Christmas Reflections

Well, now we’re exactly halfway through the twelve days of Christmas. I’m currently enjoying listening to my Christmas music collection and looking forward to dining on my family’s traditional midnight snack of shrimp and sparkling pear juice to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I’m also spending some time reminiscing about the past year. Of course it seems like the time has flown past, but somehow, that time that seems now so short was packed with a lot of wonderful experiences.

The  first half of the year was a flurry of performances, from Tantara One-Act Festival to my ballet recital and finally the Drama Camp musical. There wasn’t one week from  January till June when I wasn’t either rehearsing, memorizing, singing, or pirouetting in preparation for one of these three events. In Drama Camp, our wonderful director really pushed me out of my acting comfort zone. The play we performed was a melodrama, and I was the over-dramatic heroine, so the intensity of every word I said had to be magnified three times over what I thought was over the top.  Doing a love story sometimes felt very awkward, and I was fortunate that the hero was played by a boy who was the master his facial expressions. Amazingly, he never once broke into a grin at the crucial parts of the play such as at the end of the play (when I had accepted his proposal of marriage). We had to gaze lovingly at each other, and I would never had been able to pull it off if even so much as the corners of his mouth twitched!

This summer passed without a day that I wasn’t in the garden. I loved every minute of trimming, fertilizing, digging, and planning my little plot of earth. One of my favorite things about gardening is that nothing is ever finished. There will always be new plants to grow and more ways to improve the soil. My soil needs improving really bad,  so in the spring I found a way to take things that would be ordinarily wasted and put them to use in the garden. With the help of my Dad, I started a vermicompost system (that’s using worms to make the best fertilizer on earth). Now every evening after Mom makes supper I collect egg cartons for worm bedding and coffee grounds and vegetable scraps for worm food. The first batch of super plant food was ready this fall, but since it was the end of the season I saved it for spring. I’m looking forward to using it on vegetable seedlings in a few months. Now we also have chickens that eat the meat scraps the worms can’t have, and turn that into even more fertilizer. Next summer is full of potential!

2012 is also the first year that I have had a real job: teaching at the ballet studio. Teaching ballet has probably been the hardest challenge I have faced this year-and the most interesting. I was the helper once in a ballet basics class, and I must say that I really didn’t appreciate how hard it was to direct a class. There are many fine lines to walk with the seven to nine-year-old age group. For forty-five minutes every week, I tightrope between keeping it fun and keeping them learning, making sure the steps are not too difficult and yet still challenging, explaining difficult concepts and not going over their little heads. Phew! I have to glance around at their sweet little faces frequently and judge whether I am boring, overwhelming, or doing everything just right. Also with such a large class (I have twelve students) there is the additional challenge of making sure that they are well behaved. One minute they are standing neatly against the barre in first position, ready to start the next combination.  I turn my back to start the music, and if there’s even the slightest delay with the CD player they suddenly erupt into talking, squirming, jumping, and hanging on the barre.

Fortunately, I have become much better at keeping class moving smoothly than when I first started teaching in September. Once you do figure out how to balance all the elements of the class, seven to nine-year-olds really are a very rewarding age group. I am actually surprised by the concepts they are able to understand, and they always are very happy and excited to be at class. And the way their faces light up when they finally understand a new step is precious.

As this is my senior year of high school, I am trying to cherish every moment. I know that the year will be over before I know it.  Yet even as I try to focus on every moment of the present, my mind keeps running on to the future. Where this time next year find me?  What new things will I have experienced?  I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures 2013 brings.


Well, after Ballet Recital week and Drama Camp week, (and a week for recovery), There’s quite a few thing’s I have to post about. The first is a really cool partial eclipse of the sun my family watched on May 20. The moon crossed the surface of the sun, and though it wasn’t safe to look at directly, we saw it projected through a pinhole on a piece of paper. Someone took a bite out of the sun!

Dad also got out his welding helmet to look at it:

The next piece of excitement at our house was a little baby robin who seemed to have been blown out of his nest prematurely. His parents fed him on the ground, but none of his younger siblings survived. So he hopped around our yard for a week and a half, unable to fly. When the daddy robin wasn’t around, we fed him berries and worms.

Then it was time to start Drama Camp, which went for two weeks this year since we were doing a musical this year. I was the main girl character, and I loved my costume:

Landon was also in the musical, in the chorus:

The opening chorus

More Shakespeare Photos


This is our entire cast and director, with twenty actors.
This is our entire cast and director, with twenty actors.

Going on a little picnic.
Going on a little picnic.

A masquerade party.

I figured out who this person was in the play, but she  is trying to convince me I'm wrong..
I figured out who this person was in the play, but she is trying to convince me I’m wrong..
Playing our trick on Beatrice. Notice how she is hidden in the bushes listening to the conversation.

Playing our trick on Beatrice. Notice how she is hidden in the bushes listening to the conversation.





Posting has been pretty neglected lately, because for the last two weeks of june I was spending the whole day at a broadway camp, where we were putting on the musical Annie.  My main part was Annette, a head made in the billionaire’s mansion.  We had two performances on July 1, and they were both nearly sell out shows.

I don’t have any pictures of me as a maid, but here’s one of the number N. Y. C., where I’m a New York Citizen.


I'm on the right




I performed at the Tantara One-Act Play Festival here in Sioux Falls, where five half-hour plays were put on by homeschoolers in the  area.


Me as Madame Latour, a French innkeeper.


Shakespeare Camp


Last week, I attended a homeschool Shakespeare Camp, were we put on an almost unabridged production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I played Peter Quince, the director of a play within a play. More details and pictures on this blog, here.

Cast Picture

Cast Picture. Left to right, top: our director, Demetrius, Puck the mischievous fairy, Nick Bottom, Duke Theseus,Titania, Queen of fairies, Oberon, King of Fairies, another Titania, one of her servants, and Lysander. Bottom: Helena, Peter Quince, three more servant fairies, and Hermia.



Drama Camp


Drama camp takes place every year at the beginning of June. Over a hundred homeschooled children meet from nine to eleven for four-to-five days, depending on the age of the child, and rehearse plays. This year, I was in a play about St. Genesius of Rome, the patron saint of actors. He was an actor in the emperor’s band of actors, until, that is, it was found out he became a Christian and was beheaded. The play was a play within a play, so at times the actors were rehearsing the play of Saint Genesius, and at other times, the director, who was played by me, was talking to them about how the play could be better. I successfully avoided getting a bad case of the vomiting sickness going around the house (everyone but me and Dad got it bad) and was able to be in the play on friday night. Everything went really well, and I spoke loud enough that everyone could hear me in the back row. That can be difficult because the acoustics aren’t very good in the school gym where we perform the play. I was very thankful that I was able to avoid the sickness and take part in the eighth annual drama camp.

Dance Rehearsals


Well, I am both happy and sad to end this week. With two dress rehearsals, two recitals, and a friend’s recital to watch, I have been busily occupied, and it is always nice to have a little break. I am sad to be done with ballet for this school year, sad to be done with this year’s dance that I shall no dance again, and sad that I will not wear my costumes again. But next week, next week is the Homeschool Drama Camp, and I am looking forward to prepare a play for my parents to see. Tomorrow is June, and Summer’s beginning.


Busy week!


Last week was probably the busiest week all year. Here is my schedule.

Mon-Thursday (June 4-7): Drama camp 9-11:00 am

Wed: Dance recital dress rehearsals. 2-4 and 7-10:00

Thurs: Drama camp production at 6:30 and Grandma coming up

Fri: Dance recital 5:00 and Grandparents coming up.

Sat: Dance recital 2:00 and Grandma leaving.