Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Yeah, see, I keep meaning to upload the pictures of the oyster experiment and chronicle it on the blog, and then I can't find the camera, and then I find the camera but the memory card is missing, and then two weeks have gone by and I've been extremely busy catching up on episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Parenthood on Hulu and...what? That's not a good excuse? Huh.  So, yeah.  Christmas is almost here!

Thursday, December 02, 2010


I know I haven't been writing much here, but I"m writing a little at that 29 days thing over there, and I'm writing an abstract on a 300 page book, and I've written a 105 page play.  So I am writing, just not much that might be interesting enough to post here!
Lots of stuff coming up in the next week or so - orchestra concert, another belt testing, oyster experiments, finals, Christmas tree getting, decorating...I'm tired just thinking about it.  Think I'll go to bed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

oh yeah...the blog

I've been incredibly busy lately, between school and home and...okay that's it.  School and home. 
At school: We had auditions  for the spring season.  They're doing The Runner Stumbles, Medea and Bye Bye Birdie. I got called back for the Nurse and Medea in Medea, and Rose and Mae Peterson  in Bye Bye Birdie.  I  was suprised to be called back for Rose - I never thought I'd have a shot at it.  I think the auditions went well, too.  But both Medea and Rose went to girls who are graduating this year, and they're both very good.  Can't complain about those decisions.  I was a little disappointed not to snag another lead, but I was cast as Mae Peterson, the obnoxious, overbearing mother in Birdie.  It's a featured part, and a comedic one, which I haven't had a chance to do here yet, so it should be fun.  Today I signed up to do my final crew assignment on Runner Stumbles, so I'll be done with that in early February.  Yay! Right now, I'm just starting my third one - Prop Crew Chief for The Last Night of Ballyhoo.  We have tech today and tomorrow, then dress rehearsals Mon - Thurs, and the show opens Friday.  We're off Thanksgiving weekend, then have another run of shows the first weekend in Dec.  Midterms went well, and I've registered for Spring classes.  It seems almost impossible to believe, but I'm just about half-way through! Our next auditions will be for our thesis roles.  Crazy.

At home: Scooby has continued to struggle with the amount of homework he's getting.  He's got all A's, except for a B- in Social Studies, so he's keeping up, but the amount of time he's been putting into assignments is outrageous.  We've tried to give him a quiet, consistent place to work, (although quiet is relative around here) and I've tried to be supportive and helpful while still allowing him to work through things on his own.  But it was getting extremely frustrating for all of us.  So I scheduled a conference with his teachers (four of them - math, science, English, and Social Studies) and the guidance counselor.  We talked about his perfectionistic  tendencies - how he'll get stuck on something and be absolutely UNABLE to move past it to something else, and his  inability to start working on something until he has it completely worked out in his head.  They told me they expect 20 - 30 minutes per subject, max.  After that, whatever he didn't get done stays undone.  If he doesn't get something, he's to circle it and ask his teacher about it the next day.  Anticipating major freakouts when this policy was implemented...but it hasn't been that bad.  We've stretched the 20 - 30 minutes several times, but he is spending less time than before.  And he seems a little more relaxed about stuff.  He likes me to make him a schedule, and he tries to stick to it the best he can.  I think it's progress.

Tarzan and Cinderella are doing well.  I finally had a conference with Tarzan's teacher, and he's getting all A's...they're working on  trying to find ways to continue to stretch him.  We also talked about his "sensitive heart" and how he takes to heart some of the admonishments given to  a whole class or lunch table.  We also called him over and asked him to talk about anything else that was bothering him in class, and he mentioned a boy who sits next to him and uses inappropriate language.  He got all teary-eyed when the teacher asked him to repeat what he said, so she let him spell it.  It was B-I-T-C-H (he spelled it right) and F-U...something.  Kind of like fudge.  Yikes.  So the teacher's going  to call the other kid's mom.  Tarzan also has a yucky cough right now, but at least the mystery rash seems to be gone.

Cinderella is doing fine in school too.  Math is excellent, she struggles with writing.  Don't know where these kids came from.  There's a girl down the street that has been  coming over to  play, and we're all struggling with whether this is a friendship we want to encourage.  Cinderella doesn't really like this girl all that much, and the family situation is not good.  Theyr'e really pretty stereotypical "trashy" family...smoke in the home, two pit-bulls, shirtless Dad, mullet-sporting kids...but the girl seems okay, and probably needs a friend.  And I want them to develop friendships and play with kids other than each other...but.  Why can't a nice, well-adjusted family live nearby? Oh, that's right, they did.  Then they moved away. 

Well, my dinner break is almost over and I have to make sure I pee before tech starts back up, so I'll sign off for now.  Hope to see much of the family over Thanksgiving break in DC! I'm ready for a break!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween, and a couple of other random pictures

This year's pumpkin

All three trick-or-treaters

Scooby's Phoenix costume - jacket made by Aunt Lisa a long time ago (inside of Fireman's suit) and the rest created by Scooby for his Latin class assignment "Mythical Creature" costume.  For class, it had 20 body parts labeled in Latin.

Tarzan's toothbrush costume - idea by Tarzan, execution by Mom

Cinderella's Reese's cup costume.  Her thought, "Maybe if I'm dressed like my favorite candy, I'll get my favorite candy!" It worked.

