Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Book Review

May 27, 2010 I've got a new book review up at Sisters Recommend. Take a look--I'd love to hear from some of you who have read it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

CSF Banquet, 2010

May 27, 2010

Monday night was our annual CSF Banquet, and I was honored to attend as sponsor for Miss Taylor Ewy. I first met Taylor when she was a freshman in my Honors 9 class, and was thrilled to have her again this year as a senior in my World Literature class. Taylor is one of the sweetest, smartest, and most responsible kids I know. On top of that, we share a love of movies, so I've had a wonderful time chatting about that with her this year. For the record, by the way, anyone who loves and appreciates The Princess Bride and His Gal Friday automatically makes my list of cool people.

Taylor and me

Jessica Wang and Taylor Ewy

Quincy Barnes, Kyle Cadigan, Taylor Ewy

Paolina Fisher
Kristi Weisbrod and me

Me with my friends Victory Pope and Allison Swearengen

Victory, me, and Lyric Buckner

The formidable foursome: Denise Lum, Connor Winn, Adam Nitido, and Ann Kim
Angela Medina and Taylor Ewy
Connor and Adam
Carlie Flaugher, Angie Neathery, Haley Lunquist, Diksha Punia
Jessica Wang and me
Kira Kaur, Ani Miranian, and Andre Ovalle
Megan Zwetsloot and Tianci Liu
Corinne DenHartog and me

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thought for the Day

May 23, 2010
If you look for what's bad in others, you will surely find it. If instead you choose to seek the positive in others to bring into your life, you can certainly find that as well. Life, emotions, relationships, motives, perceptions--these things are not black and white. The benefit of the doubt is yours to give.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thrilling Finale

May 21, 2010

Every year, the high school choir kids look forward to the Spring Concert, with good reason. All the Latin high-brow festival tunes go out the window, and the kids sing more contemporary, toe-tappin' sorts of songs. They also get the opportunity to showcase individual talents, since there are several solos, duets, and small group numbers interspersed with the bigger choir numbers. The show typically has a sense of humor about itself as well, so it's a lot of fun for the kids as well as all the parents and siblings who populate the audience.

Brianna decided not to audition for one of the smaller showcase numbers this year, but several of her friends did. The big highlight from this year, though, was the Thriller number, which was performed by all three choirs combined--Women's Choir, Concert Choir, and Chamber Singers. Just after intermission, the kids all took the stage in fine zombie form and paid tribute to that iconic 80's dance number. Even the choir director got in on the fun!

Mallory Lewis, Shelby Jett, and Brianna


Layla, Austin, Natalie, Shelby, and Brianna

Mom under zombie attack!

A little too cute to be zombies--Shelby and Brianna

Tour of the State Capitol Building

May 19, 2010

On Monday I traded in a day in the classroom for a day trip to Sacramento with a bus load of fifth graders. Danielle and all her classmates have been studying the state of California, and I got to accompany them on their visit to the Capitol Building.

We got off to a very early start for the three hour bus ride north. We loaded the buses at 4:45 a.m., so that meant my day started at 3:45. Honestly, I didn't sleep very much anyway, because I was so worried I'd accidentally sleep through the alarm and fail to get us to the buses on time. Danielle didn't sleep much either because she was so excited. I actually figured we'd get to fall back asleep on the bus ride, but those kids were much wider awake than any of us chaperones were.

We arrived and checked in and got a tour of the building. Our tour guide was impressed by how much our kids knew about the government and the state of California (which means their teachers did a great job preparing them!). We saw the inside of the rotunda, the original governor's offices, and the Senate floor, as well as our current governor's office.

Once the tour was over, we headed back to the buses and were off to Old Town Sacramento. There were seven kids in my group, and we had lunch together, roamed around Old Town, and shopped. All of my kids were so polite--it really was fun wandering around with them. They thought it was amazing how many candy stores there were in such a small space. I think there were five of them. Naturally, they wanted to check them all out. I hope they didn't come home with too much of a contact sugar rush.

(Danielle with her teacher, Mrs. Nunes.)

After a few hours we needed to get back on the buses so we could get home. Danielle and I sat together, her head in my lap nearly the whole way home. That was probably my favorite part of the trip: )

Sign in the Capitol Building:

Part of it reads: "During reconstruction, worker's reinforced the drum exterior..."

Wouldn't you think if they were going to engrave signs and post them up in the State's Capitol Building that they'd want to check to make sure they weren't using an unnecessary apostrophe? That's supposed to be plural, not possessive!

The Girl Who Owned a City--O.T. Nelson

May 19, 2010
I've got a new review of The Girl Who Owned a City up on my book blog, Sisters Recommend.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


May 18, 2010

Saturday was Brianna's spring dance recital for her dance p.e. class. They decided to do something different this year, so instead of jazz, they choreographed and performed a Bollywood number. Bree's friend Amber had lots of outfits in her family that they donated to the girls in the routine, so she actually gets to keep hers. (I think the color is really great on her!) I didn't get great pictures of the routine during the show, since they don't allow photography, but one of her friends took some great pictures back stage. (Normally I don't let the whole 'no photography' thing get in the way of me taking pictures of my kids. I took pictures clandestinely, but none came out very clear.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Through the Years

May 15, 2010

When I was two, she was the reason my mom disappeared for a few days, suddenly reappearing with a tiny new baby in her arms.

When I was four, she used to stealthily climb out of her crib to come crawl into bed with me, where we got caught nearly every time, chattering and giggling 'til well-past bedtime.

