Wesley's Timeline

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Biggest Blessings of 2008... And hopes for 2009

2008 has been a memorable year for myself and my family. Some things have been great and others unfortunate (as it is with every one). Because I'm still not feeling great... I'll narrow it down to our two biggest blessings.

My niece. who was born in March, and who brings every one in my family smiles and joy. She is a smiley baby, who smiles with her whole face and it is great to watch her learn more each day.

Our house... we bought it in March too. And though home ownership has been a little stressful at times, I have no desire to go back to renting. I love the space and I love that we can make it ours. And as you can see above, Tater loves the yard (even when it is snowing!).

And in terms of hopes for 2009... my dad is looking for a job. If anyone knows of any IC design jobs, please let us know! Otherwise, I hope that my work continues to challenge me and that I can meet and exceed their expectations. I hope that we can continue to live frugally and save. I hope that Reid's business gets off the ground. And I hope that all of you have successful, happy and productive new years too!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What a week!

My niece's first Christmas tree experience! This is her on Christmas eve... She just started crawling about a week before she got here... she's now a pro!

This has been a very eventful week. My mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and niece arrived on Christmas Eve... and without a doubt my niece is even cuter now than over the summer.

Christmas day was relaxing, enjoyable and full of fun present giving and receiving.

I love this picture! Raley looks a little annoyed with Christmas already... it was just a flook though. She loved it! I made her stocking and am quite proud of it.

Tater surrounded by presents! Needless to say, the lack of routine on Christmas makes it one of Tater's least favorite days... but he did well!

Raley, of course, was the hit of the day. She liked all of her presents, though the bowl and plate set was probably her favorite (go figure... give a baby loads of toys and she'll pick the plastic flatware to play with)!

Raley with her bowl and plate!

My big Christmas present was big... Reid and his parents went in together to buy me a laptop! How I got through graduate school without one is still a mystery. But I am typing on it right now and it will definitely help me with grading, school work, etc.... So thank you Reid and Chris and Annie! This is a gift that will get a daily work-out.

The weekend was pretty uneventful. My mother has had a cold since she got here. Sunday I woke up with a bit of ill-feeling but pushed it aside to have another first on Monday. I went snow-boarding with Sarah, Dan and Reid. Dan is quite an accomplished snowboarder and he tandemned with me (holding my hands while facing me because luckily he is regular and I am goofy... as if we needed snowboarding to prove that!). He kept me from falling most of the day (except when we went down together in a glorious frenzy that once included a somersault by Dan to avoid me and another that involved both of my gloves flying off my hands in opposite directions). At the end of the day I went down the easiest green run on my own (and fell down a lot but not nearly as much as at the beginning of the day). Next time Reid and I go to Wolf Creek I plan to try skiing again (the last time I skiied I was sixteen)... thought I am sure if I take to it more easily than snowboarding my brother-in-law will think less of me!

Look! I'm standing!

But, of course, not for long. That's Reid behind me.

By our trip home I was starting to feel poorly again. This morning I woke up and said enough is enough... and headed to my doctor's office (with my mom in tow). My mom has some sort of infection in her chest is on antibiotics. I have strep throat! I've never had strep before... but it's good to know I'm not making up the horrible feeling I have. I have already taken my first antibiotic and I hope to be feeling more like my normal self in a few days.

I hope that you have enjoyed your holidays as much as we have enjoyed ours here! Watching a nine month old enjoy her presents (including these blocks) really brings a smile to my face. Doesn't she look happy??

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

As my home begins to smell of apple pie baking (and sugar cream pie before that), and as the light outside begins to fade, making the Christmas tree lights all the more beautiful, I sit here, listening to Christmas carols and waiting (as patiently as I can) for my family to arrive... they should be here in an hour or so. I told many people this year that all I really wanted for Christmas was for my family to be together... and it indeed looks like I am getting my wish! And, if it can get any better than that, my husband is vacuuming for me!

So... where-ever, and whatever you believe... I hope that tomorrow and the coming year brings you and those you hold dear as much joy as having my family here will bring me. Let us all strive to make 2009 a year of peace, love and joy. Merry Christmas!

Tater says Happy Holidays too! This was actually taken a few years ago (just before he pulled the antlers off and chewed them in two... apparently a beagle and a reindeer are not synonymous!).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Something New... The Best Gift

You may have noticed there is a new button over on the right of my screen. It is because a few months ago I registered with the Bone Marrow Donor list. I can't remember if I posted about this before (I think I have) but this time of year seems the perfect time to remind people about this selfless act. It only takes a few minutes of your time (literally) to be registered on the list... and with that registration you could be saving someone's life. Not figuratively, but literally. There is a compelling story and video of a 34 year-old woman whose life was changed when she was diagnosed with leukemia and again when a 19 year-old man in Germany matched her type and agreed to donate.

I am so very lucky that no one in my immediate circle of family and friends has faced such a frightening diagnosis. And I hope that they never will. But I'm on the list. So, if someone else's mother, father, sister or brother needs a donation and I match... I can give them the best gift in the world. I can only hope that should I ever need such a gift, there is a person out there who matches me and who has done the same. Won't you join the list today?

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Done!

I'm done with grading at least. All of my grades have been whisked away to the magical electronic elves who put them where they're supposed to go. I hate grading. It is by far the worst part of teaching... in fact, a friend of mine who is a professor in Tennessee told me that grading is the penance that we have to do for a job that is otherwise awesome. I think he's right. I would love to work at a school that is simply pass/fail. If you come and work, you pass. If you don't, you fail. But alas, we have percentages and letters... and so I struggle each and every semester to put quantifiable letter grades on unquantifiable performances (performance classes being by far the hardest to grade).