Scooby's TaeKwonDo instructors

Scooby acheives yellow belt

Men at work in Norfolk


Children's Festival in Norfolk
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Timmy's Paper

Assignment: Write a "How To" Paper
Brainstorming page - What I do well
1. Feed cat
2. Give attention to cat
3. Anoyy Mom/Dad
4. Anoyy bro/sis
5. Fechting bones
6. swiming
7. Ignore someone
8. ride a bus
9. video games
10. TV
11. computer
12. eat
13. counting
14. math
15. blow nose
16. drawing
17. Brainstorming
18. writeing
19. skiping
20. takeing a test

How to Feed your Cat
This is how to feed your cat.  First you need to get your materials.  Your materials are a cat, cat food, and a bowl.  Next let your cat smell your finger.  Then put the food in the bowl.  Finally watch your cat until your cat is done eating.  Now if your mom asks you if you fed your cat; you can say that you did!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


48 degrees this morning.  All the fall/winter clothes still in storage.  Brr!
As you may have surmised, it's been a little busy here lately! Rehearsals for Our Town are chugging right along.  It's really tiring being onstage for three acts every night with very short breaks at intermission.  The fatigue is making it hard to keep the lines in my head.  I can paraphrase the night away, but I'm trying to be a stickler for word perfect memorization and there are many similar sounding lines that are kicking my butt right now.  The show's going okay - there are some strange idiosynchrasies that some of the actors have that drive me nuts, but in the interests of not knowing who's going to read this, I'll not elaborate further!
Scooby is belt-testing for Taekwondo next week.  More money, yay! If he passes he'll be up to yellow belt (the first step up from white belt.) It's a pain in the a$$ getting him there three times a week, but I think it was the right call.  He likes it, it's exercise, it gets him out from in front of the computer for an hour.  Good deal all around.
Tarzan ran for Student Council Secretary, but didn't win.  He had cute posters and a great speech, but the political machine spit him back out.  He did, however, win "Citizen of the Month" for September, so we get to have a sign in our yard for another month.  I swear, we've only gone about two months since we've been here that the sign wasn't in our yard.  Not complaining, it's kind of fun...although Don doesn't like mowing around it.
Cinderella's doing fine too - I'd love to get her into a class or something, but it's going to have to wait awhile, unfortunately.  She seems to be doing well in school - math is better than writing for her, and she's still struggling with telling time (but honestly, I still struggle with it sometimes myself!) and her reading is getting much better.
Oh, and I had a birthday yesterday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Pictures!

Don't know what that white car is in the first picture, or how it snuck in there! The pictures go in reverse order, due to my amazing organizational skills.  Yes, time is actually flowing backwards.  You'll see Cinderella's outfit today, followed by the Sandcastle competition at the Neptune Festival this past weekend, then Cinderella's birthday, Fourth of July, Visiting Grandma and Grandpa's, Scooby's birthday and Tarzan's birthday.  Grab yourself a beverage and settle in for awhile.

Some old pictures

I'm trying to get some pictures up...these are from the summer - beach days, Scooby's birthday party in Sewickley, Tarzan's cubscout camping trip.  More to come, soon!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Hugging Incident

So Tarzan and Cinderella are having their after-school snack the other day (we have almost an hour before Scooby gets home from school - it's ridiculously quiet) and Tarzan says, out of the blue, "Your teacher is mean."
Cinderella - "Well, a little."
Me - "Why is she mean?"
Tarzan - "She said, 'You better not do that, or else -' and I didn't hear what else she said."
Me - "Do what?"
Cinderella - "Hug him."
Me - "Wait a minute. She told you not to hug each other?"
Tarzan - "Yeah."
Me - "Did she know you were brother and sister?"
Cinderella - "Yes, she knew."
Me - "What exactly did she say?"
Cinderella - "I don't remember."
Tarzan - "She said, 'You better not do that, or else -' something."
Me - "Huh."

Later: I write an email..."Ms. ______, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you at the Open House, I was at the middle school with my older son. Perhaps there's a morning I could come in and help out for an hour or so before school sometime. I was concerned to hear about an incident the other day. E. said she got in trouble for hugging her brother in the hallway. T. was kind of upset about it. He's a pretty sensitive kid and was worried that he'd gotten her in trouble. He's also been missing his big brother since he went to middle school, and was probably happy to see E. I'm confused as to why they were not allowed to hug each other hello? Please advise me on this when you get a chance."

The next morning, I get an email in return. (I'm paraphrasing) "E. did not get in trouble for hugging her brother. She lifted him up off the floor and I asked her not to do that in case she dropped him or another child in line ran in to her if they weren't looking. I told her my preference would be a silent wave. I'm sorry if this caused (crap, I can't remember the word she used...friction, maybe?EDIT: It was "ill feelings.") I don't need any help in the mornings at this time. Thank you for letting me know."

I posted something on Facebook and got a huge response of outrage and indignation over the kids not being allowed to hug.

Now, part of me understands somewhat. Cinderella can give rather...exuberant...hugs. I can see how that might be disruptive in the middle of a crowded hallway. On the other hand, why shouldn't siblings who actually care about each other and are happy to see each other be allowed to express that? Isn't it better than the alternative? I don't really want to make a big deal out of it, and I probably won't say anything else to the teacher about it. But I have to say, this has raised some warning flags with me. I don't want a repeat of last year, where I waited too long to intervene it what was not a great classroom situation for Cinderella. I was hoping she'd have a better year. And she seems pretty happy with her classroom and her teacher. I'm just...frustrated that this is even an issue.

