Florida 2011

Posted in Travel on January 25th, 2011 and tagged , , , ,

Well, I’ve been back in town from a glorious family vacation to Florida for a few days now, and realistically, I guess I could say that I’m getting back on  track.  But catching up is going so slowly, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like I’ll never be done.  But you know what?  With 4 small children in the house, I NEVER feel caught up on the to-dos, even when I don’t leave town, so what does it matter if I took a week and a half off?  It was great!  Eventually I’ll get around to posting an in-depth trip diary – these have come in such handy when I go back to find the name of a restaurant we visited or certain info about the trip; it’s fun for reminiscence purposes too.  For now, I will just post a small run-down of the 20-hour drive from Florida to Ohio which illustrates the dramatic temperature decrease we endured between the south and the north.  There will be more to come later, I promise, so please don’t forget about me and my little blog.

Sat Jan 22:
Orlando FL = 58 degrees at noon
GA / FL state line = 48 degrees at 5:20pm
Atlanta GA = 34 degrees at 10:15pm

Sun Jan 23:
Chattanooga, TN = 24 degrees at 12:30am
TN/KY border = 18 degrees at 2:45am
Van Wert/Paulding County borders, nw Ohio = NEGATIVE 8 degrees at 7:45am

BRRRrrrrrr!!!!!

My Poor Little Bird

Posted in Pets on November 3rd, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

JJ, my parakeet, is very sick.  I had parakeets when I was younger, and I know enough about them to know that we are lucky that he’s still alive.  His chirping and squawking gradually decreased until I realized the other day that he doesn’t vocalize at all anymore.  He is very lathargic, and sits puffed up on his perch where he loses his balance every few minutes.  His tail is bobbing when he breathes, which is a sign of respiratory distress, and he has some discoloring around his cere (nose), which indicates discharge.  The other day, I noticed that he was sitting on the bottom of his cage, which is a sign of imminent death in parakeets.  Based upon my research (past experience, the internet, and bothering the heck out of the local pet store), JJ seems to have a respiratory infection – something that is often fatal for small birds.

But he’s hung on a few days now from when I first believed his death was imminent when he was at the bottom of his cage.  After all, parakeets’ instincts are to hide their illnesses.  If they show any sign of being sick, wild birds will be cast out by their flock, so if captive birds allow signs of illness to show, it’s often too late to save them.  I got some birdie antibiotics, and I’m hoping that he is drinking his water where the meds are.  He is still eating, and that’s a great sign.  We put a blanket over the cage, and are trying to keep him warm and calm so he can rest and get well.  It’s just touch and go at this point, so I’m praying for my little bird.  I got so attached to the little guy!  I got him right after my beloved dog passed away, and seeing my happy little bird helped me feel at least a tiny bit better.  And now I’m watching him suffer; it’s hard.  I want to move him back upstairs where it’s a little warmer and quieter, but I’m afraid of stressing him out too much, which is basically the same reason I don’t want to take him to the vet.  I guess I’ll wait for him to improve a little more before moving him upstairs; that’s the only plan I have right now.

Like I said, he does seem to be improving – the loss of balance on his perch seems to have subsided anyway.  But he still does not look well, and he is not vocalizing.  He is less than a year old, so maybe his youth is keeping him strong and resilient.  Poor JJ!  He is just a little parakeet, but he means a lot to me.  If you could send out a little prayer for JJ, we’d appreciate it.  And pray for my husband while you’re at it; he’s fighting a nasty cold.  Obviously, Hubby’s health is a billion times more important than JJ’s, but if I wrote a blog post every time Hubby got sick…   well, I wouldn’t have time for that!  Besides, Hubby’s illness is not life-threatening.  I wonder if Hubby and JJ have the same thing?  That’s one thing that stinks about this time of year – all the illness!  Wish I could transfer some of my super-immune system over to Hubby, who seems to get EVERY single thing that comes our way…

You Delivered My Pizza, But Please Don’t Watch Me Eat It

Posted in Everyday Life, Theater on December 21st, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We had a great weekend, even though the weather on Sunday was horrid – so cold my Christmas teddy bear got frozen to the window!  Friday night was an all-night work session to finish up the planning and organization of our community theater’s awards show, which is where we went Saturday night.  But first on Saturday afternoon, it was a birthday celebration for our oldest who turned 9 on Sunday with a MUCH anticipated visit from family who live out of state.  We had a great time catching up and watching the kids open their birthday and Christmas presents, and the kids got to have a sleepover in the hotel with Grandma, Papa, and Uncle Bud while we went to the awards show.  The awards show was lots of fun, as always, and I got to watch 2 very good friends win much-deserved achievment awards.  Congratulations, guys!