Anyway, it's done for another semester. The beginning of next week will be spent planning my spring classes. But today I am cleaning our house and making dessert, for a colleague and his wife are coming over for dinner. I am also planning on wrapping up as many presents as I can in the down time. And if a little knitting sneaks in... well, I can't be held responsible for what my hands do while I'm thinking of other things!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Tour

I'm a little late for the Christmas Tour that is happening over at Boo Mama's blog... but I thought being late to a party is chique, right? I'd never know. I'm the boring one who is always the first to arrive (though frequently I make my husband go in ahead of me so I'm the second to arrive!).

My parents left just a few minutes ago, headed out to sunny southern California (I'm sure they'll be just jumping to come back to the cold of Colorado!)... and most importantly, headed out to see their grand-daughter Raley! Truth is it would not matter where she is... they'd be there if they could!

Anyway, on to the tour of my Christmas house. This is the first year that I have had a house to decorate! And honestly, we didn't go very crazy with the decorations (come to find out when you've lived in 700 sq. feet apartments all your married life, you don't have nearly as many decorations as you thought you did).

We'll start with the shelves of a bookcase in our study... nothing too ornate, but a cute Santa plate and a Santa standing on a Polar Bear (he's Santa Claus... it could happen!).

And this is right next to our front door (ignore the cutesy picture of Reid and I... it's there year-round. The gold table runner, candles and nutcracker are seasonal).

Here is our China hutch... I've added a few of my festive salt and pepper shakers (I have a bit of a collection) and some cute little candle holders.

These are, probably, my favorite decorations this year. My mother has been giving my husband village pieces for the last few years. I finally have enough space in my living room to set them up (and no... the picture isn't crooked, what are you talking about?? :)

These are the three pieces that don't fit on the back of the piano... if he gets another one this year, we'll have to figure out a new place for them to live.

Here is a close-up of two of our mills, the grist mill (for flour of course) and the saw mill, for lumber.

And a close-up of one of the figurines, this one the carver outside the wood mill. There is also a blacksmith shop (of course... it is Reid's town after all), a tailor, and a theatre!

And here is our Christmas tree... I've yet to figure out how to get a picture of a Christmas tree that makes it look as impressive on the screen as it does in person. This is our "fake" tree from Alco... I love how "real" it looks and the 7.5' looks great in our nine foot ceilinged living room.

My goodness... pictures of Tater just creep in everywhere, don't they?? But in all fairness, he belongs on the tour. See his festive bandana? Even my dog gets decorated for the season!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I know I've been quiet for awhile. This is finals week and my parents have been in town since Saturday... so I've been spending my "free" time grading papers, fretting over student's failing and hanging out with my parents. The next couple of weeks might be quiet as I spend time with family and friends... but I'll try to update with pictures and bits of Jenna-isms now and again!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yummy, Fast Dinner!

I am participating in my first Keeping Creative Kitches, a feature that a friend of mine does on her blog virtually every Thursday.

Reid and I have been pseudo-vegetarians for a couple of years now (meaning we eat mainly vegetarian at home and whatever we feel like when we're not). But in the last couple of weeks I've decided to take the plunge and go all out vegetarian. Reid has agreed (at least while at home... all bets are off when he's out). I'm doing it largely because of ethical reasons. Reid is doing it... well, mainly because he likes to humor me!

So this past weekend we sat down with our past Vegetarian Times magazines (we've gotten a subscription thanks to my mom for a couple of years now) and earmarked recipes that sounded good.

Last night I made the first of them: Greek Style Paninis. And let me tell you... they were easy and good! Since Alaina had said over on her blog that she is in a bit of a funk (and I'm sure she's not alone), I though this might be one you'd like to try.

Greek Style Paninis

1 box frozen spinach
1/2 cup (or so) of feta cheese
Roasted Red Peppers (the kind jarred with water)
Hummus (we had plain, but I'm sure you could experiment with other flavors)
Any sort of rolls (we used plain white French bread rolls... but I would think kaiser would work well too)

1. Thaw and squeeze dry the spinach (squeezing it might be something that little hands would like to do!)

2. Mix the spinach and the feta together

3. Spread the mixture on the bottom half of the rolls

4. Place roasted red peppers over the mixture.

5. Spread hummus on the other half of the roll.

6. Heat a skillet. Place the roll halves together and place the sandwiches in the skillet. I then took a big pot that would cover the rolls, put it on top of them and then put cans in the pot to weigh it down. If you have a countertop grill you could use that, but we don't have one.

7. After four minutes flip the sandwiches, put the pan back on them (with the cans inside) and grill for another four minutes (or so).

Isn't that a great, fast recipe?? And there are three really good things about it:

1. There are only five ingredients, which means it's nice on your grocery bill!

2.They are yummy!

3. There was enough left-over for more paninis tonight!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A No-Good, Very Bad Day

Today has not gone well. Reid and I just took both of our cars into the shop to get winterized (including putting engine heaters in both of them because we think that's why the Saturn's engine seized last winter). Then this morning I had to try to start the Mitsubishi three times before it started! If it keeps this up, it will be going back to the shop.

Before getting in the cars, we found that our hot water is not flowing to our kitchen (to the bathrooms yes but not to the kitchen). So... I'm now sitting at home waiting for the plumbers who can (hopefully) come sometime this afternoon and who will hopefully not be too expensive.

And then to top it all off, I talked to my folks and my dad did not get a job opportunity that he had been hoping for...

All in all, the kind of day you just wish you could stick your head back under the covers... and definitely not a day that is tempting me to work on grading speeches (which I know I have to do and which also induces blick!).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas is coming....

