Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some Christmas Stories

By the kids

The first is Cinderella's (age 6)

The titull is the list of caldr days itill Christmas

The star oh the star
it is so beautiful!

the angel oh the angel
her wings is so beautiful.

the camel oh the camel
his bumps are so beautiful.

Babby Jesus oh babby Jesus
he is so handsome.

the sheep of the sheep
her wool is so soft

the cow oh the cow
she shared her manger.

the donkey oh the donkey
she carried Mary to the stable.

the wisman oh the wisman
they brot prasits to Baby Jeus
the prasits are beautiful.




An Acrostic Christmas Poem by Tarzan (age 7)
(minus the "R")

C hrist the lord was sleeping in his manger when men three of them were right there.

"H abdaba!" said the lord.

I (wich is a litte sheperd.) tryed to calm him down.

S o I took him to Mary and Josef.

T wo of the men walked by. The lord scremed agin.

M ary said "Go away!" to the men.

"A present we bring." said the men

S o the men gave the present but Mary said "My son is not a king." "Yes he is" said the men. "The star lead us to you." "Relly?" said Mary "Yes" said the men

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Travel plans

For those who don't already know, and want to...
All 5 of us are driving up on the 23rd. We can't leave till Don gets back from work, but he's only working a 1/2 day. The plan is to drive the whole way. We'll see. At any rate, we'll be getting in really late. Don is flying out on Sunday, the 27th. His flight goes out of Boston at 6:00pm. Maybe if the weather cooperates, we could spend the day in Boston first? The kids and I are staying until Jan. 2nd, then we'll head back. Maybe all the way, maybe as far as Lisa's. (If she's okay with us crashing there again, even if she's not there!) Apparently I'm teaching choreo on the 29th. Don and I would love to go out to a movie, sans kids, sometime while he's there. So maybe on Saturday?
That's the plan!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Advent - Day 17

Not really much to write, just trying to get ready for Christmas on a zero budget/zero time system. In some ways, it really simplifies things. I did drive to the beach and get some sand shovels for the kids - big ones, better for digging and stuff. Boy, those kitchy beach crap stores have really lonely and desperate employees in December. Also got the Christmas letters written, printed and mailed. Elephant Man rehearsals are going well. I think the show's going to be pretty intense - in a good way. My three main concerns right now are 1. Intelligibility of the Elephant Man. The actor is Chinese, playing a lower class British accent, of a character with severe speech impediments. He's doing an amazing job, but I'm afraid we may lose some of our core audience (those over 70). 2. The stage. It's raked (ie. slanted) at a severe angle, and it's a reverse rake, which means the highest part is in the front and the lowest in the back. I have to admit, it's very visually interesting, but creates HUGE sightline problems. 3. Wearing Victorian garb on the aforementioned rake. Heels, petticoats, corsets, long skirts, gloves, hat, etc. It's going to be very challenging.
Kids all brought home great progress reports today. I haven't received my final grades yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm headed for all A's. Yay me!
Can't wait to see everybody!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent - Day 14


(Yeah, I skipped a few days. It was a show week.)
Little Women complete, first full day of Elephant Man today. Yay!

Kids are all healthy except for some residual coughing from Scooby.

Lots to catch up on this week!!!



Marmee


Marmee and the girls

Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy



Beth (actually Kenna) Sweet girl!!!


"Father sent all sorts of loving messages to his Little Women."


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Advent Day 6

Cinderella seems fine.
Scooby has a fever.
All 3 are scheduled for H1N1 shots at school tomorrow. Do they get them even if they're sick?
The Christmas tree is up - the stand broke a little, so hopefully it will stay up.
Kids all got haircuts today - Cinderella's is chin-length! She's been asking for two years now, and she even paid for it herself, so I finally gave in. It is VERY cute, but too grown up looking. Edit: Pictures posted!
PRAYING that all are well enough to go to school tomorrow and that I don't get sick. My stomach's been mildly protesting all week, but hasn't gotten any worse, so I'm determinately ignoring it. This is finals week/production week for Little Women - I CAN'T GET SICK!!!!!



Decorating the tree - all three new haircuts - Amahl and the Night Visitors on TV in background



Saturday, December 05, 2009

Advent Day 5

Cinderella seems to be okay today. No more incidents. Hooray. (Celebrating cautiously, just in case it's premature...)
Today's agenda - return library books, homework, Tech rehearsal for Little Women, homework.
Tomorrow's agenda - church, Christmas tree shopping, haircuts for the boys.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Advent Day 4

Yeah, so, I got every parent's favorite phone call today. "Mrs. Dunlap? This is the school nurse. Your daughter threw up on the bus, so we need you to come get her."
Fortunately, I didn't have anywhere I HAD to be during the day today and was able to pick her up and hang out all day. She seemed to feel much better once I got there, and didn't get sick again today. The new coat she was wearing for the first time got quite a dosing, but it cleaned up okay. She really didn't tell me she wasn't feeling well, and frankly, if she had I probably would have ignored it, considering all the "stomach aches" they've had before school.
The school nurse is very nice. She changed her into clean clothes and bagged up the dirty ones for me.

The checks were for the PTA sponsored Holiday shop at school. They have an assortment of gifts the kids can buy for family and friends, ranging from about 50 cents to 15 dollars each. The kids are supposed to decide who they're buying for and how much to spend on each one, but we didn't have a chance to do that before they went to school. So, I just gave them all 15 dollars and sent them off. THey all came back with a baggie of presents, and they all said they had enough for what they wanted to get, but I haven't seen the results yet!

Here's praying I stay healthy for the next several weeks!!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Advent, Day Two

Had kind of a rough day today. Started off in a flurry and a rush, as I overslept and Tarzan woke me up 5 minutes before the bus came. Didn't have time to go over holiday shop budgets with the kids, just slapped a check in their envelopes. Should be interesting to see what they came home with. Cinderella was trying to tell me her tummy hurt, and I guess it did, since she came home wearing a "nurse's office" pair of pants and had her poopy ones in a baggy. No phone call, and I guess she felt better after that.
Found out in the middle of rehearsal today that one of my cohort's wife had a miscarriage tonight. He was very upset and had to leave rehearsal. So sad.
So, I've had better days, but mine wasn't as bad as some other people's.
Don's still having a very unpleasant time at the new base. Hopefully he'll get transferred back soon. Or, this contract will end and they'll find him another one somewhere else.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Advent, Day One

Yeah, no promises to keep up with every day, but I'll try.
Long day today. Got kids on the bus, went running, movement class at 10:00. Worked on RP or Standdard British pronounciation over lunch, Acting class. Came home, got kids off the bus, pottied and packed with their homework into the car. Drove Carol to the airport. Got kids home, finished up homework, fixed dinner, and off to Little Women rehearsal. Did a full run-through of the show for the designers, then went to Elephant Man rehearsal to work on British again. We also have finals coming up next week. Oh, and the kids need money tomorrow for the Holiday shop and school and I put my only $20 into the gas tank today. Hope the school takes checks.
Through all this, I'm still loving school. I love almost everything about it. The only things that really drive me crazy are the lack of sleep, the lack of money, and when other people in the program aren't as serious about the work as I am. I am paying too much money and investing too much time to have to work with slackers. Seriously. I know, preaching to the choir here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thirty

Well, I did it! Posted something every day. A lot of it was schlock, but hey, it's up there. Had my first Elephant Man rehearsal tonight. It's going to be a great show to work on, I think. Little Women opens (gulp!) next week.
Granny goes home tomorrow. Boo hoo.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Twenty Nine

Don looked all through the van. I looked all through the van. I looked through every jacket and pants pocket he owns. I looked through the dresser, mail shelf, cubby shelf, and desk. We drove up to the base and Don retraced his steps. No ID card.

We came home. Carol went out to the van with a screwdriver and took apart part of the dashboard.

She found the ID card.

I really don't want her to go home.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Twenty Eight

My Christmas lights are up! Everything but the tree. Need to scope out where the cheapest trees are around here. It's weird trying to fit your old lights to a new house, where the layout is all different. I ended up using our "net" lights to decorate the chained-up hot tub out back, as a backdrop to the scarecrow with the jack-o-lantern head and the Santa hat. It's unique. The front is a little more traditional. I'm using the candles in the windows for the first time in a long time, as they never fit on the windowsills in Sewickley. It's nice. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and Thanksgiving dinner tasted just as good the third time around.

