Friday, August 25, 2006

Say What You Will

Say what you will, but Oprah Winfrey gets stuff done! This woman amazes me. Oprah's name is synonymous with spontaneous tears to me so much of the time. Case in point, her school for girls in South Africa.

I remember when she went all over So Africa to give out gifts to kids during the Christmas holidays years ago. I remember bringing my family to the TV to watch the show with me. While I cried again, seeing it for the second or third time, I wanted my girls to see how great it is to give and how little it took to make a difference in the lives of those kids. Kids who could not go to school for lack of a uniform, were given uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, shoes, and dolls that looked like they did. It was one of the most moving pieces of TV I had ever seen. One woman with a bazillion dollars made such a difference.

There are lots of people in this world with money, some or a lot, who give generously. There are way more who do not. In Oprah's case, she is in the enviable position to see where her money goes and to direct it to where it needs to be.

I just watched a video clip on CNN of Oprah's new school. She interviewed all the students herself. They had to be underprivileged and have above average grades. All the kids were brought to the school in typical Oprah style, under false pretenses. She then told the 150 girls on the stage that they would be the first students accepted into the Oprah Winfrey School for Girls. The girls jumped up and down, their families in the audience were thrilled, I cried. Tears streaming down my face crying. It was just such a magical thing to watch.

I am thankful that there is an Oprah Winfrey in this world. I am also happy she is not a politician. She can get a lot more done in the private sector. Although, we could use some smart, kind, generous, loving, caring, hard working, HONEST, promise keeping public officials in this country. Unfortunately, I believe they broke the mold when Oprah was created. Wow, what a woman.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's been too long

I have been thinking about posting. I looked at the date of my last post today and couldn't believe it has been almost two weeks. I truly don't have much to say though. Things are pretty mundane around here.

I yelled at a solicitor on the phone yesterday. Well, not really yelled, but told her off. I was stern and apparently not very nice according to my kids. In my defensive, these people had called yesterday, NINE times! In their defense, I didn't pick up the phone until the ninth time. Our phone tells how many times somebody calls and it adds up until it is erased, so I knew exactly how many times these people had called. No need to be here to count. When I saw they were at eight calls, I was already pissed. Their misfortune, that they called again. The phone rang, their name shows up and I asked Katharine to hand me the phone. She passed it to me as if they were a sibling in big trouble!

The poor girl on the phone, told me she was glad she got me because she had two specials she wanted to tell me about. I told her I didn't want to listen to her specials and that I had asked once before, that they stop calling me. I told her I didn't want eight or ten phone calls a day from them any more and that I would never order from them again, so take me off their list! For an instant I thought she had already hung up on me, but she was still there and said, "okay."

When I got off the phone, my girls were sympathetic to her. "That was sooooo mean!" "She was only doing her job." "I feel sorry for her." I explained that I was not trying to be mean but to get my point across to the little girl up in Nebraska who would probably have a lousy night because of me. For that, I am sorry. However, I am not sorry about telling off the company. Seriously, I did one online order with them because it was a pretty good deal. I didn't know I would be subjected to a plethora of daily calls for eternity. Hopefully, it is all over!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Little of this and that

There are two woodpeckers that I hear the same time each morning. I took my camera out on Monday and listened to their sounds to finally find one. I snapped one bird's photo, but never did see the other. The photos are just too far away. I just saw the woodpecker again and I am dying to know what kind it is. It doesn't look nor sound like the kind we are used to having around. The name completely escapes me at this point. Then again other things do to, I blame it on menopause or perimenopause, as it seems to be an epidemic amongst my friends and myself. Does that sound right?

This is finally the last weekend (three more shows) of Narnia! Katharine has a couple of weeks of play time or sleep time. Zoe is bored and would rather be back in school. The first couple of days are usually fun too and that is exciting to look forward to.

Spring registration seems as if it just ended for Girl Scouts. Now we will begin Fall Registration for those who didn't, wouldn't or couldn't sign up during spring. Not to mention, well, actually I am, Fall Product sales begin too. I am in charge of that as well. And while most of the nuts are are a good deal at $5, they are raising them. So, get out your quarter or two and pay the newly upped price of the GS nuts, in the can I mean. The cashews are still a good deal and they are really good. Usually they have some kind of peanut brittle or something in a nice holiday tin which is a perfect gift for a teacher, paperboy/girl, mailman/woman, gardner and anybody else you may want to give a small gift to during the holidays. Some people are upset by the quarter or fifty cent increase. I see it as a nice challenge for some of the younger girls to learn to count back change. A lost art if you ask me. And, these girls will tell you thank you. Not wait til you say thank you and then tell you, you're welcome. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I may not have a lot of hobbies, but I have many pet peeves!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I am off to get some yummy tomatoes among other things at the farmer's market with my friend Jana. We have make this a Saturday morning ritual. It is great fun. We have known each other for about ten years, when she was my youngest brother's girlfriend. We have an email and phone relationship and didn't see each other nearly enough. Now we see each other every Saturday morning before everybody gets up!!!!

Happy weekend and nice cool weather to you all.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Things work out

Sometimes things work out and I am happy about that. The play is good. It is fun and cute, but was way too long on opening night. I was not in attendance. It was three and a half ours! Their first show with out interruptions from the director and so they didn't know it was going to be so long.

Last night we went to see the play. We had a lovely night. We started by having dinner at a restaurant called Mozambique. My brother, sister in law, niece and her non-boyfriend were there. As well as a couple of my friends with their daughters and hub's in tow. We were escorted to a room with a long table and huge chairs with very high backs. The table was beautiful. We had a delicious dinner and felt like royalty. It was a nice change from the first time I went there, with the same two friends, and had terrible service.

