Friday, March 9, 2012

A Different Take On School Concerts

Now don't get me wrong, I love my children's school concerts.  Seriously, I would have to enjoy concerts after attending them for the last 19 years, or I would be even nuttier than my kids already think I am.  But since becoming a blogger I have discovered that I look at all of their activities completely different - with a more amused take on them.  I often find myself taking mental notes and then coming home and writing these notes on the programs before I sit down to blog about it.

But no more.  For now on I'll write the notes during the concert.  Why spend so much mental energy trying to remember what I want to write about?  


As I was getting ready to leave for the concert last night, I was brushing my teeth and India came into the bathroom to talk. I tipped my toothbrush and looked at it while it was still in my mouth and, in response to India's quizzical look, I said "I'm looking at the timer."  She asked me why I want to go to Ohio.  Close enough... If she were a dentist she would have understood me.

After heading out I decided I wanted the camera and we went back home to get it. 

Observation: Did'ja ever notice it's always the driver's side wiper that acts up first and it's always at eye level? 

As a result of going back for the camera, we got to school minutes before the concert was to begin.  The band was tuning up in the Gymnatorium (more and more people are calling it this as my kids make it go viral) and most of the crowd was seated.  India had run in earlier while Amanda and I were making our way in so we were greeted by India and Rachel (who shoved her little brother aside to hug me).  

While we were trying to decide where to sit,  the chorus director came up and told us he was in a tizzy because he had no one to run the camcorder.  Having raised my kids with a strong volunteering gene, I wasn't surprised when Amanda said she would do it. So, after quick instructions, Amanda was left to record the concert.

Something she was more than happy to do.

India and Rachel wanted me to sit with them in the front row but how could I move?  I had already experienced the kindness of some girls who, seeing me trying to figure out the route with the fewest bodies to climb to be near Amanda, stood up and motioned me to climb up by them.

And so it began in the typical school concert manner with people trying to decide whether or not they put their hand on their heart for the National Anthem.  

Once it was time to use the microphones, the normal crackling, popping and feed back began. No one even pays attention to it anymore. 

Before the Chamber Orchestra began, the director removed the bright yellow toque from the head of the bass player to the applause of the audience. 

On to chorus.  The music was wonderful and the kids did great but I have to make two observations: first of all, "The Joint is Jumping" is Swing, not Jazz.  Secondly, two words "Microphone Placement" - placing the microphones in front of the lesser singers distracts the audience from the over-all song and makes it so even the kindest, most understanding Mom has to fight back giggles. I'm not implying me, of course.  I would never giggle at anyone. *snicker*.
There are my girls!  With the combined Junior and Senior Choruses
Rachel is nestled in the middle to the left
While India is the vibrant redhead to the right.
The Senior Chorus
Lost in the vast expanse of the stage in our  Gymnatorium
Not bad for a 389 student, K-12 school.
One of the incredible things about my children's school is that a choice for second language is American Sign Language (India is fluent).  Here the chorus was singing selections from "Mr. Holland's Opus".  For those who don't remember, Glenn Holland was a wonderful Music Director with a deaf son. During the singing of "Beautiful Boy(Darling Boy)", two of the girls from the chorus signed the song. 
The camera caught them on the word "beautiful"

Rachel had a solo during "Haven't Met You Yet". She made me proud! Sorry about the camera jiggle.  It was making the weird movement so I moved it to the floor of the camera booth but the the jiggle seems to be in a pattern. Either it's a setting issue or my five year old camera is ready for retirement. 

India and me, snuggled during the band's touching rendition of
"It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday"
As the Band was closing the concert with "I'm a Believer", folks couldn't help but notice the boy on the timpani was really getting into the song.  Which made the audience really get into it too. Happiness is contagious, you know.

After picking on the chorus director and thoroughly embarrassing his daughter in the process, we headed home.  Too bad I can't embarrass my kids, but they are just as odd as I am. I'm hoping if Rachel spends more time at our house she will become one of us. Mwahahahaha!!!

It was the usual car ride, loud music (Hey, I've got awesome Bose speakers in my van - feel the bass!) and lots of singing.  My brake light went out for the first time since my brake rebuild last summer, which totally messed with my mind.  But then it came back on and life was normal again.  Then there was that sudden 6 inch jerk to the right as we drove down the road but we decided it must have been a random wind-gust or a puddle from the earlier light rain. After about 15 minutes I remembered what I was saying before I noticed the odd brake light fluctuation that messed me up, and so I just carried on the conversation like I never left it, to the confusion of the girls. But they should expect this from me by now.

And who put this snow on my lawn while I was gone?????  It's Spring, for God's sake!!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life Goes On

This post is in response to the following prompt from Write On Edge:
One person’s Humpty Dumpty is another person’s omelet. In 400 words or less, write about a time when something was irrecoverably broken and the ensuing scramble.

