Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Hogmanay!

I figured today was a day for at least saying something, it being the last day of 2010 and all. I've got a rather busy day planned, so really, sitting on the couch with my laptop propped up on the armrest next to me isn't the *best* use of my time, but I'll look at it as keeping up with loved ones.

Scott and I are throwing a Hogmanay party tonight, so I've got a lot of cleaning to do. The house is pretty tidy, but I have all the fine tuning left to do. You know, hoovering, dusting, disinfecting. And um, judging by that sound in the kids' room, I might have a big box of blocks to clean up too.

But before I delve right into the housework, me and the kids are walking over to Maria's this morning to see Maria's family and Carol's family. Carol is back over from Abu Dhabi for the holidays, and it's been so lovely to see her again. It's nice having the whole gang back together.

(And why am I walking? You may not be wondering that at all, but I'll tell you anyway. Maria, Carol and I went out to Gourock last night. I wasn't planning on drinking, so I drove the car. But once I arrived, I was so in the mood for a drink, so I abandoned the car and had numerous cocktails with the girls. It was great fun. It just means now I have to make my own way back to Gourock to get my car...)

So anyway, happy Hogmanay everyone! I hope your 2010 was good, and I hope your 2011 is better!

*You would not believe how many times I wanted to use quotation marks and didn't. This is what this post looks like in my head:

I figured today was a day for at least saying something, it being the last day of 2010 and all. I've got a rather busy day planned, so really, sitting on the couch with my laptop propped up on the armrest next to me isn't the *best* use of my time, but I'll look at it as 'keeping up with loved ones'.

Scott and I are throwing a Hogmanay party tonight, so I've got a lot of cleaning to do. The house is pretty 'tidy', but I have all the 'fine tuning' left to do. You know, hoovering, dusting, disinfecting. And um, judging by that sound in the kids' room, I might have a big box of blocks to clean up too.

But before I delve right into the housework, me and the kids are walking over to Maria's this morning to see Maria's family and Carol's family. Carol is back over from Abu Dhabi for the holidays, and it's been so lovely to see her again. It's nice having the whole 'gang' back together.

(And why am I walking? You may not be wondering that at all, but I'll tell you anyway. Maria, Carol and I went out to Gourock last night. I wasn't planning on drinking, so I drove the car. But once I arrived, I was so in the mood for a drink, so I abandoned the car and had 'numerous' cocktails with the girls. It was great fun. It just means now I have to make my own way back to Gourock to get my car...)

So anyway, 'happy Hogmanay' everyone! I hope your 2010 was good, and I hope your 2011 is better!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I wasn't quite sure if I was going to bother with resolutions, but resolutions keep coming to me. So here's some things I'm toying with possibly resolving:

*Blog regularly
*Re-attempt to read through the Bible. I got halfway through the old testament this year before letting it slide until it slowed right down to a halt somewhere just after arriving in Matthew (and having skipped 1st/2nd Chronicles, the second half of Job and then Psalms all the way through Daniel to keep trying to catch up from where I'd slacked off). So I'm going to attempt reading it over TWO years so the daily readings aren't so long.
*Start a morning wake-up schedule to help me get my mornings (and thus my whole days) on track.
*Go back on my 'common sense' diet.

Oh, and as always,

*Get back on my chore schedule. I love that thing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies on Day 23

Will it happen?

It might. I've got the oven pre-heating and the rock-solid block of butter on top of the stove hopefully softening from the heat of the oven below. But my heart's not in it. Nor is my head. Or my nose and throat. I have a cold.

And I am a little bit afraid of germs and get squigged at the thought of baking while germs are wiggling and crawling all over the place. But I can sort of find comfort in imagining them all dying in the hot oven.

So I'm hoping we'll get around to it.

The biggest problem is getting me off this couch. I feel like rubbish. And, yay for me, I get to go to work tonight like this! Awesome!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Dec 22nd!

I'm averaging about every other day right now. Blogging, that is.

I'm 0 for < A LOT > on the Activity calendar. Yesterday we never got our chance to make reindeer food. Well, actually, we had the time, just not the supplies. I somewhere have a whole box full of those little delicate-looking bags you get at weddings; you know, the wee translucent muslin ones with satin ties. I wanted to put the reindeer food in those but cannot for anything find that box. I know I've seen them recently, so where are they? Today, I thought we'd make up for it by just mixing up the reindeer food (oats, rice, glitter, foil confetti, silver cake decorating balls), and we'd just put it in some normal bags, but I couldn't even find any normal bags.

Then today's activity was to eat on the nice plates for dinner by candelight. It was a bit humourous, as the menu tonight was going to be hamburgers and chips, but even that didn't happen, because Scott's dad invited us last minute to theirs for dinner, and me, always up for a cooking-free night, gladly accepted. I expect that dinner with Granny and Grampa (or Nanee and Poppaw, as Lolly calls them) trumps fancy dishes and candlelight (and burgers, for that matter) any day. So they were happy.

Only two more days of the calendar. I wonder if we'll make it? I never did the festive cookies for the neighbours, so maybe me and the kids can do that tomorrow.

Last night, I went to a carol choir concert. It was lovely. I love the sound of choirs. And you know what else I love? The O shaped mouths of choral singers. :D I know that O shaped mouths are necessary for opening up the full sound of the notes and all, but it's still funny to look at all the different O's each person makes. Anyway, it was very festive and Christmasy, and I enjoyed it. I even wore my new dress I made! Unfortunately, it was so cold in the chapel that I had to keep my coat on the entire time.

And tomorrow, Lolly will be a sort of last minute addition to the nativity concert her Thursday toddler group is putting on. We used to be regular attenders there, but have only been a handful of times since Fifi started nursery, because we always have to leave early to go pick Fifi up. But we're going tomorrow, so Lolly will be in it. Or at least she'll be in AMONGST it, walking around in costume. I imagine most of the toddlers will be only somewhat involved.

So yeah, it's getting pretty darn Christmasy. I'm actually, really super excited this year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 20 - 4 Days Until Christmas!

I can't BELIEVE it's four days until Christmas! This month has absolutely shot by. Today we had an easy activity, and thank goodness too, as I needed a break. We were to drink hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie as a family. Well, we ended up watching Toy Story 3 instead and no hot chocolate, but the kids didn't mind. They don't really like hot chocolate anyway (crazy!). We never finished it though, because the kids lost interest, so I am going to watch it again, on my own!

I am NEARLY done with my Christmas sewing. All I have left to make is Lolly's Christmas dress, which will be similar to Fifi's St Andrew's Day dress - same tartan, different style dress - and Lolly's pajamas. The plan is to finish those tonight, since my Steel Magnolias rehearsal got cancelled last minute. THEN there is only one job left... one I added to the list only today. I'm making myself a Christmas dress too. Bought the fabric today, and honestly, the fabric alone is so beautiful I want to marry it. Let's hope my sewing is skillful enough to match the gorgeousness of the fabric.

Tomorrow is Fifi's Christmas concert at nursery. She is Mrs Snowman. I can't wait to see it. Then tomorrow night, I'm going to see the Inverclyde choirs perform what I assume is a Christmas concert. Should be a very Christmasy day. I'm getting very, very excited!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 18, 19,etc

I've cheated the last few days. On the 18th, which was Lolly's birthday, we had planned her party for 10.30am-1pm, then we were going to go to Glasgow with the family for dinner and an IMAX film at 3, so I didn't want to put anything really in their calendar I knew we couldn't accomplish. So the activity was simply 'Go to Lolly's birthday party!'

Then today, again, I knew we'd be busy as it was the kids' nativity play at church, so today was simply 'Perform in your nativity play at church!'

Easy. And we succeeded in doing both.

(More about Lolly's party later. I'm going to bed now, after spending the 2 and a half hours after work there tonight sewing Christmas presents.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 17

Too busy actually trying to fit in some Adventing to do any blogging! Gonna make yesterday's wreaths and do today's (it's sort of cheating) activity of packing bags for the Super Sleepover at Granny's house!

Then it's off to birthday celebrate it with the Hubby! Happy birthday, Scotia! You are officially in your LATE 20's, ya bastard!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lots of Days Probably

I am rubbish.

I've not done an activity in several days now.

And I don't even know when/if I'll catch up!

Yesterday we never even got around to opening the calendar. It's not that I've been lazy or uninterested, I've just been that busy!

Today I had a special TinyTalk class that I did for a toddler group in the area for their Christmas party. So that took up last night (after going to see panto in the Arts Guild, which was fab, by the way!), preparing my lesson plan and printing out handouts, etc. Then today, I did the class in the morning, and in the afternoon, the girls and I ran some errands, then came home and tidied the kitchen - Fifi was a big help, by the way, so kudos to you, girl! - and then baked Lolly's birthday cake and made dinner. Then I went to work tonight.

So we never made our wreaths out of tissue paper. Seriously disappointed, as I was really looking forward to this one. This will be a definite make-up one, as I even went out and bought tissue paper just to do it.

But tomorrow, and the rest of the weekend even, are ridiculously packed. Tomorrow is Scott's birthday, so after my TinyTalk Christmas party for the Friday class, I will come home and pick girls up from Granny, and start doing all sorts of party-preparing type things. Like (entering To Do List here)

*Ice cakes
*Finish wrapping Lolly's presents
*Wrap game prizes
*Make one more party bag
*Make kiddie sandwiches
*Get chilli ready in crock pot before bed
*Make Lolly's dress for party? (As if I'll have time to finish that!)

