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2017 Goals

  • write to my grandmother every six weeks or so
  • call my moms every month or so
  • cook/eat better
  • clean out and organize my writng/craft room
  • re-institute the cleaning plan
  • publish six books by September 2017
  • reach 120 to 125 pounds
  • walk the dog three times a week

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Friday, October 28, 2011

BAND OF THE WEEK

We had a football game last night and it rained again. It was also supposed to be Middle School Night for us. This when our feeder school bands come to the game to play with us. Unfortunately, they were late and so in turn we were late. Plus it was raining and it was *COLD*. And for some reason they changed venues on us again. (WHY???) Had we stayed with our original stadium, we would not have been (as) late.

By the time we got to the stadium, it was decided that the middle schoolers would get their snacks and then go back to their schools. As far as we were concerned, the show would go on. Sort of. Only the drum line would get to play. Luckily we were the away team, so we weren't responsible for playing the Star Spangled Banner.

The other team's band played the SSB and then left. Their cheerleaders left. Their drill team left. They had three--and I mean THREE--people on their side of the stadium.

When our band marched into the stands, our team was losing, 6 to 0. The drill team was in place and the cheerleaders moved on to the track and off we went. Our drum line played cadences and kept us all going. Yes, it was cold, yes, it was wet. But the rain sort of stopped for a while, so it really wasn't too bad. At least I didn't think so and I am not fond of the cold by any stretch of the imagination.

When our team finally made a touchdown, the band SANG the fight song!! Cool, huh? :) I wish I'd had my camera to get a picture of that.

We left at half time, winning 9 to 6. I was told the game was called at that point as it was too cold for the players on the sidelines.

So I nominate the Highlander Band as the band of the week for the FWISD.

Go Hills!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Accomplished!

Whew, I'm tuckered out. But I feel so accomplished. :)

Yesterday, DD and I spent the afternoon doing yard work.

First we made two trips to the dump; first trip was to haul all the trash from the office/warehouse that I'd bagged; second trip was a bit more we couldn't get the first trip from the office and then the small pallets, the broken awning frame, some scrap wood and the cardboard box that the new shed came in from the back yard.

After that, we ate lunch and caught our breath. Then we were off to home to tackle the front and side yards.

I worked on the holly and got it trimmed back somewhat. I did, however, come to the conclusion that it'll be much easier to A) clear out all the dead leaves underneath it, and B) shape it and keep it shaped nicely, if I get a chain saw and cut the individual bushes back to their main trunks and start from scratch. Some of the off-shoots were too thick for the hedge trimmer to cut, so it looks a bit misshapen. On the other hand, it looks 100% better and the holly no longer tries to poke you when you walk up the ramp. :)

DD did all the edging of the curbs and driveway and all the mowing. I bagged all the hedge trimmings and monkey grass and magnolia leaves--we have nine bags of leaves, trimmings, and grass! And that was just the front and side yards.

We still have a few tasks to do in the front, but it looks soooooo much better. I have my lists and have crossed off some tasks and added a couple more.

Today will be recuperation day. Neither DD or I are used to so much physical exertion in a single afternoon.

Can't wait to continue...!
Monday, October 24, 2011

Moving slow, but still trucking...

I'm pretty tuckered out. It was a long, busy weekend.

Friday night we (the band) had a football game, of course. It was homecoming. We were visitors (HUH??) and we lost.

Saturday we attended U.I.L. We didn't advance to area, though a lot of bands didn't. I am of mixed feelings about this. Yeah, it would have been way cool and a lot of people in the know at the competition couldn't believe it, but on the other hand, we're all tired and ready for marching season to be over. While it was a very long day, one good thing was that, in the end, we didn't use the prop. It was too windy and there weren't enough helpers to wrangle the prop as well as the pit percussion onto the field. The band director was disappointed, but I was relieved.

Saturday night we had three extra boys spend the night at our house, so...one of the boys, bless his heart, said to my son, "You have a cool house and really cool parents." Awww...

