Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wish List

My birthday is next week. How old am I, you ask? I will be 36. Eek--how did that happen?! Anyway, today I bring you my {mostly fantasy} wish list.
1. Pretty much anything Halloween or Fall related. I love love love this season!

2. I need a watch, but I can't decide what kind I want. I love digital because it helps me know exactly what minute it is as I'm rushing out the door. But those make for pretty ugly watches.

3. I need a dustbuster. How do I not already own one? I need something cordless and portable so I can just clean a little spill at a time without dragging out the big guns, and also to clean up our cars.

4. I would like a new apron. I have an apron that's in pretty good shape, but it's 11 years old, I think I deserve something new and super cute. I'd love a Coca Cola apron but I haven't found a good one. This one has my kitchen colors and is adorable:

5. I need clothes! Okay, not really need. I want some new pieces to brighten my fall/winter wardrobe.;-) I've been browsing the internet with very little luck--I'll just have to go shopping and try things on. But I'm admiring this "jet sweater" from Old Navy. (I can't manage to paste a picture--can you please click over and tell me if this is cute or hideous?)

6. Speaking of clothes, I saw this cute skirt on etsy. Don't know if I'm cute enough to pull it off, though. And skirts are pretty impractical for my lifestyle. But I love the waistband!
7. A makes-me-happy diaper bag. I've been on a quest for a new bag for months now (kind of on hiatus at the moment). Something like this but that costs less than $50.8. Glee volume 3 soundtrack. I can't believe I don't own this already. Have I been living under a rock? A must-have.

9. So technically this is Halloween costume, but I think it would be fun for both Halloween and for playing dress-up with the kids. Even though it's only $19 at Walmart, I can't justify the expense because I can't say for sure I'd wear it outside of my house. But I love it and I already own a pair of saddle shoes. :-)

10. I would absolutely love this Coke chalkboard for my kitchen! And since I plan our meals ahead, it could always have tonight's dinner posted on it.

What do you think? What's on your wish list? Where do you shop for clothes? Let me know in the comments!

For more Top Ten fun, visit Oh Amanda.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Five Question Friday--Sept. 24

I couldn't resist this week's questions, so I'm joining one of my favorite weekly carnivals, 5 Questions Friday, even though it is now Saturday night. 1. If you could speak with a different accent, what would it be (i.e Australian, Scottish)?
I would say a nice proper English accent a la Jane Austen movies.

2. Can you fall asleep anywhere? (i.e floor, couch, deck)
Traditionally no, but since becoming a mom, I have been known to drift off in a chair. I wish I could sleep on an airplane, that would be a helpful skill.

3. Do you use public restrooms? If so, do you sit on the toilet?
Thanks to the IBS, I use public restrooms almost every day. :-( I used to be a bathroom snob with an iron bladder, now I'm excited when I come upon a port-a-potty. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Yes, I sit on the toilet. I cover the seat with paper (seat cover or TP) and then sit. I have better things to do than hover over a toilet seat.

4. If you were stuck in an elevator for 24 hours, what celebrity would you most want to be stuck with?
Okay, being stuck in an elevator would pretty much be my worst IBS nightmare. Thus, rather than a celebrity, I'd like to be stuck with a plumber who could rig up a toilet. Now, if I had to be stuck in say a nice hotel room (you know, with a bathroom) with a celebrity, in that case I'd like it to be somebody who has had a fascinating life and could tell me lots of cool stories. Hmmmm... Sandra Day O'Connor? Madeleine Albright? I know: Stevie Nicks! She's got stories, I'm sure, and she could sing me the phone book. Love her voice!

5. Where did you & your significant other go on your 1st date?
After double dates to the movies and Cracker Barrel, our first real date was to watch Braveheart in my dorm room.

Okay, so those questions weren't as interesting as I thought. Oh well. Maybe others have better answers--go here to find out.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Internet Hodgepodge 3

Cheesy Chicken recipe--Giving Up on Perfect says this is a family favorite so I'm going to give it a try {fingers crossed}.
Belle Squeaks posted about this Toddler Tote--sounds like a wonderful toy {it may go on T's Christmas list}.
I stumbled on this blog and her post on gluten-free favorites at just the right time! {We've recently taken L off of wheat, you can read more about that here.}
I love this piece of wisdom, God's Provision, from The Organizing Mommy!
Did you know there are fewer than 100 days till Christmas?! Two sites I know of are having helpful countdown posts to keep you on track and organized. I've subscribed through email so the inspiration comes to me daily.
-I followed 100 Days to Christmas last year and even though I didn't do everything on time, it was great to keep me on top of things.
-Simple Organized Living is doing a Clutter Free Holiday Countdown, need I say more?
Do you know of any other Countdown to Christmas blogs?
That's all I 've got this week. Go on over to It's Come 2 This for more Saturday Stumbles! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MPT15--Final Piggy Tale (After High School)