People commented on FB that this is why our schools are so bad, this is why I homeschool my kids, etc. Well, homeschooling is not an option. Even if I weren't in school and working, I don't have the temperment to homeschool, and besides, they're smarter than me. I have to work within this imperfect system. And I'm trying to make it a positive lesson for them. I said, "Those are the rules in school. You're not allowed to hug each other. I think it's a dumb rule. But, it's the rule, and you need to follow it. However, please give each other extra hugs right before school and right afterwards to make up for it."

Sometimes there are rules we don't agree with. Even for grownups. And sometimes it's good to have to discipline yourself to follow a rule that you don't agree with.

But really, it's a dumb rule. Talk about legislating affection! There's a difference between high schoolers making out in the halls, and a second and third grade sibling giving each other a hug. Somewhere in the tangled system of burocracy, human reason should play a part and make some distinctions.

When you see your loved ones today, give them a hug.

Rules be damned.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Well, the kids started school on Tuesday, and so far so good! I promise to post pictures as soon as I find a working card reader. Scooby catches the bus at 7:15 and gets home around 4:15. It's a LONG day. But so far, he hasn't complained about any of it...the waking up at 6:15, the longer walk to the bus stop, any of it. I am very aware that it's only just begun, and I'm sure there will be more complaining as the weather gets colder and he starts carrying his violin back and forth every day. On the plus side, they actually have music stands at school and he won't have to carry that. On the minus side, he needs two new music books, a better chin rest, and a metronome is highly recommended. Anyone have an extra metronome laying around? So far his favorite subject is Latin - he thinks discovering the etomology of words is cool. Tarzan misses Scooby on the bus, and there have been a few moments of tears and some organizational frustration, but he's learning to cope with it much better. However, the binder I bought is not up to snuff, and he needs a new zippered one instead. I tried passing down Scooby's from last year, but it's falling apart too much, so I guess he'll get a new one. He'll have to wait until Monday, though. Cinderella likes her teacher, and has a couple of friends in her class from last year, although none of the ones that came to the sleepover. She's enjoying wearing all her new outfits. This morning she wore the sparkly black one from Grandma with the sparkly pink scarf and matching ponytails. She spent some time before the bus dancing in front of the mirror and singing, "You! Yeah, You! You are a rock star!" and then she informed me her rockstar name is Madame Medusa.
I've been super busy myself. I'm working at my Theatre Administration GA job 13 hours per week, mostly from 10 - 1. It's kept me busy up until right now, when I have to wait for a professor to get out of class and approve something before I can send it along. Hence, the blogging. At least I look like I'm still working! I have lots of reading to catch up on, but if I do that, it's a little more obvious that I'm doing school work instead of work work. Rehearsals started for Our Town on Monday, and I have to work on stamina! I never leave the stage, and I rarely sit down. By the end of the rehearsal, my back is killing me. I'm trying to apply the "spine" work we've been doing in Vocal Production class and release extra tension so I'm not so stiff, but I'm not succeeding so far. I really like the director they've brought in for the show, and I think I'm going to learn a lot from her. She's doing the rest of the characters in the show as they're written (1901 - 1915 period) but I am a modern character (and I'm female) dressed in sort of Eddie Bauer with a feminine twist. Let's other classes. Playwriting is very time intensive and I'm pretty behind right now on all the required reading/discussion board participation. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up some on Saturday. Broadsword is...heavy. But actually a lot easier than Rapier and Dagger, particularly because most of the footwork is the same, and many of the attacks and parries are very similar. Screen Acting is kind of lame so far. We're working with one-liners and short scenes from 90210 and Babylon 5, because those are shows that the professor worked on and cast. He knows what he's talking about, and I'm learning a lot, but the material is dreadful. Today we are Telepaths being destroyed by Aliens. The line is "Help! Somebody please help me!" I preferred the dialogue in Macbeth.
So I'm busy. My day looks like this: 6:15 - wake up, get Scooby ready for school, walk him to the bus stop. 7:30 - get Tarzan and Cinderella ready for school, walk them to the bus stop. 8:15 - 9:00 - Run 9:45 - go to work. 10 - 1, work in my chilly cubicle. 1:00 to either 3:00 or 5:00 - class. either 3:00 or 5:00 until 6:30 - kid homework, reconnect, and dinner time. 7:00 - 11:00pm - rehearsal for Our Town. 11:00 - 1:00, homework. Except sometimes I fall asleep before 1:00.
Good thing I love what I'm doing.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Our exciting plans? NOTHING! I have nowhere to be today, tomorrow, or most of Monday. I do start rehearsals for Our Town on Monday night, and we took Granny to the airport at 4:30 this morning, but apart from that, the weekend is free, free, free!
In case anybody's interested, here's some of what I do for my job at school. The two most recent articles are mine.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home again, home again

It's been a whirlwind of traveling, first week of classes, auditioning, preparing for Cinderella's 7th birthday party, traveling again, traveling some more. Good, but super tiring. Tomorrow starts week two of classes, and Tuesday night is a sleepover party for at least 5 girls. Next week starts rehearsals for Our Town, and school for the kids. It's going to be a good semester, as soon as I can blink without feeling like my eyes won't open again for eight hours. I catch up when I can, but for now...we are here! we are here! we are here!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Wiz is over

And I'm going home.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

For an upcoming audition workshop

If you were to cast me in a TV or movie part, what would it be? (ie: Patricia Heaton in Everybody Loves Raymond, or Kathy Bates in Misery) What "type" do you see me as?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Monday, while on the phone with Mom and Dad, the kids told me they smelled something burning. After about 5 minutes and a gradual intensification of the smell, I discovered a plastic water bottle had flipped out of the dishwasher rack onto the bottom of the dishwasher and lodged itself under the heater coil. It was proceeding to melt at a rapid rate, and filling the kitchen with the smell of burning plastic. Mmmm. I retrieved it with a pair of tongs and tossed it in the sink. When we came home from rehearsal hours later, the house still reeked. Two days later, everything that was washed in that load, even though we ran them through again, still smells like melted plastic. Tasty.