Sunday we (some of us) worked Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

Needless to say, I didn't get much done in terms of my yard. I did get a mower and a weed whacker and I have my plan in place. Tomorrow I'm taking half a day and DD and I will be making a dump run and attacking the yard.

I'll keep you posted.
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Slowing down, but not by choice...

Well, the warehouse now requires someone with knowledge. Knowledge of all the stuff that needs going through--either what it is and whether its any good or whose it is and what we need to do with it.

There's also the "boneyard"--a pile of parts. Mostly computer cases and broken CD rom drives and the like. They're going to the dump if I have any say so. No need for the junk to be cluttering up my space.

Work is really S-L-O-W right now and I am so bored. :( Today I brought my cross-stitch. And my iPad with my new game on it.

I wish I could go home and be productive there. Or buy a new (to me) lawn mower and weed eater and get started on my yard. Or sleep. Yes, I could close my eyes right now and sleep for a couple more hours.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Progress!

I did some cleaning! Not at home yet, at least not the things I mentioned yesterday. (But I did start the lists!)

Part of our office space includes warehouse space. We keep our boat and pop-up trailer in there, as well as our beloved Dodge Durango that no longer runs. :(

But in addition to those large items we have A LOT of crap. It's the catch-all place. If we don't know what to do with it, it goes out in the warehouse.

I'm tired of the mess and chaos there too. So I decided that every hour or so, I'd get up off my butt and work on something in the warehouse.

I filled one whole contractor bag (the super large/strong trash bags) with trash, another with foam--the stiff kind that comes in around computers and stuff. I have two stacks of cardboard--small boxes and large boxes. And a pile of miscellaneous trash like an old mop, used fluorescent light bulbs, and boxes of Sheetrock mud from when my father-in-law taped/bedded/mudded the wall. We'd had a large window looking into the warehouse--we took out the window and replaced it with wall.

Now, there's stuff set out all over the floor so that DH can see what we've got and make a determination as to what to do with it. Our boxes and boxes of archived paperwork are stacked neatly, though they need another go-through. Any and all tools are being collected and set in a big pile so they can be put back into the correct cases or cleaned or both. Boxes and spools of cable are all in one spot.

There's still a ways to go, but I'm feeling good about it. I'll keep going until I've run out of steam or it's done.

And I've started my lists for my yards: front, back, and sides. The overall project seems much more manageable now that it's been broken down into smaller, easier to accomplish tasks. Now I just need energy, time, and the right tools.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

spring er...Fall Cleaning

I'm feeling anxious to clean. One of the reasons I hate remodeling/home improvement projects so much is that the house is never really returned to the state it was in before the project started.

Case in point--we had a new roof installed at the end of June/beginning of July. There is still a pile of tree limbs in my yard from where the roofers trimmed the tree over one side of the house. There are still two small pallets leaning against the house, one from the shingles and one from the new shed. The large cardboard box that held the shed pieces is still lying next to the trash bins. The new shed DH wanted rather than the money is still empty. There was a ramp into the old shed and decorative rocks thrown behind it. The rocks and the concrete pieces are in a huge pile outside my back door.

Case in point--we had some work done inside the house at the beginning of August: flooring throughout the house and new door and window casings in many rooms. The large saw used to trim the casing is still in the (sorta) finished garage and there's sawdust everywhere. (We use the garage for storage, not cars.) All sorts of things that were moved into the garage while the house was in chaos are still in there. There are three boxes of flooring in my bedroom, stacked at the end of my bed. There are no vent covers over the two large rectangular opening in the hallway for airflow into the A/C unit--hubby wanted custom-made wood ones.

At first the weather here was unbearably hot, so the yard remained trashed. Then school started (marching band/football games) and it was still hot. Now it's October and while it's cooler, we are navel-deep in marching contests and those things will wear you out.

BUT I want my yard back and I want my house back and I want my garage back.

Where to start, where to start?

