Saturday, October 18, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I know, I said I was closing the book on this blog, and I will, but today's news just made me feel so safe, and secure, and optimistic and happy for the world! I haven't felt this happy about something political since 1976 when I voted for Jimmy Carter for no reason other than just to piss off my republican dad. With that in mind, I just had to tell you all a little story.
I don't talk politics. I don't even try because I don't know enough to keep up my end of the conversation. That doesn't mean however that I don't have opinions. I just choose to keep them to myself, or at least pump my fist in the air and agree wholeheartedly with anything Jon Stewart says... or with anything Downtown Dad predicts...
A long time ago, in a city far far away from here... (OK, Seattle, 1987ish) Downtown Dad and I had just started dating. An article in a newspaper laying on my desk caught his eye. It was about then Senate Judiciary Chairman Biden, and the contention between he and Robert Bork in Bork's confirmation hearings. Not knowing either of them from Adam, I had doodled on the pictures of the two men, giving Bork an Underwood Deviled Ham makeover, and then drawing a halo and wings on Biden. Downtown Dad noted this and asked some well-informed and politically astute open-ended question. Most likely to draw me into a discussion on the pros and cons of whether antitrust laws should focus on maximizing consumer welfare, or something equally as mystifying (Like I said, we had just STARTED dating). Anyway, the thing that has always charmed me about Downtown Dad is that he can take something you know nothing about, and really DON'T WANT to know anything about, and start talking to you about it, and pretty soon you're participating in that conversation about it, and you realize you just learned a whole shitload about it, and didn't ever feel stupid along the way. And not only that... sometimes, if you're listening, he'll make a prediction.... yeah, a prediction. Like he did that day in 1987. He said something about the fact that I had polarized the two men with my drawings, but that was absolutely untrue of Joe Biden. He said that Joe Biden's views, coupled with the way he was able to communicate actually had the power to bring people together. He didn't think Biden would win his bid for the presidency that coming year, didn't think his time had come.... yet....but someday, someday...
And then.... fast forward to 1988, the Democratic Presidential Convention is on TV and this boyish looking governor of Arkansas, named Clinton had just given the looooooongest, if not most interesting speech I had ever listened to. (I was learning to actually listen to them now). Downtown Dad had leaped off of the couch and was in the middle of a victory dance similar to what some men do after a fourth quarter, 43 yard touchdown pass, when he stopped and struck a pose, index finger in the air, hand to heart, and said: "Someday that man will be president."
I just wish there was a way to capitalize on that talent! He's probably not psychic, I tend to think that he's just VERY well informed! I wouldn't go to him for advice at the horsetrack, and we don't own stock, but I've learned that when it comes to anything that has to do with governance, or constitutional law, I'll put my money on just about whatever Downtown Dad says. Oh, but here's a little tip for you just in case ..... Downtown Dad says: Invest in your local Downtown!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Well here's the thing: I'm in transition. Personally, Parentally, Professionally, and Blog-ily.
At home we've been busy with little things like Gooseberry's 9 performances of The Wiz, and the final stateside performance of High School Musical, the next day, and, oh yeah, seeing 60 kids off for 17 days in Edinburgh, Scotland the next week! And then turning around and driving three teen girls to Branson for a week, and then going to get them!
During, or as a result of, all this I also made the decision to give up on my relationship with Real Estate. It just wasn't working for me... I gave and gave and gave and never got anything in return. Before I officially broke it off, I started a little part time gig on the side, doing transcription for a child psychologist, which did help slow down the hemorraging of money, but I decided I needed more... something permanent. I started looking in earnest for a company where I could reclaim the old me, where I could do something challenging, but something I am truly good at. I flirted with many, but there was this one that rose to the top. There was a long slow courtship process, over the space of almost three months, but I did manage to land a spectacular, good paying, full time job as an administrative assistant in the corporate office of a regional engineering firm! (pause for woo-hoos!) The timing is wonderful since I start the same day the kids go back to school. What makes this wonderful, is that it all falls into place perfectly with everything else too!
My last reasonably serious buying customer finally sold her existing house and we were on track to find her something to close by the end of August - but, (you knew there'd be a but... there's always a but in real estate) she has fiddle farted around and now has decided to rent. So, close that book. My last listing was a house that was over priced and the owner refused to lower it, since if he didn't sell it for what he wanted by the end of August, he would just rent it out. It's looking like that listing will quietly expire. So close that book too.
Tessie got her license and through a series of fortunate/unfortunate events, (unfortunate for her brother Beez - not for Tessie) she acquired her own car and while I'm a little sad that she no longer needs me to drive her and her friends around, she can now be her own and her brother's transportation to school, doctors, dentists and orthodontist appointments. Bear will get his learner's permit as soon as humanly possible after returning from Scotland at the end of this week. So, close the book on Taxi mom.
So that covers the transition professionally, parentally, and even personally, but blog-ily you ask? What sort of transition do you mean? Well, what I mean is the name of this blog. When I was a devil-may-care, pretend realtor, part-time, stay-at-home-mom, hanging out with lady friends who more often than not drank their lunch, "Straight Up and Slightly Dirty" described my attitude and the personality I was attempting to project in this blog. After this past year of a leadership class, intense volunteer work, grant writing, devoting literally all of my time to my kids' interests and some serious soul searching, I have decided that while I don't want to give up blogging, I just want the me online to more accurately reflect the real me. I mean really, when I look at the search terms that land people here - because of the Straight Up or the Slightly Dirty - I feel a little guilty for mentioning my kids, my family and our activities.
So, if anyone still visits here, and if you're still reading this far down... thank you! I'm not sure what the name will be, or where it will be, or even if. This isn't goodbye for ever, its just closing one book and opening another.