After dinner we went to the high school for the play. They were handing out fans to the audience since the air was not working. Luckily we have been having the most beautiful August weather I have ever seen. In the seventies! We had record heat then pleasant heat. I am sure we are in for more heat until November or so. Anyhow, we had front row seats. The show was very good, the little kids were such hams and really were cute! The set and the costumes were stunning and could have easily been from a Broadway show. We were told by a friend and mom of two of the leads, that they cut the last scene. Apparently the producer made that call. He said he didn't want people walking out. Unfortunately the scene they cut was the scene when the kids come back thru the wardrobe and talk to the professor who has also been to Narnia. It would have tied it up a little better, and I don't think another ten minutes or so would have changed much. However, it was still good. The kids got lots well deserved accolades and it was worth all the long miserable nights of rehearsing. I am not convinced it was worth all the yelling the kids endured though. These are my thoughts, not Katharine's. She is pretty happy with the play.

One show Friday, two yesterday and one today at three o'clock. Now she is home with her friend spending the night and absolutely no plans for the next few days. A nice change for them. Four more shows next weekend and done.

I haven't seen my brother and sis in law since Christmas and we got to see them twice in one weekend. We saw them last night and then today as well. We headed inland to meet at a restaurant to get together with my cousin who is visiting from the Sacramento area. I don't think we have ever seen her without our folks being around. It was pleasant though. She told me that her mother (my aunt) said she should have been my mother and visa versa for her (my cousin) and my mother. She was the good daughter and I was the wild daughter. So true, so true. I told my cousin the least my aunt could have done was give my mother some pointers on how to deal with a wild child!!!

Yesterday would have been my parents 53 wedding anniversary. A week from yesterday, next Saturday, will be 8 years since my father's death. He died a week after their 45th anniversary. She, eight months later. I really thought about my mother today since seeing her sister's daughter. I miss her and my father.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's Frustrating For a Mom to Watch

As most of you know, Katharine wants to be an actress. She loves it and everything about it, including rehearsals and auditions. She misses it when she is not in the theatre or acting, she told me last night. Well, right now, she hates it and it is so heartbreaking to watch. I realize she is tired and over wrought, but she was so sad last night when she got home from rehearsal for Narnia.

First off, we got home at midnight. She got to rehearsal at 5:00. Katharine tells me each night how the kids get yelled at. She tells me how the director tells them not to ask questions. They should not "bother" her with questions. Some of these kids went thru a workshop to be in this play. These are very young kids and for some, this is their first play and perhaps their last! I feel so bad for these kids whose spirit has been broken by this director and the other "adults" in charge. These kids would no sooner sign up for this abuse again next summer, nor probably forget that it was this particular theatre putting on the play from hell for children. I would love to tell this director what I think of her and her tactics and how she is effecting these children. I would love to tell her that she is not doing anybody any good by making examples out of some kids and embarrassing them in front of their fellow cast members. I will say, most of the kids understand what she is doing and are very supportive of the "outcast" of the day. I cannot tell this woman any of these things though. It would be like me going to the school bully and telling him to leave my child alone. My child has to deal with this, not me. Although, if I were a mother of a younger kid, I might just have to jump in.

I realize these kids need to be tough for this complex play. They need to pay attention and work hard to make the show a success. Everything they do reflects on the rest of the cast, crew and the play itself. I can see why the director would get aggravated by kids not doing everything perfectly, the show opens tomorrow night. However, it is a show full of kids. Kids are particularly hard to direct, I would imagine. The way to handle them is not to constantly verbally abuse them. It is not to continuously yell at them. I know from personal experience that it does not work and it can scar for life.

The last few nights I have been at the theatre, waiting in the back, listening to how these mostly young actors and actresses are handled. They are constantly talked down to. They are afraid to ask questions they need to ask. I heard one young boy ask a question and he was told if he were not goofing around, he would have known the answer to that. He is a kid. A five year old. He goofs around! Especially after being in a seven hour rehearsal, ending at midnight! She cannot simply tell him the answer in a nurturing, quiet manner? Of course not, it is the theatre and they need to be professional. If she answered his question, she would have to answer everybody else's.

I have spent countless nights telling Katharine that this is the profession she has chosen. She will be working with lots of people with whom she will not agree, like or respect. She will be fortunate to work with people she likes, agrees with and respects. In this business you need a tough skin, I tell her. She knows. She really does. She is very talented. She is very critical of herself. She shows up on time and she works very hard. She has several costume changes and gets yelled at because she cannot get her wings on. Only one person knows how to put them on and he was there for one costume change last night. These are multi layered costumes. Beautiful costumes, but hard for adults and kids to put on. There is no down time with this play. She is running back stage to change and have her makeup redone after each scene.

It is a tremendous undertaking to put on this play in the six weeks or about that. Especially with the cast being children. My problem is I understand both the director's frustrations as well as Katharine's, but beating them down night after night is no way to solve anything. Katharine hates this play and doesn't want to perform it nine more times. At least last night she didn't think she could. She knows she can and she will. Will she ever work for this playhouse again? Probably. Will she ever work for this director again. Not likely.

The set is beautiful. The costumes are amazing. They have pulled out all the stops to put on a very fine production. Hopefully they will pull it off and everything will come together tomorrow night. I wish success to everybody. I would love to hear how fun it is at the end of the day, but I am unlikely to hear that. Which is the saddest thing of all. This was supposed to be fun!