Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Holiday Updates

It's been almost two weeks since I updated, so I am starting to feel overwhelmed at the idea of it.

Let's see. Aunt Trudy made it back in time for the final performance of "A Christmas Carol." Aimée, Craig, and Ethan were all home for Christmas. Michael was up from Florida, and of course Uncle Dave, Uncle Frank, and Aunt Amy were there too. Mom, Jack, and I were in attendance, naturally. Everyone was at Grandma's house. The Ashley's (Ray, Cheryl, and Todd) came on Christmas day to share opening of gifts and the big meal.

And by big meal, I do mean big meal. I think mom made four different types of pie. At least, I know we had peach, pecan, pumpkin, and pudding pies. I spied a fruit/tart type pie in the fridge the next day too. There was turkey (Craig did the carving honors), ham, potato bake (family tradition, practically), sweet potatoes (so very sweet), green bean casserole, mashed potatoes & gravy, homemade whipped cream for the pies, jello salad, cranberries, homemade rolls, scalloped corn, and I think more if that's even possible. So much food!

The boys had a good time opening presents, and I think they liked everything for the most part. It was even more of a blur this year because Jack was tearing through his presents so quickly, and I had the video camera at one point so Mom could open some of her things. I got Buffy Season 3 DVDs, Stephen King's new book, Audioslave CD, some clothes, calendars, photo albums, and some other things. Jack got clothes, books, some airplane toys, many dogs, a flashlight (such a good gift for him, lol), and a few other things. Actually, the big hit was the walkie-talkie set Uncle Frank (I think) got for Michael. He and Jack had a pretty good time going around the house using them. It was very amusing to the adults because Jack almost never let go of the "talk" button, and they would say something to eachother only to walk to the other room where the other person was just to make sure they heard them.

The next day Amy had to work, so we spent the day not doing much waiting for 6pm to roll around. Since everyone was home this year, we were having a big family picture done. A friend of Grandma's is a photographer, so she had agreed to come to her house to take the photos. We rearranged the livingroom furniture a bit, and then managed to get everyone positioned for a solid ten minutes of pictures. Ethan was great about it, as he was determined to get to the big fire truck when we were done. I hope they come out well. The last family photo was done when Michael was a baby. So that would've been Christmas of 1992. The side by side comparison of the two pictures will be interesting for certain. I was a sophomore in high school, and Aimée had just started college at Bradley I believe. She and Craig weren't even engaged.

We headed home straight after the pictures so we could get back to the cats. Thankfully, they hadn't done any damage to the decorations. Decorations which are all gone now. I went ahead and took them all apart and put them away yesterday. Need to fill these days with something. I am still off work while Jack is out of school. I've actually gone into the office twice this week though to finesse that report. Today it was doing more odd things, but not as a result of my changes. It seems like some data has gotten mish-mashed or something.

I guess that's it. Nothing very exciting has been happening. I bought a metal garbage can, even though I think it will look kind of tacky, because the crazy squirrels in my yard has chewed through my Rubbermaid garbage can to get to the garbage. Freaky squirrels, I tell you. We don't even have that much garbage to get to, yet they did this, so instead of replacing it with another plastic one for them to chew up, I just got a metal one.

Tonight is the last night of 2003. I don't usually make resolutions, and I don't think I will start.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Other Pictures

I finally had a free minute to scan these two pictures in that I have been meaning to for a while now. I had them on a roll of film from September or October, but when I dropped off the film (to get developed and a CD), the kid told me they could do a CD in 1-hour. However, we came back after an hour to find out that the machine for APS film was broken. Funny, two weeks ago I asked him if it was fixed, and he told me it didn't even do CDs from APS film. Argh.

These are from outside of my building at work. I had my camera with me that day, and I felt like taking some pictures of the fall as I left. You can click on them to see the full sized versions in my galleries.

alt="Tree and sunset outside of work."

alt="Bike rack and leaves outside of work."

Anyway, work has been fun today. I am battling with a Crystal report and Kronos. Kronos is a time-keeping server software/hardware monster. I can get the report to work beautifully within Crystal, but you move it to Kronos and it breaks. Lovely. This wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't an absolute necessity for our payroll department. There's a major transition happening on campus with data, and this is a part of how we are going to make sure our employees get paid. But hey, no one really wants to get paid on time (or at all), right?

Monday, December 15, 2003

She Sang

"A Christmas Carol" is over, and it went great! I am going to repost the review that Larry sent out to the group messageboard. In all, Jack remembered his costume adjustments every time but once. He was in three scenes, and I was in two. The market scene went well for us all but two nights when Christmas present stepped on my dress, but that's okay it's (the dress) a huge thing! Not to mention there just wasn't a lot of room in front of the curtain. We had lots of fun doing this one. We got to spend time with a number of people from "Aurora," and we met lots of new people who have been in the RTG before us as well.

Last night, after the show, we broke down all the sets and put things away. The kids got to have a little pizza party and go crazy dancing on the stage. Some of the kids had fun chasing me around the theater until another mom-type said to quit. Oops. ;-) Now that it is all over, we are ready for another one even though we were moaning about all the driving and late nights along the way. It really is so much fun.

Larry's review:
Review: Charles Dickens' Classic Tale Retold

In 1843 Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol" to describe the disparity of life in Victorian England. He addressed social issues of hardship, injustice, and unrest between the working class and lower class. He showed that in spite of overwhelming poverty good will toward one's fellow man can survive, as well as faith, love, and humanity; and, that no amount of money can buy happiness or character, as Ebenezer Scrooge was about to find out.

As for the play, it's hard to present as a stage play a tale so well known to the Western World where so many have read the book and have seen the many movie adaptations.

However, director Michael Clay Nelson hit upon the right formula for his own adaptation written expressly for the Rantoul Theatre Group. Mr. Nelson reasoned that by furnishing scenes with as much representative furniture of the period and having multiple scene changes he could vividly make the scenes appear true to life. This is a monumental tasking for an 800 square foot stage to display.

Additionally, by selecting a large cast with different players to appear in even the smallest of roles, he could keep from overusing actors, thus reserving his principal players to the key characters excepted to be seen by the audience while appearing in their characteristic costumes.

Nelson carefully selected 22 distinct scenes from this Christmas classic which in essence tells the whole story. He and his crew constructed from scratch enough furniture and set backgrounds to make it all seem like a movie set. Three different fireplaces had to be constructed as well as Scrooge's office furniture and his bedroom with the well-known four-poster bed.

The movies show the Spirit of Jacob Marley coming through a closed door into Scrooge's bedroom. A workable Victorian door and frame was constructed so that Marley, bound in chains, and played with uncommon skill and agony by Jonathan Daniels, could make the bolt appear to open itself as the audience looked at Scrooge in amazement as the ghastly spirit of Marley entered the bedroom glowing under black light as he proclaimed Scrooge's only remaining hope for salvation.

When the Ghost of Christmas Past, played by Janice Moore, arrives in Scrooge's bedroom, Nelson bathed the spirit with intense light to make her white costume glow with extreme brightness blinding the eyes of Scrooge. As everyone knows, she takes him back in time to see himself as young Ebenezer, played by young Jack, at the boarding school who then transforms into Teen Scrooge, played by Jacob Porter. Relying on teenage actors, Nelson matches Anne Moore as Scrooge's intended, Belle, as they solo dance to the high kicking Riverdance at the Fezziwegg Christmas party where 23 adults and children make merry dancing.

The poor home of Bob Cratchit family, with James Hatchel, Tracy Cooper-Nelson, Tiny Tim and his five brothers and sisters, was created on a split stage complete with kitchen table and 8 chairs and working entrance door. Nelson directed the Cratchit children to sing a ditty and dance around the table to celebrate their meager supper meal of a "goose" and real mashed potatoes. A fresh baked chicken each night substituted for the goose and the children actually ate it while making supper small talk as Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present (Larry Smith) looked in on the poor family which survives on the meager pay of "15 bob a week" which is only 10% of what clerks usually made in England at that time. Tiny Tim, portrayed by young Kenny Miller, took to the part by realistically using his wooden crutch pole and relying on his siblings to help him move around the set.

On the other half of the stage, alternately in darkness, Scrooge's nephew Fred Haliwell, played with a distinct English air by Steve Fogle, and his wife Julia Haliwell, played by Venus Fuller, have a lively and merry game of "Similes" with their party guests while the Spirit and Scrooge are unheard and unseen onlookers.

A sympathetic scene involved the skillfully applied makeup for the sad and emaciated faces of Blake Quinlan as "Ignorance" and Katie Ely alternating with Jennah Hogan as "Want" as they hid under the impressive embossed green velvet robe of the almost 7 foot tall Ghost of Christmas Present.

One of the most dramatic moments came when Joe Porter as Ebenezer Scrooge meets the Ghost of Christmas Future Yet to Come in the graveyard scene. Todd Issacs was hidden behind an eerie and full skull mask and hands-of-bones gloves while cloaked in a black cape and hood. Not speaking, true to the story, he points to the events as he bewilders Scrooge with his ominous predictions of the future events which may or may not happen depending upon the course that Scrooge will select. With tombstones, smoke, lightning sounds, and strobe lighting, director Nelson created a realistic setting. Joe Porter gives a moving portrayal as he sees his own name bathed in eerie orange light on the tombstone and breaks down before the audience with real tears flowing from his eyes as he realizes that his life was all for naught unless he shows compassion for his fellow man.

