Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I know I've been MIA from here for awhile but I didn't want to let 2011 end without one final blog post.  I've been pretty proud of all the posts I've written in the past year.  I like this blog and want to keep in up in 2012.  For now, I just want to wish you all a wonderful 2012 filled with joy, love, peace and happiness.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 18 - A Song with the best lyrics

I've never seen a stage production of this show.  The Raven in Healdsburg is doing it in January so I will get to see that one.  The movie, however, is so great.  I've listened to this soundtrack hundreds of times.  They lyrics to this just kill me.


 Cell Block Tango from CHICAGO  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 17 - A Song with the best music.

 Tonight from WEST SIDE STORY  - i don't think I need to say anything else.



Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 16 - A song from your least favourite musical, by your favourite composer.

Hate this musical.  Hate it.  This song is ok.  Just ok.  Being Alive/COMPANY/STEPHEN SONDHEIM







Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 15 A song by your favourite musical composer.

Can you tell I love Stephen Sondheim?  SEND IN THE CLOWNS from  A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC.   I loved this song long before I even knew who Stephen Sondheim was.  One of my all time favorite songs ever.  This is the magnificent Judy Densch performing it.  ENJOY!!!






Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 14 A song from the musical you haven't listened to (or seen) in a while

Miss Saigon was the first musical I worked on at the Raven - my first in Sonoma county actually.  I worked backstage.  It wasn't a show I was at all familiar with and actually never saw the first act from the audience.  This song - BUI DOI grbbed my attention and it's my favorite song from the show.  I think I need to pull out my cast recording and give it a little listen to.  


This rendition isn't from a production of Miss Saigon.  It's a police officer.  So good.   








Friday, November 11, 2011

In Flanders Fields



IN FLANDERS FIELDS


by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I grew up reciting and memorizing this poem every year on what Canadians call Remembrance Day.  It is so haunting.  It is a true piece of Canadiana.  It is a huge part of the memories of my childhood school years.We also went to the cemetery with poppy wreaths to lay on the graves of soldiers.  The bagpipes would play, the faces were solemn and we wore  poppies on our coats with pride.  In Canada most people make a donation and receive a poppy which they wear with pride in the days leading up to and on November 11th.  I have one stuck to my bulletin board in my scrap studio.   I'm going out and about tonight.  I think I'll put it on.  Here in the U.S. they may not know what it means but I'll enlighten them.
Just a bit of history about the poem.  
During the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. An exploding German artillery shell landed near him. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.
As the brigade doctor, John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away somewhere else on duty that evening. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Redneck Wine Glass

Norm recently went on a trip to Arkansas to see his dad.  He called to say he had bought me a great gift and couldn't wait to give it to me.  When he got home he handed it to me with pride in his voice and said, "I hope you like it."  I just about laughed myself silly when I took it out of the bag. This is the description of it at Amazon:


"Break out the hooch and sip in bumpkin style! Not just for the good ole boys, this here redneck wine glass says “yahoo!” for the mason jar and heck yeah for the hillbilly honor! Crafted from a genuine Ball mason jar and fancied with a dang good looking stem, these mason jar wine glasses are terrific for white lightening, your favorite brew, or a nice glass of that there red wine! With the screw-on lid in place, simply tighten the lid for a break. Redneck mason jar wine glass measures 9” and holds 12oz. Hand wash only."


BEST. GIFT. EVER!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 12 A song you could listen to all day.