When I was I seven, my mom loved to see us in matching dresses and matching bad eighties perms, and we spent our afternoons staging elaborate paper doll shows in our room.When I was eight, we shared a queen-sized bed and she threw up on me while I was sleeping. And I got in trouble for it, because I fell asleep too close my sick sister. (How does that make sense?)
When I was ten, we were in Girl Scouts together, played 'school' on quiet afternoons, had weeks-long Monopoly tournaments, and helped our brother devise Mayes Olympics.When I was twelve, we survived Miss Lula Belle. There are no words to describe the experience.

When I was thirteen, we didn't always get along great. We argued over clothes and blamed each other for our messy bedroom. (She was the messy one, really!)

When I was fifteen, we remembered that we were a lot more the same than we were different. Band trips, drum corps, Aldo's pizza after football games. Staying out late with friends, and talking late into the night.
When I was twenty, she moved away, and I worried it would never be the same. I needn't have worried.

When I was twenty-two, she and I, along with our brother, made Hawaii an unforgettable vacation experience. Snorkeling, midnight swimming, conga-line dancing on a ship filled with Japanese tourists and us...Phil Collins "Another Day in Paradise" became our theme song.

When I was twenty-eight, I gave quite possibly the worst speech ever given by a Maid of Honor. My fear of public speaking combined with overwhelming emotions of love and a genuine wish for the very best life for her made it nearly an impossible feat. Somehow I managed through it. Just in case I ever want to remind myself why I don't give speeches, she has it on tape.

When I was thirty-one, we both looked forward to the impending arrivals of new little ones to our families. We also took on Paris together--The Lourve, The Eiffel Tower, The Palace at Versaille, and a nurse's strike (just to add to the excitement). It's still one of the best weeks of my life.When I was thirty-two, we both learned together how to say goodbye to our mother.

When I was thirty-six, we supported each other as we each embarked on new, empowering, but somewhat daunting paths in our lives.
When I was forty, we started dreaming of what it would be like to live in the same city again, watching our kids grow up together.
And when I was forty-two, she turned forty-one. And she's still my best friend--the person who knows me as much as I know myself, and the one who shares my history and my life in a way no one else does. Here's to many more birthdays to come.

Happy birthday, Lisa. Love you, Sis.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Stuff

May 11, 2010

--I'm pretty excited that I'm going to be chaperoning Grad Nite this year. It's been a long time since I've signed on for that duty, mainly because when the kids were younger it was harder to get away over night. This year, though, they're having such a hard time getting people to sign up that there are extra spaces on the bus. If my sister can get away, she gets to join me, which would be so much fun! We've been to Disneyland together with our kids before, but never just the two of us. It will be a blast!

--Bree had AP Psych testing today and AP Comp testing tomorrow. I'm sure she'll be all kinds of relieved once she's done with all of that.

--Nicholas has grown like a weed this school year. I wouldn't doubt if he'd sprouted up five inches or so. He surpassed me at the beginning of the school year, and I think right now he's got at least an inch on his dad. He's definitely not done yet, either, since he's only in 7th grade.

--Danielle wants to attend Young Chef's Academy this summer. It's kind of expensive, but I think if we can swing it, we'll let her go. I think she'll get a lot out of it, and we'll get to be her taste-testers at home, too.

--I was reminded again today of one of my big pet peeves while in the drive-through at McDonald's. Danielle and I stopped there on our way to the Parent Club meeting at school this evening. She ordered a kids' meal, as she usually does, and the young man taking our order asked me if I wanted the "Boy Toy" or the "Girl Toy" to go with it. Why do they have to perpetuate stereotypes like that? Why can't they just ask if the kid wants a car or a doll? I spoke back to the speaker box and said, "SHE wants a car." "She wants the Boy Toy?" "She wants the CAR. Thank you!" Seriously, it makes me crazy. When Danielle was little, it really used to confuse her and make her cry, because she thought that if she wanted the "Boy Toy," people would think she was a boy .Now she's just amused that it annoys me.

--I read a headline today that said there was a Korean woman who took 960 tries to pass her driver's test. 960? Shouldn't there be a limit on that sort of thing? At some point, shouldn't someone take the girl aside and help her focus on picking up a different hobby? "Listen, Sweetie, maybe driving's not your thing. Have you thought about taking up knitting or cooking or fencing? Let's maybe leave the driving to the people who pass within, oh, say, the first five or six tries, huh?"

--Yesterday I found out that Mia Michaels is going to replace Mary Murphy as a permanent judge on So You Think You Can Dance this season. Finally! Mia isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I love her. Mary will be back for the audition rounds and will appear now and then as guest judge, but we won't have to endure her every single week. Honestly, once you've become a caricature of yourself, it's time to move on. She was beginning to turn the show into a punchline.

--Doug has wistfully mentioned many times that all of his co-workers' wives make their lunches for them each day. I think it's only a little tongue in cheek when he says he wishes his wife loved him enough to make his lunch for him. I could, I guess, but my goodness--I don't even make the kids' lunches for school. I give them lunch money. Does that make me a bad mother? A bad wife? In the fifties, perhaps, but c'mon! It's not like I don't do lots of other things to take care of all of them. Why is that the one thing that seems to be stuck in old-school gender roles? I don't expect someone else to make my lunch for me when I go to work; I'm a grown-up and I know where the kitchen is. Doug's pretty handy in the kitchen, too. It doesn't mean I don't love him if he goes in and makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for himself to put in his lunch pail.