Wednesday, October 31, 2012

costumes, sister-talk and socks

I haven't written much here this month.  Don't know why... haven't taken the time, don't feel like there is much worth sharing, busy with other things, etc.  It's all true.

Today is Halloween!  My kids are quite excited.  This year we have Shaggy (from Scooby Doo), Captain James T. Kirk, a hippy, Bumblebee (Transformers, you know) and a pretty pink ballerina.  They are excited for tonight. 

According to the weather map, we were in the Hurricane Sandy that passed through the east coast this weekend.  We had more than 24 hours of non-stop rain and some wind, but amazingly we never lost power.  Loosing power doesn't require a huge storm here.  A simple breeze can knock a branch loose in this forest we live in and kill a power line.  The kids' schools were closed for Monday and Tuesday as was my husband's work.  We had a lovely four day weekend.  We watched movies, played games, BBQed hamburgers, and of course some of those household chores like cleaning and laundry.  Yesterday morning, I spent the entire morning in my pajamas, listened to quiet music and read some e-book stories.  I also spent an hour and a half talking on the phone to my sister.  We talked about everything - kids, houses, cleaning, money woes, music, weather, stories, movies, movie stars, talking in British accents, and my falling on the stairs twice in one week. 

Yes, I've fallen on the stairs twice in one week.  My sisters reaction? "For crying out loud, Molly!  Get some non-slip socks!"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Colors of Fall

Today I raked the yard of it's leaves and made a HUGE pile for the kids to play in.  I realized that my two youngest have never jumped in piles of leaves before and it's been four years since the other kids had the joy of jumping into mounds of leaves.

A tree in our yard. The yellows and oranges are spectacular!

On the drive to church:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2nd Improv Performance

Tonight we had our second performance with our teen improv group.  The last couple of weeks have been difficult for our group.  I started a job and have been gone for the last three rehearsals.  We had a number of kids say they wouldn't be able to come or that they might not be able to come. 

At 10 minutes before the performance, we had 3 of our teen actors there.  Thankfully, more showed up and in the end, we had 8 performers.  For half of them, it was their first performance with our group.

They did awesome.  We had about 25 audience members (half parents, half not), so it was a small group, but that's OK. 

We played nine games: Film, theater, TV Styles, Instant Replay, 60 second movie, A&E Biography, Forward/Reverse, Two Headed Conversation, Moving Bodies, Living Props, and one more, but I can't remember right now.  I had not seen them perform Forward/Reverse or Moving Bodies before.  They did great!

A couple of problems: During one of the games, two of the actors had their backs to about half of the audience.  They didn't always speak loud enough.  A couple of times, they would curl up in a ball or lay flat on the floor and then talk towards the floor which made it difficult to hear them.

A couple of the games went really, really well and others not so much.  It's all good.  During the film, theater, TV style game, one of the suggestions was Grey's Anatomy.  I don't think the performers had ever seen it before, but one of them starts pointing to his stomach and said, "See my liver?  This is my anatomy."  Good laughs from that one.

We had two kids from the audience as volunteers for the moving bodies.  They actually had to move the actors.  They actors spoke, but they couldn't move unless the volunteers moved them.  It worked quite well.

One problem my little actors have is carrying out a scene.  Even though it is improv, there still needs to be a beginning, a middle and something of a conclusion.  They don't do that.  Sometimes they don't even go with the scene suggestion.  Perhaps we need to practice storytelling - beginning, middle, end...

I think we recruited another kid for the group.  Half of the kids in the group are huge Doctor Who fans.  When this audience member discovered that, she was hooked.  I look forward to her joining us in a few weeks.

We held the performance at the local library in one of the community meeting rooms.  It turned out to be a very good location.  So, overall, it was a great night of funny teens being very funny.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good Bye Bix Tex

I've said before that even though I haven't lived in Texas in many, many years, I still call Texas home.  I've never met another group of people more fiercely proud of their state than Texans.

