Curiosity is terminal

Monday, 26 February 2018

Theatre Set and Socks

All I have been doing for making things is building a set and knitting socks.

Here are some construction pictures of the set. I worked on it in between hospital visits.  It was good to have something to occupy my hands and my attention sometimes, but they were wonderful at the theatre about letting me work whatever hours I wanted and taking off at a moment's notice when I needed to.  Beloved worked on the set with me too. He is also a carpenter and I worked some evenings and weekends and he came along and helped. It was not really a one man job, this particular set; the arch at the back is 8 feet high, but the panel on the far left and right are 9 feet wide and 15 and 16 feet high.

Completed walls and the mouldings going on the wall. I never work on the trim. We have a couple of guys who come in after the main construction is done and they do trim and also run a/v and light cables and things.  

The set has a bit of roof.  These are the pieces of it, and also the base coat of paint on some of the walls. 

This is the roof up and the beginning of the crown mouldings as well as the final colour of the walls.  It is also a mess. I made a mess that day.  Some days that is all I do is make a mess, but on this day I also installed a roof and cut weird crown mouldings. Weird because the set is designed with a forced perspective, so the angles are a bit challenging. As I told the designer after it was all done, I like a challenge, although sometimes not while it is happening.


Here all the trim is up and the columns on either side of the arched opening are in place. The painter has also started the wallpaper that covers the roof panels. It is still a mess.

This is the finished, painted and mostly decorated set. The bookcase you see peeking out at stage right of the archway (which is on the left) will be fastened in the centre of the archway. For the first scene there is a piano in front of the bookcase. 

And here it is finished and lit.  It's quite elegant, I think. There is a nice little pot bellied stove to the left of the white chair that I cannot seem to get in one shot.  I might try to get some shots sometime when I have the theatre to myself before the play is over.  It's hard to take a good picture of it; it's very wide and so hard to get the whole thing in one shot. I joke that it is so wide it probably has two official languages.  

I knit socks while I was at the hospital and hospice with my dad.  I can knit socks without a pattern and they are small and portable, so I nearly always have socks to take places with me.  I knit five and a half pairs of socks at his bedside. 

The other two pairs are in the Great Southern Metropolis with The Offspring and her Boyfriend.  

During the run of the play,  I operate the sound and light boards. There are about 90 light cues in a 130 minute play, and about 50 sound cues, so I have some idle moments in the booth. So I knit in the booth too. Again, just socks because I can do them without thinking and frankly, I am not up to anything complicated right now.  Since the play opened on February 16 I have knit two pairs of socks. 

Yes that is two and a half pairs, but you will notice there are two of the patterned socks on the left of this photo and only one of the same sock in the photo above. One of the pairs spanned hospice and the play opening.  

It's a good thing that my life currently consists of pushing a button when my stage manager says, "go," and knitting, because I am not really functioning all that well.  Maybe I will write about that soon.  

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Lawrence Arthur Herman Anderson June 27, 1938 - February 9, 2018

Pop. Papa. Papa-San. Daddy. Dad.

I grew up believing that he could do everything.  In 1976 he started construction on the house he and mom lived in for the rest of his life. He dug the basement, some of it by hand and he did all the framing, and the main plumbing and electrical himself, with professional help only with the parts that needed legal permits. He could fix engines. He knew all about the birds and animals and trees and plants on their land. He  loved science and technology and he liked to invent gadgets and gizmos to make his work easier.  He loved history and storytelling.   He was a carpenter and for the last 15 years of his working life he did residential finishing,  renovated kitchens and installed cabinets for a local manufacturer. He retired at 70 because he was finally ready to.  

I was always allowed in the shop, was always allowed to use the hand tools. I hammered and sawed and tried to use the bit brace when I was little and the smell of sawdust will forever be the smell of home and of my dad.  I don't know if he was proud or pleased when I took up carpentry in 1994 because dad was not a hugely demonstrative guy, but he must have been okay with it, because while I was an apprentice he taught me to do finishing and cabinets.  We worked on hundreds of homes together.  He taught me to be careful. If my corners were not perfect he made me take them apart and do them again. If things didn't line up, he made me take them apart and line them up right. He taught me how to use levers and cleats and clamps with cabinets that were too unwieldy for one person to install. He made it look easy.  He taught me that mistakes were not tragedies unless you didn't learn anything from them.

He was unfailingly kind. He was unflinching about doing the right thing, and he alway just seemed to know the right thing. Family mattered.  

There was no one in the world he loved more than my daughter.  He read to her and walked in the bush with her and showed her birds and animals and taught her to drive the tractor. He had more wooden boxes in his shop than he needed because she liked to build boxes and he liked to do what she liked to do.  When she was a teenager he took her to work with him and had her assemble and help him install cabinets. She is confident with tools today.  When she was four he found my old toy sewing machine or he bought a new one and he showed her how to sew. He put her on his lap and he operated the foot pedal and helped her feed fabric through the needle. She is a professional seamstress today. 

I believed that he could do everything. He believed that I could do anything.  

I will miss him so much. 

Saturday, 3 February 2018


We interrupt your regular Saturday cat post to bring you Wednesday.


Wednesday is The Offspring's boyfriend's dog.  She is a lovely good dog who invariably does that with her ears when she has a camera pointed at her. She is particularly perturbed in this picture because her boy and The Offspring had gone off climbing for a couple of hours and left her in my company. She is very rarely out of the boy's company, and both she and the boy get antsy without one another. Wednesday is likely to howl the blues when she thinks she is alone in the house - I know she is singing the blues because she does it very softly, almost to herself.

Wednesday thinks she would like to be friends with the cats. Alas, the cats do not all share her interest. Meili likes to follow Wednesday around, so she knows what is going on, but when Wednesday notices Meili, Meili makes mean noises. Cricket follows Wednesday around and occasionally even greets Wednesday when she comes in the house with a boop on the nose (with her own nose, not a paw). Cricket and Wednesday can be found, a few times a day, laying in close proximity and gazing at each other. We are all hopeful they will become friends, but just as things are beginning to look good, Cricket turns into a hissing, swearing demon.  There have been no actual fisticuffs, and nothing initiated by Wednesday.  She just keeps looking disappointed that no one will snuggle or submit to belly washings.  The two cats you have not met hid from Wednesday for the first week and a half, but now are sometimes seen in the same room.

Wednesday, her boy, and my Offspring are all here from the great metropolis to the south to say goodbye to my father and to help and comfort my mother.  Mom and Dad live outside Atmon, about a half hour to the west. They have 18 acres and a house my dad built that they share with Spike, the cat to whom Cricket is a 15 year younger doppelgänger.  The kids and Wednesday are splitting their time between Mom and Dad's place and our house, with daily visits to Hospice.  Mom is glad to have company while she copes with things and sorts out what is happening next.  Beloved and I cannot take time off completely, although both our employers are being wonderfully flexible about our schedules, and we are grateful that the kids are being so good to my mom.

Wednesday might be a kind of practice dog for me. I like dogs. We had dogs when I was a kid and when the Offspring was a child too. But I think dogs need much more companionship than cats and Beloved and I both work, sometimes long hours, and he travels quite a bit and I don't like the idea of leaving a dog alone a lot. I am enjoying having a dog around.

Wednesday's main interests, aside from being with the boy, are running and sniffing. She and the boy go off on long adventures every day, usually to some multi-hectare park. If there were not feet of snow everywhere, they would adventure by mountain bike, but they are making do.  Once she is sufficiently fresh-air-and exercised she likes to lay near the boy and be petted. Mostly Wednesday is having a good time here. Except when they go off without her. Or you point a camera at her.