Another standout scene is when Old Joe the pawnbroker, played in Bowler hat by Curt Moore, and Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's housekeeper played by Karon Seib, both bring believability to the story utilizing well delivered English accents as they bicker on how much money Scrooge's bed curtains, watch, and other death bed effects will bring as an infuriated Scrooge looks on and threatens to bring them before a Magistrate.

Never done in movies before, Joe Porter wrote and delivered an eloquent, yet poignant, summation of the entire philosophy of the play while he holds a one way discourse with the Ghost of Christmas Future during one of the final transitional scenes.

As Ebenezer Scrooge awakens in his bed on Christmas morning he realizes that he has been reclaimed and is willing to become the new man who can love others and receive love and joy from others. Scrooge hysterically reenacts the game of "Similes" and proclaims that he is "as light as an angel" with the burden of his doom lifted from his shoulders.

Over 60 cast members contributed to this unique and well directed production. The making of most costumes was skillfully designed by the costume crew of Karon Seib, Rochelle Weber, Shawn Porter, Sharon Maulding-Hale, and Janice Moore and was an essential part of the authenticity of the play. Men's traditional top hats, tie/scarfs, waistcoat jackets made the men seem to jump right out of the story book. Ladies were specially outfitted with bonnets and wide skirted dresses. The Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company helped with some of the costumes. Ashleigh Nelson supervised the makeup designs to make the characters faces reflect either happiness or sorrow.

The most difficult tasking other than acting was handled aptly by the back stage crew of Jeff Ogle, Curt Moore, Derrick Fuller, and Shawn Porter. Their job was to quickly move on stage the numerous pieces of heavy furniture while director Nelson used a technique of conducting transitional scenes to keep the acting on going in front of the closed theatre curtain while the stage crew moved pieces into place behind the curtain. Each actor coming on stage for the next scene had to carry on a piece of furniture and remove it when their scene ended. This became a monumental job requiring some set pieces to be rebuilt or redesigned during rehearsals so that weight could be reduced without sacrificing the functionality of the set piece. Scenes such as Scrooge's office had to be set up taken down twice and the Cratchit's household had to be brought on and off stage three times.

Helping to entertain the audience with song during transitions, street carolers were employed to sing well-known Christmas carols of that era. The singing talents of Janice Moore, Kristy Shreves, Anne Moore, Stacey Moore, and Rochelle Weber served to first be rejected by Scrooge as "humbug" and later praised and rewarded with coin by a redeemed Ebenezer Scrooge.

Such is the pivotal tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's enlightenment that director Nelson brought to his script as he directed his full cast, child and adult, to contribute to the reclamation of the soul of Ebenezer Scrooge.

As the two hour play closes, the narrator relates that Ebenezer Scrooge became known as the "man who knew how to keep Christmas well." In the end, Scrooge embraces a recovered Tiny Tim who blesses the audience with that well-known phrase, "And God bless us all, everyone."

For reservations for upcoming plays patrons may call 892- 1121 and visit the website at

Thursday, December 11, 2003

3 More Shows

Well, we had the run through rehearsal tonight. Boy, that was interesting, lol. *Everyone* was goofing off. I don't know that Clay (director) appreciated it too much since he is stressed with his dad being sick and all, but he didn't get outwardly angry either.

The adults were the ones who started it too. ;-)

The first weekend of shows went great. Jack remembered all of his costumes changes between scenes. He entered and exited right when he was supposed to, and my scenes went fine too.

The kids brought some colds to the show though, so we've both been fighting something this week. I stayed home yesterday, missed the holiday party at work, but was back today. I have some pretty big report deadlines this week/Monday, so I really can't afford to be gone. I think I feel a bit better now though. Sometimes just getting moving again is the better thing.

On Saturday, we are going to get to see "The Nutcracker Ballet" with Jack's school. It will be at the Krannert Center on campus. We went to the "Emporer's New Clothes" last week with Rose and Chuck. That was very interesting. It was an opera, which I had never seen it done like that before. A lot of the kids thought it was very weird when the Emporer came out w/ almost nothing on, lol. He was covered decently, but still. I guess they aren't very familiar with the story, so they didn't know to anticipate that.

Rose and Chuck arrived late on Thursday and then had to go home on Monday. We woke up to a light snow on Friday morning, but it was all gone by that night. It was very cool because it was thick, heavy snow. I have some pictures online now. There are some shots there from NYC, family, and home.

Thankfully, the cats are no longer knocking down the tree. Despite breaking a few of the connectors on the train, Jack and Chuck were able to hook it up and put in the batteries. It is actually pretty neat when it's running. A bit loud, but not too obnoxious.

Jack's holiday assembly is the 16th. It's at night, and his class is performing. He told me today that I missed his beautiful singing. So, I know they are singing, but not much else, lol. Poor Ms. C is sick too, so she is going to be out tomorrow. She told me this afternoon that there will be a substitute. I hope it's someone good.

Not a lot else has been happening. It was nice to have a few nights off of rehearsal, and now it is almost over. Of course, at the beginning and in the middle, I was ready for it to be done. Now that it's almost done, I am ready for something else. :-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Late Nights

Well, we got home at 10:30pm last night. Ugh.

Jack says this morning, "I didn't sing or jump on my bed. I was so tired, I just went 'kaboom!' to sleep." I thought it was cute. :-)

He has an assembly to honor good test scores and perfect attendance on Friday, so I took the afternoon off to go to that. He also got an invitation to "The Emporer's New Clothes" as a part of the Enrichment Center's monthly program they had. That's on Friday morning. I guess I should've taken the whole day off. I still might. They want chaperones, and I don't have anything scheduled for the morning. We'll see.

The cats have managed to leave the tree alone for a whole 24-hour period now. Ha! I guess they learned. :-)

Meetings, meetings, meetings.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Yep - They knocked it Down.

I knew it would happen. Thank goodness Jack didn't get upset over it though. I was particularly stressed out this morning though, as a result. Uck. They broke the train too. The tree fell right on top of the cars and caused the connectors to snap in two. Grrr. Maybe I can fix them when we get home tonight, but with everything else going on, I just don't need more things to fix or get done.

Tonight starts the full dress/makeup play rehearsals. Only four days until the first show, and 13 days until we are done. I am going to be very tired this week, that's for sure.

Time for meetings at work.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Christmas Time is Coming

And so, before I lost all my initiative, I decided to get started on the decorating today. I want to clean up and decorate my livingroom in general, but also, I wanted to get Christmas stuff out this year. We got a lot of things at the end of the season last year, and we never decorated in this house before, so this is the year to start.

Of course, this means I now have to fend the cats away from the tree for a month and a half (just about). So far, Fulgie has been in her cage once and Thyme has been in the cage twice. I think Fulgie has already learned to leave it be, but Thyme might take a few more trips to the cage to get it through to her that this is not some new, really big, really shiny toy for her to jump on and knock over. Argh.

I took some pictures as we were doing things tonight. I had Jack stay in his room for the last touch - the train that I purchased on the sly last year. He had to close his eyes and not come out til I said okay. He was surprised. :D


The rest of the pictures start here, including a very pretty shiny tree. We haven't even added the ornaments yet. I have two or three more boxes to look through that have ornaments, craft supplies, our wreath that we made last year, etc. Fun, fun.

Time to wrap a few presents and hide them away. ;-)

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my family who can't be home with us today. I hope you are having a warm and fun celebration too.

And to all my friends here and elsewhere. Have a great day, even if it's not your Thanksgiving. :-)

Here, have a list:

Thankful Five:
1. Family (given and chosen) that loves and supports us
2. Friends who stick with us despite our 80s hair and leg warmers phases
3. Pets to keep us company when people are just too strange
4. Music to get us in and out of whatever mood we need
5. People who inspire us through their lives, their creations, and their dreams

Monday, November 24, 2003

Common Rotation

Yeah, they rock, and now something that Eric mentioned to me the last time I was in NYC for a show seems to be coming to fruition. This was posted on their messageboard, so spread the word. Hopefully it will be coming from the Street Team or Matt soon so we know the word is indeed true.

Everyone has a place of their own. A place to breathe freely in a somewhat claustrophobic world, a place to kick your shoes off and crank up your favorite folk music, a place to drift off into the seemingly endless abyss of the internet or digital cable television, place tolose and keep track of exactly who you are, a place to get some living done. Some might call it a home. It's only when we share this home with others (whether it an apartment, a house, or a cardboard box behind the supermarket), that we finally develop an intimacy unlike any kind. With a lover, a friend, a family member, or a foreign exchange student from Saudi Arabia, we instill these feelings by sharing such a personalized confined space. By opening your home to even a mere visitor there in return opens a new meaningful relationship.

With all of this in mind, Common Rotation has adopteda new campaignplan. In light of there recent success as a folk duo, Adam and Eric,foresee a new future for their U.S. tours. By way of avoiding hostileclubs along with their obscene admission and drink prices the boys would like to forge onto un-folked territory across this great land through the months of February, March, and April of 2004. They want to cut out the middle man and bring their undeniably entertaining show to your living room.

