Friday, February 15, 2019

Five on Friday: If This Mom Made Candy Hearts

Anybody see this making the rounds yesterday? It made me chuckle and start to think about what candy hearts would say if I designed them. I actually did design some candy hearts years ago in a card for my husband, who at the time was just a friend with a shared sense of humor  (ten years of friendship turns out to be a great basis for a marriage, if you were wondering)

But what would my MOM hearts say? I had some ideas of my own but I thought it would be more fun ask the kids what sort of thing I say to them the most that would be good for these.

Here's what each one of them decided on:

1. 18-year-old daughter: "When do you need the car?"
2. 16-year-old son: "Are you really not going to wear a jacket?"
3. 12-year-old son: "SOMEONE LET THE DOG OUT"
4. 10-year-old son: "Did you brush your hair?"
5. 8-year-old daughter: "I asked you nicely the first five times"

Friday, February 8, 2019

Five on Friday: New Job Firsts

We've survived the first two weeks of Mom working two jobs while still making it to most of the basketball games and dinner every night. We've also started to adjust to the first time of Mom working on Saturdays and late on Thursdays.

And so many other firsts around here related to the new job! Like:

1. I accidentally made the alarm go off at my new job for the first time! Rite of passage at any new place of employment, right? I did manage to get it all under control *before* the Police showed up, so that's a bonus.
I felt like that momentous occasion warranted a selfie.

2. First time for After Care! Technically we could rely on the help of Grandparents, friends and teenage siblings but my youngest can be a bit of a wildcard sometimes, especially for the siblings. It occurred to me that she has ALWAYS wanted to go to After Care so I (& the teens) consider it a win-win situation.

3. The Museum I'm now working at previously had no indoor plumbing or running water. That's right, the former Curator was using an outhouse and hand sanitizer for 30 years. I would love to tell you that I was the first one to be able to use the indoor toilet but someone else accidentally did that (the bathroom water wasn't even properly turned on yet!). But I was definitely the first one to wash my hands in the new kitchen sink, so there.

If you zoom in you will notice how clean my hand is.
4.  Guess who was the lucky duck to be the first person to find the source of the weird smell upstairs that happened to be a dead mouse? THIS GAL! (Fortunately most of my discoveries at the museum have been way less gross than this.)

5. The Museum isn't open to the public yet so I've had some flexibility with my schedule, including only working until 5 yesterday so I could do the first After Care pick up. That was nice, I liked being able to shake the hand of the person who'd be watching my kid. I was really hungry by that time and patting myself on the back for having dinner so lined up that all the teens had to do was stick in the oven . . . only to come home and realize they did every job I had asked them to do except that. We'll have to work on that for next week.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Five on Friday: The Realizations That Led to An Epiphany

I wasn't looking for a new job.

If you know me at all or have been reading my blog for a bit, you may know I work at a nearby local historical Mill. I first started there as a school tour guide when my youngest was in kindergarten. The following year they offered me a part-time position as a Museum Administrator. I agreed as long as I could continue with tours as I really enjoy doing that. 

They agreed and I came to love so much about my job there: continuing to give tours (sometimes in costume!), helping plan, promote and run the various fun events they host, the rotating cast of characters that a small museum seems to attract, learning local history, the camaraderie of my co-workers. I couldn't believe my luck in finding a such a fun and interesting job that was also excessively family friendly. (Okay if I bring my sort-of-sick kid with me? Sure! My kid's actually sick, I'm staying home. Fine! It's summer, I might only really work two days a week instead of three. Okay!)

So I really, really wasn't looking for a new job.

But a new job found me anyway. The even smaller museum right in my own town was looking for a new part-time Curator. For a multitude of reasons, it was a perfect fit. The hiring committee agreed and offered me the position.

Because I feel so loyal to the Mill, and technically there are enough hours in a week for two part-time jobs, I entertained the idea of working both.

I put a lot of thought into it and realized:

1. I am already always on the verge of feeling completely overwhelmed. 
2. Just because I can doesn't mean I should
3. My Mill co-workers, though they like me and appreciate what I do, will not die without me
4. Scheduling time with extended family and friends is already way harder than it should be
5. This is going to be big year for our family with my oldest going to college this fall

I had an epiphany: I was not going to work two jobs. And as a matter of fact, I would take a hiatus from Meta Theatre Company for the time being. I would step away from two committees I am on. I would start saying "let me think about it" instead of "yes" when asked to do something. (Success with this twice so far!)

While it was hard to tell my co-workers and fellow actors about my decisions, overall everything felt so right. Nothing happened immediately, it's more of an extraction than a clean break: I had a few more rehearsals and one more show with Meta and I've told the Mill I'll leave slowly and still do school tours. (I really love them and that's only seasonal.)

