Go, Go, Go Joseph!

This is my first year as the Producer for E’s school musical. It’s only my third year doing anything theatre related whatsoever. In this type of setting, the Producer requires no real talents or skill, just the ability to Organize and Manage on MASSIVE SCALES. I spend a lot of time on the phone and send up to 20 emails a day. AT LEAST. For the last week I’ve been staying up at rehearsals every night so that I can be the liason for the parents. Some nights I stay very busy, some nights I don’t have immediate tasks to do so I do whatever I can to help the real talent. I painted a chart for a prop. I’ve decorated cuffs for E’s costume. I’ve hot glued hats and I’ve made concessions signs.

In other words? I’m having the TIME OF MY LIFE. Amidst the chaos anyway. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned.

  • You don’t have to be able to sew, to help costume. Costumes often involve as much hot glue as they do thread. And I am the TOTAL master of the hot glue gun.
  • Don’t take ANYTHING OUT OF YOUR CAR until the show is over. During prep I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff in my car. Paint drop cloths, furniture, poster board, socks etc. Any time I’ve taken something out trying to “clean” I’ve needed it the next day. It’s like Murphy’s Law of Musical Production.
  • Some quick changes are impossible. A “Quick Change” is when a performer needs to change in an impossible amount of time. I’ve seen these kids do them in 15-30 seconds with the help of several others stripping off clothes and putting others on. But it turns out? There is a limit. E had to get back into his Principle Costume (Potiphar) before he bowed at the end of the show. He was in his chorus costume. I counted one night and he had FOUR SECONDS. They tried several shows and even adding velcro to parts of his costume to ease it? IMPOSSIBLE. So he exits his chorus roll one reprise early. THANK GOD. I watched one night and he has to change right off stage (in the “wings” for those of you who know these things) and I saw him strip down clearly from the audience.
  • If information is timely AND important, it is best to communicate it in MULTIPLE WAYS. Phone calls/voicemails seem the quickest/most dependable since so many only check their email once a day – but it turns out that is not the case. So, ALWAYS DO BOTH. People tend to get upset when they are missing key pieces of information. WHICH IS UNDERSTANDABLE.
  • If you are a crier, expect non-stop tears once you get close to and during production. Every time I see these kids rehearse under full lights and in full costume, I cry. They’re just so amazing and they’ve worked so hard and I just CAN’T HELP IT.
  • There is not enough coffee in the world, some days. Late nights. Early mornings. Jam-packed days between. Some days it’s just impossible to every feel…AWAKE.

If you’re local, I hope you come to the show. If you’re not – send as many good vibes as you can our way. Our first public performance is tomorrow night and the show runs two weekends. It’s an amazing (technicolor dreamcoat?) ride that I will be sad to see stop.


I put in more than 25 hours of time at E’s school helping with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” this weekend. It’s been amazing and I’m just in awe by the students and the adults working on the production. So much talent and they all make me so happy. BUT – I’m super tired and at some point in time yesterday evening – while I was still at the school bordering on delusional from exhausting – my husband texted me this picture.

I think it’s the closest I’ve ever come to ACTUALLY DYING from cuteness overload.

(Please excuse the ridiculously short entry. It’s SHOW WEEK!)

Team Mommy

Yesterday's 'Joseph' related activity

I know it seems like just last week that I was talking about how busy I was with Alice in Wonderland…but it was actually TWO weeks ago. Which is plenty of time to jump head-first into the show I’m actually “producing” (I put that in quotes because I don’t want anyone to take the title of “producer” too seriously as I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time) – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which opens to the public in ONE WEEK.

Hang on…I need to find a brown paper bag to breathe into. I’ll be right back.

Needless to say, life is still pretty hectic. I go straight from work at 3pm to the high school most days. Yesterday to tie dye shirts which was SO MUCH FUN! Often I leave to tend to the kids and/or dinner for a bit, or meet a group for a run, but then I go back back for the end of rehearsal. Since I’m the “Producer”, I like to be up there at the end of these last rehearsals so that parents of cast members can text me if they’re wondering if their child is done yet.