Does it excite anyone else that Christmas is only two weeks and three days away?? It somehow seems impossible, since I still have a week and a half left of school. But the holidays will be here before we know it! And I, for one, am excited about that... and here is a list of the reasons why:

1. My family will be here, and they've never seen our house before!

2. My family includes my niece, who is nine months and I haven't seen her since she was four months and I'm sure she's going to be so interesting and fun!

3. Presents! I love giving presents. I love wrapping presents and I love opening presents. We have all (hopefully) agreed to go light this Christmas. But it is still fun to see the excitement in people's eyes when they open something that you know they'll like!

4. Food! I plan to bake while my family is here... any suggestions?

5. No place to be! I feel like I have been rushing around for the last month. It will be nice to wake up a few mornings and have no place that I have to be!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Productive AND Lazy Sunday

I'm back. The conference went well. I think that we snagged at least a few recruits (one student even told us that she had been looking at Adams since she was in 8th grade!). We talked to many students, a couple of teachers and I lead a small but successful workshop.

I stayed at the Comfort Inn in downtown Denver on the 21st floor. Little did I know but the Denver Parade of Lights was this weekend and went directly down the street in front of my hotel. So, after having a very yummy (and rather expensive for me) dinner with Paul, he dropped me off at my hotel Friday evening. I ran upstairs, changed into comfy clothes and then headed back down to street level where I watched about an hour of the parade. I went upstairs before the end 'cause I was cold... but they had Santa Claus miked because I could hear him way up in my room (and I could see his float too... he was just a tiny little spot).

Today has been quiet, which is nice. I wrote our Christmas letter, addressed all of our Christmas cards (most of you will find them in your mailboxes later this week... except for those of you who I will see before Christmas and I'm hand delivering yours!) and paid bills (yuck!). I also sat for several hours on the sofa watching Reid play on his PS3... yes, we're that exciting of a couple! This evening I am thinking about wrapping a couple of presents and then settling in to watch a movie... a good way to spend a relaxing day, in an otherwise pretty hectic weekend. But only one more week of classes, then finals... and then I'm done until January! Hooray for teacher's schedules!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Potential Christmas Present?

I was driving to Del Norte last night and on NPR there was an interview with an air force officer using the pseudonym Matthew Alexandar. He was discussing a book that he had written under the same name entitled How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq. After reading the reviews and hearing the man speak, it is a book I would really like to read. Has anyone read it or seen it in bookstores? I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has opinions about it... and would love to find it under the Christmas tree! :)

And here is one that looks interesting and appeals to my "survivalist" side... When Technology Fails (Revised & Expanded): A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Busy week!

I have a very busy week ahead of me. Today is first dress rehearsal for Miracle which means I will probably also be here tomorrow evening. Wednesday I have a play to go see at a local high school that one of our students is directing. Then Thursday Paul and I head to Denver for Thursday-Saturday recruiting at the State Thespian Conference. So... here I sit, at work, eating my Quiznos dinner. How about you? Are your plans this week crazy or pretty subdued?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Puppet foot explanation...

This is for Sarah and anyone else who is confused. The puppeteers are fully visible to the audience (a little akin to Japanese Bunraku puppets). They are dressed in black and it is an audience conceit that they are "invisible", which honestly after watching the performance only once it is an easily made request as your eye is certainly drawn to the puppet and not the performer. This is helped by the idea that all of the actors on stage address the puppet directly and not the puppeteer. The puppets are between three and four feet tall. They have a hole in the back of their head which allows the puppeteer to manipulate the head with one arm, leaving their other hand free to manipulate an arm. They also have a strap around their neck which attachs to the puppet's neck, which allows them to drop their hand out of the head and pick up both hands, when necessary. So... the metal pieces just attach the puppet to the puppeteer so that they are standing just in front of the puppeteer. Does that make sense?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Puppet Feet

I just downloaded the pictures from our camera onto our computer and realized that I never updated the blog with pictures of puppet feet attachment-making!

So... without further ado...

It was a cold night... so we started a little fire in Reid's forge. It draws really well and warms up the space around it nicely.

These are the three sizes we were working on. Luckily for me all three female puppeteers are size seven feet! How often does that happen?

First Reid had to cut the bar stock to the proper length. Note the look of serious concentration.

Next, he must prove that he is Superman.

Then he uses his vice to finesse the metal into just the shape he wants (which includes a big loop to go around the puppeteer's foot and two little tangs out the front to which the puppet will be connected).

Getting the tangs just perfect.

Voila, he says... this is what I put my wife through graduate school for! So that I could get roped into making puppet-foot-attacher-things.

And this is how they fit around the shoe... you can sort of see how they're attached to the shoe. Basically it is a sewn on strip of canvas, sewn both above and below the metal piece. Then the two pieces that stick out the front get holes drilled into them through which a screw is inserted (and the puppet's ankle joint is between the two pieces of metal and has the screw go through it).

And how did this picture slip in here?? Gratuitous picture of the Tater-boo!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday After Thanksgiving

Is it just me, or does everyone feel like today should be Sunday? And yet the weekend has only just begun! Hooray!

Thanksgiving was a lovely day here. It started snowing about noon and snowed off and on all day long (ending with about four inches of snow here, most of which sadly has melted off). Actually, it started snowing while Reid and I were in Alco where we bought a Christmas tree and some presents for two children in our community through the education club at school.

We came home, cooked and ate... then put up the Christmas tree. Then we watched the third Harry Potter movie (we're re-watching the first four and tomorrow evening is the fifth which we just got through Netflix and which we have not yet seen). And then we decorated the Christmas tree. I'll post pictures at some point but it is definitely the largest tree Reid and I have ever had together (about seven feet tall). Luckily our living room has nine foot ceilings so it doesn't look too big... Really it is just about the perfect size. And as always I love to stare at it.

