Vacations Clear Your Mind

You can't turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again. ~ Bonnie Prudden

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I fear I have become addicted to nice weather. I moved from my insanely boring halls at the high school to outdoor walking. I will not go back there until I'm forced to in the winter.

Another quiet weekend slowly creeps into history. It's hard not to wish away the days until my Florida trip. Let me tell you a bit about Bradenton and the adventurous vacation that awaits myself, Melissa and Mary. I won't be able to post to this journal and I would hate to have you miss any of the excitement.

Wednesday night after Mary's softball game and coffee house auditions we will throw our shorts, t-shirts, and swim suits into the jeep and head to Chicago. Ben or Jennifer will drive us to Midway, so as not to have to pay for a week of parking, and we'll be off at around 11:00am Thursday.

Then the party gets started. We'll go to this little known beach on Anna Maria Island every day with our sunscreen, books, and cooler lunch. The evenings are reserved for shuffleboard with the locals and midnight swims in the trailer park pool. Grandpa and Gram will insist on endless games of Shang-hi, Mexican Train, and Golf (a card game not real golf). When we tire of luck-based games, we'll attempt to beat gram in scrabble.

If the weather does not cooperate we'll head to a huge flea market called the Red Barn, where the must-have is a bag of sugar popcorn. My daily walk consists of a few hundred times around the complex and I will lap the three-wheelers at least twice. Ohhhh the thrills and excitement of spring break. By now, the slow green fingers of jealousy must be already reaching your neck and chocking you with envy so I will sign off to pack.

See ya on the flip flop side.


Up From The Catacombs

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...or something like that.

Before I relay my itinerary for the past week, I must first give my unbiased, mom-style, ostentatious, review of Melissa's performance in Cinderella.


And a little confused. I don't know where she got the truckload of talent to pull this character off, but she absolutely turned into Portia Krelman (Cinderella's stepsister) at every performance. Come to think of it, she is Portia Krelman. Portia actually thought the prince would fall for her in all her “glory".
She (Portia), lived her life in the moment without much regard for what other people thought.  She knew nothing of peer pressure and the tension of living up to her high-strung mother's aspirations. Who would want to marry a stupid stuffy prince anyway? Especially one that went for just another pretty face and based his everlasting love on whether or not a shoe would fit his wife to be. Ha! Portia Krelman and the prince...that'll be the day.

Back to Melissa...like I said, I couldn't have been prouder. This show was an arduous and formidable task that she tackled head on. When she looks back on her MSHS years, besides her friendships, this WILL be the highlight. And even though the shoe didn't fit, she unequivocally broke her leg.

Are you wondering why I titled this post, Up From The Catacombs? I have quarantined myself in the basement all week. I don't know how a family can collect so much stuff that their basement could actually be declared a disaster area. It's gone now. Don’t worry kids, it's not gone per-say, but it's organized and packed away. If you want it, you must pick it up before Melissa graduates from college.

I still don't know why anyone would want to keep a life size poster cutout of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Sometimes you just have to let it go.


And They Lived Happily Ever After

The reviews are in!!

I am totally amazed and blown away by the efforts and outcome of this small town high school production. What more can I do than toot my own horn here? It's better that, than swaggling any one else's horn.

After auditions back in October, an army of VOLUNTEER kids, parents, choir teacher and wife, accompanist, costume lady, set construction crew, stage manager, choir secretary, orchestra members, and many more too numerous to mention set out to pull this production together!

And what an astounding, awesome, spectacular, phenomenal, fabulous, extraordinary show it was. Ok, yes, I used my thesaurus for some of those adjectives. It is incredible to me that this type of accomplishment can be reached by high school students.

In my book, these exceptional results can only be obtained by having one supernatural director. She brought this show to life and breathed an attitude of camaraderie, family, and unity into these 40 students and created in them a sense of accomplishment and achievement they will remember the rest of their lives. I am truly thankful that Melissa got to be a part of all this.

And my warmest thanks to those of you that came to support her: Ben, Jennifer, Paul and Teresa, Jake, Christy, Jessica, Sue, Amanda, and Melissa, Kate, Mark, and Meg, Beth, Anne, Kathleen, and all the 2003 Allegro alumni!

