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Sunday Stealing: The Imaginary Meme Conclusion

Sunday Stealing

Argghhhh! I was to the LAST question when Typepad ate my whole post! Dammit! WHY did they stop doing the awesomeness that was auto-save? Uh, what I mean is, link up here if you're playing along this week! ;)

Cheers to All Us Thieves! 

181. What's the BEST rock band that you have seen live?

They ALL have been great, but I absolutely LOVED the Blue Man Group concert. So. Cool.

182. Could you image being in a situation where you would run from the police?

If I was in a developing country, I could think of lots of scenarios for that. Here in the US, not so many, since I'm (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint) white... unless I were a baddy. But I'm not a baddy.

183. Have you ever been asked for an autograph?

Sure, every time I use my credit card. I did dream the other day that Chloƫ was, though! (I seriously do wonder if she'll ever reach the stage where she's recognized as, "aren't you from that...?" though!)

184. What would you change about your living room?

I'd move the furniture from the old house into it, for starters! Larger would be nice, too, of course...

185. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home?

I drink out of my plastic keg most of the time... AKA my 7-11 Xtreme Gulp. Diet Coke FTW!

186. Last hug?

From Sophia, about 1Ā½-2 hours ago... she's a hugger, especially of late.

 187. Have you ever had to make up your mind?

Yeah, like whether to answer dumb meme questions.

188. What is on top of your refrigerator?

I had to go look: Several First Aid kits, Jack's box of shot needles (um, that's probably redundant, but I don't care), and our popsicle kit. Quite the menagerie.

189. Did it work out for you in terms of kids? (Meaning how did it work out & are you  happy? In other words, from ā€œHave none, wanted noneā€ to ā€œ8 kids & 3 grandkids)


Yes and no. From the outset, Hubs and I agreed that we wanted "two and only two, unless the second time it was twins." Well, the joke was on us, because the second time it was identical twin boys! Only, Robby died after three days, and after that, our arms felt so... empty... so we proceeded to have #4. Now neither of us can have any more, but I'd have another 10 or so if I could! Time will tell if we're meant to have more another way...

190. Are you afraid of the dark?

 At 35+, I always have been and remain so. I'm not ashamed to say it, either! Scary things can and have happened in the dark. (I didn't say I wasn't afraid of broad daylight, either... ;))

191. What if you had three wishes ā€“ what would you wish for?

I'm the hippie tree-hugger type, so right now, I'd wish for: (a) peace in all lands, (b) peace and contentment within my own heart, and (c) global smoking bans and recycling mandates. Ask me tomorrow and I'd probably have three different answers, though.

192. Do you feel sad often?

Well, as many of you know, I have Bipolar Disorder, so not sad so much as, well, depressed, obviously, and also completely and totally broken-hearted beyond words. I feel my emotions more strongly than most, both the good and the bad. It's a blessing and a curse, a total double-edged sword. But I'm babbling. Next!

193. Have you ever been in lust for an extended period of time?

Another blessing/curse of mine, yes. I struggle, admittedly, again...

194. Do you shower daily?

More like five or six times a week. I could not 'go European' in that regard! The only reason I miss that 7th day is usually out of pure laziness.

195. Have you ever prank called someone?

Short answer long, yes, and I'll happily admit that Rob and I will still do it when we think of something that amuses us terribly. One that comes to mind is from when we were at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival a few years back. The hotel where we were staying displayed a sign advertising that they accepted pets. Rob called up and deadpanned, "Do you take sheep?" He kept it up for a while, too, with me in hysterics next to him!

196. If you have a garage, is it cluttered?

Dude. Not here, but we have a shed at the old house, and that is wholly Rob's domain. I won't even venture to look in it. Too skeered. *shudder*

197. You are about to die. What do you do with your worldly possessions?

Mostly, I don't care and Rob can decide - I'll be dead. There are a few things, though: Chloƫ, who missed sharing my birthday by a day, will get all my sapphires. Sophia, my April baby, will get all my diamonds. Stacey, my sister, will get everything that once belonged to our dear, departed mother. Science will get my corpus. I hope my brain holds the answers to some secrets for them!

198. Tell us about the first time that you bought a car.


It's not my favorite story, and it doesn't end well. I don't feel like getting cranky, so you'll have to ask me for The Rest of the Story later. Anyway, it was my dad's policy to give each of us four girls $1,000 toward our first cars, and I had money saved up since I started working at 15. My dad's car-savvy, so he did the scouting for me. It was September of '93, and he found me a red 1991 Ford Escort wagon. Not bad! It was supposed to have belonged to a little old lady, but I discovered soon after we bought it that when the sun hit just right, you could see the outline of the Coca-Cola logo...hee!

199. What is your favourite type of music?

Everything but country (sorry, y'all), but I'm a BIG fan of the Ć¼ber sing-alongable pop music. Is that lame? (That was rhetorical.)

200. What's your family like?

I have a wonderful husband who is about to turn 40 (the countdown is on and the party scheduled - wanna come?) and who will retire from the Navy in about 8 months! I have four kids, including Chloƫ, almost 11 (!!), Robby (my angel baby), Jack, 9, and Sophia, 7. We have four cats: Tinkerbell, Star, and the twittens (twin kittens, lol), Cupcake and Muffin. We put the "fun" in dysfunctional, fo' sho'! (My growing-up family was also dysfunctional after Mom died when I was 7, but there was absolutely no fun in that. :\ )

Whew! We've reached the end!! Have a great week, peeps!


And That's A Cut!

So I'm going to present this in chronological order of the events as they happened, to make it easier on me to keep track of the days. Otherwise, my memory of the shoot will come out all as one big jumble, and that won't be so fun to read. M'kay? Here we go:

May 31: ChloĆ« goes into the actors' studio in Va Beach to audition for a role in a project we have sides, or a small part of the script that pertains to that particular actor, for, but no real knowledge of the role otherwise. The role is "Sarah," for something that has to do with hauntings, but we don't know if it's a play, movie, TV show, or just what at this point. K, the Man In Charge, explains to the 8 or 12 Sarahs who show up what is happening each scene they will be demonstrating for him, and he describes how the audition process will unfold. No parents are allowed in the small room where they go, first in pairs, and then individually, to audition. I can hear giggling when it's ChloĆ«'s turn, so my whole thought is, "Yeah, she's blowing it." 

When she steps out of the room, for the first time (seven other Sarahs have gone before her at this point), K comes out and nods at her mother. At that point, he explains the follow-up process and thanks everyone for coming out, though six of the other Sarahs have already been dismissed. I decide, hey, this might be a good sign, despite her giggling during what are serious scenes. (She gets that from me!) We leave.

June 7: K calls me to tell me that they are still debating on the role of Sarah, asks about ChloĆ«'s availability for shooting the following week, and explains that I should hear something by the following day. I totally forget about Rob's hernia surgery and say, "Yes! She's available every day!" which does not win me brownie points with Hubs. I'm on pins and needles and inform ChloĆ« of the latest news. She glows.

June 8: K calls back and informs me that they've chosen Chloƫ for the role of Sarah. I coolly (for me) thank him and hang up before going ballistic. At this point, we've learned it's for an episode of the Discovery Channel TV show, "A Haunting." I run outside to where Chloƫ is playing and tell her the exciting news. We do the Happy Dance. Over and over. For hours. She hasn't worked in about three years, between losing eleventy teeth at once and then getting braces, so we are BACK, baby! Woot!!

Later that night: Lisa from the production company calls me to say that ChloĆ«/Sarah will need to come to the film studio on Monday morning to meet the Director, D, have a rehearsal, and then meet Amy in Wardrobe that afternoon. I'm to bring a wide variety of clothing and shoes. After I hang up, I flip out and start working on laundry like a madwoman, since a huge mountain of dirty laundry has taken over our entire upper floor. Eek! Rob and I subsequently decide we have to maintain a "work" wardrobe for Chlo, if she's going to be back in the game, after I discover that she's grown out of all the good stuff and stained and/or torn all the rest, and we have no current budget to go out and shop for new. I spend the weekend painstakingly putting together clothes and shoes that I know Amy (Wardrobe) will just HATE.

Monday, June 11: We drop The Littles off at Steph's house for babysitting and then head out to Suffolk, where the production company is situated. I did not know it existed and am surprised to see posters of all kinds of crime dramas and such all over the walls of the reception area, immediately realizing this ain't no small thang. This is the Real Deal. Mah babeh's gonna be on tay-vay, y'all!

First, we meet the 2nd Assistant Director of the show, X, and Lisa, who had called me Friday night, and go over the day ahead. X has me fill out paperwork aplenty and seats us at a conference table, where we meet some of the rest of the cast: Sarah/Kay, her "mother", and some other players I won't name, because I don't want to give away any details of the show!

Soon, we meet D, the Director, and he takes us back to a warehouse-like open area for rehearsal with her set mom, dad (Kevin/Chris), and himself. The other players are sent to a corner area to rehearse by themselves for the time being. D takes them through several scenes, working especially with Chloƫ to show her how he wants her to play certain lines. He gives lots of direction to all three actors; I can tell Sarah/Kay and Kevin/Chris, along with the other players, are real pros and am proud and pleased for Chloƫ to be part of such a production!

After D has decided ChloĆ« is ready to start filming the next day, we are dismissed and sent to find Amy (Wardrobe) hours ahead of schedule, since she's free at the moment. I bashfully present the clothing I've culled to her, and she says they're perfect and calls me "her hero." I'm extremely relieved. Whew! ChloĆ« falls madly in 'like' with Amy, and I think the feelings are mutual. They have a great rapport right off the bat, which continues for the remainder of the shoot. Amy has Chlo try on various outfits and takes pictures of her in some, for her "Wardrobe Bible." ChloĆ« has 16 wardrobe changes, so she keeps most of the clothes and sends us home with a very small percentage of 'rejects.' We go find X, who tells us we were supposed to get a lunch per diem at noon, but it's ten 'til, so we're SOL. I'm all, "okay, whatever, I don't know how this works!" and we head out to pick up The Littles.

Tuesday, June 12th: SUCKS. Not at first, but eventually. We get on set, which is in the Ghent section of Norfolk, in a real house, and it's all hustle-and-bustle everywhere. We find X, do more paperwork, and then get the Call Sheet (what scenes are filming that day with which actors in which order, etc.) and sides for those scenes. ChloĆ« is sent into wardrobe and changed for her first scene, and then she's called back to Tia, the Hair & Makeup, uh, person on set. Tia starts to work on ChloĆ«'s massive mane of hair and then steps back and mouths the words, "She's got lice" to me. My jaw hits the floor, in shock. WHAT?!!!! I'm instantly in freak-out mode, inwardly. How? When? Where? Why?! WHY NOW?!

Tia radios J, the set Line Production Manager, aka Fire Putter-Outer, aka D's wife, to let her know of the situation. An hour passes while they debate what to do: treat her on set, or send her home to be treated. Chloƫ and I are trying not to sob, worrying that they will fire her post haste. We cry; X comes up, as does Amy, and soothe us, telling us this happens, they see it all the time, blah blah blah. Still, it is MORTIFYING. Words cannot describe how I felt, especially after Tia and J come up and tell me they've decided to send Chloƫ home for the day to be treated, after rearranging the entire production schedule. Yeah. I feel awesome.

The rest of the day is spent rushing home, collecting all my CVS Extra Care Bucks, Walgreens Register Rewards, and Rite Aid Wellness Rewards money, because we are totally broke and have like, six dollars, which doesn't touch the cost of the lice treatment we were instructed to buy. Hooray that I have a lot of the above, though, so the kids and I go out and get ... lots of it. Rob comes home and showers Jack and Sophia, who are relatively easy for me to treat, but not before Rob shaves Jack's and his own head to simplify things. We treat ourselves and Chloƫ next, along with all four cats. Rob goes out to the new house to bomb it for bugs, while I continue going through Chloƫ's hair strand by strand by strand. She has SO MUCH FREAKING HAIR, I want to kill myself.

In the end, while she goes over her 98-page script, I treat her hair seven times. Seven. We stay up until 0300 that night (well, morning, whatevs), combing nits out of her hair, until exhaustion takes over and we crash, praying they'll let her return to work the next day. Oh, but not before we transport the kitties over to the new house (to their reluctance, which I still have the scratches and scars to prove), and go back to bomb the old one. I spend the entire afternoon puzzling over the source of the lice, which has seriously loused up our week (heh, sorry, I couldn't resist), and finally realize that it's probably the 7-11 guy I've been driving to work for the past many moons. He's been scratching his head a LOT lately, but I didn't think anything of it. So I treat the van, too, but still need to get it deep-cleaned... I tell him that night that the rides are OVER, but not why because I don't want to, frankly, and that's the end of that.

Wednesday, June 13: We return to the Ghent set and are greeted with open arms, smiles, and hugs, from everyone from the Director, to X and Amy, to Tia, who I tell about the seven different treatments, should she still find nits in C's impossible hair. She does, but I assure her they are dead, dead, dead. She decides ChloĆ«/Sarah is going to spend much of the shoot in braids, just in case... which disappoints me (whose opinion doesn't count), because now her luscious curls will not be on display. And they match Sarah/Kay's, her "mom," so wonderfully, too. Bummer. But she's still working, so okay! Yay!  Before long, her clothes are on, hair and make-up are done, and she's called down to start filming her first scene with the family, including three "brothers": Jo, Ja, and Br. I can't remember their character names, ever, and don't want to use their real names without their parents' permission, y'know?


Here they are filming ChloĆ«'s (and the rest of the haunted family's) first scene together. That's Chlo in the daisy dress, which she wore for Easter last year! The director is the guy with the white ball cap on, looking my way. All the guys in the foreground are Props, Lighting, Grips, and so forth. We parents are always instructed on the best place to stand so we can watch - though not always - and, more importantly, be out of the way. I start getting used to hearing the commands, "Lock it up!" "Rolling!" "Quiet on the set!" "Still rolling!" "Action!" "CUT!" and, from the various assistant directors and other crewmembers with radios all over the place repeating my title phrase, "And that's a cut!!" which means we parents can all start talking again. Which we do a LOT. Hehe.


Re-filming the same scene, which THEY do a lot. During production, they make lots of little, and sometimes big, changes, to lines, or expressions, or whatever else you can imagine. Then they do the same scene, once they got what they've liked, from 27 different camera angles. For us parents, it's a lot of boring standing around and waiting for "And that's a cut!" so we can resume our conversations. It's a lot more exciting for the actors, but even more so for the crew, who are always busy setting up and re-setting up. I learn what "sticks" are - a tripod. I learn not to trip over these sticks. Quickly. (They're much bigger than mine.)