Last show with MTC before my hiatus
So while I ease away from the Mill I actually am working two part-time jobs but with a light at the end of the tunnel. I look forward to that upcoming time when I'll be only working one job, won't feel so overwhelmed, will have an easier time scheduling time with family and friends, will have time to help my oldest get settled at school (& visit her if she stays local enough), can eventually consider adding acting or other interests back in slowly.

"I'll rest when I'm dead," I always say, but right now I'm pretty comfortable with this decision to cut myself some slack while I'm still alive.

Here's "my" museum!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Five on Friday: Highlights from the Best MLK Day of Service Ever

Monday was the 16th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Community Service that I organize with my mother and our growing team of planners. It started as a few kids coloring bags for Meals on Wheels in my dining room and has grown into hundreds of people gathering to honor Dr. King through community service.

Every year I say it's the best one of ever, but this one really was.
Here are five reasons why:

1. We collected: 800 pounds of food, $500 in supermarket gift cards, a carload of pet food for the animal shelter, bags full of coupons for military families and "we forgot to count but so, so many" boxes of tampons, pads and diapers for local families in need.

2. This sweet little 3-year-old came with flowers. His Mom was buying things from our list to donate and he insisted on flowers. We found someone to give them to who needed some love.

3. We made:  original screen printed tee shirts, letters for soldiers, valentines for veterans, care kits for chemo patients, toiletry kits for the homeless, fleece baby blankets as well as new baby care kits for families in need, utensil kits for mobile soup kitchens, toys for shelter animals, fun packs for hospitalized kids, activity kits for home health care patients, bags for Meals on Wheels recipients, drawings for nursing home residents, birthday boxes for kids in foster care.

Oh, and plenty of new friends.

Birthday Boxes for kids in foster care from Together We Rise: a new activity for us this year that was a big hit.

4. I found in the Valentines for Veterans box and it automatically became my favorite of the year:
Groundhog Day. How could I have forgotten Groundhog Day?
5. As I said earlier, my Mom co-organizes this event with me. Also participating were: my husband, five children, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, best friend and her children, friends I've known since High School, friends I've known for a few years, people I've known from around town for awhile, people I just met recently, friends of friends, people who looked sort of familiar, friends I haven't met yet. 

At one point on Monday I said, "Oh there's another person I have to go say hello to!" A friend of mine (since High School) heard me and remarked, "Today is sort of like a wedding for you."

I love that so much, because it's true. This wonderful, amazing, completely grass roots, so very well-attended day of community service is also a joyful reunion for me. I never could have imagined that after such humble beginnings this is what MLK Day would come to mean for my family and me. My friend saying that it's sort of like a wedding for me might have really made 2019's Day of Service truly the best one ever.

For now.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Five on Friday: I'm Blaming Basketball

Life with five kids never seemed so busy until three of them turned out to be athletes. Oh my god, sports schedules. They might be what kills me in the end. Did you know that the Middle School basketball practice has THREE DIFFERENT POTENTIAL PICK UP TIMES?

Yes, I have both sat outside of the school for a half an hour AND  have gotten a phone call asking if I'm going to get my kid anytime soon.

Let it hereby be known that I absolutely blame basketball for:

1. Further overloading my already overloaded brain. One pick-up time, people, please. I beg you.

2. My aching back. Watching 2-4 games from backless bleacher seats has got to be the cause of this sudden otherwise inexplicable pain.

3. The fact that I gave my sister a birthday present "wrapped" in a shoe box and plastic grocery bag. Yes, I blame basketball for that. It's complicated.

4. The sub-par dinner situation lately. TGFFVB! (Thank god for frozen veggie burgers)

5.  Making me sportable.

      (October 20, 2011) 
       E, age 5: Mommy, did you play sports in High School?
       Me: No, but I was in shows.
       E: Oh, you weren't too sportable?
       Me: No, not too sportable.
       E: Well I am very sportific.

       (January 15, 2019)
       Me: I swear it's all the bleacher sitting that's making my back hurt.
       Daddy O: I can't believe you go to all his games.
       Me: Why wouldn't I?
       Daddy O: It's cute! I mean, you're just not, too, uh . . .

       I think maybe the word he was looking for was sportable.

I actually do enjoy watching my kids play. I just think I'd like it better with seat backs.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Five on Friday: Five Videos to Enjoy & Share

So what happened was this . . . yesterday I had a really long to-do list and I got so much done.  I went food shopping, did two loads of laundry, I made phone calls, answered emails, hand painted all of the big signs I need for the activity tables at the 16th Annual MLK Day of Service, studied my lines, helped kids with homework, watched a real nail-biter of a Middle School basketball game and about a thousand other things.

