Category Archives: Family

An American Institution

Nope, not my usual Eye Candy Friday.

A preview of tonight, with last week’s pictures: last week where I went to my first high school (American) football game in over thirty years.

But really?

I went to the game to see the BAND.  (Doesn’t everybody?)

In particular, there was a bass drummer I was anxious to see strut her stuff.  The smallest bass drummer, in fact.

She was FIERCE.  Drumline rules!

Last week was hot and muggy, and the mosquitoes came out for the halftime show, too. Tonight should be perfect football marching band weather, cool and clear.  No rain, no snow.

It’s early in the season, as school had just started last week, but here’s two of their pieces as recorded last week, the first one featuring the percussion section, and the second one showing their drill (the marching).  Chuck Mangione FTW!

Razzle Dazzle ‘Em

Yes, I’ve been razzle-dazzled. It’s been another show choir weekend! As have been most weekends. With the RockStar’s show choir (that is, the parent organization; that is, including me) putting on a show choir invitational smack in the middle of February. Which would be the reason posting was scarce in February….

The Gothlet is done with her middle school show choir after tomorrow night’s performance. She’s done great.

So much progress, and she’s had a good time.  Even though 8th grade girls tend to tower over their partners, in their heels… (well, that’ll change, soon enough).

She’s supposed to be looking pained in this sequence, by the way.  They’re being ‘awkward’ in ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.

Not awkward in the ballad (not that she usually is awkward, anyway.  My brand new teenager):

However, middle school show choir is for fun and for practice for high school (at least here) and the time involvement is like most other after-school activities.


It’s high school show choir that takes up all the time, however, as this is a competitive and intensive endeavour which is treated as a two-season sport.  The rehearsals, workshops, performances and travel to such take up a LOT of the kids’ time, and a reasonably good chunk of time for the parents, too!

So, yesterday, this sunset is almost all I saw of the Saturday Sky, for example:

Given work in the morning, show choir in the afternoon, back home briefly, and back to show choir finals in the evening! Then waiting till the awards ceremony (the RockStar’s school didn’t win, but they’ve made finals in every competition, so a very solid season).

I guess I never did show you the RockStar in all her show choir glory, as I’ve been too busy living it.

You saw “City Lights”: here’s another photo from that piece.

Then the tearaway dress is torn away…and it’s “Havana”.

Followed closely by a dance solo for her in “Never Dance”.

The costumes are pretty striking, all together.  The final pose:

The ballad slows it down.  A Disney medley of “Part of Your World” and “A Whole New World”.

Then the boys do a version with added humor of the Beach Boys’ “California Girls”, followed by the girls doing Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”.

Time for a beach party!  The boys join the girls for a medley of “Beach Blanket Bingo”, “Surfin’ Safari”, and “Surfin’ USA”.  The RockStar returns to front and center.

Last, fairly recently added, a new ‘closer’:  “All Night Long”, the Buckcherry version (YouTube link).

RockStar isn’t in the front for that one, so no good pictures of her: here’s the best.

Here are several of her good friends, though, burning down the house.

Isn’t it exhausting just looking at the pictures?  (But aren’t the kids great?  You should see them in person!)

We’re all tired, though.  And the RockStar took one for the team yesterday, with a jaw injury incurred when her partner did a quick turn at the wrong time, and his shoulder hit the angle of her jaw.  She couldn’t quite close her mouth all the way for the rest of the show…luckily, choir involves opening your mouth wide rather than clenching your teeth, and ice, rest, ibuprofen and time have taken care of the swelling, so all is working again.

Sprained ankles (which we’ve had), I expect in dance, but I admit that I didn’t anticipate having to ice my dancer’s face last night!  Ah, well, we watched part of “Fiddler on the Roof” while she iced.  And things are much better this morning.

All this spectating time has led to some knitting progress, though the mittens are not conducive to knitting during other activities nor to knitting in the dark.  So they are showing slow (though definite) progress.  My goal is to have them done before the calendar says it’s spring.

This blog post is quite long enough, though, so knitting progress will have to await another post!  Hopefully all the razzle dazzle will make you completely forget about the fact that this is a knitting blog which has only had one knitting-related post in over a month.  To aid in forgetting:  More razzle dazzle!

