Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Almost Christmas

One of my dance friends gave me a bunch of photos from the Northern Essex Student performance. That was sweet of her. Here is one of my solo. Walker comes out at the end, so technically, I suppose it wasn't a solo. But I did dance by myself for 4.5 minutes before he came out. Anyway, I'll upload some more of the performance pics to my Epsom account later for anyone who wants to see more.

Every time I go into a store it feels like it's the LAST CHANCE to get anything. I can't believe I spent $100 at Rite-Aid this morning. I had to go in there to pick up sample sizes for stocking stuffers and came out with those as well as a sled for Walker, "Floam" that he's wanted for 2 years, some bath tub science toys and a hair straightening iron for me (that I'll probably use once - like the large barrel curling iron I got myself last Christmas). Some other stuff, I'm sure.

I love the antique shop, "The Three Sisters." There are always different things in there. I got Scott, the collector an antique umbrella stand with an old golf club, an umbrella and a cane in it. On the way out of there a coat rack called out to me, so I bought that too.

I'm almost done. Just have to get one more thing for one couple and Harry Potter 4 for Walker. Oh, also have to do the food shopping. Scott and I have a "date" to plan the menu for the event tomorrow. We're not having tons of people, but for us, the 14 that we do have feels like a lot, since it's usually just the 3 of us.

I'm very excited to be able to bring Walker to his dance company class today. I finally have a Wednesday off from Andover while he does have class. I can't wait to see their dance. Right after that we've got his Christmas Karate party at the dojo. His friend, Tommy, is coming to that too. We won't be able to come home until after we get to Hannaford to pick up some baby carrots for the preschool Christmas party tomorrow morning. Whew!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holiday Countdown

We went back to Sears this morning to pick up the Christmas
cards we had done a couple of weeks ago. The mall was surprisingly UNcrowded. We got to visit with Santa. When asked what he wanted for Christmas, Walker said, "A Christmas Tree." Poor kid, doesn't even have a tree - yet. Sheesh, we're getting one this weekend. Walker looks like a little, biker boy in this shot.

This evening after Scott left for work and Walker went to sleep, I started to hear the "chirping" of one of our smoke detectors. They do that when one of the batteries is dying. So I went and got out a 9 volt battery, which we keep on hand just for this reason because you know they will always start chirping away in the middle of the night. I kept hearing it but I couldn't figure out which one it was. I went and stood under each one and waited for the noise again. Each time I heard it I was under the wrong one. It was getting frustrating. Finally, after visiting each one a second time the phone rang. By the time I got off the phone with my friend Ann Marie, the chirping had stopped altogether. It happened last night as well, and then stopped just as abruptly. How odd. Perhaps it's not the smoke detectors at all? Maybe it's a lone cricket. But that can't be right. One little chirp at a time? Who knows. Maybe I should replace ALL the batteries. But then again, why do that and waste the ones that don't need changing. Such are my mysteries.

My cold was brief. It felt like it was coming on strong last Saturday, but after the 1st day of sore throat and stuffiness it went away. Good.

I'll feel so free after Saturday night. Once these shows are over it'll all be easy. The Christmas show will be fun, of course, but I'll be in holiday mode the minute they are over. I'm going to come home and drink a Corona (or several). All these rehearsals/shows have really put a damper on partying!

Monday, December 04, 2006

One Show Down...

Saturday's show at Northern Essex went smoothly. Walker was great, he was tired and bored, but did what he needed to do when he needed to do it. My little professional man. Someone asked me if I was going to buy the DVD of the show. I said I wasn't, but she made me feel guilty saying I should because Walker was in it. I've got lots of his show DVDs and I've only watched them once. Maybe one day I'll regret not buying it. Anyway, that wonderful woman actually got a copy for me, so I do have it. I can't help it if I'm cheap, especially this time of year.

We're just very tired from this long, late weekend. Sunday was spent in rehearsal for next weekend's Christmas show. As most rehearsal related events, it was a lot of hurry up and wait. Walker was super over tired from the night before, but we made it through. Luckily, Scott took today (Monday) off, because we slept very late and Scott was able to take Walker to school so I wouldn't be late for work at the "Y."

I started out so strong on my Christmas shopping. Now I'm just ready to stay OUT of the stores. I'm not in the spirit of the season yet. Can't even think about wrapping things. We don't have a lot of Christmas cards yet. We haven't sent ours out yet, either. I have to make the trip back to the mall/Sears to pick up the finished product then write out the labels, etc. We only ordered 30 picture cards, so if you get one you'll know you were in the top 30 people on our list! I actually cut a lot of folks out this year. Anyone (except old college roommates) that I haven't spoken to in 10 years is off the list. So are distant in-law related relatives that I don't know. I ruthlessly edited the card list. Maybe I'll only have to send 30 cards anyway.

