Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Play

The One Acts are tomorrow evening.
I have put together this play both producing and directing and it is so much work and I haven't had the time or control I need to pull it off the way I want, but I keep reminding myself that it's about the kids having a positive experience and I think that they truly have.
It also seems to be lining up that this might be a career for me. On top of opening night tomorrow, I also have a meeting with the principal to talk about next year. So. Big Day for me.
We had dress rehearsal/tech last night and it was impossible and insane. but fun.
Michael's out of town this week and none of my neighborhood friends can come out so it will be so odd to have all this hard work and none of my friends and family here to see it. But Sam's best friend's mom is going to bring my kids to the play so at least they will see it. And I'll tell you about it here. So there is that.
Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for me and send good thoughts tomorrow~

Thanksgiving in Port Aransas

Thanksgiving in Port Aransas was magical and peaceful. I was worried about the holiday and the hole in my heart from missing dad, but it was genuinely okay. I missed Dad, yes. Yes. But he was with me and my family was together and it was good. We didn't go home and I think that was a good choice. Going home right now comes with a huge dose of guilt for leaving and heartbreak over my dad not being there. The beach was a balm. The waves rolled in all night long and lulled me to sleep. The weather was perfect and warm and lovely. We took long walks on the beach (until I threw my back out and became an invalid, but that's not part of my narrative today). We cooked together and shopped together and ate together and read and played games. We played lots of games and especially enjoyed Fibbage and Drawful and we laughed and laughed and laughed until we were drunk with laughter. My sister said that a family who laughs together stays together and she is right. My family has grown even closer since dad's death and that is a gift from him as well. On Thanksgiving day, we made a beautiful seafood feast and ate it in courses. It was gorgeous. We also saw friends while we were there. We had a beach bonfire and amores with the Rios family and sang Karaoke at Salty Dog with Stacey and Chris. That was so fun to spend time with friends that I hold so dear and miss so much.
And Samuel celebrated his tenth birthday with a fishing trip on his Uncle Keith's boat on the ocean. He was thrilled and had so much fun. It was truly an amazing week. I had my husband all week after weeks of being apart. My dad was missing, but family and ocean and sun and sky made it a week for reflecting and enjoying all the good in my life that is still here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I'm Swamped

I am at maximum stress load.
My mouth is full of canker sores and my stomach is rolling.
Michael has been out of town for six weeks in a ROW. Just home for the weekends, he washes the clothes in his suitcase and puts them right back in. Two nights together and then he is gone again.
The play opens in two weeks, but with the big gap of a week of Thanksgiving break, we have exactly one week of time with the kids until we open. We are NOT ready. I spend four hours a day at the school minimum every day. I spend the mornings looking for props, writing emails, producing.
Our school operates on two semesters. No six week or nine week grades. The sixth grade kids have a big field trip in December to Keystone which overlaps for over a week. That means that essentially, all semester projects are due this week. The week before Thanksgiving break. Davis is averaging four hours a night of homework. He needs me for all of it. I'm cheerleader, secretary, tutor, note taker, editor for him.
In the evenings we have tennis lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons, math tutor, robotics.
Blah, blah, blah. I know I'm whining.
Thanksgiving break is next week. We are going to Port A. We will do nothing but relax. (Except that huge national history project Davis has to do). Michael took PTO and will spend a whole week with us. It will be perfect. In the meantime,
"I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped."


This is a post simply because I need to record it here, in our family's history.
Last week, the country voted Donald Trump as president elect. Everyone was shocked and stunned. The polls did not predict it. I was emotionally destroyed and so, apparently, was all of my Facebook feed. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but it didn't matter.

Here is some of the Facebook stuff I posted. I can't write about it here, because I don't have emotional bandwidth to write more on it.

Before the election results:
I'm all tied up in knots about this election. I'm with her. I want to feel hope. I don't want to feel divided from others based on who we vote for. I am so proud and respectful of my republican family and friends who voted with their conscience and chose not to vote for Trump. I feel this great divide these days. I hope we can come together after this election and hold on to the values we share, remember that social justice might not be good for our wallet, but is fabulous for our soul, show respect to everyone no matter what, and get things done in order to build a free, loving, healthy country for our children. I am a liberal democrat who loved Ann Richards and Jake Pickle, chose Dukakis in her mock election, voted for Kucinich and Bernie and desperately wanted an Elizabeth Warren/John Stewart ticket. I didn't get what I wanted either. But I have hope for our country and love for all of you.

After the election results:
I feel heartbroken. He will be our first president without government or military experience. I feel like our country is full of people who value money and their own welfare over others. I feel like people just used their vote to say that sexism, racism, misogyny, and bullying is okay. I still have love for everyone. But I can't find my hope right now.