This is the 15th in a series of 15 posts recounting my childhood. (To see parts 1 through 14, click the label "MPT" in my sidebar.) Today is the final post in this series, after high school. I want to give a basic synopsis of "what happened next?" without boring you to death or spoiling my future adventures recording my Young Adult Tales. Then I'll try to wrap up some of the themes I mentioned over the course of the last 14 weeks.

And Then What Happened?
In the fall of 1992, I headed off to college. I'm not good with new things or making new friends, the whole thing was full of anxiety, but I became friends with a girl in my dorm, Alison, and a girl in my American Studies class, Joanna, and then adopted all of Joanna's friends and I was off and running.
College rocked! It was the best 4 years of my life (at least before my husband and kids entered the picture). I had a good balance of work and play. I studied hard but spent plenty of time with friends and Joanna was a natural leader and organizer and she found us lots of (non-alcoholic) fun things to do.
I continued to be very ambitious. I had decided in high school that I wanted to be a lawyer--clearly that came from watching "L.A. Law" and not any realistic grasp of what lawyers do. My sophomore year in college, in a discussion with my advisor, I realized I could combine my interest in Native Americans and in law and I could practice, drumroll please, Native American Law. {That's where you work for a tribe or a law firm or an organization like NARF on behalf of tribes and their legal issues, often treaty rights, land use etc.} I had had no idea there was such a thing and how great would that be? So that became my goal.
Senior year I took the LSAT and applied to law schools, again I surprised myself getting into some top schools. Then I headed off to law school. This is getting long-winded, sorry.
I met my husband in law school. We were in the same section and started off as friends. He became part of the group of us that went to church together on Sundays (we're both Catholic). Then during second semester, I was shopping with some friends and they said "like {hubby}" and I thought, hmmm you know he did tap me with a pencil the other day. Sorry, this isn't making a lot of sense, you kind of had to be there. Anyway, so I started looking at him with fresh eyes and realized, yeah he's pretty cool. So we started flirting and then double-dating with my shopping friends and then we had our first real date and the rest is history.
Meanwhile, law school sucked!!! It was seven kinds of miserable.
My first summer, I interned on an Indian reservation in South Dakota. My boss was the Attorney General for the tribe (a member of the tribe and a Harvard Law grad) and he was a sexist pig. He took the male interns horseback riding and gave us female interns secretarial work. Bad experience.
My second summer, I was disillusioned by Indian Law and in need of money for our upcoming wedding, so I took a job as a summer associate at a law firm in Southern California (while my fiance worked for a firm in LA). I made lots of money but it was another miserable experience.
We got married in our last semester of law school (crazy, I know). Then we moved to Northern California to study for the Bar Exam. Then we moved to LA where Hubby had a job. I had not bothered to job-hunt at the end of the school year because again I was disillusioned and getting married and figured I'd get a job once we moved to LA.
Enter... health crisis. Beginning in the second semester of law school, I started having frequent diarrhea. Symptoms got progressively worse until we got to LA and I didn't want to leave the house, my symptoms were so constant. That's when I finally went to a doctor. I was diagnosed with both IBS and Depression. {In hindsight, the depression symptoms began my second year of law school but I thought I was just burnt out from a very busy school year and a bad reservation experience.} Medication helped the IBS but even though I improved, I wasn't able to work.
So I was a lazy bum for several years. Meanwhile, we moved to Phoenix and then DC and then back to Phoenix, following Hubby's career as it meandered. My health was up and down (trying this medication and that) and I started thinking about having kids. In 2004, after we moved back to Phoenix, we conceived our son L and I became (instead of a lazy bum) a SAHM.
Sometimes life doesn't go as planned! I had been a smart ambitious girl who never wanted children. But the IBS derailed my career ambitions and led me to my current path as a mom. I believe that was God's plan and that now I'm on the right path. I hope! So that's where I am now, a full-time mom of two. I plan to work after the kids are in school full-time, but it won't be in law. I can't handle that stress or lifestyle. I don't know what the future holds.
By the end of high school and early college, I was obsessed with getting a boyfriend. I'd never had one and really really wanted a boy to like me. I continued to have crush after unrequited crush--it was incredibly annoying. I drove my friends crazy as I obsessed after this boy or that. Sheesh!
The summer between sophomore and junior years in college, I went to France for a 6-week program. I had been wondering if I even knew how to flirt, well I went flirting-crazy while in France! I flirted with every boy in the program (in hindsight, that may have been embarrassing, but at the time it was fun). ;-)
I guess my flirting paid off because the following fall, a guy I'd met in the program Asked Me Out. On A Date! Yippee! After some awkward early dates, he became my BOYFRIEND. Woohoo! We had a lovely little 5-month relationship then he dumped me and then we had an ugly post-break-up mess (involving that new technology called email). It broke my heart.
The break-up was at the end of junior year and I entered senior year swearing off men. Finally I'd had a boyfriend, I knew I was capable/worthy of being loved, I didn't need the headache of crushes and flirting.
That was great, it was freeing. Then I started law school and I looked around and saw cute guys everywhere and I went into full-on flirt mode. Haha, I guess I was recovered from my heartbreak. But I was scarred. On the eve of my first date with hubby, I almost cancelled. I thought "these things never work out, we'll just break up, it's awful" etc. Then I thought {hubby} makes me smile, so I kept our date and it was an amazing night and here we are 14 years later!
I had a wonderful group of friends in college. As I mentioned, I adopted Joanna's friends, plus Alison from my hall, and we had a ton of fun. From high school, I've remained close with two people, Karen and Amy, they were both Maids of Honor in my wedding. Shirley has remained my closest friend from college, but I keep up with others through facebook.
I still struggle with making friends. I love all these old friends, but we are spread throughout the country. I have a tough time making and keeping friends in Phoenix. But I'm married to my best friend, so that's what matters, right?!
I sang throughout college. I auditioned for the big and small choirs (Chorale and Chamber Singers) at the beginning of freshman year and I couldn't believe it when I made both! Chamber Singers was about the size of my high school's Swing Choir, that I hadn't qualified for, so that felt awesome! I sang in Chorale and Chamber Singers all 4 years. I loved our director, Mr. Wright.
Meanwhile, a capella was huge at my school. Freshman year I tried out for the girls group and didn't make it. Junior year I tried out for both coed groups and didn't make those either.
Finally, in law school I joined an a capella group. Woohoo! Yes, even law school had an a capella group. I auditioned the fall of my first year and didn't make it. Then I heard through a friend who was in the group that they were looking for altos the second semester so I auditioned again and made it. That was fun. We did singing telegrams on Valentine's Day around the law school. We did a spring concert and then sang at graduation. However, by the performances toward the end of the year, my IBS was really bad (I look back and thank God for getting me through the performances without incident) and I knew I couldn't continue with the group. So I quit and I've never sung in a choir again.
But you can't stop me from singing--around my house and in the car, even in the grocery store!
Did I forget anything? Was there a loose end I didn't tie up? Let me know in the comments!
So ends my Piggy Tales journey. Read more over at Mommy's Piggy Tales and thanks so much for coming on this journey with me! (And if you want to keep up with my current adventures as an overwhelmed mom of two, now that you know how I got here, you can follow my blog!) God bless!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday--Movie Reviews