Monday, July 07, 2008
A while back, the parents and directors behind our year long project of Moorhead High School's production of High School Musical, entered a contest sponsored by USA Weekend. This contest will decide the best production of High School Musical in the Nation - and we are in the top 5!
Please take a second to click on this link and watch snippets of the top five finalists - then VOTE for MOORHEAD HIGH! Hurry though, voting ends Wednesday, July 9th!
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Apparently the fish in Louisanna are less toothy with softer gills, because one of our great hunters got a boo boo. Awwww.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
This is the meeting where we finalize the the passports, the behavior contracts, and most of all the money - all $350,000 of it, needed to send our production of High School Musical to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland this August. Through a few grants, some fundraising, and a whole lot of begging, we have been able to raise every bit of it in just over 11 months.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Around here, Dave Days are usually a virtual shower of gifts, cards, and special dinners. This year though, the price of gas and Realtorin' being what it is, Dave Days were a little thin. A homemade copy of the HBO John Adams series; yet another political book; some clothes picked out by DD himself then judiciously doled out over the span of celebrations; and a cake decorated by car headlights at 1 a.m. by loving teenagers - some not even ours; were all that the extended family had put together.
.... don't ask me, teenagers, headlights, 1 a.m. ... go figure ....
...But there was a Dave Days surprise in store we hadn't counted on... Tessie looked out her 2nd story bedroom window and saw a white cockatiel sitting on the wire. At first, she thought one of ours had accidentally gotten out, so she went screaming down the stairs "There's a bird outside!" but when she saw both Tizzy and Rascal safely in their cage, she added "And it's not one of ours!" Apparently, this bird was attracted by cockatiel chatter coming from our window (and the fact that it was Dave Days) and arrived on our back deck, as a Dave's Real Birthday Present from the Universe! We easily coaxed the new guy inside by putting the cage with our two birds in it, and some seed and water near the sliding glass door, and pretty soon he just walked in and made himself at home!
We've checked the lost and found section of the newspaper every day and no one seems to be looking for him, so I guess we now have three cockatiels! We're not sure what to name him yet. Since he's mainly white, Tessie is pulling for Edward, after the Vampire star of the Twilight books... any suggestions?
Friday, June 27, 2008
1. Oh! Que Linda, Linda Mar..., 2. enchiladas with red sauce, 3. 2/8/08, 4. .A touch of Pink., 5. Richard Dreyfuss, 6. Chardonnay Sunset, 7. Red Light, 8. Chess pie for Easter dinner, 9. the writer and the sea, 10. Why does it always rain on me??, 11. good secretary, 12. Tonight's Dinner: Pork Chops
Anyway, this is what you do:
Answer each of the questions below. Surf over to Flickr and type your answers into the search bar. From the choice of pictures shown only on the front page, click on the one that moves you. Once the page with your picture opens, copy the URL. Surf over to the Mosaic Maker, set up your mosaic, and paste your URLs. Click Create. Voilla!
What is your first name?
What is your favorite food?
What high school did you attend?
What is your favorite color?
Who is your celebrity crush?
What is your favorite drink?
Where would you go on your dream vacation?
What is your favorite dessert?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What do you love most in life?
What is the one word that describes you?
What is your Flickr name?
Friday, May 23, 2008
Bear, of course IS The Lion. He went into this wanting that part, owning that part, and according to his retelling of the audition and call backs, he worked hard to get it. Tessie didn't get the Addaperle part but she did get the part of one of The Crows - the evil comedic ensemble that taunt The Scarecrow. Both kids are thrilled with their parts. Jarrod's is pretty big, with a solo and a duet where he has to hit a high C. Tessie's will be determined through rehearsals depending on how much personality she puts into it. This part is totally her though. It has that Emo/Scene/HipHop kind of feel. We've got a blissful two weeks now, until rehearsals start up.
We opened the pool earlier this week. It takes about 5 or 6 days for it to go from brackish brown to sparkling blue. We're just about there, so hopefully it will be swimable for the long holiday weekend.... if only the weather would cooperate.
It has been a REALLY busy week for me, and I'm really happy with that. Since I started this new part time job, of course, wouldn't you know, real estate is starting to pick up too! Yesterday, for instance - I showed a candidate for hire as a professor around town for a couple of hours starting at 8, then went right to the DFS job until 6. While I was there, a woman called my cell, referred by a mutual acquaintance and I'm going to show her houses this weekend. When I was done at DFS, I hightailed it back to the North side of town to list a house! Whew! Today I started at DFS at 8, will be here til 3 and then have to hightail it over to my real estate office to turn in the listing before the 4:00 deadline!
Downtown Dad and Bearly are going to take off this afternoon for Iowa. DD's mom is coming up from Branson to attend her all-school reunion in Woodbine, so DD and Bear are going to join them and do a little genealogy research on the way.
In other news, (shhhhhhhh) Tessie has a boyfriend! His name is Vince. This has been a long time coming, and it was interesting to watch the adolescent dance of 'he/she likes me, he/she likes me not.' Vince is a friend of Bear's, and also a cast member of High School Musical, and, sang a lovely duet with Tessie in the spring show "All I Needed to Know I Learned In Kindergarten" no wonder there was so much chemistry there! DD and I met Vince's parents before we even knew who he was during all of our fundraisers. They, the parents are one of the "26 parents" out of the group of 60 who actually participate and do work (and go to "choir practice" afterward), and it's been fun to get to know them because they are a lot like DD and me.