Don somehow lost his ID to the base today. So tomorrow will be spent retracing steps and turning the van upside down to try to find it.

Carol put a patch on the tear in the footstool tonight. It looks better now, but I don't think it will hold for long. One good grab by Monkey or one good bounce from Tarzan and it's gone again.

It was actually quite brisk this morning, with wind chills in the lower 30's, but by mid-afternoon it was mid-50's and sunny. Perfect for a slow jog through the fallen leaves.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Twenty Seven

Had a relaxing day today. I convinced Scooby to snuggle with me a bit this morning and watch TV, thereby avoiding the daily fight over the computer. Went for a run. Finished my paper on The Lion in Winter. Played a multiplication matching game with Scooby and Tarzan. Played Chinese Checkers. Watched Amahl and the Night Visitors. Make Chocolate Chip cookies. Ate homemade turkey soup for dinner. Went to Holiday Lights on the beach. Read stories. Surfed the internet for Christmas gift ideas.

Tomorrow I plan to take down Thanksgiving decorations and start putting up Christmas ones. Also, do some research for Elephant Man, and review lines for Little Women.

Good day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Twenty Six

With love and sentiment of true Thanksgiving for all....

My Thanksgiving blog entry is thus....

Muppets sing Bohemian Rhapsody

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twenty Five

I've been trying to catch up tonight on some academic work that has been slipping behind, so that I don't have to worry about it over the weekend. However, I don't think I'm going to quite finish. My final paper for my Research and Aesthetics class, my "mock thesis" is almost done, but I'm still struggling through the stupid MLA formatting stuff and I need to give it another round of proofreading when I'm not so bleary-eyed.

I've also been participating in an online discussion group that was set up in lieu of having face-to-face class today. We're discussing modern examples of Gothic storytelling utilizing the presence of "self" vs. "other" and the symbolism in Tennessee William's "Suddenly Last Summer." It's interesting, but I'm spending way more time checking the discussion board than it would have taken me to just go to class.

Feeling a little melancholy not to be seeing Mom and Dad and sibs this Thanksgiving, but it is wonderful to have Granny here. I'm being totally spoiled once again. It's amazing how much pressure it takes off me when I don't have to worry about meals for everybody. I really don't like to cook. I do like to eat, however.

The running has been going pretty well, though. I'm down 9 pounds now - my goal is 11 more.

Hope everyone is traveling safely and giving lots of hugs to loved ones!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twenty Four

Don's job didn't go much better today. The boss at this base is a real piece of work. He was warned ahead of time, but still got to experience it for himself today. The poor guy. He's really trying to have a good attitude about it.

Not much to say today. Good classes, good rehearsal. Now to maintain what we've done until next Monday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Twenty Three

Caught up on Grey's Anatomy on Hulu.com. I basically enjoyed the (apparently) last episode of 2009, but was a little peeved they crammed all three holidays into one show. The music was good, though. I think I recognized a new Ingrid Michaelson song. I like her.

Good run today - 35 minutes without stopping. And then a little more after that, but that was only because I had to go to the bathroom!

Kids brought home great report cards today. I'm so proud of them! Scooby made honor roll and got about 5 free meal cards to various restaurants. The grades were from their previous teachers, since that's where they spent the whole first quarter. Tarzan is still having a little trouble adjusting the another change, but he's hanging in there.

One of my cohorts got punched in the face accidentally in Combat class today. Not fun.

Little Women rehearsals are going pretty well. We got some walls on our set today, and a bookcase and fireplace. I can't wait for our props and costumes! I actually like wearing a corset.

Don didn't enjoy his first day at the new base. He said everyone is unfriendly and the girl he's working with is psycho. Hopefully it gets better tomorrow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Twenty One

Twenty One? Really? Boy, this month is flying by. Went to the beach this morning to try to get some Christmas card pictures done - boy what goofy looking kids I have!!! It was sunny but pretty brisk - in the mid 50's. Cinderella looks frozen and tortured in almost every picture, and the boys aren't much better. Definately some "Calvin" faces. I'll see if I can cobble something together, though. I wanted to try to get them out fairly early so I could let folks know about our change of address. I think I'm past the mark for early, though!

We ran a couple of errands and then I went to a short rehearsal for Little Women. "Jo"'s grandfather died on Friday, so she had to fly home for the weekend, which limited what we were able to rehearse. Back here, Granny and I relaxed with the kids while Don got the check-engine light on the car diagnosed and test-drove the distance to the new base he's starting at on Monday. It's going to be another fun commute for him, I'm afraid. On the good news side of things, the check engine light was the "loose gas cap" signal that I love to hear! If you've got to have a check engine light on, that's a good reason to have.

Tonight I"m going to try to catch up on some reading for school. Tomorrow is church, then Don and I are ushering As You LIke It, (so we can get in free) and then maybe going to dinner. A date! Who would have thought it possible?????

Good to talk to Steve and Lisa this weekend. Melissa and J - how are you guys? What's new in RI? J, it's been way too long since you've updated.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Twenty

Okay. Don is booked on a one way ticket from Boston to Norfolk on the 27th. Granny Carol is helping out with the cost. Steve, you weren't home when I tried to call, I guess. He's planning on driving up with us on the 23rd. The kids and I will drive back here on the 2nd.

So, done, and done.

Saw Regent's dress rehearsal for As You Like It last night - kind of an uneven performance, but some really fun moments. Still rehearsing Little Women, around the As You Like It schedule,which is frustrating, but it's coming along.

Carol and I also went Christmas shopping for the kids today. Found some cute clothes, but need to make one more round for a toy or two.

It's going to be a lean Christmas, all around. If I can just be with family, and have everyone healthy, I'm good.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nineteen

Copout post!!!!
I'm tired. I stayed and watched As You Like It at school tonight. I'm so tired!!!!
Still not feeling 100%.
Hopefully better update tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eighteen

Really tired tonight, and feel like I'm starting to fight off a cold. Fell asleep in my car in the parking lot between classes - that was NOT my plan! So super short post today. Tomorrow's going to be a LONG day for me and the kids, so think positive thoughts our way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Post Seventeen

Granny Carol is here! Hooray!

Good day today. Good run in the morning - 31 minutes running, 5 walking on either side. Good classes - felt like I'm larnin' things. Bible study with the Dean at lunch, then another good class in the afternoon. Homework with the kids, then rehearsal for Little Women. Then home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Boys started their new classes yesterday. Tarzan's having adjustment issues again, but not quite as bad as before. He said today went better than yesterday. Scooby's doing fine, so far.

Nothing deep and introspective today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Post Sixteen

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/12/steven.curtis.chapman/index.html

My acting professor sent me this article today and asked us to discuss it as a class. Here are my thoughts below. Any thoughts from you guys?

I remember reading about this story when it happened, and praying that God would somehow shine through the incredible pain this family has experienced. (Imagine what the son who was driving must have felt)

I believe that God has given artists an exquisite gift in the ability to use their art to heal themselves and others through the expression of pain and grief. Chapman himself discusses this in the article and how God allowed him to grieve and heal through the music he was writing. He was not, however, able to do it immediately. There was a time of separation from the art for awhile, before the pain was ready to be processed. I think this is where grace and wisdom need to enter in. If a situation is too raw within us to allow any distance, it probably isn't ready to be fuel for our art. In such instances, the use of emotions can turn into therapy instead of art, and isn't a proper or effective expression. However, once some time has passed, and the healing process has begun, it is not only appropriate but necessary for us to use ALL of ourselves in our art. Not only including, but ESPECIALLY the deeply painful areas, because those are the places out of which our most powerful communication can arise.

For Chapman to be able to sacrificially give himself over to his music, and consequently give that gift to the world, is a powerful testimony to God's transformational power in our lives.

There's a fairly famous C.S. Lewis quote about pain being "God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world." The point being, sometimes God allows pain in our lives in order to rouse us from our complacency. As humans, we resist being roused, we resist pain. And as artists, I think we resist the thought of "using" our pain in our art, as somehow disrespectful or dishonoring of the pain. I disagree, however. I think by allowing God access to the pain in our lives allows Him to transform it into something beautiful and possibly helpful to others in their own walks through grief. Being the instrument of this transformation is the most respectful and honoring thing we can do for ourselves and those we have lost.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Post Fifteen

Random Thoughts:

Burning candles in the fireplace really is surprisingly cozy. However, one of them has kind of a funky smell. However again, they're too pretty to blow out.