Another random list for you all today. If you've been here before, you might have noticed that I like to review/rate the movies I've seen. And we watch A Lot of movies these days thanks to Instant Netflix on our Roku. Lately, I've gotten very behind in my reviewing. So without further ado, 10 movies we've recently watched and what I think of them....

1. The Young Victoria. We'll start with the best of the bunch. I loved this movie (coincidentally, so did Hubby)! A beautiful love story, a little history, goooooorgeous costumes, I highly recommend it. I will be watching it again.

2. The Road. Too disturbing, we stopped watching after 15 minutes. {This one is not available on Instant Netflix, we got it in the mail.}

3. Iron Man. Total piece of crap. I chuckled a few times, the effects were pretty cool, but everything else, awful. What a waste of a great cast!

4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I turned this on for the kids yesterday and I immediately got hooked. The final sequence was kind of long, but mostly I loved it. Great family movie!

5. Endgame. A movie about the end of apartheid. Really interesting, great cast (William Hurt, Jonny Lee Miller), a little tough to follow (I could have used subtitles but they aren't available on instant (that I know of, please correct me if I'm wrong)). I recommend this one, I'd like to see it again.

6. Seraphine. A slow French movie about a poor artist being discovered by a German critic/dealer. We hung in on till the end despite its slow pace, hoping for a good payoff. Nope, a waste of time. I don't recommend it.

7. The Men Who Stare At Goats. Not as hilariously funny as I was hoping, but entertaining. Loved Ewan MacGregor and George Clooney in their roles, Jeff Bridges is good too.