I'm absolutely thrilled about this, but would never have expected it even three months ago. Tessie's taste in boys, up until now, has tended to run toward the dangerous side. She went through a (hormonally induced) week of hating us and texting non stop with an 18 year old, homeless, drop out, which scared the bejiggers out of us. She knew we wouldn't approve, and we absolutely didn't, and told her that. I honestly think she was befriending him - much like bringing home a stray cat, rather than having any romantic interest. We did come home earlier than expected one evening and found them talking outside in the street. She introduced him, but he vanished into the night almost immediately afterwards. That blew over about as quickly as it blew in - thankfully. Last week, a couple of dangerous looking boys rang the doorbell at 7:30 on a Saturday morning asking for Tess. It looked to me like they were high, and when I told them that she was still asleep, they almost demanded I go wake her up. That brought out the mother bear in me and I sent them packing with a few choice words. They were back later and got the same from DD this time. Tessie only knows them through a class they have together and explained that one of them liked her, but the feeling was definately NOT mutual. She told them that their behavior was not appreciated and not to come back. So you can see why I am thrilled at the prospect of Vince, who is a very normal, very involved theatre kid, with parents I know!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Both dance and vocal callbacks were Saturday. Dance was first, with both boys and girls and when I came to pick them up afterwards they both knew they had done really well. The boys' vocal callbacks were at 3:30 and Bearly made it into the last group of 5 or 6 singing for the part of the Lion. He is pretty excited because he thinks he did pretty well. He has the body shape and the voice for that part, much more so than the others that were in that final round. Girls' vocal callbacks were at 4:30. Tessie made it into the second to last group of girls, but not into the last group who sang for the Addaperle part. She was bummed, but it's only one part. She tends to be perky cute, in a hiphop kind of way. That may have worked against her for this part - plus, she may have choked under the pressure, as I said, she's good, she just doesn't test well. The cast list will be posted by 2:00 tomorrow... so now we wait....
The kids' school has a dance after Prom called Morp, which is just the opposite of Prom. They have a theme every year and dress up for that theme. This year the theme was R. Bearly borrowed a king costume from a friend and went as Royalty. Tessie and Alicia went as Ravers - I'm not sure what that is, but it involves glow sticks.
Since the weather was finally nice, we spent today doing more dewinterization of the yard, along with the long neglected housework. Dave made some salmon on the grill for dinner, and now I think we will have a nice relaxing evening doing nothing... well, almost nothing.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Sunday's performances last week were so great! It was sad at the same time though. After the last performance which started at 7 and ended at 9:30, we parents started right in on striking the set. By the time the kids got back into the theatre about 45 minutes later from their meet and greet in the commons, we'd already gotten the extension taken off of the front of the stage and were working on dismantling the rest. Kerry, the technical director had warned us that we might be there for 4 to 6 hours, but with 36 people working, the massive, steel frame, wood decking and fabric walls were gone and we were sweeping the stage by 11:59! Woo Hoo!
I was glad the performance part of this was over - for Bear's sake and for the sake of the rest of the kids. Keeping up with your homework, and chores, and preparing for summer activities and graduation AND doing 5 performances in 3 days had to be grueling! But, they're kids and they bounce back. I, on the other hand, along with Downtown Dad actually went through a little bit of withdrawal. The core group of parents who have worked together on this from the beginning have become such good friends. Yes, I'm glad to be able to have time for laundry, and dishes, and sleeping for a change, but I'm going to miss "choir practice" with my theatre parent buds.
I also had one of the parents respond to a real estate solicitation I'd sent out at the beginning of the year, offering a donation to their kids' travel fund for referring a client to me. Actually, this mom was the last person I'd have guessed would refer someone to me, but hey, like I said, we've all gotten very close over the course of a year - who knew? Another guy, the son of one of my clients also called saying he's finally ready to buy something - I'll believe that when I see it, but who knows, maybe he is. Also, last week a guy I'd sold a house to called and said he was being deployed to Iraq so he was considering selling his house. I did a market analysis for him, but he hasn't gotten back to me, so maybe he's not going to sell after all.
Auditions for Gooseberry were held all this past week. Bear and Tessie had originally signed up for the first day, but then Tessie decided she needed more preparation so she rescheduled hers for tonight at 7. Bearly though, despite coming off of a hectic weekend, barrelled right into the Tuesday evening audition with his usual confidence and got both dance and vocal callbacks in the advanced group on Saturday. He's hoping to be cast as the Lion. He sang Giants In the Sky from Into the Woods, did the Status Quo dance from High School Musical and recited a monologue about theatre pride. He did a fabulous job too, according to the parent/board member monitor who is required to sit in with the directors in all auditions. Being new on the board I hadn't had the opportunity to sit in on auditions before and was anxious to experience it. Let me tell you - it's kind of nerve wracking. The kids, no matter how many times they've done this are nervous, and it's hard to sit expressionless and not respond - but that's what you have to do. You aren't allowed to sit in on your own kid's audition though.
Downtown Dad has been working on dewintering the back yard. He and Bearly got two huge piles of dead branches dragged to the curb and even got the pool uncovered! Now we just have to call the pool guy to come and open up the filtering system for us, then there's that week it takes for the water to somehow magically go from brackish black to clear blue sparkling! We're thinking of adding a solar heater this year to extend the usability season.
Started my new job on Wednesday. This should work out pretty slick, it's just three days a week, about 6 or so hours a day and it's really quiet, so being the multitasker I am, I should be able to at least return phone calls, write if need be, and maybe update this blog! It's a new position, and there are still a lot of hiccups in how things are going to work... log ins, passwords, network availability, just to name a few. It seems to me, that it's a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, but I'll just stand back and observe for a while before I make any assessments.
I had my graduation ceremony from the Chamber Leadership class I've been in since last year. It was a very nice lunch with a keynote speaker from our local renovated Fargo Theatre and the president of the chamber, as well as a short speech from the 'validictorian' of our class. He's an attorney with a bald head and his name is F. John. He was in my group of 5 for the final presentations last week and was out of town. We took the opportunity to conspire together to get everyone to either wear a skull cap or wear a tee shirt with a great big F. on the front. We were going to chant F...F...F...F..., but one of our more corporate, and less fun-loving classmates suggested we wait til after the ceremony and do that at our social get-together at the bowling alley. I don't usually frequent bowling alleys, but I went just for the Tee-shirt wearing and cheer. It was a nice gathering, but, I left early.