Tonight has signalled the parade of the slugs through the wall by the front door. Four and counting. Where did they come from? What do they want? Is what we've told Scooby true - that they are afraid of heights and would NEVER climb up to his top bunk while he's sleeping?

The November Nor'easter has significantly messed up my running schedule. I feel fat.

My kids RAKED THE YARD today without being asked!!!! No, they didn't rake the whole yard, and yes, they did a crappy job, but who cares!!! Major kid-points accumulated today.

Visited another church today...probably not a keeper, but very nice people. I'm beginning to feel like Goldilocks. Too hot, too cold. I don't want to keep floating around, but I don't want to settle just because I'm tired of floating around. When is it time to say, "this one is good enough?"

Don is mopping the kitchen floor. But, he has a really bad attitude about it, so the points only count for half.

Tomorrow the kids go back to school. Huzzah!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Post Fourteen

Yeah, so. It's still raining.

I had rehearsal again today. It's coming along. One of our major challenges is taking a mediocre script of a beloved story and finding the active character choices within it. How to make "Marmee" a living breathing person instead of an iconic "perfect" mother, like Carol Brady or Caroline Ingalls; and also not the melodramatic, sighing version written in this particular version of the script.
Kids are still enjoying their impromtu vacation. They've watched "Up" and "Monsters vs. Aliens", brushed up on their Wii skills, and finished all their required reading for the month of November. Cinderella's reading is coming along, but she still gets fatigued quickly, and slides onto the floor, gasping dramatically.
I've been working on my latest paper assignment, which is a "practice" Thesis - not the whole thing, just the Introduction and the Works Cited page for the first Chapter. In preparation, I've been reading couple of Theses from the past years in the Regent library. Interesting reading, but kind of daunting when I think of the magnitude of the task ahead. The play I've chosen for my practice Thesis is A Lion in Winter, which is one of my favorite plays. (You may know the film version with Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn.) In retrospect, I probably should have chosen Elephant Man, and saved myself some work! Oh well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Post Number Thirteen

Happy Friday the 13th!
Again, no school, no work for Don. Still flooded in...but I had rehearsal tonight anyway. I had to plow through some pretty deep water on our street to get there, but I made it, and our street was the worst one I had to go through. It was good to get out for awhile! Played Dora Chutes and Ladders, Pirate Treasure Hunt, watched more movies. Tried to make travel plans for Christmas. Pleh. Looks like we are staying here for Thanksgiving, especially since Don will only be getting paid for two days work this week. Not sure how we're going to swing Christmas, but right now I'm trying to find a flight for Don to come back here on the 27th. I'll plan on driving at least partway on the 23rd, and starting back here on the 2nd. There's some tension about going at all, but I'm being pretty stubborn about it. Fun times.
I miss school.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Post Number Twelve







Oh, dear Lord. No school for anyone today, no work for Don. No school for anyone tomorrow. I may strangle someone before the day is over. Feeling a little claustrophobic for some reason...



Here are a couple of pictures I took today - Scooby probably took more, but I don't know where his camera is. I didn't take that many because, frankly, it was really wet out there.



Thanking God that we no longer live near a river and that the roof on this place seems pretty solid so far.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Post Eleven

It's a blustery day, Pooh bear!!
Remnants of Ida are causing quite a monsoon-like situation today, which is supposed to continue until Saturday. Lots of rain, lots of wind...so far we haven't lost power, but our TV antennae isn't working very well!!! I actually went running this morning, although it felt more like swimming at times. Surprisingly, it was a good run. Apparently my lungs like 100% humidity. Who knew? I came home on my break today and snuggled with the kids and watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. It was awesome. Then I had to go back to school.
Boy, that wind is loud.
Tarzan seems a little better today. No fever, but still lots of congestion and coughing. I think he'll be able to go back to school tomorrow, though, unless something changes overnight.
Oh, and Don's friends Dave and Tammi (Tarzan's godparents) had their baby...a little boy named Jay David.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post Number Ten

Yeah, well, nothing brings you back down to earth quicker than a sick kid.
Kept Tarzan home today with a fever and a barky cough. Kid actually slept for two hours in the afternoon, so I KNOW he wasn't feeling good. Luckily Don has tomorrow off, so I won't have to juggle like I did today. He perked up a bit in the evening, but has been coughing a lot in bed. We'll see how he's doing tomorrow, I guess.
Tarzan and Scooby both start in new classrooms on Monday. Such a wonky system. They have the "gifted" kids divided into two classrooms, about 4-6 kids per room. Then they have the special-ed kids in another room. Then, they take everybody else and divide them between the four rooms (making sure there's an ethnic balance - yes, they actually said that.) So there are two rooms of gifted kids + regular kids, one room of special ed kids + regular kids, and one room of just plain kids, which is where they've been up until now, I think. So now they move into one of the gifted + regular kids classrooms, where they'll receive small group instruction and enrichment projects on occasion, and the rest of the time do the regular curriculum with the regular kids. It's very bizarre. And if they'd listened to me at the beginning of the year, maybe they could have STARTED as a regular kid in one of the gifted + regular classrooms and they wouldn't have to start AGAIN with new teachers and new classmates. It's a good thing, but a WEIRD system.
Just rewatched Little Women with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon. And Claire Danes. I can't stand Claire Danes. Watching her cry makes me want to slap her and I find myself quite happy when Beth dies. Not what they were going for, I don't think.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Post Number Nine

If I could fly...
I'd leave the doubts and debts and darkness down on earth/
I'd soar over ocean and shadow the dolphins stitching their bodies through waves/
Fleeing the fear and freeing the child me inside/
Release and free and expand eluding no longer/
I'd circle the tree tops seeking most glorious leaves/
Opening, unblocking, turning old patterns inside out/

I'd race the clouds across the star studded sky/
I'd cradle the kids and listen to them laugh as the wind raked their hair/
Touching down, but never getting stuck/
Always, always, returning to flight/
If I could fly.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Post Number 8

Cutting it a little close to the wire tonight, but I had two assignments that needed to be turned in by midnight, so I did those first.
It was, indeed, a beautiful day outside. Cinderella woke me up by bouncing the whole bed with full-body hiccups and announcing that she was REALLY hungry. After breakfast we went to church - we're enjoying this church, but still not 100% sold. It's very big, and we're feeling like it's going to take forever to connect with people. Plus the parking lot is a nightmare. So we're debating going to check out a few more places, but today fell into the trap of inertia and ended up going back again.
After church we headed to the back yard where the kids played and I tried to read some school stuff. I was a little distracted by the balls bouncing off my laptop, though. I put away the Halloween decorations that have been piled up in the study, and put out a couple of Thanksgiving ones...actually managed to do that this year instead of discovering them when I went to get the Christmas ones out in December! Read with Cinderella, bathed the kids, read to them all, did my school assignments. Did not run. Did not have rehearsal. Did not collect $200.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Post Number Seven

All right, I feel somewhat vindicated now. I received letters today that both Tarzan and Scooby have been evaluated and deemed worthy to receive gifted education resources. It's quite an involved process, and I had to be pretty pushy at the beginning of the school year in order to make sure they were tested, but now I feel that my pushiness was justified. I'm not sure, but I think this means they'll be pulled out of their current classes and placed into a "cluster" classroom on a full-time basis with different teachers and peers. Not sure how that's going to go, but I'm pretty sure it's a good thing to get them into the "gifted" system.

All first graders are tested at the end of the year, so Cinderella has a couple of months to redeem herself.

Also, I made it up to 30 minutes of straight running today. My back isn't happy about it, but I did it!

For anyone who may not have seen them, I'm posting some Halloween pictures below.











Friday, November 06, 2009

Post Number Six

Happy birthday to my big sister today! I left you some messages, Lisa, but if you didn't get them, hope you had a great day.