What I did not do was write my Five on Friday list. I like to write it before Friday morning but the truth is I often find inspiration on Friday mornings as I'm enjoying my quiet coffee time.

But then what happened was this . . . I overslept a little and had a hard time waking up. My throat hurt. I stumbled downstairs to my teens already eating. I pushed the button to turn my coffee maker on so I could do my little morning jobs I do while I'm waiting for it to be ready: clean some ash out of the fireplace, get the fire going again, check the mouse trap. I did those things and returned to this:

Some nice hot water to wake me up!

I had something in my eye but couldn't see anything in there, my 8-year-old woke up in super weird mode (which involves her saying the most random shit and generally getting on everyone's nerves) and both of my Five on Friday ideas didn't quite have five items yet.

I was begin to suspect I was in the sequel of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

But then coffee was made properly, the fire was stoked, my throat felt better, my eye slightly improved, the kids got off to school which means I'm stoked (see what I did there?) and I realized I had five items on a list that have been saved to fall back on for a not-enough-ideas day like today.

That idea is for a list of five videos I've seen online recently that I saved to show the kids. Maybe you or your kids will enjoy them, too:

1. How to go from dinner to cake this is one of those Joseph's Machines real-life Rube Goldberg type contraptions that I will live to regret showing the children

My Future Regret: Exhibit A

2. Bear rings Florida family's doorbell We've had a bear in the baby pool before, but it didn't knock to ask permission first

3. Man plays Bulgarian folk music using only a straw: He actually sounds really good. I hope the kids do not try this at home, though.

4. Dog gets vacuumed by Roomba: Why not?

5. 8-year-old trained barber offers free haircuts to kids in her Philadelphia community

Hey, that's five! I made it! Now I'm going to the upstairs bathroom to find some eye drops and while I'm up there I think I'll hide the hair clipper.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Five on Friday: Hooked on Books

Friday’s kind of caught me off guard here. You know how it is, in a week where Wednesday is essentially Monday, Friday can sneak up on you.

What I’m trying to say is: I don’t have a Five on Friday list at the ready. Hm, hm, what can I write about? I know! I could talk about how I'm doing such a great job of sticking to my resolutions even though it's January 4th already!

Ha. Of course it’s too early to actual say I’m sticking to these goals but at least I feel like I’ve got a pretty strong start. The weather’s been nice enough to get out on the Vespa and realize that maybe I won’t be too much of a scaredy-cat to start riding it around regularly once the weather is warm. And I really do think I can beat my goal of 32 books read in a year as long as I keep finding books that get me hooked and remind myself I’m not obligated to finish ones that don’t.

Here are five books that had me hooked in 2018 AND  five more that I’m hoping will do the same in 2019:

Did the trick in 2018:

1. Moxie 

High Hopes for these in 2019:

1. My Year of Rest and Relaxation (so far so good, started last night and it's really good!)

4.Dumplin’ (LOVED the movie on Netflix)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Five on Friday: Best of 2018

Ah, the end of the year . . . not just a time to set goals for the upcoming year, but it's also a time to look back and reflect on the highlights of the past twelve months.

Looking back, I realize that many good and exciting things happened in 2018. It was hard to narrow it down to the five, so I may have cheated a little.

1. Lots of connecting with family: I twice got to witness my kids' Great Grandmother meeting a grown great-grandchild for the first time. (Technically one happened in 2017, but at the very, very end) Both times were magical, breathtaking and surreal.

Over the summer we also were able to visit extended family from both my husband's and my sides of the family, including playing with fun preschoolers and meeting new babies. 

Also one of the cousins gave my husband and me tattoos that we've been talking about getting for a really long time, which was another highlight of the year. Now I'm really cheating by lumping that in here but it's my blog and I can cheat if I want to.

 2. It was a big year for my oldest daughter and that means, by extension, it was a big year for her mother, too.  She got her driver's license, voted for the first time and applied to college (two acceptances so far!)

3. Early in April, a dream of mine came to fruition when I, along with the Meta Theatre Company, presented What Were You Wearing, a sexual assault survivor art exhibit and theatrical production. It was emotionally draining, soul soothing, heartbreaking and empowering.

4. My story aired on The Moth! As if that wasn't exciting enough, later a video of one of the shows I did was published on Hey, Iris and had over a million views! I'm thinking that's about as famous as I'll ever get. This level of famous comes without paparazzi so I'll take it.

 5.  2018 was the year of the museum! I remembered (and had time for) taking advantage of lots my region has to offer.  I visited museums (mostly art, but also some historical or cultural) in six different cities. 

I know I already made my resolutions last week, but if I'm allowed to add one more it's to keep up the museum trend in 2019.