So, when on Friday I heard about Big Tex catching on fire and being completely destroyed at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, I mourned.

Big Tex has been in the Dallas skyline since 1952.  Our family went to the state fair every October.  During the day, no matter where you were in the fair, you could hear the deep, booming voice of Big Tex saying, "Howdy!"

Now, he is gone.  However, this being Texas, you can be sure that Big Tex will return.  The fairground officials have promised us a bigger and better Big Tex.  I'm glad he will be back. 

This is what I wrote on Facebook when I found out about Big Tex's tragedy:

"I couldn't believe it. I called up my husband. He said, "WHO?" I about hung up on him when he said that. How can you not know Big Tex? It's like a little part (or big part) of Texas has died. I can't imagine the Dallas fairground skyline without him. He was there, year round waving at you as you drive by. Poor Tex. May his replacement be as grand and Big-As-Texas as they come."

I haven't been to the fair in years, but I might just have to make a special trip next October to see the new Big Tex. This Texan gal wants to say Howdy!
This is how I remember him as a kid.

Friday, October 19, 2012

stinky washing machine

My down stairs was starting to smell funny.  OK, not starting too, it DID smell funny.  I could tell it was coming from the laundry room, but I wasn't entirely sure what was causing the smell.  Yesterday I cleaned that room out.  Threw out a lot of stuff and organized the rest, but found nothing that was causing the smell.  The floor was dry and there was nothing dead hiding behind the machine.

While I was cleaning, I had some laundry going in the machine.  When it was time to switch, I opened the washing machine up and WHEW!  The smell make me cough.  Thanks to Google, I have taken care of my stinky machine.

I ran the machine again, empty of clothes and put in about six cups of bleach.  The next load of laundry I did, I added several cups of vinegar.  Today the smell is gone and I can sit in the downstairs area without coughing.

Humidity, got to love it! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Going to the grocery store

Going to the grocery store.  Some people hate it, but I don't.  I don't mind going at all.  It's just paying high amounts of money at the end that I hate.

I think the ways that stores deal with the baskets (buggies) in the parking lot is always interesting.  Yeah, I know, if I find grocery baskets interesting, I need some help in my life. :) 

One store I go to has those return basket areas all over the parking lot.  No matter where you park, you aren't more than 4 parking spaces away from a return spot, making it very easy to put the basket in a safe location.

Another store I go to only has two basket return spots in their entire parking lot.  I never end up near one.  I either walk it back to the store front or sometimes leave it in the parking lot.  I hate doing that, but my kids sitting alone in a hot car is worth more than the time it takes to wheel the basket back up to the store.

Another store makes you pay a quarter for a basket and you must take the basket back to the store's door to get your quarter back.  We are all cheapskates, so it works.  Never is a basket to be found sitting in the parking lot.  It's a small parking lot, so it isn't too inconvenient, but I still don't like having to do that with my 4 year old in tow.

I remember a day when grocery stores hired baggers.  They bagged the food for you - not the cashier.  They pushed the basket with your groceries out to your car and loaded it all into your car for you.  Some baggers accepted tips, others did not.  Now, if there is a bagger, he puts your stuff into a plastic sack while chatting about school or co-workers to the cashier.  As soon as your last purchase is in the sack, he walks off, never offering to help.

To be honest though, if a grocery store has a self-checkout area, I use it and by-pass the cashier and bagger all together, never giving them the opportunity to help me out.

Customer service - I guess it goes two ways.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Time with a four year old

Time is tricky to learn.  I don't just mean learning to tell time on a clock, but learning about time in all of its forms.

As an adult, I don't really remember a time before I understood time.  I remember that by the time I was six or seven, I could read a clock (days before digital clocks were widespread) and I remember being very proud of using big phrases like "day before yesterday."

However, having had small children for the last 13 years, I see things through their eyes and watch as they learn to communicate thoughts and ideas through words.  Time is a difficult concept for a young child.