Soooooo,

I went in for Cinderella's teacher conference today, and the poor teacher had to meet me at the door with, "Usually I would say things are going very well, but we had an incident today at lunch." Apparently, somewhere along the way, Cinderella has picked up the fact that giving people the middle finger means something and gets a reaction from people. She apparently showed it to another kid at lunch, who showed it to another kid, and the three of them managed to make the whole lunch table get involved. Apparently, when the principal (!) showed up, the whole table of first graders gave him the finger. And the instigator was my little princess. I asked her if she knew what that means, and she said no, she was just trying to be funny. She had to apologize to the principal (who told her he was "shocked") and to the lunch ladies (one of whom lives down the street from us) and has to have "silent lunch" on Monday with the other two kids who corrupted the rest of the table. We had a discussion about behavior with all three kids when they got home from school and hopefully that will be the end of it.

The rest of the conference went well.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Post Number 5

Ten things I'm liking right now:
Soup
Sunny mornings
Little Women rehearsals
My self-discipline
Listening to Cinderella read
Grey's Anatomy
Learning new stuff
Healthy family
Shuffle setting on the ipod
Getting email/facebook messages/blog comments

Ten things I'm not liking:
Scrounging in my backpack for enough coins to buy coffee from the vending machine
Dieting
Feeling tired every day at 5:00pm
Struggling with Scooby about homework
Cooking meals from an empty fridge
Back fat
Stress about travel plans/money/lack of time
Talkers who dominate class time
Stiff neck
Slackers

Ten things I accomplished this week:
Combat quiz on fight phrase 3
Combat quiz on self-choreographed fight
Made it up to 24 minutes straight running
20 action classical Movement barre
Discovered and developed new activity for Meisner class
Vacuumed floors
Meisner book Abstract
Submitted movement journal
The shortest teacher conference in the history of the world
Started daily blogging

Early to bed tonight, I hope.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Post Number Four

Another full day today. Got the kids on the bus, went running, and headed off to class. Today was discussion day in Research and Aesthetics and we talked about modern day examples of Romanticism and Melodrama. We pretty much decided that all super-hero movies (Spiderman, Batman, Hulk, etc.) are Romantic (in the sense of the genre, not necessarily lovey dovey) and Melodramatic. Lots of other films too - Titanic, Gone With the Wind, Independence Day...the list is long! Then I had scene practice for acting class. After that, I went to the post office and mailed Lisa her popcorn (enjoy!), ate some soup, and worked on my assignment for Movement tomorrow. (I thought about trying to explain it, but decided it would be too difficult without having a shared vocabulary about what we're working on.) I went back to school and got the paperwork for the Independent Study proposal, then met with my combat partner to review stuff because she was sick on Monday. In combat class we learned moves like the eye poke, the eye gouge, three different ways to break someone's neck, and the traveling side-kick. Then my partner and I performed and were graded on our mini-fight that we self-choreographed, (which was due Monday, but again, she was sick) and all of us were tested on the third phrase of our long fight. Next week we need to bring in a scene and add text to the fight. After that I had 25 minutes for dinner, and went into Little Women rehearsal. Because the show is completely sold out and the waiting list has been growing huge, we've been authorized to add another show on Sunday evening! It's pretty exciting. I can't wait to start wearing my petticoats and crinolines!!! Got out of rehearsal a little early, so I got home in time to read the kids stories, then started homework. It's now 11:25, and I have about another hour's worth to go. So, full day.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Post Number Three

And...we're out of the potty references for the posting numbers. Hooray. So glad that my brother has joined me in attempting to post every day. I enjoy company in my delusions.

The kids had no school today and came in to school with me. Except for the 50 pound duffel bag of entertainment (books, legos, board games, snacks) I lugged in with me, it was pretty painless. There were two very sweet undergrads who split the responsibility of watching them for two hours each while I was in class, and the day turned out to be beautiful and sunny so they went outside and chased each other around for awhile. We got to have lunch together and even squeezed in a game of Spongebob Life between classes. The day started off a little rough, as I'd tried to have one of the kid's teacher conferences this morning before class, but, of course, the teacher was running about 15 minutes behind. That left me time for about a 5 minute conference, which was pretty uninformative. I may try to reschedule another one, or we'll just wait and see what the results are of the "gifted" testing, and go from there.

I'm thinking of proposing and independent study for next semester about Grotowski, Artaud, Peter Brook and the "holy actor". If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't feel bad. It's a topic I didn't know anything about until I started studying for the entrance exam to Regent, and it's very intriguing to me. I'll see if I can put together a decent proposal in time for registration.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Post Number Two

I think I've licked this whole snazzy title thing. I'm going for "it's so boring, it's chic." I'm posting early today as I know I'm going to be whupped by the time I get home tonight. Just got back from my run, and I'm sitting here sweating all over Don's nice leather chair. I'd like to say I feel virtuous for running, but I'm still deep in the hole of guilt from all the Halloween candy I snarfed yesterday and I've got a lot of climbing to do before I get back to virtuous. One of the (many) things I like about where we live now is that I can plan out running routes that a) don't involve perpendicular hills and b) don't involve major highways or train tracks. True, there are many little water spots - creeks, ponds, lakes, that create strange byways and very circular routes, but I'm starting to get to know my way around them a little better. We live right next to a really nice neighborhood, and my current route fills me with nostalgia as I run past all the Colonial homes on streets like Natick, Tewksbury, Shrewsbury, and Revere. Especially now that it's November and the leaves have STARTED to turn colors (!!) I can almost pretend I'm home in New England. I actually ran for 20 minutes straight today. Walked for 5, ran for 20, walked for 5, ran for 6, and walked 6 back home. My goal is to be able to run at least 30 minutes straight. I still don't enjoy it. I'm waiting for those runner's endorphins to find me, but they are elusive indeed. It's still more slogging and grunting, but I'm getting out there, at least. I'm afraid I'm going to miss tomorrow, as the kids have no school and I'm taking them all to a teacher conference, then to school with me. I've got some people lined up to watch them while I'm in class. We'll see how that goes!
Off to start the day...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Post Number One

So that weird random rectangle on the top left of my page is a sign that I am, indeed, certifiably crazy. I have decided to challenge myself to posting every day for the entire month of November, and that emblem is the proof that I've entered into similar community of crazy people. Now, it says nowhere that the entries need to be of any particular length, or quality, so I'm promising nothing other than volume. And I'm making this commitment when? On the eve of what is going to be my busiest three months in the entire first year of grad school. I'm starting rehearsals for Little Women tomorrow night. Rehearsals will continue through the opening of the show, the week of Dec. 11th (with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend - yay!) and Elephant Man rehearsals start Nov. 30 and run until the opening of the show, the week of Jan. 21. (with the exception of Christmas - yay!) How I'm going to be at rehearsals for two shows at once, I'm not really sure.
We're starting to have an actual babysitter this week - someone coming on a semi-regular basis that we're going to pay for her services. Not sure how we're going to pay her yet, but we'll take it one step at a time.
Halloween was different this year... it was 80 degrees and we went to the beach for the day! It was gorgeous, but I think we wore out the kids too much and they dragged their feet all through trick-or-treating. Theirs were by far the cutest costumes..I'll post pictures on here as soon as I can get it together.
I have SO much homework to do tonight, but I spent 2 hours at a cubscout popcorn sale this afternoon instead of working. At least that's the last one of those for the year.
Feel free to drop frequent comments here, so I know my efforts at rambling are at least being viewed! Come back soon, y'all!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Can't think of a snazzy title...

