Friday, February 15, 2013

Ironic Follow-up to T-shirt Drama

So, this morning, Chad busts out the infamous Wicked shirt for Melanie to wear to school.  And she REFUSES to wear it.

"I want to find something fashionable to wear." she says.

Well, I have news for you, Melanie:  
  1. If price = fashion, then this shirt should be marched down a runway at New York Fashion Week.
  2. I WILL be wearing this shirt when you get home from school.
I think I can maybe squeeze into it.

See previous post for price clarification.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Now That's Love...

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'd like to share a little love: love of my daughters and love of the musical Wicked.  This is a long one, but a great story.  About a year ago, I introduced Melanie and Belle to my favorite musical of all time: Wicked.  Since then, they have sung the songs almost daily.  It was even their costume theme for Halloween 2012.
"Pink goes good with green."

So, when we found out Wicked was coming to Tampa on tour, we became club members to get early tickets.  We got 4th row, nearly center! For 6 months, we waited patiently til Sunday, January 27th rolled around. The tuning of the orchestra always gives me goosebumps, and I couldn't wait for the girls to hear the first notes of the show.  I stored the tickets away safely.

We knew from experience, after attending the matinee of Mary Poppins a month earlier, we'd have just enough time to go to church, drive to Tampa, and grab a quick lunch on the way before the 2 pm curtain time.


We made great time, early even!  We pulled up around 1:10 pm. Chad and I could enjoy a cocktail before the show.  We even took the time to take some pictures to remember this special moment.

When we walked up to the doors, there was not a soul around.  I thought to myself, "Wow, we are so early!"  The attendant looked at us like we were in the wrong place, "Can I help you?"  "Yes, we're here for the show."  We walked in casually. No one was in the lobby.  We sauntered toward the restroom.  I saw someone green singing 'The Wizard and I' on the TV monitor.  I thought, "Geez, we're so early that they're still running through it on stage."  Another attendant said, "You can watch the show til they'll let you in at a scene change."



The show started at 1 pm, not 2 pm.

Bottomline, I've never peed so fast with 2 girls in tow in my life.  We ran to the entrance of our section and were seated by the beginning of the next scene.  

There were tears.  Lots of tears.  All mine.  

Thankfully, I lost myself in the show and forgot how disappointed I was that the girls missed the beginning (at least for a while.)  I kept telling myself that we only missed 3 songs, roughly 15-20 minutes.  The girls were fine.  They thought we were late because Chad drove too slow.

I know what you're thinking:
  1. What kind of an asshole doesn't even take a quick glance at a ticket she's had in her possession for 6 months for a start time?
  2. Who, other than someone who is habitually tardy thinks that 1:10 pm is "extremely early" for a 2 pm show?
  3. Why the hell would a traveling show that's been running in one city for 3 weeks straight need to rehearse before its last matinee?
  4. We would have only missed 2 songs instead of 3 if not for our photo shoot midway to the theatre.
Even after a traumatic beginning, the girls loved the show.  They wanted shirts to remember it. Chad went to the concession booth and came back with 2 $50 (a piece) t-shirts. (Rape, if you ask me, but nothing is cheap at these shows.) Anything to make up for the chaos of earlier.  The girls started planning their outfits for Monday incorporating the shirts. We left the show on a high thinking that maybe missing the beginning wasn't so bad after all.


It was early evening when we left Tampa for Crystal River.  We stopped twice:  once to eat, the second time to gas up.  The car was filled with trash from our ride down.  Chad can't stand clutter, so he cleared out all the miscellaneous bags and threw them out at the gas station.  When we got home and began unloading, Chad asked, "Where are the shirts?"


We scoured the van for the bag containing the shirts.  Nothing.  I burst into tears....again.  Typically, I'd toss out the "How could you...?" line, but I'd already screwed up enough earlier.  Obviously, the shirts were  accidentally thrown away.  How could we have completely ruined what was to be the most perfect day?  

