Monday, December 22, 2008
Tomorrow we pack feverishly while the kids enjoy their school Christmas parties, and then head off to Mass. - all in one go if the DVD player and weather both cooperate. I don't anticipate much posting while we're gone, since most of the people who read this will be in Mass. with me, so while we're away, let me wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a better 2009 than 2008 turned out to be, and a few moments of peace amongst the parties.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
This is my god-daughter, Amanda. The last time I saw her was 5 or 6 years ago, when I think she was just starting high school. She told me she was changing her name to Betty. I guess she meant it! I found her recently on Facebook. This is a self-portrait she took recently. Although she looks nothing like her mother, who was my best friend in high school, the sadness on her face reminds me of her.
I posted this really quickly this morning, and I forgot to say that I LOVE this picture. I think it's beautiful, and I plan on printing it and hanging it up somewhere. Nice job, Betty!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I went to VCU first, as Richmond is closer to DC than Virginia Beach is, so it made a kind of logical sense. And I have to say, I was quite pleasantly surprised by Richmond. I was expecting a big, dirty city and at least the part that I was in was quite quaint and pleasant. The campus area is much like the University of Pittsburgh, with campus buildings interspersed among townhouses, apartment buildings, cafes, and small storefronts. It's a pretty, pleasant area to walk, and the parking garage only cost $5.00 for the whole day. And students are only $3.50! (At Pitt, it's more like $5.00 per hour)The arts building is medium sized, and a little shabby, which is what I've come to expect from arts buildings in general - they get a lot more hard use than lecture rooms. The people were very nice, very helpful, willing to answer all my questions. They did not audition me, although the website called it an interview/audition, and apparently the reason they did not is because there really isn't any performance quotient to the program. It's a theater pedagogy program, and it focuses pretty exclusively on teaching. In fact, many of the grad students TA the first semester and have their own classes by the second. The pro side of that is, it's great experience, and it looks great on your resume. They are very focused on post-school preparation - helping you build up your resume, write a good CV, publish articles, etc. The con side is, I'm not sure how much I'd actually LEARN, besides what I already know, about different aspects of theater. Granted, I have a good background, but there's still a lot I don't know, and part of the reason I want to go back to school is to fill in some of the gaps. Financial aid seems pretty random and kind of "do it yourself". You have to scramble for assistantships, on campus work, etc. and don't find out until very last minute what aid you've received, if any. The curriculum is quite loosely structured, allowing a lot of flexibility in designing your own program. The cost of living in Richmond seems to be even lower than Pittsburgh, although finding a good school district in an area we can afford to live in will be a challenge.
The next day I went on to Virginia Beach. (After an overnight stay in Williamsburg with my first best friend, Laura. We had a great time reminiscing about what dorks we were as kids!) My first impressions of Regent weren't all that great, but for kind of strange reasons. The campus is pretty small, and very self contained. It's set off the main drag and it really feels like you're entering your own little world when you go into it. The buildings and grounds are all beautiful and perfectly maintained. There was a swan pond, complete with swan, and a pasture with several lovely horses. There were, however, hardly any people walking around on the campus, and it had almost a Camazotz feeling to it. (Referencing "A Wrinkle in Time" - the planet where everyone is exactly the same, because they are all part of the great MIND of IT") However, it was right after Thanksgiving break, and it was COLD. So I'm assuming the people were all inside. Once I got over the strangeness of how nice everything was, I began to enjoy and appreciate it. The Arts building is HUGE and lovely - marble tiles, crystal chandeliers, hand-painted Chinese silk tapestries. Again, the people were very charming and helpful. I did have an audition, and I think it went very well. I wasn't nervous, and I did good work, so regardless of the outcome, I feel good about that part. The program is very different from VCU. It is an Acting MFA, with an option to add a Directing emphasis. It's highly structured, and pretty time-intensive. Much more like CMU. The con side is, there's little to no focus on post-grad preparation, like there is at VCU, and it doesn't seem that there would be opportunity for teaching, since the program is so intensive. However, on the pro side, I'd learn tons of stuff that I don't already know, and would really like to. Voice and Speech training, Stage Combat certification, and many performance opportunities, which also look good on resumes. The financial aid is spotty here too - there are several University and College scholarships to apply for, but nothing is guaranteed. Virginia Beach itself seemed like kind of a hard place to get around, compared to Richmond. It's definitely a driving community. Of course, there is the actual beach to factor in. Which I'm sure will be even more pleasant when the winds aren't blowing at 20mph.
So, in summary, I liked both programs, and both places, but they are very different. I think ultimately both would get me to my goals, but they are very different approaches.
The next step is the audition week which includes Yale, Brown, and the URTAs which comes up at the end of January. Then, it will be wait-and-see time.
So that's the latest school info.
Personal stuff will have to wait for now. I need coffee.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Maybe I should gunk things up for awhile. Turn red. Make swallowing painful. Make kid grouchy. Oh, and make sure he sleeps in his brother's bed the night before to maximize potential germ sharing.
Bwah -hah - hah!!! (Evil laugh)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
When I got home, I learned Scooby had a bad headache and needed me to snuggle him. I did, and our pre-midnight quiet time was actually quite lovely. No rushing to finish homework, practice violin, get to the dentist, get ready for bed, finish that dinner, brush your teeth, try to listen to three urgent conversations at once. Just quiet attention, and little shared intimacies. He regressed a little in his speech patterns, as his sleepy eyes closed and his sweaty hand clutched my sleeve. This morning there were remnants of my show makeup on his PJs.