We Beseech Thee from GODSPELL  is one of my all time favorite songs from a musical.  Godspell is the first theater production I got involved in after a long theater hiatus when my kids were growing up.  It was 1998 and I jumped in with both feet.   I was the costume designer as well as the light and sound tech.  It is on my short list to direct someday.  It is coming back to Broadway on Monday, November 7th.  It's a whole new updated version.  It looks fabulous.  You can find out more about it here


I found 2 versions of the song - one very traditional
and then this one which i just love

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Creating in action

This is my scrap studio in the midst of a creating frenzy.  My mojo has been flowing lately and this is the result.  
And yes it's small - just 8 feet from the edge of the white dressers to the window and 6 1/2 feet from side to side.  What's not visible is a HUGE closet  which houses even more scrappy treasures.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Explosion box swap

This is an explosion box I made for my partner on My Scrap Room.  I got the pattern from a YT video by Laura Dennison of Follow The Paper Trail.  The sides and flaps are all made from envelopes.  I pulled paper from my stash and made all the felt flowers myself.
I just used cheap craft felt and hot glued them in place. Some I used die cuts to get the shapes; others I cut free hand.   I also made one of the stick pins.  The other 2 I got in another swap.  
I just love border punches.  I think I have about 6 now! 
These are Bo Bunny papers from about 2007 or so.  Pays to hoard until you find the perfect project.  I had to plan really well in order not to run out of paper.  
A bit of bling sets all things off to a T.
There are pockets on the outsides formed by folding up the bottom of a business size envelope.  The flowers on the corners are pull tabs for hidden tags.
Pop off the top and this is what you see.  
The small inner pockets are made using coin envelopes.
There are lots of hidden tags with room for photos or journalling.  

My partner loved it and this beautiful box is what I got in return.
  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feed the birds... tuppence a day....

This was Norm's idea.  It's fun to watch the birds feed from inside the house.  The blue jays aren't very nice, though. We get a lot of birds here feeding.  The thing needs filling every time I turn around.    

Monday, October 24, 2011

How To Eat An Apple





My dad loved apples.  MacIntosh apples to be specific.  Home grown Macs.  Long before the Mac was a computer and reigned king among computers the humble MacIntosh apple was king in my house.  The other day while at my favorite produce stand, Andy's Produce, I saw these locally grown MacIntosh apples.  To be honest it's been at least 30 years since I last bit into one.  They were very popular at home in BC but when I came to California  I couldn't find them any more.  I moved on to the more prestigous Gala or Rome or here in Sonoma County, the Gravenstein. Imagine my surprise, last week, when I found home grown organic Macs - a whole heap of them just waiting for me to take some of them home.  




The following is a bit of prose my dad wrote about his love of apples.


HOW TO EAT AN APPLE

You start to eat an apple around August, long before they are ripe.  When the last of the June drop is over and the July sun starts to put a coy blush on the apples' delicate skin, when the tree is taking up moisture, you begin to size up your harvest.  The saliva begins to flow just thinking about it.  By September you have estimated the size of your crop.  The apple spray warded off disease and pestilence and October seems a long way off.  When the day comes, the apple picking ceremony is almost sacred. 
 But they are not ready yet.  

So you store them somewhere close and cool, and wait.  Every day you say,
 "They are not ready yet."

You choke down the lump in your throat.  By and by, in about two weeks, your cellar greets you with an exquisite fragrance.  You look into the box and are overcome with an uncontrollable passion.  You take one, polish it up and polish it to a brilliant crimson on your shirt.  Nothing else will do, it has to be your shirt.  In your hand you hold a precious jewel, full of sun and the taste of robust earth.  A gift touched by the hand of God.  

You bow your head for a moment over this rare specimen of heavenly love and say, 
"Thank you God for such a splendid thing as an apple."

Then you close your eyes in reverence and open your mouth.  But first... let me explain.  there is only one way to eat an apple.  Don't try to be polite and quiet and delicate.  An apple (I'm talking about good apples, something like British Columbia MacIntosh reds), must have a snap to them.  They must crack at every bite.  And juice must fly and run down your chin and you've got to chew loud to bring out the taste of sunshine and and spring rains and December cold.  And don't ever peel an apple. 
 How would you like to be eaten naked in the public gaze?

