Archive | November, 2011

Wednesday’s Whimsies

30 Nov
  1. I got a new iPhone.  I love it so far.  It’s a mini-me version of my iPad.  LOL
  2. The best app on the iPhone so far is a scanner app.  It allows you to scan the UPC of any item in the grocery store and it shows you the Weight Watcher’s Points Plus.  How cool is that?
  3. My son had to do a presentation in his English class on campus today.  The presentation was on yoga.  His sister came in for the demo on what he was speaking about.  They were awesome!  Who knew?
  4. Turns out my cousin has been in my son’s class all semester but neither knew each other!  What a riot!
  5. We had a craft show/art fair today in our campus lobby.  I didn’t buy anything although everything was mega-cool.  Why didn’t I buy?  Because I have the “I can do that” disease.  I see all these creative things and say, “Why buy?  I can do that!”  Sheesh… I could do it if I had more than 24 hours in a day.
  6. This is grading season.  Most people think it’s Christmas season.  Unless you’re a teacher and your semester ends days before Christmas.  This is the time of year when you are swamped with papers and projects and tests to grade, grade, and grade.  Who thought that one through?  Not a mother…
  7. It’s cold today.  24 degrees but feels like 15 according to the weather channel app I have.  So of course, today Hawk decides to be frisky and take off through the neighborhood at 7am.  When is that dog going to live with Cory?
  8. I looked into buying a baby grand piano this past weekend.  It was the deal of a century.  Lovely piece of furniture.  Sounded like crap.  It was all tinny sounding.  I couldn’t tell if it just needed to be tuned or if that’s just the way it was supposed to sound.  But too big of a chance.  Bummer… no baby grand for Gina and Gianna.
  9. Update: we came home from work today and had a visit from our alderman. A neighbor complained about our bushes blocking the view of traffic. These bushes have been planted for about 7 years. And they are complaining now. What the heck? But you know what really bothers me? That the neighbors didn’t walk over and talk to us directly. We’ve been neighbors for almost 13 years. What happened to being civil? The alderman asked if we would remove some of the bushes and we said no. He asked if we would cut them back. We said yes. Now was that so hard? And, hey. How about asking us in the summer. Now the bushes are bare of leaves and it’s super cold outside. So we’re going to be trimming bushes in the snow this weekend.

Another Headband

25 Nov

They are so quick and fun!

A second headband

The picture is a little blurry but it turned out cute.  The flower is huge but both my girls like the big flowers.  Go figure!

The gray yarn is actually two yarns held together.  One is from a Goodwill sweater I unraveled.  It’s silk, wool, and angora blend.  It’s soft as can be.  The other gray yarn and the white yarn are Knit Picks.

Both headbands are too small for me.  I have a ginormous head it seems.  🙂


25 Nov

We had a really nice Thanksgiving this year.  I wasn’t hardly stressed out at all!  🙂 Except that one dream… where we ran out of food because of all the unexpected guests and my mom stood in line at the neighbor’s porch to buy hamburgers.  🙂  But that was all….

We had 13 people here – two turkeys and lots of side dishes and desserts!  Great desserts!  Not a lot of leftovers either.  We gobbled up the goodness.  Here are some good pictures that I took yesterday (in no particular order).

My husband, Dan, and I

My brother-in-law Bruce

Dan's Sister-in-law Cory

My youngest son DJ

My youngest daugher, Gianna, and my husband, Dan

My oldest daughter, Mia, and Me

My oldest son, Cory, and his dog, Hawk

My dad and mom

Dan's mom and step-dad

My brother-in-law Ron

My sister Sonia

Hawk was exhausted at the end of the day. Me too!


And what’s a post without a knitting picture (or two)?  I whipped up this headband for my oldest daughter.  It only took a couple of hours.  I love it!  I’m not sure she’ll love the yarn, but it’s a prototype and she can pick her own yarn and colors once we see if this fits her head and is what she wants.



Night at the Wax Museum

17 Nov

My 10yo is in a musical for school called “Night at the Wax Museum”.  She and her fellow thespians have been practicing after school for the past couple of months.  The director is NOT the music teacher like in years past.  The music teacher is swamped with other tasks and was going to have to cancel the 4th/5th grade musical this year.  So another teacher (language arts) stepped up to the plate and said she would direct the musical.

A few weeks ago, I dropped Gianna off at practice and asked the teacher, “Do you need any help?”  “No, I think I’m fine,” she says.  Well, like most young, ambitious teachers (mostly of the female gender), the woman thinks she’s SuperWoman.  (I’m familar with this SuperWoman complex since I suffer from it also.)   She’s not fine.  She’s 7 months pregnant, has 30 unruly 9-11 year olds running amok back stage, and is totally stressed out.

The play is in two days.

They have yet to get through the entire play in a practice session.

Yesterday another mother, my 22yo daughter and I attended the practice.  The director finally succumbed to the idea that help is NOT a bad thing.  So the three of us threw ourselves into the task and went backstage to:

  • get the kids on stage on cue.  Seems simple enough – but have you worked with 9-11 year olds?  I’m pretty sure that some of their attention spans are less than 10 minutes.
  • feed the kids their lines.  One of us has to stay just beyond the curtain to prompt the kids who keep forgetting their lines.  It’s funny – it’s not the kids who have 100 lines that forget them.  It’s the ones who only have 4 lines that can’t seem to remember what their line is and when to say it!  You have 4 lines!  You’ve been practicing for months!  Stage fright?  Maybe… but feeding them lines from behind the curtain is better that everyone standing on stage looking awkward.
  • keep the kids quiet backstage when they are not currently ON the stage.  Easy you say?  Well, let me tell you… the administration apparently frowns upon taping their mouths shut and tying them to a chair.  Hmmm… I’m going to let my older daughter and the other mother figure that one out.  Because after what I saw last night, that’s the only way to get some of these kids in line!