8. The Constant Gardener. This one is tough to rate. I kind of enjoyed it, but it was tough to follow without subtitles and the characters aren't particularly likeable. We gave up halfway through. The mystery was sort of compelling, though, so I might try to watch it again with subtitles and see if I can follow better. {I should probably mention, we aren't hard of hearing, we just can't crank up the volume without fear of waking the kids. We watch movies when they're asleep.}

9. Waiting for Guffman. One of those Christopher Guest mockumentaries. We were hoping this would be as funny as his dog show movie, but sadly it wasn't. Very lame.

10. A Single Man. {Not available on Instant, we got this is in the mail.} I rented this because we love Colin Firth and he was nominated for an Oscar for this performance. We made it about halfway through (this often happens, we stop when it's time for bed, then decide later if it's worth finishing). His performance was wonderful, but the movie wasn't going anywhere, so we decided we'd seen enough. It was slow and not to our liking.

Agree? Disagree? Please share in the comments. Also, I need your movie suggestions. As you can see, we've had a few stinkers lately, and I would love your recommendations! Don't assume we've already seen it, we've been out of the movie loop for several years!

For more Top Ten Lists, visit Oh Amanda!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

MPT14--Twelfth Grade

This is the 14th in a series of 15 posts recounting my childhood. (To see parts 1 through 13, click the label "MPT" in my sidebar.) Today's topic is 12th Grade.

I've been thinking about my senior year and I don't have a lot of good memories of that time. I think by then I was really hating high school. Once again, my goal will be to share the good stuff I can remember.


Okay, so my high school was huge (almost 3000 kids) but it was also an extremely "good" school and over 90% went on to college. {That's a really good percentage for such a large public school, I believe.} There was a team of about 12 college counselors that you'd meet with beginning junior year (one counselor was assigned to your advisory). Also, they arranged the school calendar so that Columbus Day weekend was 5 days (i.e. Monday was off for Columbus Day and the previous Thursday and Friday would be teacher institutes, making it a 5-day weekend). This was the weekend that seniors typically would use for visiting colleges.

Thus, my senior year, my mom and I set off for the Northeast to visit schools I was interested in. I can't remember every school we saw, because I believe we took another trip too, but we saw A Lot Of Schools. {I think this first trip was to Boston, New Hampshire and Vermont, the other big trip was to Pennsylvania schools, and I know I visited a school in Minnesota too--3 trips? I took for granted that my parents could afford to do all this traveling.} I enjoyed visiting all these colleges and really looked forward to going away to school. All the schools seemed really cool but eventually I narrowed my list to 6 schools that I applied to--2 "reaches," 2 "safeties," and 2 could-go-either-ways.

I've chosen not to list the names of the schools where I applied and eventually went just because I think that could be a distraction from my storytelling. They were all good competitive schools but not Ivy League or anything.

When the letters arrived in the spring, I got into 5 of the 6 schools, including my "first choice." Yippee! {Then my parents starting doubting my choice and encouraging another school. But I'm not going to tell that negative story. Suffice it to say, my college counselor helped me out and I decided to go to my first choice school--and I loved it, more on that next week.}


My favorite academic class senior year was AP US History. I love American History, I went on to be a History major in college and focused on US history. I had a great teacher whose name I can't remember, I even checked my yearbook and didn't recognize him among the Social Studies teachers. Maybe Mr. Rogan? The name and face are vaguely familiar (you know teacher yearbook photos are decades old). He had a lot of fun expressions like quoting Gertrude Stein's "There is no there there" (he loved that odd quote!). One of my favorite moments from that class was when he referenced Robert Frost's poem Mending Wall (that I'd had to read in like every English class for four years straight) and he quoted "Something there is that doesn't love a wall" and I replied "That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it" and like everyone in the class looked all impressed (or maybe that was just my imagination, LOL). You have to understand that I was a total introvert and "hid my light under a bushel," as my grandma might say, so this was a rare moment to "shine."

Physics with Mr. Applebaum--hated it. I didn't think he did much teaching, he expected you to just get it from the reading or whatever and I didn't, so that was hard. Not going to dwell.

Mrs. Kelly's AP English class. Hers was a dreaded class, she was known as a tough cookie. And she was tough--she expected us to read Anna Karenina in our spare time while reading Crime and Punishment for class. WTH?! {Nobody did, by the way. Before the big assignment was due, we were all reading the Cliff Notes and scrambling to rent the movie.}

French with {another lapse of memory and again the yearbook isn't helping, perhaps Mme. Lauerman?}. She had had my older (smarter) sister the year before so she gave me the benefit of the doubt. I was still lost. I remember having to do a presentation in her class and I did a lousy job. Happy memories, I'm supposed to be recounting happy memories!