Cinderella crawled into our bed this morning and turned on the TV. A couple of minutes later she gave a little squeak, and said, "I lost my tooth!" This is the front tooth that's been hanging on by a wish and a prayer for about a week, and it was suddenly just missing! I asked her where it was and she shrugged nonchalantly and said, "I must have swallowed it." However, upon inspection of her bed, it was lying there in the middle of the sheet, like a tiny seashell washed up on shore. She and Tarzan now have matching jack-o-lantern grins.
I'm trying to motivate myself to get off the computer and get on the treadmill. And I guess I should call Starbucks today about my application. And I have another show tonight. It's an hour away, but I'll give myself two to avoid the stress.
The kids are filling their minds with junk via the computer and TV, but it's been a super-busy week (auditions at QV, dentist appointments, Awana club, Mexican fiesta at school) and they need down time. Later I'll make them practice violin and piano, and read their school assignments, and finish their dinner, and brush their teeth, and listen to their urgent conversations. But right now, I'm sipping my coffee and enjoying the quiet.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I have two "Rudolph the Dead-Nosed Reindeer" shows this weekend, so it truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Speaking of money, I dropped off an application to Starbucks on Saturday, requesting the opening shift. Which, in case you are curious, starts at 5:00am. I haven't heard anything from them yet, which could be due to the fact that I attached a list of all the dates I can't work because I'm out of town or already working one of my other jobs. Do I want to get up at 4:00am and go to work in the dark? NO. However, I've had 5 shows cancelled in the past 3 weeks, and have shelled out about $500 in college application fees, and we're in a dark, dark place right now. It's cold out here. And there are wolves. (Little Simpsons reference there)
Anyway, on the good news side, my ex-college prof finally wrote letters of rec. to Yale and Brown, after much nagging on my part. I felt the need to nag, as she missed the deadline for the extremely complicated and hoop-jumping filled fellowship application that I was working on earlier in the fall, and blew my chances for being considered at all. After I'd supplied an official transcript, official MAT scores, 5 essays, and 3 other letters of recommendation, both online and hard copies. I could have spit, I was so mad. But I had to keep being nice, since she hadn't written the other ones yet. But now they're done. Hopefully she didn't take out any annoyance with my persistent reminders in the letters.
Today I spent about 4 hours doing crafts for the school holiday shop. I volunteered back in Sept. and they have to be in by Thursday, so of course I didn't start until today. I painted some picture frames, a couple of trinket boxes, and some refridgerator magnet clips. It's not a lot, but it's all they're getting. They turned out pretty cute, I think. If I can find the camera, I'll post some pictures. I've also been making real progress on Cinderella's stocking. There's a distict possibility that it might be finished by Christmas!
This afternoon we have call-back auditions for Quaker Valley's show. We're doing Beauty and the Beast this year, which should be fun. Hopefully the kids will behave at the auditions. Then we're supposed to go to a bible study, but I'm blowing it off again. I've decided it's just too far to drive 45 minutes each way for an hour long meeting. I've felt an obligation to try to keep going, but when I find myself dreading it days in advance, it's time to drop out.
Off to grab a quick shower before the bus gets here!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
My own Scooby phone, but not a real one
Hair Clips and Bows
Charcoal cat Webkinz
Love Puppy Webkinz
Hairbow - pink
Pants that say angel on them
Thursday, November 13, 2008
8. Cocoa Dinosaur
5. Blue Trigger Fish
6. White Mouse
Random Toys or Stuffed animals
hot wheels Games (more)
(1) World Rcord Book
my own gumball machine
IndIana Jones Set (with an Indiana Jones guy)
Junie B. Jones is a beauty shop guy
Junie B. Jones is (Almost) a flower girl
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Not much going on here. The kids all had really good teacher conferences and report cards. They're doing great in school (as Don says - So far...) He keeps waiting for them to hate school as much as he did. Even Cinderella's doing well - although the day after her great conference she came home with a "yellow card" for pushing somebody in line.
I had another training today at the medical school for NPEs or Normal Physical Exams. I learned how to take a blood pressure, how to use an oto/opthalmascope (not sure about that spelling), how to percuss a liver, check for chest expansion, use the reflex hammer, all sorts of fun stuff. So when I go for the exams in December, I can actually instruct the med students on their technique. Things we don't have to do are: invert the eyelids during the eye exam, check the gag reflex, and breast, pelvic and rectal exams. Thank heavens. No teeth scaling either. I'll practice on the kids this week, and next week I'll get tested for my certification. (I'm just certified to actually be examined, not examine other people)
We had another show get cancelled for this upcoming weekend. The economy sucks in all kinds of ways.
My life isn't terribly exciting right now, sorry!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Check out Scooby's blog (link on the left - Pittsburgh Pirates) as he added a short update today. Also, Tarzan decided he wanted to start one too. So check out Timmy-Webkinz. He typed the whole entry himself, with only a little help in spelling.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
And here they are after the haircuts.
I especially like Tarzan's mowhawk. Cinderella got a little scissor happy, but they grow fast.
Thanks Melissa and J!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Last night I went for a late run - the kids were home from school all day, so I had to wait until Don came home, and ate dinner, etc. I headed out about 7:10, and caught the tail end of a gorgeous fiery sunset. I decided to head up the windy hill to see if I could catch more of it from the top, but it was pretty much gone by the time I got there. However, I got to watch the moonrise on the other side. It was a beautiful night - cool, but still with a breath of warmth from the day. But it was getting kind of dark, and there aren't many streetlamps up there. See where this is going? A car came, so I moved onto the shoulder, stumbled, and twisted my ankle. It wasn't too bad, and I ran home on it, then iced it and put it up for the rest of the night. It's not too bad today, just a constant reminder why I should only run in the daytime.
