Friday, September 30, 2011

I Drive My Car

I will try this again.  I actually wrote this entry and was about to hit save and somehow it disappeared!  Arg!

Believe it or not, we don't have a ton of money just lying around.  I know.  A shock.  At least to our children.  Seriously.  Who has money lying around these days?

We also have a college student.  We would love to help her with her education... we just don't have much more than housing and transportation to offer.  And to offer transportation we really needed to add to the family fleet.  We spent nearly $500 in gas in the month of August.  Driving my Suburban would get real expensive if I were drive my daughter to Salem for work and school and then returning to get her later in the day.  It would also eat up all my time in the day in driving.  I'd be in the car all day.

We started car shopping.  One afternoon we went to a used car lot.  They lived up to the traditional sentiment of used car places.  I think the car salesman was very surprised when I carefully looked through the engine for oils leaks, the tail pipe for strange soot (looking for how the engine burns), and listened to how the car ran and shifted.  He was more surprised when I gave him a list of all the things I found wrong with the car and gave him my bind, far under the asking price.  I was not about to get shafted.  I think he was also surprised when John didn't say much and that I did most of the talking.  He also seemed surprised when I didn't cave to the counter offers and we walked out.  He was so surprised that he and his boss even chased us out to our car in the parking lot.

We didn't buy a car that day... but we did lose John's cell phone in one of the parking lots we visited that day.

A few weeks later, I found a car on Craig's list that looked promising.  John was gone to Idaho so I took Ray and checked out the car.  It met all my requirements.  Look what I drove home with:

For the record... it's my car.  I'm just nice enough to let John drive it to work everyday.

The End of Lillian's summer Fun

It's a good thing my friends take pictures.  I haven't been good about using my camera.  Perhaps it's because I don't find it convenient to down load them onto the computer and then load them again into the blog.  It just takes so much time.  However, My poor kids deserve someone documenting they lived through childhood.  So, thanks friends.  Thanks for taking pictures of my kids and posting them on Facebook.  Now I have proof that I allowed the kids to do something fun while they were younger.

Meanwhile, summer came to a close.  The last hurrah for Lillian was a birthday party for her friend Lucia at the beach.

I swear she is a fish.

Ah.... good times with good friends.

My Trip Through the Hills of Brigadoon

On September 17 I ended the long journey through Brigadoon.  I had entered the creative process clear back in June with the audition.  My good friend Jeff asked me to join him as his assistant director.  I think it turned into a little more when he assigned me to direct the longest scene in the play.  I also got to clean up scenes, work on character development and keep the show running smoothly in an organised fashion.  I had a great time!

I have to say, I wasn't impressed with e the tech of this particular community theater.  I barely remember the last set I worked on that was covered in cardboard.  I think it was about 25 years ago... and it was old school then.  All the lighting instruments were in sad need of maintenance.  Even worse, they really needed to use more.  You really couldn't see well because the lighting design was that bad.  I tried to make suggestions and was shut down.  I fixed the spotlight one day.  Half way through the rehearsal, the tech director came to me upset.  He thought I had broken the spot.  I left my post and went to see what he was talking about.  It wasn't broken.  It was quiet.  Perhaps it was because I had cleaned it and taken a hairball the size of a small dog out of its fan.  The sound designer did half the job... and I had to finish it. 

The house managers were high maintenance the stage manager, but I could often be found seating people, exchanging tickets, helping sick or distressed patrons, and I was even asked to get soda for the concessions at one point.  My favorite was when a lady was upset and yelling at cast members after intermission.  It turned out that she had recently had a loss of a loved one.  Brigadoon isn't the play to see if you are recovering from loss... hello... it's about love and death.

The best part was getting to do the show with my daughter and meeting a lot of great people.  I loved the people I worked with.  I was sad it was all over because I don't know when I will get to see or work with them again.  On the other hand, I know have more time to dedicate to the family and to the second show I started in August... Wait Until Dark.  This time I am the director.

