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Friday, February 20, 2015

Drama and Music and Plays (Oh My)

Much drama - and not the adolescent kind, except as below - this week.

First of all, this was our week for our annual play with me, my dad, and my sibling. My brother was sick, so my stepmother came instead, and my sister felt ill by intermission, so it was... odd. Not bad, of course, but different from how it's meant to be. And as the play we saw was Carousel, I had to keep reminding myself of the time in which it was set (about a hundred years ago) and the time in which it was written (about sixty years ago). These combined to cause some values dissonance, and I had a bit of trouble with that.

We discussed it a bit during intermission, and I realized that the reason that kind of sexism and abuse doesn't bother me as much in other offerings from Broadway is because those are set in a culture that is not my own (I'm thinking things like Fiddler on the Roof or The King and I or even Kiss Me Kate). The gist of all this is that I had to keep reminding myself that these days, Carousel is a period piece.

It felt weird.

It is also a little weird that Abby is playing Lady MacB- in The Scottish Play. Well, in a preadolescent-friendly fifteen-minute version of the play in any case. Which means that - as a child who loves her some NuWho, and whose mother has explained that Alex Kingston (River Song in Who) has played Lady MacB- professionally - Abby is channeling her inner River Song into the role. It's both cute and scary, and it was probably not helped much by my suggestion that we listen to March of Cambreadth in the car... just to get into the Angry Scotswoman mindset, you understand.

She is also the Gatekeeper in The Ozzard of Wiz. The performance is this afternoon and I'll check  back in then.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sometimes You Just Have to Have Fun

And today that's exactly what Lizzy (7) and I did.

You see, it's midwinter break in our school district, and Leanna's at her mom's and Abby is in a day camp for drama (at this cool place, where she immediately made a favorable impression on the instructor by wearing a Doctor Who T-shirt).

So Lizzy and I have some alone time, which is nice, because that's usually limited to a half hour or so before bed.

It's 2:30 PM as I write this, and so far we have:

  • dropped Abby off at camp 
  • bought four books at Barnes & Noble; she really likes the Ivy + Bean books, which were recommended by a children's librarian for her last week. Abby liked them in a vague sort of way when she was eight or nine, but not well enough to buy them. Lizzy enjoyed the first one we got at the library so much that we had to go out and get them. Half Price Books next time though.
  • went to the LEGO store and made three minifigs we made to look as much like the cast of The
    Magic Tree House books as possible, given that they had neither "Camelot clothes" for Kathleen (we put her in a breastplate and equipped her with a shield), nor blonde pigtails for Annie (one long brown one was available) Jack has overalls and a pair of binoculars, which we think is appropriate to his character. We also bought a bucket of LEGO pieces with which - together with the ones we already own - we should be able to design and build a passable Tree and Tree House. We'll do that on Wednesday.
  • gotten the oil changed in my car.
  • had our nails done.
  • had lunch - Lizzy chose Mexican food.
  • gotten groceries delivered.
  • emptied, loaded, and run the dishwasher.
Next we plan to:
  • run to Grandma's to drop off a gift (it's her birthday)
  • pick Abby up
  • make dinner
  • do some laundry
  • pack a bag for the girls for tomorrow night, which they will spend at Grandma's (because there is the opportunity for much overtime with a call center down on the east coast? Something like that, and she wanted them to spend one night this week).
Tuesday I work. Wednesday I'll grab the girls from Grandma, take Abby to camp, and Lizzy & I shall veg all day and play with LEGO. Thursday I get to meet a dear friend I haven't seen in ages, and Thursday night is the annual musical theatre night with Dad and sibs. Friday there will be a performance at Abby's drama camp and then I take her to her dad's place.

Even vacation weeks are crazy busy; it's just kind of a slower pace.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's the Most Cookieful Time of the Year...

...or it will be in a few weeks.

But yes, cookies can be preordered now. If you're interested, please drop me a line at this link (unless you work with me or will otherwise see me in the intervening week or so).

A few crumbs (hah!) of news that Abby would like you to know:

  • Thin Mints are vegan
  • Do-si-dos and Tagalongs contain peanuts
  • Savannah Smiles may contain tree nuts (from the almond abstract extract)
  • Trefoils are excellent with jam... or chocolate syrup. Or both.
  • Samoas contain coconut
  • Rah Rah Raisin** cookies are oatmeal with raisins and Greek-yogurt chips
  • Toffeetastic** cookies are not available for preorder as they are in limited quantities. They are, however, gluten free.
All around the neighborhood streets,
The girl scouts sell their cookies,
Ringing doorbells, asking, "Please,
Please buy our cookies!"

**New flavors!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

And Now it's Real

As you may know, I graduated (with a nice solid B average) from the University of Phoenix last month; I am now a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a concentration in Intercultural Communication.

Commencement is not until May or so, but today it is real to me, because today we had a celebration, planned and hosted by my mom.

