Saturday, September 26, 2009

Firework Friday-
One interesting thing about living near Branson with all it's entertainment and the new convention center is that , occationally, you get some free entertainment worth enjoying. In all honesty, Branson is still a small town, so you are very likely to see several people you know mixed in with all the tourists at events like last night.
There was a "last blast" sort of concert at the Landing last night and, it just so happened that a firework association was having a convention at the Hilton center, so they did a few displays of their work.
It was a football game night and Maura had to attend, with no leaving early. That made it so we had to take two cars to the fireworks. I took Delaney, her friend and the puppy and Steve went to the game then brought Maura. The puppy is a people magnet. People of all ages loved him and wanted to pet him. We are working on him being able to be in crowds and behaving himself. We were also hoping he'd learn to deal with fireworks better than our other dog did.
The football game was a slaughter 38 to 0 with our team being the 0. That doesn't really surprise anyone and I really don't know why people bother to go watch. If Maura wasn't in band, we wouldn't even notice the games. There's too many kids just running loose at the games and , while the schools are telling the kids they need to sit with their parents, no one has told the parents(that I know of) , so they continue to run wild. Why else would the people go if they weren't going to see their friends? It's not for the success of the team.
Anyway, back to the fireworks. They had several different performers from different shows in town perform then at two seperate times, they put on firework displays. The early one was short, but very interesting because it had fireworks going off from the buildings as well as the center stage area. The second one was longer, done to a beatles medley, and a bit more traditional, but did have some effects I'd never seen before that was very cool. I have to also say that all of these had to be very precise and not go too high because the space available for them to work in is really quite small.
The Landing is on the shore of lake Taneycomo which is really more like a river, with a steep cliff on the far side and houses perched on top. With the viewing area behind the stage area, placed between two buildings, I was amazed at how well they controlled the height and placement of all of the flashes. In addition, it was a fairly decent effort of timing them to the music playing. I think they did a good job of proving they could have fireworks in smaller venues, if that was their point. In general, with how our 4th of july fireworks work, with so many boats on the lake (tablerock) they would have to get them much higher.
After the fireworks, the Beatle group in town performed. I don't know what it is about their songs, but they do make you feel happy, but I have to be honest and say I've heard better beatle tribute bands. Maybe they would be better in a theatre though.
I had a moment of wondering why I felt so alone there, what my expectations were, if they were too unrealistic and if something vital is slipping away.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Delaney -MS student council
Maura with the band
Homecoming Parade-2009
For the upteenth time in a row, I subbed the day of the Homecoming Parade, which is ok, because I would have gone to see it anyway. Today I was a 5th grade Math teacher. In our town, we have the parade in the afternoon and the route is just among the school buildings, so it starts at the elementary school, winds through the parking lot of the Intermediate and Primary school, then heads out onto the actual road to go to the High school. Last year, the MS kids were bussed to the HS to watch, not sure what they did this year. The theme was "board games" for the floats. Maura worked on the Speech and debate float (battleship) and was hoping to ride on it. The problem was that the band director insisted that all band members march with the band, even if they don't play a marching instrument, so she was walking behind the banner, dressed in the outfit she had hoped to wear on the battleship float. She was asked by the sophmore class to do their make-up (because they did a goth version of Candyland and she is well known for her creative make-up. )
The parade always amazes me- it lasts about 15 mins. and includes even the little kids that play football and cheer. For the most part, the floats are still really lame compared to the ones we did in HS but, I do have to say I think they are getting better over the years. (one year the seniors just rode in the back of a pick-up) The participation in building the floats just isn't here. Maura worked 3 days on the debate float and brought a friend to help. Because he helped, he rode on the float and he wasn't even in speech and debate. I think it's fair that they reward those who work on the floats though.
Delaney worked on hers a couple days, made the tie dye t-shirts, and argued that they WERE allowed to throw candy (Maura said they couldn't) In the end, the HS kids didn't and the MS kids did. Lack of communication on that issue from the schools. The little kids love the candy!
It's always amusing to me that they try to get the kids (all kids) fired up about the football game and we rarely win. This year, the younger kids were told they were to sit with their parents at the game, I doubt that worked, it's not why the kids come. They don't actually watch the game, why would they when we always lose? They go for the socializing and (probably) flirting. Even the parents are there to socialize. I think only the football parents actually watch the game. I know I've used the words always and usually intermingled, but we've had years where we never won a single game and years that we've one one all season. I wonder what it's like to be a football star on a team that has a record like that?
Delaney was going to a Birthday party/ sleepover, so she went to the game with her friends and I didn't have to go. I had to be home to watch over the dog. then I had to go back to pick up Maura from the dance at midnight. I had a long day (5:30 am- 1:00) and the dog woke me up at 7 this morning.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Homecomming week-

It's early to be having Homecomming at the High school, but someone decided that, with the timing of away games and the ultra hard team after that, this week would be the best shot at winning a game. That's never been a real issue here (actually winning a game) but, whatever.

For the Spirit week activities, the High School kids are dressing up every day in some way. Maura LOVES these days and goes to extremes. She's not all that interested in football, she just loves to dress up.

