Thursday, June 22, 2006

Father's Day

Fathers Day was lovely. Last Wednesday, Pastor Roger asked Susan whether the girls would sing the Amy Grant song "Father's Eyes" as part of his sermon. He provided the music, so we taught it to the girls, and they had it memorized by Sunday. I accompanied them, and they sang for both the 9:00 and 10:30 A.M. services. They did a very good job, and everyone was impressed at their having learned the song in so short a time. Afterward we stopped by Fat Albert's, a sub sandwich shop, for take-out for my special Fathers Day meal. The girls had accompanied me on errands the day before, and we had driven by Fat Albert's and noticed how few cars were in its parking lot. It was then that the girls had suggested we give them our business on Fathers Day . . . so we did! And it was good. We took the subs home and relaxed together at the kitchen table.

Friday, June 16, 2006

SWEENEY TODD

Last night Susan and I joined our friends Jay, Erin, and Mishka to attend the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Empire Arts Center in Grand Forks. It was presented by Crimson Creek Collegiate Players, an organization that still purports to exist as an opportunity for college students to perform musical theatre in the summer, although over the years more and more roles have gone to post-collegiate performers (sometimes very "post"). Nevertheless, they offered an excellent show that we enjoyed thoroughly.

Our friend Darin performed the title role and exuded evil in his frightening makeup as his character murdered and exacted revenge throughout the show. This is a role he has wanted to play for years, so it's fitting that it's his farewell performance before moving to New York City to pursue an acting career. He sang well (and with excellent diction, which this show demands), reacted with good timing, displayed a range of emotions, and seemed comfortable in his surroundings--typical of his polished performances. I hope NYC brings him new challenges and pushes him to achieve greater success as an actor and director and writer before a new and wider audience. I hope he ultimately becomes very, very rich and then remembers me fondly enough to share his wealth with me (are you reading this, Darin?!).

Two other standouts were Joshua Law as love-struck Anthony and Anne Christopherson as the hilarious Mrs. Lovett. Josh's voice was beautiful, as was Anne's. Her reactions and comic timing were highlights of the show, especially in the number "A Little Priest," in which Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd hatch a shocking plan to dispose of his victims. The song itself is clever, but Anne's pauses, gestures, and facial expressions really emphasized the humor and worked well with Darin. She was a stitch.

After the show, the five of us went to The Toasted Frog, a new restaurant/bar in downtown Grand Forks. Susan and I shared a seafood lavosh. The ambience is good for a late-night drink and conversation, and I look forward to going again to try more of the menu.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Daughters' Recent Events

All three girls performed in the annual dance recital put on by Nancy Pasley, whose dance studio is where they study ballet and tap dance. It was May 13 at the Chester Fritz Auditorium on the campus of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. My dad and stepmom came for the recital, and my stepsister-in-law, already in town for her son's college graduation, attended the recital, too. All the girls did great. It is especially fun to see Suzanna and Abigail dance now that they've had a few years' experience and actually know what they're doing on stage. They move like dancers and smile and look out at the audience and seem confident and energetic. It was fun to watch.

Suzanna ended her first year of piano lessons by performing in her piano teacher's honor recital. Kathy Fiedler is her teacher, and at the end of the year she invites a select few of her students to perform in this particular recital. She chose Suzanna despite her youth because of how much progress she has made from the beginning of the year. I was especially pleased when Suzanna asked me to play a duet with her for her recital selection. I was bursting with pride seated beside her at the piano that night! (It was May 22, held at Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Forks.)

All three girls had Bible school at Calvary this past week, which culminated in a pizza supper for the kids and their families last night, followed by a performance of all the music the kids had learned throughout the week. Susan was a music director, so she was involved each night and at the program, too. I sat with friends whose kids were among the participants. All their kids and ours seemed energized and excited as they sang and made the gestures that accompanied each song.

Each morning this past week, Suzanna and Abigail attended a theatre camp for kids going into grades 1-3. The camp is called First Stages, and it's part of Summer Arts Stages, a performing arts camp in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. It ended this morning with a public performance of their show called Bugz. There were songs to sing, poems to recite, skits to act out--all the while wearing antennae and bumblebee costumes (some kids wore ladybug costumes, and other kids were dressed as other bugs). Both girls had a blast, as they did last year (and as Suzanna had the year before).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More Funny Things from Kids

Hillary's flip-flops rubbed her feet the wrong way, and blisters developed. She came in to show me the "blizzards" she got from her shoes.

Hillary told her mom, "I like this potato salad you made. Good making!"

Our entire family went for a bike ride this afternoon, and afterward Suzanna got off her bike to put it away and said, "I'm damn pooped out." I asked her to repeat what she had said, and she did without batting an eye. She has heard her friend Adam say "damn" in that way, and she had no clue what it meant, just that it added emphasis to just how pooped she was.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Funny Things from Kids

Funny exchange:

HILLARY: Hey, you're tickling me!
ME: But that's what I do; it's my "thing."
ABIGAIL: And I live for that!

Also, Hillary was "reading" a book and singing a song while doing so. I heard her making up lyrics to "In Excelsis Deo." Afterward, like a radio announcer, she said, "Thank you. That was 'Mixed-Up Chelsea Deo.'"