Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reflecting on the Class

On Saturday morning, I attended an acting workshop.  After being away from acting for the last 17 years, it was so fun to do a little again.  In the workshop, most of the time was spent being talked to by the teacher.  I took four pages of notes.

I was nervous that the class would be filled with young, beautiful, in-shape college aged, theater major students.  I was pleasantly surprised to find among the few college aged men and women, there were people in their thirties and forties and quite a few silver haired folks.  There were thin people and not-so-thin people.  There were people there with a large experience in theater and even some film.  There were people like me who have done very little acting.  We were from all walks of life.

The teacher gave us a sheet to use as a template.  Write your bio, she said.  I read through the sheet.  List your most significant roles.  What have you done recently - acting only.  What are your special skills?  I looked at the list and didn't know what to write.  I sat for a moment in a kind of stunned silence wondering what in the world I could put in my bio.  We were going to have to go before the camera and give our bio, so I had to come up with something fast.

After a few moments of loss, I started to think of some things.  It only had to be 30 seconds long.  I can find enough about my minor theater life to fill 30 seconds.  My hands were kind of clammy as I took my turn before the camera, but I felt at ease overall.  (For me, the worst of my nervousness comes after I've done something, then I get hot and start to fan my face with the paper in my clammy hands).

When we had all had our turn in front of the camera, the teacher, who had taken notes about each of our auditions, started to talk to us, critiquing each of our auditions.  I sat there, listening to each of the critiques.  She wasn't unkind to anyone.  Really, everyone did quite well, but she pointed out the minor things, don't rock back and forth on your feet, don't talk to fast, etc.  I was sure I must have just done terrible.  She would have nothing positive to say and would just say to me, "Molly, give it up.  You stink."  But she didn't.  She told me I did good.  She pointed out several things that I had said about myself that were good because they were unique.

She had us do some more exercises like a director might in an audition.  I was afraid, nervous, and embarrassed to think what she might ask me to do in front of the others.  What if I totally bombed?  But I plucked up my courage and took my place in line.  When she got to me, she decided to try something different.  She asked me and two guys in the class to improvise a scene.  Whew, I can do that.  It was lots of fun.

In the end, we got to watch our "audition" on the big screen in the theater.  I cringed at first when I saw myself, but I watched it and realized, I didn't stink! 

Having attended this workshop will help me next year when I hold the auditions for my children's theater again.  I have a few ideas now on different things I can do with the kids.  I'm very excited about this.

Who knows.... My slightly improved courage and this mini-workshop..... watch out Hollywood!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What am I thinking?

I'll be heading out in a few minutes to go to the acting workshop I signed up for.  I'm excited.  It will be very interesting for me. 

Even though I am excited about this, once in a while the thought will hit me, "What was I thinking to sign up for this?"

Then I remind myself that it is all for the fun of it. I love theater, I haven't done any acting in 15 years, and I'll get to participate in some today.  It will be lots of fun.

But really, the best part about doing this workshop is an entire morning by myself doing something I want to do!

Very nice.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jokes, Hair and Shirts

All from this morning:

Presenting for your entertainment and confusion, a knock knock joke from my 5 year old.

Knock knock
Who's there?
School who?

Get it?  School Who!  He laughed and laughed over that one.  I stood still; stunned in my confusion.  What?

As 11 year old son gets ready to head out the door for school, I noticed he was wearing the shirt he wore yesterday.  Go Change!  He changes shirts and I notice his hair.  It's looking slightly wet, like he wiped a wet washcloth over his head.  Did you brush you hair?  Nope, he just wet down his hands and used the palms of his hands to flatten his hair.  Go Brush!

I'm driving 13 year old son to school this morning.  I check the rear view mirror and notice son sitting in the back of the van.  His hair is sticking up in the back with bad bed head.  Did you brush your hair this morning?  No?  Well, it's too late now.

