Happy Wednesday readers! It’s gorgeous up here in Lake City this morning. The mountains got dusted with snow overnight and the clouds are hanging low in the sky. It looks like something out of a fairy tale.
We had some early morning mishaps. Alaina got up to use the facilities and walked into a door and then “fell” down the stairs. She’s fine. She just doesn’t function at optimum level unless she’s caffeinated. Then while trying to vacate the top bunk of the bunk beds Emily miscalculated and did a rather forceful dismount. She’s also fine but she scared Charles half to death.
Hence the reason the ladies are the first ones up. That means we get dibs on the kitchen. We take turns making breakfast and Emily and Danielle catch up on some reading while Alaina downs five cups of coffee in about 20-minutes. Ben is up next, followed by Charles and finally Will. We’re a subdued bunch this morning and honestly, I won’t be surprised if that’s how the day goes. It’s usually right about this time, the third day of tour right after a big production closes that you start to feel your energy level drop. It’s a good thing that we’re working with kids today in workshops – they are always energizing.
Ben and Emily scientifically calculate how to soft boil an egg at high altitude while Danielle and Charles head into town for coffee. They’ve bonded with a local coffee shop owner named Jeff, who, oddly enough, got his degree in vocal performance. Will figures out how to make scrambled eggs in a pot as we can’t find a frying pan. He says “if it looks stupid, but it works, then it’s not stupid.” Ben then decides to heat up some water on the stove and sets a towel on fire in the process. It’s fine. He’s got reflexes like a cat.
Everyone finishes getting ready and then we head to the theater. I’m taking the lead in teaching today’s workshops, but the Young Artists and Alaina will be part of them too. I’m glad to have the support – I woke up with a pretty sizeable headache and that’s not a good sign for a person who gets migraines. I get set up in the theater and figure out how to use the space to the best advantage. The others enjoy the sunshine outside while we wait for the students to arrive. We’re supposed to get more rain later this afternoon so the sunshine is extra lovely to see. Ben walks through the community garden and takes some pictures and Charles has his morning made when he befriends a golden retriever named Luz. Danielle pets the doggie too but then realizes she now smells like wet dog and heads off to wash her hands.
The students arrive a bit late, so we won’t have time to get through everything I had planned, but they look excited to be here. We have middle school for the first workshop and then high school later this afternoon. Over the next hour, I take them through a series of exercises and games designed to help them understand what it’s like to be a professional artist, but there’s a hidden agenda. Each game also helps develop skills they can use throughout their lives. Things like public speaking, presentation and professionalism. It’s a lot of fun. It’s also exhausting. Kids take every ounce of focus you’ve got and you have to be real with them. They can spot a fake, someone who’s not being genuine, a mile away. At the end of the workshop, we play some theater games designed to teach collaboration and increase cognitive perception and critical thinking. Then Emily and Danielle sing for them so they can hear what it sounds like when you apply all the skills we’ve been working on. Finally, we spend a few minutes answering questions. The 8th graders have been studying different career paths so we talk about that for a bit. We bid the kids goodbye so they can get back to school for lunch and then we head back to our cabin.
It’s now that I let myself out of director mode and admit it; I’ve got a raging migraine. Back at the cabin, we also realize that Alaina, being safety conscious, locked the doors when we left this morning and we don’t have the key. So I call Dan, who will be there soon, and we wait outside, enjoying the porch and the sunshine that is gradually being replaced with cloud cover.
The cavalry of one arrives with the keys and we take a break for lunch. New rule, last one out also has the keys in hand. Everyone makes lunch and I have a mental conversation with myself insisting that I am not about to crash. About 20-minutes before we have to head back to the theater for the second workshop, I am forced to admit that I can’t power through this time. Unless I want to find myself dealing with a migraine cycle for the next several days, I have to rest and let the Young Artists handle this one. You have no idea how hard this is for me. In the nine years I have been with Opera Colorado, I have never missed teaching a workshop. Not once. I’m not saying that no one can do this but me. It’s just that I feel it’s my job as Director. I suck it up and let them handle things without me and I try to rest.
