on "the kindness of strangers" or friends or family to figure out how to make the thing work.  M-t-G did, in fact, spend several hours helping me to set up the IPhone and she showed me a lot of "tricks," and that definitely got me up and running.   Still,  I am definitely a "techno-dweeb," so, even with M-t-G's help,  I pretty much expected there would be a rather protracted period of adjustment.

Most of it is pretty easy if one is already familiar with a computer, but there are a few things that take a bit of getting used to.  For example, I have mistakenly called people from my contact list multiple times, because I can't seem to consistently remember the right steps to delete calls from the log.  I usually catch it before it actually connects to anyone, but when I don't catch it soon enough, its embarrassing to admit that I STILL don't know what I'm doing on the dumb thing! (Okay, okay the phone isn't's the user [that would be me] who doesn't seem to be quite with the program!)

There is another thing that I find really annoying.  Sometimes it seems that all I have to do is breathe on the screen and it will connect me to something that I'm not wanting to connect to, or move where I don't want it to move, or change something I didn't want to change!  Other times I'm tempted to get a hammer to pound on the various icons or arrows or whatevers because hitting them with my finger or even a stylus just doesn't seem to work!  How come it's so sensitive sometimes but other times it just flat out ignores whatever I'm trying to do??

And then there is typing!  It is very convenient to have access to email and the Internet from almost anywhere, but it surely isn't always easy to create a message.  I spent 40+ years working as a secretary/executive assistant and believe me, I knew how to type!  I believe my standard typing speed was somewhere around 70-75 words a minute when I was working full time.  Well, not anymore....and certainly not on my IPhone!  Obviously, one cannot type in the tried and true method of touch typing that I learned many moons ago!  Not on that teeny little keypad!  I've tried to do the 2-thumb approach that all the young people seem to use, but I'm just not that coordinated I guess.....every time I try to type with my thumbs, I drop the IPhone!!  This is not a good thing. (Luckily it always dropped into my lap, so there was no damage done, but that won't last forever!) Using a hunt-and-peck approach leads to a lot of errors, so I don't even try to do a longer multiple paragraph email on the IPhone.  It is just enormously easier to send such messages from the computer, but that kind of defeats the whole purpose!!  For Valentine's Day Mikey gave a darling gadget which incorporated a stylus, a monogrammed heart, a sparkly little butterfly, and a "bungee cord".  The cord plugs into the phone and stretches sufficiently to use on the keyboard. It works well!  Besides which it's kind of fun to add a little bling to the process.  (He also gave similar ones to Ratchlet and to M-t-G.....)  Having that stylus helps quite a bit!

I've decided that I like my IPhone.  It is very helpful to have access to all the different apps from just about anywhere.  On the whole it is more positive than negative and I think it will get better as I get more adept at using it.

Ironically, one of the main reasons I decided I needed to move into using this century's technology, was that frequently people I know would say, "I'll text or message you." When that happened I had to explain that I didn't do text or messages because I had a dinosaur phone.  As you all probably know, trying to type from a telephone keypad is possible but oh, so, tedious and frustrating.  I knew I needed to update my phone skills in this way, or I would be left behind in the dust.   So now you can "Call Me" or text me or message me and I will get it AND will be able to answer!! Cool, huh?? The irony comes in because in the six weeks I have had the IPhone, I have only received two text messages!  I guess there wasn't any urgency after all!

Still, now, after all these years, I'm finally one of the cool kids!  How about that?!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Green, Green"

I didn't write this.  I wish I had!  But anyone over the age of 50-55 will remember doing some of these things.  The older set (my contemporaries and up) will remember doing most of them.  The world when I was a child was a lot simpler, but darn, we took care of a lot of things automatically, without even thinking  about it overmuch.  But there are always those who want to make things easier! Eventually those "easier" ways came along.  Sadly, it took a long time for society to realize that those "easier" ways generally required the use of more technology, more power, more time, more complexity, ended up costing more, took longer and didn't actually make much easier at  all!  And now there are those who want to blame their parents' and grandparents' generations for all the waste and harm to the environment.  