An apple must be eaten in it's entirety.  Anyone who throws away the "core" throws away half an apple and the best part.  There is no core to an apple.  You eat the blossom end where the goodness is.  You chew up the seeds and the little seed pods, and you even eat the stem.  Give it all a good chewing.  Ruminate until nothing but a kind of die-hard cud remains.  Now here comes the punch line in apple eating technique.  Whatever is left you just shotgun out of your mouth in a loud explosive escape.  Just let the chips fall where they may.  For the sake of courtesy it is wiser to carry out this last performance outdoors.

Your apple is gone.  You've cracked loud on the bites.  You've sprayed the juice around, masticated it all from seeds to stem and nothing remains but a rosy glow in your stomach.

Thank you, God, for apples.
 by 
G.P James

And yes, he ate apples just like he described!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall and Thanksgiving Decorations

I found some great fall and Thanksgiving ideas to share with you.  Choose one to do for your house and share it with me.
Got a short candle?  Just elevate it on a box or can or something similar inside the bowl and the apples around it will hide it.
Spray adhesive would work I think to adhere the leaves to the glass.  Don't you just adore the little bird?  So sweet.
Use beans or birdseed or sand or rice or gravel or whatever you have handy in the bottom of your vase. No vase? A canning jar would do the trick just as well.

Ok so the focal point of this picture are the leaves in the center of the table but the pumpkins hanging in the background are too stinking cute to pass right over.  Love them!
And a bell jar!!  I. MUST. HAVE. A. BELL. JAR!!!!
And this - this is glorious. I bought pumpkins and silver spray paint.  This is the one I'm gonna try. Stay tuned....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Madam Gardener

I kinda like gardening.  I don't love it but I do love the results.  I adore flowers and I like to watch them grow and flourish.   I have always had flowers of some sort but it's a lot of work and Norm HATES it so I'm on my own unless I can really sweet talk him into helping me.  I have usually just had annuals but in the 5 years we have lived here I have planted quite a few perennials.  When we moved into this house there was a big agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) plant in the corner of the flower bed.  It has never failed to produce its comical lavender colored flowers year after year.  I know perennials need dividing but I've never done it before.  I meant to do it last year but lost my window of opportunity when Feb. had come and gone and it wasn't done yet.  The book said fall.  So this year I made up my mind to make it happen.  The book and the guy at the nursery said "In September, right after the flowers are over".  Remember that sweet talking I said I had to do? Well I did it and got Norm on board.  Got some soil booster from the hardware store and made a date.
This is the original plant in all its green glory.
It took 2 days to dig the trench between the few minutes after I got home from work and dark.  Norm said I had to be there to show him EXACTLY where to dig. We piled all the dirt on a tarp spread on the ground.

 Then it rained and rained and rained.  For 3 days.  When it finally stopped we waited 2 days for the ground to dry out a little and then dug out the original plant.  Whew!  Really hard work.  (And when I say we I mean Norm...of course!)  I figured out how many divisions I needed and then he hacked it apart.  I marked the planting spaces with little flags and then it rained again - for 2 more days straight.  I piled the plants in the wheelbarrow and covered them with soil to wait out the storm.  Finally the sun came out and we got the soil booster mixed into the native soil and put them in the ground.

I'm so proud of myself I could just burst.  Just call me Madam Gardener, thanks.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New paint

This is my house after the new paint job.  Flowers all abloom, porch swing waiting.  I wish I had a before picture....  I adore yellow houses.  We drove all over town looking at yellow houses with white trim.  I had to have just the right shade.  Not too yellow, not greenish yellow, not too golden.  I think this is just right.  What do you think?
We got a new roof just a few days before the new paint job, too. (Picture taken in July)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Heaven on a plate

