Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vote for Unicycle.com!

Unicycle.com is a really wonderful business. I've bought a couple of unicycles from them as well as a number of DVDs, t-shirts, and books. They are always a pleasure to deal with.

They are in a competition through Forbes to win $100,000 in a "Boost Your Business" contest, and they are very close to making it into the next round of the competition. Please go here and vote Yes for Unicycle.com!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

For Annabelle

For our first 2 years here at Fort Knox, Annabelle and her friend Katherine were inseperable. They had sleepovers almost every weekend, did their homework together, etc., etc., etc. One thing about the military lifestyle though is that either you will move away, or your friends will move away. And sure enough, this summer Katherine and her family moved away to Pennsylvania.

They moved shortly after we left for our vacation in Florida. Katherine and Annabelle spent the days and nights before our departure together and then had a tearful farewell the night before we left. It was very sad, but we were slammed immediately into the excitement of our Florida vacation, so there wasn't much time to dwell on it.

When we got back from Florida, however, it was a whole 'nother story. There were new people living in Katherine's house, and Annabelle had to start middle school by herself, after being in the same class together for 2 years. So it has been a tough adjustment, and Annabelle misses Katherine a whole lot.

Well, the nice thing about (western) Pennsylvania is that it is only a 7-hour drive away, which is downright next door compared to some of the places in the world where we have friends.

I called Katherine's mom (who is also a very good friend of mine) last week, and we made a plan. The kids don't have school here that Friday before Labor Day, so I am going to take Annabelle and hop into our van and take her up there for a visit. We will come home on Sunday to avoid the crazy traffic of Labor Day, but they will have 2 nights and 1 whole day to spend together.

Once the plan was in place, I decided to save it for her birthday, which is today. I am betting this will be her favorite present.

Happy birthday, Annabelle!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Curtain call

What a whirlwind week! After daily rehearsals Monday through Thursday, "Little Mermaid" went live with 2 shows on Friday (one during the school day and one at night) and 1 Saturday afternoon. I went to the Friday night performance, and Fred and I both went to the Saturday one.

The show was terrific! It is truly amazing how much they accomplished in just 5 short days.

Annabelle was one of the "Sea Scouts," which come on stage for a couple of musical numbers, take on different rolls (such as the dragon seen in the photo below and a band of sinister soldiers), and move scenery around between scenes.

I tried taking pictures during the show, but I didn't get very good results since I couldn't use flash. My dragon photo is the only one that was halfway decent (Annabelle is the third set of feet from the right):

I had better luck getting this video clip of the sinister (and somewhat silly) soldiers:

Before we knew it, it was time for the final curtain call, and Missoula Children's Theatre was over for us for the year. That's Annabelle in the back row, holding the dolphin:

You can't take the K out of FKHS

Believe me, we tried, but he wouldn't go.

When Fred and I went to the school yesterday at half-time to pick Mike up from the soccer game, he didn't want to leave. He and 3 of his buddies had decorated themselves for the occasion and were determined to wait it out until the bitter end:

Apparently, being green is easier than previously reported.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The "if you give a mouse a cookie"* nature of my life

I have a dirty little secret. There is a daybed in my office, and somehow when we were unpacking 2 years ago, it became the landing pad for all manner of crap that just didn't have a place. Over the years, the pile has shifted and morphed like some sort of clutter dune, but never has it gone away entirely. This was the state of the bed at the beginning of August:

Right about then, I got inspired to clean up the Daybed from Hell, but it has been very slow going. This is mostly due to my propensity for getting distracted, kind of like one of those "Family Circus" kids who, when told to go get the mail, has to wander the whole neighborhood, stopping to pet dogs, run through the sprinkler, chat with a friend, buy an ice cream, and so on and so on. The following story is a vivid example of what I am sure is adult-onset ADD.

I unearthed from the pile of clutter the minutes to this month's high school PTO meeting and decided that, as part of my ongoing quest for Total Organization, those papers should really go into a binder dedicated solely to PTO business. So I went up to the attic and grabbed a 3-ring notebook. (Still on task and working hard.)

This notebook has a pocket on the front so that one might put a title page in it. I thought that perhaps if my binder were neatly labeled, I might have an easier time maintaining my motivation to use it. I suppose I could have simply written "PTO" on a sheet of paper and stuck it in the see-through pocket, but I wanted something a little nicer. (Mostly still on task.)

I fired up my hand-dandy Photoshop Elements and typed those 3 letters in a nice large font. It just seemed so plain though, and before I knew it, I was at the Photoshop Elements User website looking for ideas to make my binder cover a little more interesting. I found a tutorial for making letters that look like the varsity letters kids sew onto school jackets and thought how cool it would look if my "PTO" were made out of varsity letters. I got right to work. (Kind of still on task.)

