Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

Today, I am Superwoman. I am wearing so many hats that you can’t even see my head. I am mother supreme, I am master baker, I am prolific author, I am seamstress extraordinaire, and I am professional chanteuse. Fortunately, I am also an organizational whiz, otherwise I would never get everything done that needs doing today.

Ryan has been a bit clingy and whiny over the past few days, so he’s claiming a bit more attention than he otherwise might. And since he’s had a few babysitters lately and will be having a bunch more next week, I feel the need to give him extra cuddles and snuggles to reassure him that Mommy isn’t going anywhere. I want to be certain he feels secure and loved, even more so than usual. (Daddy would probably say I’m spoiling him a bit and he’s just fine – which of course he is – but that’s why babies have Mommies AND Daddies.) So instead of just letting him whine in his playpen for a few hours while I get other things done, I’m spending a lot more time playing with him, sitting and reading with him, and just generally keeping him company.

Next on the list is my one make-ahead item for Thanksgiving dinner: Parker House rolls. I love Parker House rolls. No, that’s not exactly true. I ADORE Parker House rolls. I could probably live for a week, quite happily, on nothing but Parker House rolls. And I have fond childhood memories of having Parker House rolls at family get-togethers like Easter, Christmas, birthdays, and of course, Thanksgiving. So since the pies are being contributed by various family members, I decided the one thing I’d make completely from scratch for Thanksgiving dinner (I’m not counting heating the veggies or gravy or even cooking the turkey or making the stuffing – there’s very little culinary finesse involved in those) would be a batch of fresh Parker House rolls. Making these rolls is not especially difficult, but it is time-consuming. And not just time-consuming, but time-dependent, since there are long pauses while the dough rises but when it’s ready, it has to be dealt with NOW! (Motherhood has prepared me well for that kind of demand, actually.) So as soon as Ryan went down for his nap, I went to work scalding and measuring and kneading. And providing that Ryan’s nap schedule cooperates (ha!), I should be able to get in the next step right before he wakes up from his nap and starts demanding his lunch.

And until that stage is reached, I have a few minutes to get my blog going. I often think about ideas for a blog entry at random times of the day or night, as something strikes me. Sometimes I even lie in bed at night, mentally composing the next day’s blog. (Sometimes I even remember them the next morning!) And then some days, I sit in front of a blank Word document and discover that my mind is just as devoid of ideas as the screen in front of me. Fortunately, most of the time all I need to do is mentally review the previous day and there’s something that Ryan did that is fertile material for a blog entry. And today was one of those days when I did have a nervous moment staring at the screen – but even while I was staring, my inside voice was reminding me, “You need to check the rolls! You need to finish that hem! You need to memorize your lyrics!” And I knew what today’s blog would be. So here I am, inviting all of you into the glorious chaos that is my life.

If by some chance I manage to finish this entry and the rolls aren’t ready for the next step and Ryan is still napping, I’ll have a chance to jump back into my role as seamstress. As many of you who know me personally are aware, for the past few years (with the exception of last year, when I was kind of busy with a new baby), Herb and I have performed in the Reagle Music Theatre’s annual Christmas production, “It’s ChristmasTime!” This is a wonderful show that I look forward to every year. Herb and I first performed in the show together when we were just dating, so it will always have a special place in my heart. But aside from that, it is a show full of wonderful performers who are also my dear friends, and it is a show full of wonderful Christmas music, both familiar and a bit less common. And it is a delightfully festive way to begin the Christmas season, both for the audience and for the performers. The interesting thing for the performers is that every year, the cast is a mix of new performers and cast members who have done the show for ten, fifteen, even twenty or more years. It’s a joy to us veterans to watch the newbies flounder but then find their feet, to recall our own moments of terror and feeling of unpreparedness, and to reassure them that no-one will notice if they sing the wrong words, and that if they forget where to go next someone will nudge them into the right spot.

But part of the challenge in having so many newcomers in the cast is that they all have to somehow get costumes. Reagle has a pretty extensive stock of costumes, but there is still a limited number of sizes to fit an unlimited number of various-sized bodies. Which means that there are always piles of last-minute alterations. A skirt to be hemmed here, a vest to be let out there, a zipper to be mended, a hook to be re-stitched, a pulled seam to be re-sewn. So after last night’s rehearsal, I found myself heading home with a stack of costumes needing little mends and tweaks. I spent last night taking my seam ripper to this and my needle and thread to that, digging through my sewing box for a length of fabric in the right shade of brown or a hook the right size to fit an existing loop. And this morning most of the pile was still remaining, so while Ryan is either dozing upstairs or curiously peering over the playpen wall to see what I’m doing, I’ll be continuing to sew up a storm until everything in the “to be done” pile is finally in the “done” pile.

The reason that I need to get it all into the done pile today is that we have one more rehearsal tonight, and I need to deliver everything to their rightful owners in case any more tweaks are needed. Which means that as well as finishing all my sewing, I need to polish up my own music. It’s amazing how much two years and having a baby can dissolve blocking and lyrics out of a person’s brain. But I have no doubt that a few more run-throughs and it’ll all be back in my head. (And if it’s not, I’m sure some of the 20-year veterans will nudge me back into the correct spot.)

Hm, did I remember everything? Oh wait – I forgot to put eating on the schedule. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll make up for any missed meals on Thanksgiving Day.

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