Sunday, January 31, 2010

All-County Choir

My son Jacob tried out and made the All-County High School Choir, comprised of students from several (not sure the number; 4-6) high schools in the county. After making it, they had rehearsals at his school and then, as performance time approached, the rehearsals were with all the kids from all the schools that made the ACC. These rehearsals were spread out in between 3 different schools in 3 different cities, so there was a lot of driving and arranging of schedules involved.

The performance was held last night, Saturday the 30th, at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach (beautiful school). Isabel awoke from a nap with a 102 degree fever, so David stayed home with her while I took Jacob, in his tux, to the school.

The "Rolex 24" was also being held down the road at a little place you may know. The Daytona International Speedway. The school and the track were on the same road, a mile apart. I was expecting horrific traffic, but it wasn't that bad at all.

The All-County Middle School Choir was really, really good. These are the best of the schools but I was still not prepared with how good the middle school kids were. There was even one violin player who accompanied the pianist on one song. She was so good.

The following pictures and videos were taken with my small Fuji. Unfortunately, our video camera is NOT digital. It uses tapes and came with zero capability to load on a computer for uploading. :( The digital camera can only hold so much. I had to lower the quality to the very worst to be able to get 1 & 1/2 songs on the card.

Jacob is on the right side of the stage, bottom row, third from the right. Just a reference so you can see where he is in the videos.

This first one is "How Lovely are the Messengers," by Mendelssohn. Dr. Andrew Larson, from Stetson University, was guest conductor.

Next we have 3/4 of the song "Reuben & Rachel." My xd card ran out of space.

They sang two more pieces and were joined by the Middle School kids to perform one final joint number.

The kids from Jacob's high school that made the All-County, along with their teacher in the grey suit, Mr. Greg LeFils.

I took my cool, talented kid to Chili's for dinner. With him in his tux, we received several curious looks. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Postal Hug

A friend of mine is having a baby. I thought I'd surprise her with some cute cookies.

I was going to stand them up in a bag with floral foam in it, but as the package was traveling out of state, I thought I had better just lay them down in a box.

I mailed them Monday. Tuesday she had A REALLY BAD DAY. Nothing life or death, just more of a completely unexpected swift kick in the arse. Today, Wednesday, she was still sore from the "kick," when these arrived. I meant them to be just for fun, but they really ended up being a postal hug. She couldn't call me because of the tears of thankfulness, but she sent a grateful e-mail. :)


No, not zombie-munchin' brains! It's report-card time!

Yesterday, my son was given a note in class. It said to meet with the principal in the conference room during 7th period on Wednesday (today). Oh, and p.s., "You're not in trouble," the note said. Phew.

He received his report card today. Honor Roll; all A's and B's.

Seventh period came along and he goes to the conference room with about 12 other 10th graders. Kool Aid, cookies and missing 7th period = awesome. They were told that they were the top 10%-scoring 10th graders on the PSAT.

Words were bandied about like "National Merit Scholars" and "higher than most 11th graders." The PSAT is taken by 11th graders, for a fee. The 10th graders are given a practice run for free. Because they did so well, and because it makes the school look good, these 12 students will take the PSAT next year free of charge. Nice!


Isabel received her report card as well. She's in Kindergarten, so it's mostly "plus", "check" or
"zero." She got all pluses (is that a word?), checks and one zero (accepting correction. Gonna have to work on that one). Then she also got a letter stating that they were testing them on their reading skills in Kindergarten. She was in the top 93% of kindergarteners tested.


Them there kids gots some braaiiiinnnnns! Common denominator? MOI!

Mua ha ha! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Update for you NON-FB Peeps

I tend to forget that there are some family members (Hi Heather) and friends (Hi Niki) aren't on FB, so here's a quick update.

The first week in January, Isabel got a "Hello Kitty" Calendar. It came with stickers. She placed stickers on all our birthdays (Mine is a pile a books - so cute). Later in the day, she called me to her room and said "Mom, look. (pointing at Friday January 22) On January 22, we're buying cheese."

Ok then.

