Friday, October 30, 2009

The 85 Babies

"No, I can't blog right now. I'm taking care of 85 babies, and it's been just a bit tiring for me."

You've heard me talk about the Reflections program in my Daybook blogs for the past two months. Forty years ago, the National PTA put together a program for students with a bent toward arts and literature. Reflections is a theme-based competition, affording students the opportunity to express themselves through their arts medium of choice.

I love this, of course. Encouraging kids to be creative--bring it on!! I couldn't wait to be chairperson. I always thought that the whole program at our school needed a bit of a promotional boost and definitely needed an element that would allow it to linger past the closing ceremonies. And, earlier this spring, I was up to that challenge.

Now, I'm taking care of 85 babies.

There were 85 entries into the program this year. (There were 51 entries last year.) And they're all at my house now. (Well, except for about 40 photography entries that I had to leave with a professional studio photographer who's doing some judging this weekend.)

Still, I haven't felt this much stress over anything in a long time--logging in entries, coding them for student privacy, tabulating results and dealing with the rules (and the not-so-understanding parents on the other end). I wish the position were just about admiring these wonderful creations and sharing the judges' feedback with these young creators, to encourage their growth. What seemed like such a right fit for me back in the spring is now reminding me (yet again) that administrative stuff just isn't my strongest suit.

But, I have these 85 babies....

It's amazing what five and six year olds see in a theme like "Beauty is...." And it's amazing to read how an "upperclassman" captures the essence of a beautiful person with words. There are so many marvelous colors in these works, textures. Vibrancy. Love.

And I'm feeling perhaps just a wee small bit like God felt upon gazing at His amazing creation. The sheer delight of having made something--something good!

85 something goods....

Next week, I will finalize the award tallies and prepare the logo artwork for the winners' medallions and participants' certificates. In a few weeks, we'll transform the cafeteria into a museum, opening the doors for others to experience the joy that I have known with these 85 babies. Then, some entries will move forward to the county finals and some will return home to their creators--but not before I capture all of them in a book for the library...for posterity and future classes of creators.

Though I will not miss the administrative headaches, the meticulous caring for details and the tabulations of the final expenses, that I was caretaker of 85 babies--85 endeavors to "make something"--will remain a treasured time. A glimpse into the minds of some creative kids. Encouragement that pursuit of arts and literature lives on.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Triple Play!

American Idol Season 8 contestant Matt Giraud

Sue J. in the Matt Giraud-style fedora

Pumpkin in Fedora

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Somewhere in the patch is a pumpkin for you--Go find it this weekend!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"A Painter's Progress"

Edie and Chatty Kelly have asked me how the Family Room is progressing. As you can see, we're up to our ceiling in a dark rosy pink! Not exactly what I'd call Daredevil, but that will change soon.

Will try to put something other the The Daybook and "A Painter's Progress" on the blog--LOL!!

We did have a fun outing to a local pumpkin patch. (Catch the slideshow at right.) I am absolutely taken by the pictures of these rich orange fruits out in the fields of mangled wild morning glory vines. It doesn't speak of a traditional Autumn at all, but I love the colors!

OK, crankin' up the Chris Tomlin and back to my roller!

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Daybook Entry

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FOR TODAY, Wednesday, October 7, 2009...


Dark. Breezy. I'm thinking "storm's coming," but I've been wrong about that too many times to say the rain is coming for sure. My ankle--twisted in a college tennis class--serves as my barometer, and it's not twinging today. The grass seed that my husband planted and fertilized has not only sprouted but is truly showing some depth this morning.


As I commented on ADHDMe's blog the other day, I've been enjoying the days, lately, and not feeling like writing about anything in them. But, because a big reason why I blog is to stay connected with folks, I'm writing this morning. I'm thinking that I'm enjoying these days more--full as they are!


CJ's working so hard at school and being so committed to following her teacher's guidelines. She doesn't get a lot of homework because they do so much at school. But, her teacher does expect students to read and study their notebooks--to keep material fresh in their heads and to avoid last-minute cramming for quizzes and tests. It's a wonderful skill to instill early. Much better than anything I used to do. CJ takes a timer to her room. Every time it goes off, I know she's switching to a different book. So proud of her!

