Sunday, June 6, 2010

"All of the above"

Well, I realized that today encompassed just about every aspect of why I created this blog to begin with. So? Yes... I'm blogging about it! WHOO HOOO!!

I woke up this morning at 5am to get ready for the 2nd day at the Kennel Club of Pasadena dog show. My friend Danielle and I hit the hay early because we had enjoyed some red wine with dinner last night at the Overland Café and her Parson Russell Terrier Indy slept with me last night. It was really sweet having a little bed buddy to curl up in the curve of my knee while Gman the Bouvier slept in his favorite corner.

Danielle's English Springer Spaniel bitch Maddie slept with Danielle. Gotta share the doggie night time sleeping love!

It all felt way too early (probably because it was!) but it was a Dog Show Morning.

Thankfully it was nice and cool for showing Bouviers in the morning. Garrison showed well, but we walked from the ring with nothing to flaunt except for our good sportsmanship and team work. While we were in the ring, however, the sun broke through the clouds and the day started to get hotter than yesterday. We went back to our tent/set-up area. And I got a text message.

My friend Amy asked if I could help show a Belgian Tervuren today. I didn't have anything else do to, so I said, "Yes."

A very sweet, but nervous boy, Odie and I worked together for a short while before he had to show and I loved watching his eyes go from nervous and a little wider than usual to softening and settling. He and I went into the ring and won his class and it was also automatically Winners Dog - there were only 2 dogs in the "Open" class today. So we waited for the Breed class. Before we went into the Breed class to compete for Best of Winners, one of the gals that cares for Odie said, "If he goes Best of Winners he'll get a cross over major - no pressure." I said, "Nope... none." Because that's the last thing this dog would need is to feel any pressure at all. He needed to have fun, enjoy his time out there and be at ease.

He did a really nice job, gave me great ears as I baited him from my pretend pocket and freestacked beautifully. And my new friend Odie was awarded Best of Winners and got a cross-over major today! He got 3 ribbons, a major and a picture to prove it! Whoo hooo!!!

After our picture was taken, I offered to walk him back to his set up and make sure he had nice shade and ample water. I squatted down to say goodbye and sweet Odie gave me one kiss on my face. Yes... this boy had a good dog show experience today that that, much more than the ribbons and points, was the best outcome of all.

I went over to the Scottie ring to watch my second breed. Things didn't go quite as hoped for Susan and her dog McCartney. She got Best Opposite to Gabriel's "special"... and I went back over to my set up to get cash because my stomach was rumbling. I hadn't eaten all morning and the coffee from AM/PM was long, long gone from my tummy. I grabbed my cash, my chair, and my water and headed off to ring 1 & 2 to watch Old English Sheepdogs (OES) and eat my beef kabob plate.

The food vendor at this show had food that was worthy of the $7.00. Truly. And a rare find when you end the day and feel satiated and don't have buyers remorse later... both in your wallet and in your restroom. :-D

I sat and watched my friend Amy show her cute OES bitch Abby and win Best Opposite. Yippee!!! And I stayed to watch German Shepherds.

My colleague JR Alcantar and I visited shortly about what happened earlier in the day with Bouviers and then he had to get his German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) ready for their ring.

Biding my time and enjoying the shade, I heard JR call my name. Apparently he had 2 class bitches and needed me to go in on a bitch I helped him show in Apple Valley back in early March. With a tummy full of beef kabob and sunglasses on my face, I said, "OK." I got the armband number from JR, picked up a few more rubber bands, put on the armband and walked over to Chola's owners. They handed over their dog and trusted me with her care and performance in the ring because JR told them to.

Now then... folks... showing German Shepherds vs. any other breed is a world apart. I have a huge appreciation for this breed now that I've spent more time around them and moved with them in an open field and in a show ring. HOLY COW! They are stunning and beautiful and they truly float around the ring and they MOVE. In fact... you would probably be better off putting on in-line skates and a safety helmet when showing them.

It was a tough class today for Best of Breed and competition for Best of Winners. Yesterday, Steve Cabral's GSD special won the breed AND won the group. A very nice boy and it's wonderful being in a ring of truly nice dogs. The judge had both Winners Dog and Winners Bitch (me and Chola) move together. I loved moving with Chola around the ring. She was light in my hand and floating across the ground. Her owners could be proud of her performance regardless of the outcome. And then... the judge went back and forth between the two male specials. They both moved beautifully. Then the judge pointed to JR and pulled him out front. Then she pointed to me with Chola and pulled us out as Best of Winners and Best Opposite Sex. The Group 1 winner from yesterday got the Dog Select.