I've been worried about Tessie and her audition this week. She has a way of not preparing - for anything, not just this, and as a result, both with school work and auditions - she tests badly. She's had her monologue memorized, but up until Wednesday, was still deciding between two or three songs to sing, and didn't have a dance. Although I've never seen one of her auditions, I am just sure that one of the reasons she's not been cast as much as Bearly, is because she doesn't come off as polished and prepared. She has a beautiful voice, and a hiphop look and movement style that is pretty fly for a white girl. :) She's hoping to be cast in the role of Addaperle. Anyway, on Wednesday, we were scrolling through YouTube looking for songs that would showcase her more Alto than Soprano voice and came across Paulette from Legally Blonde singing her Ireland reprise - and that was it! Orfeh, the actress who plays Paulette on Broadway was simply amazing when Downtown Dad and I got a chance to see the show last year in New York. I never would have suggested Tessie sing one of her songs, but - holy moly - she can really belt it out! There's a fabulous long note at the end that really sells it and if Tessie is not too scared she can totally pull it off! So that was one thing down, but we still didn't have a dance.... until last night. I found an old video tape we'd gotten Tessie when she was like 6 or 7, called Darren's Dance Grooves. It's a guy teaching the steps to popular music videos. Tessie had watched that tape until it almost fell apart, in fact when I popped it into the VCR it squealed and jittered pretty badly. But she absolutely lit up when she saw it because she still remembered the dance she'd taught herself from it all those years ago and decided that was going to be her audition dance. What song? What artist? "Crazy" by Britney Spears... oh brother. But, she does it really well and she burned the song on a CD from iTunes - so whew!
This morning I bit the bullet and bought one of the parent jackets from High School Musical, it was the last day they were available and I just didn't want to look back on this year and regret not getting one. I also got an email from one of the directors who is overseeing the finances for the Scotland trip. We'd recently turned in over $1,100 from Bearly's personal fundraising letter and the way the email was worded I am concerned about whether or not all of it went into Bearly's account or if some went to the general fund. Luckily I am absolutely anal about keeping track of who sent what, and a complete task master when it comes to getting Bearly to write thank you notes right away - so I have documentation in case any mistakes happen!
Well, that's all for now, I'm working today until early afternoon, so I'll have time to help Tessie prep for tonight, before I have to go over to the theatre to be the audition monitor again. I'll have to step out when its her turn, but I am TOTALLY listening at the door!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Tee shirts, cast photos, foam Wildcat paws and pom poms, as well as pop and sports drinks left over from the Scotland Yard Sale sold quickly at intermission, as well as before and after the show. It never ceases to amaze me that these kids are mobbed at the meet and greet after every show. Little kids with programs and cast photos clamboring for an autograph from "Troy" or "Gabriella," "Sharpay" or "Ryan." And not so much amazing as heartwarming, is seeing these teenage actors, after 2 hours of vigorous singing and dancing, patiently, and happily spend another 30 minutes bent down talking to starstruck second graders.
After the show Friday it was a weary, less demanding group of actors who scattered off to various parties and gatherings, knowing they would have two shows back to back on Saturday. After setting the auditorium and commons area right for the next day, we parents, having bonded through this 9 month experience, met at a local watering hole for "choir practice." It is amazing what good friends we've all become with these people. It's like Downtown Dad said in his curtain talk before the show - "I'm a theatre parent, not to just my kid who is in the show, but to the 60 other kids too." And while "choir practice" went on til around 1 a.m., we all returned home to find sleeping teenagers.
Saturday was a fuller day, with two performances - both not completely sold out, but a full enough audience to both pay the bills and inspire the cast and crew. At intermission for the 2 p.m. show, one of the directors showed us a letter she'd just received. An envelope with no address, just Moorhead High School, but with specific instructions to the post man to deliver it to the Theatre Group going to Scotland. Inside was a card written in the elegant but shaky script of an elderly woman, along with a check for $200.00. She had read the article in the paper about all of our hard work and was inspired to send money for our cause. She lives in a small rural town, not too far from here so we are trying to contact her and bring her to one of the shows today!
At "choir practice" last night, we again took up half the seating in the place and were louder than we probably would have let our kids be - where do you think they get it? We even came up with an idea to do a music video of we parents singing and dancing to the song from the show finale, "We're All In This Together." The choreographer eyed us skeptically, but confident in his ability, decided that he just might be able to pull it off. One of the directors brought his model of the pared down set that will go to Scotland. It is amazing how much engineering goes into making a functional, recognizable set that is light enough and modular enough to fit into suitcases, and can be assembled in 15 minutes. That in itself is interesting enough for a documentary on the Lifetime channel! Meanwhile, again, the tired but happy actors beat us home.
Today's performances will be bittersweet - the last performed on the high school stage. But since there is an orchestra concert Monday evening - parents' "choir practice" tonight will be replaced by striking the stage until about 2 a.m. By now, we know how to do this pretty well, having been through it once before, and we all all such good friends that it almost wont really be work.... after all, "we're all in this together!"
Friday, May 09, 2008
MOORHEAD HIGH THEATRE FAMILIES OVERCOME OBSTACLES AND ARE POISED TO REACH HUGE YEAR LONG GOAL
Popular Teen Stage Play Set To Travel to International Theatre Festival in Scotland
Moorhead, MN -- Friday, May 9, 2008 -- Sixty families in Moorhead have been working, sometimes against odds, since August to raise the more than $300,000 it will take to send the cast and crew of their local production of Disney’s High School Musical On Stage to the acclaimed Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
When 200 Moorhead High students auditioned to be one of the 60 cast and crew of the high school’s fall musical, they knew the stakes were high. Not only because the energetic score required intense stamina, but if selected, they would be taking this production to the Fringe Festival in Scotland. This meant that instead of the usual 12-week rehearsal and production time line - cast, crew, and their families, would be taking on a year’s involvement.