Today I left the house at 9:30 and spent all day at the costume shop. Tater and Reid joined me about 1pm and we left at six. But... we got enough done that I don't have to go back tomorrow! Hooray! A whole day to myself... I have so many ideas of ways to fill it, including continuing to decorate for Christmas, working on Christmas presents and possibly starting on our Christmas cards.

How about you? How is your long weekend going so far?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

When you are far from family and friends it can be easy to let yourself get down... I was feeling that way last night. Thanksgiving dinner for two is jut anti-climactic (when should I make this? When that? Does it really matter?).

And then I shook my head and did a reality check. I am one of the luckiest people in the world and I have an amazing abundance of things to be thankful for (one of them being a tremendous man who is spending his Thanksgiving Day also having a meal for two). We're going to go buy a Christmas Tree today if we can find one and then spend the evening eating and decorating together. We may even find some time to make a list of the things that we're thankful for this year and post them right back here.

So, where-ever you are and whomever you are with, know that I am thinking of you and wishing you good fellowship, communion and cheer on this happy Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The turkey worked. Paul hung it yesterday during work study, inflated it and it works! It looks like a turkey! In fact, it works a little too well because it stays inflated long after we turn the fans off... so today or tomorrow I'm going to put zippers in two of the toes so that once it gets off stage they can unzip them and let the air out quickly. I will try to bring my camera with me in the next few days and get someone to help me inflate it and take a picture.

For the engineer... no... I did not make a scale model. I did have a drawing with dimensions. Basically the body is two pieces of fabric sewn together on three sides, with a bit of a curve to the front and back. The drumsticks are two rectangles of fabric, gathered into a circle cut on each side of the body. Then the legs are squares sewed into tubes, with the drumstick gathered into the top of it (so that the drumstick looks fat at both the top and the bottom). Then at the bottom of the leg is a circle sewn in, which has three additional circles cut out of it and that is where the toes are sewn in (which are also long rectangles sewn into tubes with the end of it stitched into a point). So I didn't really need to mock up a pattern as it was all squares and rectangles.... but because it was so big I was worried that the fans wouldn't be able to fill it, or the proportions would look weird, or something... but it works!

In other news, I worked out for the fourth time this morning... for those few readers of mine (Jamie) who have worked out regularly, when does it get easier? Or more specifically, when do I stop feeling like I'm going to throw up?? My muscles are less sore, so they are getting used to it. But my stomach and lungs think this is ridiculous stuff!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Ah well... so much for posting every day in November. Now I could try it again in May or June... when there is less going on. But the truth is the end of November is a very busy time for the ASC theatre deparment!

In part because I'm building this....
(I tried to find the website I found this photo on to give it proper credit but I couldn't find it... sorry!)

Okay, so maybe I'm only building the bottom 1/5 of it (from the drumsticks down). But math is involved (figuring both measurements, dimensions and yardage)... no one told me that math would be required for this job. It most certainly was not on the job description! So, I'm back at the shop this afternoon working on the turkey for a few more hours with the hope of having it done for them to try it out tomorrow.

And yes, Jamie, I did get up and work out on Thursday morning. And besides my abs, it was a lot easier than Tuesday morning... I then got up and worked out this morning (late) and took two steps backwards (again thinking I was going to throw up). I now know that I have to get up early and work out before our living room heats up for the day. It was just much too warm. But I've now done it three days this week! And that's my goal. Next semester I hope to up it to four days a week... baby steps!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can you believe it??

As I was pulling out of work last night (hence this should have been last night's post but I didn't get on the computer at home), I looked to my right.


I honestly didn't think I would see that happen again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Starting to Panic...

I'm at the point in the design process where I'm starting to panic. It doesn't help that Kris Kringle, the person who is supposed to look put-together and good at all times, is a football player with a fifty inch chest! That makes it impossible to put him in anything that we have from stock... I know because I've now tried him in everything. I am probably breaking down and just buying his clothes over the internet, even though it's pretty late in the game to be doing so... I just hope they all get here on time! That, coupled with the five garments which are not yet started (3 of which have not even been cut out yet) should be enough to keep my blood pressure high for the next several weeks (and me in the costume shop every weekend day between now and the opening night).

In other news, I am sore like crazy today! But I still plan to get up and work out tomorrow morning.

Reid and I watched the movie "3:10 to Yuma" (the remake) this evening. It certainly made me want to get on a horse and ride like crazy (I doubt the horses in our pasture would appreciate it if I tried). It is a little depressing though that Christian Bale is apparently old enough to play a believable character with a 14 year old son... my heart-throbs aren't supposed to be getting old! In my mind he'll forever be 18 and singing "Are you there? Santa Fe? Do you swear you won't forget me??" Anyone?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sore... But good!

The signs of needing a change have been mounting over the last few weeks. I went to the employee health fair at school a couple of weeks ago and had my blood pressure checked. It was high. A little scary high... of course part of that is because now when I think about getting my blood pressure checked it goes up because I know it's going to be high, which makes me nervous and raises it. But it doesn't raise it THAT much. Sign number one.

Then I threw my back out, which meant that I couldn't start exercising but also meant that I really needed to because most likely the reason I threw out my back in the first place was weak stomach and back muscles. Sign number two.

Yesterday I picked up my blood test results from the health fair. Apparently not only is my blood pressure high, but my cholesterol is also high. Sign number three.

So... I started exercising this morning. Reid and I are pretty good about watching the foods that we eat (I could be a little bit better, particularly with sodium) but I live a completely sedentary life and that needs to change. So this morning I got up, took Tater for his morning walk and then popped in one of the work out videos that I bought (probably around this time last year). And yes, about three quarters of the way through the lowest level work-out I had to lay down because I thought I was going to throw up... but I did it. I even got back up and did the cool down with the DVD. My plan is to do this work-out on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and then once over the weekend... and then add on as my endurance progresses. I mainly need cardio, though a little bit of strength training wouldn't hurt either.