MacBeth opens in two days. We're doing a condensed version, with 6 actors. I play Lady MacBeth, a Witch, a murderer, and a soldier. I die twice, once onstage and once off. I fight with quarterstaff, make sound effects with a wet finger on a wine glass, and scream bloody murder at least twice. We're performing in the library auditorium, which is tiny, and has no lights and a miniscule stage. So, we're seating audience in the last three rows, and in folding chairs set up in front of the stage, and using the middle part of the room, seats and all, as our performance space. Scenes are lit with camping lanterns, garage worklights, flashlights, and electric candles. It's got a very low-tech but creepy, Blair-witch kind of feeling to it. It's been challenging, exciting, and lots of fun to work on, and I'm really, really glad I agreed to do it. I'll miss it when we're done on Saturday.

Kids are doing fine, although Scooby came down with a little cold last night. Hopefully it will stay little! They've been troopers about coming to rehearsals with me, and a kind member of my cohort has invited them over to use their apartment complex's pool a couple times per week. Cinderella's water bravery is improving by leaps and bounds, and I guess that she'll be swimming by the end of our visit to MA in August.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Even quicker update

Survived week one of Wiz camp. Teaching dance four hours per night is tiring!! I don't remember it being this hard...
I want to run, but the only time I have now is 6:00am so I'm back before Don has to go to work...and when I get home from teaching at 11:00pm, that's very difficult. The sweat equity I'm putting in is about the same as running, but I miss the training schedule I had going. Maybe next week I'll try to get back to it.
School before school still primarily a success, although Cinderella rebells against the writing assignments. The reading is going full speed though - they've all almost completed their first log-sheet for the library program - 15 hours!
Two more weeks of MacBeth rehearsals, and no sitters lined up as of now. Should be interesting...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quick update

My wonderfully geeky children have started "school before school" this week. This is where Scooby puts together a lesson plan for several different subjects (spelling, science, social studies, math, and "specials" (art, music, etc.) for each day of the week, and Tarzan and Cinderella actually sit down and do the lessons! They're on day one of a full three week plan. We'll see how long it lasts! So far they actually all sound like they're having fun, and learning something!
Last night was closing night and strike for Mulan, Jr., so I've actually survived phase one of my stupidly busy summer. The show was quite good for jr. high, and I think all the kids had fun. Today, we start the five week camp for the Wiz. I don't really feel prepared, but I'm praying that it all comes together. We've had a week of rehearsals for MacBeth, and all has gone well...I have lots of memorizing still to do, though, and not much time to do it. It should be a really interesting production when all's said and done. The kids signed up for the summer reading program at the library. Scooby's reading the "39 clues" series of books, Tarzan just started the "Series of Unfortunate Events" and Cinderella's re-reading all the Junie B. Jones books. My reading level has dropped significantly, but I found a copy of Noel Streatfield's "Skating Shoes" which was out-of-print for a long time, and I'd never read it before. "Ballet Shoes" "Dancing Shoes" "Theater Shoes" and "Movie Shoes" are all favorites of mine, so it was great to add another to the list! Frankly, it's not as good as the others, but still, it's fun to round out the series. I think there's still "Party Shoes" out there somewhere, but I'm not breaking my neck to try to find it.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy July

Sorry I haven't been posting more. I have been ridiculously busy with summer theater camp at Regent, choreographing and teaching dance classes. It's going well, but I am WIPED OUT at the end of the day. My time of solitude, quiet house and not doing laundry every day is coming to an end, as I'm off to Pittsburgh tomorrow to pick up the kids from Super-Granny's house. I'm planning on driving straight through on Sunday to come back, as I start rehearsals for MacBeth and have tech week for summer camp starting Monday night. At least Don doesn't have to work, so I have one more day kid-free to get my bearings. Also getting a cold, so driving all day should be fun. Happy fourth, wishing we could be in Norwood!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scooby's birthday

Happy birthday, Scooby!
(Celebrated two days early, since he'll be in transit on the actual day)

First, we went to the beach...

Then pizza and presents at Doughboys

Miniature Golf at Jungle Golf

Scooby got a hole-in-one!

Lion tamers!

Fun day with Daddy

And Mom

Tarzan's Birthday

Happy 8th birthday, Tarzan!!!
Tarzan's reaction to Grandma's IOU of Wii Lego Harry Potter

Cinderella explains her homemade present to Tarzan

My homemade cake - Hogwarts Castle

And the cupcakes - Golden Snitches

Poster I drew for "Pin the Scar on Harry"

Tarzan and his new "Silly bands" (If you have to ask, you don't have elementary aged kids)

The poster Scooby made for the front door

Tarzan and his newest Webkinz

NYC pictures

Steve and Sue's Brooklyn Apt.

Steve and Sue in their Brooklyn Apt.

Melissa and Taylor getting coffee

Walking in the park

Melissa and J

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cubscout pictures

Cubscout Camping Trip pictures...birthday party pictures to follow soon!
Timmy as a Wolf - receiving his latest beltloops

Emily and David at the campfire

Cubscout Campsite...looks serene doesn't it? That's because the JETS HAVEN'T STARTED FLYING OVER YET!!!!