Many fans attending their performances have been driving or flying unspeakably long distances just catch Common Ro in their element and this is still encouraged and appreciated. The one question these travelers always ask that always stumps CR is "When are you coming to(insert small town far away from the Northeast or L.A. let's use Kalamazoo just for fun)?" Well NOW the answer to this is simple. On a strategic date scheduled between the folk club/coffee house engagements of there winter/spring tour Adam and Eric will come to play an intimate performance in your living room. They will bring all of their songs and road rage straight to your couch.

They know that you're thinking there must be a catch. An evening with the CR boyz, in my own home! This is too good to be true. It's not and in fact it is far from complicated. To host a 2 hour Living Room set all you would be required to do is open your door at specific time to 15-20 people and let Common Rotation take it from there. The performance will be of the quality expected at a folk club if not more intimate. Common Rotation will accept 5 to 10 dollar donations to keep them moving from show to show while selling merchandise during and briefly after the set. Immediately following the show everyone will be filed out accordingly leaving you to your humble abode.

All you have to do to schedule a Living Room performance is e-mail us at:

In order for Common Rotation to bring their music to you and create unbreakable ties between them and their fans we need volunteers. Help your favorite folk band reach more people and establish homes in small towns on the east and west coast and everywhere in between.


Sunday, November 23, 2003

Another Day, Another 9

Seems like this month is flying by. I am a bit glad, but it's making me very tired. Especially this week I have been having a hard time starting the day. The alarm starts going off at 6am, and I just wish I had a sledgehammer. ;-)

We had Family Reading Night at school on Thursday. That was interesting. Jack won "My Friend Rabbit" and lots of other smaller books. The book fair went really well I think for the school. Jack took $4 on his day and got a book for himself and a gift for Ethan. He had $0.50 in change that managed to not make it home. Oh well. Mrs. C says she taped it to a pink piece of paper that Jack had in his hand when he left for the day. I can only imagine where it ended up during the afterschool program. I know I checked his bag the first thing when I picked him up, and there was nothing resembling change in or around it, so I didn't ask right away if Jack spent all of his money. So then when I do ask, I find out that there should've been some change, and yet there wasn't. Again, I say, oh well.

Sarah came into town yesterday, and we met for lunch w/ her mother-in-law, Barb. Jack was semi-well-behaved. A bit goofy, but then it was only Steak-n-Shake, lol. After that, they went shopping, and we went to the mall. I managed to get a few things crossed off my list, so we headed to the library. We sure spend a lot of time there. The other day, we stopped by after school, and I didn't want to stay too long since it was so late already, but Jack and I played a game of checkers, and an older boy watched then wanted to play a game too. It didn't look like he was there with anyone, so I knew if we left, he wouldn't have a game partner. Instead of leaving, I let Jack have his time on the computer (they have a sign-up sheet), and the boy and I played a match. I won ... um, but he still had fun. I didn't try to really, really win. Gave him pointers and such. I hope he took something good away from it.

Now it's yucky weather again. The past 2-3 days have been almost 70F again. Craziness. But, it's very windy and supposed to start raining again today. Ick. On the day that we need to go grocery shopping too, of course.

Play rehearsal on Monday and Tuesday is a full run-through. Next week will be full run-throughs with costume and make-up. Almost over. Thank goodness. I am too tired of driving back and forth when it is already pitch black out.

Okay - time to get distraction-boy moving in the right direction ...

Friday, November 14, 2003

New Pictures

I just added some pictures from my roll of film I got last night. I wanted to get the pictures on a CD, so I asked the clerk if they could do that for 1-hour development. "Sure," he says. So, we go to pick it up before rehearsal only to find out that the cd maker for APS film is broken. Oh, well, gee, nice. So, this morning I am scanning in my downtime. :-)

There is a shot of me and Jack from Homecoming weekend; some pics from Curtis Orchard; and some of the cats. Hehe, I had the urge to take their pictures because Fulgie was doing her cute rolling thing, and then they decide to play. So, that last picture of them "hugging" is too funny.

I will also have pictures up from the Common Rotation show at the Bitter End soon. I only have a handful on this roll. The other roll isn't finished yet. I was trying to watch the show, not capture it frame by frame. ;-)

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I Won!

I just won Angel Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD from the radio station! :D

Scratch those off my Christmas list. *Yay!*

Going to bed now ... way tired ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Yay for Community Helpers!


A heating and cooling guy came by yesterday to fix my furnace. It is very quiet now. I have more confidence that it will not blow up. And, it didn't cost me as much as a new one. Oh the little joys in life.

A friend on a parenting message board got berated on (a place I never visit) for ending up having a C-section this past week. Child #2 for her, and the little girl was breech, tangled in her cord, and all sorts of bad things. It was even difficult to get her untangled once they had started the C-section, and other mothers (?) on that site are telling her she "copped-out." What right do they have? They've also said that breast-feeding is gross and disgusting. *sigh*

As one person on the friendly board pointed out - "Breast feeding is gross, but natural delivery isn't?" As if it isn't bad enough that we have to deal with non-parents voicing their opinions about birth/parenting/etc, now we have to deal w/ backlash from people who seem to "know it all?"

Transition - Jack's teacher said this morning that she was shocked at the amount of bitterness and meanness towards her on Monday. They had no school for a school improvement day, and I guess she attended something that included staff from other area schools. They found out where she worked, and the way they treated her changed. Why? Is she administration? Is she on the board? Did she do anything other than find a job that she loves and wants to do well? Hopefully, that is exactly what these other teachers did too.

I mean, how can you condemn a school, saying it is the worst place in the world, and then be mad at someone who works there because of decisions that higher ups are making to make it a better place? Would you rather see it fail horribly? Of course they are going to make great efforts to succeed! Although, I haven't seen extreme cases of preference at Jack's school. As far as I am concerned, he just has a great teacher, and I hope the rest of the school is doing well too.

I keep forgetting that people are petty. No matter what age or maturity. What was it we decided on the Barge? That for all our trying to be good, treat eachother as we would want to be treated, that come "judgment day" we still expect there to be some sorting order. We are human, and I think this will always be our flaw. Something, somehow should've made us better/more important than "them."

Sad, isn't it? But the good thing in this post is that the 9-12 year old in the play realize the rottenness of society already. I had a talk w/ two of them the other night about kids in their schools, their friends' other schools, and parents. They offered up a lot of opinions that makes me think they will be okay in the future. Sad that they've already learned these lessons, but in the end, it's a good thing too. You have to learn it sometime.

Okay, time to dive into work. Been gone for 3 days while Jack was out of school. Uck.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

A Funny from Shelly

Good Questions ...

Can you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches?

Since bread is square, then why is sandwich meat round?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in"...but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

If you drink Pepsi at work in the Coke factory, will they fire you?

Why are you IN a movie, but you are ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

How come we choose from just two people for president and fifty for Miss America?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Updated Lists

Okay, I have been thinking of a few more things, so I figured I'd better update our gift lists before I completely forgot. Not that that ever happens. ;-)

Oh, Christmas lists. That's right.
    For Jack
  1. "Finding Nemo" DVD (Santa's helpers informed me that this has been taken care of.)

  2. "Monster's Inc" DVD (Amazon,

  3. painting supplies - smock, big paper, paints

  4. Photo albums for his pictures

  5. No activity books, crayons, other craft supplies - he has sooo many. No clothes since we are overflowing with those as well. No computer games because we don't have time for them.

    For Me
  1. Buffy DVD - Seasons 3(Amazon, or 4(Amazon,

  2. Angel DVD - Seasons 1 or 2 (Yay for radio contests!)

  3. Firefly - the Complete Series DVD (Amazon,

  4. Stephen King's "Wolves of the Calla" (Amazon,

  5. Photo Albums

  6. Grey gloves, Isotoner-type, not thick but still warm

  7. Gift certificates to Lowe's, Target, Best Buy

Monday, November 03, 2003

Happy Halloween!

I know, I know, I am late, but still!

This weekend was pretty, wait, no, it was only okay. It started off badly, and ended badly. Halloween was fun, but I was grumpy that night afterwards. Jack was too cute, and I was cracking up watching him walking around in his costume. It was too amusing that he decided after only 1 house that he should've been a ghost. All I could think of was Willow's ghost costume. ;-) So, we managed to go to about 5-6 houses in the immediate area of our house. Jack has never really liked wandering for ages on Halloween. Pictures are already up.

Saturday we went to Peoria because AOE was having Day Away at Sarah's house again. Now *that* was fun. I was up until 5am though, so I was tired and had a headache on Sunday. More grumpiness.

We headed on home - Jack was semi-difficult about it. I can't quite pin down what his new attitude is. I don't think it's about establishing himself as an individual, but it's definitely of the "I am going to do what I want" vibe. When I ask him why he makes the choices he does, it usually comes back as "because I wanted to." Well ... how many times are we going to talk about how that isn't a good enough reason? Your wanting to doesn't tip the scales into actually doing something. *sigh*

Today at school, Mrs. C still seems stressed out. S was throwing a fairly hefty fit. I don't know why all of a sudden S has more problems in the morning. Jack is in a new spot on the rug, so I hope it doesn't cause problems. He used to be next to S and one of the quieter boys. Now, he is on the end of a row, but the boy next to him is much less quiet.