Melanie asked, "Daddy, where are our shirts?"  It was now 7:45 pm on a Sunday evening.  Without a word, Chad picked up the keys and began the 45-minute trek back to the gas station to look for the shirts.  I can only imagine what went through his mind on the trip.  I only know that I emptied every ounce of fluid in my body through my eyes for the next few hours.

He was gone so long.  I thought maybe he went all the way back to the Straz Center to the evening show to buy 2 new shirts. But he only went to the gas station. Of course, 5 minutes before he got there, the trash had been emptied into the dumpster. 

So, he dove on in.

Items encountered in the gas station dumpster:    

1. A dirty baby's diaper
2. Cigarette ashes from a car vacuum
3. Our McDonald's lunch bag (this provided a slight glimmer of hope)   
4. Stale, day-old hot dogs
5. Dip spit

Finally, at 10:30 pm, Chad walked through the door...reeking of garbage...NO shirts.  There was little that could be said at this point.  He calmly picked up the computer and found a site selling the same shirts for roughly the same price.

Straz Center Club Membership: $200
4 Tickets: $ 400
4 t-shirts: $200
Trip to NYC so the girls can see the beginning of the show on Broadway: PRICELESS!

Melanie's biggest concern?:   "How will I prove I saw the show if I don't have a shirt?"

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rodent Rampage

I opened the front door this morning to take the girls to school and I kid you not, at least 10-15 squirrels scattered all over my yard. It was like a bust on a speakeasy.


Then I noticed a cardinal in a tree, and it all made sense.  Those crazy bastards thought they could actually catch that bird.

Not likely.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm Not the Only One Who Finds Christopher Scott Worthy

So does the the 2012 Emmy Nominating Committee.  He is nominated for two SYTYCD dances from last season...two of my faves.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Nigel Lithgow!  Take a look.

Twist and Sasha- "Mysty Blue"

Men- "Velocity"

Also nominated are Stacey Tookey (3 Contemporary), Spencer Liff (2 Broadway), Travis Wall from his company's performance on Dancing with the Stars, and 3 numbers from Smash ("Let's Be Bad," "I Never Met a Wolf," and "National Pastime").

I've spent a decent amount of time today watching all the nominated dances on YouTube.  If I had a vote, I'd either go with Scott or Smash.

Speaking of Travis Wall's dance company though, I stumbled across a promo for his new Oxygen reality show this morning.  LOVE it!  Lot's of SYTYCD alums.  You can watch the first episode online, which I did.

Of course, next week, Nigel will drone on and on about the noms.  He seems to see them as a nod to show.  Which they are to an extent. The show's nomination for best Reality Show is his, but the dances are the vision of the choreographers.  I still think he's too stingy with his admiration for their craft.  

All and all, my day has pretty much been spent watching dancing online.  Not bad.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

5 Takeaways from SYTYCD

It's Week 2 of the live shows and here are a few of my thoughts on the show:

1Stop kissing Sonya Tayeh’s ass.  Christopher Scott is a mastermind.
Every season there's a golden choreographer.  For so many years, it was Mia Michaels.  This season belongs to Sonya.  Her choreography is very good.  But it irks me to no end when the judges, mainly Nigel Lithgow, call out choreographers on national television.  That is unacceptable.  I loved both of Christopher Scott's routines.  He is so inventive.  Just because there is no angst and jerky movements with flexed feet doesn't mean that his dances are worthwhile.

2. It’s not about you or your movie, Adam Shankman.
I loved Adam when he directed Hairspray.  He is a champion of dance in film, and I dig that.  But I'm over the self-promotion as a running gag.  He is a valid, legit judge.  I respect that.  Too often SYTYCD has complete incompetents on the judging panel.  But shut up about Step Up Revolution already!!! 

3. I have a huge crush on Matt.
They refer to him as Matthew. That's beat.  His dancing partner calls him Matt, so that's what I'll call him. Every season I have a male crush. First was Neil, then Kent, now Matt. It's really all about the total package:  dance ability, looks, charisma, and sex appeal.  I just think he's the bee's knees.  My fave for sure.