And that was that.

I got to hand over 2 ribbons and a medallion to Chola's owner Mary who was just as happy as a clam (but not a clam in the Gulf of Mexico... I'll spare you my own thoughts about the oil spill right now)... and what a day!

And it was soooooooo hot. I had to muster up the energy to pack up and head home. It was rough. Truly. I had two kool koat type blankets on Garrison who was sitting in front of my friend's fan as I packed up our tent and dog show gack. I knew the pathway would be hot to our car, but fortunately we were really close to the entry of the show area.

We had the air blasting all the way home. And I exited La Brea Ave. South... and went, "Oh! Tonight I have to take La Brea North to the Next Stage because I'm in the 9:30pm performance of 'Dark Side of the Moon'!"

So the dog show day was over. Garrison was exhausted and happy to be in his house and in front of another fan. He filled his tummy up with yummy kibble and cottage cheese and venison and sweet potato... and I took a short nap because I needed to recharge before putting on my actress hat.

Earlier this week, Chris Berube contacted me and asked if I could fill in for my role of "Mom" in "Dark Side of the Moon" and being in town... and having the time... and itching to be back on stage... I had said, "YES!" And tonight was the night.

I watched the Celtics beat the Lakers, grabbed my make-up and my dress and took off for the theater so I could watch some of the 8pm show. I hadn't performed "Dark Side" since last fall... and I don't forget things easily, but I would feel better knowing that I had watched the show and refreshed my memory.

The 8pm cast did a FANTASTIC JOB!!!! I was really impressed with them and I found myself missing my own cast. I made such wonderful friends doing that show and now here I was again at the Next Stage... that same familiar smell... the same excitement from fellow actors performing one of the most original stage productions EVER... and I was about to be on that stage, too.

It felt like home. And that felt awesome.

I was so proud of the 8pm cast and their show was over and I had to get ready for the 9:30 show. My friend Lemar Harris would be my Magistrate... and I was so excited. Lemar is the kind of guy that takes his job seriously with the best sense of humor... and working with him is never work. It's a pleasure and a delight and a privilege.

And Chris... my dear director Chris... knows how to put together amazing shows and brings out the best in casts that care about performing. He doesn't mess around. If you don't want to be a part of something he's producing and directing.... fare thee well and best of luck to you. But if you put in what you SHOULD when he gives you a shot at doing SOMETHING in this town? You'll get more out of it than you could ever imagine.

The Next Stage isn't a large theater, but it's intimate and it's FUN. Chris knows how to use the space and I find that he allows his audiences to use their own imaginations rather than telling them what they have to see and think about what's being performed in his theater space.

And we use ALL the space. Front, back, above and below.

It was opening night for this cast. NO PRESSURE. Sheesh. And they did a great job. A really wonderful and great job. And I had a blast. And I felt my heart swell with pride and happiness because it's been a year since I first auditioned for Chris at The Next Stage... and I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a part of a theater company that is always working... always busy... and always giving actors a shot in this wacky town.

Driving home, I called my parents and my father answered. He loves Pink Floyd and loved the performance of "Dark Side" he saw last fall. We chatted about my love of theater... my excitement about the next stage production Chris and I talked about last weekend and tonight... and then the dog show results... and then.... wedding stuff. My father and I talked about all of the major life changes that are barreling toward me and Rod and I once again felt my heart swell because they are such good and wonderful changes.

I am so impressed with the man I am marrying. He is a good, honest and hard working man and none of what we're going through is easy, but somehow it feels easy because we're a team. Rod and I have been a team since our relationship really solidified last year and we knew this wasn't a "fly by night" relationship. This was something real and solid and with every passing day we talk about what we're facing and we're constantly in agreement with how we want to tackle life's challenges. Knowing that we are teammates in this thing called LIFE is really incredible. The things we're dealing with - the life stresses - are seemingly easier because we're supportive of each other. I always hoped and prayed that's how my relationship with my spouse would be... but to see how God has blessed us and put us in each others lives at this juncture and how we are supportive of each other.... WOW. And I think that's where I'll leave all of this. WOW.

In order to wrap up this blog that encompasses dogs, dog showing, performing and my wedding (which is 125 days away), I've poured a glass of red wine. And I'll probably pour another before I go to sleep, but before that 2nd glass is poured... thank you for reading because I'm enjoying my post-performance high - no drug can ever re-create the on-stage rush.