This is David's "I got into Kemps Landing!" face

Crossing over to Bear

Timmy as a Bear

Monday, June 07, 2010

Apparently, I beat hard enough that the wall caved

We got a phone call today offering Scooby a spot at the gifted school! No mention of whether my letters had anything to do with it...possibly they didn't even get it yet. Scooby's over the moon about it, and so am I. More details to follow. In other good news, Tarzan crossed over from "Wolf" to "Bear" in cubscouts this weekend, and I was cast as Lady MacBeth in the summer six-person version of MacBeth at Regent. Yippee!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Beating my head against the wall is so much fun

Dear (Unnamed Gifted School) Staff;
I am once again writing on behalf of my son, Scooby Dunlap, who is currently placed on the waiting list for Unnamed Gifted School. As the school year draws to a close, I felt the need to contact you once again and ask you to keep Scooby’s application fresh in your minds, should an opening be found for next year’s sixth grade class.
Scooby has continued to excel academically, achieving Principal’s List for the second and third quarters of the school year. He is on track to reach this level again for the end of the year, and he is very proud of his accomplishments. He has recently begun taking Tae Kwon Do lessons, which are giving him an excellent opportunity to strengthen his confidence, self-discipline, and physical coordination.
I remain convinced that a placement at Unnamed Gifted School would absolutely be in Scooby’s best interest. After speaking further with the Gifted Program coordinator at Current Elementary School, Mrs. So and So, we are both in agreement that Scooby’s social and emotional developmental needs, as well as his academic needs, will be better met at Unnamed Gifted School than at Regular Middle. In the event that a spot does not open, I would ask that you make an exception and create a new spot for a student who will ultimately be an asset to your school, as much as your school will be a benefit to him. I have never before been so persistent in the pursuit of a placement for my child, but such is the strength of my conviction in this matter that I felt it necessary to contact you again. I have sent a copy both of this letter and my previous letter to Dr. Head of all Gifted Programs in VA Beach as well.
Once again, I thank you for your patience and consideration in this matter.

It's on days when I do stuff like this that he drives me completely up the wall with his behavior. Grrr....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I thought about going to the beach, but instead...

Finally finished the seasonal clothing switch today...summmer clothes in the drawers, winter clothes folded, boxed, and moved into the garage. Vacuumed the house. Straightened out my new prescription with my new insurance. Returned some stuff to Walmart, and bought two lemons. (Why? Keep reading!)Read some of Wally Lamb's "The Hour I First Believed." Read more of it. Read so much I ran out of time to work out. Grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and ate dinner outside for the first time this year. Went to the cubscout Talent Show. Tarzan was great...juggled lemons (see?), did a magic trick, and told a joke. He had a wig, two different hats, a crazy coat and a blue tutu. He was a big hit. Second best was the kid who played "Row Your Boat" on the electric ukelele. Tomorrow I need to pack Cinderella a lunch for her field trip, get my run in, go to a planning meeting for "The Wiz" (the second theater camp I'm teaching at this summer) then come home and pack for the weekend. My plane to NYC leaves at 5:45pm. I have no idea what to pack! But I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer plans

Scooby's had two Tae Kwon Do lessons so far, and I think it's a hit! He seems to be really enjoying himself, and he looks really cute in his little outfit! (Sorry, that probably wasn't very respectful to the outfit...I'm sure it has a special name and everything.) There are two female masters that teach the class, and they seem to be really good with the kids. I have a feeling he'll want to continue when the free trial is over...perhaps an idea for a birthday present? Thought I'd fill everyone in on our travel plans, in case anyone cares. Friday night I'll be flying in to LGA (and hey, do I get to get picked up in the cute new convertible, or am I still stuck with the smelly, puke-inducing taxi?) Sometime Sunday afternoon, I'm planning on driving our shiny new (to us) Saturn to DC and maybe getting there in time for dinner with Mom, Dad, and Lisa. Monday I'll drive the rest of the way home. The weekend of June 4th and 5th, we'll be camping out with the cubscouts here in VA beach. Timmy's birthday party will be either on Friday the 11th or Saturday the 12th. David's will probably be Thursday the 17th. Don and the kids will be driving to Pittsburgh either right after school on the 18th, and stopping in DC (if you're home, Lisa)or driving straight through on the 19th. (Happy Anniversary to us!) The four of them will be in Pittsburgh that whole week, and Don will fly back to VA on Sun. the 27th. I'll be flying in to Pittsburgh on Saturday, July 3rd, and driving the kids back on Sunday, the 4th. Possibly staying at Lisa's, even though she's not home? And coming back early enough on Monday that I can go to work at 6:00pm. Then we're here through Aug. 15th, since I'm working camps. Then, hopefully, we'll be driving up to MA. I'll fly back here for the first week of classes, starting the 23rd, then fly back, pick up the kids and drive back here. Sounds fun for everyone except me! While in Pittsburgh, I'm hoping to have a little get-together for David and some of his friends at Pizza Hut, to celebrate his birthday again, hopefully making up for the fact that he has to sit in a car all day on his birthday. Don and I will have a whole week here without kids to celebrate our anniversary! I'm tired just looking at all of this.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hello again!

