Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Birthday Buddies

Today I had an endoscopy to check on some stomach issues.  Nothing serious, but I thought it was a good idea to have it checked.  Anyway, during the check in process, several people ask your name and birthdate, etc.  When I get to the get to the outer procedure room the nurse there, once again, checks my name and birthdate.  I tell her my birthdate and she says, "Oh, you just had a birthday!" I say yes, and she says she just had a birthday, too. 

This was the kind of conversation my mother engaged in that I was frequently a witness to as a kid.  She would chat with anyone and everyone on all sorts of topics. We would be on a checkout line somewhere and she would have a 10 minute conversation with the cashier (if no one was waiting behind us). She chatted with the children’s librarian in the public library, the guy who inspected our car, salespeople in the stores we went to.  I vacillated between being impressed that she could talk to virtually anyone, and being mortified that she did.  Sometimes she would overshare which was indeed mortifying, but mostly she just spread kindness and small talk, taking time to personally connect with people as she went through her day. My dad too, was impressed, except when we were in a hurry and mom was a little too busy chatting and not focused enough on the reason we were out in public that day.  


Personally, I had time to kill today, and no reason not to be friendly. “When was yours?” I asked the nurse, and she said, “October 5th… Shhhhh, We’re born in the same year, too.” How fun! I thought. ”OH! we're birthday buddies!" I said and she said “Yeah, we really are!” and before you know it, we were off on a roll, talking about things like, ‘what is this flab over here, do you have this? Where is that coming from? I never had that before! and do you feel old?  I don’t feel like I should be old, but I guess I am, and do you notice your hair getting thinner? which lead to my favorite, remember the big hair and the hairspray? We’re laughing away, and she walks behind the curtain next to me, and tells someone over there that, “Melinda is my birthday buddy.”  While I am smiling about all of this, the anesthesiologist comes in the room, and the nurse is telling me from the other side of the curtain about how, ‘talk about getting old, HE just sprained his ankle,’ and he introduces himself and tells me how yes, he sprained his ankle by stepping on it wrong, right there in the parking lot at work and he had to go to the emergency room to have it checked out, and finally at 11:00 at night they called his name (a nice Italian sounding last name) and said, “You can go home, there’s no fracture, it’s just a sprain.”  He then asks me my birthdate and name so I tell him. Then he asks if my last name is mine or my husband’s and I say it’s his, so he asks me maiden name.  When I tell him, he says, “AH, a nice Italian last name!” and now we are high-fiving and bonding over having Italian heritage.  Now I am smiling when they are wheeling me in for my endoscopy, and I’m thinking about my mom, and how she can talk to anyone, and now, I guess so can I.  And I am thinking about how much more pleasant life can be when you connect with people and bond over what you have in common.  And you can find something you have in common with virtually everyone out there… everyone.  And I am so glad I take after my mom in this way.  Thanks, mom. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Heavily Caffeinated Friday

Since our school has just successfully administered the ELA exams, AND today is Friday, my principal bought my coworker and I Starbucks this morning.  I've been wanting to try their sweet cream cold brew because I heard that the cold brews are less acidic than the hot brewed coffee and I thought that would be a good idea with my problematic stomach.

So... about an hour after I started sipping my coffee, I commented to my friend, "This is good, but my head is starting to feel a little funny, I wonder if it's the caffeine..." I had a weird feeling in my temples and forehead - not a headache, but weird.  I continued to sip my drink...

Around noon I went out and sat in my car for peace and quiet and lunch.  By then I knew without a doubt that I had a wicked caffeine buzz.  My leg was twitching, I was using talk to text, and I was talking really fast.  I wasn't even hungry.  I sent my coffee loving best friend this text:

Omg, I got a 
Starbucks cold brew
and I am jittery as hell

That cold brew 
has a lot of caffeine, 
but it's so good

It's good but I can do 
this much caffeine - 
I feel so off right now, 
and I didn't even finish it! 
I looked it up 300 mg 
for a venti size.  

Good LORD, I was being held hostage by my coffee, and I didn't like it one bit.  It took HOURS to wear off, and now, this evening, I'm thirsty as a parched desert camel.  The upside of all this is my stomach feels just fine.  But still - no more heavily caffeinated drinks for me.  If you want to see how much caffeine is in the coffee/tea of your choice, plus a bunch of other interesting caffeine related info., you should check out:

https://www.caffeineinformer.com 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Seussical - Showtime!