Time to get out to Karate.

Friday, December 01, 2006

December Spring...

Happy Holidays! Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone it's really beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At least at our house. We've got all the decorations and lights up - except a real tree. We'll get that in a couple weeks.

Walker did a great job at rehearsal for my Northern Essex student dance showcase piece. I asked him if he liked my dance and he said it was too long. Then I guess I got the point of the piece across. We'll be performing on Saturday night at 7:30PM. Then I'll be done with that class, except for the viewing of the recorded show, which may be more painful than the show itself!

As I write, the rain is pouring down after slamming into the window. Could rain break my window? We're expecting sever thunder storms. It was 69 degrees yesterday. It's too hot for winter coats. I'm not complaining, of course. I'm always glad to save on heating costs. Still, I am looking forward to some snow. Walker wants to wear his new boots.

I hate going to the Cumberland Farms store/gas station in Plaistow, NH. It's convenient; that's the only reason I keep going there. I thought Cumbie's was supposed to be a wholesome, happy place. Every time I'm in there the cashiers are grumbling to each other about how terrible it is to work there. They also seem to treat the customers like we are troubling them, taking them from what they are doing (grumbling) and disturbing them. I'll have to plan to NOT go there anymore. I did read in Good Housekeeping that you could find out who to write to/who owns what businesses on I haven't tried it yet, though.

Walker is going to be in yet another show, this one for his preschool, on December 14. I'm taking the morning off from work to go to his rehearsal (can't handle the thought of him driving with a "chaperone" I don't know). I'll have to have the video recorder ready to go. It'll be the first time he performs that I'm not directly related to the project. His teachers say he handles stage direction very well. That's my boy!

The more I go to Starbucks, the more I like it there. I used to be opposed to the high priced coffee, but it's not any higher than Dunkins and it's a lot better. Or maybe I should say it's just a lot different. I keep going there and I don't even have to pay. My students keep giving me gift cards in large monetary amounts (for which I'm very, very grateful!). So, I'm an addict of Starbucks now. Oh, er, I mean a fan. I love coffee.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ebay Harrassment

I've been getting messages from a supposedly upset Ebay customer. This customer uses inappropriate language and accuses me of not sending him/her an item that he/she has paid me for. The thing is, I have NEVER even signed on to Ebay. I'm thinking this is an attempt to get me to sign up to it as whenever I try to respond to this message (3rd time I've received it) I can not reply unless I sign in or up to Ebay. I don't want to do this. But it's stupid and irratating. It's not a big problem in the grand scheme of things, of course, but a little irritation each and every time I sign on to my private email account. I keep a separate email on yahoo for all the crap emails and junk, but this Ebay is coming to my private one and it's making me angry. I know, if I have nothing else to be angry about things must be pretty good. They are, but still, I'd like a day without having to see this angry email directed at me which shouldn't be directed at me. Anyway...

I waited in line in the the McDonald's drive-through this morning for 10 minutes. That's a bit extreme. I'd just told myself if we didn't move an inch before 8:25 I'd just leave (this was after placing my order). By the time I got the order I felt I really aggravated. I don't leave enough time for that sort of delay. I was running late this morning anyway, hadn't had time to eat at home, thus the need to stop for a quick coffee and food. I ordered what used to be my favorite breakfast there (until today), a McGriddle sandwhich. I ordered it with no egg, just sausage and cheese. I got it (after 10 minutes! I know I've already mentioned this) and it had egg on it. OK, easy enough to remove. I hope I didn't pay for the egg I threw away. But the sausage looked undercooked and unappealing. I threw that away too, leaving just the yellow cheese and the muffin part. It wasn't very good at all. I was sickened. Ugh. How disappointing when I'd been looking forward to my junk food "fix."

The good news of today...

After my classes at Andover I left the studio to walk around the corner to Starbucks (I still have gift certificates from students to go there). I passed the Andover Thrift Shop, same as always. I've never been in there before today. Something made me stop and go back. I entered the shop, thinking about how trendy and hip it has become to shop for "vintage" clothing/items. Can I just say, that place is now my favorite store! I found about 10 coats I wanted to buy. The one I actually bought is a beautiful, classic, long, camel hair Lord & Taylor coat. I've seen similar ones in Bazaar and Vogue that are at least $1,000. The price tag said $15!!! I asked at the register if this was really the price and the ladies thought I was complaining that this was too much. I laughed and said, no, I would even give them $20 for that coat. It's been years since I've bought myself a new coat. My winter coats are actually all hand-me-downs from my mom. The are all great, of course, but this is another great one. I even got some clothes for Walker at $.50 each. Wow. I love that place! I've got to go back next week and see what they have for Scott. To think I've been walking right past that store for 2 years!