I met with my ex-CMU professor again today. She coached me through my monologue a little bit, and then we talked some more about different programs. I think I did okay - she said the monologues definitely need work, but didn't say that I totally sucked and shouldn't even bother auditioning. She stressed how hard Yale and Brown are to get into, and I agreed, but said my philosophy is they're even harder to get into if you don't apply. She said CMU auditions about 1000 for their 20 spots in the undergrad program. Yale auditions about 3000 for 10 spots. No pressure. She also gave me the name and email address of one of the other acting teachers and said she might be willing to help coach me some more, and that she'd do it herself, but didn't have the time. So I'll see if this other person is willing to help me out. I got a lot out of just the five minutes she gave me.
Then I came home and got a delivery from UPS. It was the fellowship application that I mailed two weeks ago, and it was returned saying the recipient, the U.S.Dept. of Education, had moved and the address was bad. I flipped out, as this fellowship was a HUGE pain in the ass to apply for, and they are stringent about the application deadline, which was Oct. 3rd. Fortunately, after I calmed down and contacted them, they said that many people have had this problem. In fact, here's their quote, "What we have learned is that both FedEx and UPS have been informed numerous times of the address change, and there is a sign up at the old address redirecting deliveries to the correct address (there are no staff present at the old address; it is closed). However, it seems that in some cases FedEx and UPS drivers have not followed the instructions on the sign or instructions from their managers, and have instead returned packages to the senders, simply noting that the address was "bad." As a result, several applicants have been forced to ship their applications again, after the deadline, with the documentation inside demonstrating that the original package ship date was in compliance with our deadline date of October 3rd. Your message indicates that your package was returned to you from UPS. You will not be penalized as long as the documentation inside demonstrates the original package ship date as compliant with the deadline date of October 3rd." So it's the stupid UPS drivers fault - not their own for not bothering to change the shipping information on their website.
So anyway, I'll reship it tomorrow. I'll see if I can get UPS to do it for free this time.
Oh, and it looks like I won't be applying to UMAss, because they won't waive their stupid GRE requirement, and I'm not taking a $150 test for one application.
AND, Pitt responded and said they're happy with the two MFA students they have, thank you very much, but try again in 2010.
Gotta love this process, right?
Friday, October 10, 2008
The house is never so quiet as when I close the door behind them after they get on the bus.
I had a long involved dream last night about being in a car crash - a silver Camero in the other lane rear-ended a red sports car which crossed the median and crashed into my car. I spun around and was thrown from the car into the street, where I lay semi-conscious for several minutes. These details are very clear. After that it gets fuzzier. A policeman came and was more interested in investigating the contents of the car's trunk than in helping me off the street. There was a roll of money in the trunk - a couple thousand dollars, and nothing more. I insisted I didn't know where it had come from, and it was my husband's car, but he certainly didn't keep wads of money lying around in the trunk. Then I had to follow the police car in my own car, and suddenly we were in a bad snowstorm and I couldn't drive or even see. I was still feeling shaky from being in the crash. Then there was something about being in a restaurant that a friend owned, and lots of people were coming in, and they didn't have enough food. I was dressed up in my Bride of Frankenstein outfit. And somehow I had to call Don and tell him I couldn't meet him because of the snowstorm, and also because I was going to leave him for the policeman.
For some reason, I'm feeling tired and headachey this morning.
I'll post this now, but I plan on trying to take some pictures of the sky later. There is just something about October that brings out the most incredible blue skies and color contrasts with the leaves. I remember distinctly that last year, on my birthday, I had just discovered the walking route that took me up to the top of the hills by the beautiful meadows. I remember looking at the sky and breathing the air, and feeling really happy.
This year, for some reason, I'm feeling blue. Overwhelmed, tired. I spent my birthday feeling old and dull and stupid. And fat. I've been trying to walk or run almost everyday, but I'm not making any progress.
It's frigging ridiculous how time consuming this application process is. If I had a full time job, I'd never be able to do it. I've spent at LEAST 20 hours this week alone on essay questions, ordering transcripts, requesting letters of recommendation, and filling out forms. And I'm not done yet!!!! And then I think about how small the chances are that I'll actually get into these programs, and it feels like a total waste of time. Of course, the chances are smaller if I don't apply, so there you are.
I'm applying to Brown's MFA Acting and MFA Directing programs, Yale's MFA Acting program (aim for the sky), Boston University's MFA Directing and MFA Theater Education programs, Regent's MFA Acting program, CMU's MFA directing program, UMass's MFA Directing program (if I can get around the GRE requirement), and possibly Virginia Commonwealth's and Savannah College of Art and Design's MFA Acting programs. In addition to two national Fellowship programs, and the National Resident Theater Acting and Directing Auditions. AND I contacted Pitt and let them know that I'm still interested, and still available, should they feel a sudden burning desire to fill another spot.
Today, I need to go buy some underwear and running bras. And write three more essays.
I will drive carefully.
Friday, October 03, 2008
I watched the debate last night. Can't say I was overly impressed with either candidate, but Palin made me laugh ("Say it ain't so, Joe!) and even if she's not necessarily VP material, I'd love to hang out with her. Maybe we could carpool our kids to hockey. Oh, wait. My kids aren't ever going to be allowed to play hockey. Oh well, there goes that brush with fame.