I would like to use my internet friends for support in this endeavor. Of course I would love to look great, but primarily I want to be healthy... So, if you are willing, hold me accountable okay? 'Cause goodness knows that if this doesn't work, I may have to join some organized sports team (and we all know how much that scares me!).

Monday, November 17, 2008


I passed my second year retention hearing with a five person unanimous vote! Hooray... of course it is only a recommendation, which now has to go to the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. Then it goes to the Provost. And then finally (most likely some time in January) to the President's office for his approval. However, I have never heard of a case of the president rejecting a retention that has been voted for by a committe (I think once or twice he has overturned letting someone go)... so it looks like Reid and I will be staying in Alamosa for another year (and hopefully for many more to come, though the tenure committee is definitely looming in just three more years!).

Otherwise today was a smooth day. I taught two classes, did a production meeting and supervised some work in the costume shop (except for fasteners, Santa's coat is done... I still need to make him his pants). Reid and I came home, made dinner and now he's doing dishes while I type to you (aren't I a lucky woman??).

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Ever have one of those Sundays where everything goes just fine but you still feel blah? Yeah, that's today. In fact I accidentally hit post for this entry when it had nothing more than a title... and thought that summed it up pretty well. Don't get me wrong. Today has been fine. We got up late, and ate a late breakfast (and then a late lunch). I re-watched the Simpson movie (which made me laugh) and Reid played on the computer. I talked to two friends on the phone, one for about half an hour and the other for over an hour. So today was a good day. Of course I'm now facing going back to school to do some class prep for this coming week and then being there for the first dress rehearsal of The Mystery Plays... which means I won't get home until late. Perhaps that is why I'm feeling blah.

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is not this week but next?? How fast is time flying? After that we only have two more weeks of school and then finals... and then I'm done... until next semester when it all starts over again! Okay, I'm going to go spend a few minutes cuddling with my hubby before it's back to school.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Whomever wrote the stage adaptation for Miracle on 34th Street (I could find out but my script is at school) must have believed in miracles... because there are several scenes where Kris Kringle is on stage in his Santa Suit, the lights go down, come back up and he is on stage in street clothes (or vice versa). I have a strong disdain for playwrights who don't consider things like quick costume or set changes (you know, where the lights go down and come back up and the house has gone from a pigsty to immaculate... how is that supposed to happen William Inge?? How???).

I figured I should get Kris Kringle's Santa costume built quickly so that the dressers can have some time to figure out how they are going to make magic happen. Also, either there were already two worn spots and a black stain on the velvet when I bought it (entirely possibly) or our washing machine at school did it (though it has never torn holes in anything before). These both made cutting out the suit a difficult task, one I had put off to a Saturday when I could do it on my own without being interrupted repeatedly with "What next Jenna?" And it's a good thing I did because I just barely squeezed the pieces I needed out of the yardage I had.

I then built most of the coat today before leaving school (though I have to tear out a little bit of it on Monday that I did too hastily and therefore not well... it is true what they say about haste and its making of waste). I still have the pants but those are easy drawstring (and I think I'll probably make them elastic just to help with the aforementioned changes). And of course we still need to attach the fur to the boots, make the belt, etc... but at least the biggest part (cutting out the pattern) is done.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One long week

I have been feeling somewhat down most of this week (thanks Tater! Not only should the vet have warned of potential behavior changes in Tater but when you mess around with my hormones, guess what happens to me too!)... I thought it was only me but I've been reading a few of my friend's blogs who also appear to be having a rough week. It must be something in the air.

That, or it could be the long amount of time I have been at school this week. In fact, I'm still in my office. I'm supposed to be grading stuff but isn't posting on my blog more fun? Plus, it's the start of the weekend... I have loads of time (don't remind me that I said that on Sunday when I'm cursing myself for not grading stuff early). I am staying this evening to watch Miracle on 34th Street rehearsal to try and get a grasp on when costume changes can/should take place. Exciting my life, isn't it? But hey, you wanted a post a day.

My retention review is Monday. It should be fine but it is always a little nerve-racking... and I'll be glad when it is done for the year.

And that's about it for now. I think I'll go grade something now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Twelve days in and I failed in my quest to post all days of November. Yesterday was a bear. Work was long, exhausting, and seem to gone on for far too long... coupled with coming home, snarfing down a sub and then heading right back to school. On top of that the puppet feet did not go according to plan. However, by the end of the evening the director was willing to make a compromise that meant our design would work with one slight modification. Reid is helping to make the supports out of steel this evening. Then I'll take them to work tomorrow, stitch them to the shoes and be done! Hooray!! Then there will be much rejoicing. Of course, Paul came to me today with the dimensions for the giant turkey legs that we have to sew for the Macy's Day float. Ah... it never ends... until the day of opening... and then it had better be done!

Today was an easier day. I spent most of the morning ordering costume pieces over the internet from various sources, then taught acting and then worked in the costume shop where we got a fair amount done. When working with novice sewers I must always remind myself that everything will take four times (and sometimes more) longer than it should... and yes, I could do it faster myself... but they need to learn. The proof is definitely in the pudding, in that my sophomores, juniors and seniors in the shop get things done... I have seen all of them improve immensely in the year and a quarter that they've been working for me. And I'm sure this batch of new students will be the same.

Then I stopped at the hardware store with Reid to buy the rest of what we need for the puppets and now we're home; Reid is making us dinner (grilled cheese and mac&cheese... can you say we like cheese?? And we need to go to the grocery store??) and I'm now done posting on my blog and will settle into Christmas present making.
Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Please take a moment (or many) today to thank a Veteran for their service to our country. Maybe you know someone currently serving or someone who devoted years of their life to defend the United States. Whether you believe in the wars that are currently going on or the wars that have been fought in the past... you must believe in the dedication, devotion and selflessness of the men and women who fight. They sacrifice time away from their families, suffer through harsh conditions and face mortal dangers... and they do it all willingly in the name of America.