We've got a play date at the Burger King playplace in an hour. Should be fun. Hopefully, it'll be cleaner and better than last time we were there.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

So Little Time...

There are only 8 weeks until Christmas. Only one more big paycheck (being paid monthly does have it's drawbacks). I bought a few fun games for Walker this past week. I'm excited for Christmas - new games for us all!

The wind is whipping about madly. Lots of towns in the area lost power hours ago. I hope we don't. I'd better get a flashlight ready just in case. Either that or go to sleep, then I won't need one.

Walker has his "holiday harvest" party tomorrow. They aren't doing a typical Halloween party. I guess that's respectful of everyone's religion and all, but for the kids celebrating Halloween it's a drag. They want to wear their costumes now - again and again. We did get to go to a fun Halloween event yesterday at a local elementary school. It was really fun for him. For us adults too. So anyway, for the party tomorrow I was requested to make orange jello. We did jello jigglers. They are much more fun than just a bowl full of jello. Oh, they are supposed to wear their pjs to the school for the party, so that's like a costume. The kids are all excited about it. Walker went to bed in his Spiderman pj's and is excited that he'll wake up and be ready for school and not even have to get dressed.

I'm overwhelmed by the amount of work for the one college class I'm taking. It's now a lot of reading, a lot of writing and making up pieces of dances as well as a full length piece that is a duet (with Walker) and a full length piece with a group of women in the class. I'm not really falling behind, but I'm not really getting a lot of out if. I'm just playing the "game" and doing the work as quickly as possible to get it out of the way. I've got other stuff to do.

This morning was nice. We skipped church/Sunday school. We did not have soccer today (the last game is next week). We also skipped the "family and mall" scene rehearsal for the Christmas show. I was going to skip the 3:15 rehearsal, but then realized I'm the one who has the music and I have to be there. It'b be bad if I wasn't there and they had no music. So we were there for that one and the one at 4:30. But it was nice to hang out at home all morning. After next week soccer will be over, so everything won't be so rushed every Sunday. I enjoy being part of the Christmas show, but it's taking all afternoon every Sunday and we're getting worn out. I've even cut my groups rehearsal from 1 hour to 45 minutes. They are doing really well and are ready to perform next weekend, though the show isn't until December 9. Tickets go on sale next weekend! The countdown to free Sundays begins!

Signing off now before the wind clears this rambling...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Halloween Prep

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This is a picture of Walker and Lilly. It was the first day we got to our camp site. Our first meal. They were so excited to finally be CAMPING! They kept saying, "We're camping, we're camping." We finally gave them some lunch after we'd set up all the tents and tarps. They had a great time cooking over the open flame. Walker even ate the hot dog after cooking it.

The air definitely has that fall feel to it. The leaves are turning from bright colors to dull brown. Houses have smoke coming from their chimneys. All the evidence I need to say that summer really is gone. How sad. Already I miss going barefoot outdoors. On the other hand, there are only 9 1/2 weeks until Christmas!

Every Wednesday after I teach at the YMCA I get my check, cash it and go do some shopping. Walker is going to have a fun Christmas. I've already made a pretty good start on a pile of gifts for him. I've been going to different stores each week. Today it was just Rite-Aid (since it was where I was and fit the schedule!). I picked up some art supplies and bath toys like tub crayons and paints. They also have a pretty decent toy isle there and I picked up an inexpensive game of checkers. Last weeks trip to Big Lots was a lot of fun. I got a lot of interesting new games - we're a big game playing family.

I can feel Christmas in the air. OK, maybe it's partly that we're teaching choreography at the Andover School of Ballet for the Thanksgiving weekend Christmas parade. Each class has a different Nutcracker song to dance (part of) in the parade. Or is it that I spend every Sunday in Christmas show rehearsals at Steppin' Out. It's fun and makes the holiday season last a bit longer.

We're getting ready for trick-or-treat. Walker LOVES that. He doesn't remember a lot about being three, but he really does remember last year's trick-or-treating experiences. This year he will be Darth Vadar. Hmm, how does he carry a candy bucket and a light saber. At least the saber can double as a flash light/reflective device.

We've got our homemade mini ghosts hanging on our cherry trees. Pumpkin lights out front that we light once in a while then usually keep lit for another 4 days!