Yes, it's been awhile since I've written, and the longer I wait the more there is to write and I get all overwhelmed and don't want to write anything. I've had very little motivation to write anything since school ended and I guess I've just been taking a little vacation from it! But life has been trucking right along. Our memory card broke, and now the computer won't read the new one, but as soon as I can I'll post some pictures of Tarzan's new haircut and Scooby's new glasses. Tarzan's enjoying cubscouts and baseball, Scooby starts a free month of Tae Kwon Do lessons this afternoon, and Cinderella is staging elaborate Barbie shows in her room. I've been trying to take advantage of my "vacation" days - while the kids are still in school, but before I begin teaching summer camps - to work out a lot. I'm currently doing two training schedules. I'm following a 10K training program, which would theoretically have me able to run a 10K by the end of July, not that I have plans to actually do one. I'm running three days per week, crosstraining for two, and either doing yoga for one and resting for one, or resting for two, depending my weekend schedule. So far, I'm on week two. On the crosstraining days, I'm using some P90x videos that someone gave to Don. I've only done two so far, and they are tough. The first was "Chest and Back" and requires the use of a pull-up bar, which I don't have, and wouldn't be able to do even if I had it, so I modified the exercises quite a bit, but still got a good upper body workout. The second way "Plyometrics" which is lots of jumping, lunging, squats, etc. I was actually able to do most of this one, with very few modifications, thanks to all the Rapier and Dagger lunging, probably. My knees are complaining a little today, but I was able to complete today's run without any trouble. I'm running 4 miles, interpersing one minute walk breaks for every five minutes of running. The running stretches get longer in week four. So there's my exciting entry for today! Was it worth waiting for?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One of the things I've been up to

This is our last practice session before our fight final tomorrow. Please excuse my professor's terrible camera technique.
Rapier and Dagger fight practice

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I got the link to view the new set of headshots I had taken...from the professional, this time. Please click on the link, find my name, and type in password AmyD1909 to view. Opinions, please!

Went to Tarzan's ballgame this afternoon - first one I've been able to go to. They lost, but he did great! Got two hits - both times the first pitch, although he hit both of them right down the first base line and didn't make it to base. But still, those were his first hits in a game! He also tagged a man out to close out an inning while playing third. I was so proud!

Don and I went OUT last night!!!!! Alone! To a movie! Actually we went to CinemaCafe, where you can eat and drink beer (or wine) and watch a movie at the same time. We saw Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carrel, and it was really good. Well written (mostly), funny, and a very accurate portrayal of marriage, I thought! Then we went to Chick's Beach, for the first time, and sat for awhile. It's right on the Chesapeake Bay, and somehow for me, the lights of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge extending off into the darkness kind of ruined the view for me. Don liked it, though. He thought they looked like party lanterns.

No news about the school yet. Report cards came home yesterday, though, and Scooby got all A's again and was very proud. As was his mommy.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

It's already I hope it wasn't a mistake

Some names have been changed for the protection of, well, me, really. I mailed this letter today. Was it a mistake?

Dear Gifted School that will remain unnamed here Staff;
I am writing to thank you on behalf of my son, Scooby, for considering his application to attend Unnamed Gifted School next year. He is currently placed on the waiting list, and we are holding out great hopes that a spot will be found for Scooby before the school year begins. We are aware that you receive many more applications than you have available spots for students, but I felt I must take the opportunity to ask you to consider Scooby’s application again.
Scooby has always been an excellent student, with an exceptional facility with language and an aptitude for grasping mathematics. Since he was a small child, Scooby has gravitated towards older children and adults, as they were more able to converse on his level. He demonstrates highly creative thinking both in academic assignments and in his time at home. Of course, all of this information can be found in his original application.
What I would ask the committee to consider is the benefit that I feel Scooby will receive from attending a full-time gifted school such as Unnamed Gifted School. We are very impressed with the values and mission statement of Unnamed Gifted School. Honesty, responsibility, self-control, and respect are not only the honor code of your school, but priorities in our household as well. In addition to being an excellent student, Scooby is also a well-mannered and trustworthy young man who enjoys being encouraged to take risks in an environment that feels safe and respectful. Scooby is somewhat small for his age and a little slower in physical development and ability than other children his age. I am greatly concerned that the intimidating physical environment of a regular middle school could be extremely difficult for Scooby, whereas a school populated by like-minded academically focused students would relieve some of the pressure in this area. In addition, we are still new to this area, having moved to Virginia Beach last August for me to pursue my master’s degree at Regent University. Since the move, Scooby has had difficulty in making new friends. The beginning of the year, before Scooby tested into the gifted program, was very challenging for him, as he was not only adjusting to the move, but dealing with some behavior issues of other students in the class. Again, we feel that being in an environment where he is surrounded by like-minded students will allow Scooby to focus on his school work, and hopefully develop some solid friendships.
Thank you again for your consideration of Scooby’s application. We know that the decision process is very difficult, and I wanted to try to give you a more complete picture of Scooby in the hopes of helping the decision process. Meanwhile, we will be waiting anxiously in the hopes that a spot will become available for Scooby at your excellent school.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sunny, at least

Had another run up "stomach-bug" hill this week, and managed to again avoid catching it myself, knock wood! Cinderella was sick Monday evening into Tuesday, which meant I had to miss class on Tuesday. I did get a fair amount of work done, but somehow didn't manage to save it on my laptop (although I swear I hit the Save button) and had to do it all over again on Wednesday. School is intensifying up a bit as we head down the home stretch - I can't believe my first year is over in about six weeks! Truly, where has the time gone? I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to continue my part-time job - oops, I mean my volunteering -- at the elementary school. Yet, I'm afraid to not be there. Next week is Spring break for the kids, so it's a break for me too - at least from their school, though not from mine. And thankfully, Granny is coming to visit! Yay!! Hopefully the nice weather will stick around for her. I'm still feeling angsty about Scooby's school situation for next year. Nothing to do but wait, which I HATE! Last year at this time, it was my own school fate I was waiting to hear about. So much can change in a year. Hope the drowned rats in RI are starting to dry out. Sounds pretty crazy up there! Can you drive anywhere yet? I managed to run over to Barnes and Noble today and pick up a few books from the Easter Bunny. (Pinkerella sticker book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself book, and The Toilet Paper Tigers - all specifically pointed out as desirable by each respective kiddo.) And, Scooby finally lost a dangling molar tonight (thanks for the gum, Grandma!) so our house will be host to several mythical visitors this weekend.