4. I don’t like the new voting format.
It sucks that Fox has cut the results show.  With all the crap on TV these days, especially on Fox, they can't spare 30 minutes on Thursday night?  The producers have dealt with it and structured it as best as they could, but the abrupt departure of dancers at the end takes away from the credit due to the ones leaving.  Tonight, no one got to "dance for their life."  It also takes away from the amount of rehearsal time we see during their dance segment.  It is what it is, but I'm disappointed.

5. I obviously am more drawn to male dancers than female.
This goes for American Idol as well.  And don't even get me started about Maks and Derek on Dancing with the Stars. When I look back over my voting history, I predominantly vote for males.  Which is strange because in the Olympics, I always prefer womens' figure skating and gymnastics to men's.  But what can I say?  There is something ultimately sexy about a strong male dancer.  

The Chaperone: A Review

This is one of those books where I'm left scratching my head as to the title.  

Warning:  Possible Spoilers

Cora Carlisle is a 36-year-old housewife from Kansas when she is chosen to chaperone 15-year-old Louse Brooks to a summer dance seminar in New York City. Louse is tough and no-nonsense with an air of haughtiness and indignation.  Cora is on a search to find the story behind her birth parents.  The two clash.  Cora is old school in a sense, but is up on the suffrage movement.  Louise is as full-on Modern.

Cora gets some answers.  Louise gets a dancing gig.  There's a love interest.  And then that plot ends roughly 3/4 through the book.  The latter part of the novel is a sort of fast forward epilogue. The story shifts from being about Cora as a chaperone to Cora as a wife, mother, grandmother, lover, respected citizen, etc. The story finally ends in the '80s with Cora's death. Louise and Cora share one more scene towards the end. Hence, my confusion over the title.  I wanted more of their relationship.  If this were pure fiction, I'd want some bonding moment where the two totally get one another and become each other's confidantes and champions.  Being historical fiction, though, it may be a stretch to create such an event that never happened. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but was confused with the structure.

What I did love was the picture of history that was painted.  I love the Twenties.  I enjoyed learning about women's issues and societal views on modern women during that time. I found it interesting to learn how orphans were treated and the adoption system during that time as well as. The novel also touches on Kansas' ultra-conservative views on Prohibition and homosexuality.  I learned about a lot of things.  This is why I dig historical fiction.

Some say Louise was a bitch, but I loved her.  She had spunk and knew what she wanted.  She was the Jazz Age.  I read that Liza Minnelli channeled Louise Brooks when creating her portrayal of Sally Bowles in Cabaret. I wanted to know more about her career and not just in fast forward.  That being said, I truly did enjoy Cora's story.  She was a likable character and a great heroine.

This was well-written, and I would suggest it to anyone interested in historical fiction and the '20s.

The Spectacular Now: A Review

Sutter Keely embraces the now.  He also embraces a full flask and a tall 7-Up.  This story chronicles the last months of his senior year of high school.  He sorts out his friends, family, and relationships...or at least tries to.  

This is one of those books where the plot isn't as compelling as the way it is delivered. This is totally a character driven novel. Sutter is the narrator.  He talks to the reader as if he's your friend and you've known him all your life through statements like "...but you know me." The dialogue is witty and compelling, but some of the best parts are his narrative.  He's the guy who's friends with everyone and everyone wants to have around.  But as the novel progresses, you move from admiration to pity.  His now, as it turns out, isn't really all that spectacular, it's almost pathetic.  What's so great about Sutter, though, is he doesn't see it that way.  He always finds a way to make it spectacular.  And then, you move from pitying him, back to admiration.

I'm not crazy about the ending.  I don't know if I wanted more, or something different, or even if it wasn't actually perfect.  The ending, I suppose, goes along with the whole "now" theme.

The book is being adapted for a movie, which is why I read it.  My former Drama student, Miles Teller of Footloose fame, is playing the role of Sutter.  This is a great character and a great role for him.  I can't wait to see his interpretation and delivery.  I'm also interested to see how the narratives are portrayed in the movie.  I know books and movies are separate entities, but this this novel actually does lend itself to the film format because of it's short, succinct scenes and dialogue. 