Finally - everything was done! Yippie!



I don't have pictures of everything, since some things were on stage for literally seconds or just a few short minutes. 



The big piece was very versatile, though.  I loved how the lights looked on it.  The pictures don't do the lights justice. (very hard to not staple through the wires when you're stapling 4 strands right next to each other.



I think in this scene, Jojo is thinking about Whoville.  The Whos are wearing the read vests and skirts.


Horton ponders his speck.


Here, Horton is having some problems with his egg.


And finally, the egg hatches, and Gertrude promises to help Horton.  All's well that ends well!!




Saturday, December 17, 2016

Splatter/Spray Painting Dilemma...


Today I finished painting the loops that go on the back part of the large structure.  I like the colors in them, and by themselves, I like how they look, but I have two problems with them:  They blend into the background (that can be solved with black outlines, so not that big of a deal) and I'm not especially fond of how they look when paired with the tree tops for the jungle scene.  See below:


The tree tops are all outlined in black.  In the above picture, I was just starting that part.  

The problem is that these loopy things are in two very different scenes, and I can't paint them specifically for either of the two scenes because then they will look oddly out of place in the other scene.  

So I'm trying to decide if i should add additional "spray" paint (I diluted the regular paint about 1 part paint to 4 parts water and sprayed it on with a spray bottle), or if I should do a paint wash over what I have already (but then what about the other scene?) or should I do a paint wash AND more spray, or a light spray in two different patterns?  

Decisions, decisions...

On a more positive note, here are the completely finished Who houses (except if we put a few Who faces in some of the windows)



So, any ideas or opinions?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Seussical Jr. Who-ville Houses


Welcome to Who-ville!  Here are the houses for the Seussical Who-ville scene.  I still have to outline all of them in dark grey.  If we're feeling really ambitious they might each get lights.  But I'm not sure how ambitious we'll be.  After outlining, the train awaits.  See it on the desk, front and center?  Holy crap.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Seussical Bathtub



Almost done - just needs a showerhead (my coworker has promised to figure that part out) and claw feet... and since this is Seussical, I was thinking the claw feet should really look like real feet with claws. I don't have the plywood on hand at home, so that's a job for next week.  Not much to tell for this prop.  I started by making a drawing:


And then we put it on the computer and shot the image onto the plywood (using an old overhead projector, I think, but I didn't do this part, so I'm not really sure), then cut it out with a jib saw, wood puttied the large knot holes and sanded it well.  Then I took it home and painted it with about 3 coats of plain white.  I redrew my lines after each coat because they would have been covered after 2 coats.   Then on the 3rd coat, I painted a thick strip of white where I wanted my darkened areas, dabbed on the purple and blue in very thin lines, and then smeared/blended the color into the white.  This worked fairly well, but you have to work FAST.  This is latex paint and it's dry in the house now that the heat is on.  

If I was doing this again, I'd redo the mouth of the bathtub to look more like the black lines in the drawing but hey, I've got loads of projects on my plate.  I'm off to work on the next one.  

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Seussian Piano


You know the scoop - we're doing Seussical Jr. this year and I need to make a bunch of Dr. Seuss Style props.  This is the piano.

I found a picture I liked on Pinterest and then I bought 4 sheet of 1/2 inch plywood and 4 8-foot 2x3s.

I had Home Depot cut the plywood exactly in half to make 2 four foot squares and then I used my BRAND NEW jig saw to cut a funky shape out of one of them.  Then I traced that shape on the other one.  Can I digress now and tell you that cutting with a jig saw is kind of like sewing with a sewing machine?  Only with wood?  It is.  Trust me. 

I had my hubby cut the 2x3's for me.  I used 12 inch spacers to separate the front of the piano from the back, and 10 inch pieces for the keyboard.  Each "foot" is 30 inches and each leg (from the keyboard down) is 28 inches.   Here are some pictures:


No one helped me put it together, so I used a chair to hold the plywood up while I drilled holes for the screws. It was a little tedious, but it worked.  


I made a curved line where I wanted to keyboard the screwed in those pieces first. 


 Then I attached the spacers 


I attached the pieces on the bottom with L brackets - really because I should have done that first, and also I didn't have screws that were long enough.


I added the cardboard keyboard, and then the cardboard sides and top.


I duct taped the keyboard down...


... and I duct taped the edges for that cartoon-like look.  More finishing touches soon - going to bed - TIRED!