An hour or so later, I had my varsity P, my varsity T, and my varsity O, and I was feeling quite pleased with myself. I supposed I could have hole-punched the minutes, stuck them in the binder, and moved on to some other part of the mess, but something just wasn't quite right. Yes, my varsity letters looked cool, but they were rather stark against a plain white background. At this point, I enlisted the help of my aunt and Photoshop guru Suzie. She helpfully sent me links to digital scrabooking websites, and at one of them I found a collection of school-related items that would work perfectly with my varsity letters. (Task? What task? I am now a woman with a mission!)

Several hours and several good ideas later, I had my notebook cover finished:

What about the bed, you ask? Well, it has been downgraded from Daybed from Hell to Daybed from Heck status. I am seeing some progress. I'm sure it will be much better once I've made a cover for my Band Boosters notebook . . .

*If the reference to mice and cookies leaves you scratching your head, go here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Little Mermaid

Annabelle is taking part in a really cool activity this week. The Missoula Children's Theatre is in Elizabethtown, and she has been cast as a Sea Scout in their production of "Little Mermaid."

MCT is an amazing organization! They travel all over the country (and even overseas), putting on a show a week with children from the community. They bring the costumes, the scripts, and the props, but the talent is all local.

Monday afternoon was the audition. Annabelle was one of 148 kids vying for 50 to 60 parts. They stood the kids on stage by height in a giant circle and went around, over and over again, having them say things like their name and age (first in a regular voice, then in a snooty voice, then in a happy voice) and a couple of different lines ("So . . . ya wanna get married, eh?"). As they went around, the 2 directors would pull kids and move them around to different places in the circle.

It was a tense couple of hours, but Annabelle came away with a part, and so did her friend Matthew. (They are the only kids from their middle school who tried out. I saw a mom in uniform, but everybody else appears to be from off post.) This works out beautifully for me and Matthew's mom, as we are able to share the chauffering duties.

They rehearsed for 2 hours after the audition on Monday night. Yesterday and today rehearsals are from 6:30 to 8:30. On Thursday they are there from 4:00 to 8:30.

The curtain comes up on Friday, with a morning performance for area schools and a night-time public performance. Fred, Mike, and I are going to go on Saturday afternoon for the final show.

I can't wait! I got to see just a few minutes of rehearsal when I went to pick them up last night, and it's amazing how much they had accomplished in just 2 days.

Monday, August 13, 2007

1 week down, 35 to go

Can you believe that today begins the second full week of school for this year? I feel like I've been tossed into a raging river, and it's just sweeping me along, while I shout, "Wait! Summer's not over yet!"

I know a lot of parents get a warm tingly feeling about the kids going back to school, but it just doesn't seem to work that way for me. First, there is the whole business of getting up at the crack of dawn, which I just detest. Then, there is dealing with all the school-related deadlines and pressures, which is almost (but not quite) as bad as getting up at 6 a.m.

The beginning of school for the kids also means that my schedule is about to get a lot busier. I'm the sophomore class parent rep for the high school PTO and plan on being involved with the middle school PTO as well. I'm the band boosters' treasurer and supposedly the cheerboosters' treasurer as well, although the cheerleading team had kind of a rocky summer, and I'm not really sure what's going on there.

I'm on the school board this year, and we have our first meeting on Thursday. Plus, I'm on the School Transition Response Team, which meets quarterly.

I've also got the monthly OCSC luncheons and International Spouses Club coffees. Plus, OCSC has 2 major fundraisers a year, and I always help out with those.

On top of that, I've got my indexing work and my library school classes, which will be starting up again next week. And then, of course, there's all the household stuff and driving kids to their various activities.

The year has hardly begun, but I'm already looking forward to a vacation!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Facing future?

Mike can often be found at the computer tinkering around with various demo recording software packages he has found on the Internet. He is possibly interested in a career in the technical side of music production, if his plan for being a rock star falls through.

When we were in Florida last month, my dad called an old friend of his, Greg Rike, and arranged for us to have a tour of his amazing audio and video recording studio in Orlando:

After an initial walk-through, Dad and I hung out in the lobby with Greg while his production engineer, Wally Walton, gave Mike a more in-depth look at the recording world:

Mike left that day with his head spinning with visions of Pro Tools, and Mac computers, and microphones whose names I don't know. He declared the afternoon to be one of the best parts of our whole vacation!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

4143 is the answer

The question is: "Hey, Bonnie, how many miles is it from Fort Knox, KY, down to DeLand, back and forth to Orlando more times than you can count, over and back once to Tampa, and home again to Kentucky by way of Alabama?"

Another good question is: "Hey, Bonnie, what on earth have you been doing since you got home Sunday night that has kept you too busy to blog?"

The answer to THAT question is: "Getting the kids ready for school."

Yes, today is the first day of school for Mike and Annabelle. WHERE, I demand to know, has summer gone? I want a recount!

Here is the obligatory first-day picture:

For comparison purposes, here are the pics from last year (I think Mike is wearing the same shirt):