I really enjoyed the writing.  It's smart, and I appreciate that.  Read it.  And then go see the movie when it comes out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm Back (sort of)

I don't know what my problem is.  I have the worst case of writer's block.  When I'm teaching and full of angst and frustration, the words keep-a-flowing.  But this summer, with my kids all up in my business, it's hard to get my groove on.  I've certainly experienced writable moments, but I just can't be bothered to pound it out on the keyboard.

In an effort to post in July, I'll share some notable happenings of my summer thus far:

1.  I've been reading a lot.  Of course, I'm hooked on smutty, short romance novels because I'm trying to pump up my stats, but who's judging?  Typically, I enjoy meatier subjects (pardon the pun) during the summer because I have more time to focus and absorb. But this summer, if the novel doesn't have a shirtless six-pack on the cover, I'm not reading it.

2.  I have a new workout regime.  I'm all about Yoga and Pilates.  If the workout requires shoes, forget it.  I also don't want to be yelled at.  I have a slight problem with purchasing new workouts every week, because I like to keep mixing it up, but I'm digging the results.  Of course, I haven't curbed my food or alcohol intake, so I'm not losing weight.  But I'm more toned and feel good.

3.  I'm working part-time for Florida Virtual School.  I'm a TA for Driver's Ed.  To your number one question the answer is "Yes," it is possible to teach Driver's Ed online.  It's only the written portion...rules, regs, say no to drugs/texting, etc.  Thank God they didn't review my driving record as a prerequisite.  I've wanted to get on with them for the longest time.  This is seasonal at the moment. I'm hoping to stay on part-time into the school year and eventually switch to Social Studies.  It's sort of a bummer, though, that it came about during my time off.  Working is really cramping my fun in the sun.  Which brings me to:

4. I LOVE our pool.  What the hell did I ever do with my time before we had it?  I cant' get enough. If the mosquitoes wouldn't devour me, I'd sleep on a raft in it.  My obsessive compulsive personality is rearing its ugly head though,  because tanning has become my job.  I feel it's a must to be out there everyday, for multiple hours.  And I've got no business being in the sun everyday. Skin cancer runs like wild horses through my family.  I've personally had skin cancer removed from my scalp.  My lesson?  Wear a hat.  And broad spectrum SPF.  If it's sunny, I'm out there.  When it's raining, I'm pissed.  The good new is that I haven't gotten burned once.  The bad news is that I'll never have more than a healthy base tan.  A Hawaiian Tropic Model I'll never be.

After our week at the beach over the July 4th holiday, the girls can't be bothered to swim anymore. There are too many bugs, their ears hurt, they want to watch T.V.  I say piss on that.  So, I leave them inside and float about alone.  They come outside occasionally and ask me to place Barbie's hair in a ponytail  and then disappear.  We threaten that we're going to call Mr. Pool to come and take the pool back.  That gets them fired up.  "NO!" they yell.  But still, little to no swimming occurs. This of course is an idle threat because I will most certainly be lost without that pool. Tomorrow (weather permitting), I'm hiding the remotes and the iPad and forcing them to swim.  "And you will enjoy it, dammit!"

Saturday, June 2, 2012

‘Home Front’ by Kristin Hannah

Mother’s Day has passed, but if you’re looking for a book as a gift for a mother, this is it.  Kristin Hannah certainly writes with a formula, but it’s one that works.  You can expect complex plots, rich characters, and a nicely resolved ending.  “Home Front” is no exception.

“Home Front” is set during the war in Iraq and tells the story of Jolene and Michael Zarkades.  She’s a reserve army pilot, a wife, and a mother of a preteen and a preschooler.  She manages work, which she loves, and home, alongside helping her oldest daughter, Betsy, deal with teenage angst.   Michael is a workaholic lawyer and is incredibly selfish and absent from family life.  The novel begins with him telling Jolene that he doesn’t love her anymore.  Then she is called up for active duty in Iraq.  Her sense of duty sends her to war, much to the dismay of her family.  Betsy is resentful, and Michael must step into the role of primary caregiver.  Tragedy strikes while Jolene is at war, and everyone is faced with dealing with the aftermath while attempting to hold the family together.