Blue-ish Skies, Bright Lights, Blue Shawl

Today’s Saturday Sky (Skies) I actually got to see, before and after work:

Cloudy, snowy morning.

Glimmers of blue around the high clouds later.

As the flurries came and went,  chased by a north wind.

However, last weekend, I only saw the sky in the early morning.

That’s because after work, I spent the rest of the day indoors, watching this:

Yes, the show choir competition season has begun!  The RockStar is in the varsity high school show choir this year, as a sophomore.  Rehearsals started late July, believe it or not.  Competitions run through March.  Weekends are going to be a different proposition from now until then…

She loves it, though.

And, as an excellent dancer, she is in the front most of the time, and has two dance solos as well.  Brava!

I spent the rest of my day after work at the competition, which was local; the show choir performed in the early afternoon, finalists were announced at dinnertime, the choir performed again in the finals in the early evening, and then the results weren’t announced till after my bedtime.  (Their choir did well overall, placing fourth among 16 or so (I forget exactly).  Plus one of their vocalists was selected ‘best female vocalist in show’.)  Long day for everyone.  But I hung in there…. aided by knitting.

I worked on my Aestlight Shawl, my third iteration of the border, trying for smaller borders taking up less and less yarn since I am running short.  This border, I ‘unvented’, in the words of Elizabeth Zimmermann, though I am sure it’s published somewhere.

This is as small as I think I can get the edging and still have it balance the body of the shawl.

And I really like knitted-on edgings, which is what the shawl calls for in any case.

So do you think I’m going to make it?

Nah.  Me neither.

More yarn is coming from the dyer!


My Rat has the stomach flu.

Here, yesterday before the onslaught, with her sister in Reed Pipe costume.

I just had a tooth pulled today for a failed root canal, and the timing could have been better for that.  (Could have been worse, too, though.)

And I am not going to have enough yarn for the edging of my Aestlight shawl as written.  One repeat took 0.8 grams.  I have 14.8 grams of yarn left.  There are 30 repeats needed. Nope….

Though I do like Astrid the dyer’s idea of ordering more of this absolutely gorgeous yarn, I also want to get this done, AND I confess that the edging (which is more complex than the rest of the shawl, being ‘knitted lace’ worked on both the right and the wrong side) took me longer to do even one repeat than I would like, and required a surprising amount of concentration comparatively — thus I will probably first try changing the edging to a smaller and easier edging.

I have to come up with one first, though.   Which will take me a bit of time that I currently don’t have, between Nutcracker, work, recovery, and all!  So in the meantime, I’ve picked back up a project that was dormant, but that I should be able to finish by Christmas:

A Chevron Scarf (Ravelry link to pattern) in eye-popping colors requested by the RockStar.  I don’t have a decent picture yet, but soon, I hope.

Speaking of Nutcracker, thankfully the Rat is feeling better tonight and should be able to make final dress rehearsal tomorrow, as well as play percussion in her band concert.   Whew.  Now to hope and pray that no one else gets the flu….

First Snow

Yes, we had those flurries before….but yesterday, Saturday morning, I awoke to the first real snow of the season.

The Saturday sky started out cloudy, as it continued to snow in the morning, and then gradually cleared up as we dug out.

I had snow on my lap inside the house, too.

No, no roof emergency, nor open windows.

This snow.

My older daughter, The RockStar, is in the corps de ballet in the Snow scene in the Nutcracker ballet this year.  (Yes, ’tis Nutcracker time again.  The performance is next weekend.) She volunteered me  — when I was not there — to sew her Snow tutu.  I needed to hem the bodice and sew it to the skirt, then fit the bodice to her and sew alternating hooks and eyes.  I haven’t really sewn since middle school, and my teenager doesn’t sew at all, more than sewing ribbons and elastics on her ballet shoes.

Mom?  I’m  sorry about that Madrigal singers dress with the train that I volunteered you to hem in high school.

Really sorry.

This is Hallowe’en, This is Hallowe’en

….Pumpkins scream in the dead of night.

I would too, if I saw that.

The Gothlet, as a (cracked) doll.  She kind of freaks me out.

The RockStar was considering dressing up as a Mean Girl a la the movie (teenage villainnesses for our time, I guess!).  But after putting together part of a Santa Girl costume, she found a beard in the dress-up chest and couldn’t resist.

But then she ended up going to a party instead, and not trick or treating.  Pity, in a way!