I’m able to sleep for a few minutes and then just curl up with a quilt. After about an hour, I get up, feeling a bit better and hoping if I take it easy the rest of the day I’ll head this one off at the pass. Didn’t know you were getting an education about migraines in today’s blog did you readers?
It’s pouring outside and I can hear everyone racing up the stairs. Charles lets me know I left the car window down – great. He rolls it up and then the group tells me how the workshop went. It went quite well. The high school students were engaged and by the end, almost everyone was participating. I tell them thank you for taking over so I could rest and everyone disperses throughout the cabin. Ben edits photos, Danielle reads, Alaina makes coffee, Will calls his fiancée and Emily and Charles decide to use the hot tub. This lasts for about 10-minutes when a huge clap of thunder sends then scampering back inside.
The next hour passes with me trying to catch up on emails, Emily, Danielle and Alaina reading, Ben editing his photos, Charles watching the thunderstorm and debating if he should be sitting so close to the windows and Will sharing wasabi peas with Emily and watching videos on his phone. Time to start cooking dinner! I still don’t feel great, but I’m not one to just sit around. Emily, Danielle and I get to work making fajitas. Other than the smell of burning plastic of which we can’t find the source – things go off without incident and dinner is served. From all the yummy noises happening around the table, it turned out well. I realize that this is the very first time in the eight-months that we’ve been together; that all seven of us have shared a meal that we cooked. We’ve been just a little busy. After dinner, Charles really opens up, wanting to take the intimacy that’s been established to the next level. We learn that his boxers are of the cotton variety and that he has six dresses for fashion emergencies. He likes dresses. Not really – at least not the part about the dresses. He’s a joker, our Charles. I cannot confirm or deny the fabric of his unmentionables. Will doesn’t want to lose the honesty of the moment and he takes it upon himself to address Charles’ slacks problem. Ben joins him and an intervention takes shape. As the observer, I gather that Charles has a bit of a shopping addiction but only where slacks are concerned.
Girls cooked, so guys clean. Charles does the lion’s share of the work with assistance from Ben and you can actually see the countertops again. We have just enough left for tomorrow’s morning meal in the form of breakfast burritos. Ice cream is mentioned but alas, there may not be anyplace for us to get some. There is an ice cream store here, but they may be closed and it’s raining out, so the gang’s not sure they want to take a walk to find out. While digging around for binoculars to see if we can scope out the town, I find a Power Rangers coloring book. Danielle is ecstatic and after we also find crayons, she and Alaina color to their heart’s delight. Emily and I compare book’s we’re reading and give each other several more titles to check out. Outside the clouds have dropped and they’re starting to cover the tops of the mountains. Charles is still working away, doing those dishes. Good man. Alaina’s coloring has become aggressive and Danielle has grown silent. I’m worried that she’s beginning to find it stressful and not relaxing. There was a stress coloring incident earlier in the year and I vowed to have a conversation with her if I saw the issue resurfacing… She’s good. Apparently the stress only kicks in when she has colored pencils.
The guys decide to venture out in search of ice cream. I hang back with the ladies. My head is finally starting to feel better so taking it easy today seems to have been the right call and I don’t want to take a step backwards. They return with gelato and chocolate so all is right with the world. The rest of the night consists of relaxing and deciding whether or not to hot tub in the snow. Yes, it’s snowing again. I decide to turn in early. We’ve got a very long drive tomorrow as we make our way to Estes Park. We’re meeting Steve Dilts, the Young Artist Liaison for dinner and then we have a double bill of Hansel and Gretel on Friday and some rehearsal time for the concert coming up. Then we head back to Denver for the weekend for the Young Artist Farewell on Sunday. Busy days continue, but now it’s time to rest.
I hope you rest well readers,