Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Resolutions for 2010

The season is upon us now, the time for gifts and giving...and as the year draws to a close, I think about my living..."

So I have some resolutions this year.  I see, in my Draft folder from last year, that I belated came up with a few, but never published them.  This year, what I can do to be a better person, a better citizen of the community I live in, of the World, jumps out at me like the jack-in-the box in "Elf".

1)  To pay more attention to family, spend more time at home.  After all, these are the only kids I will ever have.  My husband is my one and only.  Everyone who knows me will agree with this one, I'm sure.
2)  Spend more time alone, listening to myself, and the wee small voice that guides me.
3)  Love more.  Don't know if this is possible.  I love an awful lot, but I can sure try.
4)  Be more creative.  I know what you're thinking...but so often, I think of creative things I'd like to make--sewing, crafts, beadwork, photography...and as we all know, EVERYTHING takes a back seat to theatre.  Not that that's a bad thing, but...I guess this fits in to trying to make more 'me' time.
5)  Try to maintain a company-ready house.  Ha.
6)  Connect more with my far-away family.  That means, you, Diane, Andy, cousins, and Uncle.
7)  To try to fight the darkness more, not give in so much.  I am the least of those with reason to be blue about anything, and on good days, I know that.  I will think less, "Well, this is how I am," and think more of 1001 reasons to have a GOOD day.
8)  READ more.  I get depressed hearing about other people reading.  I used to have a book in my hand constantly.  Nowadays, it's always a script.  Again, not that that's such a bad thing, but...there's more out there than theatre.
9) Pay more attention to the Gallery.  'Nuff said.

Nine.  Good grief.  I need to print these out and post them everywhere to remind me.  I WILL see them through.  Check back with me on December 31, 2010.  We'll see how I did...


Friday, December 25, 2009

"What day is it?'s Christmas Day, of course!"

For a family that has spent a lot of time saying 'no' over the past year, there was certainly a lot of 'yes' on Christmas morning...  

My son and my husband are TOTALLY enthralled with Beatles Rock Band, which we, mentioned to Santa, way back in October.  Charlie, whose mother (me) spends a good deal of her 'yell time' decrying the effect of electronic entertainment on the lives of the family and the development of her children, never expected such a bonus under the tree this morning, but...well, what can I say...that was some pretty effective marketing out there--the commercials and all.  John can't take his eyes off the screen--the graphics, the animation.  Pretty amazing stuff.

Ben is happy with his Bakugan, a new Yugioh tin of cards, his HeroClix, and a new Interwrite drawing tablet (from Hudson!).

John was surprised with a camera, a hard drive (to back up his novel), a new toaster, a whistling teapot (a sound that's been missing from our house for 20 years....), and a Memory Foam mattress pad like the one Janet has.  (Yay!)

The house is filled with the smell of good burning wood courtesy of our poorly designed chimney.  Charlie is distressed about replacing the toaster because the toaster we have now is the same toaster they used in "Ghostbusters II" to 'toast the slime' (or something).  I promised him that we would decommission the toaster from toasting, but would relegate it to theatre prop status so we'd still have it.

Ben thanked me several times.  He seemed excited about exploring the possibilities for art projects in a new magazine Santa brought him that is totally written and illustrated by children.

Charlie is looking forward to upgrading his computer with the $100 Lucky Life Best Buy gift card.  [Lucky in that I dropped it in the parking lot and a Best Buy employee called to tell me it had been found even before I knew it was gone.  Wow.]

And me?  I'm cleaning up after us all.  I bagged up all the wrapping paper to take outside and John said I looked like the Ghost of Christmas Over.   Chuckle.  I'd like to do some entertaining over the next couple weeks and Christmas is the only time of year when my house is actually clean...

It's not all commercialism here, really.  We went to church last night--Park Chapel--where we sang and sang and sang.  I know all the words to all the verses.  I'm one of those people who "honors Christmas in my heart and tries to keep it all the year".   I hugged my good friend Dennis, who was there with all the kids (while Rachelle went after the new puppy).  The service opened with the wonderful Linus speech form "A Charlie Brown Christmas".  Wonderful.  Enjoyed the singing of Don Crane, the Fine Arts minister there who has become a friend.  Enjoyed being in the church period.  The music there speaks to me.  

After, we delivered some of my cookies to friends--Urbans, Judy and Sharon, Coles...  Came home and wrapped gifts (the show put me back a month in Christmas prep) and filled the time until it was late enough to try and get the kids to bed.  We opened our ornaments.

Our ornaments are a wonderful time capsule of our lives.  We shop seriously for 'the' ornament that encapsulates our year--this year, Charlie got a Ghostbusters ornament, Ben got yet another Godzilla ornament (yes, I know--how festive--and we have five of them now...), and I got John a TV ornament that plays the Twilight Zone theme.  He got me a teddy bear that says 'Believe', but I have my ornament from "Fiddler" that Don gave me...  ;-)

We read the stories--first "The Night Before Christmas", which I have memorized, so it's just a matter of showing the pictures; and then the Christmas story.  My year was greatly enhanced by directing "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" this year where the Christmas story figures heavily.  I'm forever changed, I think, from that experience.