Why is it every morning I have to remind my two sons to brush their hair and change their shirts?  They have been doing the same routine every school morning for many years and yet every single day I have to remind them to change their shirts and brush their hair.

I'm sorry to their future wives.  I tried to teach them.  Maybe you will have better luck.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our exchange student

We’ve got a sweet 16 year old from Brazil living with us right now as a part of a foreign exchange program.  I will call her CC on the blog.

CC is our 5th exchange student to have stayed with us over the last 8 years.  The experiences have had their ups and downs.  Our first student was a sweet girl from Japan named Yui.  She was 16.  She was with us for about 6 weeks as a part of a summer language program.  I’m not sure if it was her personality or the Japanese culture, but she was as sweet as could be.  Her English was rough, but we communicated pretty well.  She kept in touch with us for many years, but sadly, we’ve been out of touch for about 4 years now.

Our next student was another 16 year old girl from Russia, Lena.  This girl was smart!  She also loved fashion.  When she joined our family, I was 7 months pregnant with our third baby.  I was hormonal!  Lena’s personality and mine didn’t mix well.  Her manner of dressing was inappropriate around our two very young sons, I felt.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that this wasn’t working out.  I feel bad now, when I look back.  I could have been much more patient and understanding, but blame it on my youth (I was 27 at the time) or blame it on pregnancy hormones, I couldn’t deal with Lena.  She was there for the school year, but she was with us for 3 months.  We were lucky to find a friend who worked at the high school Lena went to, and had lived in Russia for 17 months to take Lena in.

We didn’t plan on having another exchange student when we got our third one.  It was probably a around a year later.  It was the Japanese summer language group again. We got a call from the agency asking if we could take in one girl for a couple of days.  Her host family had an emergency come up and they wouldn’t be home until about 5 days after the students arrived.  So, we had Chie for one week.  She was a sweet girl too and we enjoyed our week with her.  She also kept in touch with us for several years afterwards.

Our fourth student was a one month Christmas holiday student.  She arrived, if I remember correctly, at the beginning of December and left soon after the new year.  She was Emma, an 18 year old from Australia.  She had just graduated from school in Australia.  Honestly, I’m not sure why she did the program.  Her family was quite well off and she had already visited America several times.  She was done with school in her home, so she didn’t come for school experience.  Emma sat on the sofa in the living room most days and just watched the little kids play.  She always helped me with the dishes after dinner and we did a lot of chatting.  We lived in Hawaii during these four students.

Now, six years later, we’ve decided to try it again and now we have CC from Brazil.  (I won’t use her real name while she is here with us.)  It’s still quite an adjustment for our family to take in an extra teen.  I think our 7 year old and I have the biggest adjustments to make.  CC shares a room with the 7 year old and I spend time with her as I take her to and from school and shopping as needed.  My maturity (now in my mid-thirties) has helped me more with this student.  And, CC is really a sweet girl.  She is quiet, like I am.  Our personalities are gelling pretty well.  She is homesick, poor girl.  This is quite the challenge for her.  At home, she is the youngest child and the only one still living at home.  Here in our family, she is the oldest and has to share a room.  It's a big adjustment.  When I first left home for an extended period of time, I was almost 19 and it was when I went away to college.  I was far from home and couldn’t go to visit family whenever I felt like it.  I loved college and was so excited to be there, but even so, I called home twice a week for two years.

I hope CC continues to adjust.  There are days I’m sure she emails her mom and says, “You wouldn’t believe this crazy American family I ended up with!”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Heavy Metal Cactus

Heavy Metal Cactus

Sounds like an awesome name for a rock band, right?

Well, here in the American desert, we have lots of cactus. Prickly Pear, ocotillo, and a lot of other nasty cactus plants that I do my best to avoid at all costs.  This is a land filled with cacti, dirt, rocks and browness.  All the homes, as a city rule, must be some shade of brown.  It is the Southwestern look.

