Browsing Archives for July 2008

Prior to the opening of Othello, which was this year’s selection for Kansas City’s Shakespeare in the Park, there was a puppet show put on by Paul Mesner.  
Paul wrote a fifteen minute rhyming version of Othello, which was so much more compelling than the actual Othello, that I almost converted back to puppeterianism.  But then I had a really bad flashback, and I managed to stop myself.  
Paul’s show was highly entertaining, funny, and somehow mysteriously lacking in all the twenty minute monologues where the actor tells you what is going to happen and then the actors do what the other actor said was going to happen and then the actor tells you what is going to happen next and then the other actors do what the other actor said was going to happen and then the actor says I will now do this and then he does it and then he says this is what will happen next and then the other actors do whatever he said… on and on and on.  It makes you wonder if Shakespeare was just either really tired when he wrote Othello, or if was just TOTALLY CRACKED OUT!!!  Because it is a really BORING play! And none of it makes any sense!
However, in Paul’s puppet version, there is not time for a bunch of stupid boring monologes…
They just act.  
And they speak in short clever rhymes.
And they speak quite well, for a bit of painted plastic that does not even have a movable mouth!!!  
Plus, Paul did all the voices himself!!!
As a former professional puppeteer (full of hate for the art form), I know how hard that is!
What Lo!
If only the real Iago and the real Othello did not have movable mouths!
The real show might have been so much more enjoyable!
To prove my point, I will give you a brief synopsis…
This is Othello (the one in the purple apron) with Iago in the apricot cape.
Iago is an evil villain who talks a lot and then he talks some more.  And just when you think all the fluid has leaked from your brain and you can’t listen to a single more word out of his villianous mouth… he talks even more.
Othello is also a great talker.  The thing about Othello is that while he is talking and talking and talking and talking and talking… he is constantly saying that he is not much of a talker, making him possibly even more irritating than Iago.  
This is Iago giving Cassio some booze to trick him and make him die.  
Cassio is on watch and not supposed to have booze.  
Plus Cassio can’t handle his liquor so he should never drink.  
But of course he does.  
Because if he didn’t this whole stupid story would never even have happened.
In the meantime 
Back at the ranch…
There is a hanky
And the hanky is the star of the show.
The End!
Not really!
Because Othello NEVER ENDS!!!
It goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and ON!!!
And then four VERY STUPID people die because of a hanky.  
Here is Othello strangling his sweet, stupid wife because of a hanky.
And even though she is dead (because Othello kills her two times) she comes back to life just long enough to say that she loves her little smoochy woochy Othello and that just because he killed her stupid ass, does not make him a bad guy.
And then she dies again!
A few minutes later (read hours) Othello stabs himself because he is a dumb ass and also because he is a total stupid head.
And then we all left.
But I am pretty sure the show is still going on.
And that Othello has killed his wife AGAIN!!!!  
The bard totally rules…
But everyone writes a stinker once in a while.
This has been the Country Doctor’s Wife world renowned Shakespearian critic, reporting to you from her messy bedroom.

Our Free Vacation!!!

July 7th, 2008

First you load up in the van at 8:30 AM the morning after the Fourth of July.
No one will be very happy about this ridiculously early departure on the heels of such a late night, except for the Country Doctor who loves suffering in all of it’s various forms.

Next, you drive to Lawrence and have breakfast at Wheatfields in Lawrence, Kansas.   

The breakfast is not free. 
It also does not cause suffering.
This caustic lack of suffering accompanied by real maple syrup and a side of bacon will make the Country Doctor a little grumpy… 
To compensate… he will order only a small bowl of fruit.
Next you will drive out to April’s Pig Farm, to pick up Seth.
Then on to…  
Kansas City.
Your first mission, upon arrival in KC is to try and find the original Fritz’s hamburger joint and have lunch.  And yes, you did just have breakfast and no, no one is very hungry, but that is not the point.  
The point is that you use a phone from your table to call in your orders…


And then this happens…
Oh dear!  
Fritz’s is also not free…
Fear not…
We are getting to the free part.
Relatively soon…

But first you must go to the Kansas City Union Station, which is very beautiful and also very grand and also very tall, and makes you wish you were born a hundred years ago and had a trim navy suit with a feather in your hat and gloves, and silk stockings, and a collection of small suitcases at your feet, one of them round, and you were being helped aboard a train, bound for California to meet the man of your dreams…

But you are not.

Instead you are noticing that all the attractions (except the weird fake horse) are very expensive.  So you use the bathroom (free) and you get back in the van and head to Liberty Memorial just across the way…

You are considering going to the WWI museum which is underneath the Liberty Memorial, but just as  you drive up to the Memorial, you get kind of creeped out about going to a windowless, underground WWI museum on such a gorgeous summer day, so instead you head south to the Plaza.

And you decide to wander around the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art which is  full of large sculptures made out of old tires and huge paintings of  red circles on a black background, and videos of a strange wolf like creature painting eyeballs on it’s hands.  

This museum is wonderfully free.

Next you will wander across a shady residential street to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.
Where these massive shuttlecocks grace the vast green lawn.

Did you know that the husband and wife team of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen designed and installed these sculptures while the Country Doctor was living in Kansas City and attending Medical School?   

In fact, the Country Doctor and his very stunning, young wife were living just a hefty stones throw from the museum itself!

