Archive for March, 2009

Bonus!

March 13, 2009

I got a paycheck and a bonus today. I had enough to pay one credit card off completely, and still have the other half of our Vegas money left over. Of course, then I’d pretty much have no money for when we got back and need to, you know, eat.

So I bumped it down a little bit to have a buffer for when we get back. But look at how close I am to paying off the first (and the largest) of my credit cards:

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I’ll have a balance of $216! BEFORE going to Vegas! Wow, does that feel good! Who knows, maybe next month I’ll be able to click that button for “Pay Current Balance.”

Except now I’m totally thinking, well, maybe I could buy a pair of awesome shoes in Vegas…

Nerves and Debt

March 12, 2009

On Tuesday I auditioned for “Noises Off” at Sunset Playhouse. I was so nervous! That is my favorite play and it has been so long since I’ve auditioned for anything. There were about 20-ish people there, but I heard that there were around 50 the night before. Wow!

I got a callback, which is an accomplishment in itself, as only about 1/3 of the people got called back. David and I both went to callbacks last night, and it was the strangest experience I’ve had at an audition.

First of all, the talent that was in one room was amazing! There’s no reason that this show won’t be awesome. I was put into a group of four to read a scene. Two women, two men. We went into the auditorium and read, and the director had us switch parts and read the piece again. I felt pretty good about my reading for Poppy, the frazzled stage manager.

We went back out to the lobby and waited. A couple people were told they could leave. This, of course, does not mean these people aren’t cast, but as actors, we never want to be the first to leave a callback audition.

I sat around for a long time, while other groups read. Finally the remaining people (still a large number) was split into two groups to read a full-cast scene. Some people in these groups would swap in and out of roles, to give readings for different characters.

There were four women leftover, not in these groups. I was one of them. The stage manager for this show walked around and let three of them go. Not me.

She’s a friend of mine, so I gave her a look like, WTF??? At this point, I feel like I’m going to pee on myself. Why am I the only one left sitting here? Is that good? Is that bad? I asked her if the director was going to walk out of the theater and see me sitting there, and say “Oh yeah… you’re still here? You can go home.” Of all the things at this audition, I did not want to be forgotten about!!!

She said she couldn’t tell me yet if I could go home or not. That she wasn’t sure. Okay…. so I sit there. One of the big groups goes in to read and the other stage manager comes out and says that I can leave.

OKAY NOW REALLY WTF.

I started laughing because I was just so confused. I talked with one of my friends, trying to figure out what this could mean. I went in to read ONCE, then waited for about an hour, then was told I was done.

I thought maybe they waited because, of course, David and I drove together, and he wasn’t done reading yet. Except he still wasn’t done reading when they told me to leave.

So NOW I get to sit awkwardly in the lobby, knowing I’m done, but unable to leave until David is done.

After a short while, the director comes out to get another group, a group of two men, and sees me sitting there, and asks, since I’m still there, if I can come in and read two random lines in the middle of these dudes’ scene. One line is a man’s line, one is a woman’s line. My job was just to stand on stage and say these lines, so these guys could get through their scene smoothly.

I know I was stuck there, and not doing anything, but part of me thinks, why would he pull me up there if I was out of consideration for any part?  The director is also an actor, and I know he probably doesn’t take any joy in causing any of us additional stress.

I didn’t read for the part I really wanted, but I also don’t have the ideal body type for that part. I would love to be Poppy, and I think I would do well and make that role funny to its fullest. But I am just SO CONFUSED! Normally I can leave an audition and say “eh, I don’t think I got it,” or “Go me! I did awesome!” But everything going on in this audition has just left me at a loss.

There’s no point in overanalyzing, of course, but I have checked my phone and e-mail so many times today. Even though we might not get an answer until Sunday.

I won’t even be heartbroken if I don’t get it. I’ll be sad for about 10 seconds, but not being in rehearsals and shows for two months opens me up to more activities, including furthering my cake decorating education!

But on the other hand… this is my favorite play! See my craziness?

And now, a random debt update. I was doing good with my credit cards, and then put Vegas tickets and dental bills on there, and it looked like I had done nothing. But then I cashed out a CD, and my “BIG” credit card (the first one I’m paying off), went down to just under $1,000! I haven’t seen it that low in a LONG LONG time.

It might go up a little bit in Vegas, but we have a big chunk of cash and we should be able to put some of that on my card when we get back to make up for any expenses. PLUS I get my bonus paid out tomorrow!

I’ve been watching my little cash flow meter, on mint.com, and that red line is the lowest I’ve seen it. I will be so ecstatic the day my net worth is in the green!!
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Sin City

March 10, 2009

In one week, I will be IN Las Vegas! I am so excited!! We have two shows booked, Penn & Teller and Cirque du Soleil’s “O.” We have reservations at Nobu. We’ll wander the strip, do some gambling, and drink all day. We’ll visit the old downtown and maybe see a burlesque show.