I posted that as my status and people thought she was a hoot. I was asked by one person, what kind of cheese? Isabel's reply: "You know, gold, square, from a cow."

Of course, I created an "Event," dated it 01/22/10 and named it "Buy Cheese Day." I invited everyone who commented to the event, and they all joined. We posted cheese pictures, cheese videos, and counted down to "Buy Cheese" day.

This Friday the 22, after school & work, Isabel & I bought cheese.

We had Cheese Quesadillas for dinner. It was a good day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

And Another Thing...

To add to my "Things I Don't Want to See Again in 2010" list:

Please, please, please STOP saying "I threw up in my mouth a little bit" when you read or see something gross and want to comment on it.

It. is. played. out.

It stopped being funny in 2004. It is no longer original or clever. Stop it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Patella Problemas

A week ago, I fell on the stairs. Going up. Call me Grace. I landed smack on my left knee.

I have bad knees as it is. I was 18 and ridiculously addicted to working out. I was a size 4. *sigh* Anyway, I ruined my knees with high-impact aerobics of the 80's and am paying for it now.

The knee pain comes and goes, and when I fell, it was at the "come" stage, so it doubly hurt. After a week of being able to bend it, but not being able to squat, pick up my daughter or comfortably go down the stairs, I made an appointment with my doctor (who I really, really like. She is new to the clinic I have been going to for 12 years, and 2 years ago, I sort-of was "given" to her as one of her patients since she was new) and went today.

After looking, touching and bending my knee and leg, she said my knee cap was not broken (yay) just strained and inflamed. She recommended I wear a knee brace for a week. I already own one, imagine that.

So all is well on the knee-front.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

House of Phlegm

Yea, gross huh?

The house is 3/4 sick. I am small sick, Isabel is medium sick and David is large sick, with Jake being the 1/4 of the abode doing just dandy.

Mainly stuffy noses and crud. David's sleepy and feverish. He's got...a MAN COLD.

I know, I posted this on FB, but I do love it. Mainly because it's true. Oh, and I'm the one with the "hurty knee."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let Me Entertain You!

Does anyone even know that's a song title anymore? I'm old.

We've been in this house for 3 & 1/2 years. I've been bugged for a flat screen tv for 3 & 1/2 years. I've said no for 3 & 1/2 years. Finally, caving in to the smelly people in the house (i.e. the two men), I said, FINE, but I get a new entertainment center to put it in.

We went to IKEA to look. After two visits, we decided on the one we wanted, and then BAM, we got a refund check from Bank of America, which paid for the whole thing!

As it was being erected, I started with the buyer's remorse of my last post. It was too big. It did not have the shelving the way I really envisioned. The bottom storage was cabinets, not drawers. David was stunned. I picked it and then I disliked it. Go figure.

Here is the old entertainment center.

Compared to the length of that wall, it's tiny. In our old house, it was HUGE. We didn't have a family room then. Just a combined living/dining room in our 1200 sq. foot home.

I didn't like seeing all the mess underneath. Video game systems, video games, dvds, VHS tapes. Too much!

Here is the new unit, with the new tv. *sigh* It's a monster. Also, I'm still arranging things on it, so it's still not how I want it, but the best thing it, everything is hidden (the boys were trying out the PS3 and the Wii on the new tv, which is why they are both on the floor).

The purple polka dot box is for Isabel's coloring books, markers, crayons, etc. She likes to draw or work on workbooks while watching tv. Now, it's all tucked away when she is not using them.

Eventually, I'll fill up the very small shelving on the top (maybe I'll remove a shelf to make it bigger and add some pretty decor.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Crickets Chirp

Hi All,

Been busy. I'm in "new entertainment center hell" and suffering from slight buyer's remorse, which is shocking the heck out of David. As soon as we get the darned thing organized, I'll post a picture.

I've made a couple of cakes too, so I've been blogging it over on my cake blog. One for practice for Isabel's party in March and one for my co-worker/friend Jose for his 40th birthday. Go check them out.