The newlyweds, while very intent on each other, were occasionally distracted by news of the city which surrounded them, being engulfed in a frothy brou ha ha over the installation of these “birdie” sculptures.   Many Kansas Citians felt that the shuttlecocks were simply not important enough to warrant placement on the majestic, sweeping lawn of The Nelson.

Claes and Coosje also had incredibly difficult first and last names and no one knew how to say them or spell them and this added to everyone’s consternation…

Finally, Claes explained in a tired, yet noble manner, that in his visits to Kansas City he was continually stunned by the city’s mortality. Every grandiose structure (including the Nelson itself) was a war memorial, and he felt it was time for the city to have itself a little fun.

So he and his wife threw a party on the city’s biggest lawn.

And people have been partying there ever since.

Then Jack found a big stick.

Which he carried (or more likely had someone carry for him) the rest of the day.

Whereupon,  you will walk to the Plaza, go to Restoration Hardware, and sample the outdoor furniture collections.   
Which are not in any way, shape, or form…
even close to being free.

Then ice cream.
 (not free)…

And fountain…

And shower…

And architectural eye candy for the mom…

And finally… The Shakespeare Festival in the Park which is adjacent to The Plaza, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art AND  The Nelson…
(also marvelously free…)

Grumpy self portraits – free…

Happy self portraits… also free…

Wonderful day in the city….

almost priceless…

Tomorrow - 
Othello the Puppet.

Swimming Pool Signage

July 3rd, 2008

Today I took my kids to the pool, and yes, I spent the first ten minutes frantically scanning the water for turds while feeling kind of sick and dizzy… but then I got over it.  After I was done with the turd scan, I slipped right back into normal old Rechelle mode and unfortunately that is not exactly the world’s most comfortable pair of shoes.  For some reason I can’t really comprehend, going to our small town’s swimming pool makes me feel like I am in high school again.   It’s the old oh there’s that person over there that I kind of know, but not really and should I go over and say something or should I just sit here and feign paralysis?  I am pretty good at feigning paralysis.  Just ask the Country Doctor.  I am not exactly the most socially gifted person on the planet.  That is the job of my sister.  I spent most of my formative years standing just behind her, smiling weakly, and trying to find a dark corner in which to escape.

But there are no dark corners at a public swimming pool.  So I decided that a few signs might be helpful for people like me who suffer from mild to moderate social paralysis.  I envision these signs around the perimeter of the pool with comfortable chaise loungers and shade umbrellas and a young tanned male twenty something that brings you cold beverages and little snackies and is very interested in your blog… and doesn’t mind hearing all about it… and offers to put suntan lotion on your back and… 
Oh yeah signs… … so you read the signs that are around the pool and then you decide where you wanted to sit that day based on the signs…
Here I will give you some sign examples from off the top of my head… 
1.  Moms who love to chat sit here.
2.  Moms who only like to chat with certain people (probably not you) sit here.
3.  Moms who will chat with you but only under extreme duress sit here.
4.  Moms who chat non-stop until they turn blue and do not stop chatting even if one of their children is drowning, but instead hop up, scoop out drowning child, chatting the entire time.
5.  No chatting allowed.
6.  Chat at your own risk.
7.  You can chat, but I can’t hear you!
8.  Please… somebody… come chat with me… I feel so awkward and alone.
9.  My child is the one who poops in the pool.
10.  I want to be alone… I just really, really want to be alone… no I don’t not really… but I want you to think I want to be alone… but I really desperately want someone to talk to me…
11.  Go Away!
12.  I am very comfortable staring into space, but can chat if it is really necessary.
13.  I brought a book.  I will read it if no one wants to chat with me.  And I am okay with that.
14.  Socially awkward… will say bizarre and inappropriate things… you will either love or hate me.
15.  My daughter is the one in the bikini held together with dental floss. 
16.  My son is the one with the anger management issues.
17.  I want to talk about how poorly managed the pool is and how stupid all the lifeguards are.
18.  Remember when I was that skinny?
19.  Please don’t look at my thighs… please don’t look at my thighs… please don’t look at my thighs…
20.  Please don’t look at my butt… please don’t look at my butt… please don’t look at my butt…
21.  I can’t chat, because I spend every second micromanaging my children… Stop splashing Exodus… Get your head out of the water Deuteronomy… Leviticus!  Leviticus!  Leviticus – stop swimming on your back!   Remember?  We are swimming on our sides today!  Only our sides!  Deuteronomy get behind me Satan and give that little girl back her swimsuit bottoms!  Leviticus!  Leviticus!  

22.  I am a toned machine and I come here to put it on display girlfriend.  Feel free to peruse my thighs, my butt, my six pack, my triceps and my bullet proof breasts. 
23.  No one is permitted to play with my child’s toys.
24.  Your child is touching my child’s toys.
25.  Come here son… Come here!  Do you see that baby playing with your toys?  Take the toys away from that baby and play with them over here by mama.  No, just take them away…  Just grab them!  GRAB THEM!
26.  Leviticus!  Get off that diving board.  GET OFF THE DIVING BOARD!!!  We discussed this at home!  You are not to be on the diving board until you have memorized the entire book of Genesis IN HEBREW!!!  We have been over this and over this!  Exodus!  PUT your swimming suit back on!