Although Moorhead High was invited to the festival, chosen from over 1,200 high school programs nominated, taking High School Musical to Scotland was not an automatic given. Permission was difficult to acquire from Disney, and at first denied. However, when Disney officials heard the story, exclusive international amateur rights were granted. An unprecedented achievement. Parents, teachers, cast and crew have worked together since September not only on their performances, but on a whirlwind of fundraisers.
“Working together has been a terrific experience,” said Dave Anderson, a parent of one of the actors. “With set building (and rebuilding) the kids’ rehearsal schedules, fundraisers and just coordinating all of this, we’ve become more like one big family rather than 60 separate ones.”
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Today I had to be in North Fargo by 8 a.m. for my last FM Chamber Leadership class. Today all 6 groups had our final presentations of the projects we've been working on for 9 months. Our group presented on Asset Champions' Network and we went second at about 10 ish. All in all, I must say that I think that our presentation was the best. I don't have the energy to go into more detail.
We got front page with a picture and a continuation of the article on the back page this morning in the Fargo Forum! Woo Hoo! A couple of parents from the MHS2UK group were on am talk radio this afternoon promoting the show. I haven't sent any emails yet to see how it went. According to Bear, the article prompted a jillion calls to the activities office for tickets!
When we got home after grabbing a quick bite at Usher's, Tessie and Alicia were putting the finishing touches on blonde streaks in Tessie's hair.
If anyone is actually reading this - click on our website MHS2UK and take a look at all the things we've done to achieve our goal!
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I didn't go to Tour again today - I hate real estate.
Instead, I formatted the big 75 question survey that the Gooseberry board is supposed to take online and got that emailed out with explicit instructions. I emailed Kathy to thank her for her very generous donation to Bear's MHS2UK fund and went on maybe a little too much about strained father daughter relationships, since she'd mentioned in her note that her dad was dying. We have a lot in common, Kathy and I.
After the radio thing, Downtown called me and suggested that we get some comp tickets out to the radio stations in town so they can give them away. So it was off to the activities office for 15 pairs of prime seats on Sunday evening, and then off to the three broadcasting stations. One of the program directors asked us to come back Thursday afternoon to promo the show again!
As I was on my way to Michaels to pick up 5 frame stands for the Leadership presentation on Thursday, Downtown called and said 'lets go to lunch.' After that, I had a little time to throw a load of wash in and send out a group email to find some people to do the Thursday afternoon KFGO gig. Then it was time to go back to the high school to talk to the Forum reporter who is doing a big multi page story on the remount and encore performances. MJ, Bob, Vikki, Mike, Dawn, showed up too and we all had enthusiastic stories from different parts of our adventure with this year long process.
There was a thunderstorm this evening. Tessie brought Alicia over and we had biscuits and gravy, hashbrowns and eggs and sausage for dinner. It was ready just in time for Bear's dinner break from 6 to 7. I had time after dinner to actually fold the mountain of laundry that has been eating the couch in the family room - oh well, it keeps the dog from laying on the couch... While I did that, at last I got a chance to watch Juno - great movie, love the banter and it really does have a good message. Rehearsal was over at 10:10 this evening, instead of 10:45, so now we're all home and ready for a good nights sleep.
But surprizingly, I am not complaining. Nor am I stressed out. I am, in fact, very accepting of the situation. And so is the rest of the family. We are in the final week of remount and rehearsal of High School Musical - back on stage again for 5 encore performances. If we can promote this and sell out all five performances, we are on track to raise the last $30,000 to reach our fundraising goal.
In my most recent post, back in April, I had intended to write here everyday like a journal - capturing the drama that has engulfed us. Its a shame I didn't do that. Its so much more interesting to read 'how are we ever going to move the stage set made up of 1.5 tons of steel and wood, stored in a barn back to the high school and assemble it in 3 days, in the snow?' ... than a laundry list of accomplishments set forth in a harried voice. It's ever so much more satisfying to read about how the grant deadline was met and the grant submitted just in time to allow me to get the planning and coordination complete for our Scotland Yard Sale fundraiser from the standpoint of 'can I do it?' ... rather than just bragging about having accomplished it. There is the pathos of reading about my excitement in gaining three new customers in one day who wanted to buy or sell homes, and then, losing all three the next day. The humor in reading about trying to craft letters for three separate causes, and almost sending the wrong letters to the wrong cause. There is my ongoing nagging of Bear to write thank you notes to the overwhelming number of people who have donated to his travel fund and my incessant need to track all of this on an Excel spreadsheet. And my nagging of Tessie to memorize the final geometry terms so she can pass the class. There's my year-long Chamber leadership class that is coming to an end, and the requisite hour long presentation that 5 of us have been working on for what seems like eons, along with my brutally honest answers to the class's satisfaction survey which has earned me a spot on an advisory committee for the class next year.
All this has taken place since the first part of April, along with auditions for, and both kids being cast in the high school's spring play, which required of course, help building the set. Then there's the story about the crazy but probably harmless Viet Nam vet who wants to buy a house and has somehow decided that I'm the right person to drive his homeless ass around to look at rural properties... ah, no thank you. The three day run of the Spring show and immediate strike on Monday to make room for the above mentioned ton of steel. There would have been venomous good fun as I sneeringly recounted the oh-so blonde prom committee demanding that the set be draped in black so it would not overshadow their "Night in Paris" prom decorations with which we had to share the stage. There was the mad rush to draft a letter to the editor thanking the community for it's support, while still begging them to buy tickets for the encore performances of High School Musical's "international touring company."