After the boys went to bed, I wrapped gifts far into the night...played on FaceBook and watched "A Christmas Story" twice, I think (there's a 12-hour marathon of it on...TBS?).  Thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's updates:  wrapping gifts, opening them, eating, movie quotes, celebrating Christmas, each in his own house, but sharing with the rest of us out there. 


Ben just asked me if when I opened my iPhone, was it gonna glow like the Ark of the Covenant in the Indiana Jones movie.  Ha.

Yeah, an iPhone was what I got.  Charlie's idea for him, but we decided that he had enough distractions.  I probably do , too, but what a cool toy. 

Later today we're going to use John's movie certificates to go see "Avatar".  I've heard mixed reviews, but it looks pretty good to me, and like a good Christmas movie.

A good Christmas, good family time, a good year.
Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bad Writing Hangover

Wow.  I felt asleep almost immediately (after posting the previous piece of writing) and woke up an hour later having had a nightmare about the aftereffects of posting such a piece.  It was a dream along the lines of 'nothing bad can happen until you hit the 'send' key (Ha.  Thanks, Dennis!)  and it was too late.  Jayme was in it.  Hudson was in it.  Others I think. 

I'm just an equal opportunity writer.  With the ups, comes the downs.  But, for more on the ups, you should see:  That's where the happiness is.  Jus' so you know where to look. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sleeping on the Couch

You'd think at Christmas I could write something uplifting...  I mean, I'm so filled with happiness so much of the time...with so much joy that it seems like one heart can't hold it all.  So when do I decide to write?  When I'm sad, and alone.  And lonely.  When I'm nobody's favorite anything.

I'm sleeping on the couch out here where I can see our Christmas tree.  It's a beautiful tree.  It's the most beautiful tree.  Covered in white lights and ribbon.  I can see our ornaments.  Mine, from the year I was born, from my childhood Christmases, my growing up years, my adult married years, and my most recent Christmases.  And all the gift ornaments we've gotten over the years...the ornaments we've bought for the kids, one for each year of their lives, which they will take with them when they go to start their families.  It's a great tradition.

I'm sleeping out here on the couch because I'm up too late and I don't want to bother John by coming to bed.  I stayed up way too late working on Christmas.  On cookies, because that's all I can do for my friends, the ones who make my life worth living.  The ones that make my world a better place with their smiles.  On special projects that give me happiness to work on.

I'm sleeping out here on the couch because my side of the bed isn't ready for me.  It's covered with clothes that need to be folded and put away, and with wrapping paper and ribbon and scissors and tape and tags.  I didn't finish anything today, and if I go in and clear it off now, I will bother John.  And I don't want to do that.

But I took my pillow.  And Bradley the bear.  And took Charlie's extra comforter.  And I will sleep out here on the couch.  Where I can see my beautiful tree.  And look out at the lights of other houses and homes.  And I can sniff without disturbing anyone.  And listen to the sounds of the house.  And once I've thought way too much about everything, I can tell myself that tomorrow is another day and there will be joy, again, in the morning.  Sleeping on the couch has a bad connotation, but this is right.  And okay.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Blogger Friend Liz

I have friends in my life that I know much better in cyberspace than I do in real life.  My Blogger Friend Liz is one of those.  I believe I stumbled onto her blog, Eternal Lizdom, through Indiana Auditions.  She's a theatre person and a mom, (but make no assumptions about her titles--that's what it says on her blog), so we have that in common.  She works; I don't...much anyway.  Her kids are young; mine are older.  She writes about her children, her life, her causes in life.  I feel a connection with her even though our physical social circles don't link.   I read her blog.  She writes a lot.  She reads mine.  I don't write that much.  But it's a comfort to me to know she's out there.  She's on FaceBook, too, so we're doubly connected.

So we recently got to meet.  Knowing that she's a theatre person, I invited her to bring Teagan, her daughter, to one of the matinees for "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever". 

And so she came--and brought Teagan.  I immediately scared Teagan to death by being 'overly familiar' with her, but gosh, I feel like I know her.  I feel like I know Liz.  It was great to meet her, although I didn't have much time to spend since I was the director of the show and in charge of the massive movement of students in and out of the auditorium.  But I had seats for them in the front, and I showed them around backstage.  It was a joy to share my world with them.  I think she's hoping that Teagan clicks into theatre (so LIZ can get back into it, too--believe me, it's much easier to be a theatre person when your KIDS are involved, too!!!) and I hope I moved her a little closer to that.  ;-)

So Liz,  my blogger/FaceBook friend, we continue to have that cyberspace connection.  I enjoy our friendship and I love knowing you're out there.  Give your kids a hug for me; keep what's important close; and keep writing.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Six Stati for an An Oncoming Storm

Christine C. Schaefer....

1)  ...can feel it coming on like a slow-moving storm.
2) ...wants to sleep.
3) wearing her 'minimum wage' attire.
4) ...wonders where her iPod is.
5) ...can't seem to get anything done.
6) ...thinks she should check the flashlight for batteries.