Plus, because it's Scott's birthday too, I need to figure out what we are doing tomorrow together, because after work, the kids are going to his parents' house for the night, so we will have a full night to ourselves. Except not really, because I'll be needing to prepare for the party, but anyway.

Maybe I can fit in some wreath-making time, since a lot of those things on the list can be done later in the evening...

As for now, I need to put down my laptop and start folding clothes. I have about five or so loads piled up on the couch waiting to be folded. It's just embarrassing. And I have three more loads drying on the pulley and clothes racks.

Which reminds me of a good story to end with. Fifi was helping me hang up wet clothes from the wash this afternoon. She pulled out one of my bras and said, "Haha, mummy, I have your boobs!" Then she handed it to me and said, "You hang it up. They're your boobs."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm on such a losing streak.

No Advent promises fulfilled today.

We were supposed to wrap presents in brown paper and decorate the packages. Well, first of all, I've already wrapped nearly all of our presents. The only ones left are a couple that I've only just finished making. But we never did it. We ran some errands after nursery this morning (Lolly and I had been at my church's toddler group), and then we took Scott's mum up to the hospital for an appointment. We stuck around in the cafe for a while with her, then me and the girls headed back into town to go to ballet. (Yes, Lolly's in ballet now! It's too freaking cute!) While they balleted, I did our grocery shopping. Then we came home, I fed my brood, and then I rushed back out to You Made Me rehearsal (which was fun and productive). So yeah, no present wrapping and decorating.

I did, however, finish yet another sewing project. Fifi is Mrs. Snowman in her nursery's Christmas concert, and I was asked to make her a snowwoman costume. So I did that tonight after rehearsal. Photo to follow in the morning, when I have her try it on!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 13

It might technically be the 14th now, but it's still the same waking-hours day of the 13th. I don't usually like to stay up so late, but these days that how I roll.

I finally finished a project I've had in mind for a while. I actually can't believe I finished it in one night. I expected it to be a several-night-long job. So I'm dead chuffed at the extra time that has afforded me for other sewing projects due to be completed before Christmas.

So, Advent. Yes. Today was an easy one, which I got out of the way before Fifi even left for nursery this morning. We were to read a story about Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. So we read the story out of her children's Bible, then we read a lovely wee book called 'What's Christmas?'. I considered blogging then and there to get it done, but didn't, and now here we are at 12.30am. Oh well.

Not much else really to say about today. I had my TinyTalk Christmas party this afternoon for my Monday class and really enjoyed myself. I had Steel Magnolias rehearsal tonight, and even though there were only three of us there, that was good too. Mainly just for my own confidence in knowing I'm coming on with learning my lines. It's always frightening thinking you don't know how you'll learn all those lines, but once you put the script down and realise you know quite a lot of lines already, it helps with the fear. And the show isn't until March anyway.

Well, anyway, so I've nothing really else to say. Ooh, except I bought a CD alarm clock. Been wanting one for so long. I think I could be happily awoken in the morning if it were to the dulcet sounds of The Decemberists or something. I should go set it up along with my Teasmade. What a gorgeous way to wake up in the morning!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh Dear, What, Days 11-12?

I've not been good this weekend with Advent Calendar stuff.

Day 11 was 'Make festive cookies and deliver them to neighbours.' Well, I only just made the gingerbread men! Plus, on Saturday, I was at work from 12-6pm, then had a night out planned for 7.30. So I barely saw the kids that day, let alone find time to bake cookies together.

Then today, Day 12, was 'Look through old photo albums and talk about the pictures.' Well, today I worked from 11.30am-5pm, and when I got home, the kids and Scott were still at Scott's parents house for their family dinner. I stayed in, cleaned up for my gift-wrapping party I had tonight, and when the kids got home, we put them in their jammies, gave them kisses and sent them to bed. So again, I barely even saw them today!

So I have failed miserably, but we will make it up. I still have to make that family e-card, but I'll get to that. Maybe on Christmas morning. :)

On a non-fail note, though, I had that aforementioned gift-wrapping party tonight and got almost ALL my wrapping done in one go. I still have a few more to wrap - but they mostly include things I haven't finished making yet, so there's my excuse.

Oh gosh, speaking of making things, I have SO MUCh left to do. And, um, Lolly's birthday party is this next weekend. So I need to get that all planned out. Not to mention two TinyTalk Christmas parties and a special TinyTalk toddler group Christmas class this week. Thank goodness NEXT week is mostly free to finish these Christmas presents! And thank goodness I only work three more shifts before Christmas. So take those three nights, as well as the two Mondays for Steel Magnolias rehearsals (oh, and Tuesday for One-Act rehearsals), the rest of the nights SHOULD be free for sewing.

I feel very tired all of a sudden.

That could be partially due to the fact it is past midnight. I need to get to bed.

So anyway, fingers crossed my children will get some motherly love this week.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 10

I'm going to have trouble writing this post, because I'm watching the film 'Nativity', and it is cracking me up.

So quickly here we go.

I had to work tonight, so thankfully our activity was an easy one today. Have a picnic on the floor in our pajamas. So before I left for work, I helped the girls put down a blanket, change into their jammies and pretty much just pulled random things out of the fridge for them to eat on the floor.

They loved it.

Plus, we finally got around to making those gingerbread men. Though most of them are not men, but Christmas trees, stars, hearts, bells and birds. Once those kids saw me pull the cookie cutters out, I had a hard time whittling them down to just Christmas shapes at least.

One of the things I find more difficult than anything in the world is baking with kids. Baking is practically an art form to me, (yes, I realise how ridiculous that just sounded) and having the kids involved, and therefore, ruining what could be a beautiful piece of work, KILLS me. So I had to really control myself when they kept trying to cut shapes halfway off the side of the dough, or squish the freshly cut pieces, or shove a different cutter through an already cut piece. Or smoosh the silver balls right through the dough. Gah. Anyway, we managed to get through it (though with more frustration than I'd care to admit), and we now have some lovely cookies to hang on the tree!

"Yes, darling, I think THIS is The Tree."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Day 9 - Already?!

Good grief, December is whizzing past. Anyway.

So I made up for my rubbish attempts at Adventing it the past few days with my treasure hunt today. While Fifi was at nursery, I created several clues and printed them off and stuck them all over the house. Now, I can't take credit for all the poems, because a few of them I stole from various websites, and the ones I did write myself were nearly all at least inspired by something stolen from a website. But regardless, I was quite proud of how well our treasure hunt went. It went something like this:

(Click to enlarge if you want to read the clues.)

Each clue led to a different clue until finally the kids were led to the room where the toys were hidden, and we played Hot/Cold to locate them. Their reactions?

It was a lot of fun. And it was made better by the fact Scott was home to do the treasure hunt with them. Since he hadn't seen the clues yet, it was fun for me to see him read them.

Oh, and I also changed my mind about their facelessness after revisiting the website that made it all possible, and photos like this in particular. Now, she does her faces with acrylic paints. I did not have time to mix up acrylic paint colours, so I used craft pens. Which means if I throw these girls in the wash, out the faces come. But for now, I'm pleased with the result.

I think they are pleased too. (The dolls, that is.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Day 8

It is five minutes to midnight, so technically I should get credit for posting on the 8th, but I suppose by the time I finish, it'll be tomorrow, so it'll come up as the 9th. Oh well.

We have yet to catch up on yesterday's activity. And we failed today too. Today we were supposed to make gingerbread men to hang on the Christmas tree. So we went to the grocery store to get the ingredients, but while there, got a text from Maria inviting us over after lunch. So the girls and I went over for a few hours to play. We left around 3.30, me thinking we'd have a couple of hours free to make our gingerbread men, until I remembered the dough has to chill for two hours first before rolling and cutting. To which I said 'Screw that'. So we came home, I put on the tree lights and a DVD and turned out the lights and took a nap while the kids quietly watched Charlie and Lola. I woke up 45 minutes later, prepared a quick dinner and got ready for work.

So, we didn't make our gingerbread men. I hope to do it tomorrow, though, as I love gingerbread men.

However, I did get prepared beforehand for tomorrow's activity. I had a feeling I knew what was next and checked, and I was correct. Tomorrow the kids are going to go on a treasure hunt to find a special present. A special present I hadn't made yet. So tonight after work, I made them their Christmas dolls.

I've had these pieces cut out since last Christmas. I never managed to finish them last year, so I was determined this year to make them.

Behold, the process (the abridged version):

Pattern pieces cut for over a year.

Stuffing the arms and legs - my least favourite part.

The finished product. No faces, yeah, I know, but I like it that way.

So now all I need to do is make up clues and hide them around the house. I'll do that tomorrow while Fifi is at nursery.

It is now 20 past 12. I'm off to bed.

DeBloAdMo Sidebar

For ease, I have added a DeBloAdMo Sidebar list to the --> right. Lots of good ideas for Advent activities there! If anyone else is doing Advent Activity Calendars, let me know! And if you are blogging it, even better! I'll add your link!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Day 7

This Advent blogging thing has been great for my blogging momentum. I'm now blogging twice a day!