Thanks again. I am, of course, working on a slide show that I will post to the web site soon. And to Molly....I don't think you'll ever know just how much inspiration you have given these kids, but then again, impossible things are happening every day. God bless.


Unemployed Lament

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time ~ Bertrand Russel

At the risk of repeating myself every month...March is now flying by. Is this happening to anyone else, or is it just me.

My first full week of unemployment was somewhat disconcerting. I shouldn't be so hard on myself...I cannot write a novel in a week. What's wrong with me? I have had, what I will call a withdrawal headache, for most of the week.

 I can accept that as a sign of stress. Good stress and bad stress must affect you physical body the same way. Just let me believe that for the time being. I sure as heck haven't missed the job.

Other members of the household, who shall remain nameless, have decided that I can now fry the bacon up in a pan, again. I feel like the majority of the week was spent on the couch or on the Cinderella set.

I have reacquainted myself with Regis, Kelly, Oprah, and Dr Phil. Love those guys, but there will come a day when I will be bored again with their endless banter. Not to say that some of it is not worthwhile, but I know all that already. I did pull my "writing" up out of the catacombs of Appleworks and reread all I had written so far. It lit a spark in me to delve into it again...and if felt right.

The dog has been on a literal crapfest all week and fortunately, for her sake, is winding down. I am "doing" one room a day from now until Cinderella opens. I started with Jennifer's upstairs room, since Mary is moving in with us for the week. (They sold their house and are living in Spring Lake, so she doesn't want to commute during the show).

Have I mentioned that I LOVE Tivo. I can watch my favorites...American Idol, Survivor, West Wing, and American Dreams on Saturday in about half the time. Thanks again, kids! Looking forward to having the whole family together again for the Saturday night dinner show. Break a leg, Melissa!

Out.      *****put bios in here


I Roam From Town To Town

Memories and important yesterdays, were once todays. Treasure and notice today. ~ Oscar Levent

I went in to work for a couple of hours to wrap up lose ends. Before I left I started some Swiss steak in the crock-pot. As I came in the door around noon the aroma was already decadent. Add to that, fresh green beans, cheesy potatoes, applesauce, and Hudsonville Moose Tracks Ice Cream for desert.

Did a little Internet surfing. Starting this September or next I would like to vacation for a month at a time. Mark wants to start by going out west. It sounds good to me...nature, mountains, and the Grand Canyon. My next choice would be New York.

My Internet surfing keeps taking me to foreign cities. In my favorites is a site that I got from goggling “quaint furnished Parisian apartments.” Using that as our base we would then see the lay of the land on exotic rail excursions, of course. My favorites in no particular order would be ~ London, England ~ Vienna, Austria ~ Rome, Venice, and Florence, Italy ~ Paris, France ~ and anywhere in Germany, Switzerland, and Australia. Let's see that takes us to 2012. And of course I'd like to be a gourmet chef and learn to ballroom dance.

 My mind is racing with all this free time. Funny story....Melissa and Mary were trying to get the hood of Mary's car open to put in windshield wiper fluid at the high school parking lot. Their choir teacher and accompanist came out just as they were fiddling with the latch. Mr. Lawton's comment, "how many alto's does it take to raise the hood of a car?"

 Then Melissa and I watched the making of "The Passion." Mel Gibson is my new hero. Mark has always known that if we were to play "The Newlywed Game" and he was asked to name my favorite male movie star, unequivocally the answer was to be Tom Hanks. I'm rethinking that one.

Read a little more in my new book; A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. It's Haven's memoirs about growing up in the 60's and 70's in Mooreland, Indiana. She thinks heaven is going to be some kind of scratch and sniff smorgasbord. She'll first ask to smell the scent of their family's brand new teardrop shaped camper. Then she'll ask for her Grandpa's universal pick-up truck smell. And then a combination of Old Spice and unfiltered Lucky Strikes. The best she'll save for last, unleaded gasoline. She states that if she could have gotten her nose close enough to the nozzle at the corner service station (that's a gas station for those of you that didn't know) she would have sniffed unleaded gasoline until she was retarded. Some things just strike me funny. It's a great read. Maybe it's just because I'm from a smaller town in Indiana than Mooreland.

