Sunday, December 10, 2006

Back from the beyond...

This weekend has been intense, & at the moment I feel as though I'm back from a trip to another planet (although the floaty feeling could also be partly because I managed a nap this afternoon- I will try to be coherent through the floatiness...).

Yesterday's main goals were to get the dragon costume for the mummers play in wearable condition for today's rehearsal, have a japanese lesson, & get ourselves to a 5:00-7:00 pm choir rehearsal for today's holiday choir programme at church. It was not easy to switch gears all day long, with these wildly varied activites, & Brendan's Adventure Quest game definitely saved our sanity by giving him a thread of normalcy throughout the day.

I was responsible for the dragon costume part of Saturday's activities, & Charlie decided to take Brendan holiday shopping with him for his office staff while I sewed. The main enticement for Brendan was a visit to the best chocolate shop in town & they brought back goodies for lunch as well as presents :) I had made the body of the dragon this past week, but really needed to get the head put together so that the person in front could rehearse with it on, since I knew that it would be obscuring their vision somewhat- it just couldn't be helped. The dragon's head is essentially an earflap hat with an extended front peak that is the dragons' top jaw, complete with pointy teeth. In the end, I had to run clear monofilament thread from the nose to the top of the head to keep it from flopping down, but it works :) I found some iridescent fabric for the pupils of the eyes, & scraps of different colours of polar fleece for the rest of the facial features, which I appliqued on to the face. Pictures will be posted, probably next Sunday after the performance.

On to japanese... Charlie put out our weekly sentence for Tomoko to read (well, he found it in a guide book & I spelled it out for him in hiragana). It was supposed to be "Where does this train go?" but it turns out the guidebook was wrong & it really said "Is this the way to the train station?" (I had had my doubts about the first interpretation because I couldn't find the word for "where" in the sentence), so it was good to have Tomoko set him on track (no pun intended) with the proper meaning... my big question was what was Charlie going to do when somebody actually answered his question in japanese :) We decided the next phrase he needs to learn is" Talk to my kid, he understands japanese." **grin** The we got down to the task of teaching his kid (& me) japanese, which went a bit better this week. Brendan wasn't nearly as distractable as he's been for the past couple of weeks & even paid attention when we digressed into comparing notes on recent episodes of InuYasha & the evolution of InuYasha's brother Sesshomaru's character. We learned the japanese equivalent of "let sleeping dogs lie" (translates as "leave a fool as he is") & added some verbs to our repertoire.

After japanese I worked some more on the dragon while Brendan played AQ & Charlie went early to church to rehearse with the recorder quartet that will be playing for the mummer's play. I tried to plan things so that Brendan & I would have time for a snack before going to choir practise, but wanting to get the main dragon work done before we went to church, plus Brendan's late-afternoon "witching hour" conspired against me. We ended-up yelling at each other at one point, over a misunderstanding (I thought he was having some OCD issues about going to church for the rehearsal & panicked), but we sorted things out & were only a little late for rehearsal (& both managed to get some food as well). We sang hard for 2 hours while Brendan played AQ on the church computer, & left feeling pretty darn ready for the performance- always a good thing. The 3 of us when out for pizza afterward, since it was late for us, dinner-wise. Over dinner we caught Charlie up with our afternoon, & I lightly touched on our misunderstanding, following it up by saying "...but we were friends again by the time we left the house..." Brendan interjected, "Mom! We're more than just friends!" semi-indignantly & Charlie & I burst out laughing, then had to explain to him what "more than friends" can mean, which had the added amusement of grossing-out his 10-year-old sensibilities... After Brendan was in bed & asleep Charlie & I chatted about how he did that day. We can already see that he's less compulsive & ticcy, & we're really glad that we discontinued the luvox last week.

I had the dragon in good shape before bedtime, which allowed me a good night's sleep. I hauled out some of our travel duffel bags to carry it & few other costumes & props that needed to be rehearsed in, so the players could get the feel of them. It was hard to get in a singing mindset this morning, with the mummers rehearsal after church so much on my mind. Charlie told me that I should be "the director" for the rehearsal, since I have clear ideas about how the action should go, & that he'd do anything else that needed to be done (pay attention to sound/microphone issues, for example) & we put together a rough plan for the rehearsal so that no-one would have to sit around waiting for too long to rehearse their parts. When we got to church at 8:30 am I just stowed away the duffel bags under a pew & tried to get into singing mode. We were performing a varied programme- a couple pieces in french, one in latin, 2 familiar carols & a shape-note type song, so it was a challenge to switch vocal styles. Brendan happily shared the computer with our minister's son (who originally introduced him to AQ) while we rehearsed & I think Brendan really enjoyed learning some things about the game from him & teaching a few in turn. We made room for him in the pews reserved for the choir this morning & he got through the first part of the service pretty well, then was off to Sunday School while we stayed behind & performed with the choir during what is usually the sermon portion of the service. We all sang really well :) Before I knew it, it was time to rehearse the mummers play...