We failed miserably on Day 7 - Make a family video e-card and send it to family and friends. For one, I am totally PMSing today and have pretty much done very little besides rub my temples, take deep breaths (in between shouting at the kids) and sigh heavily. Scott has been non-stop World of Warcrafting it since the expansion came out last night. The kids have been tearing up the house while Dora the Explorer has been on constant repeat. So no family video e-card today. Maybe another day, perhaps when they are dressed nicely, like on a Sunday.

I suppose I should give myself SOME credit (though not much), in that we did drag ourselves out of the house this morning to run our church's toddler group. Fifi's nursery was off today because of snow, so I took the two of them for a walk to toddlers. Only five of us showed up, but it was well worth it to get out of the house and give the kids something to do. Fifi got to play with her friend Kiera who was also off nursery, and Lolly got to play with her little toddler friends. And I got to chat with MY friends, which was nice.

And then this afternoon, I took them around the shops while I ran some errands. I posted a present to my sis-in-law Charity, bought some twinkly Christmas tree lights, got Lolly her first pair of ballet shoes - which she LOVED - and even got sidetracked and took a wee wander through Smack Generator... er, I mean Cash Generator, and ended up buying a mini-fridge for £9.99 for the kids room. I mean, that is totally buying myself some mornings off. I'll just stick a couple of milk cartons and yogurts in it, next to some fruit and voila kids can eat in their rooms while watching a DVD on their own DVD player, while Scott and I sleep in a little longer. Merry Christmas, kids.

Tonight I was supposed to have a rehearsal and then go to my friend's Craft Night. But rehearsal was cancelled and weather is supposedly gonna get to -12C tonight, and she lives up the Port (which is up the hill and always gets three times the amount of snow we get down here), so I'm thinking it's safer just to hang out here and do some Christmas sewing. I have a LOT of sewing to do for Christmas presents and really need to get started. I was gonna get started at Heather's Craft Night, but it'll have to be done here, alone.

Tomorrow will hopefully be more of a pro-active day. I don't know if schools will be back on or not, but I imagine so. If roads are safe to drive - which I am not sure of considering the freezing temps tonight will freeze over all the slush and snow on the roads - I'll take her to nursery and maybe do something fun with Lolly. But chances are I'll stay in with the two of them and need to force myself out of this funk in order to enjoy our lovely time together.

Maybe we'll make a video e-card.

Steel Magnolias - Tickets On Sale!

This a quick break in my Advent Blogging to say tickets are on sale for Steel Magnolias!! I know it's months away, but we are hoping to put the show on for one extra night, and before doing so, we need to know we've sold most of the tickets for the original three.

So, buy your tickets now and then you won't have to worry about them later on! Make it a Christmas present for you and your mum or sister or girlfriends. Tickets are £8.50 each and shows will be 10-12 March. I mean, really, it's only a few months away (eek!).

So buy some tickets, so we can put on an extra night!

(Click image to enlarge.)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Day 6

"Cut colourful snowflakes and hang them in the window."

Well, what an appropriate activity for a day like today. We woke up around 8 (don't know what possessed my children to sleep so late but long may it go on!), and it was fine outside. We got in the car at 8.45 to take Scott to work, and big, heavy snowflakes were falling. We dropped Scott off at work at 8.55 and the roads were white and slushy. I tried to drive Fifi to nursery but couldn't get there because the roads were impassable. I got home at 9.30. It took me thirty-five minutes to drive five miles in that snow.

So we made snowflakes. Fifi desperately wanted out in the garden to build snowmen, but I'm a terrible mother and didn't want to deal with two cold, wet, wild children. Or a cold, wet me, for that matter. So I entertained them with making our paper lanterns from yesterday and our snowflakes for today.

Fifi had a ball using the 'grown-up' scissors, and Lolly enjoyed scribbling all over the paper. And when we made our snowflakes, Fifi enjoyed cutting, while Lolly enjoyed... ripping up Fifi's snowflakes. Oops. There is a LOT of cello-tape on these snowflakes, I can assure you.

Then they both enjoyed going into the close and hanging up their creations.

(As you can see, the snowflakes didn't make the window. I put them in the window last year, and thought they were a bit of an eyesore for the passers-by. Should've changed it on the calendar but eh.)

Other activities today included running a TinyTalk class for one family (hope you enjoyed it, Joanne!) and baking a German chocolate cake. Mmmm. Needed something to entice the children away from the snow outside. And needed something warmer than Fifi's suggestions of smoothies and ice cream.

Yeah, if I were a good mum, I'd have had them out sledging and building snowmen all day. But I'm rubbish and will probably ruin them somehow by not giving them happy childhood memories of playing in the snow. Eh, I'm not too worried. African and South American children don't get snow, and they turn out perfectly fine without those memories.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Day 4-5

Technically, it's actually 48 minutes into Day 6 so oops, haven't done so well. But here's my excuses: Day 4, Saturday, I was barely two feet in the house all day. I was out by 9am to get my photo shoot done for Steel Magnolias (photo to be uploaded later this week when made public!). Then, I was back around 11 for a couple of hours until Scott, Fifi and I were headed back out for the panto matinee. (And, off topic, we nearly smashed into a pole due to the ice. But Scott was driving, and he managed to save our car and my life, but that's another story. Yay for Scott!) I was then at the panto the rest of the day, as I stayed there during the time between the matinee and the evening show. I got home that night after 11pm. So that's why no posting.

Day 4 was 'Fifi goes to panto with Daddy, while Lolly goes to Granny's!' so at least our Advent Activity got taken care of.

Day 5, today, my excuse is similar but not as good. We left the house this morning around 11.45 for church. Then Scott went to work, and me and the kids went to the grandparents' house for dinner and a coal fire. Scott came home from work at 5, drove us by the house, and he took the kids while I headed straight back out to MY work. I got home after 10pm. Too late to work on our Activity for the day ('Make paper lanterns to decorate for Christmas'), so I watched a DVD instead.

Tomorrow (technically today) is Day 6, so we'll have some catching up to do. Paper lantern making plus whatever the project is supposed to be for today. I just hope we'll have time. I forgot it is the day the photographer comes to TinyTalk, so class will run longer than usual. I hope tomorrow's Activity is easy enough.

Well, to end this, I'll just link you to two other people doing the DeBloAdMo challenge, Cheryl and Rebekkah. Have a glance at their blogs to see what they are up to this December!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Day 3 Addendum

Fifi dictated, and I helped her write.

Day 3

Today, our 'letter from Santa' said to write our letters to Santa and post them. The Royal Mail does this thing where if you write to a certain address (below) Santa will write back. So we are going to do that today. However, we have only half gotten around do it, because I'm trying to clean. And I'm feeling unmotivated. It's very snowy outside and the thought of even walking down to the post box is totally sinking me. (Am in the middle of performance week for Panto, and I'm just so tired.)

But my good friend Sarah is coming over with Cameron who is off school today, and I'm going to keep Cam for her while she does some Christmas shopping, so maybe we can all do it together. That might make me feel more motivated, doing a project with a six year old who can help Fifi, my almost-four year old, so I can focus on Lolly, an almost-two year old (two weeks 'til her birthday!) Because when I do a project, it's not just a letter to Santa - there will be stickers, pens, and possibly glitter and glue. Our letters to Santa have to be awesome.

And speaking of Panto earlier, we surprised Fifi last night with a ticket to the show. After dinner, I told her to go brush her teeth. She, of course, thought that was because it was time for bed. She asked, 'Can I watch a nice, quiet DVD first?' Scott and I said no. Then we added, 'Oh, and you can't have a bedtime story tonight either.', to which she began crying her eyes out over. Cruel, I know. Then I told her I had some good news and some bad news. The bad news is she can't watch a DVD or get a bedtime story (harder tears). The good news is she's coming to the Panto with Mummy tonight! Tears turned into hysterical laughter. She was absolutely beside herself delighted. So we got her ready, and she came with me. I took her backstage, and she got to see everyone as they were getting ready. Then Pauline, my friend who was taking her into the show, arrived and she sat with her through the show. She was a bit frightened of the bad fairy, but in her words, 'I got a bit braver.' Before long, she was booing the baddies and having a great time. I enjoyed the show so much last night, as I was performing just for her. And in the end, she told me I was the best one on stage. What a girl.

Oh yeah, and here's that Royal Mail address:
Santa/Father Christmas,
Santa’s Grotto,

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas Cards

I will catch up on yesterday's Advent Activity of making paper chains (after all, there's not much to say, and I only want to post a nice picture Fifi took of me and Lolly making our paper chains, but that involves uploading from my camera, and I haven't done it yet), and I'll quickly post two links for you to show you today's Activity of 'Check your email to find a message from Santa', but the main thing I wanted to say is...

Writing Christmas cards each year is seriously depressing.

I go through the list of names I've had for six years. I rewrite the list each year, dropping names slowly of people I haven't really kept up with enough to keep sending letters to. People who don't send them back and who I realise at this point don't really care. But that's not the depressing part. That, I think, is just life. No, the depressing part is dropping names of people who have passed away. The depressing part is splitting up couples into two different cards, because their marriages have ended. Each year, writing this card list depresses me. Each year there is some alteration, some dropped or split name. The divorced people - do the women go back to their maiden names? What are their new addresses? The people who have lost a spouse - do the women still go by Mrs? Do each of these people see the subtle change in the post arriving to his or her house on the envelope? Do they feel that pang? Is Christmas card writing actually worse than a waste of time, but even a painful experience?