Salad Days Report - Day 168-183

I was still in the middle of Brigadoon performances AND rehearsal for Wait Until Dark and really didn't have time to make myself dinner.  I stopped by the store and got this yummy Greek Salad and Coleslaw.  mmmm....

September 16 I made a quick salad with salad greens and mustard dressing.

September 17 I made Celestial Chicken salad.  It is a yummy blend of chicken and pineapple and grapes and nuts.

September 18 I made a salad with greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

September 19  This was a yummy salad of salad greens, tomatoes, green peas, corn, chicken... it was a small version of a chicken cobb salad.

September 20 I made a salad greens and tomato salad for lunch.

September 21 I enjoyed a chicken salad

September 22 was Taco salad day.

September 24... kept the Taco Salad going.  What can I say?  I had it all in the house.

September 25 I had a Chicken Caesar salad.

September 26 Taco Salad once again.

September 27 I add scrambled eggs to spinach and tomatoes and had what I call an Omelet Salad.

September 28 I enjoyed salad greens, hard boiled egg, tomato, and trail mix with a little Honey Mustard dressing.

September 29 Salad greens and milk free ranch with a little baked fish.

September 30 salad greens, snap peas, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

So.... as you can tell, I'm still moving forward with a salad a day. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Salad Report Days 161-167

I'm attempting to keep up this week.  I'm very tired.  My day starts at 5am when I get up for seminary.  After teaching from 6-7am, I've been coming home, changing shoes, and going for a 30 minutes walk with my daughter.  This is good because I've been slacking with exercise.  It's rebellion.  Then I teach my kids home school until I teach voice (from 12-6 on M and T), and then head to rehearsal at the HS (from 3-6 W-F).  This week I am leaving rehearsal and heading to the theater for Brigadoon performances and I don't return home until after 11pm.  Day after day, the same tiring schedule.  I'm tired.

But I'm still going strong in my salad goal.

Sept. 8 I had my version of a Chef salad.  I really needed to us my leftovers.  I am also enjoying the garden harvest.  I think my favorite are the garden fresh tomatoes.  Why do they always taste so much sweeter and yummier?  I love that I have so many.  Now, to get the weather to co-operate so that all those green tomatoes make it to graduate to red tomatoes.

Sept 9 I enjoyed tuna, salad greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green peppers.

September 10 I didn't feel like cooking or chopping.  Too hot.  So I stopped at the store and got Greek Salad and added my own salad greens.  not sure why, but I really like this salad.  good thing I know were to get some.  :)

September 11 was a long day.  After 3 hours of church activities, I headed to the theater for our last matinee performance of Brigadoon.  We also had an evening performance.  In between shows, our director provided pizza for the cast.   However, he also was thinking or my needs and the needs of one other cast member unable to eat pizza.  He also provide a huge salad, grilled chicken and chopped ham to make a salad to meet my needs.  It was awesome!  Unfortunately, I don't carry around a camera, so I didn't get a picture.

September 12 I made Spanish Rice for the kids for lunch.  Before adding the rice, I took a scoop of the ground turkey, kidney beans, corn, and olives, and added it to salad greens.  I topped it with salsa I was flavoring the Spanish Rice with.  Turned out to be a yummy salad.

September 13 I ate a typical, (at least for me) salad greens, avocado, tomatoes, and mustard dressing salad.

September 14 I went straight from rehearsal to performance.  I didn't get a chance to make something before I went out the door.  Subway it was.  My daughter walked over to Subway while I was wrapping up rehearsal and got my a tuna salad with all the veggies and honey mustard dressing.

So that it it.  My progress in the past 7 days.  Now to keep marching on.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Seminary Plague

This is my 8th year teaching seminary.  I have to say I'm still working out my groove.  Sometimes I come up with something worth the effort and sometimes I don't. 

The last time I taught the Old Testament I created this activity to get the kids excited about the coming year in seminary.  My goal was also to get the younger kids to make a goal to attend seminary when the time came.  I had to make this summer time activity count! It paid off.  Kids, too young to attend seminary my last dance with the Old Testament, remembered the activity and begged for a repeat performance.

Thus, a version of Egypt's 10 plagues decided on Monmouth.