I don't feel like I have a whole lot to say, but I know I like to keep reading other's blogs even when there's not a lot of earthshattering events happening.
School is going well. Really, really well. I had some great breakthroughs in classes this week, and I'm feeling pretty darn good about being where I am right now. I'm enjoying my movement class so much, even though it's very challenging to try to break through (ahem.) 40 years of habitual patterns and explore new possibilities of expressive movement. It's nothing major - no handstands or backflips, just things like trying to find expansive, free, and released movement instead of my habitual contracted, bound and withdrawn ones. I wish there were a Movement 2 class offered next semester, because I don't think I'm going to be anywhere near "done" learning this stuff by December. The Acting class is going well too. I had some really good exercise work this week, and I'm happy to discover that my emotional range is a lot more expansive than it was when I was 19. Go figure. Combat is fun - we're learning how to slam each other's heads into the wall, table, floor, etc. And I'm still getting all A's on my papers in Research and Aesthetics. It's almost time to register for Spring semester, when I'll be taking Text Analysis, Scene Study, and Rapier and Dagger. I start rehearsals for Little Women on Monday (which, by the way, is already completely sold out. Hope we don't suck!)
Don seems to be mostly enjoying his job. He's still shadowing someone because he doesn't have all the passwords and such he needs yet (it is an adjustment working in a military environment, no doubt about it) and he'll be happier when he can go out on his own. He doesn't like getting up so early, or sitting so long in traffic, but he's happy to be getting out and meeting people, and of course, bringing in some money soon.
The kids are doing much better in school. They seem pretty happy, overall, and Tarzan's got a new girlfriend already. It's almost time for teacher conferences, so I'm looking forward to getting an inside perspective on how things have changed for them.
It was great to have Mom and Dad here for a couple of days, even though I was in class and didn't get to see them a whole lot. They cooked dinner for us, and brought some much needed bigger sized clothing for the kids, and read stories, and played games, and even got to go to the beach twice. I wish they could have stayed longer! But Granny Carol is coming in a couple of weeks, and the kids are really looking forward to her visit. We all are, not just the kids!
Off to a lunch meeting!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Casting!

So the verdict is in! Actually, the results aren't a total surprise, as two of the professors pulled me aside yesterday to tell me that I was cast in a couple of the shows, but they were conflicting not only with each other, but with As You Like It, which I have already started rehearsals for. They wanted to know if it would be all right with me if I was taken out of As You Like It and put in the other shows instead, with much bigger parts. So I said sure! So, I'm cast as Marmee in Little Women, going up Dec. 10 - 13, and Mrs. Kendal in Elephant Man, going up the last two weeks in January. I was hoping I'd get into Godspell too, but I didn't. Not You Can't Take It With You either, so no 25th anniversary performances for me. But I'm thrilled with the two parts I got, and really looking forward to tackling some challenging work. So long, Shakespeare...our acquaintance was brief, but fun.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Callback Week!

Wow! Last week was crazy...and it's not over yet! Monday (my birthday) were general auditions for the "Spring" season, (although they included Little Women, which goes up in December, so it's not really spring...) which meant that we performed a one minute monologue and a 30 second song for the 4 directors who will be casting the shows. The four shows are Little Women, Elephant Man, You Can't Take it With You, and Godspell. It's a little ironic that I performed in You Can't Take it With You and Godspell my sophomore year in high school 25 years ago!!! It REALLY doesn't feel like it was that long ago. Anyway, the audition went okay, although I still get so nervous when I have to sing at an audition, and I felt the song was a little weak. Definitely not as good as it sounded in my house.

But, it must have gone all right because I ended up getting called back for all four shows! For those who aren't familiar with callbacks, that means you and whoever else was called back read from several selections of the script, specifically for the role you're being considered for. Elephant Man callbacks were Tuesday night. Now, I have to confess, I'm not 100% familiar with the Elephant Man script. I read the first half of one about a year ago, and I was so bored with it I couldn't finish it. However, that must have been a different version, because I finally read most of the Pomerance version that we're doing, and it was much better. Anyway, I was called back for the role of Mrs. Kendal, and for Nurse Sandwich. Mrs. Kendal is a pretty major part...originally it was going to be someone's thesis role, but they ended up getting pregnant and can't do it. Also, the character is supposed to get naked onstage. HOWEVER, they won't be staging it here with nudity (it is Regent, after all) but only with the suggestion of nudity. I think that callback went really well.
Callbacks for You Can't Take it With You were Wednesday night. For that, I was called back for Penelope - the mother character. In high school I played Essie, the wannabe ballerina, but for some reason I'm not being considered for that character anymore!! Those were fun, but I had a splitting headache all throughout them and I was a bit distracted.
Acting callbacks for Godspell were Thursday night. We did lots of improv and storytelling games...the only named characters in Godspell are Jesus and Judas/John the Baptist, and I'm not up for one of those, so it would be ensemble...but the ensemble does EVERYTHING...and I think it would be really fun to do that show, and really challenging. Speaking of challenging, we were then taught a dance combo for the song/dance callbacks on Saturday...and I thought I was going to die. It is VERY fast, VERY high energy, and totally impossible to sing at the same time, but we have to try!
Saturday afternoon were singing and dance callbacks for Godspell. We sang parts for Save the People and All Good Gifts (I'm on alto, surprise, surprise!) and then I sang Turn Back alone. The singing went well - much better than the general audition - but I think another girl killed it on Turn Back, so she'll probably get the solo. Dance auditions went as well as could be expected. I held my own, and against kids half my age. So there.
Little Women callbacks are tonight. I'm reading for Marmee and Aunt March. (Sensing a pattern here...)

So, I'm kind of hoping for Elephant Man and Godspell. Little Women would be fun, but since it's a "studio" show, that means it rehearses from 5 -7 (as opposed to the Mainstage shows which rehearse 7 - 11) and I could have to be rehearsing for two shows at the same time. I'm already in As You Like It, which starts rehearsals tonight (after Little Women callbacks) and runs until the week after Thanksgiving. So if I do Little Women and Elephant Man, I'll be rehearsing pretty much nonstop until the end of January. And this is on top of regular classwork, which has kept me quite busy up until now.

I should find out what's going to happen within the next couple of days. Eek!

Monday, October 05, 2009

40

It's really not a big deal being 40. I'm still exactly the same person I was yesterday. However, I'm not the person I was last year! Here's last year's "birthday" post:

"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."

And now, I'm in a new city, a new house (although it's not mine), I'm an MFA student - I did it! All that work and stress and anxiety, and here I am. Not that it's not still stressful and lots of work, and if Don doesn't get a job soon we will be in a lot of trouble, but still I DID IT! I am 40, and an MFA student. I am SO glad I took this risk, and SO grateful for all the support of my friends and family that allowed me to do it.

I had breakfast in bed this morning - Cheerios and coffee (which I had to go downstairs and doctor before I could drink it) with three wonderful cards from my babies. I have to say, Tarzan's really made me laugh. The front says "Happy Birthday Mommy!" There's a picture of me with a speech bubble saying "Wow! It's my birthday already!" Then the inside says, "I'm going to miss that 39 mommy. But a new 40 mommy is here. I'm going to have a good time with new mommy." Then there's another picture of me with a really big head, and a speech bubble saying "Hey! My head is not this big! It's still my birthday!"

Frankly, I'm not going to miss that 39 mommy.

The new 40 mommy is here, and I'm going to have a good time with new mommy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

How the hell did it get to be October?

It's the weather. That's what's been deceiving me. It was 82 degrees today. We've been going to the beach every weekend. How can it possibly be October? But it is. And we still haven't had Cinderella's "friend" party. She still doesn't know kids names, so it's really hard to invite them! It will happen, though. Even if it turns out to be a 6 1/2 party.
Speaking of birthdays...someone has a pretty big one coming up. Not going to think about that though. My only wish is that we had a sitter and some moola to go out and celebrate! But since I have auditions that night anyway, it's not that great a loss. Yes, another round of auditions. This time, for Little Women, Elephant Man, You Can't Take it With You, and Godspell. Also, two midterms next week, in movement and Stage Combat. I've written 4 papers for Research and Aesthetics so far: Personal Worldview, Greek/Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance. I've gotten grades back for the first three - I think my professor is an easy grader. I'm not complaining, though. We'll be starting rehearsals for As you Like It in two weeks, and paper writing will be getting a lot harder after that.
School is getting lots better for the kids. The first two weeks were horrible. They were trying so hard to adjust and assimilate all this new input, with no Mom and Dad around, and it was just too much at first. They're really starting to get a handle on things now, I think. There are things about the school system we're not really thrilled with so far, but it's early yet, and we're all still finding our way.
Tarzan's joined the CubScouts, and we're looking for a used uniform and starting to sell popcorn. There are no active Odyssey of the Mind groups around here, and I'm seriously debating whether I have the crazy to try to start one.
Cinderella's starting to read a little better, but she's a bit behind where the boys where at this point. She has the most homework out of the three of them, though, so she'll be catching up soon.
Missing family and Pittsburgh friends, when I have time to stop and think about it. Mostly, I don't have much time. But I do love you all!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sandcastles

Wow! I've been really busy and haven't had time to do much updating at all. I really want to do a full post soon, but for now, here are some photos from the Sandcastle competition we went to this weekend. I've posted some more on Facebook, but these are some of my favorites. We all had a great time!!!