In other news, I'm LOVING our new DVR. It's totally going to spoil me. We only have it for a year (great sign-up deal)and I don't know how we'll ever go back!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Don signed us up for Verizon FIOS service - he found a deal that was actually cheaper than the Comcast Basic that we had before. So now we have all these channels, and DVR, but noone knows how to use them yet.
The kids were very excited Monday to see the Season 3 Premiere of FETCH! We had a little Premiere party in the living room. Yesterday the FIOS guy was still here though, and they missed day 2.
Last week I met with my freshman year acting teacher from CMU to talk about MFA programs. It was a little awkward at first (it's been 20 years since she had me in class! Holy crap!) but she was very gracious, and we had a good talk. She invited me to come back and do my audition peices for her, and she would coach me. Which is a damn good offer from the head of the acting program at CMU! So I was supposed to go back yesterday, but she got sick and had to cancel. Hopefully we'll be able to reschedule soon.
Murder in the Cathedral is done - we had great audiences and got positive feedback from everyone. It was sure a difficult play, and I dont' really have any desire to do it again, but it was good experience and seems to have been well received.
Now it's prime Murder Mystery season. We've got our two big Halloween shows, MacDeath and Murder at the Drac Shack, and then the two big Christmas shows, Rudolph the Dead-Nosed Reindeer and Death on the Air. That will keep me pretty busy up through December.
School open house is tomorrow night - I'll get a chance to talk with Tarzan and Cinderella's teachers and finally meet Scooby's. They seem like they're all doing really well. Tarzan is reading up a storm - I think he's a better reader than even Scooby was in first grade, and Scooby was pretty good!
Off to start the day!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
So, after 45 hours, our power has been restored. The remnants of hurricane Ike blew through here on Sunday night (right at the beginning of the Steeler game) and knocked out power for over 100,000 people in the Pittsburgh area. I don't know if it's because 1/2 the crews were already en route to Houston, or what, but it took two days to restore our power, and they're saying some people may not get it back until Friday. The kids were off of school yesterday - they went back today with power in 1/2 the building - not sure if they were using generators or what. We played lots of board games and Barbies, and I threw them outside frequently, althought I did NOT use the phrase "get the stink blown off."
We lost all the food in the fridge/freezer, although fortunately there wasn't much in there to begin with. We didn't have any way to cook anything anyway. If asked what we missed most, I'm sure the kids would say the computer, Don would say the TV, and I'd have to toss it up between the internet and my coffeemaker in the morning. At least we had water, and the temperature has been comfortable. In fact the weather has been beautiful. I went running (walking) today up the BIG hill and the road was actually closed, but I went up it anyway. There were three trees fallen on top of wires, on that road alone, that hadn't been cleared off yet. Weird. The storm on Sunday was actually quite cool too - there was no rain, just lots of wind. It was hot in the house, so Don and I went outside for awhile and looked up at the full moon and the clouds just streaking past it as the wind roared around us. It was breathtaking. And candlelight for one night was fun. By the second night it was starting to get old. And by today, we really needed to do some laundry. (I had three days worth of running clothes in there - stinky!!!)
So we're back in business now. Yippee! S -, it was fun to read about your amusement park adventures. We took the kids to Canobie Lake a couple of years ago. It's a nice little park. M and J - hope you're both getting/staying healthy. L -, where are you?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Although I haven't actually done the physical exams yet, it's coming up later in the fall. So far, I've only done interviewing skills, where I don't actually have to "gown up". This week I did Nicotene Cessation training on Monday, today and Friday I have training for Psychiatric cases (OCD and Schizophrenia) and tomorrow I have appendicitis. It's been a tough week. : )
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
Then I took my (complimentary) parking pass, retrieved my car, and drove home.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
My baby is 5 now. Fully fledged five, happily going to kindergarten, riding the bus, planning her life. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, her first answer is still "Tinkerbell, because then I can fly". But now she has also added "Policeman" and "President" and "A Mom, so I can tell everybody what to do." (Ha.)
Her dalmation-princess birthday party was a success - it was beautiful weather, so we opened up the pool and that takes a lot of game-playing pressure off of me. Although we did still hunt for plastic bones in the yard, play pin-the-tail and the spot on the dalmation, and musical dog-dishes. Granny made a terrific chocolate and vanilla cake with white icing and chocolate chip spots, and we had our dalmation pinata. She LOVED all her presents, especially the dalmation Webkinz, the Little Mermaid styling head, and all the Barbies. She's been playing with her new toys all weekend, and there wasn't one that she seemed disappointed in, with the exception of the socks and underwear given to her by us. Although, it was Hannah Montana underwear and that was pretty cool.
She's headstrong, this five year old. She knows what she wants, and she knows how to get it. I taught her the word kleptomaniac this weekend, because we always know to look somewhere in her room when we're missing a hairbrush, or a mirror, or a flashlight, or the kitchen timer. She's like a magpie - feathering her nest with shiny things that catch her fancy. She's volatile - either joyfully buzzing around the room with shiny accessories flashing, or bursting into tears because we've asked her to eat her waffle. Not many shades of gray with her. Only the new hairs that sprout on my head after each confrontation.
I'm so grateful to have this healthy, happy, spark in our lives. She keeps us laughing, and dancing, and always hopping to stay ahead of her.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
We had a family camping weekend in Cook Forest - even Don came! We managed to set up our tent, build a fire (eventually), go canoeing, and split some wood. The weather was perfect and we had a great time.