I started the morning off with having the kids randomly choose one of the 10 tribes of Israel to research; learn who their mother is, what their name means, and where they are in the pecking order of birthright son. I helped them identify on maps the area that will be their inheritance if they were part of the tribe. I wanted them to see how each tribe responds during trials and peer pressure ... and how it was representative of how youth do under peer pressure in these latter days.  My hope is, that as the year progresses, every time a particular tribe is mentioned the person who researched it is immediately involved.

Genius, don't you think?

I reminded them that attitude and faith was what made a difference between being an Egyptian and an Israelite.  Egyptians seemed to be sour, grumpy people with no faith in God.  Israelites, at least at this point, stayed positive when they followed the prophet.  They had faith in God's power.

Then I sprang it on them... today we were going to do the 10 plagues of Pharaoh Survivor.   LOL.  you should have seen their faces.

First of all, the prep was fun and messy!  Lucky for me, I had plenty of volunteers.

I also put up some chairs and tables for "booths" outside in the parking lot. The idea is that every person on each team needs to come up and experience the plague... after all, no person, Egyptian or Israelite, got out of  the plagues.  However, god does send help when a trial is too overwhelming, so I gave them an out... they could ask a friend to help them. 

I also asked the missionaries serving in my ward to act as Pharaoh and Moses.  I dressed them up.  I gave Moses and bathrobe and and duster as a staff.  I used pieces of an old Moroni costume I made to dress up Pharaoh.  They were funny!  "Let my people go."  "I don't think so.  What's a party without a good crowd surfing?  If I let them go who will I get to hold me up."  I let them make up what to say.  They were very clever!  We were all laughing!

The first plague is blood into water. I poured tomato juice from a jug (so they weren't sure what it is) into cups.  Everyone was brave and drank it.

The second plague was the frogs. I didn't have a clue where to find Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs (that would have been cool), so I had them slurp "frog eye" pudding out of cups through straws.  some of them were great at using their "suck up" skills.  Other resorted to scooping the pudding out with their straw... like a spoon.  The point was they needed to do it with no hands.

The third plague I had the kids move raw rice grains from one cup to another with chop sticks.

I couldn't think of something for flies... so I settled with "chubby Bunny (stuffing as many marshmallows in your mouth as possible.  I only choose this because the kids think it's fun and it's gross.  LOL.

The crowd all counted along as they put them in one at a time. I think my little friend Mo won with 15.  Her mother must be proud.

Fifth - cattle. (my personal favorite) I thought about getting an uncooked cow's tongue on a platter and the youth get to hold it. But I wouldn't use it after that and I didn't want to waste anything, so I told them they needed to "milk the cow's" before they all shrivelled up and died.  I put surgical gloves with water and hung them on a broomstick.  They had fun squirting each other.

Sixth - boils --  I had something special planned for that.  It would wait until the very end. tehehe.
Seventh -- hail and fire. I had a bucket of ice cubes and water.  I ask them each to put there feet in the bucket AND to eat a spoon full of rooster sauce.  I was surprised that this was the first plague someone wanted to ask for help.  It turned out he didn't want to take his shoe off.  

Eighth – locusts (also one of my favorites).  I challenged students to retrieve 5 small coins from the bottom of a large jar full with live crickets (ok... just enough to cover the bottom). Last time this challenge got some protests.  This time they all sucked it up and tried to get the money.
I then went back to the sixth plague.  Boils.  I had my friends and kids fill water balloons with shaving cream.  This is no easy feat... let me tell you!  I gave each student 2 "boils" and then divided them into 4 teams.  each team was given a bucket of water balloons.  Then the boils did fly!  It was one of the funnest water fights I have ever seen.

After all was cleaned up, I served watermellon and hotdogs to soaked, yet happy kids.

We talked about how a good attitude helped them through the trials.  We talked about when times got tough we could all ask for help.  We talked about how, just like our Survivor"game, a great attitude would help them through the coming school year.  We talked about how success is often determined before the activity is begun.  Everyone needed to bring the right attitude to seminary to make it a good year.


Now.  That's success.