A few days later, and after terrible acts of bigotry and hate by people in our country:
This is worth a read, I think:
"If you're a Trump voter who is tired of being called a bigot, if you say you voted for him based on gun rights or economic issues, or because you think Hillary really was that awful, and in spite of his rhetoric, rather than because of it, I believe you. If you're in my life, I clearly don't think you're a vile hateful person. But if you're now watching protests across the country and you don't understand why, or think they are just being sore losers, let me break something down for you. These people aren't just angry or sad that someone they didn't support won the election, they're scared.
They're black Americans who hear talk of law and order and remember a racially charged stop and frisk program, or see an emboldened KKK holding a celebratory parade.
They're Muslim Americans who worry that spitting in their face is now okay and violations of their rights to assemble and their rights to privacy are about to come.
They're LGBT Americans who fear not just of the loss of marriage rights or restaurants gaining the right not to serve them, but of an administration that thinks it's more important to research electrocuting the gay out of them than AIDS.
They're Hispanic and Latino Americans who are scared their children will be bullied in schools, and their families ripped apart while their culture is mocked.
They're women who are wondering if we've normalized groping, and if their career endeavors will be judged by their face and body, and not their minds
I believe you when you say you didn't vote for any of these things. Most of America wasn't thrilled with the choices we had in this election. But If you didn't know that this is why they're protesting, if you think it's really just about free tuition or more government giveaways, then you, like the elite liberals you love to castigate, have also not been listening. If you're tired of being called a bigot, then you need to use the same voice you used on Tuesday and speak out against these things fully and clearly. It's not enough that you didn't say them yourself. You need to reassure your friends and family members who feel like they no longer have a seat at the table that you still stand with them, even if your priorities were different on Tuesday. If you aren't willing to do that, then you have no right to call for unity." - Michael Rex

And a comment on that:
At UU church today, I heard the message reiterated that all humans should be treated with inherent dignity and respect. I am really working on remembering that and standing by my values. I respect everyone's inherent dignity no matter who they voted for. I also feel like I need to stand on the side of Love for those who are scared. Understanding fear and how that motivates us is a way for me to understand and find empathy with both sides.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Directing a Play

I'm directing two one acts. It sort of fell into my lap. I've been wanting to get back into the theater, but it's all evenings and weekends and Michael works out of town Monday through Friday and I just couldn't do it. I had asked at the school if there was interest in a fifth grade musical, but I couldn't get anyone to go for it. I met with the academy director and sent an email to the principal, but nothing. Then I saw a volunteer request on the kids' STEM school newsletter. It was asking for someone to run the auditions for the middle school drama class. I emailed the teacher and volunteered. She told me she had to do a track event that day and could I just take care of it. I did.
It turned out that she is the english teacher and the track coach and the GT coordinator. This is the first year that STEM has offered drama classes as an elective. She has no experience with theater, but is teaching the class. She was desperate for help. It was like it was meant to be.
I ended up directing her two classes's one act plays. I go to the school from 11-2:30 and teach two periods of drama. I have kids in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. I run around town and collect props. I wrote a press release. I love the kids. It is so fun and so fulfilling. And the kids like me. They enjoy the class. It turns out that I'm a good teacher.
Of course, the plays might be awful. We've had very little rehearsal time. They had no sets, no help, no budget. They have no theater, no auditorium, no support. But I'm trying to steer this train from my humble "volunteer" position without stepping on the drama teacher's toes. Our shows will be on Nov. 30th. Until then it's almost all rehearsal all the time for me.
The interesting news is that the principal told the drama teacher that if she wasn't interested for next year, then did she think I might be willing to teach the classes. We shall see...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Love my Neighbors

We didn't know when we bought our house how the neighborhood was. I wanted to ask questions. Is it liberal? Are there children? How strict is the HOA? Will there be potential babysitters nearby? Do people visit in the streets? But no one could answer those for me and so I had to take a leap of faith.
I am so glad that I did. My street is pretty darn liberal. There are many children. The HOA is fabulous. My babysitter's family lives next door. We often chat and hang out together in our lawns. We started a book group called "books in the hood". Everyone comes out and lends a hand on our movie nights. My children's best friends live on our street and mine do too.
Last Friday, my neighbor sent me a text. "FAC at my house. 6:30". Friday afternoon club. Happy Hour. We had a wonderful time, eating drinking, telling stories and sitting by the fire. I love these people. They are interesting and kind and fun.
The children run free every afternoon and weekend. They run from house to house and from game to game. There are so many of them and they all play and play and run and disappear and nobody worries about them.
Yesterday afternoon, I met my neighbor at the mailbox and told her how nervous I was about the election. She sympathized and we chatted and decided to have an election watching party at my house. My other neighbor offered to bring pizza. Two more neighbors joined us. We had a a party. I had friends who held my same values to figuratively hold my hand. The election night was awful. But the friends I had with me were wonderful.
I am very lucky to have landed in this neighborhood. I do not take it for granted.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Littleton Style

We had a fun but frantic Halloween. I got home Sunday night and fell into bed. Halloween was Monday. I woke up, we called my mom to wish her a happy birthday and I drove the kids to school. Then I came home, went for a run, went to the grocery store, cooked chili and made cocktails to prep for Halloween open house, dealt with the tile guy and got into costume before jumping in the car to go be "homeroom mom" for Sam's class and throw him a Halloween Party. The party was cute and fun and because I was in costume I got to participate in parade around the school.
We came home after school and Davis helped me get ready for our open house Halloween party while Sam did home work. At five, we all put on our Halloween costumes and went down for the neighborhood picture and parade. After that we had chili and drinks at our house with our neighbors and then it was finally time for trick or treating. Michael and I sat on our porch and handed our candy and Davis and Sam cruised the neighborhood with Leah and Garrett. A good time was had by all and we were all home by 8:45 or so. It is very fun to be in a neighborhood that celebrates Halloween and has lots of kids!