Friday, January 23, 2015

A New Chapter

Well friends, its been a while.

I'm sorry to say, I have just not been "feelin it". But don't fret... I'm not abandoning you yet. After 521 posts - you heard that right - 521 posts!   It Is What It Is is still hovering around here in Blogland.

While It Is What It Is is  my personal blog for family and friends, I'm happy to say I'm starting a new blog - yes, you heard correctly, a new blog for all the world to see.

I have been inspired by a few projects I have done, both recently and in the past and its time to capitalize on my organizational skills. I will be blogging about my projects, inspirations, tips and favorite products. Hopefully, I will be able to get some endorsements and maybe FREE STUFF!!! (Who doesn't like FREE STUFF???) Or I will just have fun and possibly help some people in the process.

You are all here at the beginning. So the answer to the question you are all asking is....  - cause that man has just got to go.

I hope you will tell all your friends and help me out. It will be up and running soon.

It Is What It Is...

Friday, November 21, 2014

He Made It!

After a full week of 4+ hour tryouts, Colin made the JV team as a freshman! And he is rehabbing a torn hamstring.

Me: I'm so proud of you.
Colin: Thanks. Are you proud enough to take me for a Munchie Meal*?
Me: Sure.
Colin: And pay?

It Is What It Is...

* Jack in the Box Late Night Munchie Meal. A 1500-2000 calorie heart attack in a box, served after 9 pm. Can anyone say pothead??? A personal favorite of Colin. (He's not a pothead, just a hungry 15 year old)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Please Help Cara

This is a shameless plug to help out Cara get the last bit of money for her 8th grade East Coast trip. Unlike Colin, she has been saving and fundraising for about a year now.

Please consider helping her out by following the directions on the link above.

She is wearing the gypsy costume from the Beauty and the Beast show she performed in over the weekend. The show was amazing as always. I totally admire her dedication to this group. They rehearse every Saturday for about 3 months.

Cara volunteered to help with costume day on  Costume Saturday. 8am - 4pm. The week prior to the show starts with Big Sunday. The hours are long! 2-10pm !!! With an hour for dinner.Then comes Tech Week. 4:30 to 10 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. School field trip shows are Thursday and Friday. Public performances are Saturday night and Sunday. Its REAL theater in a REAL Theater! With a cast of close to 200!!!!

Did I mention I'm there VOLUNTEERING backstage for the same time????

Break a leg peeps!
It is what it is...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Back In The Day Part 2

When I was a clarinet player and then Drum Major in the North Hunterdon Golden Lions Marching Band... back in the day... we did not do many competitions. Maybe because I grew up in rural NJ and there weren't that many around. Maybe it wasn't the big business it is today. Or maybe I just don't remember

It went like this: 

  • Go to band camp in the summer. 
  • Make new friends (shout out to my oldest, coolest and dearest friend, Audrey, who I met at band camp before freshman year) 
  • Learn how to march and play the songs which were both musically and technically challenging. 
  • Get your uniform (which we kept all season, dry clean when necessary, or not)
  • Practice after school two or three days per week
  • Be ready to play at the first football game
  • Play the half time show at ALL the home football games 
  • Perform a pre-game show at ALL away football games.
  • March in ALL kinds of weather, pouring rain, snow, it didn't matter. And the mud - oh the mud. With white shoes for the band and go-go boots for the girls on the band front. (no boys)
  • When we went somewhere, we showed up in uniform, packed ALL our stuff up in some school buses about 1 hour before game time and away we went. 
  • Cost: Free with enrollment. (or the cost of your instrument if the school didn't have one you could borrow)
  • Fundraising: The ever popular band candy! Not much else that I can remember except maybe the snack bar? 

This is what I learned volunteering at the Mira Mesa Tournament yesterday:

  • Call time 5:30 am. 
  • Parent pick up time 1 am THE NEXT DAY!!! (Shout out to ALL the volunteers who made it through that marathon! And there were many!) 
  • Kids had to prepare for the tournament and perform in a parade
  • They worked shifts in concessions, worked in the kitchen, picked up trash and tons of other stuff I have no idea about.
    My boy, Andrew, working the concession stand

  • They arrive in the pre-clothes and uniforms are managed by a cracker jack team of parents who dress the kids before a performance and undress them immediately afterwards. They uniforms are kept meticulously clean by not allowing the kids to eat or even SIT in them unless there is paper on the bleachers. 
  • Bands and equipment arrive in CUSTOM SEMI'S or in Mira Mesa's case carpools and rental trucks. 
  • Roadies (or band parents) number close to 50 in some cases. 
  • They have props like you wouldn't believe! Roman columns and a Tiki Volcano anyone???
  • Color guard or the band front as we called them had multiple changes of flags, poles, guns, sabers and who knows what else! 
  • There is a complete pit orchestra that play in the front of the band!
  • They practice daily BEFORE school as well as after school to learn musically and technically challenging.pieces. I can hear them in the morning at my house. 
  • There is a pep band that plays in the stands at the first few football games. The marching show is not even broken out until somewhere around Homecoming. 
  • Cost: Some bands have fees over $1000!!!! I hear Mira Mesa is the most reasonable at about $350 and by state law that can't be mandatory. I guess that's why no custom semi for them. 
  • Fundraising: Tons and Always. Candy, Wrapping paper, Dudley's bread, restaurant nights, Sponsor your kid at a rehearsal-a-thon, the tournament and more I don't even know about!

Its's not like it was...Back In The Day!

It is what it is...