In other words many days go: 4am wakeup, 5:30 boot camp, 8-3 work, 3-5 school, 5-7 misc/home/run, 7-9 or later school.

Needless to say, that leaves minimal amounts of time to keep the family fed/clothed etc. I’m still doing a good job of getting food ready for dinners, Donnie does the feeding and the post-dinner cleanup. He does bedtimes many nights as well. But the basic domestic stuff, I’m trying to keep up with. But I needed some help. So I recruited Team Mommy.

I sat the kids down last week and explained that for the next four weeks (We have two show weeks for Joseph) things were going to be hectic and Mommy might be a little stressed. I told them that when they do things like forget to put their dirty clothes in the hamper, or put up their wet towels after a bath, that it’s like they’re not on my team because they’re adding work for me to do in the small moments I’m home. I explained that I don’t usually mind nagging them or reminding them but for the next four weeks? I need them to be ON MY TEAM and not make me remind them or nag them. I need them to go above and beyond what they normally do without me having to ask. I asked them if they would be on my team and they were VERY excited.

And guys? It actually kinda worked. I mean, they’re not perfect, but they do periodically do something like pick up their jackets or papers and exclaim they’re doing it for Team Mommy. Donnie wasn’t there for the initial pep talk and had NO idea what they were talking about. I’ve been able to just hint at stuff, “Guys…I feel like there’s some stuff Team Mommy should be doing right now…” and they’ll remember and go pick up their clothes or put their dishes in the sink.

Basically, it’s me begging them to do what they’re SUPPOSED to be doing anyway, but without having to be reminded so that I don’t come home at the end of a long day and see all of their messes that need to be picked up.

We still have three hell weeks left. And the hours will be less and less as those weeks progress as the nights will get later and the afternoons busier. But it seems like Team Mommy may be up to some of the challenge. I’m not saying it’s any sort of parenting revelation or anything, but I guess my kids are old enough to understand the concept of certain times being more stressful than other times. And that helping alleviate some of Mommy’s stress helps them in the long run.

At least they’ll understand it for a few weeks. We all know the lifespan for lessons like this are about 10 days. If Team Mommy makes it past the first show week, I’ll consider it a miracle.

Ready For Some Ew.

With this new blog layout I’m “supposed” to put a picture up with each entry. The temptation was quite strong to photograph what I’m going to be talking about. But instead? I’ll show you some flowers. To counteract the “Ew…” factor of this entry.

Last year when I started really running, it was to train for a local famous 10K. I ran on a lot of hills to train for it because the race covers a really BAD hill that everyone likes to talk about being dreadful. I ran in shoes that had always been fine for 5Ks, but the increased distance made me realize that the shoes were a bit too small. As I got several black toenails while wearing them once I started running more than about 4 miles.

One was on my big toe on my right foot. I’ve had black toenails on my big toes before, I ruined both of them after a bad hike several years ago. But this time seemed weird. It took FOREVER for it to fall off. It just did it last weekend. Like 8 months after the toenail was first injured.

There’s new growth under it and MAN, after the old toenail fell out? That growth started hurting like HELL. I treated it the way you would if you felt like you were getting an ingrown toenail. I soaked it constantly for several days. It always felt fine for several hours after I soaked it, as the nail was made more pliable. But I was waking up at 2am every morning in pain, needing a soaking. And of course, it took an hour or so to feel better and by that time it felt silly to go back to sleep. (I usually get up around 3:45 or 4am.)

So…basically I’ve spent the last several nights getting minimal sleep (going to be later too) all because of this DAMN GROSS TOE.

But I think it’s working, which is why I wanted to write about it as several of you have emailed me about your own black toenails. I didn’t have to soak it at all last night, even after my run. It felt fine. I slept all night without waking up in pain and this morning it feels fine too. It’s tender, for sure, the new toenail has no guidance so it’s going to hurt a little growing in, but I’m not in severe pain anymore.

