Busy and Wonderful Weekend

 On Friday we had the absolute joy to see Matthew in The Pirates of Penzance, Jr. at his middle school. He completely wowed us. I mean, parents have a certain understanding of their offspring -- he's the one with the witty non sequiturs. She's the one who makes the leaps of connecting seemingly unrelated ideas. He's the one who loves vegetables. She's the one who only wants meat.

But there are times -- delightful and wonderful times -- when a child surprises us. When their talents or cleverness or charisma just surprise the pants off you. This was one of those times.

Matthew had deliberately not practiced much at home. So, we had no idea what to expect when we arrived at his middle school auditorium. His rich baritone rang out over the crowd (and much of the cast). His humorous stage business and line delivery were both charming and appropriate. He was a star.* What pride and joy!

Saturday morning I went for a longer-than-usual-for-me run. I've been trying to get back up to 5K form, with my eye on some longer events later in 2015. So far, I'd been doing 4-minute run intervals, broken up with 2-minute walk breaks, over about a mile and a half -- a few times a week. But on Saturday when the timer went off in my earbuds, I wasn't ready to walk yet. I skipped the break. And the next one. I ran twelve minutes, then took a four minute break and then ran another ten -- for a total of 2.3 miles. And I felt fine.

Fine enough that even after we had friends over on Saturday afternoon for a few hours and hosted Game Night** until 1a.m. that night, I wanted to be back outside again as soon as possible on Sunday morning.

So the family took a three-mile walk to/from the local Mom & Pop grocery for milk and cinnamon buns.

We mostly chilled out for awhile, and then I did my stage management things at Rent rehearsal. And then Joe and I had a movie date at the not-so-nearby-but-way-nicer-reclining-seat movie theatre to see Kingsman. A thoroughly enjoyable, violent but humorous in our kind of way, movie. I hope there will be a sequel.

And now ... back to work and proctoring standardized testing for the rest of the week. Bleah.

*He evidently has such a lack of pecking-order sensibility (the opposite of his sister), that he didn't even realize that having the last bow in curtain call is an honor and something every actor strives for. Despite his years of exposure to theatre, he'd never picked up on that little tidbit. He didn't know he was actually the lead.

**Over 30 people played Texas Hold 'Em, Bang, Pandemic, Hoopla, Cards Against Humanity, Forbidden Island and other games. And ate fabulous and yummy foods. Our "Monthly" Game Night has become quite a thing. I'm bummed that theatrical pursuits*** are getting in the way so we can't host one in April.

***I'm Stage Managing and Joe's Assistant Stage Managing Rent. We open on April 17! Tickets are on sale now.


So Many Things ...

So, I directed a show. It was a phenomenal success creatively, financially and personally. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments and even prouder of the growth of the cast. The look of the show was just what I'd envisioned and the performances exceeded my imagination. It has been a long, powerful experience and a blessing in my life.

And, a la Adrienne Martini, I'm sharing this list of links I've found in my recent Internet travels.



It's amazing what stress does to the immune system. Over-scheduling ... worry ... poor sleep ... germs ... worry ... BAM ... bronchitis and sinusitis and a perforated eardrum.

I guess it's the body's way of saying, "Chill out, man, go back to bed ... relax about all that stuff." But, I would rather not, thanks. Not if this is how it has to happen.

A hammock by a mountain stream with some knitting and/or a good book (and good broadband service) is more my idea of relaxing.



I'm a busy person. I have stress about money, work, family ... all the "normal" things.

My schedule changes this Friday, for the new marking period at school. The classes I'm getting are some of the most challenging groups in the building, and I lose one of the precious free periods of my day, as well. I am directing a show, about to stage manage a show, and my son is a lead in a third show. I teach classes at night in addition to my day job, and I co-lead an after-school club. I do the traditional "mom" stuff at home and act as major domo/cruise director for our family's extracurricular activities, schedule and socializing.

None of this is meant to sound boastful. I like busy. I thrive on it, really.

It's just meant to be an explanation and even apology of sorts to my friends, family, self ... if (when!) I neglect to count my blessings and choose instead to dwell on stressors and negativity, please forgive me.

A friend of mine is currently going through one of the toughest times anyone should never have to face. Family members (myself included) are grieving and working through the unpleasant family politics of bereavement and inheritance. Other friends struggle with health issues and un/underemployment.

My immediate family is well and safe and generally happy. I must remember to feel grateful for all I have and all I am rather than focusing on what I don't have/wish were different/regret I've done.


Well, That's Awfully Nice to Hear...