The actors taking a break under a tree, since it's about 900Āŗ that day. Make-up girl, Heather, is constantly dabbing at their sweaty faces right before "ROLLING!" The guy on the right, with arms folded, is the father of the oldest brother, Jo. He's an oncologist/hematologist; I bug him on Friday about all my iron issues. He plays along nicely. His wife is a pediatrician and shares that they get it all the time; I imagine they're not struggling the way we are!


At last, later on Wednesday, they start filming in the ground floor inside the house, which has... four floors? It's not teeny. When we're not shooting, the actors, parents, and X hang out on the 2nd floor, along with Wardrobe, Costumes, and Hair & Make-up. When we are shooting, on this day, I'm busy snapping these photos on my silenced iPhone, to send to a very proud papa.

At the end of the family's scenes, the rest of the kids are wrapped for the day, and ChloĆ« goes back into Wardrobe to change into PJs for her big scenes. We have some time to wait until then, so we spend a lot of time out back at craft services, snacking, relaxing, and... waiting. Soon, the rest of the cast and crew break for lunch (which is at 5:30 PM, so you can imagine how hungry they are), and I fix ChloĆ« a meager dinner of broccoli, bread and butter, and a teensy piece of lasagna. I can barely get her to eat, as she's filled up on fruit snacks since I didn't know about the whole lunch thing. After lunch, I go around snapping pictures of her with some of the folks on set:


ChloĆ« hamming it up with Amy, left, from Wardrobe, and Brittany (sp?), Costumes - very cool chicks! (Oops, I lied, she obviously didn't change into PJs until after lunch!)


Chloƫ/Sarah with Sarah/Kay, her gorgeous set mom


Posing with Tia, the poor Hair/Make-up queen who was the unfortunate discoverer of the damn lice


With D, the Director, checking out "her" bedroom for the first time


With Kevin/Chris, her TV dad, fresh out of his latest wardrobe change - he must have had dozens of them!


Chloƫ posing with THE coolest 2nd Asst. Dir., X, who was HEE-larious. I loved him! So did she; we had a great time hanging out with him.

After these pictures, THEN she changed into PJs and was sent upstairs to the 3rd floor to start filming her big scenes with Kevin/Chris, and... more characters who shall not be named as of yet. ;) I didn't get to see much of it from my perch on the stairs leading up to the fourth floor, so I talked to C, the Asst. Dir. who was D's right hand woman. C is all but gushing; her facial expressions tell as much as her words. "She's fantastic," "She's a natural!" "I'm so excited watching her; I can't take my eyes off her on the monitor!" are some of the things C had to say about ChloĆ«. Finally, just before 2200, ChloĆ« is wrapped for the night, and I go pick up The Littles from an exhausted Stephanie. I'm absolutely thrilled about all the awesome feedback from both C and D, whose comments escape me at the moment...oh! I remember. When they were filming the outdoor scenes in the first pics above, he told me, "She's amazing. She's stealing it!" I later learned from J, his wife, that he was talking about ChloĆ« to her at home, too. That's gotta be good, right?!


After we got home that night, I treated ChloĆ« for the lice two more times. She was less than thrilled, but it gave her time to work on her scenes for the following day.  Her hair is normally curlier than this, but it dried as I was combing and re-combing it, leaving it partially straightened. I love her Farrah Fawcett look!

Thursday, June 14: We've spent the night, again, at the new house in Portsmouth, to be close to the Naval hospital where Rob needs to be at 0530 for his surgery(ies).  We get about two hours of sleep after all is said and done, so I'm worrying about ChloĆ«'s readiness for filming later that day. I'm also worried about how the whole day is going to play out, because I've got to stay with Rob, get ChloĆ« to set, and worry about The Littles, who cannot be on set. My fifth babysitter eventually has a (true) emergency and cancels on me, leaving me in panic mode. Fortunately, ChloĆ« doesn't have to be on set until noon, but this emergency comes in around 10 AM, leaving me without a sitter for Jack and Sophia.

So, not knowing what else to do, I call X and explain the situation to him. He tells me to take care of Rob, and bring Chloƫ to set at noon, with a note signing her guardianship over to the crew so I can leave her unattended by me. It's not ideal for anyone, but it works out. By the time Rob is released from the hospital around 1600 (!), traffic back to the old house, where he had planned to recuperate on the couch, is bumper to bumper: all stop and no go. I quickly make the decision that we'll have change course and go to the set, leaving Rob and the Littles in the running van, with A/C and movies playing. It's a crappy plan, but I had to get there! As soon as I'm cleared to enter the set, before I even see her, Chloƫ's voice rings out, "Mom! What are you doing here? I don't want you here! Go back to the hospital with Daddy!" Ha. She's having way too much fun without me, I can tell. I later learn someone asked her who was in charge of her that day, and she answered, "Everyone is."

I find X and explain the current situation to him, asking if my family can come to set to use the facilities if the need arises. Instead, he's extremely sympathetic to Rob's pain and agony and instructs me to go take him HOME where he belongs, along with Jack and Soph, and get back "whenever I can." And so I do, getting Rob and the kids settled on the couches with movies, food, and everything they need to survive until we get back much later that night. Rushing back to set, I find Chloƫ all a-giggle, waiting to film her last scene of the day, and absolutely hyper beyond words. Greaaaat. I go around apologizing for this to everyone who's had to put up with her shenaniganizing, and they all reassure me that she's been "fine."


Chlo with E/Cindy, who had also tried out for Sarah and is instead on set today to play the part of her BFF in two scenes. They get along well. Coincidentally, E's mom is the lead for the following week's episode. (Funnily, to me, several people over the course of the week ask me if I am also an actor, which makes me laugh. Um, no. Literally, I was in hives when Chloƫ was filming her big scenes, trembling and on the verge of throwing up. Can you imagine if it was me? Hells no. I do not have that kind of poise.)

After the girls are wrapped for the night, we rush home and check on Rob and the babes. He's ... okay, but hurting. They're... okay, but starving. Tired, thankful that that last day of shooting is around the corner from our old house in Virginia Beach where we are spending the night, I go out and scrounge up more food for everyone. And then we crash.

Friday, June 15: The last day of filming takes place 8 minutes from us, at another real house whose occupants are evicted during filming. It's a cool house. This time, craft services and tents for waiting between scenes are set up on the front lawn. Jo, the oldest "brother" has arrived on set with not just Dad this time, but also Mom and maternal grandparents. Ja, next older brother, also arrives with older sister. I feel bad that my fam don't get to experience filming, too, as it's such a great experience for Chloƫ and me. Anyway...

The first scenes, which the kids aren't in yet, take place on the side lawn. Several times during "Rolling!" we parents, now all old friends - and Facebook friends! - are shushed and told we can be heard on camera. Oops! We talk, then quiet, then resume talking repeatedly between "action" and "cut." When the "family" goes inside to film their indoor scenes, we are kicked out of the house and left to fester under the tent. No worries, we'll see what happened when it airs, right?

Speaking of which, Director D has told me that it will air on a new channel, the name of which might be "Green" something but he forgets exactly, in a few months. And the show will be renamed "American Haunting." It's Episode 41, called "Dark Dreams." And that's all I know about that; I'll keep you apprised when I know more!


When the kids are wrapped for the day, we grab the parents for a "family" photo op, seen here. Everyone hugs good-bye, and off we go... back into real life, waiting for the next call, the next big thing. Hopefully, fingers crossed, there will be more opportunities in Chloƫ's future here and, especially, in San Diego. She has caught the acting bug, and as long as she's loving it, we will continue!

And that's a wrap.


P.S. On Sunday, Rob and I ran into her TV dad, Kevin, at dinner while we were on a mystery shop. He's already back at work on another series, for a different production company I didn't know about locally, this week. Good for him!  And now, I bid you adieu.

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you're fragmenting today!


My word! My last blahg post was FF two WEEKS ago!!! I have had so much going on, something had to give, and I suppose this time it was blogging. I'll try not to do all my catching up in THIS post, else YOU will disappear for a fornight. ;)


My husband is turning 40 at the end of August, and - half because I've been waiting two years for this and half because everyone is so far away, I wanted to give interested parties time to plan - I set up the event and sent invites last night on Facebook. Too soon? Hey, wanna come?? :D


When last I posted, we were well into a move that still continues. We're now into week four. I actually had friends and plans to rent a truck lined up to finish the job tomorrow, but a big bill that I had forgotten about came through our account yesterday, leaving us with, like, 43Ā¢ to our names. Awesome! And since I'll be away for a big mystery shopping gig next weekend, who knows when the rest of our stuff will ever make it over here?! I'm so peevish about the whole thing. Friends, take it from me: Never decide to move the day before you actually do. I know at least one reader here who will at least think, "Proper prior planning prevents piss-poor performance!" And she'd be right.


I also told you that my oldest child, Chloƫ, was up for a role in a TV show. Well, she got it! It filmed all last week. I want to devote a whole post to that occasion, so stay tuned if you're interested in hearing more about that. I will say it was a great opportunity for her to grow and learn as an actor, and for me as a young actor's mother! The cast and crew were like family, and we really miss them.


It deluged this afternoon, and now we're stuck in our new house with the road flooded out. Good thing our house - and van - are situated on high ground, so no concern there, but we did interestedly watch several vehicles try to go through about 4' of water, including an emergency vehicle, at rather high speeds uncalled for in the situation. One got stuck and had to get out and push for a minute. Rob, my hubs, didn't get out and help, because...


He had a quadruple surgical hernia/hydrocele repair last week and is still in major pain. (As opposed to usual when he IS a major pain. Kidding, that would be me.) So he watched from the window and kept a runnng commentary on the poor sap who tried to drive through a flood. Anyway, if you were wondering, he was recovering nicely while still on narcotics, but his pain levels are not well managed now that he's run out and refuses to ask for more of those delightful drogas. We rival each other in stubbornness nicely.



We transported our son Robby's urn over to the new house without mishap, I'm happy to report. I was anxious about it for days and did NOT want to place my baby in a box with foam and bubble wrap (he might suffocate! thinks the irrationally bereaved part of my mind), so I finally found the right trip when Rob didn't have much else to worry about and let him carry Robby, er, his urn, in his arms. It worked perfectly, and our baby boy is now safely perched in our closet until furniture comes. Hey, he can breathe in a closet.



(I've edited this picture down over and over, to no avail; it wants to stay this way.) Rob snatched this picture for me on his iPhone after I spotted it on the interstate: "GIGIDDY." Are you fans of the TV show "Family Guy"? If so, you'll be amused, too. If not, carry on, then!


I snagged this one in the McDonald's drive-thru lane. A nice, cheery message; I like it!



This was my room last night, covered in clean laundry that couldn't be put anywhere until we brought the hangers you see in the foreground, there, over from the old house. I've about used all of those up, so the job is only half done until the dressers are brought over here, too. I hate it!



Welp, that's about all from me, so I'm going to make like Sophia here in my beret and Peace OUT!!



Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're playing along this week!



That's all I have to say.  Not, you know I have more.


So, you may or, more likely, may not have noticed I haven't fragmented again in a few weeks. Our lives are always, well, let's be honest, chaotic at their calmest, but things have been even crazier lately. For example, this week:

Monday: Rob had the day off, and I was exhausted, so I slept much of the day away. Nothing newsworthy there. But...

Tuesday: We decided to move.

Wednesday: I hunted around and found a potential place.

Thursday: I met the landlord inside the house with the kids, decided to go for it, signed the lease, paid the rent and security deposit, and got the keys.

Friday (today): We can move in.

I'm a little dizzy, but that's how we roll. Well, that's how I roll, anyway. Hubs is a tad bit freaked out by the whole thing, but we'll be aiight.



I'm still on Project Vanity Plate, and this is today's find. Hopefully they're talking about God and aren't egomaniacs! If you missed it, I posted a whole bunch of them on Wednesday here.


Today, in addition to checking out the house and stuff, was total nutballs. I took Rob to work at the buttcrack of dawn, and then I was supposed to take the daughters o' mine to the dentist, but I ended up konking out on migraine medicine and missing that appointment. Gah! I woke up just in time to shower and go meet our new lord of the land.

After the new house visit, I stopped to get the kids a semi-celebratory lunch (thank you, Wendy's Dollar Menu), zoomed home to update Chloƫ's rƩsumƩ and grab her new headshots, and then dropped Sophie and Jack off at Jenny From the Block's house before racing to Chlo's audition. I didn't get to watch the actual audition, but I'm still tremendously proud of her. I was a nervous wreck for her, shaking and trembling, but she was confident and relaxed. How?! I don't know; she didn't inherit that from me, but hopefully her nurturing has had something to do with that poise.

Anyhoo, it's for an episode of a TV show I can't name at the moment, but we'll find out Wednesday if she got the part. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed! She really wants the role. I'm highly biased, but I think she was the cutest kid there, and she did great practicing her scenes for me. Stay tuned!



After the audition, I raced to pick up the Littles before heading to pick up Rob, two hours late, from work. We headed over to the BMW place to pick up his supposedly 'fixed' motorcycle, a month after it was put in for repairs. After a freakin' MONTH, you'd think it'd be in excellent shape, right? Ha. More on that in a mome.



We went straight to a Thai restaurant for a semi-celebratory dinner (not really; we just have not much food in the house currently, and we had a gift certificate to use there). Aren't these roses so cute? They were the straw wrappers atop each of our drink straws. Love!


We ordered family-style. This was my dinner. Well, that and a wee Spring roll. It may not seem like a lot, but apparently it was too much for me, because I didn't keep a single bit of it down, dang it. Um. It tasted better the first time. I probably could've kept it down, but I had the Jasmine rice with cashews, and, stupid me, I should've known better. I can never eat rice. It just looked so good. Anyway....


All was well and good after dinner. Rob hopped on his motorbike, the kids and I buckled into the van, and off we went toward home. Only, I zipped into a 7-11 on the way home to refill my giant keg of Diet Dew and, well, hurl, and he followed me into the parking lot. By the time I restarted the van, his bike was smoking and leaking more fluids than a ... ah, skip that. Every metaphor I can think up is gross and graphic. Awesome. So not only was the BMW not fixed, but a freakin' panel was missing off the side, too! Really?! I'm way disenchanted with the place that had it for so long. They can bite me hard, right on my hindquarters.