It was lots of fun putting the show together, even if we didn’t have much time to do so due to last minute notice from the theater.  It was fun and also rewarding to watch the individual skits, shorts, songs, and awards presentations start as ideas on paper and then watch when they came together as a whole.  It’s also a fun excuse to get everyone together, and it’s always nice to see long-lost busy friends who are unable to get together but for this one night.  It might be fun to produce the awards show again next year, but then again, I’d love to have my best friend sitting beside me to watch them because I missed him this year – even though he did make an excellent host.  If there are a few individuals in the theater community who have a hard time because they don’t win awards, then let them have their hard time.  There is talk of cancelling this awards show, and I would be very sad if that happened.  It’s definitely a whole ton of fun for most of us, and I really don’t think we should let a few individuals ruin it for everyone.  That’s all I’m going to say on the subject for now, but expect to hear more from me once this very topic is discussed at the next production board meeting.

Sunday we had major Grandma-let-down, and because we didn’t want our oldest daughter to be depressed on her actual birthday, we let her have a friend sleep over.  During football season, we usually set aside Sundays for low-key stuff, like watching football, reading newspapers, and blogging, but we always end up with crazy kids so it’s never exactly low-key.  But I don’t usually cook dinner on Sundays, and today we ordered pizza.  Five minutes after the pizza was delivered, we noticed the delivery guy was still parked out front and that he was standing outside of his car.  Turns out, he had locked himself out of the car, and so we offered him a warm place to wait for his ride.  Since the temperature outside has been hovering around 0° all day, with wind chills near -20°, he gratefully accepted.  And he stood in our front hall for almost 30 minutes!  If he were outside, he would have frozen to death.  But it did feel a little awkward eating the pizza he delivered while he stood there.  We offered him a seat in the living room, but he opted to stand in the entryway, and I’m kind of glad because at least we were then eating out of his view.  Our 2-year-old kept asking about “the pizza guy”, and then he became scary to her – “I scared pizza guy” – probably cuz he was just standing there, doing nothing, and she’s never seen anyone do that in our front hall before.  But finally his ride came, thank goodness, and he left.  I wonder if he gets paid for the time he was standing in our house?  I wonder who pays for the gas that was used in his running car while he was waiting for his ride?  Should we have offered him some pizza?  It was kind of a weird situation, but it does make for interesting blog fodder.  Of course it had to happen on the coldest day of the year – that guy has a new story to tell!

Review Debut!

Posted in Theater on December 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As you may know, we are heavily involved in our local community theater.  For each play in which we were involved, part of the fun was to see what the newspaper critic would publish about it.  Well, the newspaper reviewer has been canned, and so my husband was asked to take over.  Not wanting the responsibility of the fallout that one might incur when writing about specific individuals in a small town (not to mention his extremely busy work schedule), he agreed to only do the review about the most recent play because he and I produced it.  The following is my husband’s review debut that was (supposed to be) published in the newspaper, and I’ll go ahead and give myself a secondary byline for editing.  I must note however, that those of you who have seen this particular edition of the paper might notice more than a few differences between the two reviews.  And my husband did not write the paragraph about his credentials that appears at the end of the print version – the newspaper wrote it with info my husband supplied when asked how he was qualified to do the review.  It’s just funny that for the past few years, we’ve been assuming the quirks of our play reviews were the fault of the reviewer when in actuality, the newspaper changes much and does lots of editing!

Don’t Hug Me is a Winter Treat

This past Wednesday evening my wife and I had the privilege of attending a preview of Don’t Hug Me, a comedy by Paul Olson.

As we took our seats, my eyes were immediately drawn to the brilliantly detailed set.  Just a quick glance at the rustic wood paneling, Paul Bunyan style restroom sign, and moose head beer tap and I was instantly transported to a northern Minnesota bar.