Sigh. Well, on with the ritual. And here are those videos to cheer you up. It cheers me up at least to think of the kids reactions to them this morning. It was precious.

Lolly's message from Santa
Fifi's message from Santa

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Or whatever I called it. Just realised its nearly midnight and I've yet to post my first blog entry, though I've been thinking on it all day. So here's the start and i'll write a bit later.

Lori the cheater

Here's what I wanted to say about Day 1. We made paper chains just from a wee kit from Tesco. The sheets were all self-adhesive... or so I thought. They actually had to be licked. Each one. And we made two. We had to lick 50 disgusting tabs. So I pulled in help from any tongues I could rope in. Thanks, Lolly.

And by the way, isn't Fifi a good photographer?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Advent Activities

Late last night, I finished my list. Found it a bit hard to fill in some spots, once looking at my calendar, and being realistic about a few very busy days planned, but here is what I've finally come up with. Hope you can get some good ideas out of it!

1. Make paper chains and use them to count down Christmas!
2. Check email for message from Santa (using this incredible website).
3. Create crafty gifts using recycled and repurposed items from around the house.
4. Fifi goes to Panto with Daddy, and Lolly goes see Granny!
5. Make paper lanterns to decorate for Christmas.
6. Cut colourful snowflakes and hang them in the window.
7. Make a family video e-card and send to family and friends.
8. Make gingerbread men for the Christmas tree.
9. Go on a treasure hunt to find a special present (I have made two Christmas black apple dolls for them to find)!
10. Have a Christmas picnic in our pajamas on the floor.
11. Make festive cookies and deliver them to our neighbours.
12. Look through old photo albums and talk about the pictures.
13. Read a story about Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.
14. Wrap up presents in brown paper and decorate them.
15. Take a walk and pick pinecones to decorate.
16. Make a wreath using paper plates and tissue paper.
17. Pack bags for a super sleepover at Granny’s!
18. Go to Lolly’s birthday party and eat cake!
19. Perform in your nativity play at church.
20. Drink hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie as a family.
21. Make reindeer food and put in little bags for your friends.
22. Eat dinner by candlelight only with the fancy dishes.
23. Make chocolate chip cookies.
24. Put out a carrot for Rudolph and milk and cookies for Santa.
25. Eat chocolate gravy for breakfast and open presents!! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Blues - and No Pie to Cry On

Going back through my archives, I've written about Thanksgiving every year except last year since 2003, when I started my blog.

I have nothing to write about this year, because it is the first time in my entire life I will not have celebrated it.

This makes me want to cry.

I have all the stuff in to make the dinner, but no time to do it. I considered just making it tomorrow as a normal dinner but didn't take the turkey out in time to defrost, so I guess it'll be a vegetarian version. And we'll have turkey on Saturday, with leftovers before I dart off to work.

It's been a sad day for me. Not just Thanksgiving-wise, but a few other things too. Nothing I want to discuss too much on here at the moment, as it's still quite sad for me to get so personal online about. The gist is we've decided a few things about our family's future, which includes sending the children to private school like we've always intended... but to do so involves going back to work full-time and putting Lolly in with a childminder. It would break my heart more if it weren't for the fact that my wonderful Maria is going to be Lolly's childminder, and Maria, as far as I'm concerned, is practically family. It also means (here's where the waterworks keep trying to play up) no more children for us. And I'll say nothing more on the subject because there go the stingy eyes. We've got to do the best we can for the children we already have, and private school for three kids is just... well, it's a recession.

(But I held a baby at Mothers & Toddlers this morning, and seriously could barely keep from sobbing. That mixed in with the homesickness and Thanksgiving. I could just cry now.)

(Yet I've made it all day without crying, so I intend to persevere.)

As for Thanksgiving, since I've nothing to say on this fourth Thursday of November 2010, I'll leave you with links to all the previous posts on Thanksgivings. (My favourite is 2003.)







Monday, November 22, 2010

Advent Blog

I'm thinking that since I didn't manage NaBloPoMo, I might try a DeBloAdMo. Yes, that stands for December Blog Advent Month. Last year I did an Activities Advent calendar with my kids, where each day, instead of a chocolate, they pulled out a slip of paper saying one special thing we would do that day. I intend to that this year (or shall I say, next week!!), and perhaps I can turn it into a Blog Activity as well. So anyone who's up for a Blog Advent Calendar, let's give it a shot. Post every day in the month of December until Christmas one special idea you can do as a family, a couple or a group of friends. Of if you're really clever, post a wee thought each day about Christmas or something. I'll see how clever I end up being but don't count on much.

And I'll post my activity calendar in the next couple of days in case anyone wants to steal some of the ideas and use it yourself.

In the meantime, I have to get out to panto rehearsal. That, too, is next week! Aughh!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Princess Fifi

"Once upon a time, there are a beautiful princess called Fifi, and her was looking for her family. And then her couldn't find them, so her found a new family. Amen. "

They Are Just Things

It happens to us all, but some must feel it more than others: the eventual erasure of evidence that we used to be someone else, the slow fade of memories and mementos from the lives we once lived, the perpetual passing away of the ever-growing past.

I wonder what it is like for others; does every person feel this as distinctly as I do? How could I know? For me, my life is broken into two halves - the Arkansas-dwelling Lori Arnold and the Scotland-dwelling Lori McFarlane. The two lives, separated by marriage and ex-patriation, are very clearly split in my mind. When I think of the past, I think of it in two parts. When I face a vague, distant memory, I first begin to track its origin by categorising it in one of the two parts of my past. From there I can begin to decipher the rest of details.

I am faced now and again with this distinction by small little keepsakes from that first journey of my life. When I moved here, I came with only three and a half suitcases full of belongings. Everything else was either sold, given away, or, for only a small number of things, stored at my parents' house. The things I brought with me, aside from clothes, now seem very arbitrary; they are also some of my most prized possessions. There is the framed photograph of the Bag Lady, which hangs in my living room (and Scott hates), that I bought at an art exhibit, the bumble bee and ladybug coffee mugs that I somehow procured from Joshua and Kristen Rudd, my jewelry box from Target, my red dishes from Ingrid and Amanda from my 21st birthday, and the Post-It note on which I scribbled the words,
'You're worth the trouble and you're worth the pain, you're worth the worry, I would do the same. If we all went back to another time, I would love you over.'
which was the Belle & Sebastian quote that Scott IMed me, and which constituted his first technical use of the word 'love' to me.

Over time, these things have started to chip, break and fade. The Post-It, which was once pinned to the board in my office in Fayetteville and now hangs on my fridge by a magnet, is only this:

I have always known these things are material and won't last forever, but it still saddens me. I think, superstitiously, what happens when those words on that Post-It fade for good? What will happen to us then?

Well, this week I saw another two such souvenirs come to their bitter ends. Two pint glasses, saved from Thursday Pint Nights at Common Grounds on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, have broken and been relegated to the rubbish bin. I always meant to make it more often to Common Grounds on Thursdays to pick up my free pint glass, each week featuring a different beer and accompanying glass to take home. But I only ever got three, one of which I gave David Motter, and the other two of which I wrapped in t-shirts and packed in one of those suitcases. The first to go was my clear one, which oddly, neither Scott nor I can remember what was printed on it, despite using it for over six years, as it had finally cracked through. Then today, Fifi came rushing into the living room to tell me, 'Lolly broke your glass.' And there, on the floor, was my other one, the green one, in three pieces surrounded by tiny green shards and a barefooted Lolly holding a broom and dust pan (bless her).

One by one, they go, they fade. I can't help but wonder - Will all of me eventually fade with them?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


You know what it's like with kids. If one kid gets something better than the other, it's war. And you, the parent, are the traitor.

So, we were having fish and chips the other night. The chips were alphabet shaped, so I spelled out the girls names on their plates. But Fifi has five letters and Lolly only has four, so I added Lolly's last initial to make it even.

Heh heh, we never even realised.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fifi's First Post

An Interview

What's your favourite colour?
Pink 'cause it's light.

Who's your best friend?

Rowan. Her played with me sometimes, being angry with me, sometimes her loves me and sometimes her loves Ceiteidh.

What do you want for Christmas?
I want a toy teddy and pussy cat toy. Hello Kitty toy. How do I need to say all these words? I want to talk to it. I want to talk to it now.

Okay then.

Take Two

Well, if you listened to my audio blog below, you'll know I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar in the Greenock Arts Guild last Friday. Well, I also went on Saturday. I was helping out front of house and stayed to watch the show again.

The second time was a different experience for me. I'd already been very critical the night before of the bad (and downright wrong) theology, so I knew when those parts were coming up, and rather than looking for them and being outraged by them, I was able to just ignore them and just watch the show. Many things, because of that, felt very different for me the second time.

For instance, there's a song (and I don't know the names of the songs, because I'm not all the familiar with the show) where Jesus says to Simon,

Neither you, Simon, nor the fifty thousand, nor the Romans, nor the Jews, nor Judas, nor the twelve, nor the priests, nor the scribes, nor doomed Jerusalem itself understand what power is, understand what glory is, understand at all.