We have play rehearsal tonight, and the thought of that and all the work I need to get done this week is making me feel tired. A friend had a fairly upsetting night last night, and I wish I could just sit and talk with her over coffee about it all. I am so ready for a vacation, but I still can't take one. I *will* be going to NYC for Common Rotation's show on Friday, but it's a 20-hour trip in total. Then, Jack and I will have some quality time off from work and school. All this means that when I get back to the office on Wednesday I will probably be tired, stressed, and playing catch-up. Then, there will be Thanksgiving and Christmas to deal with, and since I have to take so many days off for when school is out, we still can't take a real vacation. Oh, and there is still play rehearsals meanwhile, and then the performances the first two weekends in December.

Fun, fun. I didn't intend to make myself even more tired in writing this. Blah.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Picture Day

Play rehearsal was cancelled yesterday, yay! I guess I shouldn't "yay" about it, but ah well.

Yesterday was picture day at school, and the kids could wear anything they wanted (instead of the usual uniforms). I told Jack he could pick his own outfit, so he chose his overalls. They are the engineer kind, and then he chose his royal blue "soccer" shirt with a white collar to go with it. Not a too bad of choice, overall. They didn't clash horribly, blue is a good color for him, and it's only a picture afterall.

Last night was not a good night. I don't know why he is in such turnoil lately, but he has been Mr. Attitude with a capital A. Argh. He even started getting an attitude this morning. One second he is fine, then he isn't. I am thinking it may have to do with having the substitute teacher all last week. Mrs. C is back this week, but last week the kids were really acting up, and I am sure Jack has decided he can act like them too. So, it's time to lay down the law, lol.

As if I am not already on top of things, but oh well. It is not worth the headaches to deal with his fits. So, we need to figure out a way to keep them from happening. Oddly enough, the last few days, Jack has been going on and on about how he is a big boy, he's 5.5 years old, so he can do this and that by him self afterall. I am wondering why he is saying that or where he heard it because I have always tried to be pretty careful about using that sort of logic around him. I don't expect certain behavior from him because he has hit a certain number of years in age. I expect things because he has hit a point where he can understand the difference between right and wrong, and the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

But anyway. I am sure they aren't as bad as I make them sound to be. One or two bad days doesn't overthrow the rest of the good ones. We got some pumpkins from the orchard on Sunday, even though I hadn't planned on it. And, yes, the squirrels have already eaten most of the one Jack picked out, lol. Dratted squirrels.

Friday, October 24, 2003

My Life, Your Life

There is a distinction.

Don't you love total strangers who think they need to weigh in on your life?

Yeah. Me too.

So anyway, this week has flown by ... sort of. I am not as tired as last week, and that is good. We had play rehearsal three times as usual, and that is going well. The actors with the most lines are already off the script, so it seems like it won't take much effort to get the rest pulled together. The director is a bit worried that some people still haven't shown or have dropped out though. I guess one guy is getting married this weekend, lol. Um, if you are planning and having a wedding, why did you audition for a play right in the middle? ;-)

Oh, Christmas lists. That's right.
    For Jack
  1. "Finding Nemo" DVD (Santa's helpers informed me that this has been taken care of.)

  2. "Monster's Inc" DVD (Amazon,

  3. painting supplies - smock, big paper, paints

  4. Photo albums for his pictures

  5. No activity books, crayons, other craft supplies - he has sooo many. No clothes since we are overflowing with those as well. No computer games because we don't have time for them.

    For Me
  1. Buffy DVD - Seasons 3(Amazon, or 4(Amazon,

  2. Angel DVD - Seasons 1 or 2 (Yay for radio contests!)

  3. Firefly - the Complete Series DVD (Amazon,

  4. Stephen King's "Wolves of the Calla" (Amazon,

  5. Photo Albums

I might have to get more creative because the rest of my ideas are gift certificates to stores so I can work on some house projects, lol. Ack. I am always so bad at these lists.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Site Down ... Again!

This is beyond insolent! No wait, beyond ridiculous! Argh. I made a couple of icons for a contest on LiveJournal. They are on the "Trinkets" page.

That is all for now because I have a 3 o'clock meeting, but I will be getting my Christmas wish list up here soon since it has been requested of me. :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2003

The Order of Things

Of course, those songs are not in order of recording any longer. I would have to dig through my piles of stuff to figure that out again. And, it was hard enough just finding the files, so alphabetical it'll have to be.

The audio came out horribly apparently with the interview thing the other day. That kind of bums me out because 1) we probably won't try to reshoot it, and 2) we did the interview straight through in one take, so it went really well. It's hard to do a repeat of that, you know? The room we were in had a loud vent (that we covered with a towel, which helped but it was still amazingly loud on the recording), and the ceilings were pretty high, so you could just tell that you were in a echoey kind of room.

Argh. Ah well.

I am so glad it's the weekend because I am just tired from all the running around we have been doing. This is our first weekend home doing nothing for about 3 weeks now I think. Jack decided he is happy to just hang out at home all day, but we need to go to the store to get a few supplies for school lunches at least. Tomorrow is the kick-off of homecoming week too, so we will probably make an effort to get out to the park where it is going on.

Oh! And in other cool school news, Mrs. C tested Jack in math apparently (I think all of the school was having tests this past week, although Jack couldn't tell me whether or not he'd taken the tests *rolls eyes*). She told me yesterday as we were helping her around the room that he scored at 1.8/1.9 which is the end of first grade level. She'll have all the official results for the parent-teacher conferences coming up sometime soon. She'll be gone all next week though, so it will be interesting to see how the days go with a substitute teacher. Yikes.

The area she said he would have trouble with was working problems backwards. For example, 3 + ___ = 5. What is ___ ? We haven't done those type of problems at home yet, but I showed Jack a few examples last night, and he picked it up pretty quickly. It's basically subtraction disguised as addition. ;-)

Forgetful Me

I never said I was one for remembering things. I always rode my bike across town to a friend's house - promising my mom I would call when I got there so she would know I didn't get run over - and 1 hour later as the phone rings, I exclaim: "I forget to call my mom!" Don't worry though. She was usually on the other end of that ring. ;-)

Here you go Rachel. Ooops. :-)


Right-click and save away!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Rehearsals and other things

We have rehearsals three nights a week. Yuck. I am considering calling tonight to skip because we have a neighborhood meeting, and I have never attended one yet. Plus, tonight is the night where Jack has no parts, and I am just at the market. That is a waste of my gas, I am sorry, but it's true. We're talking over 20 miles of driving to do almost nothing.

The weather has become even more fall like. It is cloudy and chilly today. The leaves are really coming down, and the yard needs a good raking. Obviously though, getting home past 9pm, being at family events every weekend, that leave 2 nights a week for me to take care of the house things. That's not going to happen. I am way too tired by then. Last night I did laundry and vacuumed because the horror of my carpet overwhelmed the tiredness I felt.

So, last night was the first filler episode of Angel this season. Werewolf girl. They didn't mention Oz. They used different make-up and costumes for these wolves. Angel said that vampires can control themselves if they want to. And, something seems to be going on with Spike. I got back on the Beta last night and today, so I have been debating a few speculations out there, but I find it hard to believe the writers would go that way after the way Buffy season 7 was received. We will see, I suppose.

Alias, on the other hand, has been doing great! I am mad that Will is just gone to "witness protection." That's lame in so many ways. I don't really buy Vaughn's new wife just yet, but they have more time to develop that. I remember someone saying she is the daughter of a Senator? Hm, I wonder if they are going to go anywhere with that this season. And for the record, 1) Sloane is in no way good now, and 2) Sark looks good w/ the shaved hair too. ;-)

Okay - I have to get ready for a video thing here at work. The woman who does some of the media programming is interviewing a student about a movie he made. It is about the ghost in the English building on campus. She asked me to be the interviewer. Eep.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Angel - "Just Rewards"

This was a good episode. It had me constantly wondering if Spike was going to double-cross Angel or not. Well done, writers.

There was so muck snarky sarcasm flying around, it was great! Angel apparently kept many secrets about everything that went on down in Sunnydale from the rest of the team, and while some people may say "Well, Spike was dead-dead, why should he tell all?," I say he should've told all because (hello?) it was the end of the world (only not, because of a certain someone).

Next week is a werewolf episode. I find it interesting that they are bringing back the werewolf after so long w/o one. I hope they can pull it off. From the quick shot on the preview, the makeup looked quite different from Oz and Veruca. Hm, hope that means it has improved.

We have rehearsal again tonight. Need to set my VCR for ER. *tired*


It's finally back online. This is so silly.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Gah! Squirrels!

My site has been down for a day and a half or so. I think it's back up now. Sheesh. Hopefully this time no data was lost. *crosses fingers*

Okay - so what's been happening in life? Well, this weekend we were in Peoria to celebrate Grandma's 75th birthday. That was a lot of fun, actually. We stayed with Aunt Amy, spent some time "touring" Peoria, shopped a little, and had a cookout. The weather was still a little chilly, but it has improved since then. (Today should hit 80F.)

