Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Year Blues

I thought that things would quiet down with the end of Nutcracker and for about a week or two they did.
It's always calmest just before all hell breaks loose.

First thing I had to deal with was SP's school situation.
It seems that even though the Prince liked some aspects of school and had no trouble with the kids, he just didn't connect to the whole "school" scene. He wanted to go back to homeschooling.
Fortunately I'd just spoken to the parent of a fellow dancer about the homeschool curriculum she uses successfully with her children and it sounded quite good.

K12 Virtual School meets all the state requirements and even offers Latin, which is a particular interest of my little chappy.
Since the online curriculum is very straightforward we simply have a rule that SP work for three hours in the morning (schedule permitting) and then work another three hours in the afternoon.
This gives him the freedom to pursue his dance lessons and other interests without having to fit them in around school hours.

As for the socialization thing, well, um, he's not walled up in the bloody west wing just because he isn't in a classroom. He knows other young people exist and he isn't overwhelmingly fascinated by the fact unless they share a common bond of interest. Dance, MMORPGs, WWII games, skating, swimming, fencing, archery and that sort of thing.

As implied above, however, the school thing was only ONE of the situations we faced over the last month.

The second Big Thing involved our tomcat, Tom (brilliantly creative people, are we) whose urinary tract became blocked, seemingly overnight, and required much expensive medical care and a week long stay at the vet's.
It all turned out well in the end (quite literally that) but getting to good required a month of juggling money, ferrying Tom to and from doctors, dosing a stitched up tomkitty with antibiotics and putting something called Lick Guard around his sutures to make sure he didn't lick or chew them open again! Aaieee!

Number three isn't so much a bad or harrowing big thing as it is simply an exercise in my logistical abilities. The Prince has a supernumerary position in the Chicago Lyric Opera's upcoming productions of Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci.
This requires several trips a week to Chicago (thank GOD!) and lots of sitting around waiting for and riding ON trains.
Working in the opera has been a wonderful experience so far. All of the people I've met are terribly nice, and the Prince has become friends with some fun kids, many of whom have already been in ten or more Lyric productions!!

So between these three things the last month has been full indeed.
Here's hoping that February will settle into more of a quiet routine without all of the big changes and expensive cat surgeries and school reshufflings that made January such a job o' work.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Hollandaise!

We, the crown in exile, are most pleased to wish all visitors to our little cyber palace a

Happy ChristmaHannuKwanzSticeEid and a Merry Diwali to YOU!
Hell, our palace is for everyone so how could we just wish happiness to a chosen few, now I ask ya!

With Affection,
The Shoestring Prince & The Old Queen (and for those who have asked NO, I am NOT Quentin Crisp!)

Saturday, December 20, 2008


(The SP backstage after his first evening performance of The Nutcracker. He's loosened his coat and is showing me the shockingly tiny and cramped "gentlemen's dressing room"
In the time honored tradition of the female dominated world of the dance the girls get a whole floor for their dressing room while the three boys have to make do with some old flats propped together in a corner to spare their modesty. Hey, at least it's something!)

It's that time of year again; the time when every ballet school, ballet company, or person who has ever been in the same room with a pair of ballet shoes decides to produce a version of NUTCRACKER!
From ABT to the little ballet school down the road in Yourtown USA, comes the Tchaikovskian sound of nuts being cracked.

The prince's school is no different. Today he performed as...what else...the Nutcracker Prince in our own local Nutcracker.
I don't know if any of the other Nutcrackers feature a self deprecating royal personage who smiles wryly down on the dancers from his throne in the Kingdom of Sweets but this little Nutcracker did.

Every royal should have a good strong sense of the ridiculous. It keeps him from taking it all so seriously. The one thing the SP seems to take seriously is dance. I'm thinking this could be the real thing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In The Bleak Midwinter

Well, I don't suppose it's quite midwinter but from where the prince and I sit it is certainly bleak.

There hasn't been much doing on the blog because, really, there isn't much doing here. We are still in preparation for the big Nutcracker production which will open next week.

I could eke out the blog by complaining about my boredom with Wisconsin winters. I personally am not a person who enjoys being glued to a house and a tv, eating and feeling my ass spread as I worry about driving conditions and other outcomes of weather extremism.
The original palace was in northern California where the first rain is justification for everyone to slow to about 5 miles per hour while hunched, white knuckled and grim lipped over the steering wheel.

Imagine how badly I handle snow! White outs?? You must be freaking joking!

Nope, I'm not a country queen. I, like Marie Antoinette, am happiest at the center of an active and funloving court---yes, yes, I know about the Hameau but even that was plunked down right in the center of the park of Versailles, where the action was.

There were no Home Depots, no McDonalds, and no JCPenneys in MA's little hamlet.

I need shopping (real shopping; self respecting women don't like shopping at a clothing store calling itself a "Barn"), and cabs, operas, and ballet companies, theatre and restaurants (No, not Olive Garden and Applebees)
And if I see another Hobby Lobby I will surely puke.

The prince needs to know that food comes in more ways than through a drive through or on a bun.
Winter, however makes it hard to get about, and that makes for a cranky queen.

Since even deposed queens should refrain from dumping on those around them I've kept shy of the blog.
As it is, I sit on the floor in a corner of my room, hugging myself and rocking back and forth as I monotonally (is that even a word? It is now!) murmur "Chicago" to myself over and over.

Hell, we'll take a train.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ella Joins The Guard

There is no earthly reason to keep six cats.

I never meant for it to be this way. My god it's like a bad marriage. You pull into the garage with the best of intentions; you only want to park the car for cryin' out loud. It's not as if you live in the country or something. You live in a LOFT...these things don't happen to people who live in lofts!


So, we're standing surrounded by grocery bags, waiting for the elevator to come. The prince and I get on and turn to press the button for our floor when what do we see hiding behind the open garage door---a little gray back. A little gray furry back.

"Please," she mews, once her nervousness subsides "I want to join the Ammonia Guard, and be a great guardian of the royal beds, windowsills and food bowls. They say it is a tough life that requires napping for 16 hours a day...but I think I can do it."

Poor little baby is all skin and bones, we're talking hollow kitty. She is so thin that it's hard to feel anything when we pick her up and take her upstairs with us.

"What is your name?" I ask after she has explored the bedroom and refreshed herself with a bit of food and water.

"Ella" she tells us; then she licks herself clean as she can of the grime from the garage and curls up to rest on the bed, beginning her guard duties immediately.

Well, how can the SP and I resist? Little Miss Ella Kit has got the chops. She's a fine guard member, and is filliing out rapidly. I had held out hope that by dismantling the draft we would have no new guard members since it's tough for a monarchy in exile to provide the wherewithal to keep an army clothed, fed, neutered, spayed, you know the rest.

It seems, however, that even with the shingle taken down the recruits will find us, and we, will always take them in.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Forward, Into The Future!

To paraphrase an old Steely Dan song:
"He's an artist, a pioneer. He's got the right dynamic for the new frontier."
It is the custom for royalty to stay out of politics lest their views exert undue sway. Since the SP and the OQ are deposed royalty with no sway over anything except the Ammonia Guard (cats, my friends, cats) we feel safe in saying that we couldn't be happier with America's choice.
It was ours as well.