Other than that, I fell going UP the stairs and landed smack dab on my left knee, full force. Ugh. With the entertainment center mess and now my knee, it will be three weeks since I've worked out. NOT HAPPY.

Anyone got a treadmill they don't need?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Kid Whisperer

The family and I love to go to book stores. Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Borders, (lots of B's there), no matter which. We go, get a latte and browse. Ninety percent of the time, I get (stuck) to watch Isabel in the kids section while David and Jacob disappear into the bowels of the beast.

Isabel loves to pick several (SEVERAL) books for me to read to her. I'll start to read one and she's already off for another.

Around the time I start to read, other little people start to hover (little people - I think I got that saying from Amy B over at her Foil Hat blog.) I think I have a nice voice. It's deep and I enunciate well. I am expressive when I read, changing my voice depending on the character. Little people scoot a little close. By the time I am done, Isabel may be off somewhere, but I am reading to someone else's kid(s). I find it amusing. Sometimes, when I am done, a child will hand me another book and say "Read this one!" while the parent starts to embarrassingly object. I wave them off, smiling, and start reading, all the while trying to get Isabel to pay attention. Is it that she's so used to us reading to her each and every night, so she's blaze' about it? Maybe. Maybe these kids just love a good read. Cause I do give a good read.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

City of Thieves

The latter part of the year, I got so busy, and I read so much, that I got behind on my book reports. I'm going to try to catch up on just the ones that were really good.

"City of Thieves" by David Benioff. (not to be confused with City of Thieves by Ian Livingston)

Loosely based on the life of David Benioff's grandfather, Lev Beniov, "City of Thieves" is the story of Lev, a teen Russian Jew during WWII. He's arrested for looting (trying to find food, money, anything of value, off a dead German who died while parachuting over Leningrad.) Of all his mates, Lev is captured by his own people for breaking curfew and thrown in jail with a deserter named Kolya; handsome, dashing, full of stories (and full of other things, if you get my drift). Rather than being executed, the two are sent on a mission by a Soviet colonel; to get a dozen eggs for the colonel's daughter's wedding.

Now, everyone is starving. The Germans have cut off supplies or have stolen pretty much everything in sight. Lev and Koyla have a hard mission ahead of them.

They see the utter baseness of a humanity confronted with hunger. They eventually have to infiltrate enemy territory in search of these precious eggs. Along the way, they meet Koyla's friends, then a house full of Russian women in the woods being maintained in return for sex with the Germans, and also a group of rebels wanting to take out a German troop.

All the while, we're getting to know Lev, a shy, self-deprecating teen who just wants to make it out alive, and Koyla, a brash young man full of spunk, wit and stories galore. Their friendship is an odd one but it solidifies through the hunt. At one point, they are captured and Kolya's brashness and utter confidence saves Lev from being found out as a Jew by the Germans.

I cried. I smiled. I had hope in the human condition and affection for David Benioff's grandfather Lev and grandmother, who we do meet in the story. The rest of the story would be a spoiler if I spoke of it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Bell is Ringing..

because I earned my angel wings today. Get it? My wings? Get....never mind.

Today at work, we received a box containing equipment a client was sending to us to repair. Inside the box was a smaller box. The box contained a packing list from JC Penney to a Mrs. Doris M. in Jacksonville, Florida and contained four sets of 10k gold earrings.


I called the customer to verify the receipt of the equipment, get a repair P.O. and ask "Hey, does a Doris M. work there?" I knew the answer was no; the box was going from JC Penney in S. Florida (where my customer was) up to Doris' house in Jacksonville, some 6-7 hours away from my customer.

The JC Penney paperwork said it shipped yesterday, 01/04/10. The only thing I could guess was that, while in transit yesterday, my customer's box came open and this JCP box slipped in. UPS sealed back my customer's box, not knowing that Doris' jewelry slipped inside.

I called the 800 number on the pick slip and explained to the customer service agent, and then her supervisor, what I thought had happened. They thanked me very much and e-mailed me a UPS mailing label to get the jewels Ohio. That's where their return center is. I am not sure why they just did not have me ship it to Doris; I guess they want to make sure Doris gets all that she ordered.

