I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Losing Sleep

So...I am NOT a morning person.  Most theatre people I know aren't.  It is hard to be a morning person when the bulk of your work day happens between 6-midnight.  The problem is, not only is it hard to get up, I find myself groggy a good portion of the day...until about 8:00 pm.  Hence the caffeine problem.

Anyway, a friend was touting the wonderousness of her new alarm clock, and since I am desperate not to feel quite so desperate about sleep all the time, I thought it might work for me.

I find that I sleep deepest in the early morning hours-I'm guessing between 4-7.  Even when I have a rough night of sleep, that is usually when I can nod off and catch a few hours--but that is exactly when I need to get up, waking me in the middle of some serious deep sleep cycles.

Introduce a light therapy alarm clock.  I was a bit skeptical, but the desperateness kicked in so I bought one from Costco knowing I could return it.  It took me about a month to get used to the thing (I've been using it almost 2 months now), but I LOVE IT.

This is how it works:  a half hour before you the alarm is set to go off, it begins to slowly change the room from dark to light.  Your eyes are sensitive to the light changing (like a sunrise) and although it doesn't wake you (or me, at least) it transitions you naturally out of that deep sleep.  Mine has a radio, which I have used as a waking device for years, but this one turns it on really really softly at first and then gets louder--so no more shocking sound to get you out of bed.

I still go through a series of snoozes (I am a sloooooow riser), but find that once I'm up, I'm awake. The biggest difference I've noticed is that I'm significantly less groggy throughout the day.  And by big difference, I mean huge.  Which must translate to more pleasant, don't you think?  I haven't gotten any outside confirmation on this, but in my heart it must be true.

You can adjust the level of brightness of the clock (I had it a bit too bright at first and it actually gave me a bit of headache) and like I said before took a little getting used to.  I'm not getting paid by the companies that make these, but you can read more about them here.  It sounds a bit hokey, but I'm a believer.

If you want to check them out, you can get this one on Amazon, or this one at Costco (this is similar to one I have although a bit more expensive-they had it on coupon which means they probably will again).

I'm seriously thinking of getting one of these for William, poor thing, he has my sleep wiring and getting him up and going in the morning is killing both of us.

**Post Edit:  I forgot to mention one of the best bits!  Because this clock slowly lights up the room, you never have to switch on a light on a cold dark winter's morning and then squint and shrink away from the light...it is already light.  I love this.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Report: Good Omens

Good Omens; The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

If you have not read this book, stop whatever you are reading right now and read this one.

I'm not actually kidding.  I've read this book several times, and tend to go get it and read it when I'm a bit of a slump because it is just so funny and irreverent that it puts me in a better mood almost immediately.

Also, there are witches and witchfinders and the child of an American attache that ends up being named Warlock and the Devil's child (the anti-Christ) who is supposed to end the world as we know it) ends up being raised completely normal in a village in England and who not-so-coincidentally is named Adam because of a mix-up with satanic nuns. And also Adam gets sent a hell hound for his eleventh birthday, and I think it ends up being a mutt terrier....seriously.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, right at the beginning:

"Firstly, God moves in extremely mysterious, not to say circuitous ways.  God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time."

That kinda sums it up.  Also there is a good angel and a fallen angel (featured on the cover of the book, they vary...I have the fallen angel on my cover, go figure) who are friends and who rather like the world.  The good angel misplaces his flaming sword repeatedly and the bad angel has a bad habit of turning all cassette tapes (the book came out in 1990..) into Queen's Best Hits.

So.  Feeling down?  Having a bit of a row with God, or religion or maintaining your sense of self in a crazy Christian freak show of a world?  Then this is a good book for you.  Or maybe you'll hate it, but then I can't see any reason for you to be on my blog, because you probably hate me too, and if I were the Bloggess, I could use my powers of language to tell you what to do and where to go and what to do with yourself, but I think some of my moms come on here and read my posts, so I won't.  But I'm thinking it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bring It ON....

I am a very healthy person.  This is not to brag; it is a genetic thing that I have little control over and I will take it.  It has served me well over the years.  The most serious thing I can complain about is that I'm a bit allergic to nature. Achoo.

But for almost a year now, I've been uninsured.  I would have liked to be, but both the huge enormous places I work for took it upon themselves to limit the amount of time I could work so that they would not have to provide me insurance and also do not allow you to buy into their insurance (which I would gladly do).  Super moral.  Way to take the high road, guys.