A church near Amy's house was having a garage sale, and since Saturday was the last day, you could buy a grocery sack for $3, and whatever fit in it was yours. I found some cool vintage dresses, a skirt and pair of pants for work, a vintage shirt, and a very nice coat. Mom said it was cashmere, but all I knew was it was in perfect shape, very soft, a nice camel color, full-length, and AFL-CIO approved. ;-) My running line at the sale was you knew the clothes were vintage as most of them were "Made in the USA." Now I have some union-approved work clothes. :-p

Of course, Jack didn't think the sale was that much fun. He was being fairly difficult about running errands, but we know now that it was because he had a fever coming on. He did like sifting through the books. And, Amy found a shirt for him, a worker gave him a sparkling baton (Jack kept telling the man he needed to pay for it, but the man insisted he have it for free, lol.), and I snuck a pair of goggles in my bag w/o Jack seeing. That doesn't count as a toy, right?

Off to Nana's house for the cookout. Delicious german-chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. Grandma opened her gifts, and everyone had fun trying out her blood-pressure gadget, lol. By the morning, Grandma had read the directions, so we could all stop debating the right way to use it and get proper readings, lol.

Uncle Dave was down for the weekend, and Jack had fun chatting him up. As Jack would say, they were "having conversations." Poor Jack though came down with a fever and lost his appetite/sense of humor by late afternoon. He started running a fever of 101° with no other symptoms. We made a pitstop for some medicine and then called it a night. His fever didn't break until Sunday night. It was basically medicine every 6 hours to keep his fever down. It spiked to 102° on Sunday night, but then Monday morning he was 100% better. Appetite was back and everything. Very odd.

Monday was no school, so I took the day off. We hung out at home, tried to clean things up and out a bit, ran errands, and headed to rehearsals for "A Christmas Carol." We have rehearsals 3 times a week until the first week of December. Then, it's time for the show. I have a feeling this is going to make time fly by.

In the meantime, we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Craig's birthday, work projects, position shifting at the office (retirement & new people), school being out, MCAD exams, then Christmas and the New Year. I would like to fit a vacation in there, lol! Maybe I should just ask for the two weeks Jack is out of school off right now. Hmmm.

Okay - time to get some more things done. Oh, and the squirrels have managed to eat both ears of Indian corn and 1/3 of our smaller pumpkin already in the 1.5 days they were sitting out. Man, those squirrels are notorious!

Thursday, October 02, 2003


I am trying to fight a cold (again). I had the oddest dream last night, and I woke before it could finish. I think the cats were running around crashing into things because there were two crazed kittens in my dream. ;-)

I am still excited about the Angel premiere. I knew I would have lots to scroll at the Barge this morning, and yeah, there were 4 pages to go through, lol.

Why is it so cold already? We have been below 60 (sometimes only hitting 50F) since the last week of September. That is way too early for this cold of weather! Argh.

I actually have a semi-slow day today. It's amazing.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Ahh, the Jossverse Continues

And tonight was the season 5 premiere of Angel. It was good. Quite a few laughs, great arcs being set up, liking the characters (new and old), and of course - they saved the best for last. You realize, Spike has had the best exit *and* entrance for 2 seasons now. Those being, his exit from Buffy Seasons 6 & 7, and his entrance in Buffy Season 7 and now Angel Season 5. What can we say, the guy knows how to make an entrance without "opening both doors everytime he enters a room." Ha!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Mike went ahead and accepted the blog invite to make updates to his site too, and his first post was to me and Lael. If anyone around (figuratively) here is sweet, it's him. ;-)

Lael - tell the guy in the lazy boy that I want a donut already! :-p

Monday, September 29, 2003

La Di Da

Well what do you know. It looks like I will be getting daily back-ups of my site from now on, whoo hoo! ;-) I really should be grateful for my web hosts, they work hard and give you lots of benefits for little dough.

On to the stuff everyone has been trying to get at all along, CoRo clips. These are from the web cast of the Bitter End show on September 18, 2003. Right-click and save-as please.

Gone Dyin'
Sit Down
Everything Under the Sun
The First Time
Saddest Situation

After that, the quality just got really, really bad. Or, I should say, worse than these. I tried my best to salvage them, but you can only do so much with what you start off with.

Here's hoping I don't have to redo my site (again) anytime soon. :-)

It's All in How You Play the Game

This was in an editorial column a while back in the Daily Illini, and I have been meaning to type in up because it summarized a lot of things I feel about people in general.

Richmond, Rachel, "Learning to Play the Game," Daily Illini (24 September 2002), p. 11.

I don't think The Stones could have said it better when they wrote, "You can't always get what you want." Besides the fact that song is great, it holds such reality. We can't have everything the way we want it - that would be too perfect. If I had everything I wanted, I would be a hot lady with a diploma on my way to owning a magazine with money in the bank and a great house in the mountains. But instead I look like me. I'm still stuck in school, working at a restaurant, bringing in minimal funds and living in a crappy house in Lubbock, Texas. So much for glamour. But, I wasn't dealt the ideal hand.

Allow me to explain. See, everyone is dealt a hand of certain cards, and you can play them how you like. Some people sit out of the game and some can play all night. But, no matter how awful the hand is right now, it doesn't mean you are stuck with those cards forever. You can trade them for a better set and keep playing. You'll waste away the cards dealt to you if you keep wishing you had the ace of spades instead of the two of diamonds you are holding. Just deal with it.

I think I spent the first half of my life wishing I was someone that I wasn't, as a lot of people do. I always thought, "If I was just smarter" or "If I was just better looking" or "If I was better at this," then things would go my way. Little did I know that life is not supposed to go the way we want it to. Dumb kid. But, as a dumb kid, I was learning how to play the game.

My hand in the academic department has never been great - definitely more street smarts than book smarts. I'm awful with numbers. Let's just say math was never my strong point. I should've seen it coming in fourth grade when all my friends were in the smart math class. I was there for about a week until the teacher booted me out and I had to go to the "numerically challenged" class - basically math for dummies. I'm allowed to be politically incorrect about that class because I was in it. What a blow to my 10-year-old ego.

But I realized just because I would never be able to balance my checkbook without a calculator didn't mean I wasn't good at anything else. I can whip out a paper on anything in less than an hour, so I focused on that, as well as attending tutoring for math.

I was born with a speech impediment. Yeah, not being able to say your "r's" is real cute up until about third grade, especially with a name like Rachel Richmond. I had to leave class every day to attend a speech session - as if the math thing wasn't bad enough. But after three years, I kicked the problem and could speak beautifully. It just took a lot of work.

A big pet peeve of mine is when someone doesn't particularly care about a quality they have, yet think it's OK to complain about it constantly without even attempting to fix it. No, no, no. Nobody has a right to complain unless they have tried or are currently trying to fix it. A good friend of mine was a bit overweight and would always complain about it.

Finally I told him he was not allowed to utter any words about his dislike until he got off the couch and did something about it. He started running and is now at the ideal weight for him. He traded in that two of diamonds for the ace of spades. Good for him.

Everyone has weaknesses and everyone has strong points. Honestly, everyone is good at something. I used to work at an after-school program with children and caught one of them saying, "I'm not good at anything" out of pure frustration.

I told the kid that was not true and he was good at something. The kid told me I was stupid and didn't know what I was talking about. I punished him to a corner and thought to myself, "That kid is good at telling people off." Like I said, everyone is good at something.

Basically, you can't spend your entire life wishing you had something else, or looked like someone else, or were as good as something else. If you spend your life wishing for other things, you will end up unfulfilled and miserable.

Life is a trade-off. Some cards you hold are so great you shouldn't trade them for anything and some cards could go. It's all how you play the game. Focus on your good points and you bad points won't look so bad after all. Because "if you try sometime you might find you get what you need."

Rachel Richmond is a columnist for the University Daily at Texas Tech University.

You may be able to view the original article at the University Daily here.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Argh! Crazy Cat!!

Thyme just ran out the door, again! This cat is driving me nuts! For over a week now she has decided she needs to go outside! Jack wanted to give the mailman our mail, and so he ran out the door, and Thyme slipped through as the screen door was shuttting. Then, she skitted around, went into the backyard, decided to chase some squirrels - thank goodness she didn't go into the field behind our house - and then came back to the tree where I could snag her by the scruff.

The little minx! Argh!

Chilly Weekend

Things are cooling off here for the fall. Yesterday we had some pretty big storms roll through in the evening, and it is very breezy today. I took Thursday and Friday off as rest days (although I did lift weights on Thursday), and today I am doing the 3 miles of Week 1 (Sat.). So far I got in 1.5 miles, so I need to make up the other 1.5 miles. Although, it would be nice to do all 3 miles at the same time, it's called "keeping Jack occupied long enough." ;-)

Off to run errands!

Friday, September 26, 2003

Field trips are interesting

We had early dismissal and a field trip with the after school program yesterday. They decided to take them bowling - 60-80 kids with about 6-8 adults (at first), me included. That was just crazy! We ended up going back to the school after about 45 minutes of bowling because the leaders were tired of the kids running around, doing stuff they weren't supposed to be doing, and basically being animals.