Monday, March 29, 2010


You may have noticed some weird comments popping up lately, so I've added comment moderation as an option on the blog.

I spent the past weekend fighting, falling, and recovering. On Friday, I took and passed my Unarmed Combat skills proficiency test - a big deal! On Saturday, I took a class on fight techniques for film, Swashbuckling with small sword, left and attended Scooby's All-City orchestra concert, returned and took a class on Apache Knife fighting, attended a screening of a new film called "Eyeborgs" and then attended a student written and directed original musical called "Disorientation of Butterflies." On Sunday I took a class on Falls and Rolls, a "Dangerous Rapier and Dagger" class, and an Unrehearsed Shakespeare class.

I survived. I'm tired.

Oh, and Mom and Dad were here, I think. Didn't see much of them!

Besides Scooby's orchestra concert, Cinderella had a Chuckie Cheese birthday party and Tarzan had a ballgame.

Thankfully, it rained today and my Little League concession stand duty was cancelled!

It's awfully quiet out there...what's going on??

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Laser Lemon

That's the color of crayon sitting on the desk in front of me. What does that even mean - "Laser Lemon"? The lemon part I suppose I understand, but what a laser has to do with describing a color is beyond me.

Sunday morning we had our first experience with x-rays. Of course, it was Tarzan. Sometime on Saturday, while I was at You Can't Take it With You and Don was working in the front yard, Tarzan figured out how to get from the top of the swingset/fort onto a tree branch and swing down onto the grass. That was so fun he decided to do it again, but the second time his foot caught on the slide and tipped him sideways, landing him on top of his arm. But he didn't want to tell Don he'd hurt himself, because he was afraid Don would be mad he was swinging on the branch. So we didn't find out until the next morning, getting ready for church. He was complaining about the arm hurting, he couldn't lift or straighten it, and it hurt to the touch. So off we went to Patient First. They did x-rays, but fortunately it's not broken. Just a "contusion." So they gave him a split and a sling to wear for a couple of days. After one day of not being able to write in school, he decided to ditch the splint. He's still got it in the sling, and we're skipping a couple days of baseball practice, but he's already almost back to full mobility.

No news on the waiting lists.

I've accepted the summer camp position, so now just have to work out all the details.

Cinderella is doing a Reader's Theater piece in school tomorrow. She's playing Pinky the Pig in an adaptation of how the three little pigs explain to the big bad wolf the difference between solids, liquids, and gases. And who says there's no more good theater out there?

Busy weekend coming up. Scooby's got All-City orchestra, and I've got the Virginia Beach Bash, and my SAFD testing for Unarmed Combat.

It's flowering tree and daffodil season - my favorite time of year! Now if I could only get outside and enjoy it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Short stories

Okay. In no particular order...

First of all, remember me bitching about the process to apply to alternative middle school programs for Scooby? I'm pretty sure I did that on here. Yesterday we got letters from both that he'd been wait-listed for both programs. Because apparently, yes, they are THAT exclusive. Whatever. The one program I'm not 100% sold on anyway - not really sure why, just a gut thing, kind of. The other, though, I was kind of hoping that would pan out. And it still may, we'll see. Did I mention I HATE wating and seeing? Wait-lists are evil and should not be allowed. I'll be calling the school tomorrow (on the elementary gifted teacher's advice) to find out where he is on the list and how much hope there actually may be that he'll get in. I've tried to talk to Scooby about all this and see how he's thinking and feeling, but all I get is "I dunno." Of course I don't even know how I think and feel about all this, so how can I expect him to? Still waiting on the gifted elem. school application for Tarzan, and I won't know about gifted status for Cinderella until May. WAIT AND SEE. Blah.

Second...there was an attempted carjacking near Regent on Tuesday night, and the emergency alert system went haywire. From 11:43pm until 3:14am (although I shut my phone off at 2:00) I received 20 text messages alerting me about the attempt and the fact that the police were looking for the suspect and not to be alarmed. Also, 4 voicemail messages, and 4 emails. Thank you for the alerts. It's nice to know you're on the job, now shut the heck up!!!

Third...Tarzan started baseball this week. He has two 1 1/2 hour practices and one game every week. It's a league requirement that all players wear a cup to practices and games. Seeing his eyes when he learned what a cup was, was priceless. Me trying to find a cup small enough...also priceless. (ps: there aren't any small enough. The kid looks like he's walking around with a grapefruit down the front of his shorts.) Parents also have requirements, although they fortunately don't involve unfortunate crotch bulges. At least, not yet. Instead, I've been signed up to a. sell concessions, b. volunteer manpower at the Bingo Hall, c. provide snacks,and d. sell Pampered Chef and Virginia Peanut products for a fundraiser. And that was all at the first practice. Remember when I said I sold my soul to the Little League? I WAS RIGHT!!!