Then I went to Mass. for two weeks, and it was wet wet wet! We managed to have fun in between the raindrops, though. We went mini-golfing, ate ice cream at Kimballs, spent a day in Maine (shopping in Kennebunkport, lunch in Wells, beach at Ogunquit), visited Westford's playground, introduced Cinderella to my "vintage" Barbies, brought home an armful of 80's prom dresses for my friend who's costuming "The Wedding Singer" this fall, swam in the pool, visited with family, went back-to-school shopping, drank some wine, enjoyed the new porch, played Guitar Hero for the first time...it was pretty full. I also taught 3 songs to my Mom's chorus, videotaped the choreography, and performed in two hour-long shows at a county fair. It was good. And the transmission didn't fall out, and no one had to go to the emergency room, so it was a step up from 2007!
My mind was pretty preoccupied the whole time, though. I'm trying to figure out Plan B in this whole grad school thing. Plan A, which fell through, was to pursue an MFA in Performance and Pedagogy at the Univ. of Pittsburgh. Plan B has been up in the air since that didn't work out. So, I thought, maybe Plan B was to pursue an alternate route, and I looked into an MA at Regent University in Theater Studies, about half of which can be done online, and the rest with an 8 week summer residency. In the course of "looking into it", they told me they had openings for Fall, so I jumped at it, did all the application essays, resumes, letters of rec., transcript, etc.etc. and they accepted me into the program. However, it's not one of those programs which funds the grad students, unlike Pitt, and the money turned out to be a pretty major stumbling block. Especially since I had missed most of the deadlines around grant and scholarship money. The start of classes was fast approaching, and I was starting to freak out about it, so I asked them to defer my enrollment at least until spring.
In the meantime, I was rethinking the whole MA option, and the online part of it too, wondering if after all the work is done, it might be perceived as somewhat of a lesser degree - a "Jr. College" version, if you will. And that for my ultimate goal, of teaching in a university, I'd probably be better served pursing an MFA after all.
Which brings me to plan C...possibly going back to square one and reapplying to MFA programs. And since the local ones, Pitt and Point Park aren't accepting applications until 2010 and 2011 respectively, it would mean moving if I'm to go somewhere in 2009. Surprisingly, (or maybe not) there aren't that many options for MFAs in theater in the Northeast. My shortlist right now is Boston University, Brown University, Yale (yeah, right!), Penn State, and Regent (which also offers an MFA) Perhaps with Regent, I might not have to reapply with all the paperwork, and could just do the audition phase. There are probably other programs out there, but these are the ones I'm looking at right now. I don't want to live in NYC (sorry Steve...if it were just me, it might be different) I also need to think about URTA auditions (a group audition in NYC or Chicago hosted by a variety of grad schools). It costs money to audition, and you need to be nominated and have a sponsor...It's a lot to wrap my brain around.
In the meantime, I've started working on Murder in the Cathedral, the kids start school on Monday, and I have to learn a new murder mystery script this weekend. The kids all got haircuts today! (There were 10 kids in Great Clips when we went in...fortunately the family of 7(!) in front of us was just finishing up!)
Sorry for the boring post...I'd love to stop talking and thinking about all this, and just get on with it! Unfortunately, I don't see that happening any time soon. All input and advice is welcome!!!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Cinderella: When I was cleaning under the table, I bumped my head. It still hurts.
Tarzan: I can see the red spot.
Cinderella: May you please pray for me?
Tarzan: Okay. God, please make E..'s head better. I pray this forever. Amen.
Cinderella: Thanks, T...
Cinderella: I saw a feather fall from the flowers. Oh...(giggles) I said feather!
Tarzan: You mean petal.
Cinderella: You are a disgrace!
Tarzan: On the contrary.
Cinderella: You're not on the contrary, because I'm the Queen!
Tarzan: You're cute. (Goes over and hugs Cinderella)
Tarzan: (after about 20 seconds) Stop hugging me.
Cinderella: (Lets go) Was I choking you?
Tarzan: No. I just couldn't breathe.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
So all day long I'm talking to myself, convincing myself he's having a great time, or at least learning how to survive in a difficult social situation. Then last night, a swath of tornado warnings, funnel cloud sightings, dangerous lightning and golf-ball sized hail passes right through where the campsite is. Don and I spent an extremely anxious hour in front of the tv watching the weather. When it had passed by the camp area, we called the emergency number and requested a call back letting us know everything was okay. Five minutes later someone from the camp called back and assured us everything was fine - that it didn't even rain there. Which I don't get, but which made me feel marginally better.
So, it's day two, and we haven't gotten a phonecall to come and pick him up, or any teary homesick pleas. We sent him with some stamped envelopes and blank pages to write us, and I really hope he does. Tarzan and Cinderella miss him, mostly at night, but it has been a lot quieter around here.
If you're praying people, keep him in your prayers. Or good thoughts, or vibes, or whatever. My baby bird is growing feathers on his wings, and it hurts. It might be a little uncomfortable for him too.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Afterwards we went and trimmed Scooby's hair - the hairdresser showed him that by cutting his bangs on an angle, he could push them out of his face when Mom was looking, then shake them down into his eyes when she wasn't. He was tickled pink.
Then we went and got him some booster immunizations. He wasn't as happy about that. But then we got cookies. Iced Spiced Oatmeal for Cinderella, Snickerdoodle for Scooby, Dalmation for Tarzan (chocolate chip cookie with vanilla icing) and Gingersnap for me.