Please, call, hug, donate or otherwise express your gratitude to a soldier, a sailor, an airmen or a marine today.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It snowed and this time it stuck! There are places where it is at least 3 and maybe even 4 inches deep outside! It started this morning abou the time I took Tater for our early morning freeze/walk and didn't stop until about 1pm. And I love it (of course by March I'll be sick of it but if it is going to be cold outside anyway, I would much prefer that there be snow on the ground).

I also received my first bloggy give-away prize in the mail today (which was kind of a mixed blessing because somehow that meant that my magazine and mail got a little soggy in the bottom of the mailbox, but the box didn't... weird). It is a Chex Mix spa basket with lots of nice stuff (loofah, back massager, Chex Mix Turtle bars, and yummy smelling lotion). Thank you Frugal Finds (check out her website if you get a minute, there are some great deals and lots of freebies listed)!

I was supposed to go back to campus this evening to watch Miracle... but with the snow and my general Monday apathy I decided to stay home this evening and work on a Christmas present instead! Also, Reid and I bought some supplies at the hardware store for the puppet/puppeteer attaching debacle of 2008... once we have the proto-types built (and after I patent the stupid thing... just kidding) I'll post about them. There have been many attempts but I think this one might actually work!

A few of my family members are doing this once-a-day posting with me and have said that they can't think of things to say on their blog... can you tell that doesn't seem to be my problem? Now coming up with something interesting to say... well, that's a horse of a different color! Ta-ta for now... talk at you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christmas 2008

I know that it is not yet Thanksgiving (yet it will be before we know it, which is a good thing except I have a lot of work left to do on our holiday show at school), but I am looking forward so much to the holidays that I thought I would blog about it.

I went to Walmart today (the only big store within a one hundred mile radius of us and therefore one of the only stores open on Sunday). I went with a list of things to look at under the guise of needing things for Miracle on 34th Street (which is true). I came home with a few things for Miracle... and quite a few things for others as well. I know that the Christmas stuff in the stores this early drives some people crazy. Not me. I love it. It inspires me and makes me want to buy stuff to make for other people. And buy I did. I came home with the makings of at least six Christmas presents. Now I just need to get busy!

Reid installed (with many expletives) his stovepipe for his forge and we tested it out last night... and it draws really well! He did have a set back this week in that the big machining vise he got for free won't work. He messed with it for hours and it is officially broken. After the forge and anvil, the vise is the most used instrument in a metal working shop. He has a little one that he mounted to his work table and he can use it until he can get a big vise... but we were sad that he couldn't get the free one working and instead will have to buy one.

(You can see how well it is drawing by the flame (and the smoke which you can't see) being pulled up the stove pipe. In the foreground you can see his anvil mounted to the block he made for it. He is smiling and pretty happy... and this is probably the cleanest you'll ever see his shop again! ) And just so you know, it isn't the stove pipe that is crooked... that is picture-taker error!
This week, his goal is to get some coal and some metal stock and start getting his skill set back! He doesn't think it will take him long to relearn what he's doing (muscle memory apparently)... I think it is going to take a little while for his muscles to get used to this new work again! But hopefully some Christmas presents will be coming out of his shop for Christmas '08 too! So, if you have any request you should get them in early! In other words, we are hoping that this is the Christmas of family, good eating, and home-made presents! How about Christmas for you?

(PS- Stephanie, you can answer a question in a blog either in your response or in your own blog post if you like... or treat it like a rhetorical question and not answer it at all... up to you entirely!).

(PPS- Tater is fine, just as we expected him to be... and yes, it is funny)

Here is Tater today... as you can see he is fine... and his normal bored self.

And here is the evidence he left in my bedroom... destruction Tater-style!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shaking my head...

Here's a phrase I never thought I would have to type into google; "My dog ate my birth control pills." For the three years we have had Tater my pills have sat right next to the bed and he has never bothered them... tonight I go out to the garage with Reid for maybe ten minutes, come back in, do some dishes, and then go to the bedroom. My pill pack was on the floor destroyed. I frantically counted pills and days... we were missing two and a half. I called the emergency vet line and she told me to calm down (not that I ever freak out where my pets are concerned!), that we could make him throw up but that since it could have been as much as two hours between ingestion and now and since they are very low dose and he ate so few we probably did not need to. She said just keep an eye on him. She also said that he might have a few "behavioral" changes in the next few days and possibly some gastro-intestinal problems but that he should be otherwise fine.

Unconvinced as I was, I then went to the trusty internet and at least five sites (even when I added the words veterinary advice) all said the same thing. So, I'm going to trust everyone... and laugh about it as soon as I see Tater happy and alert tomorrow!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Friday!

And in honor of it being my favorite day of the week (well, next to Saturday), I thought I would list a few things in my house that I am thankful for:

1. Heat in houses! With our nightly temps dipping down in to the teens (and occasional single digits), I am so thankful for a warm house and heat at my fingertips.

2. Netflix- We live far away from everything... night life is virtually non-existent here. But even if there was night life, with how cold it is, I doubt I would want to go out. But there is nothing better after a long day than curling up on a sofa, with my husband and pets and watching a good movie!

3. Wine in a box- It stays fresh so much longer than a bottle! And since I prefer white and pinks, I like them cold... and a box fits perfectly in our fridge.