There are, throughout this city, several locations of "art".  What kind of art, you might ask?  Heavy metal cactus.  Isn't there enough cacti in this city without adding rusty metal versions of it in various intersections around the city?
Yes, the one in the middle has been painted green.

Isn't that lovely?  Watch out for that Yucca on the right there.  If you bump into it, you might need a tetanus shot.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bad Poetry Day

So the other day I was watching a TV show and the poetry form of Haiku came up.  The person on TV didn't seem to know what a Haiku was and I just kind of laughed because I am not a poet in anyway, shape or form.  My 5th grade teacher had us write a lot of poetry and make a poetry notebook.  I still have mine.  I'm terribly embarrassed by mine because I can not write poetry.  I think the teacher gave me a decent grade because I attempted the poems required and put forth some effort, even though the poems stunk.

So, back to the Haiku.  That night after seeing that TV show, my mind composed a Haiku in my sleep!  It was amazing.  It followed the 5-7-5 pattern and it actually made sense. That morning I told my hubby my poem that I so brilliantly composed while sleeping.  He was impressed.  Now, several days later, I can't for the life of me remember the poem or even what it was about.  It was either outer space or waterfalls. 

This morning, while listening to the radio, I heard that today, August 18, is Bad Poetry Day!  If I could remember my Haiku, I would share it, but I can't.  Instead, I will share with you a poem I composed while in elementary school.  It is your lucky day!

The Moss Boss

I went to camp one day
Walking along the sandy bay
Along the way, I saw some soft moss
It was a pretty green and I was soon the boss

Of moldy moss
Then I was now Molly the Moss Boss
Most people said it was gross
But you know me, I'm very verbose

It would have been good if we used it in salad to toss
They all said no, but it's still no loss
I can have a TV show called
Molly's Green Moss

I was interview by two girls, not by the name of Ross
I could make Zucchini Zoss, or Lasagna Yoss,
or Spanish Woss, Broccoli Poss and other recipes
Made of moss

You can taste the food for me
cause I'm not going to
There's no more moss for me
But it's still fun to be
The Moss Boss

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Feeling brave, but not too much

Molly the Fearless?  Hardly.  Molly the More Brave Than Before?  Yes.

My theater experience from this summer has boosted my confidence in myself.  I’ve got to be careful.  Even though I have more confidence, I still have an extraordinary lack of experience in anything.

As I have said before, I’ve got a million ideas for projects, books, businesses, education and the list goes on and on.  My trouble is taking one idea (or two or three) and focusing on that particular project.   I have a million ideas and I want to do a million things and I want to do them all now!

Focus, Molly, focus!

I’ve always loved writing and I’ve probably written just about everything at some point or other in my life.  I’ve written novels, plays, poetry, children’s books, young adult books, essays, journals and of course, this blog.  I’ve even tried writing music.  I have no talent for music or poetry, though.  In my computer, I’ve got the beginnings of three excellent chick-flick novels.  I work on them a little at a time as the muse strikes me.  There is no dead-line on them so I can take as long as I want on them.  However, one story in particular I have had a very hard time writing out.

This is frustrating to me because I’ve seen the entire story play out in my head like a movie, but I cannot translate that story into a book.  I’ve tried several times.  Then I realized, wait, I’ve seen the entire story play out in my head like a movie, why not write it like a movie?  I’ve never tried writing a screenplay before.  Ooooo….

After having this thought about writing a screenplay I looked up “How to write a screenplay” on my favorite search engine (The internet  is so amazing!) and it came up with thousands of pages that teach how to write a screenplay.  One site even had early drafts of movie scripts.  I had a great time reading one of my favorite movies in one of its earliest drafts.  I’ve got everything I need to do this.  I’ve got my idea, I’ve got my Internet how-to site, and I’ve got my computer with a word document program.  I’m ready to go!!