I like October. I've been telling my classes it's October and I'm allowed to be a real "witch." Yeah, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

I thought I lost a CD that I borrowed from the library. I burned myself a copy before "loosing" it. I thought about just giving them back the burnt copy, but then thought they would just think I had the original. I looked everywhere and decided that I just lost it at one of the studios. Darn it. How irresponsible of me. But I was fixing my error. Yesterday I ordered a new Blue Man/Complex CD from BMG music. And you know what happened? Of course, today I found the library copy. I just KNEW that would happen. That's partly why I ordered it, so I would finally find it and end my internal struggle about loosing a library item. I'm actually surprised we haven't lost anything before this. We borrow at least 10 books and 4 videos a week as well as music CDs and audio books. I love the library. So does Walker. They are having kids do mini book reviews. They get to hang them up and also get a prize for doing it. I'm sure that's Walker's movitation. It is quite funny to hear his review (and write it down for the public). He'll rate a book a "6" and when I ask why he'll say that he liked it and that it's a "medium."

I finally saw "Mona Lisa Smile" last night. It made me think of my mom, who was a Pembroke girl at the same time this was supposed to have taken place. I don't see too many chick flicks, unless I borrow from the library. Then I have to make a point to go downstairs and watch after Walker is asleep. It's easier, and usually more interesting for me, to just read a book.
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We have to come up with "themes" for our choreography pieces for my dance comp class. I thought I was going to do something about my sister and I coming of age. But I think I'm changing it to something about motherhood and a growing child. I may have a couple of kids to use as more grown up "Walkers" and do some sort of growing up sequence. We're supposed to do the choreography without any music, not even think about music. That's really out of the box for me. Should be interesting. We had a group project where we had to come up with short phrases. We never knew these were going to turn into pieces that we had to use in the show as well. The prof. saw my groups and said it looked to her like some sort of third world group of women in all their pain and suffering, supporting each other and giving each other hope. Yeah, sure, just what we were going for. Glad she liked it anyway.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Autumn Friday

This is a picture from August. We visited Portsmouth, NH, a seacoast city. Walker loved running along the docks. In the background is the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The weather is beautiful here. It really is. I'm also in a good mood because I've started Christmas shopping. I'm trying to NOT charge anything this year. We'll see.

A lot of peope must be taking advantage of the great weather. I had a low attendance in my 3-year old dance class this morning. Either that or everyone now has the croup which has been going around. Walker had it last week. It sounds much worse that it is.

I do not like the Shaws supermarkets. They are overpriced. Even with my "discount" card, they are still more than Hannaford, where I usually shop. I just stopped by Shaws because it was convenient for me today. Unfortunately, it was a bad experience. Except for the backed salmon with curry sauce that a very pleasant gentleman was preparing at the seafood counter and giving out samples. The cart I used pulled very hard to the right. It didn't do that until I'd started loading groceries into it. Then what would I do, leave the store and change carts? I didn't, but did get more and more aggravated as I went. I kept smiling, though, as I always do at the market. It's a sort of game Walker and I play (even though he wasn't with me today). We try to smile because we've noticed that most people in grocery stores are not smiling. I don't know why? We like to shop and are (usually) happy with it. They now have TV screens at the registers so you can watch while you wait. I'd prefer NOT to watch TV and get checked out quickly. They only had 2 lines open and they were very long lines. They should just pay someone their mimimun wage to check people out, rather than upgrade all the isles with TVs and keep people waiting. I can watch TV at home. Don't need to at Shaws!

But like I said. I am still in a good mood. Even though I am still getting bills for ear tube removal surgery that Walker had in March. For some reason the insurance doesn't want to pay for it. Unfortunately for them they did pay for the anesthesia for this procedure. So why not the procedure!? I hate "issues" like this and tend to just put the envelope aside and hope it all goes away. It is on my list of things to do, though, so that it is purged from my mind completely.

Happy day to you!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Columbus day

It was great to have some time off yesterday. Most of our activities were cancelled due to the holiday. But it did make us realize that we really LIKE our busy schedule. Just hanging around gets annoying after a while. I mean, really, how many games of "Old Maid" or "Crazy Eights" can we play? Luckily, the weather has been beautiful, so we get outside and use the trampoline or swingset or take a walk in the woods.

I wish there were more holidays coming sooner than Veterans day. But I suppose I shouldn't wish it away too quickly. Christmas shopping time is upon us and will be in full fury soon. I can't believe Wal*Mart already has all the holiday things out. We have just decorated for Halloween, never mind Thanksgiving or Christmas.

We did leaf "rubbings" yesterday. It was truly a step back in time to me. We used to do it every year with my mom. Now we've got apple prints to try. Oh, yes, there is also carving the pumpkin for some real excitement with a knife!