Which brings us to this week, where to this point I have applied for, interviewed, was offered and accepted a part time job, learned from my sister that my mother, miffed at receiving a 'form letter' from my son will not be sending a donation to his travel fund. I wrote and distributed a fabulous (if I do say so myself) press release, and coordinated kids and parents who made the rounds to media who picked it up to promote the final run of High School Musical, attended a board meeting, 2 planning meetings, and a workshop, and.... finally... updated this blog!
** OK, I'm talking to myself here... because this, I do for myself**
Starting tomorrow - I promise - and this time I mean it - there will be semi daily journal-like entries that deal with what is going on right then. Events, thoughts about them, and how I feel and what I think. No catching up, no storytelling setups, no need for a moral or a punchline at the end.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Life in my family has been Straight Up hectic - and my house is more than Slightly Dirty because of it. I have let the annoyance of constant cleaning go by the wayside and have concentrated on my volunteer work, which has, consequently cut down on the amount of marketing being done for my real estate business and thus, cut down on the amount of things I am doing that actually bring in money.
So.... rather than focusing on the literary readability of this blog, I think I will use it for the time being in it's therapeutic capacity, or more like a diary, recording the crazy daily antics of two young performers, their devoted parents, and the animals that love and shed on them.
Friday, March 07, 2008
(With apoligies to Don Henley and his song The Boys of Summer)
S’Nowbody on the road
S’Nowmen are of the past
I feel it in the air
The spring is coming fast
Empty yards, empty streets
The sun’s rays can be felt
I’m drivin’ by your house
Though I know you’re gonna melt
But I can see you-
Your ice skin shinin’ in the sun
You got your scarf stuck now and your coal eyeballs on, baby
And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the snow boys of winter have gone
I never will forget those nights
I wonder if it was a dream
Remember how you made me frostbit?
Remember how I made ice cream?
Now I don’t understand what happened to our love
But babe, I’m gonna watch you melt
Coz snow is what you’re made of
I can see you-
Your top hat shinin’ in the sun
I see you meltin’ real slow but you’re still smilin’ at everyone
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the snow boys of winter have gone
Out on the road today, I saw a snowplow stick it to a cadillac
A little voice inside my head said, "don’t look back. you can never look back."
I thought I knew what love was
What did I know?
Winter won’t last forever
I should just let it go but-
I can see you-
Your twig arms shinin’ in the sun
Your carrot nose is gone but your smile beams on, baby
And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the snowboys of winter are gone.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
I don't know when I finally noticed it. Maybe the realization slowly dawned, or perhaps it happened suddenly. I just know that I was intensely aware. The air around me buzzed and swirled, yet there was nothing there. Like a thousand tiny red flags, the hairs on the back of my neck bristled, but I brushed it aside. There were, as always, places to go, things to do, people to see. There was simply no time to stop and pay attention to something that was most likely my overactive imagination ... or was it?
All at once though, daylight became green neon, a whiff of acrid air conjured from my distant memory, the antiseptic pall of an operating room, and the edges of my world took an alarming pitch. And just as suddenly, a feathery boyance enveloped my innards as they seemed to rise, heedless of the rest of my leaden being, at an incredible speed - straight up.
When I could finally drag my eyelids open against the silvery fist of fear that instinctively slammed them shut, I found that a vast expanse of stainless steel had replaced the pavement, and seemed to blend and become both horizon and sky. The colorless buzzing and swirling I had felt earlier continued, but was now somehow more muted and almost soothing.
As I let my vision adjust to the soft liquid shimmering around me, I sensed, rather than saw a comforting presence which conveyed to me that I was safe and my wellbeing would be assured. The presence I felt, seemed to be not a singular one, but multiple, and they were able to communicate with me on an intellegent, but more primitive level. It was as if my senses were piano keys and they were trying out the chords.
Over the space of many days it seemed, I walked the landscape of my own mind, accompanied by the benevolent presence I had come to think of as a council of celtic gnomes. As we travelled, the ideas for stories I had set aside, took form and mingled with childhood memories and half remembered dreams. Ideas took on shape and personality. Each manifestation vied for my attention, but was kept at bay by the gnomes who had protectively formed a circle around me. I neither slept, nor ate, but was not tired or hungry, and so my journey continued. Until, up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light, my head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, and I felt the earth tilt once more as the air around me changed to an electrically charged green flurry.
This time, when I opened my eyes I saw sidewalks and trees and melting snow. My breath puffed out in measured clouds, and Hotel California was still pounding out the rhythm for my running feet, as I turned into my own driveway.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Even through all the the filters I always run my posts, and through all of the comments... dude, that song fared pretty well. I thought... this is the wordless and innocuous themesong of my life and it shall carry me through my waning years...
But then I found this.... if the imagery escapes you.... He's standing in front of a GRANDFATHER CLOCK! Eff Eff Ess!
I say again.... Eff Eff Ess!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Every day as I go to work, I see things around me that make me laugh.
Usually these are in the forms of signs. So take your camera with you as you
go about your business and take a picture of the things that make you laugh
along the way (but it doesn't necessarily HAVE to be a sign).
OK - well it's winter here in the Upper Midwest - temps haven't gotten North of Zero in a long long time. We also get wind here and that wind, combined with the subzero temps creates wind chill. Some communities shut down for cold and snow, but not us! We carry on going to work (ever tried to get a key out of a lock box and unlock a door in subzero weather?), going to school (why do kids dress like that? don't they know its freezing out there?), going to the grocery store (have you ever tried to push a full grocery cart through a snowy parking lot?) pumping gas (ever had your glove freeze to the gas nozzel?)
