January 18, 2004

There are overnight drives through the mountains. There are very early mornings. There are venues where the instruments have yet to be hung. There are folks who have never seen a theatrical light, let alone focus one. There are bad roads and three-show-days.

But then, there is also a hot tub and a heated pool in the courtyard of our Aspen hotel, where we can relax whilst watching skiers slalom down the mountain. And there is a linen-covered table in the lobby of the theater, where we dine on a dinner cooked especially for us. And there are M&Ms in the green room. And Chips Ahoy. And Fiji water.

The venue in Aspen is, well, adorable. It is a tiny tiered theatre with red seats and starred baby- blue walls. There are oxygen tanks backstage (Aspen is about 8,000 feet above sea level), which I took advantage of several times during the show, particularly before and after Penguins. The house was a bit quiet, but my auntie was there, and that made all the difference. In Sloth, the only piece where I can look out at the audience, I could see the reflection of light from her glasses as she joyfully watched my every move on stage. After the show we went out for Mexican food, and then we went back and chatted in her hotel room. My aunt is the best aunt in the whole universe.

The next morning Colleen, Sam, Colleenís friend Jackie, and I went out to breakfast and had a delightful time, made even more delightful by my strawberry-banana smoothie with soy protein. Reason #34,908,937 Why Sam Is A Great Boyfriend: Sam is naturally a nice, polite, inquisitive guy. I enjoy introducing him to family members because he always wins them over without even trying. He wanted to come out to breakfast with us not only because he knew it was important to me, but also because he genuinely wanted to get to know my aunt better. We talked about education, which I like talking about, as I come from a long line of educators (one of whom who was recently made quite famous for writing a very good book).

I would love to stay in Aspen longer but, alas, itís time to move on. If I ever suddenly become a millionaire, I will definitely vacation here.