I have my sister Carolynne to blame for this addiction.  She lured me with the tomato, bacon and mayo then set the hook deep with the addition of the garlic and basil and then reeled me in with the English muffin and butter.  
 Recipe as follows:
1 Red, ripe tomato cut into thick slices. 
(My favorites are heirlooms I buy at my local farmer's market. 
If you grow your own all the better)
2 or 3 large cloves of fresh garlic
1 tsp of salt
Dollop of mayo
2 strips of cooked, crispy bacon 
1 English muffin
fresh basil
chili pepper flakes
Place garlic and salt in a mortar and grind with pestle until completely smashed and shiny
(Or you can put the salt on a cutting board and crush the garlic with the side of a large knife.)
Put a BIG dollop of mayo in another bowl.  If it'll make you feel better use low fat mayo but what's the point of that when bacon is involved? HA!  Add garlic mash.
Roll and chiffonade (isn't that a marvelous word?  It just means cut it into strips)  the basil and add to mayo mixture.
Toast the English muffin and butter it.  (Don't even THINK about skipping this step.)
Spread on the mayo nice and thick, arrange the bacon on top of that and then plop down the tomato slice.  Top with a sprinkle of grey salt and devour.  The contrast of the cold tomato with the warm toasted English muffin really defies description.

Oh and if you're really brave, add a dash or 2 of red chili flakes to the mayo mixture.

I GUARANTEE YOU WILL LOVE THIS - well except if you don't like tomatoes.  Then I'll just think you are nuts!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 11 A song from the musical which made the most impact on you

About 1992 or so I was going through a really hard time in my life.  I had a friend who was as obssessed with PHANTOM OF THE OPERA as I and wanted to help me feel better so decided I needed to go see it live.  She had seen it several times herself and was, of course, always talking about how fabulous it was.  She paid for my ticket and we drove from Vista, CA to LA to see it at the Pantages Theater.  From the moment I set foot in the theater I began to cry and sobbed my way through the whole play.  A few months after that we moved from CA to WA and I played the cassette tape over and over explaining the story to my kids as I went along.  They loved it.  A few years later we were back living in CA and I took Cody-Anne to see it for her 13 birthday at the Curran theater in San Fransisco. Tyler still has dreams of seeing it someday.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 10 A song from your least favourite musical.

Just can't stand BRIGADOON.  BLECH.  When we lived in Ohio I was hired by the drama teacher at the high school to teach a scenic design class.  We would be working on BRIGADOON.  Building the sets etc.  I taught them how to make rocks out of  chicken wire and paper mache, stone type bricks from styrofoam and several other things.  That part of it was kind of fun but the show just didn't click with me.



Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 9. A song from the musical you know all (or nearly all) the lines to.

The very first musical I was ever involved with was Oliver!  I was in Grade 9 at Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar, BC.  I was the curtain puller.  I sat on a stool just offstage and opened and closed the curtain.  I was able to watch the whole show and memorized almost every word of dialog and all the songs.  I can still still sing all of them, lo this many years later!  LOL!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 8 - A song sung by your favourite male singer in a musical.

I don't really have a favorite male singer who does musicals but the range, emotion, playfulness and originality of this song is incredible.  I have seen this movie more times than I can count and had the privilige of directing this show with both of my kids in the cast.  One of the fondest memories of my theater career.

If I were a Rich Man by TOPOL in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A DIY project I will probably never do

Isn't this fabulous?  My house is way too small to support something like this but I love it nonetheless.  Not just the clock but the whole thing.  The styling is great, eh?  If I was a designer I'd definitely find a house to put it in.  For now I'll just dream.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 7 - A song sung by your favourite female singer in a musical.

The Speed Test by SUTTON FOSTER in THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE.  I adore Sutton Foster and this is one of my favorites.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 5 - A song which makes you happy.

Rock Island from THE MUSIC MAN - everytime I hear this song it makes me happy.  Such a fun, clever song.  Both of my kids memorized this song when they were in elementary school.  They used to sing it over and over and over.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 6 - A song which makes you sad /teary.