Then we read in bed, swam in the pool, and now I'm procrastinating making dinner before I head off for a set construction night for U-town. We open next Thursday! Yay!
What's going on out there?
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Cinderella enjoyed her first day at theater camp - she's playing a zebra in the showcase on Friday. I had a really fun day with the little kids age group. I'm pretty experienced with knowing how to talk to them.
The two neighbor kids are over again. Sigh. I like to be hospitible, but it's hard when it's too wet to play outside. I think pretty soon they're going outside, wet or not!
Quiet out there - is anyone home yet?
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Friday we went to Leetsdale's very lame Noisy Candy Parade. The candy's not noisy, but the parade is. The entire parade consists of firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars slowly driving by, sirens blaring, and candy raining out the windows. The kids liked it, except Cinderella didn't want to take her hands off her ears (neither did I!) so she made her brothers collect candy for her. Then we had a picnic in a nearby park, and went home for a dip in the pool. That night we watched fireworks from a parking lot across the road from the field where they set them off. Perfect view, and a decent show.
On Saturday we went to Uncle Joe and Aunt Barb's pool. Heated pool. Like, 90 degrees. All three kids swam like otters and stayed wet for about four hours straight. Don and I just ate WAY too much great food. Another nice relaxing day.
Today we went to church, went to a carnival at Granny's church, then cleaned the dentist office, then I went to rehearsal. Not quite as relaxing. Tomorrow I start teaching again at theater camp. Cinderella is coming with me this week and the boys are going to "camp Granny". Next week, I keep Tarzan and sent Scooby and Cinderella to Granny. God bless her. I saved the toughest week for last!
Scooby's on book six of the "Unfortunate Events" series. I don't think he's going back to Jack Sparrow until all the Unfortunate books are read. See, I knew when the right time was to give them to him!
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Tarzan had a Webkinz birthday party. Webkinz, in case you don't know, (which probably means you don't have any children under the age of 10) are stuffed animals that come with a computer code which opens up Webkinz world online, where the stuffed animal has a virutal identity. You can play games to win kinzcash, with which you can purchase online furnishings for your pet's home, clothing and food for the pet, etc. We used some of the online games as models for our party games. For example, we had a Wheel of Wow, which the kids could spin to win "Timmycash" or small prizes.
We also had a Wishing Well, where Timmycoins attached to paper clips could be caught with a magnetic fishing rod.
I scattered some plastic "jewels" on the front lawn and let the kids have a gem hunt. They collected their gems in little paper bags and took them home to attach to their foam crowns (purchased at Michaels) to make their own "Crown of Wonder."
When the kids came in, they brought their own Webkinz or other stuffed animal, which we set up near their take home bags in the Beauty Contest area. Each pet was awarded a prize such as "nicest pet" , "bravest pet", etc. These bags were where the kids collected all their Timmycash and prizes throughout the day.
We also had a Quizzy's corner, where the kids could earn more Timmycash by answering trivia questions. It was a nice break for them to sit and cool off, and have some quiet time before jumping in the pool! Finally, they ate and opened presents. At the end of the party, they collected all their Timmycash and used it to redeem prizes from the W-shop (in the kitchen). The prizes were gently used or leftover Happy meal toys, recital prizes, small books, etc. The kids really liked getting to choose their own things - just like Chuckie Cheese! The party was pretty inexpensive - the biggest expenses were the jewels and crowns. In retrospect, I would have bagged the crowns and had the kids do whatever they wanted with the jewels at home. Tarzan and co. had a great time and it was an overall success!Scooby had a party based on Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman - a show on PBS. I arranged a scavenger hunt with some of the local business and public places in Sewickley and had the kids follow clues from place to place. We ended up with pizza and cake. It was the most fun party I've ever had with the kids, although it did require a LOT of advance preparation by me, and it was on the more expensive side as well. But we had a blast! Watch the video and see...
Click here to watch the video I took at Scooby's birthday party. If I can figure out how, I'm going to make DVDs for all the kids as thank yous.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I was thinking about getting a beagle, and I was thinking about how bad you mihht have felt when I said I was disapointed. I just want you to know that I am very happy that I got the beagle Webkinz. (Though I am disapointed that I didn't get a real beagle).
Well, he didn't write Scooby, but you know what I mean.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
There. I feel better.
Monday, June 09, 2008
We spent Sunday at the Pirates game - and a great time was had by all! I know, I know, Pirates vs. the Diamondbacks - not much of a game for you BoSox fans, but there were some good plays, the Pirates won, and we had spectacular seats! Don got the tickets from a guy at work, and we were close enough to see the sweat beads on the players faces. We were right on the third base line, about six rows back from the field. And PNC park is amazing - the view of the city behind the ball field is gorgeous. Yes, it was 90 degrees and we were right in the sun. So it wasn't perfect. Tarzan dropped his popcorn, fell down the stairs and scraped his nose, and got a rash from the sun. Scooby got a headache from the combination of heat and screaming "Let's go Bucs!" for the whole ninth inning. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day at the ball park.
ps: Cinderella spent the day with Granny doing girly stuff. She loved it!!!
Friday, June 06, 2008
Went running this morning before it got unbearable. Tarzan's T-ball practice was cancelled due to the heat (wimps!) but as of now both boys have games tomorrow.