(Gotta love Wikiquote.) I missed this the first night, but felt very moved the second night at this line. The context is that Simon is trying to convince Jesus to fight against the Pharisees (or the Romans?) to get even more glory and power. While I don't know that that sort of instance really happened, the sentiment still worked. Neither the disciples, nor even we, understand what Jesus was ALL about, or what glory and power really are. Jesus' glory and power were eternal and heavenly; they were not about things of this earth, as the disciples and the Jews expected their Messiah to be. This even applies today; so many Christians expect Jesus to fulfil all their earthly desires, often quoting 'He shall give you the desires of your heart', without realising that his fulfilment of our needs are primarily spiritual, and the physical is secondary. (Remember the paralysed man on the mat? Jesus forgave his sins first, and only after told him to get up and walk.)

The other thing that really got me the second time was Jesus crying out from the cross, 'Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing'. The first time, something about that annoyed me, and I couldn't put my finger on it. The second night I realised it was simply the way the phrase was turned. I think I'm used to hearing, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.' I know it's all English translation, and I wish I knew what the Aramaic actually would've been. But I like the 'for they know not what they do' translation better. Perhaps it's because I have a different view on the interpretation of that. Most people interpret that as Jesus saying, 'Forgive these people who are crucifying me because they don't know what a big deal this is, or who I am'. I don't really think that. I think that that was Jesus' darkest hour, literally. Moment later he would cry out, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' God had turned his face away from His Son during this time, for whatever reasons, many of which have been widely speculated on, which I won't go into at the moment, and not one of us can understand even remotely what this meant for Jesus. Jesus was God, and yet while on earth, he was also fully man. Yet even as man, he had perfect communion with the Father. He often stated that he only did what he saw his Father doing. He did everything according to His Father's will while living on earth. So can you imagine what it felt like for him to see that communion darkening as the Father turned His face from him? To be fully experiencing separation from God? When Jesus had been One with the Father from before the beginning as the second person of the Trinity, to begin to feel what mankind feels, prior to any revelation of God, which is a total and utter separation from God... that would've been excruciating. (And part of why even if one of us were to physically experience all Jesus did, we'd still never have suffered as he did.) So when he calls out 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!', I think he was saying, 'Father, forgive my elect, because they, in their utter darkness and separation of you, do not know just how wicked they are, they cannot see you, they don't know you at all!'

For the record, Scott totally disagrees with me on this interpretation. He takes it to literally mean those crucifying Christ. Since it's technically his blog too, thought I'd throw in his 2 cents.

So anyway, when I thought of that during the show, of Jesus asking his Father to forgive them, to forgive US, to forgive ME, for they, WE, I, do not know what we are doing, I was thoroughly broken. And that's when the sobs came. And from that moment on, I sobbed through the rest of the show.

(Fifi, the girl next to me, sobbed through it too. We were a noisy, embarrassing pair, the two of us. And once we noticed the other crying, we started giggling, which then made us cry harder and louder, and oh my goodness, were we a pair.)

So I'd say that, while I still do not like the show, I am glad I went the second night. I feel it really did change something in me. And the whole night after the show, at the after-show party, there were serious conversations all over the place about the Bible and religion and faith, and that, in my opinion, can only be a good thing.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What? As If Blogging Wasn't Already Self-Congratulating Enough?

The inherent narcissistic, self-involved nature of blogging has taken on a new level. Introducing my new Audio Blog (by audioBoo).


Oops, That Was Today?

Was gonna blog about seeing the musical Jesus Christ Superstar last night. But then I got a text asking if I was going to my friend's son's birthday party today, and I totally didn't know it was today. So instead of blogging, I've thrown on the same dress I wore last night, threw a dress on Fifi, sent Scott to the shower, and as soon as he's out, we'll wake Lolly from her nap, put her in a matching dress to Fifi and hit this party. Stopping at the shop on the way to pick up his birthday present...

I so thought his party was next week.

More on the musical later. Might even attempt an audioblog on the subject, if I can manage to get away from children long enough to do so.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here's The Thing That I Don't Like About Me and Worry Other People Perceive as a Negative Trait In Me

I wish I were better at keeping in touch with old friends. Especially my friends from back home. But if it makes you feel any better, I'm not even good at keeping in touch with my own mother, father and brothers!

This started out as a Facebook status, but there is actually more to say about it than is recommended for a Facebook status, so hey ho, a blog post!

Sometimes while Facebook-stalking old friends, I get quite sad realising how few people I keep in touch with any more. I still send a helluva lot of Christmas cards, with my self-involved annual family newsletter enclosed, but that's really sort of the grand extent of it.

It's sad really. I have always been blessed with lots of friends, and I truly love my friends dearly. It's not hard to get into my affections, and it's not hard for me to fall in friend-love with you. But one of my fatal flaws is how easily I move on once our everyday encounters cease.

I hate that about myself.

But it's not that I stop loving my friends, just because I don't see them as much. I just don't put much effort into keeping in touch. That sounds really horrible, like I don't care, but I do. I really, really do. Unlike my marvellous friend Lorna, who can literally run herself ragged making sure she keeps in touch with the millions of friends she has (and who I secretly wish I could be like), I just don't worry much about it. I suppose I just hope that those people who really care about me as much as I care about them understand what it's like, being busy all the time and not being able to see as much of them as I'd like, and won't take it personally.

I think in reality, most people are like this, they just don't admit it. And I think a lot of people also allow themselves to get all hurt and offended when people don't keep in good contact with them. But I don't. It doesn't hurt me at all. It's just what life is like.

I still have two people I call 'my best friends back home' - Devon and Amanda. I don't talk to either of them hardly at all, except the odd Facebook comment. But when we see each other, which of course is extremely rarely, there's none of this 'Why haven't you called me/ emailed me/ written me? I'm in a huff.' We just pick up where we left off, and we enjoy seeing each other again and catching up. I love that about them.

As my original comment mentions, I don't even keep in touch with my brothers. And yet I love my brothers. I am extremely proud of my brothers and talk about them a lot like they are fantastic superheroes (and they both kinda are, in my opinion). But I don't really call them often or write them. But I hope they know I love them just the same. I'm pretty sure they do. And they don't write or call me either, so I think we all feel pretty much the same about it. I'm over here, they're over there, and we'll see each other again at some point and catch up then.

But I get sad when I think of people who I really love and who probably are (or at one point were) offended that I don't keep in contact with them. I wish I could see them all face-to-face and say sorry for that, explain that it's just what I'm like, and, I don't know, hug them or something. One guy comes to mind always when I think of this, and while I don't know for sure he was hurt that we lost touch when I moved to Scotland, I still wish I could find him, hug him and tell him every time I think of him, I still smile and remember what an amazing friend he was and that actually, I really still miss him, six years later. And we'd have a Tequila Sunrise together like old times and listen to The Faint.

And if I could see my sister- and brother-in-law in Texas I'd so the same. Maybe not with a Tequila Sunrise and The Faint but perhaps a cold beer and some Johnny Cash.

And it's the same with my family. Especially nowadays - my mom and dad are divorced now, and I wasn't great at calling regularly when they were together in the same house, let alone now trying to keep up with both of them separately. I never even got around to telling my mom that I'd changed my email address and blog address until well after the fact (and many lost emails along the way), and I never told my dad that my mobile number wasn't working for nearly a month, and poor Dad thought I was ignoring his voice mails and screening his calls.

But there's no question, at least I hope not, that I love them both to death. Just don't take it the wrong way when I don't cry when we say goodbye at the airport or I forget to call back; it isn't personal. I just have to get on with it. I'd be a rubbish ex-pat if I couldn't get on with it. I'd be miserable day in, day out, if I couldn't get on with it.

I suppose that's exactly what it is. I can't live day-to-day where I am here, with my old life always on my mind. I have had to settle here. I've had to make my home here. I have enough friends here to try to stay in touch with. It's hard enough to make sure I keep up with the loveliest of people here, like Heather, Mhairu, Pauline, and the aforementioned Lorna. After all, they are the ones I might run into at Tesco, and I don't them cross with me. (Luckily, I don't think any of them are the type to get cross; they're all busy women too.) I just don't want people to think that I'm a fair-weather friend. Because I'm not. Boy, do I love my friends and family. I'm just not that good at, I don't know, SEEING them.

In fact, I barely even see my sister-in-law who lives two streets down, and I love her to bits - I mean, I love her so much. So, see, it really is just me, not you.

Okay, so. That's the end of my wild tangle of a single, almost-passing thought. A moment on Facebook immortalised into this. And take it as a sort of mass apology, if an apology was ever needed. All sparked because I requested to be friends with a guy called Tommy on my Facebook, and I started to think of all the good times with that whole crowd of people and how much I miss them, and then I went to see if Arkansas Rockers was still around, and then I just got really sad about not seeing any of them, probably ever again, and then etc etc etc.

Monday, November 08, 2010


Years ago, when I was a blogger extraordinaire, I did things like NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I was pretty dedicated to things like that.

I attempted it last year, I believe, or the year before, but didn't get too far. And this year's month started with me away for three days in the first place, so there's no sense in me hoping to achieve it this year either.

However, it is giving me a bit of incentive to try posting MORE in November, and everytime I see Alex's posts on Facebook, it motivates me to get on my blog and post something.

So, since my house is really tidy (shocking!) and there's only a few things I need to do this morning - aside from giving my baby daughter some attention, of course - I'll post something for you.