Bring Him Home from LES MISERABLES.  From the first note the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my nose gets tingly.  I have to work at not crying whenever I hear this version of this song.  Sometimes, though I just let the tears come.  It is so incredibly moving. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blackberry Patch

When I was in high school I lived in Vancouver, BC.  I lived about 2 miles from school and I got a ride to school every morning but I had to walk home.  Once I got off the sidewalk on Kerr and began the walk along Marine Drive I entered blackberry country.  In the fall was when they were ripe and I would eat my way along the last 1/2 mile or so home.  Years later when we lived in Grass Valley , specifically at Wolf Mountain, there were so many blackberry bushes, just like home.  There was even an area called Blackberry Pass. Our house was in a different, drier part of camp and we didn't have blackberries there. 




Now, here in Sonoma county, I have my own personal blackberry patch.  It's huge and has the biggest and best blackberries ever!  The thing is, though... I don't really like blackberries!  Maybe those years of blackberry picking in high school burned me out, I dunno.  I'll go out a and pick a few handfuls every so often and even make a cobbler or crisp but I don't like them in pancakes or jam or jelly.  So I don't pick buckets and freeze them and I curse at them for taking over EVERYTHING more than I really enjoy their fruit.  They are nice photography subjects though and I do claim bragging rights for the best berries on camp.  They gotta be good for SOMETHING, right?
Green fruit before ripening.  I love their brown fuzzy skirts.
A bit fuzzy.  Sorry.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In this house...


This picture was taken on September 12, 2011.  It is my beautiful daughter in law Dusti on her 30th birthday. I am so proud of her and glad to be her mother in law.  Tyler made the best choice ever in his pick for a life partner.  This picture was taken that day. Norm and I wanted to make her something special for her big day.  Awhile ago she posted this picture on her blog:

She said she wanted one of these to hang on her wall.  So we set about to try and make that happen.  Norm has tons of old wood around and so after we figured out how wide the pieces needed to be (8") and how long (24") he cut them and we set about sanding and prepping them.  Then he fastened them together.


I love how the paint is all peel-y and the under paints are showing through.  


I cut all the words out on my Cricut using the Opposites Attract cartridge.  We snapped the lines on the boards using a chalk line (not sure I would do it that way again if I ever make another one of these) and I gathered my lettering materials together.
The actual lettering took me less than an hour.  I didn't want the letters to be stark black so I used a charcoal black paint.  Then I used aqua paint for the word LOVE to fit in with her living room decor.  I didn't have the right kind of sponge so I cut open an old dish sponge.  Worked like a charm!
The cost of making this sign was very minimal.  It cost us more to mail it than it did to make!  It was so much fun to work together on this project.  You'll notice there aren't any pictures of Norm here.  The only excuse I have is that it was very sunny when I took them and they were very glare-y.  Yeah...that's it....
One of the things I had to do was to blank out the insides of the O's and D's.  I did this with cream paint and a reverse stencil.  Worked great!




Happy birthday, Dusti.  We love you!!!

Day 4 - A song demonstrating how overrated you think a musical is

The Internet Is For Porn/AVENUE Q - hate this show/song.  Just hate it.  How are a bunch of people onstage using puppets Broadway worthy?  And people fall all over this show like it's the Second Coming.  Just. don't. get. it.







Greetings from This Life I Travel

Here it is, the first scrapping project I've posted on this blog.  My scrappy friends will be happy.  I made it for a swap so I will be sending it to a new home.  It is a mini book made out of toilet paper rolls.  I know.  I know.  That skeeves some people out but I'm ok with it.  
So here it is.  No real tutorial needed I don't think.  I flattened the TP rolls by putting them through my Big Shot a time or two.  Years ago when I went to CKU (Creating Keepsakes University) I went to a class taught by the very talented Jennifer MCGuire.  We made a tag book called BLESSINGS FROM THIS LIFE I TRAVEL.  I have used that same theme in several forms since then and thought it would be perfect for this project.  The paper line I used is an older one from 2007 from Fancy Pants.  It's called True. Love it when I can use my stash. 
I used my old school Dymo labeler for the black letters.  The BLESSINGS word is a QK font.  (Yes I still have a QK!)  I was in a monthly charm swap for about 6 months last year and I collected quite a lot of them.  The charms I used on the rings are from my stash from that swap.  I used a bit of a bird theme throughout.  I am out of these little metal flowers.  I hope they have more at Michael's!