I copied....borrowed....stole this from a magazine some months ago.  Says it much more clearly than I could.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?
And if you are one of the younger set who like to think that previous generations willfully and consciously screwed up the world, we did not!  You'd better keep in mind....We don't much like being old in the first place; and it really doesn't take much to piss us off.   So. Back. Off!   We were doing our version of "Green, Green" before you were ever born!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"This Little Girl of Mine"

I am a typical grandmother.  I am absolutely crazy about my granddaughter.  She has always been smart, funny, witty, and clever.  She is special in so many ways.  Those of you who have followed along with the Musings for a while. probably read about her entrance into the world as a preemie (a tiny preemie!) and her encounter with Hepatablastoma (a malignant tumor on the liver) at the age of 3 1/2.  She came through both of those experiences with flying colors and earned the title of Our Miracle Baby because of them.  And now at two months shy of her 13th birthday, she is a completely healthy and a pretty  normal pre-teen.  She loves to read.  She plays violin in her school's Symphony Orchestra. She's a Girl Scout.  We are very proud of all of her accomplishments in the last 12 years.

Like most kids she has a few things she struggles with.  She has a temper, she gets frustrated easily, she is interested in a gazillion different things, she doesn't like being the center of attention (but she's getting better at it).  She is a huge Dr. Who fan (and I mean HUGE) along with a group of her friends.  When she's cranky, she is world-class cranky!!  She is an individual who follows her own drummer and does things according to her own time schedule.  

She's a great and unique kid and we love spending time with her (when she's not cranky!!  lol!)

I mentioned that she is smart.  We've known that for a long time.  I could give you multiple examples of things she has done and how great her grades have been.  She attends a magnet Middle School with am academic program for bright kids.  She is now in the second half of the seventh grade and she is doing just great.  She loves the school and finds it challenging but not impossible.  They seem to have enormous amounts of homework, and all the kids complain, but they get it done.  That's okay, kids always complain about homework and the older you get the more there is!  

Okay, there you have it...."This Little Girl of Mine" (okay, she's OUR girl) our granddaughter, is Maddie-the-Great and we love her to pieces, just like every grandparent feels about their grandchildren.  We don't love her because of her gifts.  We love her because of who she is!

Nevertheless, there are times when her special-ness stands out in a way that is hard to miss.  For instance.....

Duke University (along with several other colleges and universities around the country) has a program for identifying academically gifted kids and offering them opportunities to attend special summer courses exploring all sorts of fields and topics.  The way they identify these kids (at least in Texas) is by having high scorers on the Texas STAR test are given the opportunity to take the S.A.T.s while they are in 7th or 8th Grades.  Yes, that's right, they take  the regular S.A.T. exams when they are in the 7th or 8th grade, right along with the regular administration of the tests to high school juniors and seniors!  7th graders are 12-13; juniors and seniors are 17-19 that's 4-5 more years of maturing and schooling  received!  The 7th graders take the exact same test, which is scored in the exact same way.

And then they wait for the results.  So, as you might have figured out (because you are pretty bright too!!  LOL!), Maddie-the-Great was one of the kids to take the test back in January.  

Just to be clear, there is no penalty involved if the child doesn't do well.  The test results do NOT stay on the record if their score is below a certain level.  There is no stigma attached, after all they are only 12!  Most kids don't take the S.A.T.s for several more years.  No pressure to do well, no embarrassment, no bad consequences.  Participation is completely voluntary.

Okay, so M-t-G was one of the 7th graders.  She was pretty relaxed about it given the circumstances and the lack of "expectations" both at school and at home.  When she talked with us after the test she said that the Math was kind of hard, but the rest wasn't too bad.  She felt okay about the test.  Good!

The sponsors of the program, Duke and other schools, offer two levels of summer offerings for these kids depending on their test results.  "The Academy" offers classes to the kids that rank in the top 5% of participants' scores.  "The Center" offers classes to the kids who have the highest academic achievement scores.....that's all it says.....just the "highest"....I think these are the uber-smart, almost genius level kids, but it doesn't exactly say that. 