So, on "Hat Day", it isn't enough to just wear a hat, she did an entire look- I'm thinking it was quasi- steampunk/ victorian. On "Inside out and hair day", She wore hand painted clothes and went a bit creative on the make up too. I missed taking pictures of her on "fake an injury day" which she interpreted as dressing up as a pirate (with some sort of odd covering for her leg to look like a wooden leg-not all that successfully)
I have to say that this is all on her own, I'm not doing anything beyond having the supplies she's raiding for her creations. It's kinda interesting to see what she uses and how. Nothing is sacred and it really doesn't matter if it belongs to someone else or not. (sorry Ann, the sleeping bag became Hair today)
It's entertaining for me to watch her being creative. She tends to do her own thing, rarely asks for advice and works surprizingly hard at making her "vision" come true.
Delaney is embarrassed to be seen around her and resentful when she takes something that was hers (like the fake blood and makeup). Meanwhile, Maura's been asked to do the make up for those on the Sophmore float , has been working on the Speech and debate float and hopes to be able to be with them in the parade and not with the band (since she is pit and doesn't actually play anything marching)
Delaney has been working on the Middle school honor society/ fccla float. She made a tie dye shirt to wear on the float. If I can find out the route of the parade, I'll be there to take pictures.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hump Day Blues-
Maura and I went to her last scheduled Dr. appt last night and things look good. We went to Jo Ann's afterwards and bought a few things (fabric, of course) but Maura was lusting for fabric with no clear idea of what she wanted to make. It is hard to shop for something like that, but we picked a plaid twill with the general idea of a skirt and vest from it. It's strange, but I'm attracted to darkly romantic fabrics these days and not sure why. It's like I'm on the verge of an idea, but I'm just not there yet. Totally frustrating! I've had the same quilt on my design wall for months and it's just pure stubornness that keeps me from taking it down and starting something new. It's not the quilt's fault, but I've just looked at it too long. So, it's time for me to just hunker down and get the poor dear finished so I can move on.
I've had some inspiration issues and I've been very patient, waiting for it to come back, while filling my time watching hulu. I did a "greek" marathon this weekend and got sucked into it like it was a soap opera. It's sad.
School started and the calls have been light, which makes me panic, but I should just chill out and have fun quilting while I can. I was disappointed with the school system for how they dealt with the President's speech to the students. They called and said it would be optional but they would have the opportunity to view it , but neither one of my kids ever had the chance- no one announced it was on, or where to watch it. My HS student "sort of" saw it was on across the lunch room, but by then, she had missed it. My MS student never had the chance. Frankly, I think several of the kids in school would have benefited from hearing someone say they need to take responcibility for their education, but what do I know? I should not be so concerned since I know I'm doing a good job as a parent (see verification above) LOL !

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Branson Fiddle Festival- 2009
Branson has had a fiddle festival for years and I never attended before. So, I decided to go on Sunday for the finals. I got to see the playoffs for the last division where a father and son went head to head for several songs before the judges could decide who got in the top 3 and who didn't. (dad won,btw) and then the playoffs for the grand winner- over all the age groups. The Top picture shows the winner- Bubba!
The bottom picture is one of the men from the older age group- He told me he was 71. Sure doesn't look it to me.
One thing that did show was how close these people are, compeating and then turning around and playing backup for the others who they were compeating against.
Delaney was with me. She didn't enjoy it, but she tolerated it to do some shopping. I decided to tell her a story.
Have you ever had anything mystical happen in your life? Something you can't explain? Just a feeling of rightness with no reason why? This is one of mine:
When I was a teen, I loved to read and would go after school to the library then go home with my mom after work. They had albums there you could check out and I started checking out a few. Most of them were not "cool" music but I checked them out anyway and that's how I discovered the Dillards. They played Bluegrass music and from the moment I heard it, I loved it. To me, it was the happiest sound,it just made me feel good.
Once I discovered Bluegrass, I found several festivals in the area. My friends and I would go, spending the day listening to music, swimming in a river or spring, eating funnel cakes, just generally having a grand time of the day. One of my most treasured memories was sitting on a blanket, at night, listening to Claire from the Front Porch String band as her voice seemed to just rise, like smoke, to the heavens and into a starry night.
I have to also add here that while there was music in my home, it came either from my mom's love of church music or my sister's love of rock. My father didn't contribute to the music at all, in fact, I don't even remember him playing the radio in his truck. So, it was a big surprise to me when my Aunt Elizabeth mentioned that he used to play music. I couldn't even imagine that.
A few months before my dad passed away, I asked him about it. He did play when he was young. He played the guitar, mandolin , never liked the banjo, but loved the fiddle. He played with a group, at church, then for community events and later he played in some bars as well.
I asked him why he quit. He said that, after he was wounded in WWII (he was shot in the elbow of his bowing arm) he couldn't play. I believe my dad was an "all or nothing" kind of person. I suppose just being around the music would remind him of what he lost, and so he seperated himself from it compleately.
So, when I sit and listen to the music, I wonder if there's something in the concept of "cultural memory". I felt such an instant connection to a music style I'd never heard before, but was something my father had a deep connection to. I watch the community of the performers, how the children learn from their fathers, and I wonder if I had grown up around it, would I be able to play as well? What would my childhood have looked like had he continued to play? Would music be the secret language it seems to be to me now?
I sit and there's a mixture of happiness, saddness, regret and wistfulness. I take photos to record the event and I make art based on those photos.