Don’t expect to ever see this movie or even the screenplay.   I’m not looking to really turn it into a movie, but it’s the idea of writing a screenplay that has me excited.  It’s something new I’ve never done before.  I have no deadlines.  No one is waiting for the first draft.  It’s just me and my idea.  I’m excited.

Back to this confidence boost I’ve been having, I signed up for an acting workshop in two weeks.  It’s actually how to audition for film.  I don’t want to audition for film, but I figured any experience that I have in the acting world, will help me do my children’s theater in the future.  What have I got to lose?  It’s just for one morning.  It will be a new experience.  I’m just going to go and have fun.

Watch out, I’m Molly, the More Brave than Before and I’m treading new territory!! (From the comfort and security of my own home.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Philosophy by Molly: The Sphere

I graduated from college at the age of 21.  I was young, yes, but I was married and had two college degrees.  I knew all I needed to know.

Or so I thought.

At that time, I knew I wanted a Master’s degree in library science.  I wasn’t able to do that school of study at the time and it has waited until now.  I still want that degree, but since then, I have found there are so many awesome things out in the world to study and learn about.  Areas of study that I never knew about when I was 21.  Since then, I’ve learned about linguistics and the fascinating history and evolution of languages.  I wish I had known about that in college.  I would have taken a class to learn more about it.

I now realize that I was very limited in my “sphere” of knowledge.  My mother was a teacher.  My parents are smart people.  They taught me many things.  But I got to college and met someone who was going to study Interpersonal Communications.  I had no idea what that meant.  How did he find out about that kind of degree? His sphere of experiences was quite different from my own.  My parents taught me what they could from their sphere of knowledge and experience and that is what I went out into the wide world with.

Mom and Dad aren’t into spicy foods.  So, most of the foods I ate fit into the “mild” category.  I met my husband, who loved extra sharp cheddar cheese and spicy foods.  I found a new side to food I had never known and liked it!  Hubby had never listened to The Beatles growing up.  His parent’s weren’t Beatles people.  Mine were, so I grew up with The Beatles.  I had never heard of Pink Floyd until my husband introduced me to it.  Now, we are both Beatles and Pink Floyd fans.  We shared our favorite books with each other.  Hubby had never read The Never Ending Story and I had never read The Lord of the Rings.  Now we have.

I grew up in a big city with plenty of opportunities for culture – symphonies, theater, art and museums.  My husband grew up in a tiny town in the western USA.  He knew about camping in the wilderness and not in a state park.  We each had our spheres and when we married, we combined those spheres into a much larger one.

I look at my children.  They have had experiences that I never could have imagined.  We’ve moved around the country and have lived on the East Coast, the western desert, and a Pacific island.  We’ve hosted five exchange students from four different countries.  We’ve explored new foods, talked about many areas of study, and introduced them to a wide variety of music. I believe my children’s sphere of knowledge and experience when they leave home is going to be much larger than mine was when I left home.

Still, I have no doubt that my children will get out in the world and discover new things.  I hope their sphere will continue to grow.  It’s an amazing world out there.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Surfing on Camera

My children have enjoyed playing with my computers video camera this summer.  They have created many music videos.  One day, I sat down to do some surfing on the Internet.  I was reading email, checking what was up with my friends on Facebook, and checking the local classifieds for a chest of drawers.  What I didn’t realize until a bit later was that the computer camera was on and recording.  When I realized this, I quickly turned off the camera and deleted the video.

Know what?  I look really goofy while surfing the ‘net.  No one will know it though.  The evidence is gone.

Now when I sit down at the computer, I take a look at the camera and make sure the light is NOT on.  It’s not a pretty picture.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Toilet Paper

My children are a major source of my personal entertainment.  They are also the source of my biggest frustrations.  What is really incredible, though, is how the kids can be entertaining and frustrating at the same time.
Do you know how much water 5 brand new rolls of toilet paper can hold?
How do I know this?  I found 5 new rolls of toilet paper, heavily laden with water, resting at the bottom of a full bath tub after my youngest son’s last bath.