Last Thursday they got the results.  Maddie scored a 500 in Math, 520 in Writing, and 580 in critical reading, which puts her solidly in The Academy group....the top 5% of her peers!!  That gives her a composite of 1600....1500 is the average score for High School Juniors who take the SATs!!!

Just like any grandparent I am very proud of her ability and how well she did.  That's nothing new!  But now when I say, she's pretty smart, she's got the SAT scores to prove it and she got them at  age 12! 

"This Little Girl of Mine(/Ours)" did it again!!   Maddie-the-Great, indeed!

(In the interest of complete disclosure, I did not do extensive research on this program.  But this is what Ratchlet and Maddie said and I sort of confirmed it on Duke's website.  So I'm pretty sure I got it right, but I could be off a bit.)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Stealing

It's been a while, so maybe you'll forgive me for indulging in yet ANOTHER meme all about me!!   LOL!

Sunday Stealing: The Books Meme

1:Favorite children's book?   

Absolutely love Winnie the Pooh even though I didn't discover it until I was in my teens!  (Thanks, Flossie!)

2:What is the next book you plan to read?    

I just got "The Last Original Wife" by Dorothea Benton Frank.

3:Books on your "to read" list?  

I generally don't keep a list.  If a book interests me, I'll buy it and read it right away.

4:Top 5 authors?   

My current favorites, in no particular order --  Robyn Carr, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Emily Richards, Kristen Hannah, and Jacqueline Druga.  Over the years there have been many, many more.

5:Favorite genres?   

Women's Fiction, Science Fiction, Humor (Again this is currently. There have been others over time.)

6:Do you have multiple books in process or just one at a time?  

Usually have 3 or 4 going at once.  

7:A book that you've cried over?   

I cried every time I have re-read "Little Women".  Must be about 20 times by now!

8:A book that made you laugh out loud?  

"The Princess Bride"  I laughed out loud on practically every page!  Funniest book I've ever read.

9:Fiction or nonfiction?    

Reality is full of non-fiction!  When I read, I want happy endings!!   FICTION!!

10:First book you've read by your favorite author?  

I don't have just one favorite author.  And generally when I find an author I like, I will try to read everything they've written, so it's difficult to remember what came first.

11:Best book-to-movie adaptation?  

I will not usually see a movie adaptation of a book I liked because they are rarely even half as good.  I did, however, like the movie of Leon Uris', "Exodus", but that was mostly because they cast Paul Newman in the role of Ari Ben Canaan.  Perfection!   :)

12:Do you read comics/manga?  

You're kidding, right??  I'm a little beyond comics!

13:Hardcovers or Paperbacks?   

Or Kindle!!  Yes to all three!

14:Do you buy books as soon as they come out or wait a while?  

For certain authors I will even order them pre-release!

15:Do you buy books spontaneously without any prior knowledge of what happens in it?  

Generally not, I need at least a short synopsis before I decide to buy. 

16:Have you ever bought a book based on the cover alone?   

Hate to admit it, but yes!

17:Where do you usually buy your books?  

Amazon, Goodwill, Half-Priced Books, Costco, garage sales, Barnes and Noble, flea markets, drug stores......I'm not picky!

18:Book that had a strong impact on you?   

There have been so many...."Anne Frank --  the Diary of a Young Girl," "Atlas Shrugged,"  "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Exodus," "Time and Again."

19:Historical or science fiction?   

Science Fiction....(but definitely NOT fantasy).

20:Dystopian or Utopian?  

Dystopian  (I'm going through a phase!)

21:Once you start to read a book, do you feel compelled to finish it?   

Heavens NO!  If a book does not capture my interest after about 30 pages, I stop reading it!  If I don't like a book even after reading more of it, I stop reading it!  .   There are too many wonderful books out there to waste my time on something I don't like!!

22:What genres do you refuse to read?   

horror, porn, graphical violence, among others.

23:How many books do you own?   