So, short story long, we sat there for an hour while Rob yapped on the phone to our insurance company, who basically solved nothing, and then watched him make the necessary repairs himself. I've dated some pretty useless guys before, and lemme tell you single ladies this: Marry a handy guy. I don't care what else you like about him, you will appreciate this advice. The other day, our toilet handle broke, and My Guy fished one out of his "pile of crap," as I not-so-tenderly call it, and fixed it on the spot. Pretty good. Back to the bike. While he was working, I went back into the 7-11 and bought a big bag of White Cheddar Popcorn. The kids pretended they were watching a movie while they ate it - and Dad was the show. I don't know how he felt about that, but I was entertained, and that's what counts, y'all.


I don't know what else to tell ya. I have a million and one anecdotes I could share, but (a) you probably don't care, and (b) I should probably start packing. To move. Because we're doing that. Eek.


Have a fab weekend, folks!


A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama


Y'all did know that's, like, a palindrome, right? That's not news?

Anyway. Not where I'm headed.  Nor is this collage of silly pictures I took of myself early this morning when I meant to be writing up plans and writing down lists:


I love Instagram.

I also seriously LOVE these Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers, which are so good I can't stand it. I got a case of them from Moms Meet to share with my mommy group today, but I've literally eaten like 10 Ā½-oz bags myself since they arrived. They're addictive! Perfectly crunchy, wonderful texture, delicious flavor, and just the right touch of salt. Mmm. I can definitely endorse this product! Bonus: They're gluten-free, for those of you needing such a product (but they do contain soy, though it's low on the ingredient list.)


The plan. The plans. That's why we're all gathered here together today. And no, we're not moving to Panama. Or Thailand. Or Florida, Or Hawai'i, or Australia (boo-hoo). Nor are we going to live on a boat.

No, we have decided that, all things considered, those ideas just aren't going to work out for us, right now. Maybe in the future, but not right now.

Instead, here's what:


Rob'll retire in about a year and a half, after 20 years of service to our great country.


Then a lot of this will happen. Hopefully our shithole house will sell sooner rather than later, and we can high-tail it out of here shortly after retirement.

...After which, we'll end up here, this being a marina in downtown San Diego. Okay maybe not *exactly* here, but somewhere in this neck of the woods. And by "neck" I mean Southern California, and by "woods" I mean United States. It all depends on where we can find affordable (please, God, let it be four-bedroom) housing in a safe place, but the closer to SD, the better.

Now you may be asking, in your grammatically-incorrect way that I love so much:


Well, there are a few reasons.

#1. Process of elimination. After deciding we couldn't expatriate for medical reasons (my bipolar disorder and Jack's growth hormone deficiency, chiefly), our list narrowed down to Hawai'i, the Florida Keys, or San Diego. It had to be somewhere warm but NOT the Deep South, and I didn't have much interest in the Southwest, either. No particular reason, just, meh.



The whole reason Rob got into the Navy in the first place was for the G.I. bill, so he could go to college, never intending to do 20 years. But that's neither here nor there anymore, and now he's ready to get that degree. Between the GI bill and Voc Rehab, he hopes to get his B.S. in Nursing, become an R.N., and then continuing ed. to become a Nurse Practitioner. I think that's great. I'm all for it.

So why San Diego?

a. Proximity to MTFs (Military Treatment Facilities) to minimize our out-of-pocket post-Active Duty medical expenses. (Our prescriptions add up, dudes.)

b. Proximity to family, vs. Hawai'i. As Rob pointed out, "our parents aren't getting any younger..."

c. Quality and quantity of accredited institutions of higher learning, vs. the sole Florida Keys Community College (which, by the way, is supposed to be competitive for nursing, but then he'd have to commute to Miami after two years, and .... nah)

# 3. San-Diego-with-Kids-Guide-portfolio-620x200

There's so much for families to do there! We've heard lots of great things from friends and fellow military members who've lived there, so it will afford many opportunities for exploration, discovery, and fun.

So that's pretty much the whole ball of wax, in a nutshell. Maybe we'll be able to live out Plan B of The Retirement Dream, which includes


Oh. When I first read that, I thought it said "OUR," not "ORR." Heh. Whatever. Sorry I stole your banner, Orr Family Farm.

We'd love some of this:


because we go through, and desire plenty of fresh, healthy, organic:


If the place is big enough, we might even have a goat or even a cow, for milk, and cheese, and yogurt, and all sorts of things I'd learn to make.


Dang. Just dang.


And hopefully a big, beautiful vegetable garden will keep us occupied in the growing season (or is it always the growing season there?), so with the chickens and goat/cow and veggies and whatever else, we can be pretty self-sufficient and organic, food-wise.


In the dream/fantasy, I'd also get an alpaca or several, to raise for the fiber.


Of course, I could either sell the fiber outright, or learn to spin it. Or both. Yes, probably both.

And I could learn to dye it with natural materials, and I would produce the most beautiful yarns.

Adjective cartoon

And of course, I'd keep homeschooling the kids, and they'd learn so much from the farming and the husbandry and the learning. All the learning, every day, from doing. And behold, it would be very, very good.


And in a perfect world, I'd have her body.

So it will be interesting to see how it all pans out. Whether any of it does, whether it all does, and we get to grow old together and live happily ever after.


That's the plan, Stan!


P.S. I forgot to mention one final "plus" that San Diego had going for it: proximity to

HollywoodSign ,

should Chloƫ (or even Sophia, but never Jack) decide to pursue that avocation after all.

P.P.S. Today is Rob's 39th birthday. Happy birthday, Rabbi/Rupert/Ribbon/Rabbit/Robin/Ruben and everything else I call you!


Back In The Saddle Again


ChloĆ« took off the better part of 3rd grade from acting and modeling, because she had about 8 teeth missing at once. No one would hire her like that. And she wasn't really in the mood anyway, so the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

But then her local agent called to see if she was available for another Dollar Tree ad.  Her permanent teeth are mostly all settled in now - in the front, anyway - so I let them go ahead and book her. She wasn't thrilled that I booked her without asking, but when pressed, she agreed that she wanted to do it.


She did an absolutely wonderful job at the shoot. They were very impressed by her and said they would put a star by her name, to remind them that she takes direction extremely well. I am so proud of her!

Look for her doing a Disney Princesses floor puzzle (or is it Barbie? Shoot, now I forget) in that shirt, in the toy catalog for Dollar Tree - maybe late November or early December. They couldn't remember the date when I asked. If you spot it first, give me a shout!


"An Origin," Featuring Chloƫ Odette

An Origin from Chris Strider on Vimeo.

"A Man living in a surreal world where reality and time aren't linear, encounters three different characters who are blinded by this same logic of what reality truly is."

Written, Directed, Filmed and Edited by Chris Strider


Woohoo, ChloĆ«!  ((This was a year and a half ago... she seems like such a baby there, compared to now!)) ā™„


Our Day In D.C.


On Saturday, La Familia Odette made the nine-hour round-trip up to Washington, D.C. so that ChloĆ« could reshoot part of her role in the short movie Boom. The director, Olivia, had received a grant to rework the film a bit, so fortunately, our trip and ChloĆ«'s acting were paid for this time by the grant. W00t!

The trip up was fine and ordinary. I started out driving but didn't even make it to Richmond before I became too drowsy to drive. I hadn't slept much the night before, and in any case, it seems like driving for any distance puts me to sleep anymore. It really sucks, since I actually like taking road trips.

So I napped for a while and then woke up to navigate Rob into the city. It was our first time actually driving in the District, and we were both, I think, a wee bit nervous. Last time we went, when Sophia was still in utero, we stayed outside the city and rode the train in and around town. At first, Rob claimed that it was really no different than the kind of traffic we see here in Hampton Roads, but later he admitted that no, it was a bit more complicated than that. I drove out of the city and was pretty at ease about it, but then, I really did most of my learning to drive in Miami, while at the same time figuring out how to drive a stick shift!


I had put Rob in charge of bringing the food for our time in the car, and, well, he really didn't bring that much. Everyone was starving. Fortunately, there was food on set, but I don't think Olivia meant to feed my entire family for the day! Um, oh well. Here's Jack on a pile of chairs, eating a cup full of grapes.


Everyone was pretty restless, as we waited about 3 or 4 hours while Olivia and the crew shot other scenes. We tried to keep them calm and quiet, but that was a pretty futile effort. Thankfully the crew members didn't make us feel bad about the noise; they just quietly shut the door to the conference room we were in and went about their business.


Sophia was pretty stoked when I let her have a Sprite. Of course, that meant the other two had to get one, too. As for me, um, I had some M&Ms and a piece of doughnut. Exactly the sort of thing I should be eating, right? But I'm 2.8 lbs away from my doc's goal for me, so hey. (I'm going to try to lose that last 2.8 lb before my check-up with him on Thursday, so it's nothing but protein shakes for me this week! Bleh.)



At some point, I put down the knitting I was working on and fell sound asleep, facedown on the table. Somehow, Rob was able to get Jack to take a nap in the chair, but Sophia was another story. Jack napped and napped!

And then it was finally time for ChloĆ« to Do Her Thing.  Rob had to stand in as an extra, but Olivia really didn't laugh when I told her he'd only do it if he got a credit on IMDb, too. Hee.

I was shut in the conference room with The Littles while they were out there filming, so I have no idea how it went. And when they were finished with Rob and ready to do her close-ups (closes-up?), he joined me. So it was with immense pleasure that we took the following commentary from Olivia: "Chloƫ really has tremendous camera presence. She is a natural. Whenever we did a take, I didn't even have to ask the crew if it was a good take, because we all could just feel that it was." That's not exactly what she said, but pretty close, so we are quite proud of our little actress!

After Olivia told us that, and we were walking out of the building to return to Vanna, I asked Chloƫ, "So, do you want to be an actess, honey?" She said to me, "No, I am an actress." Well, you go, girl!


We were in the MidCity section of D.C., and it was really a beautiful and interesting area. Rob and I had a great deal of fun looking at all the colors and styles of the area's architecture. There was so much to look at. I could really see myself living there. We just loved it.


There were so many flowers and lovely plants and gardens in each of the townhouses' front yards, too. Everyone looked so content, walking around town, enjoying their little MidCity lives. It was fun being one of them for a day.


For a special treat, we decided to take ChloĆ« out to dinner. She wanted Subway, but we couldn't find that, so we ended up at Point Chaud CafĆ© & CrĆŖpes, which had every kind of crĆŖpe one could possibly imagine. The kids all had to use the bathroom, so I chose several different kinds of crĆ©pes for them off the menu, figuring they could nibble on a little of this, and a little of that.


A lady at the next table over saw me photographing the family, so she volunteered to take a family picture of us. And here we are.  Sophia's face cracks me up!  (Can you tell I have no boobs? hehe)


Point Chaud had real Coke, made with real sugar, in glass bottles: Rob's favorite. So I got him one. He was well-pleased. Now if only those folks would make some organic Coke...!

  Sophia loved that she could stand up on her chair and watch the "cookers" make our crĆŖpes through the window. She kept reporting back to us on their progress: "Ooh, now they're using Nutella! They're putting some kiwis in! Ew, what's that green stuff?" etc.


I thought I knew my kids, but apparently I don't: I ordered three bottles of apple juice, and all three handed them back and asked for OJ instead. But Mama knows best, because the juice tasted nasty to them compared to the wonderful stuff we've been getting delivered to our house each Wednesday afternoon!


Finally our crĆŖpes arrived, and they were YUMM-O!! The kids really had no interest in the kiwi or the turkey and cheese ones, but they were all about the Nutella and banana one. Surprise. I liked my egg, cheese and spinach crĆŖpe, and Rob's mushroom, tomato and Swiss was pretty good, too, although he didn't really like the whole wheatness of it. I liked mine, though.

So that was our little trip. We meandered the short distance back to Vanna and counted about 38 CVS Pharmacies on our way out of the District. I made it almost all the way to Richmond this time, before surrenduring the driver's seat to Rob.

So now, we wait for the release of Boom, and I couldn't be more excited to see it!






Your Name Rhymes With Snot


On Friday morning, I drove out to EBF Chesapeake to pick up Stephanie and wee baby Luke (who, at 8 months -8 months already!!!! - is really no longer "wee" at all) and carry them back to our house.

They spent the entire day and well into the night with us, so that I could knit Luke a redeux pair of wool shorties that would actually fit his cloth-diaper clad little butt this time, unlike the last pair that came out, well, rather ginormous. (As Steph says, "They go up to his boobies.")

As for the title of this post, I believe it was Chloƫ who joked to his mama, "Lucas Mucous, your name rhymes with snot!" I giggled and was relieved when I looked up to see if Steph was offended and found her giggling, too. Phew!

The knitting took about 10 hours. We tried the shorties on at one point, but since I was using DPNs (double-pointed needles), a bunch of stitches fell of the needles. Even though I'd used big rubber bands to hold them in place. Fecking stitches. Steph quickly grabbed me a crochet hook, and I was able to save every last one of them (sending a silent "thank-you" to the anonymous yarn shop employee who taught me how to do that, four or five years ago). Phew again!

I didn't take many breaks, knitting almost continuously through the full 10 hours. To say my hands were cramped afterward is an understatement! The only real break I remember taking, aside from inhaling a crab cake and using the powder room, is getting up to show Steph my dance skilz to "Cotton-Eyed Joe" on Wii Just Dance. I think she was impressed and amazed. Or amused. I don't really know.

Oh yeah, and I took a shower, because we were going to go go this awesome (so I heard afterward) Etsy-sponsored crafting party in Norfolk, but we mutually decided not to go and continue on with the knitting. My new mail-order bathing suit arrived from Land's End, and I tried that on. I'm wearing all size 12 stuff from Old Navy right now, but since they were out of size 12 suits, I bit the bullet and ordered a size 10. Well, it fit!! I had to squeeze it on, but Rob said I looked "hot" and that a 12 would probably have been too big. Yay! That means that after I get my abdominoplasty, I should be at least an 8, if not a 6. (I have a LOT of skin to remove.) Single digits, baby!! I can not WAIT.

Anyway, the shorties finally got finished, and I held my breath while Steph tried them on Lucas Mucous. The final decree? They fit!!! Woohoo!! The hard work paid off.