Then there was an incident on the school bus between two first grade boys and Jack. *sigh* I swear. So, we get back to the school, and they have another 15 minutes of sitting in the bleachers to listen to the director of the program talking at them, head outside, and all of a sudden it's almost 5 o'clock, so Jack and I had to hurry over to Urbana. I had a 5 o'clock appointment w/ Kim who's been cutting my hair for a while now. She relocated, and we hadn't seen her all summer, so I didn't want to cancel on her.

Then, we had to rush back to school because it was open house from 6-8pm. I finally met a few of the other parents in Jack's class. They performed a fall rap on stage. One of the 4th or 5th grade girls hammed it up on stage when it was her turn. She has actress or stand-up comedian written all over her to have that much presence at age 10.

Jack totally crashed when we got home even though he was still pretty crazed from being around his friends so late. He even crawled into bed with me at some point in the wee hours of the morning and crashed there until I woke him at 7:30am. We had to get moving or we would be late.

Work is finally over this week. I am feeling very tired from all the personal issues and such getting tossed around in here. However, Phil and I went to lunch today and got to talk - we hadn't done that in a while, and I think he's settling in more now. More confidence and such about how he does his job and just handles himself. This is a good thing. He tried to talk to me about dating on the way back - we had gotten off on a segway because of someone else we work with, Marty - and then he spilled his dating laundry, so I told him "That's why I am more selective." *lol* He's an orange, likes the variety. I'm a Taurus, I like to be picky and specific. ;-)

Ack, looks like rain. Just in time for me to walk to my car too almost. Oh well. There's an umbrella right there. Hopefully Jack had a good day ... we need to make plans for the weekend, although if it rains the whole time, I have no idea what they will be....

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I'm a little bit crazy ...

... but I've been toying with the idea of training for a marathon for a while now. I've only done 5ks, but I think I would like the challenge of it.

Mileage Buildup Schedule (Schedule I)
Week# Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Total
1 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 14
2 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 15
3 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 16
4 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 12
5 5 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 17
6 6 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 18
7 6 Rest 3 4 3 Rest 4 20
8 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 Rest 3 13
9 7 Rest 3 5 4 Rest 3 22
10 7 Rest 4 5 4 Rest 4 24
11 8 Rest 4 6 4 Rest 4 26
12 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 4 15
13 8 Rest 5 6 5 Rest 4 28
14 9 Rest 5 6 6 Rest 4 30
15 9 Rest 5 7 6 Rest 5 32
16 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 17
17 10 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 34
18 10 Rest 6 8 7 Rest 4 35
19 6 Rest 4 Rest 5 Rest 4 19

I may modify that if I find that I am not challenged by the shorter distance days. There is a second level schedule once I complete this one to build up to the even longer distances. I would like to run the marathon in Orlando in January, but I don't know if I can get ready in time.

So, let's see, today I ran 4 miles. That puts me on Week 1 (Thursday), so tomorrow instead of running the 4 miles, I will do my regular 1 miles to the gym, lift weights, then back again. The hardest part will be finding somewhere to run in the cold weather since they decided to tear up the track in the Armory. I don't know when it will be put back. Otherwise, I have to get up to Kenney Gym (1 mile), use that indoor track, and then get back again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Happy Tuesday

Although ... it's not a new Buffy Tuesday. No more of those ever. :-(

This weekend was a good one. We had a rough start on Saturday morning due to an argument between Jack and dental hygiene, but eventually things smoothed out. We had to run some errands, and then go to a neighbor's birthday party. That was a good time. Lots of family and friends - he is from Somoa, so his best friend from Somoa was there too.

Jack managed to get a scratched face and a cut on his eyelid from the dog though. Then, last night he got his arm in Max's mouth and was upset over that. He is a walking tragedy this month. I am beginning to see why they invented kid-sized bubble containers. Sheesh.

Sunday was just gorgeous. We spent most of it outside - of and on taking care of the yard and playing with the neighbor's grandkids.

Oh! Thyme, the cat we've only had for 1 year now (in November) decided she wanted to be an outside kitty this week. She managed to squeeze out the screen door before it was closed all the way three times! The last time was Monday morning, and it was rainy, we were heading to the car, so I told her "Go have fun being an outside cat!" Yeah right.

And guess who was huddling in the highest point of the corner of the garage when we got home? Yep. Big scaredy cat.

Time to get some work done. Focus. Someone else I know was mentioning focus in the workplace. I need some of that too today. Argh.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

And so it begins

The first round of school-year colds is threatening. I don't appreciate it. ;-)

Work has dragged today. Mainly because I don't feel 100%. There was cheesecake at lunch though, so that made it better. :-p

Only another hour or so before I can head home. I feel like a movie tonight. Oh, it's just about the last night for Angel reruns just about. I keep forgetting to watch. Only 2 more weeks til the premiere. Whoo!

Back to work ...

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Yelling, chopping, lifting, oh my

So, it appears that a little bug is going around. I was told quite a few of the kids in class today took naps when they don't usually, and one boy got phsyically sick. Rats. I don't want Jack to get sick this soon into the school year. He had some yelling issues today too, so I don't think he is taking the change as well as I thought at first - or - they were all just a little bit grumpy/sickly today and got on eachother's nerves.

I read them the fire fighter story this morning though, and they listened really well. Apparently, someone pulled a fire alarm today too, so they got to go through the drill, see the firemen, and the policemen come. Mrs. C spent some time talking about why that is not a safe thing to do - fake a fire alarm - and I mentioned that Jack and I had been discussing "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" over the weekend too.

Tonight we spent all evening dragging sticks and branches from our yard and our neighbors yard into their front yard. They rented a chipper, so we were all using it. They had a ton of stuff! Our pile was only about the size of a small bonfire or really big campfire. They had enough to fill the back of a pickup truck - overflowing. But, now we have some nice mulch for the flowerbeds. :-)

Jack's pet caterpillar was not in his box when we got home, so I think he escaped out the window, lol. I tried to tell Jack that he let the plastic cover get too loose, but oh well. I just hope he isn't wandering around the house somewhere.

When I picked Jack up today, he decided he needed to spin around, fall down, and bang his head on one of the chairs in the cafeteria. He had an instant lump pop out of his forehead. Argh. And of course, the office still had no ice packs and no ice in the lounge freezer. Grr. They don't have a school nurse hired yet either. Now that Jack has hurt himself twice in one week, it is starting to bother me.

Work was interesting today. We had a couple of meetings this morning, and everyone seems a bit stressed. I feel like my role in the project management is rubbing people the wrong way - only sometimes, and only certain people, but I don't know if it is a workload thing or me. I've barely begun with the management, so I am going to vote for "workload" for now. :-p

I went for my jog and lifted weights at Kenney today. That was good. I hate going to lunch with everyone else because the food - while good at times - is just not good for you. They don't call it the Freshman 15 because you sleep 15 hours (through your classes). I love lifting weights, and I haven't had a chance to do that since pretty much Lake Street when we had that bench/machine in the garage. Once I get my garage redone, I will probably set up part of that with a bench.

Add that to the never ending list of things I want to do with the house.

Okay, tired now. So, I'd better head to bed before I find something else to fiddle with.

Friday, September 12, 2003

I Spy - Now in Spanish!

The kids were asking where I was this morning. "Where's Jack's mom?" :-) That makes you feel good, you know? We weren't running that late - I think we got to his room at about 7:55am, but most of the kids were already there.

I introduced a bit of Spanish to them the other day, just saying "Adios" when I left instead of "Bye." So this morning, the boys were playing with the dinosaurs, and I asked them if they wanted to hear the Spanish colors today. M was interested, so I told him 5-6 of the basic ones, and then said "I Spy ..." a few times to help him make a game out of it.

I think the class will do great - as long as Mrs. C can keep up with their energy. Ooh boy, some of those boys, lol.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

So Once Upon a Time ...

A blonde "guy" stole this winnebago, and then I had to get a lame web host and lose a month or two of updates. Argh.

But! I have not despaired entirely since I now have my shiny, new hosting, and my blog seems to be cooperating. Yay!

So let's see - where do I start. How about August.

Early August was spent one weekend in Florida, one was at home, then there was the family reunion up by Peoria, and I think that left one weekend for the SweetCorn festival here in town before Kindergarten started.

Florida was nice. We only had a quick weekend trip because I am not supposed to take vacation in August. It was Bill & Nita's 50th wedding anniversary, and they were kind enough to include Jack and I in the celebrations, so we made the trip down there. It had been since May that we'd last seen Rose, so it was great to spend even just those few days there visiting with her and the rest of her family.

Our reunion was just fine. Amazingly, it was not a scorcher, there was a nice breeze, and plenty of activity on the Illinois River to keep the kids entertained. Aimée and Craig weren't able to come this year though. Grandma also didn't make it because she was still recovering from a chest type cold from her trip up through Canada with Uncle Frank I think.

We also had a house-warming party to attend for Phil and Cristina. They bought a house in the new subdivision that was built behind our old duplex neighborhood in Urbana. She had tons of family there, and Phil's mom even came up from Florida.

Jack started school at Stratton on the 28th. We were able to meet his teacher ahead of time at Teacher's Night, and she scheduled brief meetings with parents as well the Tuesday before classes. So far things are going really well. I think she and I are similar enough in our teaching ideas that there shouldn't be any clashes, and all of the kids in Jack's class seem genuinely nice - if a little bit rambunctious now that they are settled in - but no more so than any of his classmates from Marilyn Queller.

