Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Christmas, 2013

Our teeny little table-top tree.
The much more impressive tree at my parents' home, where we open gifts.
From left to right, Rosie, Dash, me, Granddaddy Jim, Monkeyrotica

Dash's favorite Christmas gift!

Rosie's favorite Christmas gift!

Dash's 2nd favorite gift, still pretty excellent.
Rosie checks out a book from Santa.
A board game? Well, maybe Dash will enjoy it later.

Nobody's touching Rosie's precious LPS toys. Look away NOW!

I hope everyone I know had a fantabulously tremendous Christmas (or whichever Holiday you celebrate) and I wish you an excellent 2014. Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Whirlwind!

Here are the results of our holiday whirlwind, with photos and video!

Thursday, December 12th, 5:15 pm. Visitors' Day, Tap Class.

Rosie's Advanced Tap Class had a "Visitor's Day." The class pretty much went on as it typically does, only parents are not allowed to observe; this is the only day of the year we get to sit in and see their progress in class.

Rosie and her class got to show off her excellent tap skills while performing to music, such as "King of New York" from the musical, "Newsies."

Same Day, 6:30 pm. Holiday Concert at School.

Immediately after tap, we ran home  to get Rosie in her outfit for the Winter Concert: white top, black bottoms, black shoes. We were late. Thankfully, she left her cello at school because we probably would have forgotten it. Somehow, I managed to still get a seat in the second row of the audience (thanks to a friend). Here, Rosie's intermediate strings class (5th grade) plays "Jingle Bells."

I was surprised to see Rosie join the chorus group to sing during the choral program. She didn't sign up for chorus, and her name wasn't in the program for chorus! What she explained to me later is that her entire class signed up for chorus and if she didn't go, she would be alone in the classroom. So she just went, and enjoyed herself!

After the concert was over, I left immediately for my dance class — it was our last practice together before (foreshadowing...) our Holiday Performance on Sunday. 

Saturday, December 14, 10:30 am. Tae Kwon Do Belt Test.

We were invited to the Tae Kwon Do studio's Holiday Party on Friday afternoon, but were already feeling harried after all the driving around on Thursday. We took Friday off from all the hectic festivities, but were back on for Saturday.

At 10 am, I drove Rosie to the dojang to practice before she started her belt test at 10:30. I was excited for her especially because this would be her first time breaking boards at a test. She was testing for her Blue-Stripe belt (between green and blue).

There were some rough points for her test, and a bit of stress and handwringing on my part, but she did pass. Her best parts were her forms, which she performed beautifully, and the boardbreaking, shown in this video.

After the belt test and lunch (the test was over two hours!), the kids packed their suitcases for an overnight at Auntie M's. Always a fun time. It's an hour and a half drive, round trip, so by the time Monkeyrotica and I arrived home, there was just enough time for us to get showered, primped, and coiffed for...

Same day, 6 pm. Company Holiday Party.

 Monkeyrotica and I had RSVP'd yes to my new company's holiday party. I have been working there a few days shy of exactly one year, so I missed the prior year's fĂȘte by a slim margin. Attire was "cocktail" and the venue a suave tony nightclub in DC, so we dressed to the nines. In our own way. Monkey's idea of cocktail, or at least party attire is his black leather blazer and pants, black turtleneck, and motorcycle boots. We looked pretty good, anyway. I loved the colored glass chandelier!

I had fun with my favorite coworkers in the photo booth!

I was the designated driver, since I needed to be sharp for the dance performance the next day...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It all seems like fun and games until... THE HOLIDAYS

My parenting plan has been for each child to have one sport and one musical instrument in addition to school. Rosie has also shown an interest in the arts, performance and visual; Dash enjoys strategy games like chess. There are after- or before-school classes for any or all of these interests; I don't discourage, but choose what we can fit in very selectively.

When our pediatrician told me last year that the kids were both overweight and needed to have at least an hour of sweaty activity every day, I enrolled them both in tae kwon do. TKD meets three times a week, which covers some of that allotment. Their PE class only meets a couple days a week and lasts about 30 minutes, so that doesn't cover much. Rosie also has a tap dance class that meets once a week, and seasonally, I put Dash in soccer or track (each meets one day a week).

Rosie started the cello program at school last year, took weekly lessons through the summer, and (despite sporadic practice at home) is now a "leader" in the cello section, according to her Strings teacher. Dash is taking weekly piano lessons with a neighbor.

Performance Arts
In addition to Rosie taking tap lessons, I take modern dance classes and Jazzercise to stay healthy and have fun in my spare time. Rosie is in a weekly "art club" at school.

Starting today, there are non-stop winter performance/open house/holiday parties through the weekend. Thank goodness the piano teacher took a holiday — there is no piano party.