The story deals with familiar themes that many readers can relate to:  marriage difficulties, mother/daughter relationships, patriotism, and the physical and mental results of war on soldiers.  It is not hard to become emotionally invested in the plot.

What is great about this novel is that there is no perfect character.  The reader’s sympathies switch throughout the novel.  The characters are real and relatable.

This is a moving and stirring story and shouldn’t be missed.

Christening Day

Today was the first day we were able to swim in the pool.  The deck isn't entirely finished, but it's functional.  We got in about 11 a.m. and didn't come inside until 4:30 p.m, with breaks for food (which we ate poolside.)  It was wonderful.  We haven't spent that much leisure time outdoors in the 10 years we've lived here.
Happy girls.

At bedtime, Belle told me that she loves me more than the new pool.  High praise indeed!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Fun to Come

We've been thinking about a pool for ages, but we just don't have the money for an in ground pool. Lately, we started batting around the idea of an above ground pool.  They've come a long way from my childhood.  Last Friday, Chad and I went to Mr. Pool.  Bottomline, we came home with a 16'x32' new best friend.  That was until we started adding up all the other expenses that went along with this pool.  Since then, we've Chad has been up to his eyeballs in re-designing/building our back porch.  When finished, it will be really nice and what we've wanted for a long time.
Tearing up the old deck boards.
The hose is running non-stop.  I don't even want to see this month's water bill.
View from the back.
Notice the overseer in the window.
Side view.
Thinking about what else has to be done.
Waiting very patiently for the pool to be finished.
The money is worth it because it can be a very long summer when the girls have nothing fun to do outside.  But like every home improvement project, this is opening up the flood gates for more plans.

More photos to come when it is actually finished and the pool is filled.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fun at Weeki Wachee

We spent several hours at Weeki Wachee today.  We've been to Buccaneer Bay as a family, but I haven't seen the mermaid show since I was a kid.  The girls are obsessed with mermaids, so we decided to make a day of it.  They had a blast!  The show was really cool.  It was good to see the theatre packed for a show that's been around for over 50 years.

It's also been a while since we've taken some decent photos.  Here they are.

Don't hate me for posing for a couple of new profile pics.
After the photo shoot and swimming, Belle got into her "special juice" (a.k.a. Coke) and went ape shit.  Here is evidence as I was attempting to change her in the bathroom stall.

All in all, a fun day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tiny Dancers

Last night, the girls had their group dance pictures taken.  It lasted over 3 hours, which was horrible for me.  But as we were leaving they both exclaimed "how much fun" it was and they "loved it!"  So, I guess that made my time away from American Idol worth it.  Here is proof of their happiness.

Yes, this is a ridiculous amount of costumes.  And there are even more that aren't pictured.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How Amazing were 'The Voice' Finals?

The Voice Finals were AMAZING!  Here  is my breakdown:

Last performance excluded, the guys hands down, won the night.  They brought their "A" games.  As it was explained to us (repeatedly), Juliet Simms was sick.   The guys were stellar in all three of their performances.  Juliet only shone in her actual solo.  

Christina Aguilera has got to stop making this show all about her.  She was not nearly as self-congratulatory tonight as in past weeks, however I still counted seven times where she somehow brought the conversation back to her talent or ailments.  The absolute worst, though, was her mini-concert during her duet with Chris Mann.  Admittedly, sick or not, she sounded great. And he was phenomenal.  So my question is this:  Why did the judge have a bigger part in the duet than the contestant?  All the others shared the verses equally, but not Christina.  No, no....she has to be star #1 ALL THE TIME.  It didn't help that the camera was also on her the majority of the song.  For God's sake, the song began with Chris' back to the camera.  But that is a director's choice, so I'll have to forgive her that foul.