Anyway, having grown up in Southern California, where my idea of winter was 60 degrees - this kind of weather is extreme! But I've learned not to cry (because your eyelids will freeze shut) and even to laugh when I see things like this when I'm out and about, along with everybody else who lives here! I thought you might like a couple of pictures, so you could laugh along.....
OK in other words - Downtown Dad's mom and George Herbert Walker Bush are 6th cousins
To bring it down - the common grandmother is Magdalene Chastain who lived from 1735 to 1771 in Manakin Goochland, Virginia - she married Jean Gividen, a French guy from the village of Gividen in France.
And they begat, and they begat, and so on and so on...
As if I'd ever invite them over for Thanksgiving Dinner....
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Why, what’s the matter; That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?"
–William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
I have a February face today - Why? Because I hate my Blogger layout.
You may say that I, like Benedick am making Much Ado About Nothing, but you would not believe how much time I spent trying to make this layout here work. Oh, I like my new picture and I like the color and design. But it was a "free" layout. Yea verily, we all know you get what you pay for. I hate it because it doesn't work in the background. I can't add graphics, the widget layout function looks like some jigsaw puzzle, and half the time the blogroll disappears for no good reason.
I am an ass for trying to make a free template look like the spiffy ones others have paid good money for! I really want a three column layout - but Blogger doesn't offer one. I'm not savvy enough to know the terminology of what I'm trying to accomplish, and so, I end up cruising the back streets and alleys of the Internets looking for "Free" and yea verily again, we all know what pops up when you put the word free into Google....like I said, I am an ass.
I am just going to have to suck it up and find a design I like and actually pay for it. Hopefully not out the ass...
"O that he were here to write me down an ass, but masters remember that I am an ass, though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass."
-William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
Friday, February 15, 2008
You, so confident and sure of yourself. Me, a giggly bundle of insecurity.
It was just the two of us then, nearly 25 years ago. We’d meet in the morning before work, when we had to hide our newfound love from the bosses, and the exes.
We’d split a blueberry muffin and have a cup of coffee - before coffee was cool, in the town that spawned cool coffee, where salmon spawned, in the town that spawned us.
Things seemed to be more mysterious and slower then, and everything was scary, because nothing was in our control. But everything was new, and everything was undecided and up for grabs, and everything was exciting. There was a road in front of us that was unknown, and we were taking that road.
It was a long time ago, but not long enough ago that I’ve forgotten the feelings. I still feel like I have to check the rearview mirror when I hear Jefferson Starship belting out Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now. I still get the urge to slip off my shoes and play footies with you when we’re at a serious dinner with clients. Sometimes, if I shut out all of the day to day noise… if I squeeze my eyes shut and be very still, I can remember, that tingly tickle in my gut when you, being a touchy person anyway, would, to make a point during our animated conversations, grab my arm, or my leg, and send me to the floor.
I remember that heady mix of delight, desire, and dread. I remember the amazement of being absolutely adored, while absolutely adoring you. I remember loving the fact that we used to hold hands a lot back then. In the car, in the grocery store, going to sleep. It was as if we needed to connect at all times. As if we were afraid if we let go, the magical bond we’d created would somehow dissolve.
Over the years, through time, and tears and tenaciousness, we’ve cemented that tenuous bond. But even though that bond is secure, the truth is, we don’t hold hands that much anymore. Even though we are publicly and legitimately a couple, with 2.5 kids, a mortgage, two careers, pets, and all of the ensuing drama, intimate contact time is harder to come by. A peck on the cheek as we rush out the door, a quick hug while doing the dishes, a drowsy morning, post-alarm cuddle is all we have time for. I honestly miss that tentative, heart-stopping, mysterious throb of new love. And I know you do too.
But, my theory is this – we’ve had our time. We’ve had the highs, and the lows and the in-betweens of building up our relationship stone by stone, and knocking down the brick walls we’d built in the past. Now, now is the time for us to celebrate the present and plan our future. To continue the literary metaphor, this is the denouement of the mysteries of our past. This is the plot twist we didn’t see coming. Call it maturity, call it security, call it coming full circle, call it OZ, but it’s your wisdom, your heart, and courage that bring me home now, not your heady, defiant, politically astute ambition of the past.
What turns me on now is watching you work your daddy-magic. Holding your newborn children, bandaging their first torn skin, listening to their angst-filled tirades, or watching them drive off with their friends, barely licensed themselves. It scares the bejiggers out of you, but you let them go, little by little, that invisible thread connecting your heart to them, stretching a little more each time.
Soon we’ll be just you and me again, and we’ll have the same struggles we had back then, knocking down and building up, getting to know each other, and remembering that you really don’t like to dance, and I really don’t like to sing, and that you can’t remember names and I can’t forget a grudge.
Love, when it is new, holds mystery and potential. Love, as it deepens and matures holds answers and promise. We are different now, than when our love first bloomed. Our lives are busier, faster, fuller, and harder. And granted, sometimes a little less intimate. But with my newfound maturity and your proven competence, I know that we are very close to another road, where there are new mysteries, and challenges, one where we can hold hands again, and explore.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
After dinner, when everyone had retreated to their respective TVs, iPods, and computer screens, I handed the sheet of paper I'd printed out to Tessie and Bear and asked them to fill in the blanks. Of course, never wanting to exclude anyone, I also gave one to Downtown Dad. Being the serious sort of guy he is, I expected his to have all the "right" answers. Below are their responses - color coded thusly: Green=Downtown Dad; Pink=Tessie 16; Blue=Bear 14; Black is when all three got the traditional answer....
1. Don’t change horses..... Unless they want you to (spoken like the true veterinarian she'd like to be someday)
2. Strike while the..... Sword is hot (well, really if you think about it - why would you strike someone with an iron anyway?)