We had a fire in our chimnea Saturday night. It's actually an old wood stove my sister gave us, with a pretty, glass door/window to it, that we now have on the patio in the above picture. It was very chilly outside, but beautiful and clear, so Scott came up with the idea to burn some stuff and heat the patio area at the same time so we could enjoy being outdoors. We've moving up from yard bonfires!

Here's an irritating thing that happened this afternoon. I went to buy gas and snacks before going to the studio. You know the high prices of gas; it's not like I'm going to get anything for only $10. So I had the only money I had at the time with me - a crisp $100 bill. Walker and I went into the local Mobil station (possibly my 1st mistake), shopped around and picked up a bunch of drinks and snacks (to keep him busy and quiet with me at the studio). We waited forever in line and I ordered my gas - $40 (you have to "prepay" here now). With all the other stuff we were buying our total was going to be over $50 so I didn't think paying with a $100 would be a problem. After all, it's really only 5 $20's! I was refused service if I didn't have anything smaller. Yeah, I could have paid with a credit card or debit card, but I wanted to pay with cash. What the hay? Can't you use cash anywhere anymore? The guy would only have had to give us back $50. Anyway, we walked out with all our stuff on the counter. I will NEVER go there again, even though it is convenient. Even Walker was upset about it, of course, because we didn't have any fun snacks. He kept telling our story to everyone at the studio. Good boy - so I didn't have to be the one to actually start the whining, but I could chime in, whining, with his story. After our classes we actually did get to buy gas - at the local Shell station where we should have just gone in the 1st place - they have a Dunkin Donuts there! So anyway, that is my biggest aggravation of the day. The inconvenience of that "convenient" store!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It's the Little Things...

So far it has been one of those days where all the little things were good. For example, I went for my Dunkin Donuts coffee expecting to pay $2.00. When the server said $.53 I thought she was wrong. Nope, customer appreciation day in my favor. I'm so happy about it I may stop there AGAIN on my way to the next job!

I did a little more Christmas shopping this morning. There was a huge toy clearance area at Wal*Mart. I got 5 really good things for only $27. Not just junk, but actual things that are already on the list of things to write to Santa about.

My classes at the YMCA this morning were good. The kids are so well behaved and a joy to have in class. All of them!

The monarch butterflies are starting their southern migration. They seem to have a path directly above our house. We keep pretending they are the ones we "hatched." All four of ours Walker named Steve (I don't know why). Every time we see a butterfly we have to say hello to Steve.

I do not like that new shampoo and conditioner called "Sun Silk." It makes my hair feel yucky, not good, soft and silky. I'll be going back to Pantene as soon as I'm through with the SS (yeah, I'll actually use it all up even though I don't like it - I'm cheap). My sister also recommends the Dove line. I did try that and it was good too.

We went for a hike at the state park yesterday. There is a lean-to there that we renamed the "Shrieking Shack" after the one in Harry Potter and the Prisoner from Azkaban. Walker liked blazing new trails through the woods. We do have woods near our home, but are not comfortable walking there as there are hunters out now.

Anyway, back to life.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another Day, Another Tantrum

Here I am staring a blog. Hmm, not a great time to start. It's been a very long day. Before becoming a mom, I never realized children were still into the whole "tantrum thing" long after the toddler days were over. My preschooler is 4 and has very big opinions on everything and his mother's temper to go with it. We are so much alike it's scary. Also very interesting to see how my personality and Scott's have morphed together to create this little guy.

Anyway, this morning's issue was itchy tags on the pj's. He wanted them cut off immediately. He'd been wearing them all night with no issues, but it became terribly important for those tags to be gone right NOW. Unfortunately, I do not have scissor hands, or even keep a pair upstairs in any bedroom. That was all it took for a huge meltdown. So, of course I can't have a tantrum and let him get away with it (maybe I should, but anyway), I always say, "Nothing good will happen, blah, blah, blah." No TV with breakfast with that behavior, no sir! Of course that made it worse and one thing led to another and off we go an hour later to preschool all grumpy.

But, you gotta love the resiliency of kids. Luckily, he was in a great mood when I picked him up after Pre-K.

While he was at school, I was off to my own class. A choreography class where we are working hard to learn how to "free your neck."

I feel like the mom in that Dunkin Donuts commercial where she's driving all the kids to all their activities. That's what I do every day and I only have 1 child. Soccer, karate, dance, speech, school, library. No wonder we need our coffee!

I'm trying to use my pedometer a lot, make sure I get enough milage in. Today I only went 3.5 miles and didn't even try to run the rest up before bed. Too tired. Hopefully, I'll have something more interesting to report the next time.