Anything that happened in the past to my 4 year old, whether it was yesterday, last week or last year, is always called "last night" by her.  So she will say to me, "Remember last night when we were in New Mexico and we dumped all the toys in the living room?"  That was 10 months ago.  "Remember last night when I turned four and we had a rainbow cake?"  (six months ago)

My favorite from my four year old is, "When I was a little girl...."

I told her that tonight the teenagers are coming over for improv night.  She says to me, "Tonight is today!"  When we make the treat that will be served after improv practice is over, she will ask for some and I'll tell her that it is for tonight and she will say, "but tonight is today!" and then she can't understand why she can't have a treat at that moment.

An hour can pass like a minute and a minute can feel like an hour. She loves to read the clock, but just doesn't understand why when the little hand is on the seven and the big hand is on the two is it not 7:02?

My youngest son's birthday is the next in our family, but it isn't until November.  Peanut keeps asking if it is his birthday yet.  Why not?  It's the next one!  How do you explain minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years to a four year old?  You really can't.  It is something that she will learn over time....

Time is very, very tricky.

Friday, October 12, 2012


So things here have been a little odd.  In a great way, though.

After 15 years of non-employment, I decided it was time to get a job.  Scary!  I found four potential jobs and I applied for two.  The first one I got an automated email saying that while I was qualified, there were already too many qualified applicants so I wouldn't even be considered.  The second one, the day after I turned in the application, I got an email requesting an interview.

It was a phone interview.  Never done anything quite like it before, but thanks to my mom, whose job is to help people get jobs, she talked me through some of the questions an interviewer might ask and helped me formulate strong answers.  A day or so after the interview, they emailed me and told me they would contact me again when they were ready to proceed with the next step.  After a few weeks of waiting, I went to the HR department and filled out paper work.  I did fingerprints and a drug test.  By that night, I had my work schedule in my email.

I started on Tuesday.  I've worked 3 days now.  I'm excited.  It looks like it will be a nice fit for me.  It is evenings and weekends.  Perfect.  I can be at home with my youngest during the day, and I go to work after the kids get home from school.  Once the training is done, I'll work fairly independently.  I drive around the county, turning lights on and off at the parks for sports teams.  I open and close parks and schools for sports teams and recreational activities.  You don't think about those things until you do them, but those late night baseball games at the city parks, someone has to turn off the lights when they are done and lock up the bathrooms.  That will be me.

The schedule is fairly flexible.  The first night, I was done by 8pm but last night I had to stay at the park until 11pm.  I can take books, my cross stitching, or whatever to keep me busy while I wait for the games to end.  I'm going to know the roads throughout the county very well.  The people I work with are nice people.  The woman I worked with last night had the most wonderful local accent.  I listened as she talked about the "tahrs" on the truck getting flat.

I work again tonight.  Actually, I work for 10 days in a row this week (and next) at all the different parks around the county.  Tonight will be a new park.  I'm excited.  I have a uniform and I drive the county trucks.  I have access codes and keys.  It's a new experience for me, but I'm very happy.

Other than that, things are going along about like normal.  Kids, school, family, house, laundry, dishes, decorating the house for Halloween, and chats with my four year old (which I've been meaning to blog about.  She has the funniest things to say.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The bored 4 year old

My 4 year old is left at home while her four big siblings go off to school. 

They envy each other.

The four year old wants nothing more than to go to school with her siblings and they want only to be at home.

Everyday after the buses take the kids away, the four year old throws a huge tantrum and for the last two weeks, she does it all day long.  It is really a catch 22.  She is bored and wants some one to play with her.  I would enjoy playing with her and doing more with her if she were happy, but she starts off each day WAY too early and has done quite a bit of crying by 8am at which point, I no longer want to play with her.

I had looked forward to this final year with her.  Just her and me together, but she is making it so difficult to enjoy.