Dinner over and cleaned up. No more dishes in the sink for me. It was a good Monday.


It's A Dog's Life

There is no motivational quote today. Period.

12pm - 5:30 Saturday: Set construction. C'mon why can't the coachmen just walk along side the dang pumpkin?
5:30pm Saturday: The news spreads like wild fire. All 5 choirs receive a #1 rating at district festival
5:35pm Saturday: Dog sh*** in our den.
5:40pm Saturday: Suddenly our Burger King take out doesn't sound that appetizing anymore
9:50pm Saturday: Mark walks dog and she does her regular business
1:30am Sunday: Unbeknownst to us dog sh*** again in den.
1:35am Sunday: Melissa and Mary try to sneak in without waking us, unfortunately Mary steps in sh**
2:00am Sunday: Everyone asleep.
Somewhere between the hours of
2 & 8am Sunday: Dog sh*** and pees in den.
8:30am Sunday: Mary leaves and to avoid stepping in sh** plods through the pee.
3:00pm Sunday: Mark and I enjoy Melissa's excellent festival concert at the lovely MSHS auditorium
4:30pm Sunday: We stop at D & W to do the weekly grocery shopping
4:45pm Sunday: Dog sh*** by back door and all four of our shoes manage to find it while unloading groceries
9:00am Monday: I call Pat Nolan, he can't get my dog back, but he can help me get some of my life back.


Another One Opens

Be absolutely determined to enjoy what you do ~ Sara Kowles Bolton

Follow your heart, believe in yourself, and find a way to earn a living by developing your passion. All phrases I have heard before and determined to do after reading a typical self-help book, or attending a cheerleading-go-for-the-gold-direct-sales convention.

Yesterday, on my lone journey out of the city, I finally listened to the small still voice that has been screaming in my ear, head, and heart for 6 months. And with one phone call, I finally unbuckled the last strap that has been keeping me tied to this cumbersome burden that I call a job.

I quit. That was all. So now I am free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I'm poor at last! What? It was the right thing to do. "Wake-up and smell the coffee," and "Stop and smell the roses." have whole new meaning now. I can't wait to see what lies ahead. I will keep you posted because, I CAN!


When One Door Closes

There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in~Deepak Chopra

Happy 21st birthday Jennifer. I actually celebrate 4 birthdays a year. My own. And the celebration on each child's birthday is that it is never going to be their BIRTH - day again.

We both felt a little bittersweet as we commemorated her big day in downtown Chicago. She has decided that this is the last special b-day. The fun ones are over. Years 1-9 are unique in a childish sense. 10 is that you hit double digits. 12 is kinda your last child b-day. 13; you're a teenager. Of course, there is Sweet 16. 18; and you could actually be on your own, buy a gun. 19 is your last teen-age year.

And then 21! There you are.

You wished and hoped for it and then somehow you don't really want it to commence.

I felt, as I so often have in the last few months, that life is a vapor. It’s hard to believe that 21 years have gone by since the 70-degree day in 1983 when Jennifer Grace came on the scene.

Fast forward to our perfect 3-3-04. We stopped in at Ed's to chat with Bill. It is always good to see Bill because that means that we laughed uncontrollably all through our free lunch.

We collected her 14 rolls of film illustrating her 9 days in Paris. She is really picky when it comes to critiquing photos and at close analysis I feel like she was 99% pleased. We sat at the food court in Nordstrom's to look at all 215 pics and then did very little shopping.

Our next mission included Jen receiving an adult type haircut. She ended up with bangs, which she hasn't had since 7th grade. Let go Jen, you have to let go! So mission accomplished we head to Borders for what we thought would be a browsing session. But Jen has always been a reader. She used to host reading parties where the guests included her friend Beth, and the venue would be on their beds or out on a blanket in the lawn.

We came away with 4 or 5 new books to share. Finally we had the loveliest dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe overlooking Michigan Ave. We thanked ourselves over and over for driving into the city and not having to trudge to the train. When we got back to her apartment we started up a reading party that didn't last very long. The next morning we headed to the Golden Nugget for breakfast with Ben. We chit chatted about Springhill and brainstormed one-liners for Melissa's Cinderella program.

No offense to you Ben, but I think the sweetest words I have ever heard are, "It's a girl."