They had fun; I stayed behind and handed out treats.  My husband was off playing a gig (a memorial and fundraiser for his drummer, sadly, who died suddenly recently).  He’s still there, and I hope it’s going well.  Musicians often don’t have insurance, as he didn’t.  His short illness and funeral thus racked up bills for his family, which the benefit concert aims at defraying.

So, good thoughts for the still ongoing gig, and back here at the ranch, I hope you all had a good Halloween. I will leave you with the teen’s pumpkin, which she worked hard at carving.

It’s semi-Greek to me, but everyone else recognized it!

ETA: link to the original for those who don’t recognize it either; granted, handicapped by the photo being taken at an angle. (Still, thanks, you make me feel much better!)

Rock Star Weekend

The RockStar had a busy weekend (which means we did too).  Many dance classes & rehearsals (recital in two weeks), confirmation today with attendant events last night and afterwards today….lots of homework…and in between all of that, performing at State Solo and Ensemble competition, in a quartet with three friends.

(I have a bit more to tell you about Sock Camp, but family — obviously! — and work obligations have been interfering.  But I needed to share this with you first…)

On this glorious spring day yesterday:

the RockStar and her friends stood up in front of a judge and a few others in a recital hall at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and sang Billy Joel’s “Lullabye”, a cappella.

It gave me goose bumps.  And I don’t think it was just because I was the mother of one of the singers.

So I want to share it with you.

(The judge seemed to share my opinion. They earned the highest score.)

What a Difference A Week Makes

A week ago, palm trees.

Yesterday’s Saturday Sky:

At about 7 am, halfway to Altoona, Wisconsin.

Why Altoona?  you may ask.  Reasonably enough.

Well, The RockStar (teen daughter) had a show choir competition, and had just found out a couple days ago that she was going to be singing a vocal solo.  I didn’t think I could go up to hear her do it (I wasn’t sure if she was going to keep performing it in the show), but circumstances changed and I was able to.  

Without her knowing (the group had gone up the night before, for an early morning performance Saturday), I drove up with my father to see her and the show choir perform.

She did great.

This is her thing, sure enough.  Or one of them.  She’s very good at it!

Nor does she suffer from any excess of shyness . . . perhaps that comes across.

P.S.  If you didn’t know there was an Altoona, WI, you’re not alone.  It’s a small former railroad town outside Eau Claire, 1/10 the size of Altoona PA.  But now I can say I’ve been there!

Illustrated Book Report: The Odyssey

You saw the RockStar’s work when she was five in the ground-breaking illustrated Shell Report.

I just thought you might want to know what she was up to now, at age fourteen.

Illustrating The Odyssey, of course….


My personal favorites are the Cyclops, seen again below (also a favorite of my daughter’s, apparently) and Penelope with arm akimbo.

Just where have you been all this time, Mister?  This story better be good!


I wanted the RockStar to draw Charybdis, because Scylla and Charybdis just go together like bread and butter, like mmm and Malabrigo.  But she seems to think it’s rather a challenge to draw a whirlpool as a stick figure.

The RockStar Reloaded

Exactly one month ago today, The RockStar (my teenage daughter) had her 14th birthday — part of the impetus for the RenFest trip of a month ago, as a matter of fact.

(She got knitwear for her birthday: chullo surprise, surprise!

Actually, she really really wanted a chullo hat, so was delighted.  And I confess that she did get some other things, also.)

It’s a big year for her: first year of high school, including high school show choir.  Three roles in the Nutcracker this year, including a brand new role with new choreography, and also she’s understudying a fourth role.  She continues as the lead singer with her alternative ‘garage’ band, which gave her her name on my blog.  In fact, they played the weekend after her birthday, at our church block party, and they are really getting very good.


Waiting For Sunday“.

(No, not a Christian band; they often rehearse on Sundays, hence the name.)

bridge bass-solo

rarity pulse-of-the-band guitar-solo

(Click to embiggen if you wish.) These musicians have worked hard on their own for three years….a huge length of time at this age. And now they’re not only doing cover songs quite well, they’re performing originals….words and music by The RockStar, and arranged by the band.

Like this:

This mom is impressed, anyway.


So, last night, The RockStar had another milestone: first big high school dance.





Fourteen years have flown by.  I suspect the next four will go even faster.  Sigh.