My unbelievable children have started their own "school before school" program. They did this last year, and were remarkably consistent with it for about two weeks. Bear in mind they only got out of school on Wednesday. Scooby is the teacher and has set up a schedule for reading, math, free time, lunch, library, geography, and science. They're at lunch now. Library, reading and math went splendidly! They are so tickled that they're doing this on their own, and both Tarzan and Cinderella are enthusiastic participants. Don't know how long it will last, but it's been fun today!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
The kids really enjoyed having "Aunt Blackbird" here. Cinderella says she should come back again, and sleep here. Tarzan drew a picture in his journal of her sleeping with a big smile on her face and wrote "My aint wut she dus is fun. i'm not kiting." (My aunt, what she does is fun. I'm not kidding) That's a pretty good endorsement! Actually, she didn't sleep that much, but then, nobody really sleeps much around here.
We had a really great time at Kennywood. They're all old enough to really enjoy it, and they each found something that really tickled them. Scooby liked the 3-D "scary" ride called Garfield's nightmare - where neon milkshakes and burgers float in midair towards your car, and giant scary veterinarians come after you with huge needles. (Tarzan said it was the worst ride ever.) He, on the other hand, loved the big kid rides where you plunge into huge splashes of water and get soaking wet. Scooby, the whole way up, kept chanting "I don't want to do this! I don't want to do this!" but he liked the splash part, and was glad he's done it once it was over. Once was enough, though. Tarzan wanted to do it over and over again! Cinderella loved just about everything in kiddyland - although the flying elephant ride was her favorite. I think she rode it 5 times. She made friends with every kid she shared a seat with, too. I got to ride the Merry-Go-Round, so I was happy too. It was great to have one adult for each kid so we could split up when necessary. Lisa impressed them all at the shooting gallery - she's quite a shot! We did get caught in the rain briefly, but it was right before we were going to leave anyway, and it gave us a kick in the butt to get out of there, since the kids did have school the next day. Hopefully they'll remember it as a really great time. I know I will!
I had my first rehearsal for Urinetown. I think it's going to be really fun. There's a really talented cast, and the music is fun to sing. It's going to be more of a time committment than I'd originally thought, which is going to get sticky as the summer goes on, but I'll cross that bridge later. It's good for me to branch out into a new group of theater people and make new contacts. It will also be something new on my resume, although I'm only "Poor Chorus" and don't even have a name! I'll make up a name for myself, I think.
I spent the day today retiring the winter clothes and pulling out the summer ones - we haven't really needed them yet since it's been so freaking cold!! It took me three hours. Exciting, huh? I have about six boxes full of baby/toddler clothes that I'm saving...should anyone ever need them. Anyone that I'm close to. You know, in my family or something. I'm just saying.
The invitations are mailed for the Webkinz party - tomorrow the Fetch party ones go out. Now I just have to figure out how to throw two parties with no "party budget." Should be interesting.
Lets see. What else?
Oh, Tarzan lost another tooth tonight! He requested two Sacajewea (sp?) gold coins from the tooth fairy. I think maybe he'll get one. The tooth fairy is a little strapped for cash. Fortunately, Mr. Tooth Fairy keeps a secret stash of gold coins for just such an occasion!
I'll post some pictures when I'm not on the laptop - they're all on the other computer. Only three more days of school. Lord help me.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Tarzan's decided he wants a Webkinz birthday, and Scooby wants a variation on Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman. Look them up, all you people without school age kids.
The weather is gorgeous so far this weekend. What a nice change! Maybe we will try to put the pool up this summer after all.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
In other news, I've been cast in a production of Urinetown that my friend Becki is directing. My friends Deb and Michelle are in it too. (The four of us were the ones who did the four part harmony Christmas music that I subjected some of you to over the holidays) I'm in the "poor" chorus. Again, a stretch. I actually don't know the show at all - except that it's about a society which has run out of water and people have to pay to pee. Those who pee illegally are sent to Urinetown. If anyone is familiar with the show, let me know your impressions. The performances are the middle and end of July, right before I head up to Mass. I haven't told Don yet that I'm doing this. He knows I auditioned, but I was kind of vague about the details. I don't know the actual rehearsal schedule yet, but Becki assures me it won't be too bad.
Only one more day of school for Emily. Nine more for the boys. Eeeek!
Still running - didn't go today, but hope to squeeze one in tomorrow morning.
Don bought a new scale - and it made me gain six pounds.
I actually don't care too much about the numbers, but I would like to see them moving in the other direction!!!
Friday, May 16, 2008
Hm..I don't think the show elevation button is there. But trust me, it's some big-ass hills.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
I can't say it nearly as well as one of my favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle:
"In the world of the theater, we touched on reality itself, and were shocked as the world around us seemed to reach out for the unreal. Planned obsolescence was just coming in, objects made with less than excellence, built to destroy themselves or wear out. Plastics and synthetics were just becoming available to the public. The word synthetics is enough: unreal.
Today we live in a society that seems to be less and less concerned with reality. We drink instant coffee and reconstituted orange juice. We buy our vegetables on cardboard trays covered with plastic. But perhaps the most dehumanizing thing of all is that we have allowed the media to call us consumers - ugly. No! I don't want to be a consumer. Anger consumes. Forest fires consume. Cancer consumes."