There are only supposed to be 16 kids in his class, but even now after two full weeks of school, I have only met about 10 of them. Jack's teacher said that some just don't come or only come late in the afternoon. Very odd. The ones I have met though, I already have their names down, and they have played the "No, what's your real name?" game with me a few times, too.

Jack had his visit with the Enrichment Specialist the other day, and it looks like she and his teacher are going to be pro-active with Jack (Yay!) and give him opportunities to do homework, extra activities, and projects with the bigger kids. I haven't had a sit-down chat with Ms. C yet, but she acknowledged that he is far enough ahead of the other kids that he needs to be doing more to keep him occupied.

This is a good thing too because he came home "bored" the first few days of the rule reciting. Then, about 1-2 days a week since then he has come home grumpy, and I think it is just out of boredom. The after-school program is there in the building, and that was chaos there for a while, so we went and had a talk w/ the Family Information Center. That helped a lot. Today Jack was still in the cafeteria with all the other kids, and they had them working on "homework." He was at a table with 3 older students doing a math activity, lol. Too funny.

Let's see. Work is work. My job description is changing in duties if not on paper. I will be taking on more project management type responsibilities now. We've had a pretty successful opening this semester, and the Dining reports have gone over well. We hit a few rough patches this week interpersonally, but I am hoping that will pass over.

I am looking forward to a vacation though, and I am hoping to take one soon. I would love to have a brief break before October hits because then Jack and I will be going to play rehearsals almost every night of the week. I have to plan for the days that school is out - I have winter break to think about - and I can't believe that will put us in 2004.

Today is the 2-year anniversary of September 11th. I was reading on the news that the tribute at Ground Zero had children reading the names of the people who died. I didn't think about it a lot today, but maybe because my morning started off with a lady calling in to a radio station talking about how her daughter was born that day. And, she tries to think of all the people who were born and the people who died, but she couldn't even get past her first couple of sentences without choking up. I didn't want to go through my whole day like that. Without realizing it this morning, I wore one of my red/white/blue shirts, and I had my bracelets from Jill on too. I had a good cry listening to the kids reading names tonight, and then I had a few chuckles at an editor's article on how he reacted on that morning in his apartment only two blocks away. I'm glad nothing has happened today to mar these rememberances.

One more thing - the book of the year that our director picked out is "Warriors Don't Cry." It is an accounting of the integration of Central High in Little Rock Arkansas by one of the girls from the "Little Rock Nine." I am only half-way through it, but I would highly recommend it to anyone. It is not a textbook - it is the telling from a 15-year old's perspective of her world. I shake my head reading it in some passages that people could have actually believed what they did and treated other humans the way they did - but then consider that it still happens today, somewhere, it does. And, we've just passed it right along to other "Different" folks. Why else would a Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender high school have existed in NYC? I think for our society today, we are at a strange mix of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the military and the segregation of the past. How hard is it to realize that this is the world we live in, and people are who they are? You can try to change systems, and governments, and rules - but you can't force people to change into what they aren't. Haven't we learned that yet with even the "simplest" of requests? Aren't women always accused of trying to "change a man," and men inform "us" that it can't be done? So, we can't change behaviors but we can change sexuality? Riighhht. Yeahhh. Makes all sorts of sense.

To quote our beloved werewolve from the Jossverse (that dwindles daily it feels like): "The kind that's not."

And with that, I must get out of here. I am sure I will think of 20 things I forgot to add the second I "ctrl-alt-delete-S."

Monday, September 08, 2003

A Brave New World

Woe is the condition of my poor little blog. I let it waste away while my hosting time expired at the other place, but now I have shiny new hosting that I *hopefully* will love. ;-)

Let's see if we can get this little train rolling without too many glitches .... Argh!! It was too much to hope for. :-(

Sunday, July 27, 2003

What a weekend. Work finished up with a bit of a bang. We had some demos that almost went kablooey, but otherwise fine. I have my two bigger projects due on Tuesay (although in a way end of business Monday).

Yesterday was the auditions for "A Christmas Carol." I will be excited to see which parts Jack and I get. We also went to the mall where MIX 94.5 was having auditions for a radio DJ contest they are having. I figure I have nothing to lose, and maybe I will get to spend some time in a job surrounded by music - a definite plus.

Today we went up to Gma's really quickly to celebrate Mom's birthday. We still had aunt Amy's present too. Michael is up visiting from Florida, so we got to spend a little time with him and uncle Dave.

It keeps looking like it's going to storm but then doesn't. I got all my chores accomplished yesterday. It's so nice to have the laundry taken care of and the lawns under control again. Apparently, glaring doesn't keep them from growing. Who would've figured. ;-)

Time for dinner then bedtime.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Long time coming ...

Okay, this is odd, so since my web host apparently decided to not allow passive FTPing, I can no longer use Blogger's automatic service to update my site. That truly bites. Because I thought *maybe* it was an error in Blogger's new system, I had been delaying updating. But no. It wasn't. And now I have to try and recall everything that's been going on since the 4th of July.

Let's see. Right after the 4th of July, Jack and I drove out to Pennsylvania to visit with Aimee, Craig, and Ethan at the new home. Driving out was pretty uneventful, but we left with the thunderstorms trailing us, so our night of camping out was rained out. I didn't mind the storms so much though because they cooled down the weather we had been having. We had gotten all the was to Washington, PA, and we finished up the drive the next morning.

We made it to Aimee's around 3pm and settled in just a bit before Ethan got up from his nap. Sunnybear was her usual self, and Duke was super friendly and very rambunctious. Jack loved playing with Duke. We tried to get Sunny to be friendly, but even though she remembered me after a while, she wasn't having any of Jack. That's okay though. Jack was able to keep himself occupied.

We spent most of our days just passing the time. We went to the park, took walks, and played inside. The neighborhood is really nice and cozy. An older area with hilly streets and a park nearby. There was a belated 4th of July type celebration by the park with a carnival and fireworks. Jack and I did the giant slide again, and he did some rides by himself too. :-) Aimee and Ethan did the giant slide twice. Ethan wasn't too comfortable with any of the other rides though, and that was okay. I don't remember how old Jack was before he did the little rides by himself, but I am pretty sure none of them were more than the shopping mall train types.

The day before we left, we went to the swimming pool that is also right by their house. It is a very cool old structure. The pool is immense. I jumped off the diving boards twice so Jack could see me go in the deep end. He was very brave wading around in the shallow end all by himself (floaties on of course), while we watched from a distance on the towels. It was nice to get in a little swimming practice for once.

We headed back on Sunday morning, and I was eager to get home, so we decided to forego camping this time and head straight through. Of course, someone in Ohio decided we really didn't mean that and had an accident about 20 miles from Indiana. It stopped traffic for about 5 miles in each direction. Of course, we didn't know this until traffic started moving again .... 1.5 hours later! We would've been home at 9pm, but now we wouldn't get home until closer to 11pm, so I found a campground across the IN border and we camped. Not too exciting, but we still did it.

The cats were excited to see us of course. I spent quite a while cleaning up, getting things situated, and Jack spent all day (we got home around 10am) building a "volcano" in his room. I think he really missed having his isolated play time. Not once did I hear a moaning voice asking me to come help him. His creation turned out quite well too. We took a picture of it, and it was his show and tell at school later that week too.

Phew! Okay, so that brings us up to July 15th roughly. Now what?

Work for me has been going well. We have this pretty big project with Dining once again this year. They are completely changing the meal plans offered, so all the systems in the Dining halls have to be reworked, all the reporting (which I am in charge of), and all the database things too. I sound so knowledgeable; "things." *lol* We have some deadlines coming up actually this week for demos and training. Phil, Becky, and I have been in charge of developing a testing plan too so that we can go through as many scenarios as possible to find glitches. Luckily, we haven't discovered too many. Of course, I say luckily because I take this to mean things are working, not that the glitches are just hard to find. ;-)

We just had our mid-year evaluations (after having "practice" ones in March). Mine went really well, again. It's funny because 1) my supervisor and I almost always put the exact same things down on the sheet, and 2) the big topic she brought up with me was something Katrina had just talked to me about in LA over the weekend.

What is this LA stuff I am talking about? Oh, I am getting there. So, July 18th is rapidly approaching, and Common Rotation has a double line up for that weekend. Lots of my CR friends are going to be there, and I really wanted to be there too since I missed out on the GA show. After much debating, begging a little for a day off of work (then finding out I could've taken more, grr), I decide to just go. I get my tickets, book my flights, bed Lael for a place to crash (I am doing this begging thing pretty well apparently), and head out. Of course, Jack stayed with Mom and had a great time too.

Thunderstorms decided to try and ruin my flights out on Friday morning, but my connection flight in Chicago had 2 hours to spare, so even with the 30 minute delay, I was very early. In fact, a flight scheduled to leave 40 minutes before mine was boarding at the same time as I was. I had a very chit-chatting seatmate, which was pretty okay. I learned about a book I want to read called "The Way of All Flesh." It should be interesting. I've already requested a copy from the library.