3. It’s always darkest before..... Lightest (she is also an artist, therefore thinks in contrasts)
4. Never underestimate the power of..... Dad (that goes without saying)
5. You can lead a horse to water but..... It will still get lost (what?)
6. Don’t bite the hand that..... Feeds you (I'm sure they know this because we say this all the time to our birds - the birds seem to understand it too)
7. No news is..... Good news (that's just boring)
8. A miss is as good as a..... Mrs. who is widowed (ha ha, very funny dear)
9. You can’t teach an old dog new..... Tricks (learned, I assume from owning an old dog)
10. If you lie down with dogs you’ll..... Get bit (he actually did lie down with the dog of a friend once, right by their food dish, got bit too - apparently learned the lesson.)
11. Love all, trust..... No one (that's just sad)
12. The pen is mightier than the..... Sword (can ya tell they all live in a writing and reading family?)
13. An idle mind is..... The mother of dreams (now this just blew me away - that's from Shakespeare!)
14. Where there’s smoke..... There’s Cancer (good girl!)
15. Happy is the bride who..... Married me! (ok, here he is just trying to make up for that widow remark)
16. A penny saved is..... A penny earned (yes, yes, it takes many many pennies to fly to Scotland)
17. Two’s company, three’s..... A party (should I be worried about him?)
18. Don’t put off til tomorrow what..... You can do today (No doubt repeated frequently in this household)
19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and..... You’re sad (Awwww)
20. There are no so blind as..... Three blind mice (OK, but why did they run again?)
21. Children should be seen..... And not heard (I don't know where they learned THAT)
22. If at first you don’t succeed..... Try, try again (Yeop!)
23. You get out of something only what you..... Think (??)
24. When the blind lead the blind..... You’re asking for a traffic jam (how did those blind people get their licenses?)
They run into people (well duh)
They have a fool for a client (I think this is a Heather Mills reference - since the golddigger decided to act as her own attorney in her divorce from Sir Paul... her handicap, besides being insane is that she only has one leg honey, she's not blind - I mean she married Paul McCartney for goodness sake... oh, back to the answers....)
25. A bird in the hand is..... Poop in the palm (Like I said, we have birds)
26. Better late than..... Never (ah, there's relief in that)
Monday, February 11, 2008
"Music plays a vital role in most of our lives. It is everywhere. I want to hear the ONE song that is you. The song that whenever it is heard, you smile. I am not looking for the soundtrack of your life, just that one song. Your friends hear it and think of you. You can post the video, the lyrics, the wav file. However you want to post it is great."
Well, there's nothing deep or meaningful about this song. There's no boyfriend, or life changing event tied to it in my memory. Its an instrumental, so there are no poetic phrases that resonate within me. When I first heard it, I wanted to star in my own sitcom and have this be the themesong. Like it's title says, listening to it "Feels So Good"
Sunday, February 10, 2008
1. The age you will be on your next birthday:
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
I have nothing to write here since all of my words are otherwise occupied.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Tess and Bear auditioned for the high school spring show last week and YAY - they both made it in!
Real Estate is picking up...
My 84 year old mom was in the hospital over this past weekend with a 104 temperature due to a urinary tract infection. I'm happy to say she's back home and recovered nicely... thanks to the ministrations of a decidedly flaming male nurse who just couldn't stop listening to her, then just couldn't stop telling my sister how FABU-lous her mother was, and who will probably call just to check up on her and bring her some of the tulips he grows.... what is it with the women in my family attracting gay men? What, I haven't mentioned that before....? Oh ho, there's a post for some day!
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Kind of shell-like, don't you think? But that's the thing about art it's gotta be a one of a kind ... I couldn't recreate that if I tried.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Sometime in the early nineties, the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana became the sister city of Sioux City, Iowa and as a result of that relationship, the two cities started sharing their culture. In Sioux City, we'd been having a regional free concert called Saturday in the Park over the 4th of July weekend. In Lake Charles, on a slightly smaller, tamer scale than New Orleans, they celebrate Mardi Gras in the spring. It was decided that delegates from Sioux City would travel to Lake Charles once a year to take part in the Mardi Gras festivities, and in return, delegates from Lake Charles would travel to Sioux City over the 4th of July holiday, bringing a Mardi Gras type celebration with them. A responsibility that we accepted, if not soberly, respectfully. We shared our cultural diversity freely with our sister city, affectionately known as Lake Chuck, and they with us. We learned that "Coon-Ass" is a term of endearment, if you are speaking to or about a full-blooded Cajun. They learned that Viking horns are good to hold beads, thus freeing both hands for drinking and hugging.
Imagine, if you will, trying to convince a city of midwestern lutherans that it will be fun to watch 30 people, some of them respectable local business people, dressed up in feathers and sequins, parade up and down the floor of the civic center, and then, just when you think it is over, they'll throw beads at you. It took us a while, but after a few years of offering some spicy cajun cuisine, and aiming high with our bead tossing, they started to come around. In fact, we made some of our longest lasting friendships during those frenetic days of building floats, and hot gluing feathers, and throwing beads.
Downtown Dad and I moved away in 2000, but kept up our Krewe membership until just a couple of years ago, travelling twice a year to Lake Charles, and Sioux City to take part in the parades, galas, and other festivities. Here he is in his Thomas Jefferson outfit, carrying the White House on his shoulders no less, during his reign as Duke of the Deal in 2003. Not pictured here is Bearly, who, being short, portrayed Napoleon, of Bonaparte Realty, trying to get TJ to purchase Louisiana.
Someday soon we will go back to Lake Chuck for Mardi Gras, but tonight, we will have gumbo, and make another futile attempt to recreate the elusive perfection that is a Steamboat Bill's pistolette, and we will look at pictures and say "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" which means Let The Good Times Roll!