We’ll also be enjoying this weather:
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Instead of this weather:
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Originally we thought we’d spend a weekend in Chicago. And I felt a twinge of jealousy when Sandy & Jeff told us they’re going to New York City around the same time. But looking at all these forcasts, I have no doubts that we made the best choice!

No Excuses

March 6, 2009

So there’s no point in trying to make up for lost time here. I haven’t had a real post in close to three months. That’s crazy. I miss my blog. I haven’t been as good at uploading pictures and whiny entries with no pictures are pretty booooring.

Okay, let’s recap a little bit:
I totally went off the South Beach way of life over the holidays. Like WAAAAYYYY off. Like, gained back a lot of weight. It was not happy, but all the delicious food I ate was happy. And all the wonderful baking that I did was really pretty awesome. But now I’m back on the wagon. I’ve been pretty good the last couple of weeks, even though I’ve been sick a lot. It’s hard to find the energy to eat healthy when you’re sick. But I’ve managed, and I’m getting close to the weight I was when I fell off the wagon. Once I get back to that weight (180-ish) I will be really happy and vow to make it much closer to my goal weight by the time Christmas comes this year.

Baking: My enemy and my love.
I love baking. I can’t get over it. I love trying out new recipes. I love when something comes out more perfect than anything you can buy in a store. I love the way it makes my house smell. I love everything about it. Except for the fact that I want to eat ALL OF IT. Not just in a “quality control” way before I send it off to coworkers. As in, I would like to put a cake in front of me and eat it for each meal of each day.

And so, on that cake note, I took a cake decorating class! It’s the Wilton Course, offered at Michael’s. This was Course 1. It was pretty cool! I’ve been wanting to learn about actual decorating and how to make certain designs. I had a really nice instructor and got to take it with my friend and her mom. We had a great time and we still actually learned some stuff.

The first class was easy. The teacher told us about the stuff we’d learn and gave us tips on cakes and icing. She showed us some basic stuff that we’d be learning in class 2. We had to bring a cake that was frosted for Class 2, the next week. An excuse to try out a new cake recipe? Yes please!! I will post my recipes soon.

We started by learning some basic maneuvers with a pastry bag. The Wilton method is very structured and the teacher did a good job of making it interesting. She did cheat a little bit by showing us the whole rose the first day. I was so happy with this. The Wilton book says you are supposed to learn a little bit each class, and then put it all together at the final class. I think that’s dumb. This way we got three classes (and three weeks) to practice the rose before the final cake.

I feel like my roses at my first class were the best. My frosting was a little stiff, and I overcompensated at the next classes, where it was a little thin.

One of my first roses:

At the end of class, we got time to decorate our cakes using the techniques we learned that day.

I used the zig-zag border, roses, writing, and stars.

For the second class, we could bring cupcakes instead of a cake. I opted to do that, so I could practice all the techniques, without the final product looking too crazy.

We learned more shapes and how to use more tips and worked more on our roses. We learned grapes!

And we practiced our roses some more.

We also learned shell borders and drop flowers. I tried to use all our techniques on my cupcakes. They looked bright and vibrant:

For our final class, I actually considered using a box mix because of time. But I decided to stress myself out and try out Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake. It was beautiful and delicious and made my kitchen smell amazing. And, including frosting and my variation to the filling, used 4.5 sticks of butter. Like I said, amazing.

This was my first time making a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and I had zero problems! I was kind of surprised, but I’m not going to question it. It is my new favorite frosting.

Ready for class:

We learned leaves and sweet peas and vines and got a long time to decorate our final cakes in class. My frosting wasn’t perfect for roses, again, but I managed quite well.

My final cake:

I used roses, leaves, shells, sweet peas and vines. Here’s a good shot with the sides:

And a close up of my roses (and leaves). Not perfect, but I understand the theory:

And my luscious layers. Instead of just layering it with buttercream and raspberry jam, I made a lemon curd, and folded that into some of the buttercream to put between the cake layers.

While only 6 of my cupcakes got consumed at work, over half of this cake was devoured, so I think this is a winning recipe!

I can’t wait to start Course Two, though it will have to wait until April. I’d be missing a class due to Las Vegas (OMGINTENDAYS!!!!) so I had to skip out on March.

I love this stuff! I feel more determined than ever to some how, some way, some time, make a little money on the side from my baking adventures. If only to offset the cost of ingredients! In the meantime, I’m cutting back my baking. I’m going to try to bake only for certain occasions, and not JUST because I saw a super awesome recipe that I NEEEEEED to make right this moment. That should help my wallet and my waistline. Which is good, because just thinking about that last cake made me gain some weight.