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So, you know, we had this party Saturday night.  We have it every year, or at least every year for the past nine years, except for the year Mariah and The Duchess were renovating their kitchen.  Officially it’s Mariah’s party, but really the whole family pitches in, from coming over Friday night to do food prep, to working all day Saturday laying out carpets on the grass in the back yard, stringing chinese lanterns, and transforming Mariah’s downstairs into one big costume shop stuffed with all the most ridiculous and awesome things you might find over, say ten years of combing the local thrift stores (note AnniPotts’ incredible gold disco ball of a dress, and the silver cowboy hat on Grace’s brother, sitting behind her).  And then, we all get to invite our favorite people too.  🙂  This year I finally persuaded a few of my swing dancing friends to come!

This is Miss B, who is one of the cutest people I know (which is really saying something!).  She gets extra bonus style points for rocking both the gold lamé pants, and the weightlifting belt.  What really makes her outfit, though, are the amazing heels that you can only just get a glimpse of.  And then next to her is Godiva, who had turned one of Mariah’s old bridesmaid dresses into something pastoral, very late regency trending into Victorian, all soft pink prettiness topped with that great hat.

And then there was Littlefoot, seen here using her mother, The Beautiful T, as a jungle gym.  She’s almost a year old now, growing long and tall, with the biggest deep blue eyes you ever saw.  She’ll start talking any minute now, which is awesome, particularly since I’ll get to see it!  Her parents, MDoS and The Beautiful T, just moved back to Dayton from Princeton, where MDoS was getting his doctorate in Mathematics.  He’s all done with that now (Dr. MDoS!), and now we get to keep them in Dayton for at least four years.  So we’re pretty happy about that!

We had a really good cast this year.  We pick parts randomly out of a hat, so you never know what you’re going to get.  Some years it kinda drags, but some years it turns out amazing.  We still remember the year that the two ladies who played Helena and Hermia turned the cat fight in Act III into a WWF style take down, while wearing respectively a beaded ballgown, and a pink sari with silver embroidery. And then there was the year when Ivy (the one married to Tree) turned the bit part of Philostrate (Duke Theseus’s Master of Revels) into something amazing.  This year MDoS covered himself in glory by playing Peter Quince as a hillbilly redneck, mispronouncing Pyramis and Thisbe as Pyramid and Frisbe, and generally being awesome.

This year I pulled the part of Flute, a minor character who is part of the Rude Mechanicals, a group of uneducated craftsmen who are trying to put on a play.  For the most part, Flute is a silly bit part, but it has its unique challenges.  At the end of the play, the group of craftsmen perform their own play for the aristocratic main characters.  It’s mostly pure farce, and if you want you can play it as farce to the end.  Or you can choose to pull a screeching u-turn, and perform the death scenes straight.  If you are a good enough actor, you can take your audience from uproarious laughter to deeply touched and (sometimes) in tears.  It’s not an easy thing to pull off, but this year I decided I wanted to try it.  Flute’s part in the craftsmen’s play is Thisbe, a young woman who goes to meet her lover, and finding him dead, kills herself with his sword.  Her speech when she discovers him is the turning point.  It’s tricky because it’s still full of silly things (mourning his cowslip cheeks & cherry nose, for example), but it’s still full of genuine pathos if played right.  And you know, I think I did pretty well.  It’s hard to judge it for myself, and Lord knows I’ll never be another Sarah Bernhardt.  But I think it was pretty good.

In other news, my leg continues to slowly heal.  On Wednesday I went back to swing dancing for the first time since I hurt myself, and danced four whole dances before my leg started twinging and I had to stop.  I don’t have much stamina on that leg anymore.  I could tell by mid-afternoon on Saturday that just being on my feet as much as I was getting ready was more than my leg really wanted to take.  Little by little I think it is getting stronger.  Hopefully one day soon I won’t even remember that I hurt it!