Hundreds (over the course of my life, it might have been thousands.)  I have to periodically purge otherwise my house would have no room for furniture!!

24:Do you go the library?  

Not so much anymore, because of the ease of finding things to read among e-books.

25:How many books do you read a year?  

Since I retired it has usually been around 275-300 a year on average. (I'm a fast reader!)

26:Do enjoy reading the "Classics"?    

Not usually.

27:Do you ever re-read a book?  

I will often re-read a book I loved.   It's like visiting an old friend!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Old Friends"

I am very fortunate, well, for a lot of different reasons, but the one I am speaking of right now is that I am very fortunate to have several "Old Friends" that I have always considered to be my BFFs (Best Friend Forever)!  There is Janie, whom I've known since the third grade -- my childhood BFF; then there is Flossie, my BFF from high school and beyond; after that came Cathy --  not only my BFF from my middle years, but also my music making BFF; and about a year or so ago, I met T (actually Tamara) when we were in a show together.  She quickly became my new BFF and is also one of the partners in our new theatrical venture...."The Hourglass Players".  Not very many people can say they have four best friends so I feel very blessed!

My first two BFFs are basically the same age as I am (give or take a few months), the other two are about 8-12 years younger.   All four of them became my friends because of some shared interests, shared experiences, mutual respect, and we share an ability to laugh together!  Janie lives in Arkansas and has been married for 45+ years, Flossie is in Florida, married late then divorced just a few years later and just married again this last summer,  Cathy is in Chicago and married her hubby twice (it's a long story), and T lives here in the Austin area and has been married for around 35 years (I think), And of course, there is me, living in Austin and coming up on 48 years of marriage to the Big Guy,

Interestingly enough, none of them know any of the others and they are vastly different from each other.  But for whatever reason, some twist of fate brought them into my life and they each fill a part of my soul with friendship that I treasure unconditionally.  

We are the kind of friends who understand each other, support each other, laugh together, cry together.  We can be open and honest with each other.  We can even disagree and argue a bit, but it doesn't affect the friendship at all.  We accept each other for who we games, no backstabbing, no unmet expectations.  I know that I could contact any of them in the middle of the night if I needed to and they would be ready to listen, give help and comfort for what ever reason.   I can count on them and conversely they know that they can expect the same from me! That is what makes them my best friends.

I may have mentioned that I don't have tons of friends, at least not as many as a lot of people seem to have.  It is usually difficult for me to make new friends. I'm not sure exactly why that is so, but it is.  According to Facebook, I have 103 friends and they are spread all over the country and are of many different backgrounds and lifestyles, I've known some of them for years and years through work or theatre or some other interest.  Others I really don't know well, but I like them and want to stay in touch.  Still others are little more than acquaintances.   That's why being able to say that I have FOUR best friends is downright amazing to me!

They are the type of friends who you might not see for long stretches of time.  Nevertheless, when we do manage to get together, it's as if we'd never been apart.  That is a wonderful feeling to have about special people in your life.

Fortunately all of us appear to be in reasonably good health, good physical condition, and fully present in our minds and in our lives.  This is extremely important to me.  I want them all to stick around forever, because I sure can't even imagine not having any of them in my life.

When they each received the designation of Best Friend Forever, I meant exactly that....Forever Friends.  And so far, our forevers have lasted a good long time and I am deeply grateful and happy to be able to say that I hope our forevers go on a whole lot longer!

The only real complaint I have about my four BFFs, is that none of them regularly read Mellodee Musings!!   In fact, I don't think a couple of them have ever even seen it!  Silly girls.........I mean, really!!  Of course, they all already know just about everything there is to know about me, so I guess its okay.  Still, wish they'd show up here once in a while!

Otherwise, how will these "Old Friends" ever know how very much they mean to me?     :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

"Life Upon the Wicked Stage" Part Two

Okay, on to Part Two.....

As I said yesterday, I decided to see if I could put together a small group of theatre friends who approach community theatre in the same way I do....with a commitment to quality, pushing to make productions the best we can do, and presenting plays that are varied and interesting.....and most of all, entertaining!