It was so funny and so frustrating at the same time.  I hate the waste of all that toilet paper, but I certainly found it amusing enough to take a picture of it.

Four of the rolls have had most of their water squeezed out, one is still full.
Can you guess which one?

Monday, August 08, 2011

Entry #500 and a guest blogger

After thinking about how I could celebrate my 500th blog entry, I decided to have a guest blogger – my 13 year old son. 

As I’ve mentioned before this son is funny.  A natural ham.  His is also very smart.  I hope that as he continues to grow and learn, he will use his talents and brain for good.  I’m proud of his accomplishments.  He just gets funner to be with each year he grows older.  So, without further ado, I’m happy to present my son, whom will now be known as Stonehelm the Wise.

Philosophy of Life according to me:
When doing a maze begin at the end and go on till you come to the beginning; then cheer like a lunatic.

Believe in yourself when seeking the truth.  Party when you find it.
When the student is not ready, then school appears.

If you think you're free, do not get caught by the cops!
If you chase two rabbits, be sure to bring a gun.

The 4 elements of summer: 1. Cook-offs 2. Watermelon 3. Root beer 4. Sunburns.
The best things in life are groovy.

Music energizes the soul. Silence is just plain creepy.
Ninjas are good, pirates are bad!

Irish Oxter Song
(To the tune of “Rubber Ducky”)

Irish spring, you're the one!
You make oxters so much fun!
You make me smell like
beer and bacon toooo!

Irish Spring, for a bit
You make me smell like armpit
I like it so that makes
It okkkkkkkkk!


(Molly here: Oxter is the Gaelic word for armpit, and son’s favorite deodorant is Irish Spring)

Stonehelm the Wise just started his own blog.  Take a look and enjoy the laugh you are sure to get.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Almost there.....

This post is #499!

Well, a few things have been on my mind, including some deep, deep philosophical thoughts.  I'll share those later.  Don't worry, it's not as boring as it sounds.

Before this day is over, we will leave to go to the airport to pick up our exchange student.  This young lady will be staying with us for one full school year.  She is 16 and coming to us from Brazil.  I will refer to her as "C".  We are excited and nervous for C's arrival.  Her room, which she will share with our 7 year old daughter is ready for it's new occupant.  Monday or Tuesday we will take her to the local high school to get her enrolled in her classes.  C left her home last night at 9:45 pm.  She will arrive here today in the afternoon.  I'll bet she is exhausted.

For dinner, we are planning the All-American BBQ!  Hot dogs, hamburgers, potatoes, watermelon.... mmmmm.  Welcome to America!

I have to say, I'm nervous about this.  It isn't the first time we've had an exchange student, but this one will be the longest one stays with us.  The first couple of months are probably going to be the most difficult as she adjusts to being away from home, speaking another language exclusively, and living with a lot of little kids.  It will be an adjustment for us too as we learn to have a stranger fit into our normal routines, schedules and activities.

Still, it is exciting!  My youngest is bouncing off the walls with excitement.

So, since the next post is #500, be prepared.  I might have 500 tidbits about me or 500 ways to avoid laundry or 500 recipes for tater tots or 500 pictures of the rocks that make up my front yard or......

Well, just wait and see!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

sharing a memory

Sandrina the Sprite

Yep, that's me about a million years ago.  Well, maybe not a million, but it feels like a million years and several life times ago that I was Sandrina.  I loved that costume.  I felt so elegant.  That is a unicorn at my feet.  The play was called The Unicorn of Zer.  I don't remember what the unicorn had to do with the story at all since there was no unicorn in the show.  There were some witches, some warlocks, a king, queen and princess, ladies in waiting, lords of the land, several trolls, a dragon, a bunch of kids, and four sprites.
How the director kept that many kids and teenagers in line, I'll never know.  I went on for the next several years and worked with a couple of these folks a number of times.  A few years after this, I did a Halloween show with two of the cast members here.  I was a vampire.  I had a purple afro wig.   We sang about bats in the belfry.  Good times!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My kids, keeping me laughing

Kids are funny creatures.