I tracked the various players down & gave them their scripts (I'd emailed them out earlier in the week so they could take a look beforehand) & they drifted back into the sanctuary. Although the whole Sunday School is part of it, we only needed the 2 older classes, playing sword dancers & the dragon, plus Brendan & one of his classmates who's playing the piano for the play to stay for the rehearsal. We got the sword dancers familiar with what they had to do (definitely a cat-herding exercise, but their energy made up for any lack of finesse :), & ran Santa through his lines so he could go. Then I suited-up the dragon, to much hilarity, & told them to walk around the church a bit & get used to the costume. We realised that we need an extra person (one of the kids wasn't there, but his mom has promised he'll be there next week) so we conscripted a friend to fill-out the dragon & then choreographed the battle between St. George & the dragon, with piano sound effects to underline the drama (& prevent anyone from actually having to make contact). It went really well, considering that the person in the front of the dragon (our goddaughter) really can't see much under the head, & the rest of the dragon can't see anything at all... Then we did the scene where Brendan, as the Quack Doctor, attempts to bring St. George back to life after his fatal encounter with the friendly sword-dancers (it's all a metaphor for the death of the old year & birth of the new). He had the dragon folks & other observers in stitches with the delivery of his lines & came up with a couple of great ad-libs. He dissolved into giggles at one point when the bottle of "medicine" he was trying to open wouldn't budge (note to self: find a different bottle). By the end of the run-through we were feeling good about it & all of our players had a sense of what they need to do next week. It was a lot of fun & I think that the timeless message of the play will be enhanced rather than diminished by the goofiness of the whole thing.

We got home to a late lunch (Brendan had a bagel during coffee hour & was the only one of the 3 of us who wasn't ravenous) & then Brendan & I watched some InuYasha while Charlie did some wrapping for Hannukah (this Friday!!) & went out to buy some more wrapping paper & dreidels for his Sunday School class (they are singing the dreidel song for the play & he wanted them all to have dreidels to hold up). Then Brendan went back to AQ & I took a nap. He & Charlie worked on a story they're writing (it's a secret... shhh!) & then Charlie made dinner while I was unconscious. When I finally woke up it was time for dinner & to get used to the idea that the weekend was nearly over & Brendan's last full week of school before the holidays is about to commence... amazing...

I don't think I've been so busy at holiday time since the year Brendan was born & I hadn't re-structured my present-buying strategies to accomodate a baby... Unlike that fiasco, though, this is feeling possible (heck, it's being possible). There has been some stress & I have found myself laying in bed at odd hours imagining ways to attach dragon spines & wings without them flopping all over the place (this week's task- embellish the dragon). But it's also been family time- rehearsing Brendan's lines for the play with him, doing our regular japanese lesson & helping dad with his japanese, going out to dinner together after rehearsal, today's rehearsal with him as an integral part of the play. Most years, this close to the holidays, I have had my usual bout of holiday depression & had a hard time shaking it off sufficiently to enjoy the seasonal revving-up going on around me. Christmas was the most difficult time of year when I was growing up- my father was most likely to abuse alcohol & us during the holidays & the one-day blowout of Christmas was just too much for me to enjoy, particularly when under the stress of walking on eggshells around dad. Charlie & I have done many intentional things to change how we celebrate the holidays so that our holidays don't bring up bad/sad memories, but every year I have a lot of residual pain & succumb to depression & anxiousness at some point, although having Brendan around has made it easier to shake off the depression each year. This year, the busyness has kept it at bay even more, which has been a pleasant surprise. And although we're busy, as I said, we're doing so much of it together that it feels like fun, purposeful activity rather than frantic escape from pain. There's a lesson in here somewhere- I hope I learn enough of it to be useful in the future :)

1 Comments:

At 11:18 PM, Blogger Kristina Chew said...

Holidays come with all sorts of memories for me and I try (as you do, so consistently!) to keep things upbeat for Charlie----he has helped us make so many new, and very good, memories.

The dragon must be something to behold!

 

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