This title goes with the guys below...they were my favorite! Although it was kind of hard to explain to the kids why the title was so funny!!!



















Also, I met this guy and got a signed copy of his book. He was very cool, and said I was brave to do what I'm doing. I got to polish my schmoozing skills.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time Flies

Trite, but true. The kids started school on Tuesday, and I've been pretty consumed with their school stuff on top of my school stuff. Not a lot of homework yet, but lots of forms to fill out. So far, the review are mixed. They all seem to like their teachers, and the lunches seem pretty popular. None of them seem to have latched on to a best friend, or even to know the other kid's names...but that will come. None of them like PE very much, which meets everyday, and apparently has a lot of yelling involved. At them, not by them. It's been too wet for outdoor recess, and the bus driver yells a lot too. There's some yelling, it seems. Scooby came home pretty quiet the first day, and found himself in tears pretty easily over other things. Cinderella went to the nurse on Friday with a stomachache. The nurse talked to her and decided it was probably new kid nervousness, and by the end of the day she was fine. Tarzan, so far, seems fine. It must be SO hard for them, and so scary. But they're hanging in there.
And so am I. Classes are going well...I'm really liking Movement Class and Meisner (Acting technique). Stage Combat is tough, but I'm doing all right for an old lady. Time is ticking right along, though. Auditions for Spring term are in a couple of weeks! I'm starting to get to know the others in my group, although I am a little on the outside, due to having a family and living a little farther away. Don's still looking for where he fits in with all this, and we're still looking for a home church.
It was really awesome having Lisa and Mom and Dad come visit...it's fun to show off the house, even if it isn't really ours. We went to Ft. Monroe in Norfolk and visited the place where my great-great-great-(is there one more great?) grandfather served for awhile in the Civil War. Turns out Edgar Allen Poe was stationed there for awhile too!
I've started trying to run a little bit again. There are lots of nice options of where to go, and the weather has cooled off enough that it's not total torture. Before I know it, we'll be making Thanksgiving and Christmas plans!

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Week

I have completed my first week of Grad School. Overall, a great success, I think. The only disappointment I've had has been the casting for the fall season. I was called back for a fairly big part in Dancing at Lughnasa, but ended up being cast in a small ensemble part (Le Beau) in As You Like It. I'm a little disappointed in the casting, but the good thing is, I can complete one of my required Crew Practicums in the same show that I'm in since my part is so small. This means less time spent in rehearsal during the evenings. The good things about the week are: I am excited about my classes. I'll be learning things that I don't already know and am excited to learn about. I'll be stretched mentally, physically and emotionally, and will have lots of new tools in the creative toolbox. My professors seem knowledgeable, empathetic, and enthusiastic about teaching, and my fellow "cohort" members all seem like nice people. There is one guy older than me, one about my age, and the rest are all younger. There are 5 girls and 5 guys altogether (including me.) Four of the 5 guys are married, and two have kids. I'm the only married girl. (Woman.) I took my required Entrance Exam. I needed a 70 or better to pass, and I got a 90. Yay me! I also completed my stupid required Library/Research online course tonight, so that's out of the way. We also found a sitter to watch the kids on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, when I won't be getting home until 5:30. She's a Divinity student from Regent, who has worked in Youth Ministry for several years. Now we just need to find Don a job so we can pay her! Looking forward to Cinderella's birthday - we're having a family party this weekend, and we'll have a friend party later, after school starts, when she's met some friends! I can't believe my baby is almost 6!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote for the Day

Be patient towards all that is unsolved
in your heart.
Try to love the questions themselves.
Do not now seek the answers
which cannot be given
because you would not be able
to live them.
And the point is,
to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then
gradually,
without noticing it,
live along some distant day
into the answers.

- Ranier Maria Rilke

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day Two

Okay, I'm already kind of getting my butt kicked by school. It's awesome, though!
We had General Auditions for the fall season last night (yes, first day...not intimidating at all, right?) and I got a callback for Dancing at Lughnasa (apparently there's a film...with Meryl Streep. Huh) but not for As You Like It. Callbacks were tonight, and I think I did okay with my Irish accent, but didn't get asked to read much. If I don't get cast in anything, it's okay, as I think the classes are going to keep me very busy. Plus, I have to do four "Practicums" (serve on a running crew) during my three years here, so I'll get one of those scheduled and out of the way.
So far, classes have been mostly going through syllabi and expectations, etc. Lots of sitting around. And lots of meetings. And emails. And stuff. But honestly, I'm really jazzed for these classes to truly begin. I finally get to really dig into all this acting stuff and not just feel like I'm being served an appetizer and then told, "Sorry, that's all a director really needs to know."
I have homework to do now!

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School

I'm off to class!
Actually, I'm off to orientation, chapel, meet and greet lunch, more orientation, part of one class, and then general auditions.
Saturday's potluck went okay. It was inside due to the torrential rains. There were lots of kids there, which was good, but between the acoustics of being inside a very large room and lots of kids bouncing around, I missed about half of the introductions. Everyone will have to get to know each other again today. There are many married students in the graduate dept., and several of them have kids. There are at least three other students older than I am....one of them is a grandmother just starting the undergrad program!
Ciao!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Progress Report

We're getting down to the end of the boxes...I hung up some pictures today (using as many existing nail holes as possible) and that cleared out a few more. I've been able to get rid of all the empty ones by posting them for free on Craigslist - apparently lots of people move around here! We got a BIG job done on Tuesday when we moved everything back out of the garage, pushed the stuff the owners left behind to the back of the attic, (more like a teeny weeny loft space over the garage - unfinished and VERY HOT) moved a bunch of stuff up into the attic, set up shelves in the garage and reloaded everything back into the garage more neatly. And it all fits now! There are still about six boxes of Don's clothes he needs to sort through and store (mostly winter stuff) and several boxes of misc. stuff that needs to find a home, but we're really making progress. We went to the beach yesterday and it was HOT even right by the water. I spent more time IN the ocean than I ever did in Maine! We also saw two jellyfish, which kind of creeped us out, but we kept going back for more wave diving anyway. I bought a glass, hexagonal patio table with wind-up umbrella from Craigslist for $30 - now keeping my eyes open for chairs to go with it. The welcome to new students picnic is on Saturday (at Regent) and I start classes on Monday. I've read three and a half of my books already, and am really enjoying them. I'm really looking forward to starting classes!!!
Don sent in several job applications today, and has a interview lined up next Wed. for a job he doesn't think he wants, but it's a start. Of course, I'm in class, so our first sitter-dilemma is approaching quickly. I'm off to read for awhile...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One week later

We're still here!
Things are strange and much is new and will take getting used to.
I have 5,000 other things I should be doing right now, so excuse the "list" form of this entry, please.
Things that cost less here than Pittsburgh:
- Groceries
- Gas
- Getting to the beach

Things that cost more here than Pittsburgh:
Everything else

Things we've accomplished this week:
Unpacked many boxes
Connected phone, internet and TV (although we're still experimenting with options and they may not be permanently connected.)
Registered cars
Inspected cars
Got new license plates
Applied for VA driver's licenses
Applied for new health insurance for Don and myself
Applied for new health insurance for the kids
Applied for new auto insurance
Cancelled our old auto/homeowner's/flood insurance
Applied for renter's insurance
Filled out a "damage" report of everything wrong with the house so we won't get blamed when we move out
Discovered about a dozen things we forgot to put on the list
Went to the beach 2x
Went to Walmart 3x
Went to Home Depot 2x
Went to Bruster's 1x
Registered the kids for school
Got my Student ID card
Returned Scooby's violin to store in Mass. to exchange for a larger size
Went back to school shopping on tax-free weekend, but they were sold out of almost everything
Lost the cat
Put up "Lost Cat" signs in neighborhood
Didn't tell the kids for two days
Found the cat
Got rid of empty boxes by advertising free boxes on Craigslist
Experienced 100 degree weather
Fixed the broken ladder rung going up to the playset
Stepped on and broke the newly repaired ladder rung, consequently hitting myself in the head with the pair of pruning shears I'd been taking up the to top to trim the tree branches with
Started reading Harry Potter to the kids
Saw the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance
Opened a bank account
Treated Cinderella for pinkeye
Bought mosquito repellent
Argued with Scooby about how often he should be allowed to apply mosquito repellent
Bought Afterbite
Scratched mosquito bites
Tried out a church that meets in the Middle School right down the street
Wrote a three act "murder mystery" play for church in Pittsburgh (previous commitment that I just got to) It stars Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch, and Columbo.