So, like I said, I'm healthy.  But the what-ifs were plaguing me.  What IF I got hit by a bus?  Or a student.  I work on two college campuses...people are always getting hit by students.  Or What IF I only seem healthy but something dark and sinister is just festering below the surface.  Did you know the number one reason people are driven to bankruptcy is due to medical bills?  Seriously.  You can die OR you can have health care but go broke.  Those are grim choices.

Anyway, I've been excited about the Federal Health Care stuff, but that got a bit dampened by, well you know...that whole meltdown that was the launch of the website.  Geesh.  In fact, it was probably me all along.  I couldn't get it to process my application (which I tried to do very early on) and so I called in (sooooo many times) and every time they logged on to retrieve my application....the system shut down.  Ooops.  My bad.  So they removed my application and it kinda seemed like overnight things started working better.  Sorry about that.

Soooo, apparently they can't deny me an application, so they very carefully filled one out for me.  I wasn't allowed to touch it, and that did the trick.  Next thing you know I'm picking out a plan and paying my premium and lo and behold THE CARD came in the mail.  Which makes it official.  I am among the insured as of 1/1/14.  I haven't used it yet, and they were kind enough to assign me to a Dr. Levine as my G.P.  and I'm really hoping I don't have to use it soon, but I'm thrilled that I no longer have to worry about the What IFs.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ice Ice Baby

I took the citizen to the ice castles up in Midway Saturday.

What??  You don't know what this is?  About 40 tons of ice in a parking lot.  Awesome ice.  And coming right on the heels of Frozen, very well timed.  It was about all I could do not to break into song.  Especially since Olaf made an appearance...

They have a nice little website here where you can read about them and see some great shots and video. We went during the day, but I hear they are awesome at night too.

But mostly, I couldn't stop myself from thinking about the film from the 70's.  You know which one I'm talking about, right?  It was kind of awesome back in the day.  No?

Well, here's a little video to remind you.  Because if you go visit the ice castles, you should definitely have this song playing through your mind the whole time.

*If you do decide to go to the Ice castles DO check out their website and pre-purchase tickets.  This will save you a ton of time in line, especially on the weekends.  Also, the ground was a good 4" deep in slush when we went, so boots are really a must.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1978-1991 A pictoral History

So this weekend I had a bit of cleaning and organizing to do.  Another bee in my bonnet, so to speak, and it involved all my "memories" and photo albums and stuff.  I was giggling to myself so much, I decided to share the love and put a few of those hard copy memories on the interwebs for all to enjoy and to be forever and ever and ever.

One Face Book friend commented something to the effect that I if was willing to put that out there then I might be difficult to blackmail.  True words.  Also, I am pretty confident that although that High School girl was a mad energy ball, she was probably a lot of fun, and turned into a pretty OK adult.  With slightly less energy...but hey, whatever.

The pictures, in turn, prompted gaiety and chuckles all around Face Book, which I think we can all use.  The 80's were a fantastically awesome time to be a teenager in southern Utah...and it is well documented.  I wore a lot of acid denim, had long permed hair with serious bangs, drove a 1976 blue dodge dart (which we painted hippy flowers all over...I need to find a picture of THAT) with tie-dyed seat covers....it was our ride to destiny.

If you didn't already see these, enjoy.  If you DID and were a part of the action, I wanna see some of your memories.  BECAUSE WE ROCKED THAT WORLD.  We rocked it hard.

This is a little gem that I didn't post onto Facebook...so much sass.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Family Photos

Last Saturday The Citizens and I had photos taken.  This is a big step for me, because 1.  I don't like to have my pictures taken and 2. Getting pictures of me & my two people (just me & my two people) is a big admission and *deletion* in our lives.

We had family pics taken about 2 1/2 years ago, because I really wanted to make sure Anna understood that no matter what, we were still a family and that she had at least one family photo from her
childhood with all of us.  Well...it was a near disaster and lead to a accusation that we were just "pretending".

Well, there is no more pretending.  There are only three of us, and I think, we look more complete than ever.

I've thought a lot about what makes up a family over the past month or so.  In the most recent week, Utah was able to get that stay on same-sex marriages from a Supreme court judge, and while I think a lot of people are disappointed, I don't think anyone is surprised.  The thing that got me thinking was the original state argument about how children do best with one mom and one dad.  Well...truthfully, how many families actually look like that anymore?  And while I have no grudge against traditional families that make it work, they are few and far between.  If the state's argument were true, what would be best for my people?  Well, I can tell you.  The person or persons who love them best.  And for us, that's me.