Have I mentioned recently how funny my kids are?  They keep me laughing.  I have, over the years, loved to watch each of my children's personalities develop and with that, their sense of humor.  We have some very different personalities in this family.  They are all wonderful.  This summer has been an especially funny one with my kids and I'll share a few examples of why.

My three year old.  She is mature beyond her age in many ways.  I guess that's what happens when you are child #5.  Her ability to communicate is incredible and she has the most interesting things to say.  One new phrase from this summer has been, "That was suppose to be funny."  She uses it when she says something that she thinks we should be laughing at and we don't give her the kind of response she wants.  She will tell us that it was suppose to be funny.   That is funny to hear her say, so  we laugh and she is happy with us.

The five year old son.  This guy is sweet and quiet.   He loves physical comedy.  He doesn't often get word jokes and when he tries to tell jokes, you just have to laugh because they make no sense at all. 
Here is an example:  Why did the chicken cross the road?  To go find the boss (a bad guy in his favorite computer games.)  Yep, not at all funny and yet, hilarious!

The seven year old daughter.  She is a smart, chatty, creative girl.  In the last few months, I started playing some improv acting games with the kids.  They love it.  How often does mom encourage them to be totally goofy? (OK, I admit, these games are so I can be completely goofy.)  The games have really been an eye opener for me, though, and I continue to learn more about the personal character of each of my children through the acting characters they create.  That in itself is a whole other burrito, though.  So, the other day we were playing one of our games.  I let the kids pick any kind of character they want, but if they have trouble coming up with ideas, I have a bowl with strips of paper with ideas, a cowboy, a pirate and such.  So the other day, this daughter started doing her character and we just couldn't figure out what she was doing.  We tried to play along, but finally we asked what she was doing.  She told us she was being her dad when he was a little boy.  We were befuddled at this so she showed us her suggestion: Really Old Person.  Apparently to this 7 year old, my 36 year old Hubby is an incredibly old person.  I about fell to the floor with laughter.  Poor Hubby.  He didn't find it quite as amusing.

The 11 year old son.  Here is another quiet guy.  He doesn't often have much to say, but when he does, he can be quite funny.  He can also pull the funniest faces.  Yesterday, we were at a big shopping center.  He was waiting for a haircut and I was waiting just outside with the little kids hanging out in the shopping basket.  I look over at this son and he peeks around the corner and pulls one of his funny faces.  Of course, that gets me laughing.  So, he does it over and over again, each time with a different face.  I'm laughing and I'm sure everyone around me was thinking that lady is crazy.

The 13 year old boy.  Here is a natural ham if ever I saw one.  Not only is he quick with a joke, he is quick to laugh and I LOVE to make him laugh because his laugh is so funny.  He and I have a few running jokes and more than once, I'm proud to say, I've made him snort his drink through his nose. I would love to tell some of the jokes we have going, but the set up would take so long to write down.  He is just a funny kid and his current lankiness that being a teen in a tall body that he can't seem to control makes him even funnier.  When I did my theater in June, I convinced him to do a pre-show act for me.  Ok, I practically begged.  He finally agreed to do one.  Well, I have to say, he stole the show.  I need to send him to his two uncles, my brothers.  Hams all around.

I could go on and on about the funny things that go on in this house.  I just need to write it all down, then someday I'll have enough material for an awesome humor book.  Then I'll make millions!
Evil laugh: Mwuhaha!!!

Monday, August 01, 2011

More great products for you

 Don't you wish you had this patio?  It's filled with all sorts of amazing things.  Zoom in and you will see all the brilliant things I had to say about this set up.

I hope you enjoyed today's section of the Amazing Products catalog, put together by yours truly.