Here's what is the nicest thing in my life right this very moment:

I'm having a cup of tea, in a clean quiet house, and eating a Butterfinger. It's truly blissful.

But to break it down a little more truthfully, my house isn't ALL that quiet. Lolly is banging her cup against the TV while watching Dora the Explorer singing to the Pirate Pigs 'Give us back our treasure!'. And yes, it's clean, but not immaculate. I keep looking at the floor and thinking, 'Must get out the hoover.' But when I look at my floor and my only thought is 'Must get out the hoover', that means my house is amazing. Well, and there is a cereal bowl that needs to go into the dishwasher. And when I finish this cup of tea, it'll need to go in too. But really, it's still really nice this morning.

But deep down, life is far from unstressful. I have SO MANY THINGS on my mind. Some of which just need DONE, some of which just need handed over to God (very difficult), some of which don't seem like achievable goals and some of which I just downright cannot be bothered worrying about - and yet they worry me.

I keep making lists, thinking that'll help me organise the things I need to do, the things that I can't be bothered doing, and the things that feel unachievable. But each time I sit down to make a list, I can't remember it all. Then when I do remember, I've lost the list. So I go on feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

But above all that, I feel fine. I'm drinking my tea (actually, I've finished my tea), and Lolly is shouting 'abre!' at the TV, and whatever happens with all these little things that concern me is really incidental, in the end. My family is happy, I am happy, and that's kinda what really matters, isn't it?

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Just because it's been awhile (it's always 'been a while'), we've had a lovely start to the month of November.

On Tuesday, the 2nd, Scott and I, along with Sarah and Ian, Simon and Maria, and Kate and Faisal, headed off for the Glenmorangie House (pronounced 'glen-MOR-angie', like 'orangey') for three days. There we got to take a free (everything was free actually) cruise on Loch Ness, go clay pigeon shooting (I hit three out of ten in the air!), and take a tour of the distillery, followed by a whisky tasting.

The hotel - what a disservice calling it a 'hotel', it really is a house - was amazing. Our room, Morayshire, was massive, with a super-king size bed and a large, deep bath... ah, bliss. It overlooked the Avenue of Trees and further down, the water.

Each night (after pre-dinner drinks and canapes, of course), we were served a five-course meal, by one of the top chefs in Scotland. I couldn't pronounce even half of what was on the menus, but I loved nearly all of it. I especially loved how they served nearly half the courses with some sort of Glenmorangie cooked or poured in. Each morning we were served a four-course breakfast; I mean, I didn't know breakfast could HAVE courses. And for our 'light lunch' on the second day, we had sandwiches, butternut squash soup and salad. All this, of course, helped soak up all the whisky we drank.

We also had time to go take a walk by the seaside. It was beautiful. After our morning shoot, we wandered along rocks and sand of the shore and collected interesting shells and stones. Shells far more interesting than what you'd see at Lunderston Bay. And get this - we even saw a dead minke whale washed ashore. We thought it was a seal, at first, as it was already torn apart by the vultures and was missing a head, but it was in fact a whale. With a dead squid in its stomach. It was FASCINATING. Could only have been there a couple of days. I was furious my camera batteries had died halfway through clay pigeon shooting, meaning I couldn't get a photo.

It was such a lovely break. It was even nicer spending it with friends. I have such a greater appreciation of whisky now, and can even say I understand why the older the malt, the better. I used to like Glenmorangie Original, but now that I've tasted its 18 year old, its Qunita Ruban and its Nectar D'Or... oh yum.

But that's not all. We came back on Thursday night and collected the kids. Friday we just tried to have a relatively chilled day, and then Saturday we took them to Battery Park for the Myths & Legends festival, where they got to listen to storytelling and get their faces painted. Then that night we went back to see the fireworks and the mythological phoenix rise from the ashes. It was fun. I love fireworks and this year they did not disappoint.

So that's November so far. We've got a few other things planned, so it ought to be a fun month. The opening night for Panto is at the end of the month, so I've got lots of work to do, getting ready for it. And two kids' birthday parties, Cameron and Caspar. And probably some other stuff. Oh, yeah, like Thanksgiving! It's going to be a busy, busy month. But methinks it'll be grand.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Well, I SHOULD Be Cleaning...

But it's been a while since I blogged. I don't know how other mommy bloggers do it. I suppose if it's a priority to blog, you make time. My priorities these days, I'm afraid, do not include blogging.

They include things like *being cast two more shows totalling three in all at the moment* and trying to find a dry day to play tennis in.

(That's my wee update ^ there. I am going to be Shelby in Steel Magnolias and the Voice in You Made Me!)

It's not to say I don't think about blogging. I actually think all day long 'Oh, that would be a good blog topic.' Like Monday I was in Tesco and saw they'd put out all their Halloween costumes, and I thought about blogging about Halloween. Problem is, I don't have much of an opinion on the subject, and not bothered enough to form one.

(For the time being, I don't have a huge problem with it on the surface, and while I don't really want my little children going as scary things, I do love fancy dress [dressing up], and I have no problem with candy either!)

Or I think about blogging updates, because something is always happening around here, but updates are SO boring, and they insult the writer in me. I started a blog to share interesting thoughts and stories with the world, not to tell them about my macaroni and cheese incident. I save that for Facebook.

Or about my new HTC Desire mobile phone. (Heh, I got a new phone and I love it! But I am not going to blog about it... even if I just did. Sucka!)

No, unfortunately, my little brain is overcrowded as it is. But I don't want to stop blogging. I wish I still had enough readers to do some kind of wide plea for blog topics. I used to have so many readers! I miss you guys.

Maybe if I had some good blog topics. Maybe it's time to hit Facebook again!

I can't believe I got sucked into Facebook. It's shocking and humiliating.

Okay, back to tidying and entertaining my kids (by sticking on Peppa Pig).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dancing Is Not a Crime

What a fantastic opening night! Last night was brilliant. I had so much fun with the show, and only made one tiny mistake in one of the dances. :D

Scott, my dad and Fifi came last night. Fifi LOVED it. Scott said she was mouthing along to all the words, until 'Holding Out for a Hero' started, at which point she BELTED it out. People three rows away were looking at her! By intermission, she was rolling her head and trying desperately to stay awake. (Ice cream at intermission helped, I believe.) She managed to stay awake until curtain call, at which point she passed out.

Oh, and she brought me flowers! How sweet is that. Thanks, Scott and Fifi.

I'll need to think to bring my camera tonight and get some photos backstage. But if you want to see photos of the performance, Inverclyde Now took some cracking ones.

My throat is still killing me. I woke this morning with no voice. Luckily hot tea and Manuka honey have helped bring it back. But I'm still trying not to talk much today to save it. Not only do I need to save my voice for the next two performances, but I have two auditions in just over a week for other shows and at the same time, my classes start, which of course, are singing classes. I really need a voice for that too. REALLY need it for that. How bad would that be if my first class was delivered with no singing voice?

Anyway, I'm having so much fun. Last night, a big group of people from the cast went out to a club, but I'm so glad I went home. Mostly because it was better for my voice going home and getting a good rest. But also I really enjoyed talking to Scott about the show. He really enjoyed it - and he's not a musical theatre person. It was fun talking to him about all his thoughts on the show and to hear him say he could pick out my voice from the chorus - and I was on key!

My dad seemed to enjoy the show too. Though (and I have to agree with him) he didn't think much of the Southern USA accents!!

So, two more performances. I'm incredibly excited. We're having lunch with others from the cast this afternoon, but I need to make sure I have time to make my chocolate no-bake cookies... Me and another cast member, Lee, are having a baking war. First night I brought chocolate chip cookies, but she outdid me last night with her brownies. I'm hoping I can regain some ground with my no-bake cookies, but honestly, I think her brownies have already won the war.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Everybody cut FOOTLOOSE!

Tonight is Opening Night of Footloose! I can't believe it! I'm feeling very excited about it, but also a little sad. If the show is tonight, then by Saturday night, the show will be done for good, and that's a bit sad. I've enjoyed meeting all the people in the show and seeing them regularly and making some friends. I'll feel a bit deflated when it's all over.

I'll feel a lot less stressed too but deflated all the same.

It's been a really fun experience for me. I thought after high school I'd never return to acting. As a stroppy teenager, I let too many things upset me and turn me off from the theatre world. But now, as a wiser (heh) older person, I realise that some of those things (the politics, the falseness of some, the arrogance of others) are just part of life in general and are not unique to the stage. As long as you keep yourself right and in amongst the right people (and at least play the game when you're with the wrong ones), as I've learned to do in all areas of my life, all this theatre stuff can really be a huge blast.

So, negativity aside (geez), I am SO EXCITED about the show tonight. It's typical that on Opening Night I'd wake up with a sore throat and the sneezes. But I'm drinking hot herbal tea with Manuka honey around the clock and intend to feel perfectly fine by tonight. I had some hot soup there too and that seemed to soothe my throat quite a bit.

Tonight is the night that Scott, my dad and Fifi come see the show. Fifi is ridiculously excited. She woke up this morning saying, 'Is today Footloose??' Then proceeded to prance around the house singing, 'Footloose, footloose!' while the rest of us tried to bury our heads in our pillows and go back to sleep.

In the car on the way to nursery, she asked if she could wear a crown to the show tonight. And she wants to dress '80's'. Apparently in her mind, crowns are totally 80's.