Things I still have to do:
Forget it. There's too much. It's depressing to think about. I'll just look back over that long list of things that I did accomplish...Ah, that's better.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

We are here, we are here, we are HERE!

Everyone survived the trip, even the cat, although he really wasn't happy riding in a car with no AC. Of course, neither was Don, so they complained to each other all the way down about what jerks the rest of us are.
But we are here, and the AC is working in the house now, so yay! We're unpacking, rearranging, trying to figure out where to put everything, copying keys, buying groceries, and tonight, for a couple of hours, we went to the beach. The kids LOVED it - rolling in the sand and the surf and coming home (home! it took 20 minutes to get back!) with shorts full of sand and ground-up shells. We had dinner (mac-n-cheese and peanut butter toast) together at 9:30pm, and now I'm sitting down with my brand new internet connection. Hooray!
I am freaking tired.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Checking in from PA

We're back in PA for a couple of days staying at Granny's house. Still don't know when we'll have our own internet, but Subway has free wireless, so we've been lurking around their parking lot. The move was stressful, but everything is there except us, the cars, the kids and the cat. We're all heading out for good on Sunday morning. Two friends from church came down with us and helped us with the move. The four of us moved everything in except the piano, for which we enlisted the help of a guy down the street who made the mistake of standing on his front stoop. While the garage is piled pretty high with boxes, everything is physically on the property, so now we just have to figure out how to arrange it. As a welcoming gift, the AC wasn't working in the house, so it was a pretty steamy move in. They SHOULD have it fixed by the time we return. Overall, things went remarkably well. We met up with the realtor today and received our check from the closing, so that end is tied up as well. Chugging right along! Still left to do, besides all the unpacking, is find new health insurance, car insurance, renter's insurance, driver's liscenses, car registrations, enroll the kids in school, find new doctors, dentist, eye doctor, and figure out how to get a good deal on phone/internet/TV. Don's being a little obsessive about that last one. Oh yeah, and he needs to find a job. Really fast. So, other than that, things are going great! I'm so grateful to Butch and Evy for coming with us, and to all the other folks who helped out on the Pittsburgh end. Moving bites.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Check - next item...

The cat has been successfully rabified. We shut him downstairs for the morning, then boxed him up for the trip. He was surprisingly quiescent and hardly put up a fuss at all. He was pretty freaked, and hid his head as much as possible, but didn't try to run away. The attic is almost emptied. I think I made about 50 round trips from the third floor to the first. I'm starting to hurt. We ate chicken nuggets, fish and meatballs for dinner. With a side of raisins. Scooby got to hang out with his friend Kaylyn today for awhile. He had fun, but came home sad. I bought my first textbook online yesterday. Most of them I think I'll get from Amazon, but they didn't have this one. I have auditions the first day and a test the first week. Need to start getting my head into school/work gear. Soon. A couple more days, I hope. Don is downstairs packing. Finally! They gave him a little going away party at work yesterday, with a cake. That was nice, and more than he expected.
Computers will be disconnected tonight, but I should have my laptop and be able to post from that when I can.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tick Tock

Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock...

Three days and counting. The sandbox is cleaned out and ready to go. The attic is all boxed and swept out, except for that one corner of Don's stuff. The wardrobe in the bedroom is empty. The kids rooms are cleaned out down to bare furniture and the only toys out are Legos, Lincoln Logs, blocks and Barbies. The living room is packed, except for the computer. The kitchen is half packed. Utilities have been notified at both locations. Tomorrow I transfer prescriptions and pick up kid's medical records. Cat is scheduled for booster shots this afternoon. Post office has been notified. Magazine subscriptions have been notified. Late thank you notes with new address included have been mailed. All nails and hangers have been removed from walls. To do this weekend: Confirm rental truck. Finish packing kitchen. Pack suitcases for kids to have at Granny's. Pack computers and desk area. Pack bathroom stuff. Return library books and redeem "book bucks" rewards at library. Break down swingset and put out for trash. Cut grass and trim hedges. Pack all of Don's stuff - bedroom, that corner in the attic, and pretty much the entire basement. Clean clean clean. The other 9.000 things I'm forgetting.
Tomorrow is Don's last day of work.
Tick tock. Tick tock.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today

Going over to Joe and Barb's for a goodbye picnic. Reality starting to set in! Any ideas on how to best transport the cat?
We gave up on the idea of trying to be back by 11:00am for the closing on Thursday (Really? They couldn't move it later in the day? REALLY???) so we're signing papers ahead of time. Therefore, there's no real reason we both have to come back when we take the truck down. Maybe one of us will stay down there with the cat, and the other will bring the kids. Otherwise, the cat will have to live at Granny's for a couple of days. That should be interesting...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday night

We took the boys to a Pirate game last night as a late b-day present for Tarzan. We got poured on while standing in line, but almost as soon as we sat down we were presented with this:






Scooby wished for a long game with extra innings...and he got what he asked for. 14 innings later, the Pirates won 2-1 with a homer hit into the river. Quite a spectacular ending to an otherwise pretty boring game. Good fun was had by all.



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

House ps:

It no longer has a hot tub.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The house

Although we haven't signed the lease yet, our application was approved, so I'm going with the assumption that we have an address to go to at last!

Here are a couple more pictures:







It has a garage, it has a fireplace, it comes with a wooden playset, and, although we probably won't use it much, it comes with an outdoor hot-tub!
Right now, our tentative plan is to pack up the moving truck on the 27th, drive it and one of our vehicles down there, unpack, drive back here for the closing on the 30th, then drive down with the kids and the cat. All that could change, of course, except for the fact that we have to be out of here by the 30th.
One more bite of the elephant eaten...


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Maybe?

It's entirely possible that we may have a new address soon.

I overnight mailed the rental application today - and we should find out the results before too long, Monday at the latest. I hope. It was a tough decision, but in a good way this time, with three viable possibilites to choose from. I'll post more details when we find out if our application is accepted. But this might, maybe, possibly be our next home...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

House hunting

Note to self: Next time, before driving for 8 hours, have a better idea what square footage means and how small 1,200 sq ft. really is. Houses in our price range are tiny. At least in the good schools. So, we have a possibility for one, but it's pretty ratty and the school is only okay. I think I may have to go down again next week, and keep looking. Not that there's that much more to look at, but something new may pop up. I found a nice looking possibility on Craigslist yesterday, but when I talked to the woman she was kind of a b*&*ch, and I have a feeling it's not going to come through. Discouraging! Wish we were in Norwood this weekend...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quick Update

I tried to post a nice long update last night, with pictures detailing what we've been up to, but the computer crapped out. So that will have to wait! Today is Scooby's birthday party, and the weather is GORGEOUS!!! (Sorry, all you folks who are slowing growing mildew in crevices you never knew you had)
Tonight we're heading south on the great rental-house hunting adventure. Hopefully, if all goes well, we may have an address by the end of the week.
I'll try posting pictures again when we get back.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Well, it's a good thing the inspector came yesterday!

Wild weather tonight!!! There was actually a tornado warning in Sewickley, right along Rt. 65. Craziness. One minute we're out on the back porch watching the thunderstorm, then Tarzan and Cinderella are running around the backyard playing, then half an hour later it literally looks like barrels full of rain are being thrown against the windows. Hail, thunder...and our back yard turned into a pond due to the storm drain being unable to keep up with the volume of water. Water was pouring over the gutters in sheets - not because they were backed up, no, because we'd gotten most of the foliage out of them - just because of the force of the rain. And Scooby is on an overnight camp-out with the church in a state park. They should have some interesting stories to tell. If you'll recall, last year when he went to week-long sleepaway camp, they also had tornado watches in effect. Awesome. Welcome to Pittsburgh, Mom and Dad!

In BETTER news, we got the results from the home inspection today, and there are only a few very minor things to be done. Totally manageable. And the roof is fine!!! So it looks as though the July 30th closing day will hold and this sale may very well go through! Yippee!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday, Tarzan!


