Sunday, March 29, 2009

Return to Normalcy...Possibly...Maybe...Soon

Hey! Long time no see.
We have been a whirlwind of human frenzy/activity over here.
First for some shameless bragging. Ellie had her concert debut (at the ripe old age of 16) as a soloist with the San Antonio Symphony! She is now officially a concert pianist :). William Wolfram, a world-renowned concert pianist, attended her rehearsal at the Majestic. She talked to him like a pro - didn't even ask for his autograph. He was in town to do a concert. Ellie's performance went very well - she had a curtain call and received a standing ovation. This followed a week of publicity that had included a really big interview with the San Antonio Express News. Here is her publicity photo.
Ellie worked with resident conductor, Ken-David Masur, the week before the performance. Very nice and talented guy. He met with her at the Majestic to go over the score. Ellie had never played with an orchestra, before.

And here is a pic of her with Maestro Masur on the left, and her teacher, Kenneth Thompson, on the right. Both Kens are really tall. In the lower right hand corner is a blurry spot I call the lurking Majestic ghost. The little room they are in is the room where performers wait to go on stage - a very nervous energy kind of room. To me, this is exactly where a ghost would hang out. For the record - Ellie says it is a bit of glare. Poo on that. I knows a ghost when I see one.

On Sunday was the big event. In the audience were many relatives. After the performance, they descended. Here is Ellie being hugged by aunts and cousins, etc.

And here is just a bit of our family in attendance.

And here is Ellie with her best friends - otherwise known as The Best Fan Club Ever.

All in all - awesome experience and Ellie is still reeling. No rest for the weary, though. The very next day Ellie hosted a letter-writing party to write letters to Congressmen about the increasing violence and ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Quite a somber operation and the teens took it very seriously.

However, they were not without their moments of light-heartedness.

If you look in the background, you will see that while all of this was going on, the boys' Odyssey of the Mind team was rehearsing for their State Tournament. Our house is often a hysterical flurry of activity and the past week was certainly no exception.

Shall we brag some more? I think we shall! The boys had their state Odyssey tournament this weekend. So we once again dragged the giant radish, sheep and cow patties to Houston. Great time was had by all - the boys' team came in 6th (good showing).

Ten minutes before the boys' team went on stage Joel says, "Oh no! I forgot my bling!" You see, there is a part in their skit where Joel, who is dressed as a farmer with a ZZ Top beard, ends up with a load of cash due to a really long and involved plot that is somewhat difficult to follow. Which he uses to buy himself some bling. So at one point, while his brother distracts the judges by singing a song he wrote himself called "Boring Elevator Music", Joel turns his back to the judges to throw on some bling. Only the bling was on our coffee table. So he and his team mates threw themselves into true Odyssey form and sat down in the hallway outside of the auditorium and used materials on hand to make bling. They used foil and made some very impressive stuff - which turned out to work quite nicely. Here they are working in a state of calm panic on their new bling, with the clock ticking away and the monitor waiting to take them to their pre-staging area....
We returned home late last night and are pretty exhausted. We're planning our big Par-Tay for the team. Oh! And Joel has his very first ever tae-kwon-do tournament next week. Is he nervous? Can't tell. He is his usual self - a big grin beneath the feather-duster that he refers to as his hair. Ellie is also not slowing down. She heads to Louisiana next weekend for a piano competition. And me? Just the usual. Eating on bon bons, painting the old toenails, gabbing on the phone, heatin' up frozen microwave dinners....

Life will once again return to a more normal pace....but not until after tomorrow. Tomorrow is Jasper's birthday - woo hoo! Five years old! When the others (the others...sounds ominous, no? Like on Lost. The Others. Oh. I have become distracted.) As I was saying....When the others (Ellie, Joel, Jules) turned five I was always sad...always that sense of loss with every birthday (and I'm still that way with the older two, to a certain extent). But with the little onesies? I'm like, "Yay! Just a few more years and we're talking DRIVING, baby!" Soon, very soon, he'll be making his own grilled cheese sandwiches! Freedom. I smell freedom. And it smells good. Like a grilled cheese sandwich that I did not have to drop a zillion other things in order to make. There is light at the end of this "Hey! Let's have like a zillion kids!" tunnel. I can see it.
So for the big birthday tomorrow we have 2 friends coming over to party in the giant Spiderman Hut with light sabers because there is just nothing in the entire world that is better than Spiderman or light sabers. Nothing. And speaking of light sabers....don't tell Jasper (seriously... shhhhh...) but he is getting the big daddy light saber of them all. The one that (brace yourselves) lights up and vibrates. I said VIBRATES. With The Force. Because it is super cool. We are talking a long and lit-up, vibrating and humming blue light saber. The stuff that dreams are made of. And if any of you have dirty minds at this point? Shame. This is a 5-year-old's dreams we're talking about. So I'll say it again. Shame on you. Here is a pic of Jasper with his regular old boring light saber. Isn't this exciting? That we all know what he's getting tomorrow?

What else is going on around here? Hmmm....who have I left out? Oh yes! Camille! I have left out Camille. I guess she has not had a terribly exciting week. Just regular old stuff. Making fashion designs, dancing, singing into her little microphone, begging for a bunny, climbing and falling out of trees, getting pecked by chickens, torturing her brothers....

I often think that it is the regular old normal times that are the sweetest. The big things, like symphony debuts and Odyssey tournaments, add notches to your belt, for sure. But it is the regular days that hold it all together. I'll take a life full of regular days, thank you very much. Not that I've had many regular days, lately. Looking forward to some, though. Any day now. I can feel it coming.
I have a bit of sad news. I have lost a follower. I don't think anyone died. Just quit following me. Probably because I have been a pathetically spotty and erratic poster. So someone needs to take the lost follower's place. I am down to 12. Right now I have a sad face. Not really. But if I thought about it long enough I could probably pull off a sad face. And you don't want me to have to do that, do you? So follow.


  1. you have been given the sisterhood award!!

  2. I would certainly take up the lost follower's place if I weren't already following. I understand though. I only have two followers. :(

    Ellie is going to Louisiana? Wow...have fun!

  3. great post ms. carol. i must say that the "lighthearted" pic of the teens... it looks like Galen's asking Ellie to dance or something. haha it made me laugh.

    oh yeah... and... um... i am ashamed. ;D

  4. Is there a recording of Ellie's latest?

  5. Unfortunately, the San Antonio Symphony allows no recordings (video or audio) of their performances...copyright issues - they're unionized, etc (which they completely deserve). I do wish, however, that they made exceptions for guest performers who are not professionals, particularly minors. Ellie has no memory at all of the entire thing :).

  6. that jasper is a cutie.
    as for the rest of them?
    look out, world!