He does look rather cute, doesn't he? I mean, with the shorts. He could wear a brown paper bag and look cute, though. =D


In other yarny news, I had to work through the night into Friday morning, but I finished crocheting the blanket I was working on at the HEAV convention last week:


Oh, my bad, did you want to see the whole thing? Here you go:


I like the finished product very much. I didn't like it at all at the beginning, because it's made with icky-crappy Red Heart yarn (with my apologies the people who donated the yarn to CARE Package the day before I started making the blanket from a pattern book donated by Bunco-friend-Linda) that squeaked throughout the process. I wasn't a big fan of the colors for the first half of the blanket, and maybe the first 7/8 of the blanket but finished, I actually think it looks pretty. And it's softer finished than it is started, if that makes any sense. In the end, I'm satisfied that it will make a nice blanket for the full-term baby girl who will be unfortunate enough to need it. :(



In much happier news, Thursday was Bridging Day for ChloĆ«'s Brownies troop. The girls are now officially Juniors! After a year of Daisies and three years of Brownies, I couldn't be more proud of her and the girls, most of whom have been together since they were five. I spent a good deal of time on Thursday sewing on the patches she'd received in December and asked me to sew on ever since; after the ceremony, I sewed on all the rest, in completely the wrong places (ie, non Try-It patches on the front, since I ran out of room on the back). But she's never going to wear it again, so does it really, truly matter?

(I also sewed the patches Sophia has earned on her Daisy smock (Early Bird registration, plus a Make-It-Build-It patch from Lowe's for the trellises they made me for Mother's Day, and a soccer patch from Fall Soccer), and the ones Jack has earned on the back of his Cub Scout shirt. I KNOW those are in the wrong place, so Rob will probably have to take them off and re-do them, as the boys actually have uniform inspections.)


Miss Nikki, the Troop Leader, introduced the girls and sent them across the bridge, and Miss Karen, the assistant TL, gave them their certificates and pinned on their new insignia. Congratulations, ChloĆ«!!


Is she giving me that tween look that says, "Moo-ooommm, stop taking my picture"?? Is she old enough for that yet? My word.


Before the ceremony, we ate dinner, and Miss Nikki passed out all the patches and things the girls had earned. She even gave me a Volunteer certificate and a gift bag with goodies and a couple of patches of my own. Everyone had to bring something to eat to the potluck; we brought the McNuggets and fries and all the Shrek godies that we were supposed to have at our Shrek party last Sunday. Since almost no one was going to come to that, I canceled it and decided to bring the Shrek party to Bridging Day, instead! It worked out.


After the party, during which the girls also sang and recited some things for us, ChloĆ« was completely exhausted. She passed out immediately, which sucked, because we had more than an hour's drive (with traffic) up to Newport News for an audition.

H, the casting director, had called us as we were literally ON OUR WAY to the Girl Scouts party, asking us to come up immediately. Um, no can do, sorry. He said that he was sure that if they saw her, they would want to hire her, and since it was a national commercial, I hemmed and hawed and finally decided no, we really have to go to this party. He countered by saying they would stay late just for her, if we could come up right away after the party. Well, we had plans to go to Michaels to make a Father's Day craft for Rob, but we couldn't really say no, could we?

So we went.

Rob took The Littles downstairs to Maggie Moo's for some amazing (but not cheap) ice cream, while ChloĆ« had her on-camera audition with H. I had forgotten to mention her teeth situation (she's missing several, and others are half grown-in, at the moment) on the phone, but he said it was no big deal. She "slated" for the camera, which is basically saying your name and age and whatever else they want you to do by way of introducing yourself. She was much too tired for that, so it wasn't great, but then she had to take a potty break.

During the break, she really woke up and became her regular, silly, "on" self, so the rest of the on-camera part was really cute. You never know how they'll perceive you, though, so I'm not holding out much hope. H said we should find out by Tuesday if she gets it. It would be a great gig, though!



Lookee!! Rob was a busy boy today. He put together our new compost bin, hauled all the compost we've been making from behind the bushes in the front "yard" and filled it up. Doesn't it look great? I'm SO excited to have a proper bin now.


Also, he built the first of our two cedar raised beds. Unfortunately, he had a dickens of a time actually getting them into the ground, so he had to take it all apart again! D'oh!! Poor Rob. He's going to put it in separately tomorrow, I guess. But still, it looked nice, right? LOL

Can you see my two pretty Tiger Lilies under the tree in the bag? Love. Those are my faaaaavorite flowers.


And finally, Jack snagged my camera and took about 800 pictures with it. Most were crap, but here are a few I kept. ChloĆ«, busy playing games on my iPhone - a favorite activity for all three kiddos.


Sophia, looking completely enthused.


An amusing self-portait


Daddy working; see his hand all bandaged up? He got some horrible blisters trying to pound the box into the ground. Poor Daddy!!

That's all. Back to working on promoting the new blog. If you haven't entered the giveaway, please, please, please go do. :D Thanks, I really mean it. Thank you. There will be a new one posted later on Sunday!


I'm The Only One Who'll Leave A Light On For You

Don't ask. It won't make sense anyway.



Sophia looked particularly adorable. She dressed herself, as always, and even though I told her it was about 1100Āŗ out and she would be far too hot, she insisted on wearing the sweater.  


I've never met a cuter child being rude to her mother. (If she hadn't done that, the resulting picture would have been even more adorable; oh, well.)


Jack has been all about rockets. He built a rocket, talked about rockets, "saw" rockets in ordinary objects, and asked to learn about rockets this year when we home-school. Is he trying to tell me something?


Sophia had a routine hearing screening at the Naval hospital. Perfect in both ears. She kept saying through the microphone, to her tester, "How long is this going to take, anyway?" She has places to go, things to do, people to see... you know.


The Littles played together quite nicely, for most of the day. 


Chloƫ took this picture, noting growth of our transplated tomato plants from the Keeneys. It's doing quite well, thanks!


  • I continued to crochet that multi blanket, which I had planned to finish over the past weekend. At this rate, I will definitely be finished by NEXT weekend, at least.
  • I scrubbed down all three bathrooms, including three pretty gross toilets. I feel accomplished. The last two, I washed in the nude after taking a cold shower, and Rob walked in the kids' ladybug bathroom as I was bent over to scrub the tub. "Hello!" he exclaimed. "It's a full moon out tonight!"
  • After dinner, which Rob made, the kids and I sat on the front porch to enjoy the nice breeze. I crocheted; ChloĆ« sketched pictures of herself, her sister, and various objects; Jack drove his truck around the driveway; and we all pointed out fireflies.
  • The Littles and I cleaned up the entire downstairs in about 45 minutes, except for the kitchen (Rob's domain), and except for the clutter in the office (my domain, which I attend to 24/7/365 and still can't seem to manage to tame). Anyway, it looks pretty good in here for the moment.
  • I found out that ChloĆ« will need to head up to DC early next month to reshoot part of the beginning of Boom. She'll actually get paid this time, a per diem and travel rate. Awesome!

Back to my crocheting. Until midnight, when Rob's pay hits, and then it's time to pay bills and make plans. Have a good night!


Nutella No-Go

Mel & the kids 001

Busy day.  I should be sleeping by now. I did take the sleeping pill last night and slept a full night, and I haven't been tired since then. I'm still wide awake, too much so to settle down and try to sleep, darn it. Sucks, because I have another full day tomorrow.

Mel & the kids 005

I did a lot, but it doesn't feel like I got a lot done, if that makes any sense. I cleaned up the kitchen, ran the dishwasher and emptied it later. I did take an hour after the kids got on the bus and play my various silly Facebook games. But then I didn't touch them again until night-time. I canceled the cable, although I did decide to keep the local channels for $10/month. We can always drop that later, too. I looked at all the coupon sites and made my deals for today, which is when the new grocery sales start in our area. I contacted the Brownies moms about coming to sign permission slips, and no one wanted to come... so they all told me to forge their signatures on them. Heh. I did, but then I realized - after turning it in - that I spelled one of the girls' names wrong! Oops... how do you explain that one?!

Mel & the kids 007

Anyway, so after I showered and got ready to go out, I ran to Target and got lots of great deals, including the new "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" DVD for the kids. ChloĆ« has been raving about it since she saw it at the theatre with her soccer friends, and I knew the kids would enjoy it. I got lots of other great stuff too, but I didn't have time to take a picture and figure it all out.

Then I went to Harris Teeter - MY old store - for the first time since I quit back in October. They are running super doubles week on coupons, so I had to suck it up and go in. I was so nervous! It turns out that was for naught, because everyone was so nice and welcoming. I got lots of hugs, and everyone was concerned about me because they'd heard about the breast cancer thing. I assured them that I'm fine and all is well, and they seemed happy about that. Lots of nice people. I really kind of miss working there. I do. But, the hours weren't enough, and apparently things have gotten lots worse regarding that. So it was the right thing to do, I guess. Oh yeah, and I spent about $61 but SAVED $84 in coupons! All stuff we need and will use, of course.

Mel & the kids 011

I got home just five minutes before the bus came, so I didn't even have time to unload the groceries (and speaking of which, please tell me why I bought the 2Ā½-dozen egg carton when there is NO room in my fridge for it?!) before walking down to the bus stop. The kids came home, and they helped me carry in the bags. I quickly scanned the Target stuff and part of the HT stuff for Nielsen, and then we had to leave for both girls' dance classes. 
Sophie went first, and the Bigs did their homework while she was in there. I knitted on the kimono. Can't really say it was power knitting, since I had to stop every two seconds to help Jack with his work. Chloƫ went in second, and I kept knitting while the Littles climbed all over every inch of the van, pressing buttons and generally driving me mad. In a fun way, though. ;)

Mel & the kids 014 

Oh, and the entire time all this day was going on, I was in a madcap rush to figure out if and how we were going to go to New York City - tomorrow! And back - in a day! Chloƫ's acting and modeling agent there called to say they had an audition for her to attend today or tomorrow (I said to them, "Today? You know we're in Virginia, right?") for a Nutella commercial. They really wanted her this time. Steph volunteered to drive up with us OR stay home and get the Littles to and from school, however we needed her. Isn't she awesome? We were going to have her and Luke come with us, and then her sister Mandy wanted to come along, too. It was just going to be a straight shot up there, audition, have lunch in Manhattan somewhere (the audition was right on Broadway), and then drive straight home. A seven-hour trip, or thereabouts. I was going to have to cancel all sorts of things for tomorrow. But in the end, we called to check and see if she could still go, seeing as she's missing four front teeth, and they said NOPE! No way, no how. Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted...

Mel & the kids 016

After the dance classes - during which time I talked to Ms. D, ChloĆ«'s Jazz teacher, and was told that she's focusing much better in class lately, to my surprise since I have not yet had her evaluated for ADD - we came home so I could prepare dinner. The yummy food from grocery shopping was still all over the kitchen table to be put away, and the kids were picking at this and picking at that, wanting to nibble, nibble, nibble. I had planned on making the grilled salmon from Schwan's, but in the end they had sandwiches and chips and assorted other things, and I never cooked at all. 'Tis fine. Salmon can wait 'til Friday, since we have a dinner shop tomorrow night.

Mel & the kids 018

After dinner, Rob and the kids watched "Cloudy With..." while I worked on Cookie Sale paperwork and drove the permission slips over to the person in charge. He got the kids ready for bed, and then we posed for all these silly pictures together. It was a little bit of fun, we enjoyed it. Jack keeps insisting he doesn't know how to smile, so in the ones where he IS actually smiling, it's because I was tickling him! And now, back to reading my Cookie Manual some more, before I train the girls and moms at tomorrow's meeting. Ciao!


Ego Stroking

So, I stayed up after I posted last night, until about 0500, knitting on that kimono. It really doesn't look like anything recognizable yet, which is why I haven't shown it to you at all. I think it'll have to wait until it's completely finished. It's coming along nicely, though. I'm kind of worried that I'll run out of yarn.

I didn't get right to sleep after that, because Rob was up and banging around, getting ready for work. So I got maybe an hour of sleep before it was time to get the kids up and ready for school.

Which meant, as planned and predicted, I pretty much slept the entire school day. I'm disappointed things have started off this way, but I'm not going to spank myself for it. Wait, that didn't sound right! Anyway. As soon as I'm done with this, I'm going to take a sleeping pill in order to get plenty of sleep tonight.


When I went out to the bus stop to fetch the kids, this sight greeted me at the back of my van. Lovely! I really thought someone had slashed it, because it was so flat, but Rob found a nail embedded in the tire. Sorry for making everyone on Facebook think someone had sabotaged my wheels! ;)

ChloĆ« had Ballet today, and we were supposed to leave 45 min later, but now we were grounded. Plus I had a meeting for tonight that I could not miss. So I called Rob to come home from work to take her to dance. Fortunately, he was already almost finished anyway. Unfortunately, he arrived home late, and they missed half of class. Better late than nothing, I guess!

While they were gone, I went outside to take the picture. The neighbor's daughter was visiting, and since we don't see her very often, she did a double-take when she saw me. And then came a flood of compliments about how great I looked, how very different I looked, and what a great job I've done. Whenever people ask me if I'm at my goal, and I say no, I have about 40 or so more pounds to go, they look shocked! I guess that means I'm wearing the remaining chub well? That's good, because if I don't lose another pound, it'll still mean I look okay. But I'm not satisfied with that... Anyway, she finished up by saying that Rob had better watch out, 'cause "Girl! You look fine!" She complimented me on my haircut, too. Really, she had my head so swollen, I could hardly get back in the door. It's such a good feeling!

While they were gone, Jack did his homework and asked me about 47 times if I would make the same soup as last night for dinner. We had two cans left - Rob had taken a couple for lunch yesterday and today - so I agreed. Sophie and ChloĆ« wanted a hot dog, and then they had soup besides. I had scallops. It was a potluck kind of night. Tomorrow, I'll do something "real."

After dinner, everyone piled into Rob's piece of shit God I hate it so much truck, to take me to my meeting. It's cookie time again! So I sat through an hour and a half of Girl Scouts Cookie Training, learning the ins-and-outs of being the Cookie Chair. Again. It was mostly the same as last year, with a few slight changes. It's still going to be lots of work for the next three months, so I hope Team Odette is ready. Bring on the crazy!

While I was there, Rob took the kids to Wally World to get some crap to fix my tire. He worked on it all evening, and now everything is right with the world again. Phew! I guess he's good for something. I'll keep him.

I kid, I kid. He's good for lots of things. Look at the pretty babies he gave me!

Anyhoo, after he picked me up in that God-forsaken truck, I sent out some cookie info to the other troop moms and then waited for my next meeting to start.