My vest and the logo hoodie they wisely had available for purchase at the sign in table. It cost me $15 to volunteer. Money well spent FYI!
 Roman columns

Tiki Volcano
Mira Mesa Sapphire Sound takes the field

My boy Andew, the bass drum on the end

The orange poles

The orange flags

Different orange flags

Multi colored flags

Purple flags

Different purple flags

Back In The Day Part 1

As many of you know it is now what is known as Marching Band Season. This is a whole lotta band with a little football on the side.

The Mira Mesa High School Invitation Parade of Bands and Field Show Tournament is one of the most prestigious around. Who knew???? I thought it was just another day Mira Mesa Blvd and the surrounding area was closed and to be avoided at all costs.

Eager to support my 2nd son, Andrew, I took a look at the sign up list I was sent to see where I could help out at their tournament. Its not even a list. Its a fancy website where you can take a look at the positions and times that are available. Of the possible 500 or so positions, I chose wristband checker on the visitor side from 3pm- 7pm. My reasoning was that it seemed like a no brainer, I wouldn't have to cook and I would be able to see the bands.

Here's how it goes. Bands perform, change out of their uniforms (more on that later) and come with their chaperones to the visitor side of the field to watch the rest of the bands. Spectators pay and sit on the home side. On the visitor side was a snack bar with and EXTENSIVE menu (more on that later too) and Flavor Fries, a local french fry vendor, which is AWESOME by the way.

Little did I know, I signed up for Wristband Nazi! 

All the directors are given a packet of information including EXACTLY the number of wristbands for their performers and then a certain number of chaperones. I was told this is based on a kid to chaperone ratio. Blue and white striped for the performers and white with orange stars for the adults. NO ONE other than the people with the correct wristband are allowed in. No orange and white striped from the morning performance. No florescent green for the spectators. NO ONE!!!! Did I make my point?

Reasons why people thought they could go in with the wrong wristband. And they answers we gave. 
I want to get some food. You have the same food and more on the home side.
My kid is here. Call them and they can come over and talk to you.
My kid needs/wants money. Same as above.
I have a wristband. That's a performer wristband. You are not a performer.
I have a wristband. That's a spectator wristband. You are on the wrong side of the field.
But I paid. You still have to sit on the Home side. This side is for performers and chaperones. 
But I paid, I should be able to sit where I want. You still have to sit on the Home side. This side is for performers and chaperones. 
They gave me the wrong wristband. No, they didn't. You paid for that one. You are not a performer or a chapeone. You still have to sit on the Home side.
I don't have a wristband because I was in the bathroom when they got passed out. Find your band director.
There wasn't enough for all the band members. Yes, there were. They were in the directors packet.
This is my friend. They have to sit on the Home side. This side is for performers and chaperones. 
This is my girl/boyfriend. They still have to sit on the Home side. This side is for performers and chaperones. 
I need to talk to my friend. Call them and they can come over and talk to you.

Answers we really wanted to give:
Are you stupid??? This side is for performers and chaperones. READ THE SIGN THAT YOU ARE STANDING NEXT TO!!!!

I learned later VIP and Judges room was the one of the prime spots. Catered food from all the local restaurants all day.

I don't remember it being like this when I was in the marching band - back in the day...
To be continued...

It is what it is...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Let's Create!

No Art, No PE, No Music! That's the state of schools all across the country! Its horrible. Study after study state that kids developing brains NEED these things. But what do we do, raise class size, mandate Common Core, stress out teachers. At my school, Ericson Elementary, teachers get 1 hour of prep time per WEEK!!! Who can prep with that??? The kids get 1 hour of music OR PE per WEEK! Or maybe a little more if the teacher has time to throw in a song or two. Maybe some coloring.

That's why I am happy to come in and do this special art project for Mr. Barham's class. He is one of Cara's former teachers and tries his best to keep keep the kids well rounded and fits in the arts.

Check it out!

(please don't share. It has privacy settings)

The kids worked together to figure out patterns and symmetry. If they did not do the math correctly and take the right amount of beads on their first time at the bead table, they had to bargain, trade or reconsider their pattern.

I taught a few to work with the pliers and they were able to help me out turning the ends of the spokes. At the end of the day, 3 kids sorted all the leftover beads into the proper containers.

There was NO whining, complaining or putdowns!

It is what it is...

Friday, October 24, 2014


Tip of the day: Don't look at catalogs that have absolutely nothing you can afford. Toss them right into the recycle bin.

Sundance, I'm talkin' to you! ( Here's the blah blah if you care to read it. I'm not even sure why I get this catalog.

Nonetheless, it arrives on a regular basis along with its additional jewelry and home furnishing supplements. Let's take a closer look.

Lovely tall, thin woman on the front pulling off a look I would love to wear if I were 5'10 and lived in a snowy, wintry place where I could travel in my present filled, fur lined sleigh. No slushy road carpool for me. No schlepping out to start the mini van 20 minutes before I leave. Wait! That's why I'm payin the Sunshine Tax. But still...its nice to think about wearing these clothes cause they are totally my style. Can't you just imagine me pulling up this Christmas in my sweater coat, jeans, boot toppers and mittens. Look out NJ here I come!

If you can afford them, I guess you can afford a present filled, fur lined sleigh.

And the jewelry! Seriously for a necklace? or a bracelet??? Not made from gold and not a diamond in sight.

It is good for inspiration. I can make most things for 1/3 the price*. Let me know if you want Sundance copy.

It is what it is...

*I fully support an artist getting a fair price based on time, talent, materials but overpriced, luxury, name dropping stuff is not ok on my blog.