Saturday, February 27, 2010

5th grade homework.

Writing about states of matter, chemical changes, physical changes. Did you know that florescent lights are a plasma? "We" are having a grand time. If we both survive this paper, it will be a miracle.

Edit:Here's the paper!
Matter By: David Dunlap
Matter is everything you can see and touch. It is all around us. Matter changes both physically and chemically. Many of these changes can be seen in everyday life, but some can only be observed by scientists. The rest of this paper will explain what matter is, and what physical and chemical changes are.
Matter has many unique qualities. All matter is made of atoms. All atoms are made of protons neutrons and electrons. Matter is any substance that has mass, takes up space, and exists as a solid, liquid, gas, or plasma. All matter is made of elements. Matter can be measured by mass (the amount of space in an object), density (the measure of how tightly packed an object is), and weight (the force of gravity between earth and an object). These are just some of matter’s unique qualities.
There are many ways matter changes chemically. A chemical change is when there is a temperature change, odor change, a color change, or when heat, light or a new substance is produced. A compound is two or more elements chemically combined. An example of a compound is a molecule. An example of a chemical change is when you mix baking soda and vinegar. A new substance, a gas, is produced. These are some examples of how matter changes chemically.
There are many ways that matter changes physically. A physical change is when matter changes from one form to another. An example of a physical change is when a solid turns to a liquid, a liquid turns to a gas, and a gas turns to plasma. The changes are caused by energy in the form of heat. As the temperature changes, the state of matter changes. For example, as the temperature of ice rises, it becomes water. As the temperature of water rises, it becomes vapor. Water’s boiling point is 212°F, or 100°C, freezing point is just below 32°F or 0°C, and melting point is just above32°F or 0°C. This can be measured with a thermometer. The changes that occur in mixtures and solutions are also physical changes. These are a few ways that matter changes physically.
Learning about matter helps scientists understand the world around us. By understanding the world, they can help people in their lives. For example, florescent lights are plasma made by running electricity through a gas. Without scientists’ understanding of plasma, this invention, and many others like it, could have never been invented.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Grades and taxes and poop. Oh my.

Yeah, not much going on here either. I had my Rapier and Dagger midterm yesterday. I think I did okay. Actually, I think I did well on the written part, so-so on the actual fight. I blanked and did a parry 2 instead of a parry 3 right at the end. I know, right?? What was I thinking! I got my first three grades for Text Analysis and they're all good. And I got an A on my first scene in scene study class. So all is well. Spent this afternoon wrestling the kids about their homework. Scooby has a paper to write about chemical and physical changes in matter...I had to look up a lot of stuff before I understood the assignment. Cinderella is struggling to get through chapter books for her reading assignments - her attention span poops out pretty quick and then we have to fight to push through to the end of the chapter. Tarzan...still doesn't have enough homework. Scooby's been playing around with the animation program Dad linked to seems a bit clunky to me, but he's having fun with it. Spent the weekend doing taxes. I used HRBlock online, and then Don insisted we do them again with Turbotax. HRBlock is giving us $1000 more of a refund than turbotax,so I think we'll go with them. We can't quite figure out how they're figuring everything, so I'm not sure why the difference. It's something about the Lifetime Learning Credit, or the tuition and fees deduction, but I'm not sure exactly what. Then I filled out the FAFSA and started applying for some scholarships for next year. Fun, huh? And the cat smelled really poopy tonight so I gave him another mini-bath. Don't you wish you had my life? : )

Friday, February 19, 2010

Next Season

We got an email today letting us know what the 2010-2011 Season will be here at Regent. This is big news for several reasons: The shows we're cast in play a big part in coloring our experiences here at the school. Both for whom you'll be spending a large chunk of your time with and for what kind of material you'll be immersed in. Also, it informs what kinds of material we should be working on for the May Juries, which serve not only as a final grade/audition technique workshop but also as an actual audition for first couple of shows of the season. The second years are even more invested in these choices, because their Thesis roles will be selected from among these plays. Out of the six shows, I'm only familiar with three of them, which just means I'm more ignorant of the theater scene than I should be! Right now, I don't have a huge reaction to this season either way, positive or negative. I will be trying to track down the three shows that I'm unfamiliar with, along with most of the other MFA's, I'm sure, and then I'll have a better sense for what I might be up for.
They are:
September: Leaving Iowa, by Tim Clue and Spike Manton
October: Our Town, by Thornton Wilder
Nov/Dec: The Last Night of Ballyhoo, by Alfred Uhry
Jan/Feb: The Runner Stumbles, by Milan Stitt
March: Medea, by Euripides
Apr/May: Fiddler on the Roof, by Joseph Stein, Jerry Block, and Sheldon Harnick