Now we have meals and celebrations at Mom's place all the time, for birthdays and other holidays and the like, and I have never been as waited-upon as I was this time. I assume this is because when we are celebrating - say - my birthday, it's not for anything I did... unless you count managing to stay alive until the next year. But this time the celebration was for an actual accomplishment, and I got pampered; usually I'm busy being the Mom and helping my own mom out in the kitchen, filling the kids' plates, juggling juice and milk... the usual Mom things.

So my mom and Lizzy and Abby set up Mom's place after a trip to Party City (which Lizzy says triumphantly to her father really is as good as the commercials say it is), and so there were banners and balloons and a nice celebratory lei. My sister and my niece brought a fruit plate and the cake, my father and stepmother brought a green salad (Dad's specialty), and mom cooked all my favorites: cold poached salmon, asparagus in an Asian-style sauce my family makes, and country potatoes.

Because they love me, and I am an Official Bachelor of Science. The Graduate. That's ME.

I also got a very inspiring card from my niece - she's five - upon which she used several Very Special Favorite Stickers (she loves rockets and aircraft, and from the looks of the card, Aunt Jenn will fly high!), and cards with more pampering possibilities from other people as well, aunts and uncles and friends-of-the-family-who-may-as-well-be-aunts.

Between those gifts and the gift card I got from the Hubs for Christmas, I have a heckuva Spa Day coming. That's what I asked for, when people inquired what I would like for Christmas and graduation - some pampering. Mom did it tonight, and other people are enabling more of it in the days to come.

And since I have several use-them-or-lose-them days off coming here - I earned them the last week of 2014 and they have to be used before the end of March - I'll have plenty of time to do that stuff, although tomorrow is reserved for errands because the kids don't have school. They were crazy-making by the end of the party - Lizzy went to bed late last night and was overtired; Abby is often cranky with her sister by Sunday - so hopefully after a good night's sleep they'll both be civilized human beings again. And then we can get our errands done, and Tuesday I can get them off to school and then have a little Me Time.

And everybody?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Overthinking It

Where "it" is just about everything.

I have been an overthinker since Day One, I still catch myself at it every day at work - just because the test question mentions that the scenario happens in December doesn't mean that I need to obsess over the date and whether it's a problem due to this holiday or that - and I come by it honestly (don't I, Mom and Dad?).

Abby is much the same, and this was soooooo obvious today.

She made some really good choices today, and one that made my mom and me laugh for a good several minutes.

So Lizzy still has a cold, and she was completely wiped out this morning. We thought she could make it to school though, until the last minute, and so I told Abby to scoot to the bus; I would take Lizzy to Grandma's and if Abby missed the bus I would swing by and take her to school.

I didn't see her when I passed the school bus stop.

And ten minutes later I got a call from Abby, 12, saying that Grandma was driving her to school. She had been at the bus stop, but in an obedient moment, not near enough to the street to be seen by a passing car.

Bad Mommy, bad.

But some really good choices on her part. She walked to Grandma's instead of panicking. She walked straight up there without indulging in distractions. She refused a ride from a neighbor because "he's not on my parent list for school."

I'm very proud; these are good, safe choices.

And then comes the funny, overthinking part.

She gets to school (thanks, Grandma!) and because she is late, has to sign in at the office. She's in sixth grade so she is considered old enough to sign herself in. She peruses the form, fills in the date and the time, tells them she brought her own lunch, and then sits for a bit, looking at the part of the form that says, "Reason for Tardy Arrival."

Eventually she looks up and asks the "office lady" if she can have more lines to write on.

I assume all they need at this point is "I missed the bus."

But thanks to the Overthinking Gene, Mom and Grandma got a chuckle, and all is well at Chez Gamers' Babes.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Today I learned,... January 2015 Edition

...Head colds cause Miz Liz to be even more hyper than usual... until she gets a fever and then she's all glassy-eyed and vague. And cranky, my Google, she's like a caricature of a grumpy child. But when she sucks her left thumb and uses her other hand to pinch my elbow, at seven years old, I know she feels rotten.

...Abby has a Berserk Button that means we must Beware the Nice Ones. And its name is Bacon. Do not ever - ever - attempt to steal a slice of bacon from her plate. Or she will commit hara-kiri just so she can come back and haunt you. Or at least smack your hands away from her plate.

...I am basically healthy, although apparently I should see a dermatologist regarding 46-year-old skin with sun damage. And possibly have a sleep study because, well, 46, overweight and Not Sleeping. I thought that would be mitigated when I finished school, but either I have sleep apnea or I am just unable to break the habit of staying up until all hours to study and then snacking to keep myself awake during the day.

...Phlebotomists can get a little strange about my easy, big, fat, O-negative veins. They were unsettlingly excited about how easy it is to draw blood from me. "All doctors are wampires," said Pavel Chekov. Sheesh.

...Every so often we find gold among the dross of Media Aimed at Tweens. Among all the stupid and mean-spirited (unless it is a Very Special Episode) fare found on Nickelodeon of the Disney Channel, we find something... sweet. Girl Meets World, for instance, or Dear Dumb Diary (look 'em up; they're really cute).

That's what I've got tonight, folks.