Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Madness

For most, the term March Madness evokes images of basketball games. For us, 2013 March Madness was school plays.

The month began with seeing Seussical at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, NJ. It was phenomenal! Some of the leads were played by Saint Ann School alumni. We look forward to continuing to go to Notre Dame productions to continue to see our stars become their stars.

The next day Ashley and I saw Guys and Dolls at Lawrence Middle School. The 7th and 8th graders did a good job with the tough material.

Ashley's friends from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", "It's a Wonderful Life," and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," were cast in Hillsborough High School's production of "Beauty and the Beast." It was so much fun seeing familiar faces on stage and hugging them afterwards. The production was amazing. You can see the number of hours they put into rehearsing. 

Then, all too quickly, it was time for the Saint Ann School production of "Willy Wonka." Auditions took place last December. Rehearsals began every weekend right after winter break. All of a sudden it seemed it was time for the show.

Ashley was cast as Mrs. Gloop -- Golden Ticket winner Augustus Gloop's mother. This role involved singing a small 2-line solo (her first) and speaking in a German accent. She says the toughest part was having to eat chocolate on stage. It is tough to be an actress.

The productions at Ashley's school are completely parent run -- from the directors, choreographers, costumers, set designers, set painters, back stage crew, ticket sellers, etc. You name it, a parent is doing the work. Well, a couple of alumni come back to help at the last minute.
I use my talents to take pictures of the cast during dress rehearsals, plus I sneak a few in during the show when they are wearing their full costumes. Don's work is ideally not seen, but very important. He works back stage moving sets and props. Ashley helped him during the fall production and said it was so hard, she won't do it again!

Saint Ann's is fortunate to have so many students involved with the show that they have two full casts -- which means twice as many rehearsals for the parent directors, etc. They had so many strong girls auditioning that they had four Wilhamena (Willy) Wonkas and four Charlene (Charlie) Buckets, which also added to the rehearsal schedule.

By the last curtain call, we were all a bit tired. I continue to cull my 1000 pictures down to a couple of hundred. These will be added to the DVDs that are given to each member of the cast and crew during the cast party. It is a labor of love and we love that so many parents are willing to give that love.

March might be over, but we continue to support our friends and family in shows.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Small Changes to Help the Environment

There are many websites out there with tips for helping the environment. This is just a short list of small things we are doing. Please share with us what you are doing to help save the planet for the next generations. Together we can make a difference.

1) Just say no to plastic bags! 
Once I started to think about it, buying one item and getting a plastic bag for it just did not make sense under most circumstances. Sure there are times it is raining out, and you want that extra layer of protection. I'm thinking about those times you pop into a store for one item (for me, it was making a copy of a key) and you leave with that item, plus a bag. Do you always need that bag? Even better...bring your own bags and cut down on the clutter in your home. Support NJ Senate Bill S-812 to have a 5-cent fee on all single use bags by clicking HERE.

2) Handkerchiefs
Don realized he was carrying tissues and napkins for those times he needed to blow his nose (or the times Ashley had a sneeze). The tissues and napkins would then end up in the laundry, making a giant mess. His solution was very old-school: carry a handkerchief. If it ends up in the laundry, it is no big deal, plus he is not wasting paper.

3) Cat litter containers
It seems every couple of months, Don comes up with a new use for those cat litter containers each of us cat owners accumulate. Cat lovers know these -- they are big enough to seem useful, but how? We use one as a trash can, another to collect recycling, a third for composting, a fourth for gardening tools (who cares if it gets dirty?), and a fifth one he attached to the back of his bike to carry milk cartons back from Halo. This week he figured out a way to attach a lock to one to make it seem more protected (yes, if someone really wants in, they will find a way). Here is a link to many more uses for these containers.

4) Live Local
Support the local businesses near to your home. Chances are you are already meeting these local business owners at church, school, in the park, etc. By supporting their businesses, it helps them to be able to continue living nearby.

5) Attend a local Eco-Fair
As luck would have it, I'm on the planning committee for the Living Local Expo taking place March 23, 2013 from 12-4 at Lawrence High School. Come out to learn more ways to live local and help the environment.