After the practice, the director said this run-through went smoother than any other previous one.  We have ONE MORE practice – tonight – then it’s show time to the parents, grandparents, and friends at $5 a ticket.  A miracle would be nice about now!

Wednesday’s Whimsies

16 Nov

I know… that word “whimsies” doesn’t look like it’s spelled right.  But according to my spell-checker it is!


  1. I can’t spell. I used  to be able to spell, but it’s something I’ve recently lost.  I rely totally on spell checker.  Bad?  I don’t know.  Some schools are eliminating spelling tests entirely from the curriculum!  See this article about a school in Virginia who is doing just that.
  2. One of our local grade schools has eliminated cursive writing all together from their curriculum.  Is cursive really necessary anymore?  You need to be able to sign your name but what else requires good penmanship?
  3. With all this eliminating, you’d hope there would be more room for MATH and SCIENCE to be taught.  I’m all for that!
  4. Today is my birthday!  I’m 49 years old.  It’s good to be 49 because (a) I’m not 50 and (b) I’ve lived a wonderfully, charmed 49 years of life and (c) I’ve been pampered by my children so far today.  🙂  The younger kids got up and made me breakfast, took the dog out in the freezing cold to give me a morning off from doing it and emptied the dishwasher.  All before 6:30am!  I’m milking this birthday for all it’s worth baby!  You know, like I do every other year!
  5. I hired a new student lab assistant today.  Without infringing on his privacy, let me just say that this is a young adult who has really fallen on some hard times.  He’s homeless with no vehicle.  He rides his bike or WALKS to school everyday from the homeless shelter a town over.  He has a great attitude – wants to learn, never misses class, succeeds in the classes he is taking.  He was THRILLED to get this minimum wage job for only 15 hours a week.  I’d like to do more for this young man.  I never have a problem helping someone who wants to help themselves.
  6. Life is good!

Another Scarf

15 Nov

I liked the gray Holden Shawlette so much, I made another one.  I like these scarves and they are a quick knit – only takes about 4-5 days.  I didn’t think I’d like the variegated yarn, but it ended up looking nice.

Holden Shawlette / Scarf

Speech Competition

15 Nov

My kids (ages 10 and 13) participate in Speech Team.  We never had a Speech Team in my school, so before they joined I wasn’t familiar at all with it.  Let me give you a little rundown on my interpretation of how this works.

When the students compete in speech, they don’t compete against each other but against a set of criteria like:

Can the judge hear you?

Did you articulate well?

How much feeling you put into it? etc.  I don’t know the criteria – I’m not sure my kids know the criteria!

There are also different categories.  DJ (13yo) chose a solo; Gianna (10yo) was in a duet with another 10yo – Anna.  Both were comical skits.  There’s also improv and chorale readings (where a large group reads poetry) and small groups of 3 or 4.  The skits are copyrighted (although I think you can write your own too) and our school picks the skits for the person/team.  They’ve been practicing for eight weeks for this ONE competition.  So you “do or die” in 5-10 minutes.  It’s really acting – with no props or costumes.

 Gianna and Anna did a “cheerleading” skit where Gianna was a peppy girl who just tried out for the squad and Anna was a mopey girl who also tried out but her tryout was a parody of errors.  I don’t know why they got a second place; I thought it was great!  Anna was a little hard to hear – she could have projected her voice a bit more.  Gianna fidgeted a bit with her hands.  But that’s all I saw that needed improvement.  Even the coaches were shocked that they didn’t get a first.  But she should get the judge’s feedback in a week or so and she’ll hear then what to improve on.

 DJ did a solo called “Reverend Roy Bob’s Secret to Success”.  It was a “tele-commercial” about sending him $49.95 for a pyramid scheme that will turn your life around.  DJ was such a “Jay”. Jay is my brother.  He never showed any propensity to acting, then in high school he did  a piece from “Hamlet ” and just blew everyone away!  DJ’s speech was just like that.  DJ was a natural – he had the whole audience wrapped up in his talk.  Afterwards, the judge in his room pulled him aside and told him that in all the years of judging, that was one of the BEST he’s ever seen.  The judge said that DJ was made to do solos and he hoped DJ stuck with both speech team and this solo competition.

 Well, to make a long story longer…  the judges can nominate one act that they’ve seen that night as their “Judge’s Choice”.  That act/speech went above and beyond – kinda like “better than first place”.  And this judge gave that award to DJ.  Cool huh?

 They announced it at school but DJ was at the high school taking Math class so he didn’t hear it.  Then he came to school and all these people/students were congratulating him in the hall  and he was wondering, “What?”  He said even kids that weren’t in speech were congratulating him. LOL  His coach came and told him about it and Gianna told him after school that they announced it and then he said, “Oh… now that makes sense.”  Cracks me up!

 That’s it… a long story…  I think it’s great that our school continues to sponsor activities for “non-athletes” – even during this budget cutting economy.  There has to be a niche for all students.  The energy in this small school where the competition was held was electrifying.  Parents were there to cheer on the participants and the kids were all congratulating each other.  It’s really great to see that in a group of 10-14 year olds!