I’ll probably soak it again this morning for good measure, but I feel better knowing that I got a reprieve. I was worried I was going to be doing soakings every 5 hours just to manage the pain until the damn thing crew substantially further along the nailbed. And in case you’ve never noticed: TOE NAILS GROW VERY SLOWLY.

You’re welcome for not showing the visual aid I considered initially.

An Open Letter To ‘Popular’ Bloggers

I read several “popular” bloggers. I put you in the “popular” category when you get frequent attacks of hate. I never said “popular” was a good thing. I often feel like it’s a bad thing.

I have only had hateful occurrences on my blog a few times in the last 8 years. Nothing major. Someone made fun of me for not washing my hair. Someone criticized me for not bathing my child every day. Obviously, the internet has a thing for hygiene.

I was upset both times, of course, and definitely publicized it too much. This is exactly what you popular bloggers tell us not to do: DON’T FEED THE TROLLS.

Yet, more and more lately I see you popular bloggers call attention to hate you’re receiving. Either directly or with snarky off-hand comments. Let me make this clear: my two instances make me totally understand the need to call out the haters. Inevitably, your supporters will jump to your defense and I don’t care what anyone says: THIS FEELS AWESOME. It helps dull the pain of the hate. Some days I wonder why more people don’t rally their troops in their defense.

But, I’ve been thinking about it a lot as a reader. And as a reader? It tends to hurt my feelings.

Let me explain. When you make an offhand comment about, “the people who email me telling me that by homeschooling my children I’m warping them for life” you are replying to the haters. It may be a funny, off-the-cuff comment, but the people who have sent you ugly emails about homeschooling? Take your off-the-cuff remark as a reply directly to them.

Why do I care? Because I really like you and I want you to make a comment directly to me.

I’m not sure if you think about it this way, which is why I wanted you to know that your readers do. Maybe we’ve commented on your blog (Not me, because I never comment anywhere) or maybe we’ve emailed you. Maybe we’ve sent you a tweet or “Liked” something of yours on Facebook. Either way – we probably read (and enjoy) almost every word you write. And chances are, you’ve never responded to us. Because you are very popular and busy and we TOTALLY GET THAT.

But when you take a moment to address a hater? It hurts my feelings because they don’t deserve your attention. They’ve done nothing to earn a response from you. Especially not compared to your fans which I’m certain are in greater quantities than your detractors.

I always tell my husband that I would like him to make a point to pay me 10 compliments for every criticism. This is how I wish my favorite popular bloggers would shift the balance. Look at how many times you call out your readers, or reference comments and emails. You should acknowledge 10 X more KINDNESS than HATE. I mean – everyone needs to vent about an obnoxious hater once in awhile. I wouldn’t want to deny you that, but maybe figure out a way to balance that out with several shout-outs to your supportive readers too?

I understand the need to add a curt reference to your haters, I don’t think anyone can resist that urge when bombarded with hate on a regular basis. But, maybe also add a loving reference to your kind commenters. When you reference your readers who think you spend too much time running, also reference the readers who thank you for your inspiration.

Just remember, your fans are quiet. There’s hundreds/thousands/millions of us out here who never give you anything other than positive reinforcement from the silence of our computer monitor. You only know we’re here because your stats tell you we are. You must trust that, because we come back with ever entry, that we love your words. Yet, when we see you mention those who dish out the negative, we feel sad because you rarely mention we quiet supporters.

And in the long run, don’t you want more of us and less of them? Because I like you a lot. You’re funny and kind and wise and you inspire me in many ways (Yes..I’m talking about YOU.) and I don’t think the haters deserve as much attention as you give them.

Me, on the other hand? I deserve the attention. Specifically in the form of Hot Glazed Krispy Kreme Donuts.