What the hell does Christina have against Tony Lucca?  Twice she made a jab at him tonight.  This does not include the countless other slights made throughout the season.  Even The Today Show picked up on this when  the contestants were interviewed this week.  They both were on The Mickey Mouse Club.  She's now a star.  He's a 36-year-old contestant on a reality show.  Why is she threatened?  

Same sex duets are far better for competition purposes.  As mentioned before, The Prayer sung by Christina and Chris was absolutely beautiful.  But the harmonies and placement of voices always allow the female to shine in a duet.  Cee Lo and Juliet's duet was just all right.  It sounded like a throw-away performance where she was trying to preserve her voice.  I loved the honestly and tenderness of Tony's and Adam Levine's duet.  This was an example of harmony and melody blending perfectly.  Jermaine Paul and Blake Shelton's duet was so much fun.  It allowed them to both loosen up and show their fun sides.

Christina slightly redeemed herself when she cried at the end of Chris' performance of You Raise Me Up.  She does seem to truly care about her team and is genuinely moved by their performances.  

Of all the contestants, I would personally buy Chris Mann's album because I like his style of music, and his voice is amazing.  But if I had to guess how America will vote, it is this:

1. Jermaine Paul
2. Juliet Simms
3. Chris Mann
4. Tony Lucca

We'll see if I'm right or wrong on Tuesday night.

Memoirs, Memoirs, and More Memoirs

Check out my latest article where I look at the 'memoir' sensation.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Freddy, My Love

Earlier while flipping through the channels, I came across Nightmare on Elm Street 2.  I should have changed it because the girls were in the room, but I got sucked in. Besides, nothing too gruesome was happening.

Melanie says, "This isn't scary at all."

This from the child who used to run out of the room whenever the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk was on TV.

When at last I turned the channel, Belle freaks out.  "I want to watch the claws!  I love it!"

Melanie begins furiously sketching Freddie Krueger, talking herself through it:  "Head, body, feet, claws..."

"Don't forget the hat, Melanie."

"Oh, yeah."

Next, I had to answer what seemed like a million questions about Freddie Krueger and why he has claws and why was that boy's arm ripping open? and why is he crazy?, etc....

I just wanted to to yell, "Because his mother was raped by 100 maniacs, THAT'S WHY!"

But instead, I sat back and realized that I brought all this on myself and knew that my children would most likely be having nightmares tonight, regardless of how much they think they "love" Freddy.

So, I changed the channel to Dance Moms, because that's so much better for children's viewing.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Just Horsin' Around

In honor of today's running of the Kentucky Derby, the girls got dressed up in their finest and put on a race of their own.

Sadly, "Castle" may have to be put down.

In a miraculous recovery, Castle runs a second race, only to lose again to "Caroline."

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Healing Powers of Venison

Earlier tonight, Melanie hits her nose and is crying.  I tell her to go get an ice pack (notice I do not offer to get it myself....tough love/laziness.)  I hear the freezer door open and shut.  I assume all is well.  A half hour later, I find an abandoned package of frozen deer meat on my couch.
A thousand legitimate ice packs and she chooses this.
Chad went on a hunting trip in the Fall and we have been eating deer meat like its our job.  Mmmmm...delicious!  

Just think this.
And not this.
It feels (and tastes) better that way.

P.S.  What the hell is that all over that doe's back?  The infamous deer flies I hear speak of?  I know the bastards like to bite my legs, and it hurts like hell.  Geez, cut this mom a break, will you?  That's a lot of flies!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Classic Bait n' Switch

This is such a mindless subject to ponder, but I've often wondered if the celebrities who endorse box hair color really used the product prior to the ad.  Their hair always looks phenomenal.  If they do use it, I'm doing something horribly wrong.  I suspect they don't. Or if they do, they have some master hair colorist doctor the product with subtle highlights.  That and the lighting tech illuminates the hell out of it.
Her hair has never looked better, because her hair is pretty much crap.
My hair would totally have a green tint at this shade.
I'm not buying it.
Hell to the no!
If I could get blonde like that out of a box, I'd never go to a salon again.
A celebrity I would pay NOT to use my product.