4. The little song my dryer sings when it is done drying my clothes. It almost makes me want to do laundry.

5. Our humongous bathtub... So big and comfy on my hurt back.

6. Nutter Butter cookies... a peanut shaped cookie that taste like peanut butter... ingenious.

7. Our scooby-doo shaped stapler. He got an ear broken off a couple of years ago but I still smile every time I see him sitting up above my computer.

8. The french silk chocolate pie that is in our fridge that Reid ordered from a daughter of one of his co-workers. He is a sucker, but a sucker for chocolate is my kind of man!

Alright... that's enough for tonight 'cause my dinner is done (another thing I'm thankful for) and it's time to go watch a movie with my hubby!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Annie!

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. Awhile back I sat around with several friends, all of whom are female and married, and they were all complaining about their mother-in-laws... and I, honestly and completely, had nothing to add to their list of complaints. It is not often that a daughter-in-law fits in so easily and completely into her married family. I am so thankful that I have warm and loving in-laws who have opened their arms and hearts to me from the first day I showed up (at the family reunion where I met everyone! Talk about sink or swim!). I am glad to have them in my life and thankful for their love and support, both of myself and my relationship with their son.

Happy Birthday Annie! We love you!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jenna's Day, which was atypical (and thus typical)

A friend of mine and I keep playing telephone tag. She is a new mother and I am a working professor... and to say our schedules don't match is a bit of an understatement. So I thought I might give you just a little run-down of how my day has gone. Now of course today is an atypical day because I did things that I don't usually do... but then again when I think about it, most days are atypical. So, here it goes:

6:30am- wake up (hooray for day light savings as it is now light again when I get up... of course it isn't quite 5 now and the sun is setting!), get ready, walk Tater, think about having a balanced breakfast but instead opt for hot blueberry tea (to which I am currently addicted) and a few nutter butter cookies.

7:40am- Leave my house.

7:55-8:45am- Arrive at work. Make sure my lesson plans are in place for both of my classes today and that I have all of the necessary materials for photocopying after my 9 o'clock class (the photocopier is in the building where I teach MWF mornings and if I can organize myself enough I try to do all of my photocopying before or after one of those classes), quickly check my e-mail, and head off to class.

9:00-9:50am- Give a lecture on the effective use of power point coupled with a lecture on audience analysis (since I missed Monday's lecture) in Speech Fundamentals.

9:50-10:30am- Make photocopies (and make a few last minutes choices) of my acting class' final scenes.

10:30-10:40am- Meet the other members of the Education Interview panel, with whom I'll be interviewing four perspective students in the teacher education program.

10:40-12:30- They are supposed to be 20 minutes each, and done by 12:00... though we tried to stick to the time limit this is one more example of how time limits and academics don't work.

12:30-12:45- Meet/chat with the head of the education department... you never know when connections may help you!

12:45-12:50- Run back to the theatre building!

12:50-1:00- Go to the bathroom, find lecture notes for class and realize there is no time for lunch...

1:00-1:50- Lecture on costume design, specifically what a costume says about a character and how to initially approach a script.

1:50-2:30- Discuss costume designs for student shows with student designers, make a shopping list for said designers to buy things for Miracle on 34th Street, realize that my stomach is growling.

2:30-2:40- Heat, and eat Lean Pocket. Realize that I have a department meeting in 20 minutes.

2:45-3:00- Walk to department meeting with colleague and discuss puppeteer costumes, as we did not get to at the Monday production meeting which I missed.

3-4:30- in a meeting that was supposed to be from 3-4 (see 10:40-12:30), we discussed paperless advising and I learned how to check students' test scores on our online system.

4:30-4:45- Debate walking to the library and returning some books/getting the last of my students' scenes to copy. Then decide I can do that tomorrow morning and instead head back to theatre building.

4:45-4:47- Call student designers to check on progress of shopping trip as they're not back yet.

4:47-4:50- Start this blog entry

4:50-5:05- Take a break from the blog entry to meet a student's dog (yes here at Adams we are all about the students! And frankly, the dog was a really cute beagle mix).

5:15... oh wait, that's now. Okay so I'm writing this blog entry... a student comes to ask about her scene partner... then the student designers come back and show me what they've bought.

5:21- Back to writing after I talk with the students... another student stops and I need to show her the new gloves for the puppeteers... she then chats with me about her dog, laptop, etc (yes, again, we're focused on our students here)!

5:28- Back to writing... this time I'm going to finish! I'll now leave here, go to a few stores looking for things to put in my Christmas gift baskets... then home, to eat dinner, grade some papers and hopefully be done by 8 so I can watch a movie with Reid... then to bed and tomorrow I'll start all over again (only tomorrow night, like last night, I'll be here until 10:30 for student rehearsals).

Hope your days were good ones!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


As any of you who regularly read my blog know, I don't generally write about politics in any way here... but I just simply can't contain myself this evening (and if that means some of my faithful readers have to skip this short post, please do so... I won't mind).

I am so proud of America for electing (if the results are correct, which 338 to 156 is pretty hard to argue with even if every state isn't in yet) our first African American president. I honestly can say that I never thought I would see such an event so soon in my lifetime... but more importantly I am really excited for what this means for our country... I was so worried that four more years (and yes, for all McCain attempted to do to separate himself from Bush he is still a status quo gentleman who I'm sure is a lovely person but doesn't know how many houses he owns and wanted to "stay the course" with our economics, despite the unemployment rate skyrocketing, and inflation soaring). I have great hope that America can change and that Obama is the first step in making a country where all people have opportunity. Only time will tell.