Sometimes you're having a perfectly mediocre day and then your student evaluations make you feel as though maybe, just maybe, you're really meant to be an educator. Now if only someone in higher ed would hire me ...

  • Professor Dugan is one of the best teachers I've ever had. She is an excellent teacher and a wonderful person. She is fair with her assignments and the work load isn't all that bad. The class was one of my favorites this past semester because of the classroom environment. On top of this, the class itself is really interesting, and the literature is really good for the most part.
  • The instructor was amazing and will help you want to learn the material as well as just be in the classroom. Moreover, the content and books that are read are short and interesting enough that I would recommend this class to anyone, even those that do not like to read.
  • The material was very clear cut and easy to understand. The professor was very relatable, friendly, and helpful.
  • She is a very good professor and she made the class very enjoyable. I liked talking about all of the stories we've read in class and she made them more understandable and clear as well. I would definitely recommend taking the class
  • Highly recommended to take this course with this professor. She is very understanding and really strives for her students to comprehend the material in her lessons. She was my favorite professor this year and I can't wait to have her again next semester
  • Great professor. I took this class as a biology major senior so for me it was a nice relief class. I appreciate the worldliness it gave me. I feel I am more well rounded, and can participate in conversations about American Literature.
  • AMAZING class! Professor Dugan is the best professor I've had. She's exteemely personable and I would most definitely take any class she's teaching.
  • Professor Dugan is one of the best teachers I have ever had. I expected to not like the course at all because I am usually not a literature person, but Professor Dugan always makes the class extremely interesting and fun and it ended up being my favorite class. I learned a ton and I have a newfound love for literature because of this course.
  • Professor Dugan is an okay professor, her feedback on my assignments seemed kind of harsh and did not really do anything except make me feel down on myself. I also do not like the fact that the only grades you have for the class are test/quizzes a final paper and a final exam. 


Blogging is Less Convenient

I have had an item on my to-do list since late September ... blog post. I keep forwarding it week by week in my to-do list app.

Due to recent changes in our school district security, I can no longer access Blogspot while at work. I use to blog during my lunch break. Now, apparently, I have to fund time at home to actually sit down at my computer and post something. You can see that this hasn't happened.

Until today.

Emily and her mellophone
Today I don't have school. Joe and the kids have theirs, but my district is closed in recognition of Veteran's Day (which is tomorrow). So ... a catch-up day all to myself! BLISS!

(I may or may not still be in my pajamas at nearly noon.)

Most folks who read this blog are also my Facebook friends and are therefore aware of Dugan goings-on via status and photo posts there. So, it's not as though I've been entirely incommunicado.

It's just been awkward to blog.

Matthew and his sousaphone
We're currently in prep-for-holidays mode around here. We have all the Christmas lights and decor down from the attic and have been triaging things and making plans for where everything will go in the new house. An artificial tree has been purchased for the front window and various accoutrements for the planned 12-foot real tree in the family room (or, as it will be known for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Twelfth Night ... the tree room). The spare room is being reorganized and cleaned for guests. Meals are being planned and grocery sales taken advantage of in advance. Christmas cards have been orders, though not yet written. Most gifts have been purchased.

All this on top of working three jobs, four nights a week of marching band, cooking, cleaning, and trying to do odds-and-ends to improve and repair the house.

It's been quite a blur.

Still, this is day five off from work (in a row!) and I feel relatively rested and ready to resume. Marching band has all-but wrapped up for the season. It's just about time to settle in. For the first time since 2007, we will be spending Christmas day in our own house, just the four of us. I cannot even tell you how terrific that sounds after this fall we're having.

Busy is nice, but I'm ready for some not-busy for a little while.



Today's to-do list had twelve items on it.

One of which is writing a blog post.

I've checked off four items, but added six new ones.

Today and tomorrow, we get paid. Once I pay bills, we have maybe $100 to last until the next payday.*

My bursitis seems to be alleviated, but I still have no idea what caused it.

Joe turns 44 on Wednesday. That is an age that once would've seemed very old to me. When I look at him, he seems very nearly the same Joe I met in 1989.

 I miss being onstage. Like a sickness.

My brain is rushing ahead to the future (planning for Thanksgiving, Christmas, next summer), rather than focusing on the present. This leaves me feeling both rushed to complete all the tasks (though many have deadlines weeks or more away), as well as feeling like life is passing me by (though it's my own fault my focus is so misplaced).

If anyone wants to give me some mums for my front porch, I'd be most appreciative.

Next up on the house projects: spackling, sanding and painting the finished basement.

*I really need to plan ahead better for my four missed paychecks in the summer. Otherwise, September and October are just always a fiscal nightmare.