Maybe I need to make a list, breaking these projects down into small, easy-to-accomplish tasks.
Monday, October 17, 2011

U.I.L. Here Comes the Highlander Band

Next Saturday, we'll be traveling to the U.I.L. competition. According to those in the know, we have a fantastic chance of advancing to area. Our program is better than two years ago (the last time the band was eligible to advance) and the performance is outstanding.

This past Saturday, we attended "pre-UIL". We got scored (all 1s and 2s) and received comments on what's good and what needs work. This week will be cleaning up all the minor issues. Not to mention homecoming is this week. So we'll be out late Friday for the football game/homecoming--but, thank goodness, report time to school is not until noon-ish, so everyone will be able to sleep in!

If we make area, marching season will extend one more week. We are all on the fence about this. We're all tired. The kids are obviously doing most of the hard work, but those of us supporting the band (DD and me and one dad who drives the equipment truck and those handful of prop helpers who have to load and unload the equipment truck) are feeling the strain as well.

Still and all, I think it would very neat if we make it. It'll look good on Sonshine's scholastic resume. And if we do make it, it would only be the second time in the history of the Highlander Band. Even better!

*fingers crossed*
Monday, October 10, 2011

I must be boring you...

...with all the marching band stuff, but that's mostly what life is about this time of year for those with children in a high school band.

We participated in the USSBA competition this past Saturday, which turned into somewhat of a disaster.

So it's October in Texas...well it's obviously October everywhere...so what does that mean? Not much really. The weather patterns are wonky everywhere and after the summer we had, well...I don't even know what's normal anymore. All I know is that rain is welcome, any amount, anytime.

Except Tuesday evenings, Thursday or Friday nights (whichever day we happen to playing), or Saturdays during the month of October.

Also the wind. Good gravy.

The marching band prop this year is really just a backdrop. The competition music is called "Phoenix Rising." The prop is seven 8' panels velcroed to seven frames with the music "logo" (a phoenix) and the title painted across them. The panels are made out of 4' x 8' lightweight insulation panels duct-taped together to create 8' x 8' panels.

On Thursday it was windy, but the band director insisted we proceed. Luckily the wind was blowing mainly north/south, which is the way the field is situated. Once we got on the field, we were good to go. It was the getting the prop put together (because the panels are not on the frames for transportation) and onto the field that was tough. Once we were lined up on the field and hiding behind/on the rolling platforms, everything was fine.

The competition on Saturday was a whole 'nother ball game. It was even windier and we didn't have enough people to assign two people per section. So we lashed to carts together. A good idea in theory. And it would have worked beautifully had there been NO WIND.

There was wind however. Great continuous gusts of it. It was nearly impossible to assemble the prop (THANK GOODNESS we arrived first and performed second which just meant we had time and space and no audience whilst wrestling the prop.). It was tough. The prop took some licks, but we finally managed it. It was difficult to get the props on the field--part of that was my fault--but once we got situated, it got worse. We ended up having to take two of the panels off their frames and the rest of us were fighting to keep ours in place long enough for the band to complete their performance.

We managed it. Just.

We didn't know if we were going to the finals, but we already knew the props wouldn't be regardless, so packed onto the truck they went.

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon of watching other bands, most of them much larger than we.

We took first place in our division and made it to the finals, though it wasn't much of a victory since our division consisted of two schools. But we took all the awards--music, color guard, etc. Whatever they gave out awards for, we earned them.

Finals were supposed to be a better test of our capabilities and talents--all the first place schools would be competing against each other. There were eight or nine schools that made it.

Fast forward to 6:30ishPM. The finals begin at 7 and, this time, we perform first. Weather had been brewing all day, but remained (safely) to the south and west of us.

At 6:45 I excused myself for a last trip to the restroom. No sooner do I return to the group when the wind changes and the temperature drops by a good 15/20 degrees. No kidding. Just like that. If it wasn't such bad timing, it would have been really cool. I'd never really experienced that type of change before.

Anywho, we were on the verge of darkness, and now the weather is heading our direction.

But the show must go on!

And on it went.

After we played and hauled butt back to our bus and equipment truck, which were parked at the very other end of the parking lot because we arrived first that morning, we loaded the instruments and dug out rain ponchos. And had a snack.