This time, it was an online or on-the-phone training meeting for a new mystery shopping program at a popular high-end Chinese restaurant. I've been excited to eat at this particular place since ours opened up several years ago, and now we're going to get the chance! Plus, the trainer really stroked our egos some more, telling us repeatedly that we were selected because we were the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the most elite, yadda yadda. You may think that mystery shopping is just a silly little hobby, but really if you knew what it was about, you would know that it's serious business and it's a lot of work, for me and for them. So all of us really appreciated being told those things. It's nice to be recognized, in whatever you do, isn't it?

The only other thing of note for today is that we're going to cancel our cable TV service (keeping the interweb, of course) to save some green. It's been a thought of mine for years now, but I just now broached it to Rob. The kids are going to be upset, but we'll live. We'll play games, we'll take walks - I'll teach them to knit! It'll be just fine. There will be plenty that I'll miss about having television, like watching it in the middle of the night when I'm knitting and can't sleep, but that's what we have Netflix for, right?

So. With some of that saved green, I'm going to sign ChloĆ« up for 3-4 classes at the Hurrah Players, which is a theater group that puts on many productions a year here in Hampton Roads. They offer classes in all kinds of areas related to theater performance, and kids can't audition for their productions without being registered for classes. Plus, since ChloĆ« wants to spend this summer in L.A. (living off my substitute teaching earnings, hopefully), working on her acting and modeling thang, she really needs to have some recent things on her rĆ©sumĆ©. This will be great for her.  I haven't asked her yet about doing the Hurrah Players, but we've talked about it in the past, and she was game.  Of course, I won't send a check until I'm sure!

And that is that. Here's hoping I get tons of sleep tonight!


Mixed Emotions

Welp, I'm still sick and still getting sicker. I was in a pretty cranky mood yesterday, for no other reason than that I just feel like total shit.

I was hoping that having a day off from work yesterday would give me some time to rest and feel better, but it wasn't to be. I ended up having to run around, which probably didn't help much.

First, after I got the kids on the bus, I had to get to work to pick up my paycheck, and then to the bank to deposit it. That was a #1 priority to make sure nothing bounced, eek.

Then, I had to immediately drive over to the Progressive (insurance) service center to drop off my van and pick up my rental. Have I mentioned that here? Progressive did some work on the van several years ago for a claim, and the piece wasn't painted properly. It has been bubbled up for months, until finally a week or two ago, the paint sloughed right off. There was a huge area of bare metal on the front passenger fender, so of course I needed to get it taken care of immediately. Thank goodness it won't cost us anything to fix or for the rental.

They said I'd have my van back possibly by Friday, and by Monday at the latest - but I'm kind of enjoying the GMC Acadia they gave me while it's in the shop! I'm not an SUV lover, and the only reason I drive a big, honkin' minivan is because our kids and their stuff just won't fit in a smaller vehicle - but, man, it is nice. I thought my seven-year-old van was still in decent condition, but the Acadia puts it to shame! I've rarely ridden in such a smoothly riding vehicle. It's like buttah, baby.

I went back home after that to relax for an hour or so, before I drove to the school to pick up ChloĆ« for a big audition. Remember after she did the two movies in January and February, she said she didn't want to model or act anymore?? Well, I've been letting all kinds of opportunities pass by without doing anything, because I wasn't going to push her to do it if she wasn't into it.  So a week or two ago, she asked me when was going to start modeling and acting again! Um, hello?! She totally didn't even remember saying she wanted to stop. Rob and I just looked at each other and shook our heads...

So this audition came up, and it's a SAG job for a Colonial Williamsburg ad campaign. She'd just told me she wanted to start up again, so I submitted her for it, and they requested to see her yesterday (Tuesday).

I picked her up from school at lunchtime, and let her eat her food in the van Acadia on the way to Portsmouth, where the auditions were held. She has this one, majorly loose tooth hanging by a thread, sticking out the front of her face, and I was begging her to let me pluck it before she was seen! She refused to let me near it or try to pull it herself, so... in she went, looking like a jack-o'-lantern. Nice. Hopefully that won't be the thing that keeps her from getting the job!

She auditioned as a "family" with another little girl and a man and woman, acting as her parents. It was an improv audition, which is new to her, so she didn't have to remember her monologue. I couldn't go in with her, so I have no idea how it went, but when she came out, she just looked at me and smiled, saying, "FUN!!" Hope that's a good sign. Anyway, cross your fingers for her!

I took her back to school and, feeling completely miserable, finally crashed on the couch for a nap. Only, I didn't hear my alarm - or it didn't go off - and the next thing I knew, some kids from school were banging on my door. I woke up, immediately realized I was late for the bus, and ran to the door. The kids told me my kids weren't let off the bus, because I wasn't there. Crapola! Grabbed my shoes, my keys, my sunglasses,... and headed off to school to pick them up.

They were getting there just as I was. The busdriver hollered, "There she is!" and I rushed up to apologize and explain what happened. No one was concerned or upset, and the kids were happy-go-lucky, so it was okay. I certainly don't plan to make it a habit, though!

After we got home and the kids had a good snack, I had them start on their homework so it could be done before ChloĆ«'s soccer practice. Only, I completely forgot her soccer practice was changed from 6:00 to 5:00 starting yesterday, until my phone alarm beeped loudly at 5... telling me to be there at 6. I'd never changed it in the darn phone. Argh!! So we missed that, which annoyed the snot out of me, since I was irritated at Rob for missing Jack's Pack - or is it Den? And what is the difference? - Meeting last night.  Can't be mad at him, when I did the same thing!

The kitchen was in a shambles, and I will not cook in a messy kitchen, so Rob set to work cleaning it up as soon as he got home (something he'd meant to do on Monday before getting stuck at the Naval Hospital all day). I started dinner as soon as there was a clean spot for me to work: chicken thighs en papillote, yellow rice, and broccoli for dinner. "En papillote" simply means "in parchment," which for me actually means in aluminum foil. You make a sealed packet out of the foil and then add your food, which can be meat alone, or veggies alone, or both together, and probably other stuff to, but that's all I've ever done. I used to cook en papillote a great deal in our first year or two of marriage, before I got pregnant with the twins and had difficulty touching raw meats! You pretty much can't mess it up, and it has always tasted great.

Normally, when I cook the foil meals, I spray the foil with cooking spray, lay my cleaned-and-dried meats on the foil and salt-and-pepper both sides well. Then I'll put in a tbsp or two of olive oil to make sure everything gets moist and tender. If I'm doing veggies, I'll put those in there - but only raw, cut up veggies like onions, carrots and zukes; definitely don't use frozen or canned or they'll be mush! I wanted to use frozen broccoli to clear out some room in the freezer, so I just had the chicken thighs in foil this time. And instead of olive oil, I used some herbed butter (cilantro lime in one packet and wine something-or-other in the other) that I'd gotten for only 99Ā¢ at Harris Teeter, on special. It was experimental; I had no idea how it'd turn out, especially since I hadn't cooked a foil meal in years and years.

(I put the oven anywhere from 350Āŗ to 400Āŗ, depending on the meat, and let it cook for an hour or so, give or take. You literally can't ruin it, other than not cooking it long enough. You don't want to be opening the packets and checking on the meat to see if it's cooked, so give it plenty of time. Opening the packets ruins the effect.) (And that's pretty much the only cooking lesson you'll ever get from me!) ;)


So here's how it turned out. I always take all the skin off, and yet it remains tender and juicy, moist and flavorful. SO GOOD.

I told the kids they had to eat all the chicken I gave them, which was not much, in order to get dessert. Little did I know, this would not be a challenge, since it tasted so great! My mood was instantly lifted when Jack told me, "I love this chicken, Mom. It's delicious!"

Score!!! It doesn't get much better than that. So you can bet I'll be cooking en papillote a lot more after this.

We folded and put away four loads of laundry after the kids had their well-earned desserts, and then we sent them to bed. I'd planned to knit, but again I didn't feel well enough to even hold up the needles, so I crashed. Ahhhh....

Only, it was a horrible sleep. I woke up half a dozen times, coughing, snot-nosed, and feeling like my body had been used for a punching bag. By the time 0600 rolled around, I could barely breathe. Since Stephanie told me that she potentially had the swine flu and we'd all been exposed on Sunday, I debated about ten minutes before finally calling in to work and letting them know I was sick, felt awful, and had been exposed. That raised alarm bells, and now I can't go back to work until I get a doctor's note of release.

Flippin' sweet! I'm off now, to call and make that appointment...

Hope you're all feeling better than I am! Except you, Steph - I know you're not!


P.S. If you try a foil meal for the first time after reading this, let me know how it turns out!

P.P.S. I didn't do a "Menu Plan Monday" this week because I don't know what-all we have now that I bought so many "real" groceries instead of just Schwan's. Hopefully I'll get that back on track before next week. :)

Six Hours Later...

...which is much nicer than my alternate title of "Clusterf**k," which would describe what is going on in my brain right now!

To explain the latter, I have once again run out of my Side-Effexor and missed last night's dose. {It's not my fault. I called the refill in on time. Rob was supposed to pick it up after work Friday (it's called into the base clinic where he works), but didn't. Didn't pick it up Saturday. Or Sunday. Or today. But who's pointing fingers?} He has since gone to the Naval hospital and gotten an emergency fill for me, but in the meantiime, here's some fun stuff I'm experiencing, since you asked:

  • Weepiness over the most ridiculous things, like watching Dancing With the Stars  and doing my final Cookie reports (I incorrectly submitted the incentive order form, not knowing ... eh, blah blah blah, but ChloĆ« will miss out on a $10 Cookie Credit for camp this summer unless they can go in and fix it for me, which made me sob!)
  • Lips are numb, so nice

  • Being completely dizzy and off-balance, and getting those fun shocks whenever I move

Anyway. Not to worry, I'm not depressed or anything, despite the weird crying jags all evening. And I've taken one, so I'll be back on track for tomorrow.

But it all means today was far less fun and productive than it could have and should have been, both for me and the kids, who are on Spring Break!

Here's what we did do:


What you can't really see very well is that this kid is completely caked with mud, including her clothes. I had her pick out this farm girl outfit, put the pigs in her hair, and sent her outside to get as dirty as possible! Then I took pictures of the very uncomfortable little girl, who likes getting dirty as much as her mother and who had the sun in her eyes at every angle.

This was requested by the casting director for the new SAG short film for which she had an audition tonight, but we'll get to that later. Immediately after, I sent her upstairs to shower and change into a much nicer outfit! So I don't know how much the pictures did the job they were supposed to do, but whatev. She still looks kinda cute, squinty eyes and all, right?


Scrapbooking. I started doing it yesterday, and continued off and on throughout today. My knitting mojo has all but evaporated for the time being, which is fine because I planned to start scrapping again as soon as the cookie sale ended and I had my craft space back again!  I need to at least finish my 2008 and Europe scrapbooks before I move onto my next craft project, which is doing all the sewing I planned to do last summer. Kinda sucks, because I thought I was much farther along into the 2008 book than I really was... oh, well. I'm enjoying reliving "the moments of our lives," and especially looking at the pictures of Sophia with hair and teeth! Man, I miss those chompers. :(

{And speaking of teeth, ChloĆ« is 7Ā½ and has still only lost two teeth: the bottom front ones. So if that's any indication, Sophia will be without her top front teeth for... four years? Five??! Boohoo!} {Oh, don't start the waterworks again, Self...}


The mailman rang the bell and made me sign for a package, so I had to stand there in all my unshowered and scuzzy glory. Hated that, but loved what I found inside: my "Pay It Forward" package from my friend Swapna in India!  It's fresh wool, which is especially fun since I'm on a very restricted yarn diet and can't purchase any new yarn for this entire year! And the way I'm going, according to my husband, maybe 2010, too! Anyway, thank you, Swapna, and for those of you who are on my Pay it Forward list, please let me know what you would like! I'm still not sure what any of ya want! Thanks.

So finally, Rob came home and whisked the Curly Girl off to her audition, at 1600. I'd have taken her, but I was unfit to drive. They did not return until SIX HOURS LATER, at 2200! Oh, my word, it was ridiculous. Apparently, it was supposed to be a closed, hush-hush casting call, but someone leaked the word out and it turned into a major cattle call. The casting director himself called me and asked for Chloƫ, so we were on the legit list, but it still resulted in a ridiculously long wait for everyone. Rob found the CD (Casting Director) and asked what was up, and when he heard Chloƫ's name, he lit up with recognition and was thrilled that she was there. So that's a good sign, right?

In their absence, Sophia finally wore down and looked tired, so with relief I sent her up for a nap. Relief because I needed one myself, and Jack was already having one himself. I only slept for about a half-hour, but it was just what I needed to feel a bit more refreshed and capable.

The kiddos watched me scrap, and we watched telly together. Sophia sometimes danced with the afore-mentioned Stars, but mostly she and Jack cuddled on my lap and fought over who had more of their surface area touching mine! At one point, Jack shouted at his sister, "Hey! I'm not getting enough Mommy Love!" Aww! Tears again, on my part.

They had a little dinner of toast and blueberry preserves, and we all had sugar-free popsicles for dessert. (Seriously, they're not bad!) I was just getting ready to go upstairs and shower with them when Curly Sue and her dad returned at last. So I added her to the mix while he went out for my meds, and let me tell you, one Fat Mama and three small-but-growing children makes for a crowded shower. We managed, though, and when they were all washed and I'd kicked them out of the stall, I turned the water on straight cold. I needed a blast of "feels like the waterpark," I guess! It was shocking to my system, but it felt great and really woke me up. Love it!

Anyway, I'm starting to step into the realm of Too Much Detail, so I guess I'll make like a tree and leave!


When It Rains, It Pours

Phew. I am feeling wiped. It's been a busy day. Ish.

I don't know what I did, but somehow my alarm clock was set an hour ahead, so when I woke up at "8 AM," I thought, "Oh, well, the kids aren't feeling well anyway," and went back to sleep. My alarm went off shortly after, and I checked my cell phone: 7:25 AM. Still time to get 'em up and on the bus! So we raced through the readying process and got them out the door. No one complained about not feeling well or had a fever, so I sent them.

It was the last day before Spring Break for three+ weeks, so I figured it'd be good for them to go and take care of whatever loose ends needed to be wrapped up.

Sophie was still asleep, so I went back to bed until 10 AM.  Then Jack's teacher, Special Ed teacher, and the Vice Principal called me for our scheduled parent-teacher conference. I asked for one over the phone, since I seem to find myself without a vehicle these days.