 The show opens with owners of “The Bunyan” bar Gunner Johnson (played to near perfection by Mike Roberts) and his wife and co-owner Clara (played by stage veteran Mary Beth Snider) caught outside in the cold.  We see Clara fumbling through her purse for the keys as a freezing Gunner becomes increasingly impatient, declaring he will break down the door if they cannot get in soon.  This first little scene sets the stage for the show perfectly.  Minnesota gets cold in the winter, and Gunner is tired of it.  He wants to escape the frigid temperatures and move to Florida, but Clara’s heart is in Minnesota .  This conflict is the basic central plot throughout Don’t Hug Me and Roberts and Snider deliver it with a very nice chemistry together.  Their bantering back-and-forth comes across as genuine and is also very funny.

 Ms. Snider does an excellent job portraying Clara with a wonderful balance between loving wife and strong-willed independent woman while Roberts is very effective in making the audience feel Gunner’s frustration, as well as the cold outside air.  In fact, even under the heat of the stage lights, the entire cast of Don’t Hug Me does a great job of selling the cold wintery theme. Whenever one of Don’t Hug Me‘s colorful characters enters or exits the bar, you can almost feel the chilly Minnesota draft coming in from outside.

 

Shelley Scantlen portrays Bernice Lundstrom, a waitress at “The Bunyan” and fiancé of Kanute Gunderson, played by Keith Robinson.   Anyone who has seen Scantlen on stage before expects an outstanding performance, and she delivers.  Her accent is pure northern Minnesota, and she brings a naivety to Bernice that is delightful.  The sincerity in which she sings “I Wanna go to the Mall of America” is downright hilarious.  Shelley’s voice is amazing as always, and her duets with Clara and Aarvid are a riot.  Opposite Scantlen, Robinson is very strong as Kanute, a man whose world unravels with astonishing speed, although he’s quick to remind everyone “I played Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls”.  Robinson takes us through Kanute’s transformation from, egotistical jerk who has it all, to loveable loser who lost it all (give or take five stores) masterfully.  When he teamed up with Roberts (Gunner) for the duet “You Dirty Piece of…” it was difficult to hear parts of the song over the sound of my own laughter. 

Enter Denver Henderson as traveling karaoke, err, “Life Style System” salesman Aarvid Gisselsen and trouble starts to brew (pardon the pun).  Aarvid wants to sell the LSS-562, a state-of-the-art karaoke system, to the Johnsons and claims it will save their bar which has been suffering in the customer department.  From the moment he enters, Henderson takes command of the stage.  He does an exceptional job, playing the role of a modern day “Music Man” with charm and panache.   Henderson is able to make Aarvid very likeable without compromising the character’s door-to-door salesman savvy.  He also gives a tenderness to the character that makes you root for him to get the girl; the girl being Bernice.  The moment Aarvid first meets Bernice is very well staged.  One look at each other and the ice begins to melt and the sparks start to fly.  Like Roberts and Snider, Scantlen and Henderson have great chemistry, and their duet, the Sven Yorgensen classic “Take a Chance”, is a hoot thanks in part to some hilarious choreography by co-director Crystal Bowers.

 

Complete with witty one-liners like “Oh, for spankin’ the neighbor’s baby”, hilarious songs like “Victim of My Y Chromosome”, and even a love triangle, Don’t Hug Me is fun from start to finish.  My wife and I had a great time, and so will you. Bravo to directors Zach McAfee and Crystal Bowers along with the cast and crew of Don’t Hug Me for putting together a real gem.  They take to you to Minnesota in the dead of winter and warm your heart. 

Don’t Hug Me is performing at the Little Theatre December 5 – 14.  Tickets are $12 for adults with a discount for students and seniors.  Reservations are recommended.

Cold

Posted in Everyday Life on October 27th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

It’s a strange sensation; something I haven’t experienced for about a year.  Last winter I was pregnant, and due to the fact that pregnant women have 2/3 more blood coursing through their bodies than non-pregnant people, they rarely get cold.  Then I had the baby in the middle of summer, went to Florida, and now that we’re back in NW Ohio, it’s cold!  The older I get, the more I dislike the cold weather.  Not only do I dislike bundling everyone up, including myself, but I especially dislike the winter gas bills.  We have a humongous furnace that increases our gas bill by 144% in the winter months, which is why I opt to freeze a few months out of the year.  I just can’t bring myself to turn on that huge furnace for the season yet.  Every year when we get our first winter-sized gas bill, we vow to winterize the house and we talk about getting a new furnace, but somehow, we never get around to doing anything.  Maybe this year will be different, but in the meantime, I’m going to try to hold out until at least November 1.  Maybe I should check the weather forecast before I say that…