The flight arrived early at LAX, and Katrina was waiting for me when I got to the baggage area. :-) It was so nice of her to pick me up because Lael didn't get off work in time. We headed straight out to get to her place. We were going to meet up with everyone else later on at the venue. After saying hi to Mike, seeing a bit of their house, and then taking a walk around the neighborhood, we got ready and went to the Knitting Factory. Briel was already there, and soon we found Lael and AJ. Aimer, Cece, and Craig showed up soon after from Aimer's play around the corner. Gwen made it too. And Holly was there with friends from New York. So was Irish, Allie, and some others. I said a lot of friends were going to be there, no?

The night began with much standing around. The show was supposed to start at 11pm, but we were only allowed to make our line inside at that time. I think we were finally in the room and waiting more at midnight. The band came on a little after that. Yay! An example of how great the guys in this band are; they came out and played a song for the people waiting outside when they found out how long we'd be there. Adam, Eric, and Mike gave us a little taste with "Gone Dyin'." Set list:

Princess of Venice (All Night Rave) (Eric)
? (Eric & Matt) - Matt is Matt Young from Captain Genius
Hollywood (band)
Offstage Lines (Jordan) - Jordan Katz on trumpet from Rainbow Trout
Rebirth of Slick - Adam, Eric, and Ken rapped
D.A.V.E. - stands for "Did a Verse End"
Answering Machine
Prime Time - Jack's current favorite off of "The Big Fear"
Belfast - a Union Maid song
Let's Go For a Drive (Matt) - A Captain Genius song
Oklahoma (Adam, Eric, Jordan)
Pretty Lights (band)
American Music (Adam, Eric, Matt)

That night totally rocked! Lael got to hear "Lena" which she's been dying to hear, and we got to hear lots of the songs accompanied by Jordan. I love when they have the horn section added to the live show. Best of all, it didn't seem to fly by like it usually does after that long wait, and still we wouldn't have minded a little more. After the show was over, we got to say hi to some of the guys. I had made 3 copies of the CR portion of the Chicago PBfP from last year for Ken, Adam, and Eric. I gave them to Matt Busch ahead of time though just in case the guys dashed off afterwards. Once the crowd was starting to disperse a bit, Lael, AJ, and I headed out to Starbucks; a tradition of sorts for them and now me. :-)

By the time we made it back to Lael's it was 4am-ish, and I think we finally hit the sack at 5am. Unfortunately for me, my body really doesn't like sleeping very late anymore, so I was wide awake at 9am. I struggled to stay asleep that late too. So, I got up and went for my morning jog ... although it was more of a walk this time. I was way too tired to be very "tough it out" mode. I got back and read a little, then decided to lay by the pool a bit, then was back inside to read and try to nap. We were approaching noon-1pm time, and Cece called about going to the beach, but I had just hit that sleepy point, so I begged off. Lael was still sleeping meanwhile, lol.

I think we finally made it out of the apartment around 2pm to run errands and just hang about. We had some food, poked around clothing stores, let Lael swoon over would-be Snape action figures, and then headed back to her place. We got ready for the gig and moved on out. Katrina had called to say she might make it again this night even though she had another early morning gig herself, so we were super surprised when she did show up! It was great. Even more people were there on Saturday (although technically, both shows were sold out, so the number or people would be the same), and we had put names to faces from Friday too.

I saw an actor who also has a band that I've seen in Roswell and Dawson's Creek. That was pretty neat, but no one else knew him from the shows. We spent a good 2 hours standing in line again, only this time they kept us outside for which we should be grateful given how warm it had gotten inside before, but honestly, the show starting ON TIME would've be the best. Oh, and some guy named Stephan (Stef-on) asked me if I needed a date for the night (I think he worked at the KF or was with a band), lol, and I said 'no' since I lived in Illinois. To which he informed he that he is writing a song about Illinois called "IL boy with CA boots." Yeaahhhh, o-kay. ;-)

The set list for the night:

The One I Left Behind (Eric)
? Eric & Pink (aka Sarah Beck)
Union Dues (A & E)
More Complex Than It Sounds (Band)
Don't Let's Start
Rock Star
Gone Dyin'
Indie Rockin'
Under The Sun
Savior > Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Horns)
What We Have Now (Horns)
Sit Down (Horns)
God Will (P)
Borderline (Horns)
More Than Once
First Time
Crowd & I

God Will was great. So was Pawn. I had never heard that before. Aaron Kaplan (Jordan's cousin, also of Rainbow Trout) was in on the game tonight on sax. That was great. Love it. Afterwards, Adam had split apparently, but Gwen wanted to stick around (not knowing this) to give him a present, so even thought the gig was over around 1:30am, we were still there a little past 2am. Lael and I finally decided we'd had enough and took off. We'd told AJ we would pick him up sometime around 1:30am because we thought the gig would get over at 1am. Eventually, we all reconvened at Starbucks again. I think their caffeine is defective though because it did nothing to make me more awake.

We went straight to LAX from there since my flight home was at 7am. Oddly enough, wearing almost the exact same outfit as on my way to LA, I set the metal detector off in LAX whereas I did NOT in SPI. Makes me think they have someone behind a window just buzzing at random. ;-) Got some food and drink and settled in to wait. Boarded, napped a bit, noticed that we took off a few minutes behind schedule and started worrying. My flight in Chicago did not have nearly as much time as on the way out. We landed about 20 minutes later than we should have - giving me about 10 minutes to get to the gate before boarding time. I had to go from C17 to F6. Now, they have diagrams in the backs of those magazines, but I say they should start adding distances because I am no slow walker (ask Phil, Jack, or anyone else who knows me, lol), and it still took me at least 5 minutes to get there.

But, I made it. Even had time to stop and breath. Finally, the last leg of my trip. Home to Springfield and hot, muggy weather. Home to Mom's and a brief nap before Jack is up from his (non)nap. Then dinner, packing, and driving home to the cats.

There. That gets us to Sunday. Today is Wednesday. And I am still tired. I don't think I have forgotten anything too big. Oh! Yesterday was Mom's birthday. Happy Birthday! She got flowers (purple of course) and a voicemail song from Jack and I. We also have her present all wrapped for the birthday celebration this Sunday. Jack is making a project as well. He took a his pictures from the disposable camera he used at Grandma's this weekend for show and tell today. There were about 10 pictures of her backyard of the 15 in the camera, lol. Two of Mom that I recall, and 1 that he took of himself. :-)

Okay - now that's really it! Right?




Saturday, July 05, 2003

Happy 4th of July!

Yay for the 4th of July! Jack and I had a great time, even though it was easily the hottest day so far this year. We spent a lot of the morning inside cleaning up around the house. I am trying to reduce clutter. We left in time to get to the parade route for the parade that was supposed to start at 1pm, but it still hadn't gotten to us at 1:25pm. But, once it did arrive, it was a great show. We stuck it out until 2:30pm, and then finally called it quits. It was over 100F with the heat index. Phew!

The rest of the afternoon, we tried to cool off before heading back out to campus for the fireworks show. We got to the field by the stadium around 6pm, and a live band was set up to play for everyone until dark. They had lots of vendors, air-filled games, and such going on, but mostly Jack and I danced. A local photographer was there snapping shots, and he emailed me the ones he took of Jack and I.

Okay, it's still way too hot here. Ugh.

Friday, June 27, 2003

You know what I love about the Buffyverse? The diverse fan base. It's amazing. Young to old, across many countries, and all the lifestyles/occupations you can imagine. One fellow Bronzer I have never met, even though he lives in Indiana, not too far from me, just got published. This is so exciting to me! I can remember when he was talking about writing his book back on the Linear board at UPN. Sometime before it got shut down, I recall the conversation he had w/ another Bronzer about beta reading it for him. Now, months later, he delivers the news that a publisher is interested in it. Fantastic!

It takes a while longer, a web site is made, and he has the ISBN! Having worked in a library and often researching books online, I know all about ISBNs, and we share a little giddy post back and forth about how that makes it seem so official even though he doesn't have the printed copy in his hands yet. And now, it's so official, it's for sale! We constantly tease him that he is going to have to visit all of our home towns for a book signing because it's just no good if it's not signed. ;-)

And some day, we can say we knew him when.

So, if you like a bit of suspense, a bit of a scare, please check it out. Here is a little blurb from his site and email:

THE WIDE GAME by Michael West

On the advice of his wife, Paul Rice is making plans to attend his 10th year high school reunion. Returning to his boyhood home of Harmony, Indiana, he finds that he is still haunted by memories of that time-memories of Deidra, his first love, and memories of the Wide Game. It was ten years ago that Paul and his friends watched their day of fun become a race for their lives, a fight for their very souls. Now, as he meets the survivors of that day once more, Paul makes a chilling discovery: the incomprehensible forces that toyed with them have yet to finish playing their own game.

"Thrilling, exhilarating, fast-paced and ferocious, The Wide Game delivers the goods. It's The Breakfast Club meets The Blair Witch Project. It still haunts me!" -Marc Morriston, WTTV Indianapolis

I will certainly be taking the time to pick it up. You can order it from his web site, PublishAmerica, or any book store if you give them the ISBN: 1-59286-072-9.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this. If you get the book and read it, feel free to post a review about it on my site. I will be sure to get it to Michael! Thanks! : )