So I talked to five individuals that I had met through the problematic theatre group.  Each of us has had years and years of theatre experience of various sorts.  Each was knowledgeable and talented and loved theatre.  Unfortunately, we all had encountered mounting frustrations in trying to produce a quality product despite the inherent roadblocks the group continually uses to keep tight control of their "vision."  Four of us had worked together on a romantic comedy a year or so before and the fifth had worked on several shows there but had left the group because of her frustrations.  I knew their standards were good ones and we agreed to explore the possibility of starting a group of our own.

We had several planning and discussion meetings trying to identify what exactly we wanted to do.  At first I was fearful that we wouldn't be able to come to a consensus on something we could all support and be involved in..... everybody had their own opinions on what type of group we should strive to be.  Should we be a regular community theatre that eventually presented a couple of shows a year aimed toward a broad range of audiences?  Should we focus on a specific type of play (comedy, musical, drama....?)  Should we be a for-profit or not-for-profit group?  Should we try for traditional or go for new or unfamiliar plays?   Or should we try to do something new and least new and different to us?

After a couple of meetings one of the original five realized she just didn't have the time or inclination to devote to such a large undertaking right now so, after wishing us well, she pulled out.  And so we were four.

As we talked we began to hone in on a concept that did not exist in the Austin area....Senior Theatre!  This is a type of endeavor that is springing up all over the country as the senior population is growing every day.  There is not, however, any one model that is being utilized.  There are many different companies that operate under the "Senior Theatre" umbrella, but each group is structured differently, with a different focus, a different target audience, a different approach, and a different concept.

We ultimately decided that we would make our group a traveling theatre company which would focus our attention on residences that are set up for the over 50 population.  Some of these residences are independent living facilities, some are more assisted living, and so on all the way to skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes.  In each of these facilities there is a range among the residents who have mobility issues that come from their declining visual, hearing, physical , and cognitive abilities.  We decided that we would go to them!!

So we are official now.  We are an Incorporated, not-for-profit, traveling company of actors who will (at least at first) develop a repertoire of fairly short one-act plays with small casts and limited set needs. Hopefully we will be able to contract with various facilities to present entertainment programs of 2 or 3 one-act plays that would appeal (we hope) to senior audiences.  Our company currently consists of Jo R., Geoff R., Tamara F. and me.  We expect that we will add performers as needed as time goes by.  We have named ourselves The Hourglass Players and we have adopted a logo (so that makes us official!)
The Hourglass Players
(A Senior Theatre Traveling Troupe)

As it stands the four of us have chosen, cast, and rehearsed four one-act plays each about 15-20 minutes long.  We had our first performance about two weeks ago at a lovely senior resident apartment complex.  Their facility is terrific and includes an actual theatre!  We presented two of our plays...."Lost" and "The Hotel Lobbyist" to an audience of almost forty people.

 The Hotel Lobbyist 
 by Bara Swain 
A recently widowed former political activist and her conservative daughter meet in a hotel lobby, where the mother has handcuffed herself to a chair!  They proceed to argue about whether the mother will agree to live in a retirement facility as her daughter hopes.....or will remain independent and continue to live in the same home she shared with her late husband for 47 years!

by Mary Louise Wilson

Two women of a certain age, roommates and best friends since child-hood, try to head out for an evening at the theater. Unfortunately, they each seem to have a bit of trouble remembering things.....things
like their keys, glasses, shoes, where they are going,
and especially, how to get there! 

 Both are comedies, and as it happens, I was in both of them.  We introduced ourselves to the audience and gave some information on our backgrounds and what our goals for the group were.  We made it clear this was our debut performance and was, in some respects a "test."  Both plays were very well-received and we had an open discussion with the audience at the end of the evening to gauge the audience's reactions and opinions on what we had done and what our plan for the future was.

They were extremely supportive of our effort and the general consensus was that they liked us and they hoped we would come again.  That was gratifying and very much a relief!!