In a week and a half I start my production hours for You Can't Take it With You, and after the run of that show I have about two weeks before the production hours begin for Godspell. I put in an application to work at the Summer Theater Camps here in July and August. I'm immensely qualified, but apparently the competition for jobs is pretty tough. Hopefully that will work out, although I don't know what the pay is like yet!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Outside Perspective is a Good Thing

So he's not going to play. He wants to play baseball, but not on a team. He still likes the game, but doesn't want to join Little League. (insert sad face here)
I went and signed Tarzan up, and sold my soul to the Green Run Little League in exchange for a discount on registration. They WILL be calling me to volunteer. Grr. Thank you all for your insight.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Parenting Dilemma

tomorrow is the last day to register for Little League baseball. Assuming we can swing a deal with the league to help us lower the cost of the registration fees, it's our last chance to sign the boys up for the season. Tarzan is excited, and definitely wants to do it. Scooby is extremely ambivalent. He got pretty upset when I asked him if he wanted to play, but seems unable to articulate why. He "kind of likes it and kind of doesn't." He "kind of wants to play and kind of doesn't." He's kind of driving me crazy. Of course, my best guess is he still likes baseball, but doesn't feel very good about himself when he's playing, since he's not actually that good at it. (Shhh) So, do I encourage him to do it, let him take the easy way out, or what??? My inclination is to strongly encourage him to do it, but I'm afraid I'd be setting myself up for months of struggle and fighting. Or, he could love it. Thoughts? Advice? Help!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Speaking of creativity


We are required to keep a journal in my Scene Study class, and every week we are given a topic to write about. This week's was creativity - how did we express it as a child, and how to we continue to feed the creative well today. I will probably add more to this entry in my class journal over the weekend, but I thought I'd compy some of the initial thoughts over to this blog as well.

When I was little, I used to put on records and dance. Particularly vivid in my mind is one record (yes, record...made of vinyl and everything) called "Gypsy Melodies" which had a photo of a very exotic dark-haired woman on the cover, with lots of eye makeup, hoop earrings, and a red tank top with one shoulder strap drooping off the side. The appropriate attire for dancing to this record was an ankle-length chiffon purple circle skirt that had been my Mom's in high school, bare feet, and a sheer white curtain which could be used as a veil, a scarf, a belt, or whatever else the movement required. I would entertain myself for hours, dancing to this record, and many others. Sometimes I would create a storyline, sometimes just move free form to the music.
Other times, I would recruit my brother and sisters and the neighbor children to act out stories with me, using the big metal drum full of dress-up clothes we had in the basement. Hansel and Gretel was one of our favorites, and Cinderella, and Annie. I always loved dressing up.
We also used to play outside a lot, and most of our games consisted of "play-acting" stories. I was never much for organized sports games, and I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 12. Instead, I tromped through the woods acting out Robin Hood adventures, or building fairy houses with moss and twigs, or searching for the wicked witch's house amongst the gone-to-seed apple trees. I had raging cases of poison ivy as a kid. The large rocks deposited on each piece of property in our town (built on a granite quarry) were host to many imaginary scenes as well - picnics, and tea parties, and anguished last stands.