Thursday (today): 
5-6 PM, Tap Class Open House (Rosie performs)
7-9 PM, School Winter Strings/Band/Choral Concert  (Rosie)

5-6:30 PM, Tae Kwon Do Studio Holiday Party (optional, Dash wants to go)

9 AM, Jazzercise Holiday Party (optional, Nylon, going to bail)
10:30 AM - 12 PM, TKD Belt Testing (Rosie)
[no specific times] Taking kids to an overnight with Auntie, Nylon gets coiffed/primped
6 -10 PM: Office Holiday Party in DC (Nylon & Monkeyrotica)

[no specific time] Picking up kids from Auntie's, Nylon gets coiffed/primped/costumed
1 - 3:30 PM, The Dance Studio Holiday Program (Nylon performs with modern dance class)

I'm sure I'll make it through the weekend, but I'm crawling into a hole Sunday afternoon.

Friday, December 06, 2013

My tech dilemma

I accidentally submerged my iPhone last night. All the buttons work except for the main home button (circle at the center-bottom).

So, I need to get a new iPhone.

But before I get a new iPhone, I have to sync my old iPhone. I can't remember when I synced it last, probably because I came across the same error that I got this morning, paraphrasing: "iTunes could not back up iPhone because the current version is too old, you slacker. Update iTunes to a compatible version for this iPhone." (Also, I will never spell sync "synch" because whenever I see it spelled that way — like at work, 100% of the time — my brain sounds it out like "cinch" as in, "that'll be a cinch, honey!")

So, I need to upgrade iTunes.

I went to Apple.com and downloaded the latest version's .dmg. When it launched and began to install, it stalled and gave me an error message something like, "the OS running on your ragged-a$$ laptop is too old for this version of iTunes, you loser," and that I would need to upgrade to the latest OS.

So, I need to upgrade my OS.

I own an older MacBook Pro laptop, circa 2009 that's running OS 10.5.something. I'm fairly certain that if I upgrade the OS, it's going to break all the other software that's on the computer. Monkeyrotica is attempting to convince me that I need to break down and just buy a new laptop.

So, I need to buy a new laptop. (or refurb)

I'll just say here that my laptop was used primarily to for teleworking for my prior employer; they were kind enough to provide the programs I needed to do customer work from home. Long story short, I will need to break down and actually buy software on my own this time.

So, I need to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud. 

Sigh. I'm not sure what sort of year-end bonus comes with my new job, but I'm anticipating that 100% will be going into this tech venture. Thank you, Apple and Adobe for creating products that I can't live without and helping me dig myself into this tech-consumer hole.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Tetris theme, orchestral

As my sister or husband can attest, my very favorite video game growing up was Tetris. We had the ColecoVision gaming set back in the early 80s — all my friends had Atari, but my dad went with the "superior" (in his opinion) brand. And the games were pretty amazing! In addition to Tetris, we had Zaxxon, Donkey Kong, DigDug, Ms. PacMan, Q*bert's Qubes, The Smurfs, and Time Pilot. My sister beat me in most other games, but I'd like to recall that we were well-matched in Tetris, maybe with me having more high scores out of plain persistence.

So, while looking for something unrelated, I found this fantastic video of the Tetris theme song, performed by an orchestra in The Netherlands.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


A Thanksgiving letter from Dash:

"November 28 2013  Dear Mom 
Thank you for shelter. Thank you for food. Thank you for a place to learn. Thank you for love. And most of all thank you for a loving family. 

To my Blog readers: I'm so very thankful for my family and friends, and for a job that allows me to have a comfortable home and give my kids a good place to learn. 

I'm thankful that when November comes around, it reminds me that I should write more and document our lives better -- I use this record quite a bit to remind me of when events occurred! It's come in handy several times when school projects included a time line, for example. Now that November's over, I'll try not to slack off quite so much'

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bunny Adventures!

The bunnies have been having a grand time exploring the kids' beds, romping over piles of toys and burrowing under blankets. Rosie and Dash love it, too, and have been asking for "bunny adventures regularly. 

The first time it occurred to me to have supervised play with bunnies in the beds was after I found the bunnies escaped into Rosie's room (door left open a crack) more than once, and they were almost always in the bed. 

It's hilarious watching them burrow under the blankets -- their heads go up/down/up/down until they've made it through. They climb over all the toys and peer over the edges of the beds to check out whether it's safe to jump (from a loft-bed, no). 

I've read that rabbits need to be climbing/burrowing for exercise, as that's most of their activity in the wild. We're certainly glad to find a way to fill the bunnies' needs that everyone enjoys!

(Sorry for the blurry photos; the bunnies are just constantly in motion while they're exploring. It's almost impossible to get them to be still for a shot.)
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