There was talk about what a bright boy he is, and what high-level thinking and ideas he exhibits, but that he is not motivated to apply his knowledge. He works better for Special Ed than for his regular teacher, and it's thought to be because of the distractions of the other students. He's needing extra help with his reading and with his math, and we're thinking about giving him more time in Special Ed. Also, they think he might need glasses, so we'll get him an exam over the break. But mainly, they wanted to let me know he may be a candidate for retention if he doesn't improve over the next nine weeks. I knew that and have had that on my mind, so it didn't come as a shock. Now comes the big push, which he won't like, but if he's meant to be in first grade, I want him to prove it now!

I was going to go back to sleep again, but Sophia woke up right after that. I fixed her breakfast and then we went upstairs to work on the laundry. I haven't been touching it, and there was dirty laundry spread over every square inch of the upstairs except, thank heavens, our bedroom. So she and I separated it into piles, and I put a load in. We made Mommy's bed, and then waited for Jack's bus.

He was pissed when I asked him to come upstairs with me! Why, I don't know, he's just that way! I had them sit and play on my bed while I took a shower. Good thing I'm used to cold, quick showers, because that's all I was going to get while the washer was running! Whenever it's a little cooler than I would have liked, I just pretend I'm swimming and that makes it seem all right.

Oh, several of you have asked about Blue. I haven't seen hide nor hair of her since her arrival. Everyone keeps asking if she could have gotten outside somehow, but she'd have to come downstairs to do that. She's hiding. Tinkerbell seems to know where, but she's not giving her up, so we'll just wait her out.

While we were downstairs for lunch, the local casting director who selected Chloƫ for "Boom" called. Seems they want her for an audition this coming Monday evening in Suffolk. It films locally, which is a relief after all the driving around Virginia we've been doing lately! It's another SAG short film, which is great, and even better, this one pays! So, we'll be there.

I put in the movie Bolt for the kids then, which I'd gotten as a free rental from Redbox last night. (I also got Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which didn't work, and Twilight, which I just couldn't get interested to watch. I'm just not into it like so many others, I guess. Not my style.) Bolt was cute - what I saw of it. Sophie and I were curled up on the couch together (it's so nice now that we both can fit!), and I fell asleep in the middle.

When it was over, I wanted to go outside and play. I realized Chloƫ's bus would be coming along shortly, so we wandered down to the corner to wait for her. Again, she kept her head down and didn't realize we were there until we called her name several times. Again, she was delighted to see us. We'll have to make it part of our routine again.

Once everyone had had a snack, we put the dog on her leash and headed back outside. We didn't have any particular aim, so I let the kids lead the way. They wanted to walk around the small pond again. Fine, small pond it is. It was much warmer today than it was Tuesday, though there was a very slight drizzle, if you could even call it that. We got hit with maybe one drop every five minutes. We got most of the way around the small pond when Chloƫ spotted a school friend on a side street. So we took a detour, interrupted their game of catch with their dad, and let everyone pet the dog. Smiles all around.

At the end of the street, we were going to turn toward home, but I was feeling good. "Anyone want to walk around the big pond?" They did. As soon as we got over there and spotted the playground, though, we changed directions again. The dog and I sat at the entrance while the kids ran around and had a good time. There were tweeners on the playground, which is supposed to be for kids up to age 12 only, and they were roughhousing and misbehaving. I'd have walked over to the office to report them, except, uh, I had a dog inside the gate with me. No pets allowed. So I wasn't going to be a hypocrite! Lily behaved, though. She just sat there and waited. She didn't poop or pee during our entire walk.

When we set off again, we planned to go 'round the big pond, but suddenly the rain started falling more earnestly. We giggled and danced our way home between drops, and the girls had to change their soaking wet, muddy clothes. Jack stayed pretty clean and dry.

And then, I got another phone call, this time from the agent in NYC. Could Chloƫ be there the following day for an audition for H&M Kids? Hm, well, I don't know. I spent the better part of the next two hours making arrangements for childcare for the Littles, finding us last-minute cheap tickets, and getting transport to the airport. It all worked out, finally, so I called MMG back and let them know we'd be there tomorrow. As we speak, Chloƫ is picking out her audition outfit.

Schwan's came, and I had a list ready for them. Good thing, because Rob took one of their frozen pizzas and stuck it right in the oven for dinner. After they ate, Chloƫ and I returned the three Redbox movies, and that's been it for the day.

I think I'll crash early. Tomorrow's a busy day, and I want to feel rested and well.


Old Man Winter

Whew! What a freezing, cold, blowing, raining, blustering, snowing day!

We had to get up at 0430 this morning, in order to meet Chloƫ's 0900 call time in Charlottesville. (I later got yelled at by both Jack and Sophia, who told me I'm not allowed to wake them up in the night anymore, and that they're supposed to get up in the daytime, when the sun is out. Poor babies.)

None of the kids slept on the way up there, to my knowledge. I did, though. I'm sick - again!!! - with a sore, swollen throat and all the rest of it, and I eventually had Rob take over the driving duties so I could nap.

When I woke up, we were NW of Richmond, and outside was a Winter Wonderland! There was so much snow, more than the kids have ever seen in their lives. More than I've seen in a long time. It was beautiful! The streets were cleared, but there was a white dusting on every other surface, out in the country. I wanted to stop and take pictures, but we didn't have the time. And I never did get pictures of outside, dammit. I should have done so during the shoot.

We arrived at the designated cabin exactly on time. Today's shoot was for ChloĆ«'s role as Lucy in the student film An Origin by Christopher Strider. We first met with him in December, at Richmond coffee shop, so she's been practicing her script for a long time now.

We ended up waiting about two hours before it was time for her to go down to the site. In that time, the monkeys were all over everything, and it wasn't hard to understand why: the cabin, which belongs to Chris's grandparents, was very old and filled with interesting artifacts of time gone by. A simpler time. They also rehearsed the scene a few times, and I think they were impressed with how well she knew her lines (and there were a lot of them).  And I took a few pictures of the inside of the small cabin:


Sophia laughing with Mark, who played opposite Chloƫ in the movie


The right side of the living room, and part of the kitchen in back


Rob standing on the left side of the cabin, in front of the bathroom door. Yes, there was indoor plumbing, thankfully!


Chloƫ getting ready for the first read-through of her scene


Chloƫ in costume, fresh out of an argument with Sophia over where to sit on the couch. Hey, at least it was important.


Sophia coloring and writing with Anne, a production assistant

Rob was going to stay back with the Littles while I went down to the shoot with Chloƫ, but two steps into the snow with my piggy toes hanging out of my sandals (I live in them, year-round), and I said, "Nope, I'm not doing this!" I ran in and switched places with Daddy, disappointed that again I wouldn't see her doing her thang.

We were alone in the cabin then, just me and the Nons, who were begging for food. I found them something to eat, and then declared it time for a nap. They were definitely tired, having gotten up super early, so I thought it would be easy. At first they cuddled up with me on the cot, then they both insisted on sleeping under the large coffee table. And they did drift off eventually... until my phone rang and my dad wanted to chit-chat! Argh!

Then Anne came in to set up for lunch, and that was the end of that non-napping session.

Everyone came in then, and took their turns making sandwiches for lunch. Anne was actually very much on top of things, and she insisted the kids be fed first AND pretty much made their lunches. So I sat and helped the littles with their food, and then Rob brought me a teensy portion of hummus and cheddar cheese. People kind of wanted to know why I wasn't eating, so I just said I'd had stomach surgery and couldn't really eat much.

After lunch, everyone left again to finish the shoot, and to their great disappointment, I put the Littles back down for naps. This time, Jack slept on the cot with me, and Sophie lay on the other couch. She zonked right out and was snoring away, but Jack tossed and turned the whole hour or so. He never really slept at all. I knew he would be sound asleep in the car on the way home.

When everyone returned, Chloƫ was frozen to the core and ran into my arms, crying and telling me she never wanted to do an acting job like that again! Meaning, in the cold and snow. My poor girl! Chris said she did a really great job, and Mark told me he wished he was that good at her age! She only cried for a moment, and then she was cheerful and chipper again, saying she'd had fun and was proud of herself.

We said goodbye to Chris, Anne, Mark, the other guy whose name I never learned, and Chris's mom. I tried to back out of the curvy driveway, with Chris's help, but I couldn't do it without taking out half the woods! So Rob and I switched places, and he did the deed. We got a little bit lost on the way out of the country, but we quickly found our way. We stopped at a Taco Bell for a quick snack, and then I took over the driving.

Man, I don't know what is up with me and driving long distances anymore. I used to be able to drive forever with no problems, but lately it just makes me drowsy. Add to that the furiously falling snow, and it was like I was having seizures. And I got a migraine. So Rob ended up driving all the rest of the way home, which took us about five hours.

Part of that time was waiting at a gas station in Williamsburg for a jumpstart, when Vanna's battery died. We really need to get a new one. A very nice man, on his way home from church, said he'd go get his other car with the cables in it and give us a boost. He returned, just like he said he would, and soon we were on our way. Phew. That could have been a disaster; everyone was so cold!

And Jack did sleep in the car, for a very long time, by the way.

Rob stopped at McD's for dinner for them (not me, wah), and finally we were home, a good 16 hours after leaving. The kids were so relieved, but not nearly as much as the dog was!

I settled in to watch "Celebrity Apprentice." Are you watching this? I can't stop staring at Joan Rivers. It just seems like her face must hurt, you know? I wasn't at all surprised by the outcome, were you?

All right, off to bed. I'm wiped.



Here is the first of Chloƫ's three commercials for NOVEC. Check her out! What do you think?

I weighed in this morning. In the month since surgery, I have lost 29 lbs, for a total of 40 lbs since Jan 1!!!  I am very close (1 lb) to meeting my first goal, so I was thrilled to see the scale this morning!

We had a booth sale this evening. Oy. For half an hour, Chloƫ and I were by ourselves! The other girl's mother forgot about the booth. Never mind that I called her 2-3x this week... So I called our Leader and asked her to come out with her daughter. And she did - at the same time the first girl showed up! So we had three kids, eventually.

But only for an hour or so. Chloƫ was coughing nonstop, despite the cough medicine I'd given her before we left. And then suddenly she was burning up. I didn't have my purse or anything to buy her some Tylenol, so I called Rob to take her home - and bring me my card, so I could buy more meds for her.

Our Leader brought me home and kept all the booth stuff for tomorrow morning, which I got out of for a change. I just had to swipe out all the cash and run the starting inventory numbers for her. Whoops, not enough Samoas and Thin Mints, and I was out of them in the house, too.

Chloƫ was resting, listless on the couch when I came home. I gave her some Mucinex, and Rob gave her the Tylenol. I can't remember if it was before or after that when she started throwing up. Poor kid. She doesn't just get sick. She gets siiiiiick.

I managed to get an appointment with the Cookie Cupboard to pick up Samoas and Thin Mints, so I rushed out at 2130 to pick them up. Late, I know, but we need them for the morning. Guess I'll be getting up for the booth after all...

So now I'm hoping Chloƫ will be feeling much, much better tomorrow, because she has an evening booth and then filming on Sunday. Eep.

Enjoy the video!


The Longest Day

Whew. I am bushed.

Our day started at 0530, which is crazy early for me. The last time I woke up that early (on purpose) was... okay, well, it was one month ago today for my surgery! I'm a month out! I didn't get to weigh in this morning, because we had to run, so I'll do it tomorrow.

Anyhoo, I first woke up Chloƫ, so I could get her in the shower with me in order to floof up her curls. Jack woke up in the process and dressed himself, thinking he was going to school. He was on autopilot. Teehee, it was cute.

We woke Sophia last; she's so adorable when she's just been awakened from a sound sleep.  Rumpled hair, squinty eyes... too cute.

After I showered and dressed and ascertained that all the children were dressed and ready to go, I ran downstairs to get them shod and coated. Then I made them each a bag of "breakfast blend": a mixture of Cap'n Crunch, Rice Chex, and Golden Grahams, along with a sprinkle of chocolate chips. No, I don't normally give them chocolate for breakfast, but I was feeling generous.

And off we went, for the two-hour drive north to Aylett, VA. I had to get gas first, and somehow managed to fill up for under $30. Sweet! I'd forgotten my debit card at home, though. Oopsie.

Nobody slept in the car, unforch. I had hoped they would, so no one would be a crankypants at the shoot, but no one was. I didn't know it at the time, but Chloƫ read 30-something pages of her Beezus and Ramona book on the drive up; I'd thought she was just being grumpy! I didn't realize it was because she was busy, Mooom.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rob was having the beginning of an absolutely miserable day. He was supposed to do his 2-day motorcycle course, starting this morning, on the Navy base... but the bike wouldn't start. Hindsight is 20/20 - we should've started it before I left, but he was able to start it last night with no problem and assumed it would be the same today. Nope. I was already on 1-64 West when he called, and I asked him what he wanted me to do. What to do, what to do? Turn around and give him a boost? And be late for our call time in Aylett? Or keep going and be on time for the shoot?

In the end, he told me to keep going. I've regretted it ever since. I should have turned around. I could have pretended I got lost or something.

So he never made it in. Oh, he got the bike started eventually, but he only drove down the road a short piece before it died again, and wouldn't restart at all. It was gone. Damn thing! So he walked back home, leaving the 'cycle where it was all day, and fretted. His work wasn't happy. He couldn't get in. I'm flabbergasted that no one could take off for the 20-minute drive to come and get him?? I could have picked him up on my return. He contemplated renting a car, but I vetoed that idea for financial reasons. So he spent the day at home.

I'd have bitched about the kitchen still being a disaster when I got home, but then, he could bitch about the same thing in every other area of the house, and there would go that argument! And so I didn't.


Back to the NOVEC shoot. Our call time was 0830, and we got there ten minutes early. The director, Eric, pulled up at the same time as us, and he opened the back door to find Sophia absolutely covered in chocolate on her hands and face. I was mortified! Haha! He said, "Oh, my, you have been eating something good, haven't you?!" He was amused when he found out her name, as it's the same as his own daughter's.

I apologized for having the Littles with me, saying I couldn't get a sitter, and then let Chloƫ out to meet him. She ran up and gave him a great, big hug, and he was smitten with her! She has always been a man's child. She loves men. And they love her. Yes, I'm worried about ten years from now - heck, seven!

