Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm a Magazine Cover

A while ago now I wrote about the publicity posters for Tartuffe.  As I said earlier, the photo shoot was one small thing among many others that I was focused upon at the time.  Only later did the implications of the photo shoot begin to sink in.

Well, they are still sinking.

It's one thing to know your photo is going to be everywhere and another to actually encounter it.

I see them everywhere I go - the theater (to be expected), the library, the post office.  I see it at the language school where I study French.  I saw it when I went to buy wine at the rationed goods store.  I am told it is displayed at the Pizza Bowl (bowling alley, pizzeria) and at the base eateries.

Now I am the back cover of the SHAPE magazine, Kyle brought a copy home just so I could see.

It is quite a weird experience, one I am sure I won't have again.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Belgian Beer Tour

A few weeks ago (yes I know I have been woefully neglecting my blog) Kyle went on a tour of Belgian breweries.

The tour was full but Kyle got up early on Saturday morning in case someone didn't show up and he could take their seat.  He managed to get a seat on the bus and thus went on a tour of three monasteries and their beer brewing facilities.  If he was writing this blog entry, he could tell you the names and locations of said breweries.

The most popular part of the tour seemed to be the opportunity to taste the beer brewed by the Belgian monks.  Go figure!

As you can see I sent Hat Stanley along for the tour.  For this outing he wore his jesters hat.

If you are a beer lover and come visit us, Kyle can take you to these breweries as they are not too far away.  I'd even let you take Hat Stanley and his jesters hat if you promise to bring him back.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Publicity Poster

Last week amongst many other activities we shot photos to create the publicity poster for Tartuffe.  At the time I didn't think much of it.  The photos were crammed into a short time slot when the guy playing Tartuffe, the photographer, the director and myself had concurrently open schedules.  The fact that we found 45 minutes was quite remarkable.

Within that short frame of time, we had to find a costume that fit me and the time period of the play (the one I'll wear in the play is being made), get into costume, find an OK background, light the setting, pose and shoot the photos.  During the photo shoot I didn't really focus on anything other that the fact that we needed to get the photos done.

Afterwards a number of other thoughts occurred to me.  The first was prideful/vain - I'm over 40 and my neck, shoulders and decolletage still look good.  I enjoyed this thought for a day or so and then I realized...

The photos were going to be on the publicity poster.  The publicity posters are going to be displayed everywhere in the community - public bathrooms, the post office, the library, the gym, chapel, cafeteria, etc.   This could get a bit odd, especially if this is the image they are using for the large roadside banners.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

At Home with Allen

As I mentioned yesterday when Allen is feeling well he has many things that occupy his time.  He is also a typical teenager preferring connection with his peers over connection with his family, thus he spends a fair amount of his time at his computer on Skype and/or Facebook.

Conversations with Allen tend to be short and usually involve an exchange of information about schedules or homework.  Unless...

Unless Allen is on drugs.  When he broke his arm last spring I noticed that when Allen was flying high he was quite talkative.  He didn't make a whole lot of sense on morphine but he was quite talkative.

Steroids also make Allen talkative.  So while Allen was home from school I spent a good amount of time with him and heard his voice more than I ever do.  He told me all about his favorite youtube shows, about his plans for up-grading his computer, about car repair and many other topics that are of no interest to me.

I had to keep reminding myself that I should seize this opportunity to be with Allen.  I may not care at all about the plot line of "The Guild" but I do care about Allen.  I watched youtube videos he wanted to share with me.  I listened and listened and listened.

The steroids have now come to an end.  Allen is feeling better (hooray!) and is gradually returning to his lair.  But I now know what interests him and what topics of conversation will draw him out.

I also know that if he initiates extended conversations with me that I need to be checking out what substances are entering his body.

Monday, February 14, 2011

When it Rains it Pours

About a week ago I was thinking that I was running out of blog topics as we have now mostly adjusted to life in Belgium and at the moment all of us are settled into our routines.

But then Allen happened.  (It is almost always Allen who shakes things up)

It is winter which means cold season which means post nasal drip which means Allen's asthma kicks up.  This time his asthma really kicked up, so much so that we made an early morning trip to the local emergency room.

Allen has no memory of the last time his asthma was this bad.  In hindsight he was probably in what doctors would refer to as the "yellow zone" versus the "red zone."  Red or yellow he still needed more assistance to breathe than what we could do for him at home.  So off to the emergency room we went.  He did have an audible wheeze to his breathing and the oxygen level in his blood was not what was optimal.

At the hospital he received a breathing treatment and was put on oral steroids.  I now know the French word for steroid (but not how to spell it) - corticoid (core tea coe eed).

Most of last week was spent monitoring Allen's breathing and with him home from school.

When Allen feels well he is quite busy with school, friends, running, youth group, Bible study and worship band.  When he is at home he is usually in his room and on his computer.  It was a change of pace to have him around more and interact with him more than usual.

I have something more to note about Allen being around but I think I'll save that for tomorrow as this post is already long.  So check back in tomorrow...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Weight Loss by Theater

Since being cast in Tartuffe I'm down three pounds.  Given that my weight has been within the same 5 pound range for years now and that I am now three pounds less than the lower end of that range, I find it to be remarkable.

My BMI is in the normal range, though at the high end of normal for my height.  With this recent loss I am now trending toward the middle of that range.

I'm not a terribly healthy eater and I can't say that I've improved much in that category.  I do exercise daily (thank you accountability partner) and attempt some strength training.  I think this has helped me maintain a healthy weight.

What I believe is making this recent difference is rehearsal.  I've forgotten how physically demanding it is to be on stage.  One would think it is just a bunch of sitting, walking and talking but it is more.  I spend a good amount of time leaning away from various characters and I can tell you my core muscles are getting work out to achieve a position and then hold it.  By the end of the evening I am really tired.

I am being a bit more careful about what I am eating as well.  My costume will have a tightly fitted bodice and vanity spurs me on to maintain the loss and strive for a trimmer torso.  Time will tell if I can maintain this or not, but I'd like to.  There's nothing wrong with a healthy BMI and really strong core muscles.

Thank you Tartuffe!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Today in the United States you will celebrate February 2nd by looking at a rodent.

In the French speaking parts of Europe, Europeans will celebrate by eating crepes.  Guess which tradition we will be observing.

Today is Chandeleur or Candlemas or Crepe Day.   Chandeleur is a French word for a large candle or taper (not the kind on a birthday cake).   February 2nd started out as a pagan holiday marking the half way point through winter.  The Catholic Church adopted it as a holy day - commemorating Mary's purification and Jesus' presentation at the temple.  They achieved mixed success - people do go to mass but then they bring a candle home with them.  They use the candle to light other candles and spread blessing through the house.  Then they make crepes and the flipping of crepes is used to predict the future and/or the remaining length of winter.

Crepes have a tangental relationship to the concept of Chandeleur.  Candles are a light source.  We are getting a bit more light every day (hooray!)  Crepes are in the shape of the sun.  The sun gives light.  See there is a connection.

Anyways, we will observe Crepe day in the Dunlap house.  I've even found a vegan crepe recipe so that Allen can enjoy the celebration as well.  I've got a raspberry filling planned and there is always that great standby crepe filling - Nutella.