Parenting Sucks or I Suck at Parenting...Take Your Pick

Raising a Difficult Child, Chapter 648

All we do is fight--about school, clothes, chores, money.  My child seems to hate me because I want him to get on the bus on time, wear clean clothes and bathe, do his homework and care whether or not the answers are right or wrong.  He's absolutely hateful to me because I want him to be a responsible well-adjusted citizen of the world.  

I kept him up until 12:45 finishing and correcting Math, while he pretended not to remember a single math rule:  how to divide fractions and decimals, how to average, how to find the circumference of a circle.  Finally we finished and I sent him to bed, only to have to drag him--almost literally--out of bed to get on the bus five hours later.  I know you think I'm exaggerating here, but I'm not.  I use threats, counting down, and a squirt bottle to get him (and his older brother) out of bed in the morning. 

And then the battle starts again--the fight to get him to wear something other than what he wore yesterday, to eat something--ANYTHING,  take his medicine, brush his teeth, comb his hair and get out to the bus on time.  "No, you're NOT taking your DS to school and not those cards either!  Do you have your homework??  Do you need lunch money???"  We start out every morning fighting over basic preparedness for the day.  It's discouraging.  It's more than discouraging.  It's a horrible way to start every day.


So he made it into the Geography Bee.  Somebody else told me this--not him.  I eventually read it in the school newsletter....  I thought to myself, I'll go see him.  I'll see him in the Geography Bee.  I made plans to take time off work and be there.  I'll support him and show him that in spite of all the fighting, arguing and anger, I do love him--very, very much.

Well, I missed it.  The school newsletter said it was today.  It was yesterday.  I missed it. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Do you watch Glee?

It's one of my guilty pleasures these days.  It's a little soap opera of a show built around a school show choir.  The characters are pretty stock, although not always predictable--the athletes, the cheerleaders, the drama kids, the gay kid, the black girl, etc., etc., but over the past few months, I've gotten to know and love them (and/or enjoy watching them because WHO in their right might could 'love' Sue or Terri?).  It works pretty hard to be both politically correct and edgy--the multi-cultural cast, and then some of the things they say to each other.  My RAR (Responsible Adult Reaction) to its depiction of high school, the irresponsible teachers, the glib attitude towards sex/drugs would be a parents' nightmare,'s been really fun to watch.  I LOL all the time.  And I think it's gotten better over the run of the first season.  The acting has gotten better, the drama has increased.  A lot of my DramaTeens watch it so it's a fun connection between us, and I love  sitting down to watch it on FaceBook with all the musical theatre people out there.  I think what I enjoy the most about it, however, is the absolute joy the cast seems to get out of performing the numerous show choir numbers interspersed throughout the hour-long program.  Their song choices have been eclectic and wonderful, ranging from 70s and 80s rock songs to Broadway, to ballads, to even a little C&W.  I downloaded the CD from iTunes and have thoroughly enjoyed singing along with the songs I know, and learning the ones I didn't.  I know the show is a hit in my corner of the world, and I hope it's a hit everywhere....

So...last night was the season finale.  The show choir went to Sectionals, up against the Deaf School and a reform school for girls.  On the surface, this doesn't seem like real stiff competition, but that bitch Sue leaked their set list, so the other schools did all the songs OUR show choir had planned to sing.  True to form, however, New Directions (the name of their choir) pulled a trick out of their pocket and agreed to allow their 'star' (Rachel) to sing, pretty much solo, while they did some rudimentary choreography.  They handed her the sheet music in the green room; she looked at it and said, "I've been preparing for this since I was four years old."  They took the stage, more or less without rehearsing and she belted out "Don't Rain on My Parade". 

I spent the entire number alternately jumping up and down and wiping tears from my eyes.  Although I'm not known as a singer (no comments from the peanut gallery please), I--like Rachel in the show--spent many, many growing up hours re-enacting scenes, dancing and belting out Barbra songs--including this one--in the refuge of my basement bedroom. I have a composite CD in my car called "Chris's Joy Music" that contains this song about marching forth, and refusing to take no for an answer, about getting what you want and hanging on to happiness.  Everyone should have a 'Joy Music' CD to pop in when the going gets especially tough.  And of course, I thought of her--my auntie, Betsy, who died several years ago after a three-year battle with ALS.  She was the consummate Barbra fan, who so revered Streisand that she named her first child after one of her songs ("Jennie-Rebecca").  My aunt, who was such a role model in my life, a guiding force, an encourager, and the model of how to walk through this world--would have loved "Glee".  Sappy soap opera that it is, I can totally see her sitting down every Wednesday night, logging on to FaceBook with the rest of the Gleeks, watching it and loving it.  She'd have hated Sue and loved Mr. Shuester, cried over 'the gay kid' and 'the wheel chair kid' and sung right along with--if not ALL the songs--then at least the showtunes.  My auntie, who sent me my one and only telegram on the opening night of my high school musical, who used to call me on Saturday mornings during a showtune program on her local public radio station, who introduced me to books (Narnia and Lord of the Rings), and music (folk, Broadway, and classical), and shared love and wisdom with me until she no longer could.  Aunt, I miss you and think of you often.  The world is a little colder for want of the warmth you gave.  And, because I know you're watching, I hope there's Hulu in heaven.