When we allow ourselves to be labeled as consumers - beings who take and take and use up, and take some more, whether we need it or not, be open ourselves wide to the negative influence of advertising. We become easy prey for scammers. The American Psychological Association estimates that children today see an average of 40,000 commercials per year. 40,000 commercials aimed at turning our children into mindless consumers who try to find happiness through credit cards. It’s the American Dream! But listen to this little bit of information from US News and World Report. “For Americans with household incomes under $25,000, it would take $54,000 a year to fulfill the American Dream. Those who make $100,000 plus crave an average of $192,000. In other words, the American Dream usually lies nearly twice the distance away.” It's what the whole "predatory lending" scandal is about - people who are so convinced that they need more and more and more that they willingly participate in lying about their means to pay back a loan.
Simplicity is living with what you need, and learning contentment. Consumerism is striving to always have more than what you have now. John D. Rockefeller was once the richest man on earth, with a net worth approximating $200 billion dollars. And yet when asked “How much money does it take to make a man happy?” Mr. Rockefeller replied, “Just a little bit more.”
Do I live in simplicity and contentment? No freakin' way. There is so much extra STUFF in this house that we definitely could do without. However, one of the lessons we are TRYING to install in our kids is that commercials are designed to manipulate your thinking. Or, in kid terms, to trick you. We point out how they are designed, what the goal of the advertisers might be, and how to control your thinking so that you are not blindly influenced by the ad. Scooby's got it. Tarzan's starting to understand. Cinderella...not so much. But one of the hidden blessings of being financially where we are is that it's easier to not give in to our children's demands and desires. We aim for simplicity. We recognize the value of contentment.
And we don't send money to Nigeria.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I also ran in the village, but then it got dark so I walked home.
Today I painted the picnic table and benches, and went for a very hilly walk. Not THE BIG HILL, but pretty hilly anyway. That's easy to do around here.
Today's soundtrack: Moulin Rouge
Monday, May 05, 2008
Also, check out her website http://www.dooce.com if you're not offended by frank language and sometimes raunchy humor. See how I keep deflecting you away from my own blog? It's a clever ruse so "the MAN" won't find me and ...oh, wait; nobody cares what I write! See, there are benefits to being insignificant.
In other news, days 11 and 12 were skipped due to Scooby's illness. Days 13 and 14 were runs in the village, and today, Day 15, was a long walk to Moon park and back (from the church, not from my house.) Probably about 4.5 miles. Yay, me.
Friday, May 02, 2008
"Even as good and exciting things are happening all around, I find myself slipping back into scarcity mindset. I wake up at night worried that I can't deliver on commitments I've made. That I'm not really good enough. That my dearest relationships won't survive my saying yes to new opportunities. That the house budget will run out before the flooring is installed, that my husband's business will grind to a halt, that the sky will fall.This fear is my default position, like slouching. It takes constant awareness and effort to pull my shoulders back, sit up, breathe, trust. To substitute every "what if?" with "why not?"...it forced me to take a good look at how coldly and quickly I want to disassociate myself from the howlers in the gutter. Because it's one tiny step for health and wholeness to recognize that for what it is—sickness. It's a much bigger stretch to get beyond the reflexive aversion to ugliness and see that the person howling is in pain, and a mighty, muscle-tearing leap to come to a full stop and see myself in them.We react most negatively to what we cannot allow in ourselves. For me, that's the victim card. Nothing will flip my switch like someone whining "poor me," whether it's in the key of self-rightousness or self-pity. But how many times have I been locked in the dungeon of my own thinking, howling and weeping while I held the keys? How many times have I blamed others for my own choices, because that was easier than taking responsibility and risking disappointment?"
Breathing that in for awhile.
Scooby and Tarzan are sick - Scooby more so. Temp of 103.8 this morning. Thank the good Lord above for Tylenol. Seriously - my life would be so much harder without it.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
How exciting is this? I'm posting about the weather!
Trying to line up some work for the summer. The mystery shows are suffering somewhat from the economy - my Friday overnight show was just cancelled. My Standardized Patient gigs at the Medical School are coming along - I'm only two training sessions away from actually presenting a case! I've been training since October, about two sessions per month. It's the l-o-n-g-e-s-t training program in the history of the world. But it's nice to get paid for sitting around and talking about stuff, I guess. So I'm looking for more work. There are some summer theater camps that might be interested, and I just passed a Starbucks that is hiring. Still no longer range plans, though. I'm really stuck when I try to formulate something longer term, and the kids are keeping me so busy that it's easy to be distracted away from it anyway.
Oh, well. My noodles are boiling, so I'm off to undo all the hard work I just did.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
It's really interesting to have Steve's ipod, with all his old music stored on it, plus some of the stuff I've tacked on. I put it on shuffle, and get this surreal accompaniment to my slogging. Today was some Massachusetts folk artists, a little Mozart, some Tracey Chapman, Alas for You from Godspell, some Bjork (speaking of surreal!), At the End of the Day from Les Mis, Norah Jones, kd lang, and a couple of other artists I wasn't familiar with, but whose songs I enjoyed. The only ones I've skipped through are some of the Christmas tunes. They just didn't jive with the dogwoods, magnolias, and daffodils.
On yesterday's walk I saw some past-their-prime daffoldils that totally reminded me of an illustration in Melissa's old fairy tale book - remember the Princess and the Pea? When she knocks on the door or the castle and she's all dripping wet, but still holding out her skirts for a curtsey, and the fluid lines of her dress and hair melt into the rain cascading down behind her? Maybe I'll try to post a picture of it soon. Well, anyway, the daffodils had that same ruined elegance look. The lines distorted, but still stately - the colors blurred, but still vibrant. I wish I'd had my camera. Maybe I'll try to go up there again tomorrow, before the next batch of storms and cold come, destroying the last of the flowers.