Fourth...I was offered a position with the Regent Summer Camps for the junior camp (ages 10 - 14) which runs June 21 - July 11. I was hoping for the Sr. camp which is July/Aug, but that didn't pan out. It's for the Dance Teacher/Choreographer position. They're doing Mulan, Jr. I'll probably take it, but Don's stressing to try to figure out how much it breaks down to per hour. I'd have to figure out what to do with the munchkins for the first two weeks, as the camp runs 8:45 - 5:15 Mon through Fri. I was thinking maybe I'd try to send them to Pittsburgh - St. Philip's KidzKamp runs that first week,and maybe Don could take them up and stay for at least one week. I want to try to get up to Mass. for a couple of weeks too - maybe the end of July?

Fifth...I've been spending at least two hours a day in Cinderella's classroom for the past two weeks, helping out her teacher. I was going to vent a lot about this, but I don't think I will. Suffice it to say, I'm glad I'm there, and even though it's eating up a lot of my homework time, I'll continue as long as I can.

Finally, we needed to get the brakes fixed on the green car this week - it was kind of an emergency situation so we dropped the car off at Meinke that evening, and were told it should be ready by 9:00am the next day. Well, we've had enough experience to know that probably wouldn't happen, so we made plans for me to borrow someone else's car for the day, and give Don the van, just in case. We drove over in the morning, around 8:30, and the car hadn't been touched yet. Then Don realized he'd forgotten his ID at home and I left him there while I went back to get it. By the time I got back, around 9:20, the car was up on the...what do you call that thing? The lift? Anyway, it was being worked on, supposedly. But when I went into the office to give Don the ID and see if he was going to wait for the car or drop me off at school, he and the other two people in the waiting room were sitting with stunned expressions on their faces, listening to the employees and the manager screaming at each other behind the (very thin) closed door. This wasn't just a little argument, there was major profanity, breaking glass, threats of "I'm going to f&$&#ing kill you!" and it went on, and on, and on. It was unbelievable. If the car hadn't been up on the whatchamacalit, we would have left and gone somewhere else. I plan on writing a shocked and appalled letter to the company. Don elected to stay, partially to make sure they weren't going to bust out the windows in the car, and got to work very late, since the car wasn't done until 11:30. But, the brakes seem to work.

And that's all the news I'm awake enough to print.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Next time...on Passing Understanding

I'm way too tired to post right now. Things to post about later:
Demands on the parents of baseball players
Wait list letters
Summer job
Crazy emergency texts in the middle of the night
Volunteering in Cinderella's classroom
Crazy people at Meinke brake center

I need sleep.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Good day at school, bad day at home. Don't really feel like going into it right now, but I had some MAJOR fail moments as a parent today. I'm mad at myself for dropping some balls, and yes, I am juggling quite a lot, and as fast as I can, but it's still not acceptable. Totally lost it on Scooby this afternoon. I was actually crying in frustration at not being able to deal with his behavior. And he's a good kid - he really is. I know it could be a lot worse. And I can't even deal with this small amount of bad behavior and attitude. I commented on Facebook that I couldn't WAIT for the teenage years...totally sarcastically, and somehow people thought I meant that sincerely. NO! Not at all. I don't know how I'll be able to handle it when I can't even handle him at 10. I know, cut myself a break, I'm really busy, blah, blah. Tomorrow's another day. But right now, I'm feeling really defeated and directionless.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

James Madison

The play itself was about what you would have expected from a 5th grade play staged in the cafeteria and written by students at James Madison College. But Scooby was really good! Except for a couple of moments where he looked like he was taking a little snooze during a particularly slow moving scene, he was loud, clear, energetic, and knew what he was saying! Plus, he looked so darn cute.

In other news, Tarzan is playing for the Yankees this year! Sorry, Grandma and Grandpa!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Tired of looking at myself

I'm pooped. This week is going to be nuts. Today I had an interview for Regent Summer Camps, then class, then helped the first grade teacher, then class, then wardrobe crew, then homework. Tomorrow, Scooby's play, then class, then helping the first grade teacher, then Walmart, then wardrobe crew. Wednesday, class, helping the first grade teacher, pick up Scooby from cast party, class, take Tarzan to first baseball team meeting/practice, wardrobe crew. Thursday, take Scooby to school at 7:15 for field trip, class, help first grade teacher, class, pick up Scooby from field trip, parents night and meeting for baseball, wardrobe crew. Friday, help fifth grade teacher, class, wardrobe crew. Saturday, baseball field cleanup, drive Tarzan to birthday party, combat workshop, wardrobe crew for two shows. Yes, for some of these I may have to be in two places at once. I'm pooped.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I've been informed that I need a new headshot. (Which, if look on the Regent website and compare the quality of mine to others, I definitely agree. Those were taken with our crappy camera and they just don't reproduce well.)A friend of mine, an undergrad theater student, is also a photography buff and has a nice new camera, with which she's offering to take shots of people on campus for practice. She took some of me yesterday, and I've posted some of them on Facebook. For those of you not on FB (Lisa) I'll put the top six up here too...please vote! The department is also having a professional photographer come in April to do shots - $225 for a total package, $35 for a mini-session (one outfit, five minutes). Since I'll be here for two more years and may look different when I graduate, I'm opting for the mini-session. So, I'll end up either using one of these, or one of the five minute mini-session shots. Even if you voted on Facebook, feel free to vote again here!