So it's gonna be a good day. I'm exhausted already, but really looking forward to tonight. I'm totally buzzing.

Though admittedly, that might be just a side effect of the lack of sleep, runny nose, and the four cups of honeyed tea I've had already this morning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Catch-Up Time

A Post For Relatives and Friends Residing Not Here

So I do not have anything wise, witty or wonderful to report, but I figured since a lot is going on, I'd better fill in those of you who do not see me but still give a rat's behind what I do.

And because I love bullet points, I present you with a bulleted list. Ka-POW!

* I have been very busy these past weeks with shows. Yes, shows, plural. My Sundays and Thursdays have been dedicated to rehearsals for Footloose, which opens in two weeks today! (Aughhh!) Mondays are now rehearsals for the Christmas pantomime (that link is for you Americans who are like, "What? Mime? Lori loves mime! Didn’t she win 2nd place at State for mime? Oh, not that kind of pantomime... Sigh.") (And I love how seamlessly I boasted my past high school victories as if they still matter to anyone ten years later. Ka-POW!) And then I'm also trying to prepare for auditions for Steel Magnolias which will be in less than four weeks. I am most nervous about that, because I want a part so bad I can taste it! (Slight quoting of Steel Magnolias going on there. Anyone know which part I'm referring to?) So busy, busy, busy with my new theatre life. Long live the stage and all that.

* As if one overly time-consuming new interest weren't enough, I've also decided that I love tennis. (Do I have an awesome husband or what? While I’m out gallivanting, he’s stuck in with the kids. But hey, as long as he is happy with his World of Warcraft and Eve Online, I think I’m in the clear for gallivanting.) I mentioned this previously, I know, but it's imperative that I let you know that I have become a genuine tennis fanatic. I have become a paid member at the tennis club down the street, and since then, have visited the courts nearly every day. I've not yet gotten to go with anyone my own age with whom I can actually play a game, so I've just been practising my serve over and over while the kids play with the leaves and the sticks. They do a bit of tennis playing themselves - well, Fifi does, Lolly just chews on her racquet - but they get bored easily so we only go for about half an hour to an hour each day. My serve is getting marginally better, meaning that about 1% of the time I serve it into the correct service box, so even going with the kids is proving to be useful. I do have weekly matches arranged now with my friend Becky, so soon, once that gets going, I’ll have some time to really get playing.

And I also now own three racquets. I might start braiding my hair like Venus Williams.

* Hair. Yes, on the subject of hair, I hate my hair. I knew when I cut it lesbian short that I would have to go through this awful growing-it-out period, but I kinda saw that as something in the distant future that wasn't worth worrying about at the time. Well, the distant future is now the present so blah, I've got icky hair. My last hair cut was abysmal, and I've held out as long as possible, but I can no longer stand the look of myself when I pass by windows and mirrors. So tomorrow, it's getting chopped. Still keeping the length at the top but getting all the underneath stuff shortened into something like this. I wish my dear best Amanda were here to do it for me. She’s a new stylist now, you see. I’m very proud of her.

* And now, to bring it full circle, a bit prematurely perhaps, I'm worried cutting my hair will decrease my chances of getting the part I want in Steel Magnolias. However, my hair looking like it does now will do me no favours either, so I guess it's every man for himself. (Another half SM quote that really didn’t make any sense right there.)

* I say that bringing it full circle there is a bit premature, because I'm not done! In other catch-up news, I've got a new job! I will be working 8 hours a week at Blockbuster. Ka-POW! I will make money and save money at the same time; make money by having a new job and save it by not having to rent DVDs anymore. Free DVD rentals every week, hurray! I'll be working evening and weekend shifts, so that I'll still get to spend the day with my lovely munchkins and still run my TinyTalk classes.

* Speaking of TinyTalk, this wasn't one of my original bullet points, but I'll throw it in. TinyTalk is going much better for me nowadays. I'd hate to get too optimistic in case it all goes to pot next term, but the Summer term and now the Autumn term classes have been nearly full. My Greenock Autumn class is nearly full and my Kilmacolm one is getting more interest and more people signing up every day. So I'm feeling pretty chuffed about that! Profit from that might be enough to feed my new tennis habit! Oh and of course benefit the rest of the family in some way... I might pay a phone bill with it or buy Scott a tennis membership, heh.

* All right, a couple more things, and that is all. I am still on a diet, though not a strict one, and feeling very positive about it. Because I'm not trying to crash diet or go overboard with a strict diet, I feel this is going to be very sustainable. It might take a bit longer to see results, but I'm convinced that the way I'm doing it is the right way and the pounds will actually stay off, because I'm trying to change my entire concept of eating and snacking into something that is much healthier and much more satisfying, rather than something that will just make me quickly lose weight. I am already seeing a difference. Saying no to cakes and sweets is actually easier than I thought, because I've realised the satisfaction I get from self-control is actually much better than the momentary pleasure of giving in. And when I do give in, it never feels worth it after the cake is gone. I've also realised that if I don't eat a good, nutritious breakfast, I am starving by mid-morning, whereas when I eat something healthy and filling for breakfast, I'm not even tempted to snack until lunch time. Who knew?

* And last, I'm getting very excited about my Dad's visit in a week. Oh my goodness, I can't believe it's only a week away. I really need to get my car hoovered out. Don't want him to know what kind of squalor we usually live in. Anyway, I am really looking forward to having him here. I’m just sorry I’ll be so busy with the play that week. That was something that didn’t occur to me when I convinced him to come in time to see the show. I just hope we can make good use of our time together before the show week and the daytimes of the show week.

Then a month after that, my mom comes to visit, and a few days after that is our trip to the Glenmorangie House in Tain! Heck, then a month and a half after that is Lolly and Scott's birthdays and then Christmas! What the...! Already planning both kids’ birthday parties, because I’m a supermom like that. Haha.

And there you have it. A run-down of what's been going on around here. And now, just lovely. Our internet connection is down. I guess this shall be posted at a later point in time. Scott and his WoW guild are not amused as this is a raid night. He’s a night elf druid (feral at the moment!) and was meant to be killing Halion tonight. Isn’t he sexy?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pregnancy Loss Week 2010

I'm wiping huge tears off my cheeks as I post this.

This week is Pregnancy Loss Week. I have never lost a pregnancy, thank God, but people very close to me have, and one very close person in particular. I don't think I quite understood just how deep the pain runs, but reading some of these blogs have opened my eyes to the pain one feels after losing a baby.

I have nothing more I can say on the subject, and I wouldn't even want to try. I just want to draw a bit more awareness to the subject, especially for those of us who have known someone who lost a pregnancy but haven't known how to respond or what to feel, so we can all start to understand one another better in the love of mutual motherhood.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Funniest thing this morning.

I was still in bed (out late last night at midnight swim in outdoor pool then Spinnaker after!), but Fifi was up having breakfast. She came and asked me if she could have a plum, and I said yes, but she'd need to get it herself (I'm such a good mother) so she went and got her wee stool and took it to the fridge to get her plum. I started to go back to sleep, when I heard a thump, a scream and Fifi cry out in utter desperation,


Scott, just out of the shower, ran through to see what happened, and I jumped out of bed. Fifi was standing on her stool, plum in one hand, and clutching herself with the other.


Scott and I burst out laughing. "Give me your plum and you go peepee first," he told her. She seemed genuinely relieved that there was now a plan of action for her to follow as she raced for the toilet, her plum safely waiting for her in her daddy's hands.

The difficult decisions children must make!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Blog Title

On a perfect lazy day
We lie on our backs and stare at the sky
And I make you bet on which cloud
You think'll reach the horizon first.

I know you know I'm just playing for time
'Cos I like the way you pay attention.
And even when your eyes get kinda scary,
I'm pretty sure I think they're pretty still.

If you don't cut your hair
I promise not to grow mine.
I'll be a gentleman
You'll take it as a good sign.
I'll generally annoy the hell out of you.

If I slur my words
It's because
I'm not sure
If I can say this.

I love you.

If you don't cut your hair
I promise not to grow mine.
I'll be your gentleman
You'll take it as a good sign.
I'll generally annoy the hell out of you.

Doo doo do doo, doo doo do doo, doo do doo.

-my song by Scott McFarlane

Diet Day Four

So, I've made it through day 4 of my diet, and I'm feeling pretty darn proud of myself. I went to Mother & Toddlers today, and there were TONS of yum-yums and cookies, and I didn't have even one! Just a cup of tea!

I've been eating my one bowl of muesli for breakfast (today I had a banana too), and my soup for dinner. Tonight's soup was kinda bland and boring, but I still ate it. It was full of veggies, just not full of flavour. I had a sandwich for lunch (bread is no good, but in moderation...) and all I had for a snack through the day was a couple of strawberries!

Want to know how I'm getting through my day without eating junk?

There is some cake left over from my TinyTalk party in a cake tin, and each time I pass by it, I think, "If I'm good ALL DAY, I can treat myself with ONE SMALL SLICE tonight." And so I just finished my one small slice of reward, and you know what?

I wasn't that bothered!

So maybe tomorrow I'll look at the cake and think, "Eh, just bin the rest."