It was a Lego birthday this year, and although I scaled down from last year's Webkinz craziness, enough went into it to wipe me out.
Below is the "Pin-the-Happy-Birthday-Timmy-Badge-on-the-Lego-Man" game
Lego cake, courtesy of Granny. Don't know why the picture is sideways, and it took too long to load to do it again. Just tilt your head. And pretend it says Tarzan.
Lego cookies, also courtesy of Granny.
I can't believe Tarzan is 7! He's such a little ball of energy, whipping from one activity to the next. He's teaching himself to juggle, and is pretty adept with two balls right now. It may not sound like much, but you try it - it's a lot harder than it sounds! Very adept at entertaining himself, whether it's playing catch with his mitt and ball, reading, playing on the computer, or playing with, yes, Legos, he's rarely at a loss for something to do. A very sensitive heart beats beneath that skinny ribcage. He loves hard, and cries when touched or when confronted with loss. He is also, however, RESILIENT. A word that we've been exploring as a family. He will grieve his losses and move on, ready to laugh again, love again. Not much for extended cuddling, but quick to give hugs and kisses. He easily finds the humor in life, and when there isn't any, he's make his own. My little middle child - how I love you.

Tarzan and Granny

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Light, part 1

Well, I've been waiting hoping I'd have two good pieces of news to post, but it looks like I'm going to have to settle for just one. We got another offer on the house (yay!) and it's even better than the first one. I'm half excited and half waiting to see what goes wrong this time. We have inspections scheduled for next Tuesday (originally they were scheduled right smack in the middle of Tarzan's birthday party, but we were able to reschedule. Maybe we should have left it...bribed him with cake!) so we'll see what happens after that. Closing date currently scheduled for July 30.
News is still squiffy on the job front. Progress bar moving VERY slowly on that end. Will let you know what, if anything, develops.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Light = end of tunnel???

Keep those prayers rolling, friends. Good things are rumbling, but I don't want to jinx them (and yes, I kind of half believe in that right now!) so I'll pass along details when things don't feel so much like a house of cards.

Last day of school today. Tarzan came home in tears. He really loved his first grade teacher - we all did! Excellent report cards from everyone...some kind of celebration is called for, I believe.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

No, STILL no news

I am really bad at waiting. I mean, really really bad at it. If we could afford marital counseling, I'm sure one of the things that would get repeatedly discussed and anaylized and an action plan created for, would be the different internal rhythms by which Don and I live our lives. Mine is pretty fast. Which is kind of odd, since I'm an introvert by nature and can happily spend hours reading, listening to the ocean, or just chilling out with my loved ones and a bottle of wine. However, when I need to get things done, am working on a project, or WAITING for something to happen, my little internal chronometer is tick, tick, ticking away. I hate waiting in line, for anything. I REALLY hate waiting for someone to get back to me with information that I need in order to make something else happen, which needs to happen in order for something else to happen. Not being too cryptic here, am I? This whole house selling process is torture - not just for the sheer work involved in the preparation of it, but then the waiting around for someone to call, to see, to decide, to make an offer, or not. Those of you who knew me then, remember how bad I was with the whole waiting to get pregnant thing? But at least with that, there was something I could do. (heh, heh) Now, there are lots of things I'd LIKE to be doing, but can't because I'm WAITING for someone else to make decisions about the things which will affect me and my family for years to come. I suppose I'm supposed to be learning something through all this waiting time - but one of the main things it's reinforced is that I'm wired quicker than this and I don't like it. I do not like it, Sam I Am.

You know what I do like, though? Watching the boys play baseball. Particularly Scooby's team this year. He's moved up to the "minor leagues" which means they have umpires, and can steal bases, and scores count and everything. He had a game on Sunday which I sat and watched for 2 hours, and loved almost every minute of it. The weather was perfect, the boys on both teams were earnest and trying really hard, but being really good sports about everything and some excellent plays were happening on both teams. Scooby's team was ahead by five runs until the last inning (they only play 6) and the other team made four runs pretty quickly. It was down to the last out and they had the bases loaded. We had to put in a substitute pitcher for the last batter (the kids are only allowed 75 pitches to save their arms) and he managed to strike him out and win the game. It was great! Scooby is still not a confident player - he plays right or left field when he's not on the bench, and our big goal for his last couple of games is to get him to SWING the bat when he's up, but he's still enjoying it and the other kids on the team and his coaches are terrific. It's been a great year for baseball.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And then...

Little speedbump.
Buyer's ex-husband-to-be won't sign papers.
She wants to back out.
Crap.

Monday, May 18, 2009

So now...

Kudos to Lisa for noticing that the "staging" of the house uses the same plant in every room!


So we came to an agreement on the price, signed the contract and are now waiting for the house inspection, FHA inspection, radon inspection, pest inspection and appraisal to happen sometime in the next 15 days. Hoping all goes well!!!!


I spent last night and today painting the basement floor, which hurts no matter how you do it, and we're working on a few last touch up jobs before the inspectors come. I'm sure they'll have more for us to do! Just hope it's not more than we can handle.

On Friday we dropped Scooby off at baseball and Tarzan, Cinderella and I went to the "mini-prom" at their school (fundraiser for cancer research) As we left the parking lot, Tarzan (after dancing like a wild-man the whole time, air guitar and all) said "I have to admit it, Mom. That was fun."






Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm ba-a-a-ck!

Sort of. For the sake of my brother's lonliness and sanity, I will attempt to make an update. The past three to four weeks (I've lost count) have been a whirlwind of deciding to sell this house, attempting to ready the house for sale, and listing the house. In the past six years that we've lived here (and bear in mind, we moved in with a four year old, a one year old, and a newborn) we've kept just about everything that's come into the house. Baby furniture, clothes, toys, books, etc. Every now and then I'd do a sweep and send some things on to the cousins, but for the most part, we still had almost all of it. Now imagine trying to lay hands on every one of those items and sort them into catagories: Give to Mom and Dad to save for Melissa and J; Cart over to Carol's house for a yard sale; Pack into boxes now; Leave unpacked; and throw away. This process was HUGELY overwhelming, and I've literally never physically worked so hard for so long in my life. Labor was harder, but over much more quickly. During that process I literally (and I really mean literally, not literally in the sense of "figuratively" which is how most people use the word), I literally went through more than 30 large sized trash bags either in yard sale or trash. Plus about two dozen boxes. The first yard sale netted about $140 for us and about $5.00 each for the kids (we let them sell their own toys) The next one is scheduled for May 30th. We had too much stuff and not enough time to sell it all in the first one. We also carted a whole truckload of baby stuff up to Norwood to transfer to Mom and Dad, who drove it back to Mass, to save for Melissa and J, in Providence. It's a long way around, but it seems to have worked. At least the stuff isn't in this house any more!
The next step was starting to prepare the house for listing. This meant removing all personal photos from the walls, emptying about 3/4 of the books out of the bookshelves, clearing off the kitchen countertops and cabinet tops, clearing off the shelves in the entryway, packing up about 1/2 my china, Clearing out the playroom side of the attic to lay down carpeting, repairing and painting the water damage in the front hall, retouching paint on walls, doors, and mouldings, scrubbing down the exteriors that we could reach, washing all the curtains and cleaning all the windows, and cleaning all the rooms of the house from top to bottom. Oh, and getting rid of the big ugly shelves from our bedroom, and moving the treadmill to Don's sister's house for the duration. Are you tired yet? I sure was!!!
Then, last Monday (the 4th) we met with the realtors and went over the paperwork, and the house was officially listed on Tuesday the 5th. We had our first showing on Thursday, another on Friday, two more on Monday, and one on Tuesday. Yesterday, we received an offer on the house. Today we made a counteroffer. Now, we still have to go through mortgage approval, inspections, appraisals, etc., but I'm quite please at the pace this is going so far.
The scary thing is, Don's job search hasn't quite kept pace with the house sale. There have been some developments, but it's been very frustrating overall. I can't really go into details, but if you're praying folk, please send some his way.
We're looking at a tentative move date of July 1st. Thinking about all that needs to happen between now and then is enough to make me nauseous. Because in addition to all this, I've been working, Don's working, and the kids still have school, baseball, birthday parties, and lots of nerves to assuage.
One bite at a time. That's how you eat an elephant, and that's been my survival strategy for this process.