So HOME and FRIENDS are the first two BLESSINGS.  Use a MS punch to make the paper lace and a Sizzlets die to cut the tags.  Pretty straight-forward duo of pages.
LAUGHTER and FAMILY are next.  The charm on this page is another from my swap stash.  I used Lindy's Magical Mica's to add some shimmer to the leaf and sunflower.  I especially love the tiny crocheted flowers on these pages.  And isn't the orange rick rack sweet?




I used bright orange embossing powder on the stamp on the TIME page.  i knew the blue of the paper I put it on would tone it down to a lovely brown.  I was also in a long running stick pin swap and pulled this one for my stash to use on the same page.  the LOVE page holds an explosion box type fold out for more pictures or journalling.
Here you can see one of the birds I used to carry on the theme.
NATURE has a little fold out accordion on it to be sure and have lots of room for pictures. The resin bird is like the one I used on the cover. It's from Webster's Pages. The apple stamp on the FOOD page was stamped with the same bright orange embossing powder I used on the previous page but on the lighter color paper it shows up much more orange.  Another stick pin and some more of those cute crocheted flowers round out the page.
Inside the TP rolls are tags folded lengthwise with pull tabs on the top.  Each one is different and has a bird stamp on it somewhere.  


I hope you enjoyed this little book.  Remember to give thanks for the blessings in your life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 3 - A song demonstrating how underrated a musical is.

One of Andrew Lloyd Webber's lesser known and touted musicals is a wonderful show called WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND.  Although I have never seen it performed I love the music and the story it tells.  I wonder why it never recieved the recogntion I feel it deserves? This isn't an actual clip from a performance, rather Sarah Brightman singing a selection from the show.




 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Naked Ladies

I love this time of year when I have naked ladies in pink dresses just outside my gate. 

The 30 Day Musical Theater Song Challenge - Day 1

Well, I have no idea how this happened but my original post from this disappeared off my blog so I will try this again!  GRR.

This challenge is from Facebook.  I thought it would be fun to try it out.  The idea is to choose a song which fills the requirements of a list of questions.  I also decided I didn't want to choose the same musical more than once.

My first exposure to a musical was probably the same as many: THE WIZARD OF OZ movie on TV.  I was about 5 when I saw it and I was so traumatized by the Wicked Witch I don't really remember much else besides being scared of her. 

My next real awareness of musicals was later. When I was in about grade 3 my mom had several sets of Reader's Digest Condensed record albums.  They were sets of several records all on the same theme.  The one I loved was called Operettas.
I can't believe I actually found an image of the cover!

My mom would stack them up and we would listen for hours.  We lived in a town where dark came early and snow was plentiful.  We spent many happy evenings listening to that music.  The song I remember clearest was this one from SHOWBOAT called Old Man River.
Thanks, mom!




Day 2 - A song from your latest musical obsession

I just discovered SIDE SHOW.


I was listening to Sirius radio Broadway station and someone was interviewing Emily Skinner.  She is the current Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot and then they began asking her about this show.  She told some funny anecdotes and said Alice Ripley (of Next To Normal fame) was in it with her.  Then they played a song from it.  That's all I needed.  Ordered it from Amazon and  listened to the cast recording 3 times the first day I got it. A new obsession has begun!




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Love Affair With Billy Elliot

My love affair with Billy Elliot began with a little movie I watched in 2000.  It takes place in England in 1984 and stars the incredible Jamie Bell. Billy Elliot tells the story of a young boy with a dream to dance.  With the help of his dance teacher, he overcomes the obstacles of near poverty, an unsupportive family and the death of his mother to win a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School.  Enchanting story aside, the innocence, charm and sheer dancing brilliance of Jamie Bell captured me from the moment the movie began.  Julie Walters and Gary Lewis as his dance teacher and his father are perfect in their roles.  I bought the DVD and have watched the movie 30 or more times.  
As did most theater geeks who saw this movie, I just knew it HAD to be made into a Broadway musical.  Imagine my sheer delight in 2004 or so when I heard it WAS going to be a musical and would be opening in London in 2005.  I was thrilled to death to know that Sir Elton John had written the music and the original screenwriter, Lee Hall, had written the book and lyrics.  Peter Darling, who choreographed the movie, was also the choreographer for the musical. Could it get any better?