So we are off and running.  We have another performance scheduled at a different retirement community in March.  We will be working on seeking out other venues where we might be able to bring our company for their entertainment.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the four of us are committed to making this a success.   At this point we have no funding from any source other than our own investment into the company.  The reality is that like any business endeavor there will be expenses to meet, such as royalty fees, administrative costs, prop and set expenses, and so on.   In fact, we are accepting (and very grateful for) any and all donations (which, as we are a not-for-profit corp., are tax-deductible) from our friends, families, and interested parties.  If by chance any of you would like to help us in our start-up efforts, we'd be ever so grateful!  Please contact me via email and I'll tell you how to make a donation:  

I will most likely be sharing updates on our progress and experiences trying to make the Hourglass Players a viable, well-respected, effective and  fun theatre company for the senior set!  Over time as we proceed we will be open to adjustments in our mission or exactly what we do.  But right now, we are very excited about all the possibilities and looking forward to returning to "Life Upon the Wicked Stage."

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

P.S.  I'd love to hear your opinions or suggestions on our project.  So, what do you think??

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Life Upon the Wicked Stage"

The last couple of months I have been working on a project with two of my theatre friends here in the Austin area.  It all started as a result of my frustrations with the community theatre group that I have worked with on and off since 2003.  I had hit the point of pulling out of the group once before and was not involved with them for about five years.  But then,  because I missed theatre so much, I went back.

I acted in several productions, directed four productions, and tried to be as supportive of the group as possible.   I had sworn years and years ago back in Chicago that I wouldn't be a Board member ever again, but through a series of odd events, I ended up on the Board of Directors and I was even President for a year.

The group has a core set of people who have a completely different set of concepts and beliefs about theatre than I do, but I really tried to adjust and not make waves.  Unfortunately, eventually too many conflicts over the years, just wore me down to a frazzle.  The approach of this core group (most of whom were founding members) was fully 180 degree opposite of all my previous experience at over 20 different groups in Chicago and California.  Their whole approach to theatre sounds good, but in reality they are inflexible, behind the times, and do not know how to generate loyalty or camaraderie.  They do not understand the concept of pushing for the best quality productions possible.

That made it all extremely frustrating, because not only were these people inflexible about what they would or would not allow to happen in the group, they were just flat out wrong.  The group has lost many, many talented theatre people over the years, who refused to work with the group a second or third time and were never seen nor heard from again!  I was struggling along trying to fit with the core group, but finally a few months ago it was made very clear to me that they really didn't want me as part of the group.  So once again, I hit that wall and decided I couldn't keep banging my head against an intractable wall of stupidity, self-serving, and bad standards.  So again I walked away.

I won't try to fight them anymore.  I will support the friends I had made there (there were a few), but I won't try to participate anymore.  It just isn't worth it.  No arguments, no disagreements, no major scenes, no more trying to drag them into this century, I just won't  audition or apply to direct.  As came as absolutely no surprise to me, not one of that core group acknowledged in any way that I was even gone!   Of course, that just confirmed I had done the right thing!

Now as just a little bit more background, the availability of community theatre in this area is extremely limited.  There are really only three or four groups in addition to the problem group.  The others are all unsuitable to me for various legitimate reasons....everything from too far away from where I live,  to groups which perform strictly new or avant garde plays and that is truly not my cup of tea.  I like traditional, interesting plays that make audiences feel.

Well, after I pulled away I, of course, missed doing theatre almost immediately.  You see, the bottom line is I love theatre.  I love acting, directing, rehearsing, making new theatre friends and I have loved it so much I have been doing it for 30+ years.  When I'm not involved, I miss it desperately!  And the reality is that as I "mature" there are fewer and fewer years ahead.  Right now I'm still healthy and active and able. Who knows when it just won't be possible anymore!

It occurred to me that it was foolish to waste whatever future I have, not doing what I love.  If I couldn't find another group to work with, maybe it was time to explore the possibilities of creating a new group -- a group made up of like-minded theatre folk (of which there are many!) to do theatre Our Way!  All I had to do was find them!

The rest of the story will come tomorrow..........

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