Calculus with Mr. Ward. Unlike Applebaum, Ward actually taught and taught well a subject I thought I'd never get and yet somehow it clicked. By the way, it was in this class that I figured out I "liked" Brian from junior high, but by then he was no longer interested in me and we were just friends. In fact, our little cliques merged and we were actually hanging out at school a fair amount. Anyway.

Dance. {The yearbook actually helped this time. My senior year I had Mrs. Bauer, a young married woman, I think she'd had a baby the previous year, and my junior year I had Mrs. Wente, an elderly retired-ballerina-type.} I was in over my head in Advanced Intermediate (but hey, I was getting out of gym), my lack of flexibility had caught up with me, but I enjoyed it. I especially liked when we got into small groups (I was with Narai and Marion) to choreograph our own dance and we chose music from Cirque Du Soleil and had a fun time making up a routine.

Concert Choir
Concert Choir continued to be the highlight of my life at the time. I was thinking yesterday about some of the music we sang in our two years. We sang Battle Hymn of the Republic my senior year, I loved that. I know it was 12th grade we sang Mozart's Requiem. It must've been junior year we did Carmina Burana. I also loved the Aaron Copeland medley we did junior year. Smaller pieces I loved were How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place and The Lord Bless You which we sang at the end of each class as a beautiful farewell, aaaahhhh.

Again, Mr. Smith (our director) was the best person, he made us all feel special. In fact, I'm looking at my junior yearbook where he wrote, among other things, "Open up and show more of us how very special you are!" God bless him, he really had a huge impact on me.

He had all these great phrases about singing and life, especially "If you aren't the lead dog, the scenery never changes." {Think about that.} He urged us to sing loud, even if we made a mistake. And it really stuck with me as I sang in college among a bunch of kids who had not had Mr. Smith as a director, nobody would sing loud, so I'm belting out and making mistakes and I think in my quiet unassuming way I was a leader among the altos. (I hope, or maybe I just made a fool of myself. LOL)

That's it, that's all I remember (good) from senior year. I suppose I could ramble about graduation and its accompanying party, but there's too much bad mixed with the good, so I'll end here.

In summary, I worked hard, I studied A Lot. I remember I would come home from school and immediately start homework and would often stay up past my 10pm "bedtime" continuing to work. I cared about grades and getting into a good college. I studied hard, that's what I did. I was a nerd. I had friends I hung out with in school but very few I socialized with outside of school. I didn't get along with my family and I looked forward to moving away for college. So you can see why choir was the one bright light in all of this (and why I chose to focus on the happy memories).

Alright, next week is our last "piggy tale." I'll try to wrap up some of these themes. Meanwhile, head over to Mommy's Piggy Tales to read more about our 12th Grade adventures. Thanks for reading!

Just For Fun
Here's a video I found on youtube (that's not my choir) of one of my favorite Aaron Copeland tunes:

TILT--A Good Deal for a Good Cause

As I mentioned the other day, I have Halloween on my mind. Well, last night I scored a super deal on Halloween stuff that, as a bonus, helps a good cause. {I heard about this deal from That Went Well.}

St. Jude's Children's Hospital has an online gift shop. For whatever reason, Halloween stuff is already on clearance even though the holiday is almost two months away. Sweet! These plush treat bags are marked down from $9 to $5. I ordered the ghost for L (I let him choose) and the pumpkin for T (she wasn't interested in choosing).
Then I browsed around the site some more and found this spooky tree for $5, originally $20!
(After much deliberation, I chose not to buy the set of 6 ornaments for $5.)

And the best part, on top of the bargains, is that the profits from the sale go to the Children's Hospital. So I'm doing good. While shopping. A sale. Seriously, I love the work that St. Jude's does--they take on the toughest cases and all free of charge for the families. {According to wikipedia, "families never pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay."} In these tough economic times, I'm not as generous to charities as I should be, so I jumped at the chance to help St. Jude's while doing some Halloween shopping. Go check out their gift shop, they also have sales going on for Christmas stuff. Hurry, the Halloween stuff is going fast (sadly, the $5 costumes are already gone).

A good deal for a good cause, that's what I'm loving this Thursday. For more thing-loving-fun, head to the Diaper Diaries!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday--TV Shows

I love Top Ten Tuesday because you can make a list of anything, and I've got a totally random list for you today--10 TV shows of which I've seen Every Single Episode! 1. Little House on the Prairie. Although I watched this as a kid, it was in 1999 (after law school) that I watched all the reruns on the Hallmark channel.