Except the weather was pretty much upon us and they moved the rest of the competition to the gym. Then one of the parking lot guys was telling us to get inside and fast. I had already started shooing the kids on the bus since the rain was starting to fall and the lightning was creeping closer.

The band director had gone back to the stadium to see what was going on or to get scores or something and had taken the two other official teachers with her--so now I'm in charge of 40-some-odd teens.

Now I've got to get everyone back off the buses and headed toward the gym. Oh, except wait--two of the kids had gone to use the restroom! So I had to wait until I saw them returning and redirect them toward the gym.

So we finally get into the gym and watch the remaining bands play. Several had dropped out--needing to get on the road because of the weather I imagine. Just a note--this competition is mostly basically a warm-up for UIL in two weeks. It gives freshmen a chance to perform at this stadium to get a feel for the size and the field and process. So if you drop out, there's no major impact. And of course with the weather, it's understandable.

Unfortunately, because the competition was interrupted by weather and only two or three bands performed outside and the rest (that stayed) played inside, it wasn't a fair contest. So.....

They broke it up and gave out two sets of awards. One for the bands who were able to play/march on the field and one for those who had to perform at a standstill in the gym.

So we were cheated out of an opportunity to compete against larger, better funded bands in other divisions because of weather. Yeah, we took first place again. But to me it is a disappointment in that we didn't get a true opportunity to shine and to prove ourselves.

But the kids were all kinds of AWESOME!! (most of them, anyway :)

I'll try to get some video.
Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm still here...

I have two posts partially written, but then I got distracted and busy and haven't had a chance to finish those thoughts.

Anywho...

We had a football game last night and it was the first time to utilize the props for the half-time show. Grrr...the band director thinks we're super heroes--and I guess to a certain degree we are, always pulling off these prop feats. :)

It was windy last night and the the props are tall and light weight and wanted to roll all over the place and/or flop over. We really need two people per section--one to pull, one to push--not because the pieces are heavy (unlike last year) but because they roll away and sideways quite easily.

And I didn't get to see last night's half-time show because I was behind the prop holding it up. I'm a bit bummed because, according to the band director, they pulled it off--even after many things were re-written and re-choreographed. This morning they'll be tweaking last minute minor issues in preparation for Saturday's competition.
Thursday, October 6, 2011

Skating...

I've been skating, figuratively speaking.

I'm the band booster president. I'm not doing what I probably should be doing, though to be fair I don't really know what that is. The band director isn't that warm or fuzzy. She's not that forthcoming and she's incredibly busy. October holds not only football games, but marching competitions. We even have one of each on the 15th.

As the days and weeks and months have passed, I've learned the things I should have done. So far, I've been reactive, rather than proactive. And some things just can't get done after the fact. :(

There was no booster club last year and the director took on what she needed to. I don't know what the organization was like before that. The bylaws hadn't been looked at/updated/amended since 1984--and if they had, there was no evidence of it. There's no policy and procedure manual to say what should be done and when and by whom or what committees there should be. I'm sort of re-inventing the organization. Lucky me (and I say that *very* tongue in cheek.).

I have a pair of meetings this Thursday--a board and regular booster meeting. I hate these things because all I seem to do is beg people to give, whether it be bottle water, a case of soda, a box of snacks, or their time by taking the TABC training and working the concession stand. It's not my favorite thing to do and so far it hasn't really worked. I'm not really sure what it is I should be saying and doing otherwise. But I know as a parent I wouldn't to always be begged for help I may not be able to give.

Today and tomorrow will be spent preparing for both meetings. I got a lot done last week, thank goodness, so it'll mostly be finalizing agendas and jotting down notes.

Once we get through October and the last of our competitions, I can turn my attention to the bylaws, the policy & procedure manuals, and the next event: the Christmas concert. We talked about providing concessions as a minor fundraiser, so one of our discussions will be about that.

It's time to get a handle on this band booster thing--wish me luck.

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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America