Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas-ing


I had some sweet holiday times with the kids today. First, we went out and got our tree. I didn't know if we would be able to manage this without Greg; we've never done it without him before. But guess what? It wasn't so hard. We picked out a slightly smaller tree than usual, so I could be sure that Baz & Ayla could hold it up while I tightened the bolts in the tree stand. We were a great team, picking it out, getting it off the car and into the house (Baz and I carried it together!), setting it up and then helping to clean up afterwards. Felt like quite an accomplishment. Tomorrow evening we'll decorate.


After a quick dinner break, we put on some Christmas music and I treated the kids to their first candy canes of the season. (we're still at the age where a candy treat is an all-evening sort of event.)

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" song came on, and I took the opportunity to sit down with the kids and explain to them about hunger, and famine. And about the musicians who made the song, and about Christmas as the season of giving. They all listened very carefully, and I told them that if they wanted to, we could send some money this Christmas to people who are hungry in other parts of the world. They all wanted to run for their piggybanks right away. I told them it can wait till tomorrow, and we can decide together how much money to send, and to whom.

Sometimes it's just awe-inspiring, to have these little minds growing up around me. To be the first person to tell them what war is, or why stores leave lights on for security, or what to do if they ever lose me in a public place. To see the wide-eyed fear and worry in their eyes, and then their reassurance as they trust me to take care of them.

I suppose I am noticing these moments more now that I am on my own with them, since Daddy isn't here to share that role. And also since I have been taking off more time from teaching to be with the kids. All those politicians who step out of public life saying they want to spend more time with their family - they're not just making this up. These are times we'll never be able to re-create.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Below zero

So apparently it's a wee bit chilly in Canada. Greg has been less-than-thrilled about the below-zero temperatures and massive snowfall in Montreal this week. On a weekend like this one, there's not much he can do but sit in his room - he made one brave walk out to the grocery store, and that was more than enough.

In his training news, he's still spending about 4 hours a day in the cone, and doing a lot of videotaping himself, and watching the videos to see what's working. During the rest of the weekdays he has "staging" time with the artistic director, costume fittings, and other events like acting coaching and physical therapy.

He has had to shift his training times a little to work around some of the other artists. Even though he has his own area with the cone setup, the noise of it was bothering people.

On a side note, many of you have been asking what we're going to do for the kids' schooling when we're on tour. Cirque has schools! Each touring show has its own little school, which serves minors who perform in the show, as well as children of artists. They say that the average school size is 8-12 kids. Baz and Ayla will be eligible to begin right away when we arrive - Baz will be following a 2nd-grade curriculum and Ayla a 1st-grade curriculum. There is no schooling or anything for Isa, she'll just be home with me.

We have no idea yet, what other kids will be on the tour, and whether or not ours will have friends their own age.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Home and back

Greg came home this past weekend. Sort of. He got a rental car in Montreal, left on Wednesday afternoon and drove 8 hours home. Stayed the night, left the next morning for a gig in West Virginia. On Sunday he drove back from West Virginia (6 hours), visited with us for 3 hours, and then drove 8 more hours back to Montreal.

The rental minivan for the 5 days, including all of the international-border-crossing surcharges, cost over $600. And he was exhausted... he had physical therapy on Monday, where they apparently confirmed that driving a car for 14 hours in one day is not good for his body.

But now he is back in his regular routine up there, and we are back in ours. Our routines seem to involve a lot of mad-dash scrambling to get out of the house in the morning, schlepping around in the minivan all day long, mealtime battles, a house that seems to get messier by the minute, and not enough sleep. (me, anyway. the kids are sleeping fine!) Speaking of which, I'd better turn in before I fall asleep on the keyboard...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fack Dinamit

The title of this post refers to my children's truly entertaining Christmas Wish Lists this year. They've been working on them for the last month or so, without any help from me or Greg. (although I think that Isa's was really written by Ayla). Here goes:


Baz’s Christmas List 2009


Merlin and the dragons book

Rock star Guitar

Toy dragon

Computer

Work desk

Toy knight

Blue \red litsaver

pensels

Picsher album

Bow and arows

Plato

Relel I phon that works

Dinosar bones

Fack dinamit

(lego star wars)darth vader`s ship


Ayla’s Christmas List 2009


Fairywings

A Guitar

A Cinderella Doll

A Snow WhiteDoll

A Clifford Doll

A Fancy Nancy Doll

A Tinkerbell Doll

A Real Phone

A Jack Doll

A Annie Doll

And A Peanut Doll

A Sleeping Beauty Doll

A Pocahontas Doll

And Sleepy Grumpy Happy Doc Dopey Sneezy And Bashful Doll A Pinocchio Doll A Thumper Doll A Bambi Doll A Ariel Doll A Eric Doll A King Triton Doll A Fiuonder Doll A Ursula Doll A Flotsam And Jetsam Doll A Dora Doll A george And Martha Doll A Henry And Mudge Doll A Ramona Doll A Mulan Doll A Jasmine Doll A Aladdin Doll A Cumputer A Violet Doll


Isa’s Christmas List 2009


A Doll A Pinocchio Doll


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Greg is in his second week of Cirque rehearsals. The artistic director finally arrived and has started "staging", working with the artists individually to fill them in on what they're doing in the show. Greg wasn't happy because, a 1/2 hour before his "staging" time, they adjusted his cone setup in a different way than he's worked with it before, so it was hard for him to present to the director.


He's also having some problems with expenses being greater than he expected. He is earning a low salary during the rehearsal period, but assumed he could live cheap, eating in the cafeteria and saving his earnings for weekend trips home. But the travel home has turned out to be costly - flights and rental cars, though short distances, have all kinds of surcharges for traveling across an international border. And it turns out that the cafe food at Cirque headquarters is not free for artists during the rehearsal period. And public transit does not seem to be easily accessible.


The good news is, he's coming home - very briefly - this week. He'll make an appearance at the house for a couple of hours on Thursday and a couple of hours on Sunday, en route to a performing gig in West Virginia. I am looking forward to seeing him, and sending him back to Montreal with hats and mittens and scarves.