2. The Brady Bunch. I think it's fair to say that after watching this in syndication (over and over) my entire childhood, there is not a single episode that I missed. I could probably say the same for Happy Days, Diff'rent Strokes, Mr. Belvedere, Cosby Show, Growing Pains etc., but I feel most confident about the Brady Bunch.

3. Thirtysomething. I watched this start to finish in reruns on Bravo in 2000. Even though I was only twentysomething at the time, I really enjoyed it.

4. Homefront. I absolutely loved this show! So sad it was only around for two seasons. I watched it at the time and also in reruns on Bravo in 2000.

5. Roswell. I was totally and completely obsessed with this series. I watched (and recorded on VHS) every episode. Obsessed!

6. Young Riders. Another obsession of mine (a few years earlier), but who could blame me? I was a teenager and the cast was full of hot guys. Never missed an episode.

7. Glee. Okay, so there's only been one season so far, but I've seen every episode they've made. {PS: if you aren't watching this show already, you should be.}

8. ER. I watched in "real time" the first few seasons, then Hubby stopped liking it so I got out of the habit. Then I caught up through reruns on TNT and returned to watching it in primetime. It went out with a whimper, but I stayed until the end.

9. Chicago Hope. I watched on and off when it was in primetime, but I watched from start to finish in reruns (I think that was on TNT as well).

10. A Different World. My favorite show, possibly of all time! Love love love it, even today if I have a chance, I'll catch a rerun. In law school, it was in reruns and I taped it every day (again, VHS) and I'd watch it and keep episodes I especially loved (or record over the less-special ones the next day). Dwayne, Whitley, Kim, Freddie.....

What are some shows you've seen every episode of?

For more Top Ten fun, visit Oh Amanda!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Halloween on my mind

I know it's barely September, but I'm already thinking about Halloween! It's one of my favorite holidays. We should have three Halloween events this year--a costume parade at L's preschool (I plan to dress T up as well, even though she'll just be a spectator); a party with the Eosinophilic support group (so excited for a candy-free event!); and trick-or-treating of course.

For costumes, I bought T a cheerleader outfit at Kmart earlier this summer--it was just with the regular clothes, but I don't know who would dress their daughter in this like a regular outfit, I guess you could. Anyway, I saw it for $7 and jumped on it--for dress-up play, for Halloween, whatever. So I had that in my back pocket, but wasn't sure that was going to be T's main Halloween costume.

Last year, I spent way too much money on costumes. L was a fireman and I got his costume at a reasonable price at Party City plus a coupon (maybe $20 down to $15 with coupon?). But I chose at the last minute a dalmation costume for T (get it? fireman and fire dog) and it cost a lot--$25 or $30 I can't remember, I don't think I even had a coupon, maybe I did, but I regret it because T wouldn't even wear the hat so she didn't even look like a dog and she's never worn it again. No more expensive costumes, I say! I set a $15 costume budget for each kid (meaning I only had $8 left for T after the cheerleader). {And you should know I pretty much always exceed my "budget" by a buck or two. I'm a work-in-progress.}

A few days ago, my BFF mentioned how she had scored great costumes for cheap at her local second-hand kids' store. As I was driving to my Depo shot this morning, I passed our local kids' resale shop and thought "I should check there on the way home"--and that's what I did. First I strolled around the store, looking at this and that and suddenly I see a rack and realize, hey these are Halloween costumes. I check T's size first and oh the cuteness! Long story short, Dorothy costume for $5, medieval maiden (or princess) costume for $4. Yeehaw! {Dorothy+maiden+cheerleader=$16, one dollar over budget.} Then I try L's size, I'm mostly disappointed but then I spot a cape. I think it's meant to be a vampire cape because of the pointy collar, but L loves playing magician (not to mention superheroes) so I snatch it up for $3. He's been wearing it all afternoon.:-) That doesn't solve Halloween for him necessarily (though a magician would make a super simple costume, just need a hat and wand), but it's a wonderful addition to our dress-up stash.

I'm giving myself a $5 budget for Halloween "stuff," so I'll probably just shop the dollar store. Also if I earn any dollars from exercising, I can add that to my Halloween budget. Actually, because Halloween is a favorite holiday of mine, I have a pretty good stash of decorations and stuff. I don't really need anything, it's just fun to add to my collection. (Hopefully I can add even more when stuff is on clearance after the holiday. And the last two years, when Hubby and others have asked what I want for my (early October) birthday, I include fall and Halloween decorations as a suggestion. I'll be doing that again this year.)