From that moment on I scoured the internet for any scraps of info I could find about the show.  I haunted the message boards at Broadway World and sucked up every bit of “Billy” I could.  When the original cast recording became available in November 2005 I bought it for myself for Christmas.  In 2006 I listened to that cast recording at least once a day EVERY day.  By mid-July 2007 I had weaned myself to about once a week or so.  Now, in 2011, I still listen to it several times a month.  Other musicals have tickled my fancy in the meantime, and some I am as passionate about as Billy Elliot, but although I may stray for a time Billy draws me in like an addict to crack.
Liam Mower, the most popular Billy (even to this day) is the Billy on the cast recording. Liam has the voice of an angel and won a Lawrence Olivier award for the role.  His vocals transfer all of the characters actions and emotions in the perfect way. His grumpy and encouraging ballet teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, is played with much gusto by Haydn Gwynne. It’s hard to imagine how a musical about dancing could have any impact at all just by listening to the music.  Yes, it’s about dancing but it’s about so much more than that. And that message comes across loud and clear on the cast recording.

On October 1, 2008 Billy Elliot debuted on Broadway in NYC.  The internet and TV were full of Billy sightings and I gobbled up every one.    The 2009 Tony awards aired on June 7 and Billy Elliot danced away with 10 Tony’s including a Tony for each of the three original Broadway Billy’s!  
David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish, and Trent Kowalik
When I was on my WICKED jag I avoided anything and everything to do with WICKED.  I didn’t want to know anything about the story other than what was on the cast recording.  I wanted the actual story to be a surprise.  With Billy Elliot, I already knew the story so I didn’t see any point in avoiding spoilers.  Also, with WICKED I knew there was a road tour and that it was going to be in San Francisco and that I would get to see it, but with Billy I just didn’t think it would ever go on tour.  I thought finding that many Billy’s (3-5 per production) would be too daunting a task.  And there was no chance I would be getting to New York City anytime soon.  I thought I would have to be happy with what I could glean from media sources and Billy Elliot the movie.

As you can imagine, when I heard there was going to be a Billy tour I was over the moon.  As is often the case, it opened in Chicago first in March of 2010.  It wasn’t until months later that I found out it was coming to San Francisco. 
Tyler was still living at home when the movie came out and he had watched it several times and so was very familiar with the story and loved it as much as I.  Somewhere in all of this I gave Tyler the cast recording and he began to listen as intently and passionately as I.  He’s my “Musical Soul Mate.”  We can talk about musicals for hours, and believe me, we do.  For months we would post random Billy lyrics on one another’s Facebook pages and then expect the other to come up with the lyric immediately following.  He is a letter carrier with USPS and spent many, many hours listening to his Billy Elliot cd at work. 

In April, Norm and I went to Bellingham, where Tyler lives, to watch the grandgirlies for them while they were on Spring Break.  Dusti’s school break didn’t coincide with theirs and we were more than happy to drive up and watch the girls for a week or so.  I wanted to take Tyler to see a show in Seattle while we were there and much to my surprise Billy Elliot was going to be playing a 10 day run which coincided with our visit.  However, when I went online to get tickets they were very expensive and really lousy seats.  I tried several times through several venues to get tickets but I just wasn’t having any luck. I was disappointed in that I really wanted to take Tyler to see it.  I knew, though, that it was going to be playing in San Fran and that I was bound and determined to get tickets for myself at that time.  Then the best news ever…Tyler and his family were going to be taking their vacation in August and would be coming to see us.  After lots of phone calls and getting the schedules of Dusti’s family and friends coordinated I realized it was really going to happen.  