How do I narrow the many trips and falls of my life down to 400 words?  I've been thinking about this for a couple of days now but left myself only 12 hours to decide and complete the assignment.  I guess the life-changing event would be the moment that began the downward spiral of my life. The topic decided, now to use only 400 words.  That will be the challenging part for this Irish girl, for my love of talking isn't limited to speech.  So here goes...

I had already been through the family drama surrounding the death of my Dad.  The most beloved person in my life.  Less than two years later I faced the death of my Mom.  A woman I had only in the last few years realized how badly I needed. Her death was lingering for those living in the same country, for me, on Guam it was sudden.  I wasn't told of her illness until it was too late.  I wrote Mom a loving letter that she never received because of the greed of others.  I made it home to bury her but was blacklisted by my own family.

I spent the next year working with an attorney to get what was mine, items stored there and items given to me in the final division of property. My marriage began falling apart but I didn't see it through my own pain.  His Mom and I were never close. College degrees were important to her and I had dropped out.  But one day she saw enough and held me, telling me "Grieve Dammit!" I fought her to get away until the tears began, and then I clung  to her like a child.

My marriage to her son ended and I walked away with nothing but our son, his sister and his Mom.  He took everything as his new wife continues to taunt me on all she has gained.

In my need to feel wanted I ended up terrified and abused in a marriage to the cruelest man I had ever met. A man who continues to be cruel years after I escaped.  Eventually, I was able to get away but ended up financially trapped as a live-in employee to a man who only cared about himself.  A man who can't accept his loss of control over me.

When that charade ended, I began my new life.  A life where I can focus on my children without a man distracting me.  I no longer feel the need to have a man in my life. I am blessed to have found the man I want to be with.

Through it all, my "mom" has always been there, by my side, offering support - and love.  Despite those from my past who continue to try to destroy my happiness, I have found it at last and no one will take that from me.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hush-up Groundhog! Spring is here!

Has that woodchuck ever lied to us?  When doesn't he?  He tells us Winter is over and we get two more months and three feet of snow.  He tells us Spring is a long way off and there's nary any snow.

This year isn't any different.  Old Phil was taken from his comfortable home in the library where he lives in semi-retirement with his wife Phyllis. (Do you think I make this up?  Google it, you'll be amused.)  His "handlers" - or as I prefer to call them "chimney sweeps" - put him in his stage prop stump, haul him out to the early morning chill and hold him up on display to the drunken crowd.  Hey, anything is a good reason to get drunk - right?  Seeing a woodchuck is as good a reason as any.

Supposedly, in that dark, dreary morning - amid hundreds of spotlights and camera flashes Phil saw his shadow.  

Well, duh!  

So anyway, we are left dreading another six weeks of winter.  So they think.  For starters, around here this is called "The Winter That Wasn't".  It's been warm and rainy more than anything.  Spring is here and I'll tell you how I know.

Here in the wine country of Lake Erie, 100+ miles north of Old Phil, we don't take directions from rodents.  If we did than Yuki and Nerf would get a lot more say around here.
Meet Yuki and Nerf and my "daughter" Rachel
No. Around here we take direction from the geese.  They are the first sign of Spring in these parts and as soon as they arrive we know warmer weather isn't far behind.  Guess what day the first geese arrived this year.

Come one guess.

That's right!  Ground Hog Day!  And why did the geese choose this day to arrive?  Because they are in full agreement and don't take weather advise from an animal that in normal conditions lives underground. Of course you remember that Phil himself doesn't live underground, he's too high and mighty and, being an avid reader, prefers to dwell in a library.


I like his thinking...

But I digress....

So Amanda had an assignment for Photography.  She had to go out and catch nature, and it's natural lighting.  It was challenging considering it's been raining for a few days now but I found this on the camera.  It's the pond in the field next to our property.

Another photo Amanda took of what we call "Dave's Pond". Dave lives in town and owns the land this pond sits on.  When he bought it from another neighbour, who once lived in our home, he assured her he would never develop the land.  Dave told us he is stocking the pond and by next summer the boys should be able to fish in there. 

Yippee! I wonder who gets to clean the fish...

Beautiful shot, Amanda.

The pond had some ice framing the edges but was mostly open.  It's been like that most of the winter. Freezing and thawing, depending on the temperatures, all season.  

Kind of like we were.

The second sign of Spring?

Lookie what I found popping up outside my home.  

I first saw it yesterday when I was hooking dogs out but, unlike Amanda, I didn't want to go outside to take pictures.  So I waited until this morning, when it was a sleety rain.  Heck ya!  Why brave the rain when you can face the sleet?
Daffodils peeking up
 Some plants are braver than others and want to come up as soon as they can.  What's a little snow between friends?
Daylilies eager to make a showing
 Lest we forget.  Our early "warning" system.  The lawn is covered in these little beauties.
Snow Crocuses.  The name couldn't be more appropriate.
Forget woodchucks.  Let them sleep - or read, whatever it is Phil and Phyllis do in their spare time.  We'll keep on using the real signs of Spring... nature.  

We don't have to be drunk to understand the message either.