Stay tuned, I plan to do "Top Ten" posts for both Halloween costumes and Halloween "stuff" I love, and maybe a birthday wish list too.

Also, at least T and maybe L will get a treat bucket. L has a Thomas the Train bucket we bought for his second Halloween, but he mentioned he'd rather have a pumpkin this year. So I'm thinking a $1 pumpkin bucket for each of them (then maybe I can snag fancier buckets on clearance for next year). I covet the luscious puffy baskets from Pottery Barn, but those are not in the budget at this time. Oh well! {You can be sure those will show up on the top ten "stuff" list.}

With today's super successful shopping trip, I'm feeling optimistic that both kids will be well-outfitted this Halloween.

Also, for any allergy moms out there I should mention how we do the candy thing. What we've done every year and plan to do again (even though in theory there is some candy L can eat, like plain Hershey Kisses) is trade L's candy from parties and trick-or-treating for a toy. Last year this was made even easier because one house gave out toy cars (real Cars cars!) and when we got home, that's what L wanted out of his bucket. He played with the cars, we hid his candy and no problem! I assume we'll commandeer T's candy this year too and trade it for a toy, since she's too young to care. Add that to the Halloween budget, a small toy for each kid ($1-3).

I'd love to go to a pumpkin patch again this year. Last year we went to one in Glendale and that was a bad idea--it was way too hot! We'll see if we can travel north for a day trip to cooler weather for pumpkin-picking.

That reminds me, T has a Halloween shirt I got on clearance. Last year, my parents bought both kids a Halloween t-shirt and I enjoyed dressing them in that basically all of fall. That's something I'd like to do again. As I said, I have one for T, now if I can just find something for L for less than $5 (now that I know they can actually get some wear out of it). Walmart here I come. ;-)

Okay, I think that's all my Halloween thoughts for now. Look for more Halloween themed posts in the weeks ahead--love it!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MPT13--11th Grade

This is the 13th in a series of 15 posts recounting my childhood. (To see parts 1 through 12, click the label "MPT" in my sidebar.) Today's topic is 11th Grade.

Last week, I wrote about my adventures in the performing arts. In hindsight, I wish I'd mentioned, for those who hadn't been reading my whole journey, that I did not in a million years have the talent for Broadway, that was just a naive childhood dream--by high school I was very much aware that I didn't have a musical theater career ahead of me, but I did enjoy the performing arts and therefore auditioned for the big choirs. So continuing where I left off....

Choir Opera. Cho-Op was co-directed by Mr. Streightiff (I really should check my yearbook for spellings!) and Ms. Burnett. I liked Mr. S, he was a fun guy; Ms. Burnett always scared me a little. I got in trouble (not really) toward the beginning of the year because I wasn't in voice lessons. I was called over and told, "Everyone in Cho-Op has to take voice lessons." Now anyone who was anybody at my high school had been taking private voice lessons since freshman year and those "in the know" scrambled to get the best teachers from the get-go. Here I was a junior already so I had to take whatever was left and I got assigned someone (let's see if I can reach back and recall her name) I never particularly liked. She was nice enough, I suppose, but I didn't like her voice. It was very operatic (for lack of a better word). For whatever reason, it wasn't something I wanted to emulate. The other thing I remember was she wanted to change how I stood and how I breathed. I'd been singing (albeit casually) all my life, I had a way of doing it, I didn't see why I had to change. Stubborn much?

Anyway, the big musical was in the spring. We had to audition for roles, even though by then I knew where I stood in the pecking order and I knew I would just be in a background chorus role. Fine, whatever. Oh, the musical was "Pippin." When they made the big announcement I was like, What? Never heard of it. Then I went home and rented the movie. Eek--weird show. {And raunchy and sexy and not appropriate for high school, by the way. In the end, our version was highly edited.} So I auditioned for the grandmother role. What good is a field on a fine summer night, if you sit all alone with the weeds. Or a succulent pear if with each juicy bite, you spit out your teeth with the seeds. I hated singing alone in front of people, but I remember singing well that day and reaching a high note while still in my chest voice--that rocked! Then I had to act out the monologue for that role, but as you'll recall from last week, I can't act, so I'm sure that sucked. And then another part of the audition was to improvise a scene with a classmate. That sucked too. And then, we had the dance audition. Ohmygoodness, I cannot learn steps quickly, that was a hot mess. After all that, I was cast as (drumroll please) part of the chorus. I had one line (or rather two words: "and merriment") and one singing line as part of a trio.