I spit-shined Sophia's hands and face, and then we and the suitcase went inside to stand around and look stupid. The shoot was at a model home in a new development, and so I was on the Littles like white on rice to keep them from touching a single solitary thing. And there were lots of knick-knacks and decorations, so I was kind of antsy! Plus it was my first time on a real, professional shoot, so I was nervous about my own comportment. Eric eased the way, though; he had called me the other day to let me know what to expect and to assure me that they were a fun group. And they were.

We met Terri, who played Chloƫ's mom in two of the commercials (there were three; Chloƫ and Mom were in the first one, all three with Dad in the second, and Chloƫ and Dad in the third!). When Terri finished hair and make-up, Chloƫ went in. She looked gawjus, dahlink. Just adorable. I'm saying this from a completely objective, unbiased, non-bragging point of view: that is one good-looking kid! (Are we sure she's ours?)

Anyway. The crew was setting up for the shoot upstairs, so Eric offered us breakfast in the kitchen. The Littles were all over that, although they'd demolished their "breakfast blend" in the car. They ate bagels, muffins, and granola, and drank half the bottle of prop OJ from the stocked fridge for the third spot! He said it was okay for them to have anything from the fridge, as long as we didn't empty it. I didn't allow them anything else.

Gosh, I'm totally rambling. This is going to be one long post. Sorry. And I forgot my camera, so the few measly pictures I have are on my cell, and I don't feel like dealing with that at the moment. And none of the Supah Stah! Jeepers, Melanie.

Then the NOVEC Client appeared and introduced herself to us. She was fancy and business-like, but also nice and pleasant, and I liked her. At the same time, Terri asked if Jack and Sophie were twins, and I said no and told her their ages and all that. Then Sophie piped up for everyone who was downstairs at the time to hear, "And Robby is in heaven because he died!" Oy. I hate it when they bust that out in front of just anybody! Eric said, "Who?" And I gave a wry smile and said, "Our son, my son." He and the Client and I don't know who else gave me that look and said they were sorry. Sigh.

So finally it was time for the first shoot. The Littles and I were banished from the house, so their noise wouldn't carry upstairs into the filming. We played in the backyard for at least an hour and a half, and I was so mad at myself for forgetting to take our coats outside! Brr. It was nippy. They played so hard that it didn't really affect them, but mostly I sat in the lawn and watched them and was cold. There were a ton of leaves in the yard, and they had fun with that.

Oh, the yard. It was wonderful. They had a grand time playing out there. It was a good-sized yard, with surrounding woods, and a deck under which they could play in the leaves and dirt. Really, the Nons had a ball, and Jack kept asking if we could move there. He even said, "Daddy can come to visit us here!"  Hahaha. He wanted to know if we could move all their toys and things to the house, since nobody else lived there. And that was mostly because of the fun they had being outdoors all day in the spacious yard. Breathing fresh air. Playing in the dirt. Scuffling in the leaves. Even getting pricked by the thorny vine he kept calling a "cactus plant." It absolutely breaks my heart. (What little yard we have, and I mean it's minuscule, is the dog's potty. And we don't scoop back there, ever. So no romping.)

Whenever I get my van back - and I hope it's next week - I vow to take them to the park every day!!

And definitely, our next house will have a yard. It's a must.

Finally, Terri the Mom came out to get us and let us know we could come back in and get Chloƫ changed out of her PJs (by the way, remind me not to get things together at the last minute like that again; the pink jammies we brought had yellow paint all over them! Embarrassing! But we had a back-up set) and into summertime clothes for the next ad.

I coudn't whittle down all the cute choices of Gymboree tanks and shorts, so I brought a whole mess o' summer clothes. They had a hard time picking, too! We finally settled on something, and then selected her winter outfit and outerwear for her quick change operation, for the second half of the shoot. She went back into hair and make-up to have her locks recoiffed, and then we were banished again.

By the by, we brought ten stuffed animals, a framed photo, and my cell, iPod and Palm for the first shoot. They didn't need any of them. Eric said, "I couldn't remember whether I'd asked you to bring them." Urgh. Uh, yeah, you did. But that's okay, I'd rather have it and not need it than the reverse.

This time, I took the Tots out to the van, because they were shooting downstairs now, and I wasn't sure if they'd hear us out in the yard. I was constantly having to remind the kids not to shout or stomp the first time, and I didn't want to get yelled at! So I let them loose in the back of the car while I knitted in the front seat.  They got back into their cereal and rice cakes, and now I have smashed Crunch all over my vehicle. Glorious.

I made it all the way up to the last 20 or so minutes, when I started stockinette-stitching myself into a coma. So I made the kids buckle into their seats, lest they get out and get hurt, and I put my seat back down. Jack fell asleep before I did! I don't know if Sophia ever slept, but by the time I dozed, it was only a few minutes before Eric was knocking on the window. When he woke me up, my right hand was tucked into my pants! Heehee. Again, embarrassing! He gestured and said, "Uh, sorry about that!" and I don't know if he meant waking me up or catching me that way!

It was lunchtime at last. We trooped into the house, where ChloĆ« was already dining on chips, cheese, and cherry tomatoes. She goes for the alliterative meals, I guess.  I tried getting veggies and dip for the Bitties. Nope, not having it. Sandwich? Nope. What, then? Jack wanted some prop yogurt, but I put my foot down. In the end, Sophie agreed to some cheese, and Jack wanted some ham (ew). I made a turkey and cheese sandwich to share with Sophie, and pulled some extra ham on the plate for Jack.

We joined most of the crew out, and the grown-up actors, out on the deck for lunch. Sophie refused her sandwich and immediately, to my chagrin, started going up to each person and pointing to their plates, saying, "Can I have that? Can I have a bite?"  She's such a little piggy! I was so mortified, and kept calling her name to chastise her, but they were all enamored of her and shared their food! Aagh! Don't encourage her, people! She scored some celery and dip, some chips, some carrots, and Lord knows what else.  She did attempt to share some of the food she'd scored with other folks, which made them laugh.

And I made a mistake: I took two bites of the sandwich, bread and all. Oh, it was a yummy-looking (and tasting) onion roll, and I just couldn't resist. Well, two bites was all it took. I thought I was going to start puking right there on the deck, in front of all those people! I learned my lesson on that, for sure. I waited a few moments and then continued eating the cheese and turkey and was fine. But I will mourn bread.

After being given a chocolate chip cookie each, I washed the kids up and then it was time to get ready for some more filming. I sent the little ones out to the backyard to play (I watched them from the back door the whole time, and there was absolutely NO traffic except for our own group anyway) while I stayed in and watched the goings-on. First, they filmed Chloƫ's hand up close for the second ad, changing the thermostat. Amazing how long that little bit of acting took! How many shots, how much set-up and adjusting and discussion. Very interesting.

Then she went back into wardrobe and hair and make-up for the final ad. Terri the Mom left, as she was finished, and the extremely nice NOVEC Client took her leave as well, thanking me for Chloƫ. Eric had told me previously that she'd beaten out a lot of other kids for the commercial and had had to get the approval of a lot of people before being chosen. Proud Mama!

I was able to watch half the filming of the second ad, through two of Chloƫ's three wardrob and hair changes. At one point, she was supposed to pick up the jar of pickles and express her disgust. Well, she's such a ham; between takes, she kept going on about how she hated pickles, they were disgusting, etc. They told her, that's okay, you don't really need to eat them. She replied, "Oh, no, I really do like pickles. I was just acting!" OMG. They roared, and I was rolling. Hilarious!!!!

The Littles insisted on coming in at that point, so I let them stay for exactly ten seconds before Eric gave the "I need quiet on the set!" and I rushed them back out to the yard. I'd been assured that they couldn't hear us playing out there, so we stayed. By then it was beautiful out, so no need for coats.

We ran around, playing, and I lay on the ground and let them bury me in leaves. I got several in my mouth, blech. We were still rolling around on the lawn when Eric came out and said they were finished with her. He told me what a great job ChloĆ« had done, that she's gotten a little tired at the end but did fantastic for such a long day of shooting. (She'd been up since 0530, and it was 1530 by then!) Most kids would have had a meltdown by then, in his experience.

I asked him about the commercials, since it's for a non-local-to-us power company. They're going to edit them tomorrow and email them to me sometime next week! And I can share with you and anyone I want, as long as I don't charge for the privilege. (Rats!) He and the hair lady helped me with our bags and stuff, and she fetched a string cheese and cookies for each of the kids.

And finally, at last, we were on our way home again. Rah.

We were maybe, possibly, a mile down the road before I looked in my rearview and saw three floppy heads in the backseat. Sound, sound asleep. As soon as I heard "I Kissed a Girl" come on the radio, though, I knew I had a problem. Sure enough, Sophie popped out of her deep sleep and said, "MOMMY! Is that Katy Perry?" She has a bit of an obsession with her. Heh. She didn't go back to sleep for the rest of the trip!

Jack and Chloƫ snored for quite a while, and then finally Curly woke up and started reading B&R again. She always loves to tell me what page she's on, what chapter, and what the action is. I love that she is so thrilled with books. "Mommy! In Chapter Four, Beatrice turns TEN! That means she was NINE for the first three chapters!"

We got to around Williamsburg with no problems, and then the late-afternoon sunlight striping the road started to affect my eyeballs. It makes me sleepy, and I had touch-and-goes all the way home from there. We ran into several accidents that delayed our arrival by at least 20 minutes - not bad, but I was dying to be home and crash. And not crash, myself. But we made it.

The rest of the night was pretty standard, with a little play, a little Noggin, dinner, baths, etc. Nothing exciting.

So if you made it all the way through this novella, bravo to you! It was a fun, fun day, and I'm so glad she enjoyed it and did so well. Next up: her movie shoot on Sunday!



My children woke up before the alarm went off this morning. All three of them were up by 0630. What the?! Have they met me? Do they hate me? Eh, it was just as well; I couldn't sleep, either.

I ended up watching Nights in Rodanthe last night, but not knitting. It was good. I cried when it was over, in Rob's arms. "Cried" being an understatement. But I don't want to tell you why, because it would obviously spoil the whole thing. I just love Richard Gere. I like crow's feet on a man. Fortunately, Rob has plenty. Tee-hee.

I would have knit, but my knitting bag was by the front door, and I didn't realize that until I was already comfortably settled and bundled up on the couch. Seeing as I am considerably lazy, I didn't want to get up again to get it.  For once, I just sat and watched the boob tube without doing a second thing. I never do that. It was kind of cozy.

As cozy as it can get when it's absolutely freezing, anyway. I could not get warm. It was about 19Āŗ, and our house is no different than any other location: warm air rises; cold air sinks. We have a sunken living room, and it is umpteen degrees chillier down there than in the office, which by turn is cooler than our bedroom.  So I opted to pull myself up off the couch, post-movie, and go to bed. I didn't realize why Rob chose to stay downstairs on the couch until I went to our room and discovered half the contents of his closet spread all over his side of the bed!!

I slept fitfully until the wee ones woke up in the wee hours.

We all headed downstairs and had breakfast. I opted for a too-carb-heavy bowl of hot oatmeal with Splenda and cinnamon, but I didn't "dump." The Bigs were packed off and sent on their way, and then Sophia and I settled down on the couch for a snug and a book. We read and then turned on PBS Kids for some Curious George and Sid the Science Kid (ugh). Before I knew it, she was dozing. I thought about it for two seconds before deciding to join my baby in slumber. Ahh. Sweetness.

It didn't last long at all, but it was a nice little snoozy.  Then we played with the stuff from the Prize bucket and read more of the books. I don't really care for that "When Sophie Gets Angry" title. It seems to condone having a screaming, stomping temper tantrum and then tell the kid to run far, far away to calm down. Huh? I'm going to let my small child run loose in the woods?  Whatever. The pictures are nice, though.

Jack came home, and they had lunch. I tried to put them down for naps, and they went. But after a time, it became evident that naps were not going to happen today. I found them both up in the top bunk, climbing all over each other like puppies, giggling away. I just stood there in the doorway until they noticed me. Finally, the reaction I expected: two little blonde deer caught in the headlights. Hehe.

I set Jackie to the task of cleaning his room (to his major dismay; he hates doing anything by himself) and hauled Sophia into my room so I could shower. Then I began the arduous task of tackling the Laundry Monster. Rob had taken over the job of washing the clothes, but today I decided to take it back.  I have a feeling our water bill will go back down, too - IMO, he doesn't wash a full load. Bet me. We'll see.

So I spent several hours (yes!) folding laundry and washing and drying more, waiting for Curly Girl to get home from school and Rob to get home from work. Turns out, though, that he had a meeting and couldn't come home. Argh. So we missed dance class, which makes me peevish, as much as we pay for those lessons.

Finally, it seemed, the Littles needed - no, wanted - their rest. So I put them in their rooms, and both of them were instantly out like a light. Whew! ChloĆ« and I went downstairs to keep things quiet and start her homework.  I cleaned up a little in the office while helping her with her math.

Usually, my frustration with her doing her math homework escalates, and at least one of us ends up in tears. It is just not a good situation. Today, I insisted to myself on remaining calm, and showing her new ways to tackle the problems she kept getting wrong.  She, in turn, also remained calm, and pleasant, and actually seemed to understand what I was showing her. Then she completed the rest of the paper and got all the problems correct! Obviously, calmness is a better teaching tactic than, well, anything else, but I actually enjoyed helping her today. I just need to practice yoga before homework time...

Then came Jack. His homework was to practice writing the numbers 0-25 in his notebook. I told him I was going to give him his notebook and then send him into the kitchen to try doing it on  his own. I just wanted to see how well he could do without me. Well, he cried and carried on about having to do it by himself, and I considered sending him back upstairs for more nap! Seriously, he needs his hand held all the time. But I prevailed, and into the kitchen he went.

He wrote beautiful numbers up through "13" and then got stuck. But we figured it out, and he was grateful for the help. I was surprised, since he's done so well with his numbers in the past and counts to 100 on a regular basis.  No more resting on our laurels, though; we shall practice and practice on our own. This is going to be a hardworking, long summer for them, I can see!


So Rob finally came home, and I sent him out to get me some steamed shrimp. I was craving meat. I'm always wanting meat. I'd had enough of shakes, cheese, hummus, yogurt, etc. I wanted FLESH. Gawd, that sounds horrific. Ew. But he came home with a ring of frozen shrimp, and I wanted to cry.  I was hungry NOW.