Tyler was going to be able to see Billy Elliot with me in San Francisco in August, 2011!! 

Now we are up to last Thursday and if you all are still reading this at this point you are 1.) a theater geek like me, 2.) a good friend, 3.) have no life or 4.) here for some other random reason.  But I digress.
Tyler even called me before he left Washington to ask me what he should wear to see the show.  Were we a bit obsessed much?  The BOTH of us?  

We left Sebastopol about 4:15 pm to be sure and leave plenty of time to get to the Orpheum and have a chance to eat before the show.  The drive was easy and uneventful although driving over the Golden Gate was a bit scary for Tyler as only a row of plastic posts separated the line of oncoming traffic.  It was his first time on the bridge and we had fun taking pictures and pointing out landmarks.  Well, I was taking the pictures and pointing out landmarks.  He was freaking out a bit.  

Thank goodness for his iphone (thank you Apple).  We arrived in one piece with no problems and  parked in the same lot I have parked in a couple of times before (next to the Chase Bank kitty corner to the Orpheum) and after a stop at the ATM we made our way to Sam’s Diner.  It had many positive reviews and is just mere steps from the theater. 
Notice the SIGNED Billy Elliot poster in the window on the lower left side.

After we ordered our food I mentioned to Ty that he should run over to the theater and take pictures before it got dark.  Nodding his agreement, he was out the door before I finished my sentence.  A few minutes later he came back with these great photos.

After a quick stop at Starbucks, just across the street, we headed to the theater.

  I picked up the tickets at will call and we made a beeline to the merch booth.  We each bought programs and t-shirts (never have I purchased a show shirt but I HAD to have one for this show) then headed to our great seats.  Second row of the Loge.  A bird’s eye view.  Not so close we felt we were on top of the stage but not so far away that we needed binoculars to see what was going on.  Tyler and I just kept pinching ourselves to see if we were really about to watch…BILLY. FREAKING. ELLIOT!!!!  It was Ty’s first time in the Orpheum and he was awestruck at the beautiful ceilings and velvet curtains and all the fresco work.  It was fun to hear him gasp in wonder.  Even a 27 year old grown man can find beauty in the unexpected.  Then the lights began to dim, the recorded announcement finished and the curtain went up!!!
The orchestra began, the music washed over me and I was swept away in the giddy abandon that is this fabulous piece of art.  “Our Billy”, as we called him, was Lex Ishimoto, a tallish, lithe boy of Japanese descent.  And oh man, oh man, oh MAN can that boy dance!!!  And really, the only character who DIDN’T dance much was… Mrs. Wilkinson, the dance teacher.  The Ballet Girls were fabulous; each one a different size and shape, each with their own character and personality.  The miners and policemen’s tap/clogging numbers were incredible and their voices blended to perfection. Tyler and I brushed away tears during “Dear Billy” and grinned ourselves silly during “Expressing Yourself” as Billy and Michael (Griffin Birney)   tapped and sang their way in and out of dresses, skirts and hats.

As each familiar tune began it was as if I was finally meeting an old friend for the first time.  A friend I had been introduced to long, long ago.  Had loved, spoken to, laughed and cried with but had never seen, nor touched.  Tonight I was touching that old friend and he was touching me.  Caressing me with power and caution and passion and awe and courage and indulgence and frugality and lust.   The sheer audacity of the cast to perform for me and to expect me to give back.  The lunging, plunging, flailing, sailing movement carrying me out of myself and into another place.  I gave Billy my heart and he threw it right back at me.  At intermission I was breathless.  I looked at Tyler and said, “There are no adjectives to describe this.” By the end of the show I was a sobbing, blithering mess.  I didn’t want it to end but end it did and Billy Elliot left me shaken and exhilarated and stirred all at once.
-It is an experience I will never, ever, EVER forget and it means so much to have been able to share it with my “musical soul mate.”  My Tyler.