RJ2's adjustment to Kindergarten. Even though she doesn't share much about her day, we have many "reporters" out there who tell us that she is picking up on everything and showing spurts of creativity in what she does.

Also, for a bell choir who consistently demonstrates commitment and perseverance, despite little practice and whatever personal challenges face members. We played our first concert on Monday night, and it was an occasion to remember. Gorgeous music, a wonderfully receptive audience, ringers who ring from their hearts as well as out of their hands. Just fantastic!


I am continually challenged--in facing a musical performance--in my preparation. As a director, I don't have to worry about ringing the music. But, as a director, I have 14 players and additional musicians to bring into unity for a performance (and caring for them outside of a performance situation). Plus, from a spiritual perspective, our mission is about bringing Love and the message of God's Word to those for whom we play.

This season, I am focusing on the relationships I have with people, even as I need to build their technical skills. I am definitely still learning how to do that. I can't help but put myself in the shoes of any teacher or pastor and see how difficult their work can be. (But, it is so very rewarding!)


Tonight, I am attempting my first frittata! Eggs, onion, Asiago cheese, red potatoes. I was thinking about making "breakfast for dinner" this week anyway. Once the bag that held the dozen eggs fell out of my grocery cart on the way to the car, I was assured that this was the perfect week to attempt the frittata.


Painting clothes! The light green paint from last year's bathroom project is still on my maroon shirt. I am a few pieces of blue tape away from putting on the Daredevil-tinted primer in our family room. I am taking off my brand-new browniful furry slippers, however.


Nothing really fun yet. I need to create some Excel spreadsheets and judging forms for the PTA Reflections competition. I have most of the judges in place except for the Literature category. May have to call on some of you in the blogosphere if our local experts aren't able to step forward.


Nowhere today! It is painting day. Got to finish this blog and get going to the family room! Tomorrow, I'll be going to school to read the morning announcements (promoting Reflections for the kids; we need more entries, too!).


The other night, I finished The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, MD. Have known the languages for awhile but hadn't read a book in the series. Didn't love this book. (It's so dry! The examples they do provide don't even seem "real." Chapman's done a bunch of these; I fear it shows here.) I do understand the message, however. Now, catching up on some periodicals--my last issue of MOPS' MomSense and my first issue of FulFill, which is also my first online subscription magazine and it's now a free publication. (See the link to the FulFill blog on my roll.)


To finish all painting by the end of October! We are getting new carpet in there, too, and I'd love to see that all done before Thanksgiving. As for my reupholstering the furniture, that may take until the New Year. (They haven't written Reupholstering for Dummies, but if you have another book source for me or an online class, I'm up for recommendations.)


The whir of the hard drive in the laptop. The refrigerator's hum. The ticking of the kitchen clock. The breeze that has picked up since I started writing this morning.


Everywhere I look, I see a project. But, knowing that I'll be painting today gives me focus. There will ALWAYS be a project if I look for one--LOL! The key is just planning for the day, and then scrapping the plan when necessary.


Watching baseball on TV with my husband. We watched the last game of the regular season yesterday--a tiebreaker game between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. It was an amazing game to watch. Went in to extra innings. Both teams really kept it close throughout the night--and it went longer than four hours! In the end, the Twins won it (which made me happy). Now, the post-season begins, and the Twins will be fighting the New York Yankees this afternoon.

But, you should know that we're die-hard Washington Nationals' fans, regardless of the fact that they were, practically, the worse team in baseball this year. They are the scrappy Nats! And we look forward to root-root-rooting for the "home" team next Spring. (And, we are acquiring a new minor league team in town. They are down to five names, including "The Hambones." YIKES! Where are the writers!?!)


I'm sorry, did someone say 'plans'? Maybe that was my paint cans calling.


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Click on the "Daybook" icon to link to Peggy's blog for more entries.