I had another shake while he thawed the shrimp, and I worked on more laundry. Then Chloƫ and I got to work packing everything for her commercial tomorrow. We had to bring a load of stuffed animals, a family picture (I chose one of her and her grandmother, since obviously one with her parents wouldn't match the actors in the commercial), and other knickknacks from her room. We didn't really find any, though, so they'll have to deal with that. Then the clothes. We chose two sets of cute jammies for the bedtime spot. Three jeans-and-shirts outfits for the refrigerator spot (I hope I'll be able to see these and show them to you somehow, at some point). Tons and tons of tank tops and shorts, along with winter outerwear, for the thermostat spot.

Jack and Sophia were SO confused. Here I was, packing all kinds of clothes - and jammies! which means overnight! - for ChloĆ«, but nothing for them in the suitcase. And she brought books and toys and ... what about them? Where were we going? Where were they going to be? What about Daddy? What on earth is going on here??!  I kept answering the same questions over and over, but I still don't think they get it. Poor kids.  Hopefully it'll make sense for them tomorrow.

Our last task is to bring rechargeable devices that blink in the dark, for the bedroom spot. But I can't think of anything that blinks! My iPod doesn't, nor does my cell phone. My Palm screen flashes on, so I'll offer that, but does anyone else have any further suggestions? I mean, we have plenty of things that plug in, but not that flash in the dark. None that I want to lug two hours north, anyway...! 

So I'm going to go walk on the treadmill. I never did last night.  If you think of anything, please comment tonight!


On The Real

I'm going to try and make this a quickie, because Shana wants to go to bed, so I need to get out of her hair.

Our visit is going well. I'm glad she came, though it's so short: she'll be leaving tomorrow afternoon already. Sophia (well, all of them) keeps forgetting her name, so she calls her "The Lady." Which cracks my ass up!!  "The Lady said I could have more goldfish crackers." "I want The Lady to feed me my dessert," etc. Too funny.

Shana gave them some Tic-Tacs yesterday, and Chloƫ asked us to let her breathe in our faces afterward. "I want to freshen your nose!" So we keep saying that.

Also, she renamed Shana "Cicada Pomegranate"!

Jack just likes it when Shana performs the "Tickletastic" on him. The boy loves a good tickle!

When we were driving today, Sophia said, "Jackie, Jesus!" Shana said, "Sophia! That's not a nice thing to say," or something to that effect. Sophie returned, "But I LOVE Chuck E. Cheese's!" We totally misheard her. It was hilarious.

At Toys 'R Us, Sophia and I happened upon a man sword-fighting with a little girl, using a giant plastic crayon bank. Sophie stopped, hands on hips, and demanded to know what they were doing. The man replied, "Sword fighting! Haven't you ever done that before? Grab a crayon!" She said "okay" and started sword fighting with the man! It was hysterical; I so wish I'd had my camera with me. Then she insisted I get a crayon, too, so we were all sword fighting together. It was so fun!

While Chloƫ and I were at dance class, Shana cleaned the kitchen and made dinner (she's a keeper!). There was pasta, sauce, and mixed veggies. Oh, and mandarin oranges. But she called it "worm stew." The kids kept laughing and talking about eating worm stew all through dinner. Jack ate all his worms!


So, like I said, our visit is going well. I'd tossed and turned all night, so I was still very sleepy after all the kids got up, and the Bigs went off to school.  Shana took Sophia and the dog out for a walk and let me sleep for a couple more hours. Nice. I needed that.

Then we both showered (not together, you pervs!) and hung out 'til Jack came home. Shana fixed the kids some lunch, and then we ran errands.

Our first stop was the pet store, to get a new water dish for Lily. We went to the big fun pet store with all the critters in it (where we got Bounce last year), and the kids ran amok visiting the rays, fishies, rodents, reptiles and birds. They could spend the day in there, I swear. But we had more to do, so I purchased my bowl, and off we went.

Next was the bookstore. Before we even got all the way in the door, I found two books to go with two others MIL had already given the kids, and had to have them. (Mom - the ladybug and monkeys books with the bumpy animals? I found fish and chicks ones!) Shana was off to find the next book in her series, and I was in search of more Junie B. Jones for ChloĆ«. I let the Littles play with the train set while I looked, until we heard a crash. "Uh-oh." That had to be one of mine. Nothing major happened, but I kept them next to me after that! No Junie B., so I got her Beverley Cleary's Beezus and Ramona instead; both Shana and I read that at her age. And I chose a Go, Diego Go! beginning reader for Jack.

Lastly, we went to Toys 'R Us, just to play. I didn't even bring my purse in with me, so the Nonnies knew they weren't getting anything. Shana bounced some balls around with them, and then we found some giant koosh-like balls that were really fun to squeeze and throw around. But Jack had a mission: He wanted to see whether they had the same black Cadillac as his at home. After our sword fight, we made it back there to find they had not one but TWO identical Caddies on display. He was in shock! The kiddos tried out all the trucks, and then it was time to get home for Chloƫ.

We started cleaning up the kitchen, and Shana really got into it, cleaning out the grunge and gross stuff from all the nooks and crannies. I stopped to read the new books to the kids and get Chloƫ ready for dance. Rob came home, and Chlo and I slipped out.

Dance was boring and uninteresting - at least for me, since I'd forgotten to bring anything to read or knit. I went down to Taco Bell for some pintos and cheese, and that's pretty much all the calories and protein I've had for today. (I've taken in less than 300 calories both today and yesterday; not good!)  I went back and ate it, and then I went inside to let Miss Sally know that ChloĆ«'d be missing from ballet tomorrow. While there, I talked to miss Darlene and told her all about the acting/modeling work ChloĆ«'s been getting, since she sponsored her iPOP trip last January. She was excited to hear!

Oh! I forgot, Chloƫ landed another gig! It's a commercial for the Northern Virginia electric company. We recorded her doing her monologue over the weekend and submitted it through her agent, who called today to say they loved her. Yay, Chlo!

At home, dinner was ready, and I made pudding for dessert. All the kids ate a great dinner; they put away way more than I expected! Must have been that awesome worm stew. I wouldn't know; I just sipped my water and looked longingly at the pasta... *sigh*

Jack didn't have homework, and Shana helped Chloƫ with hers tonight, so Sophia and I went out to rent a Redbox movie with our free Monday code. We chose Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa. Rob loaded it up when we came home, and the six of us sat and watched it. It was really cute, I enjoyed it. They'll probably want to watch it again tomorrow before I return it.

I did my 20 minutes on the treadmill both last night and tonight, but I had to break it up twice tonight because of my back. Nooooo! Say it ain't so! Hopefully things will be better tomorrow.

So I think I had more, but I've already lied about this being a quickie, and I must go.



Moving Right Along

Today was Bunco day, so the kids helped me make cupcakes during the day.  I had camnesia, so no pictures, but they turned out pretty. We made spice cakelets with orange buttercream frosting. As usual, they clamored over who was going to lick the beaters and who would get the bowl (strange - the bowl has a lot more, but no one wants it).  Since they'd each eaten a good PB&J or PB&Nutella lunch, I let them have a frosted cupcake for a snack. Oh, boy. What delight they get from such a simple pleasure!

Shortly afterward, the girls dressed for their respective dance classes, and away we went. Chloƫ brought in her cookies order form, and each of the three teachers bought a box from her. She was thrilled that they did. Sophia kept insisting, as she always does, that Miss Jessica is her teacher and Chloƫ can't have her (even though she's Chloƫ's tap teacher on Mondays), so of course she protested her selling to Miss Jessica. I know the Miss Darlene is a healthnut, so I was surprised she deigned to buy a package, but she's nice like that.

Jack and Sophie played and giggled in the back of the van during Chlo's jazz class, so I was able to read my book most of the time. New Moon is getting better. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I reached the sad part in chapter three and was crying my eyes out when Stephanie called. "Ooh, where are you in the book? Tell me exactly what's happening," she wanted to know. So we did our little Twilight chitty-chat. I'm getting into it more. It was the same with the first book; I couldn't get into it at first, but once it picked up, I was hooked.

Back at home, I had little time to do anything but shower and dress for Bunco, so I was glad I had already frosted the cupcakes.  I've been to that house, oh, four times, but was still confused when I got there. I stood on the porch and called the hostess from outside to make sure I was at the right place! How silly.

Soon after the games began, I received a phone call from ChloĆ«'s agent in L.A. They wanted her out there tomorrow for a national (SAG) Volkswagen commercial. Sigh. And then, he asked me, "What are we going to do about Miss ChloĆ«?" I asked what  he meant, and he told me that apparently she is getting all kinds of attention, that people are constantly asking for her, and he doesn't let me know because we're so far away. What can we do? Right now, with this surgery, my hands are tied.  It really sucks, after we worked so hard to get her out there and get started, not to be able to actually go now when she is in demand. If there was anything I could do about it, we'd go. But, it is nice to know that the work would be there, if we were!

Somehow, some way...

But I've got to focus on the surgery, now just a week and a half away. I go up there Monday and Tuesday for all kinds of appointments and pre-labs and hospital registration, and then, bam! It'll be the 26th before we know it. I'm getting stoked. Jack is asking a lot of questions about it. He's very curious. Relax, though; he's matter-of-fact about it, not sad or worried or anything.

I think I'm going to go knit and catch up on some DVR'd TV. I finished the back of the roll-edge coat, but I do believe I will run out of yarn before I finish the rest. I thought I had more, but I only have five balls of it, and I'm on the third. Yikes. I hate to leave a project unfinished like that.

We watched the movie 21 last night. It was very good; I suggest you see it. It was fast-paced and kept my interest the whole time, and the ending was great. Good flick!

Chloƫ was given the book Heidi by my dad for Christmas. She's excited to be on Chapter 21 now! She loves the book and is always carrying it around the house, or having her nose buried in it in the car. I'm glad she's such a reader!

Ta for now.


Judith Barsi

So it's been driving me nuts, all evening, who plays the voice of "Charlie" in All Dogs Go To Heaven. I could go look on the back of the DVD, but I'm sitting here, so I looked it up on IMDB instead.

For some reason, I decided to click on the picture of the little girl who plays Anne-Marie in the movie: Judith Barsi.

As I always do, I first scrolled down to the bottom to see what her most recent, if any, message board topics would turn out to be. The titles seemed to indicate that she had died young, so I clicked on her mini-biography and started reading.

That poor child. Her father was an abusive alcoholic and shot her and her mother to death a year and a half before Dogs was released. She was in many other things as well, including The Land Before Time (yep, yep, yep!) and Jaws IV and wanted to keep acting and doing voice-overs.

What a sad story. I'm sitting here with tears running down my face. It's very interesting, if you want to go over there and take a look at her bio. I'm glad I did.


P.S. It was Burt Reynolds.


I just got an email from the owner of Casting VA. ChloĆ« got the part of "Little Girl" on the SAG project, Boom.  I *think* it's the part I told you about, opening and closing the short, but I may be mistaken.

Yay, Chloƫ!

That's all I know about that.

And by the way, I started my Slim-Fast diet on 1 Jan. I weighed in a week later and had lost 3.1 lbs. I'm hoping for another good week; we'll see on Thursday!



Saturday. I forgot all about it!

We stayed up late and woke up early, Rob and I. Neither of us was prepared for the seven-hour round-trip up north to McLean, outside of D.C., but we made it.

Chloƫ had that audition for the SAG short film to go to, and I promised we would be there at noon. We made one stop along the way, at Subway and for gas, and arrived at the location with 15 minutes to spare.

Little did I know we'd be waiting nearly an hour for all the other auditioners who'd gotten there first. I *thought* this was just a meet-and-greet with Olivia the Director, but it was a real, honest-to-God audition.

Some of you know, and I believe I've talked about it in this space before, that Chloƫ gets out of control when she's given a lot of attention. It feeds her, and she gets wild and silly and completely unlike her normal self. It's obnoxious, childish, and annoying.

So I spent the waiting time on counseling her how to act in the audition. When she's gushed over and told how cute she is, she's supposed to remain calm and act like a professional, saying "thank you" and being polite. No cutesy baby talk. No saying "poop" and "pee" and gross stuff like that. No incessant giggling.

She understood.

Apparently, I took it too far, because she was quite aloof with the four people in the audition room! She didn't smile at them or show off her bubbly, happy personality! She answered questions when asked and did a fabulous, tremendous job doing her monologue - better than any of the times she practiced all morning! I was extremely impressed and proud of her poise. But I'm hoping the seriousness won't affect her.

I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you about her part in the movie, but I'm about to anyway. She opens and closes the end-of-the-world film. In the opening, she looks into the camera and says, "What would you do if you knew the world was about to end?"

Then at the end, she counts down, "Five... four... three... two... one." And then the world ends.

They had her say these lines into the camera, and she did well. So, here's hoping! Keep your fingers crossed!

They did ask me if I'd be able to be on stage with her on Feb 1 for filming, and I told them no, because of the surgery, but her dad would. That was acceptable, of course, but now I'm stressing that if she gets the part, I'll be at home with the Littles by myself. First things, first, though.

The drive home was uneventful. Well, for me, at least. I slept the whole way while Rob fought drowsiness but couldn't rouse me. Sorry, babe.

We got home after 1600 and had a very late lunch, and then the Nons went down for naps, as did Rob. Chloƫ and I decided to go out selling cookies.

Sooo many people weren't home last night. Good thing we had the "sorry we missed you" cards to attach to their doors, although I haven't heard from a solitary one of them today. But I didn't expect a lot from that.

On the other hand, every single person who did answer their door bought cookies from her! I attempted to walk but only made it across the street before I realized that was going to be an impossibility. So we went home and got in the car, and I stayed in it while she went up to the doors. I watched, impressed, as she handled her biznass. She has gotten good at this!

When we ran out of 'missed you' cards, we went home. I counted up the boxes, and she has sold 20% of her 172-box goal. Not bad for a first outing of less than an hour.

We were supposed to go out all day today, but it's rainy and yucky. Suck.

Anyway, while Rob was still napping last night, Chloƫ and I decided to go to the store and use up more of my $5 in free groceries coupons. I had coupons for Slim-Fast, and they were on sale, and we needed milk to boot. And stamps. So, aside from the postage, I got milk for free and $21 worth of Slim-Fast for six bucks! Sweet.

Back at the ranch, I picked up my knitting after dinner and the kids' bedtime. This project, the roll-edge coat, is slow going. It's mindless knitting, too; that pattern is simple as simple gets. So I'm looking for something to do with the Malabrigo worsted yarn that I have: a short but more complicated project I can really enjoy. Thoughts? I have four skeins, in four different colors, but don't necessarily need to use them all for the project.

Off to finally take down our Christmas decorations with The Bob. Our tree has never been up this long, and I'm sick of it!