Creativity today. Every time I'm confronted with this question, I'm flooded with a feeling of guilt and dissatisfaction. In a way, I'm engaging my creativity every day, through the simple fact that I'm pursuing an MFA in theater. Much of my creative energy is poured into my classes, my homework, and of course, the work that I do on productions here. I have seen and been a part of more theater in the past four months than in the previous five years combined. But I think in order for the creative soul to be fed, the critical mind needs to be silenced. At least temporarily. And that is quite difficult to do.
When I was a child, I played creatively because I loved it. It was fun. And that was all. It wasn't for a grade, for recognition, or least of all for a paycheck. And once all those things are added on to the creative process, it changes it somehow. The answer seems simple - be creative in ways that you love, and do it just for you! Simple, but not easy. There's the time factor, there's the guilt factor (if it 's not earning me money it's not worth pursuing) and there's the fatigue factor. Pursuing creativity takes energy - yes, it feeds energy as well, but it is certainly more taxing than kicking back and watching American Idol.
So, I try to be deliberate about it. Reading plays for enjoyment, rather than for class. Playing the piano. Writing in my personal blog. It's an effort, to be sure, but I recognize the importance of it, and I hope that by being mindful and pursuing it deliberately will eventually reap the fruit of the joyful involvement of doing it for the sheer pleasure of doing it.

What about you? Is creativity important to your life now? How did you express it as a child? How do you feed your creative well now?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I had every intention of updating last night, but I fell asleep in a chair at 8:45pm. Moved upstairs around midnight. Guess I was tired!
Took Scooby to the new pediatrician yesterday for a well-child check-in. They couldn't do all three on the same day, for some reason, so I had Scooby yesterday, Tarzan today and Cinderella tomorrow.
Everything's on a pretty even keel right now - classes are going well, the kids are doing okay in school, Don's work is chugging along.
We may have an interesting situation with our landlords. They want to break their contract with the Property Management company, and rent directly to us. If that happens, they're willing to cut us a break on rent if we re-sign with them for two more years. They'd drop our rent by $80/month. Since I can't really see anything forcing us to move out of this place before Regent is done, I think that might be a pretty good deal. We'd been contemplating (well, Don more than me) looking around for someplace cheaper, but the thought of having to pack everything up and move it again this soon was making me physically nauseous. So we'll see how that works out.
Who's ready for spring???

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Life goes on

Okay. They don't hate me. I can't leave that up anymore.
We're okay.
I don't have the ambition to write much tonight, though. They had haircuts today, and bought some Valentine supplies from Michael's Craft store. We gave the cat a bath last night because his belly was all caked with mud. He did very well and we all survived. I gave Scooby Lisa's suggestions for practicing violin - he really liked the last part about no commentary from the other room. I told him I'd promise to do that if he'd promise to do the rest.
We'll see.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

They hate me! They really hate me!

Just in case you were wondering, I am the meanest Mom in the world. Yes, that's right, the contest is over, and I've won. Get ready for a recital of my crimes.
1. I made my son practice violin. (Actually, that battle is still being engaged - he's sitting with the violin on his lap, but hasn't actually made any sounds come out of it yet. He's too busy weeping over my cruelty)
2. I made my other son stop screaming at his sister because she kept shooting his guy on Wii Lego Star Wars. In fact, I made him stop playing altogether and go to his room. That's right, his ROOM. Filled to overflowing with toys, books, and stuffed animals of every shape and size. *Shudder*.
3. I wasn't pleased when my daughter spilled red food coloring-dyed water out of the ziplock bag onto the rug. Granted, I didn't scream that time - Don did, so I got a few mean-ness points deducted for that. But still, I wasn't pleased.
4. I may have cursed slightly at my phone when I got the alert that school was cancelled again today. I don't think I did it so the kids could hear, but still, I wasn't filled to the brim with the joy of the prospect of another day housebound with my darling angels, and that makes me a bad mother.
You see, it snowed. On Saturday. A whole seven inches. And since then, (gasp!), it has continued to be cold outside and so, mysteriously, the snow is still there. Therefore, the roads are a deathtrap, people, BLACK ICE!!!!!, and no-one in their right mind is allowed out of doors. School must be cancelled. Businesses are shut down. Families are quarantined inside their houses and left scrounge the cupboards for the last can of spaghettios and scratch each other's eyes out. I really need to go grocery shopping, but I have 20 dollars in my purse, and oh yeah - DEATH TRAP!!! BLACK ICE!!! So I guess we'll just have to suffer.
Other mean things I have done: Forced them all to watch movies and play video games. Enforced book reading time. Required the oldest child to make chocolate chip cookies. Sent them out in the snow to (eek!) PLAY.
It's true, people. WORST MOTHER EVER. I'm expecting the statuette and the big giant check any minute now. As soon as it comes, I'm going to the grocery store, BLACK ICE be damned.