And while I'd love to take all the credit for them, the old adage is true: It takes a village.  I need their teachers, and Primary teachers and dance teachers and piano teacher.  I need neighbors and in laws and friends.  I need Megan to go get them from their theatre class because I'm stuck at a tech rehearsal and I need in laws to watch them overnight so I can go to a conference and I need Liberty to go get Anna who just puked at school, but since I commute on the train it will be an hour and half until I can get home.

Anyway.  I digress.
If you'd like to see a few of the pics and case out a good photographer for yourself, check it out:

Andee McDonald Photography.

Which ones do you like best?  I'm not a good judge, but I want a new pic for the main page of the blog, so help me pick!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Footloose and Fancy Free

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you already know that back in December I paid off my student loans from Grad school.  I was pretty happy and pretty darn pleased with myself.  But yesterday, the OFFICIAL letter came.  Meaning, officially, I no longer have student debt.  I didn't have to take out a huge ton of loans to get through grad school, but even still it took nearly TEN years to pay it off.  And I'm not even a Dr. or anything.  Geesh.

But I will never grouse about education.  In my opinion, it is seldom wasted.  Because of my MFA, I am able to work in a field I enjoy with people I like and provide (well enough) for The Citizens....now if only I could make it full time at one place...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome 2014

Whew.  We made it.  I don't know about the rest of you, but 2013 did its best to take me down. Remember when we were all happy we'd survived 2012 and the End OF The World? Yeah, well, I think that doomsday stuff may have stuck around a little longer than absolutely necessary.

 Luckily, I have sturdy Kansas farming stock in my genes and a low center of gravity, not to mention I have a slightly greater than average streak of the ornery in me.  So I survived, as, I surmise, did you.  We always do seem to, don't we?

Lots of people go around NOT making new year's resolutions this time of year, but I say BAH HUMBUG to that.  I like new year's resolutions.  I like a fresh start and a new year is a grand time to take stock and decide what you want to make better.

It doesn't matter a jot that most resolutions don't quite get there, because some of them do.  I know I'm a far cry from an optimist, but if everyone just made one small improvement to their lives every year...well...it means we're getting better, right?  I like thinking I might be a better person at the end of the year and not just a year closer to death.

So...what did I resolute last year?

I usually try to learn something new.  Last year I started taking piano lessons.  Yup, not content to force The Citizens into something I wish I'd done as a child, I took it up.  And truth be told, I'm not near as bad as I could be.

I was going to drop a few pounds, and I did.  13.  (HUh...maybe that right there is the source of my troubles...)

And there was a third that I do not remember.  I wrote it down somewhere...
AHHH!  I remember.  I really wanted to pay off my student loans!  And I did.  Just under the wire too.

This year?

  1. I am going to continue my learning in the same area.  Unlike other years where I could learn something in a year (like knitting), this one may require more than one.  I may never be a wonderful piano player, but there is something rather soothing to sitting down and producing music. Plus, I think it helps my brain, and since I am sure I will live forever, but am slipping into dementia now, this is good.
  2. A few more pounds.  The last several years have included more cupcakes than are good for me, but hey, we all seek therapy in our own ways...so be it.  The holidays set me back a few paces, but I think I'm ready.  And I have a plan.  One should always have a plan when heading into battle.
  3. And lastly (you really shouldn't get carried away with goals and resolutions..otherwise they become a burden and you give up and just eat ALL THE CUPCAKES) I would like to be more present.  So much everyday is taken up just getting from one place to another and checking stuff off the list (worthy enough to be sure) but being able to appreciate moments and be more at peace with oneself...seems...well...better.  I deserve to be happy, and yet, there is no one who can do that for me.  I'm not entirely sure how to go about this one, so I did what I always do and got a book.  I'll let you know how it goes.
What about you?  Are you a resoluter?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Handmade Christmas

I know Christmas is long gone, but since I didn't get to exchange gifts with one of my besties til last night, I couldn't post anything yet.

I love making Christmas gifts, but they take time, and quite frankly, not everyone appreciates the time it takes or the end result, so I'm pretty careful with who I will make gifts for anymore.  If you'd rather get a gift card from me, that's probably what you'll get.  But I do have a handful of people in my life, talented in their own right, that I know love and treasure hand made gifts, and for them I will do it...

I didn't even get started until Thanksgiving this year, though, so my ability to make and gift was a bit hampered by time.  And I decided to embroider.  Which I don't actually know how to do.  But I did.  I don't think I could sell my wares at a gift bazaar, but I think my friends liked them, and I had fun doing them.  I found retro patterns and they were so fun!  I especially love the Chicken and rooster dating/wedding/mating series for my chicken artist friend.

Do you do handmade gifts?  What do you do?  Are you picky about who you'll give them to?