I asked my shop for the box that the jewelry came in to be brought up to me, and there was the original tracking label right on it. *sigh* I could have just handed the box to my UPS driver and Doris would have gotten her earrings tomorrow, none the wiser. As it is, Doris will be getting a replacement set sent from S. Florida, and JC Penney will get their misplaced earrings back in Ohio.

Aren't I a good egg?

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Book List

"She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain." - Louisa May Alcott

In 2008, I read 47 books. I wanted to improve on my 2009 reading.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard - JK Rowling
You Belong to Me - Mary Higgins Clark
Stagger ford - John Hassler
Robinson Crusoe* - Daniel Defoe
Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen
The Tale of Despereaux - Kate Dicamillo
The Host - Stephenie Meyer

Emma* - Jane Austen
Killer Swell - Jeff Shelby
Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen
Wide Sargasso Sea* - Jean Rhys
Bloody Bones - Laurell K Hamilton

Jane Eyre* - Charlotte Bronte
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
Sense and Sensibility* - Jane Austen

The Boleyn Inheritance - Philippa Gregory

The Woman in White* - Wilkie Colins
Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
Pride and Prejudice* - Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Jane Austen and Seth Grahame Smith

The Shack - Wm. Paul Young
Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris
Messenger - Lois Lowry
The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
Persuasion* - Jane Austen
Club Dead - Charlaine Harris

July :
The Time Machine* - H.G. Wells
Brisingr - Christopher Paolini
Phantom of the Opera* - Gaston Leroux
Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris
Dead as a Doornail - Charlaine Harris
Animal Farm* - George Orwell

Xenocide - Orson Scott Card
Lost - Gregory Maguire
Keeping Faith - Jodi Picoult

Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris
Something Borrowed - Emily Griffin
City of Thieves - David Beniof
Undead and Unwed - Mary Janice Davidson
Something Blue - Emily Griffin
Baby Proof - Emily Griffin

All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris

Northanger Abbey* - Jane Austen
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
La Sombra del Viento - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Fireproof - Eric Wilson
Love the One You’re With - Emily Griffin

An Assembly Such as This: a Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
For One More Day - Mitch Albom
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
Undead and Unemployed - Mary Janice Davidson

* = Classics list

Fifty nine! Booyah! Fifty Nine!! Even WITH April and October at only one book that entire month!! Also, I don't count audio books in this above list. These are all books I read, not listened to. (I don't consider hearing a book in my car on the way to and from work "reading." Were I to add those, forget about it.)

Wow, I have some serious reading to do in 2010!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Welcome 2010!

Here are a few things I would like to NOT see anymore in 2010:

The use of the word (and I use "word" loosely) "Chillax", "Chillaxin" or any permutation therein. Stop it. It is stupid and you're an adult already.

Speaking of adults: People in their mid-30's through 40's etc. acting like they are 18. Please. Stop. It is embarrassing. No, really. I don't mind being young at heart. Just imagine your own mother doing what you are doing, posting, describing. It is no longer cute that you're "soooo wasted."

Texting & driving. We almost got hit tonight by another moron texting and driving, swerving into our lane.


The Gosselins. The Kardashians. OK, all of reality tv following stupid people, please.

Swine Flu.

Stimulus plans that don't work.

Sports stars who end up being no better than we are, but are grossly overpaid. Ask a teacher what he makes, and he's shaping the minds of our children!

Politics being about popularity. To quote "Wicked:"
Celebrated heads of state, Or specially great communicators! Did they have
brains or knowledge? Don't make me laugh! They were POPULAR! Please! It's all about popular. It's not about aptitude, It's the way you're viewed

The extra weight I gained in 2009. :)

House values going down.

E-readers. Let me touch, let me smell the book, thank-you-very-much.

Oversharing on social networks. TMI.

The erosion of our language & grammar. (Look it up; I'll wait.)

Ok, Ok, a little less snarkiness from me. :)

A year without a JK Rowling book. I'm still not over it.