Anyway, as for the exercise part, last night I went to play rounders in the park with some friends, but since only one other person showed up, we went to play tennis instead. I have decided tennis is my new favourite sport. I have a lot of sports that I enjoy, but I'm not good at playing any of them. I'm not GREAT at tennis either, but it was actually a sport I didn't totally suck at! Making me feel very motivated to try again and get better. I'm like that - if I can't take to something right away, I can't be bothered learning it. Like guitar. I took one lesson, knew it wasn't gonna come easy for me and quit.

But not tennis.

So I'm gonna look into playing more often. Maybe even look into a membership at a club. Maybe even look into lessons for Fifi (so I have an excuse to play more).

Only thing is, the other problem with me is I often fall for things hard, and then my excitement for it blows over, and I give up. So before I get TOO wrapped up in it, I need to play a bit more to make sure it's gonna stick. Scott enjoys tennis too, so he's up for playing with me. If we can get some kind of routine down (and a babysitter to match - Hi Granny and Grampa!!), I think that would make it stick better.

So to bring this all together, if I keep up my diet (and I think I might just go ahead and bin that cake, it wasn't all that worth it) and I keep up a bit of sporty exercise, I MIGHT just lose that wee bit of weight I'm hoping to lose. I'd love to feel fit and healthy again and look kinda good in the process.

So here we go Day Five!

Monday, August 09, 2010

New Healthy Kick....

I've been feeling rather obsessed about my weight lately. Not that I'm overweight, (and my friend Kieran didn't REALLY say we were fat), but I would rather like to feel a bit slimmer and more toned. I started trying to motivate myself by sticking skinny pictures of me on the kitchen cabinets to deter me from eating snacky junk, but all it did was depress me.

Then we went to a pole dancing class, and the photos from the event made me realise two things...

One, I need a tan.

Two, I need to lose the thunder thighs.

Perhaps THAT picture on my cabinets would do the trick.

So I made a plan. Not too regimented, as that would never work, but I took my motivated self to the grocery store and filled my trolley with carrots, peppers, broccoli, parsnips, tomatoes, asparagus, baby corn and various fruit. I also added organic, free range chicken and eggs, smoked mackerel and muesli. Yeah, muesli.

And a pair of welly boots for Lolly, but that was separate.

I plan to make soups this week with loads of veggies for dinner (and grilled chicken for Scott to add to the side). Lunches will be fairly normal things we usually eat, but I'll replace some of the less healthy meats with the mackerel, and our snacks will be smoothies and steamed veggies. Fifi even said she would eat the baby corn. We'll see.

So here's the thing. I hoped it would come out cheaper, even going for the organic, free range chicken products. But it didn't. Damn it.

I used to feel very strongly about the ethics of the foods we eat, but when you are on a tight budget, that kinda thing goes out the door. But after reading an article recently about all the antibiotics, water, and junk they pump into the chickens to make them sellable, I had a change of heart. I would buy the good stuff not because it's 'the good stuff' but because it's the normal stuff, not the sub-par stuff. And I would hope God would somehow reward me for my ethical behaviour by not making it that much more expensive.

Anyway, we'll see how long it lasts. I had a bowl of muesli for breakfast, and I even measured out an exact portion with my kitchen scales. (THAT won't last.) And it was a reasonable sized portion, much to my surprise. And because I bought one with loads of fruit in it, it was palatable. Unfortunately, that means loads of sugar (and not the good kind - dried fruit is packed with perserving sugars), but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day. I need to ease into the taste of 'healthy' stuff.

So, we'll see how it goes. I will also make more effort to get out and exercise more than just twice a week at Footloose rehearsals. I live in town, I could always take up running and thrive on the car horns and pervy whistles I might get to motivate me further.

And I've started using fake tanner.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Just discovered during the process of redesigning that my comments have all been wiped. My echo account was apparently only a three month trial (I had to switch because haloscan went bust) and after the free trial, I was meant to subscribe. I didn't subscribe (and don't plan to), so all my comments are gone.

Feeling a little sad about that.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The New Stylez

Hey, unless you read this blog in Braille, you can see I've updated its look.

I've also added an 'About Me' page at the top and updated the 100 Things I Said About Myself, as the previous 100 Things were not all necessarily still true (though I did come full circle with one which stated 'I am currently growing my hair out.' That was five+ years ago but true once again.). Many I left as is, but a few I altered.

Now, if you'll refer, class, to Article 4, you will see that I claimed to still know all the words to the Nutcase Kids Club Poem. I wanted to create a link to that poem for posterity, and this, dear children, is it.


The Official Nutcase Kids Club Poem.

All rise and place your right hand over your heart as we all recite together:

"Nutcases are we
As you can plainly see
With lots of giggling
About freshwater tea.
We laugh the most about
The silliest things
Like a caterpillar
With a hole in his jeans.
Green foxes, furry sharks
A six foot bug
And a banana that barks
So now comes a time the nutcases require
That this poem do retire."

At ease. You may now do silly little girl things like giggle at absolutely nothing at all, and shout things from the bathroom stall like, "Nobody here but us chickens!", which I distinctly remember one of us saying during one of the meetings, and of course, giggling uncontrollably.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Screw You, Ren, I'm Eating a Chocolate Bar and Getting Fatter As I Write This

When Scott and I got engaged, and we decided to live in Scotland rather than the US, we made one promise (well, we made a lot of promises, but for the purpose of this post, we made one) - that I would get back to Arkansas for my 10 year high school reunion.

We were young and in love.

Little did we realise we would have two children by that time and be living on one income. (Because, you see, we were young and in love and had agreed we'd have children after being married five years, because five years sounded like the right number, and there, of course, was no deviating from the future plans of your hero and heroine, thus making me adorably pregnant with my first and wearing European black and speaking with a Scottish lilt for my reunion.)

But alas, here we are, the year 2010, ten years after graduating from high school, and circumstances being as they are, I did not make it to my 10 year high school reunion.

Many people would breathe a deep sigh of relief at the thought of never seeing their old schoolmates ever again. Many people did not love high school as much as we did. If I may speak for my wonderful group of Forensics and Debate nerds, we all loved high school. We all loved each other. While we drifted apart the years that followed, I believe each of us still held a very special place for one another in our hearts. We had so many wonderful times together. We grew into ourselves together. We knew the best and worst in each other. Maybe time has tinted my memories rose-coloured, but I truly believe those four years together were some of the best years of our lives.

In a way, we were all young and in love.

But as all those wonderful people met together last weekend, no doubt quoting memorable lines from the many plays and performances we took part in, the many showtunes and pop songs we sang loudly and obnoxiously to, and the many still-funny inside jokes that wouldn't make any other normal person laugh 'til their sides ached, I was here.

And I felt rather lonely.

But I was not alone.

I have made new friends. No friends will be like the friends I used to have. Adult life doesn't cultivate the kind of friends you spend all night, all weekend, all your life with, experimenting with who you are and who you'd like to become. But I have made friends nonetheless. Friends who know the now-me, the mother-me, the wife-me, the grown-into-who-I-am-me. And I'm okay with that. The night of my reunion, I had three lovely women over, and we had a lovely time, and they are truly wonderful friends, who love Jesus and help me grow into a better Christian woman. And I have my 'mummy' friends, who challenge me to be a better mother and who accept me just as I am, that I can trust to show my truest self to and not be judged. And of course, I have my husband, who knew me when I was still practically a child and who loves all the parts of me, the funny, the hippie, the bitchy and the beautiful, and I have my children who are still young enough to think I can do no wrong.

But one hole remains - a tiny hole, and somewhat insignificant hole, but a hole nonetheless - the hole that my friends filled ten years ago. For with whom now can I share the interests my friends and I shared back then? Who out of all my friends now would quite happily spend a car ride singing along to RENT or practice a dance in the middle of the street or walk into a petrol station and pretend to be Audrey and Orin Scrivello, DDS, having an argument over Vitalis? Even Scott would rather drive nails into his arms than listen to showtunes in the car with me or help me read lines.

(Here's your mention, guys.)

Last night, I went down to the park to play rounders (baseball) with a few of the folks who are in Footloose. After rounders, those of us who remained went to the pub for a drink. We had a good laugh. I promised I'd write about our conversation on my blog, but really, the conversation was stupid and not worth writing about. (So Kieran thinks we're fat. Screw him.) But they are getting this mention (Kieran and Fifi) because they and others like them (Julie) remind me so much of those I grew up with. They're actors. They love musicals and the theatre. They have songs that have won Tony awards on their iPods.

We have sung RENT songs in the car together.

We have danced on the streets (no, literally. The looks Fifi and I got...)

We have not quite gotten to the Audrey and Orin stage yet, but I think I'd be okay if I never in life ever did that again. (It wouldn't be the same without PDub anyway.)

I'm not saying they are the new Zacs, Patricks, Amandas and Devons, but they make me smile.

So, yes, I missed my high school reunion. Yes, I cried when I saw the pictures afterwards, to see how grown up they've all become and yet how exactly the same they all still are. But life has gone on for all of us, and I know really we are all in the same boat, living our own current lives so vastly different and far from the lives we shared as kids. We all have our new friends, our adult friends, who know the adult-us, the parent-us, the who-we-are-now-us, and actually that's just life and it's just the way it is. No one can go back really. A reunion doesn't change the fact that being 28 is a hell of a lot different from being 18. But is one better than the other? I'd venture to say... my life now is immeasurably more satisfying, wholesome and fulfilling than it was even capable of being then.

And I love everyone who is a part of it.