At the rate I'm going, this is post is going to be a mile long. Fast forward to the show itself. Our last dress rehearsal was in front of middle school students who were bussed in to see our show, like a field trip. That first performance, I fell in love with theater--oh the applause, the energy. I was jazzed! The next night, we did it all over again and I was like, this is just like last night. The next performance, same thing, lame. There ended my short affair with musical theater! LOL

Meanwhile, Concert Choir. {The choir I never would have been in, had there not been that letter mishap.} I LOVED Concert Choir! I loved the music we sang, I loved Mr. Smith (the director), I looked forward to that class period every day. {That is why I credit Mr. Smith and Concert Choir for saving my high school experience. I can't imagine what a depressed girl I would have been without that to look forward to each day. And Mr. Smith cared about each one of us in that choir (80-100 kids) so fervently. I felt loved. Thanks Mr. Smith, I'll never forget you!!!}

What else happened junior year? For classes, I had Mr. Rehage for English and I remember him telling us the story of his going to Woodstock. I had Mr. Maddox for History. I really liked him and that class. He encouraged my growing interest in Native American stuff {I'd read the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in 9th grade and that turned my world upside down. Go read it, it rocks!}. Thus, I did my "junior theme" (big paper) on Native Americans and Education.

I had Ms. Thomson for Chemistry. I hated science. Actually, I sometimes liked science, like in 7th grade and Biology in 10th grade (when we weren't dissecting), but chemistry was not my thing. I botched every lab. Ugh, I hated labs! I remember at the end of one grading period, I had like an 89.6 average, and Ms. Thomson wrote down as my final grade "A" with an enormous minus after it. Very kind of her to round up!

I had Madame Erbmann for French that year and she was the first french teacher to catch on that I didn't get it. I think I got a D on her final and a C for the class. My BFF Karen moved up a level and joined my class and she really struggled too. That was not a good class for us.

Ugh, math. 11th grade presented my only real (up to that point) personality conflict with a teacher. Mr. Miller. I hated him, he was an idiot (in my teen-aged opinion, and come on, the guy was hired to direct band, how did he end up teaching pre-calculus?!). One time I managed to get a D on a test while doing all the math right but making careless errors. How do you get a D from careless errors?! And he was a jerk. This boy and I (actually it was Brian, you can read more about him in this piggy tale) aced this class (that one D notwithstanding) and yet he wouldn't recommend either of us for calculus the next year. Jerk! It didn't matter. Brian and I both opted to take Calc anyway and we aced that too. So there, Mr. Miller. Suck it. (Yeah, you can see how all these years later, Mr. Miller still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.)

Boys. I haven't talked much about boys in high school yet--because I never dated. Nope, no guys were interested in me in high school. :-( So I just went from one unrequited crush to another. My main crush for a long time was still Cory from junior high, if you can believe it. Oh the pathetic-ness. Finally, junior year, I developed a new crush on bad boy Chris from my English and History classes. He was cool and had long hair (but smart too). Cute! He started dating Jane, but I still lusted from afar. So no dating and no Prom for me. I can say "whatever!" now, but at the time, this was a huge cause of stress and worry and "what is wrong with me? why doesn't anybody like me?"

My BFF, Karen, and I had a slumber party the night of Prom and watched movies and pigged out and it turned out to be a fun night.

Also that year, I was Assistant Business Manager for the student-produced musical. My good friend, Janet, was Business Manager and she recruited me to be one of her assistants and I was looking for a "leadership role" to put on my college applications. It was fun to be behind the scenes of a musical like that. And Cool Chris was on the board as well. ;-)

Finally, at the end of the year I auditioned for the next year's Swing Choir (the small, elite, best choir) and didn't make it. I didn't think I would, but I was still disappointed, especially because girls I'd sung next to for years did make it and I thought I was as good as them. Meanwhile, I auditioned for Advanced Intermediate Dance (so I could get out of regular PE my senior year) and woohoo, I made it! No more gym for me!!!

That's it for junior year. Just for fun, I thought I'd add some youtube links for any musical theater buffs {these clips are from the 1981 movie with Ben Vereen and (Greatest American Hero) William Katt}. Here's the song I auditioned with--No Time At All. {Check out the saucy dialogue or fast forward to the 2 minute mark to hear the song.} My favorite Pippin song, Corner of the Sky, and Magic to Do {our production did the same thing with the hands in the lights}.

Okay, next week--senior year. Go to Mommy's Piggy Tales for more strolls down memory lane!