I am also really excited that it appears Colorado Amendment 48 is not going to pass. This is an amendment that would effectively define life beginning at conception and would have effectively limited birth control in Colorado (as some forms of birth control do not prevent fertilization but merely implantation) and is just the first of a slippery slope to the illegalization of abortion... Now we'll just have to wait and see if the amendment allowing gambling limits is raised (which would pump millions of dollars into Colorado community colleges, thereby freeing up funding for four year colleges... did anyone out there know that Colorado ranks 48th out of the fifty states for higher education funding! We could certainly use the passage of this bill so please keep your fingers crossed for that one).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Twittling My Thumbs

My back is up to about fifty percent as of this morning. However, I was afraid that if I try to push through a full 8-5 day at school (standing for two hours of lecturing, sitting in my upright office chair for four hours and supervising work in the costume shop, requiring all sorts of bending and lifting0 that I would be back to square one. So instead I took today off to hopefully let my back have one more day of healing. Of course that means that it is 10:00 and I'm bored out of my mind (since there are projects around the house that could be done but somehow they all involve lifting, or standing on ladders which goes against the whole point of my staying home).

So I'm checking e-mail and surfing blogs... and I found out that I won two bloggy give-aways! How exciting... when I receive them I will most definitely post about them. And through one of my wins I found a Christmas/Home for the Holidays swap. And what can I say? I love Christmas! So... I thought I'd join. The packages don't have to be shipped out until Dec. 8 which gives me lots of time to buy/make/find the contents! Would you like to join along with the Christmas Swap too? If so, click here!

Home for the Holidays Christmas Swap at 3 Sides of Crazy

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Apparently my mother and sister are participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). And so I thought, I started the month out well with three post in one day so why not join them?

My back is a little better today. The massage helped. The heating pad is helping. And most important spending most of my time laying down is helping. I just have to get it healed enough to go back to school tomorrow. Missing a day of teaching would throw all of my lesson plans in to a bit of disarray.

For anyone who might be back visiting my blog after bloggy give-away, or for those who may have found me through NaBloPoMo, welcome! Here are a few things about me:
1. I am in my second year as a professor of theatre at a small liberal arts college in Colorado.

2. I teach acting, speech, and costume design. I also manage the costume shop. In other words, I do a little bit of everything (except lighting and sound, of which I know nothing).

3. I'm directing my first main stage at Adams this spring, Bright Ideas by Eric Coble. It is very funny and should be a good introduction of my directing to our theatre.

4. I love my family, though they unfortunately all live very far away. My folks and my in-laws are in Indiana. My sister, brother-in-law and niece are in southern California.

5. I have been married to a wonderful man for a little over six years. He is a constant support to me and willingly moved across the country not once but twice to allow me to pursue my dreams.

6. He is starting his own blacksmithing business this fall (in fact he's out cutting holes in the front and back of our garage to add vents for the chimney as I write).

7. We do not have children yet, though they are certainly in our plans. We have three pets, a dog and two cats, who we spoil something awful!

8. We bought our first house this past March, a 1903 farmhouse, for which we have lots of plans and work to do. My hope for next summer is to paint the outside, our fence and to start a productive garden in our back yard!

9. I like all sorts of things and have all sorts of hobbies, many of which would be considered "old fashioned." I bake. I sew. I am getting interested in canning and preserving of food.

10. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, in part for health and in part for ethical reasons. I don't exercise nearly as much as I should though after this reason incident with my back (see below) it is becoming ever apparent that I need to do something to build my strength!

11. I write about whatever strikes me. Most of my posts are to keep my family and friends abreast of what I am doing since we live so far apart from one another. I would like to start adding post about my work and studies in theatre, which hopefully won't bore my regular readers too much.

And with that... I'm off to go put heat on my back again!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Totally supposed to be laying down right now...

But I found the most adorable site through Living to the Hilt's website!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

more animals

more animals

more animals

more animals

more animals

The Good, The Bad and the Painful

Last night we had a Halloween party which was a great deal of fun (the good)! We had about twelve other folks over and enjoyed good converation, a few drinks and yummy food (got to have lots of yummy food)! By far the biggest hit of the night were the Pumpkin Pasties that I made from a recipe I found on the internet. They are basically bite size pumpkin pies.

Here was our haunted bathroom... of course with the flash it doesn't looky nearly as spooky as without it. We changed out almost all of the light bulbs in our house to colored bulbs and then also lit a lot of candles and oil lanterns to create "Halloween atmposphere."

This is our hutch with the flash off... red lights mixed with lanterns and spiderwebs = creepy!

Here is the beginning of our spread. There were a few other things that were added throughout the night (including a very yummy spinach dip that filled the lower right hand corner of the table... thanks Lucy!). The front center plate is the pasties.

And here is the happy Greek couple... yes, the costumer decided she simply didn't have time to sew costumes. So, I bought seven yards of $1/yard fabric at Walmart, cut them into rectangles and pinned them on to us to make Greek Chitons. See? Teaching costume history does come in handy! :)

For the bad, I was walking across the costume shop yesterday afternoon and something in my back just snapped. Pain shot up my back and down into my legs. I tried taking it easy (as easy as I could making last minute preparations for our party which included making the aforementioned pasties). But by the time people got here I was having some trouble sitting in a straight back chair and standing for long periods. I took four pain pills, which made it possible for me to move in a limited way but by 10:30 I was out of costume and by 11:15 I was in bed. I felt bad leaving the party early (as most folks didn't leave until about 12:30) but there was nothing else that could be done.

I woke up this morning and my back still hurt (the painful). Luckily one of our guests last night is a professional massage therapist who was willing to make an appointment for a Saturday. So I went to see her today and it definitely helped relieve the pain temporarily (which makes me hopeful that it is just muscular and not spinal) but it is still very tender. If it isn't better by Monday, it will be time to make the doctor's appointment... So, I'm going to try and take it easy for the next few hours (I have to go back to school this evening to see the closing night performance of the first set of student-directed one acts) and tomorrow will be spent mostly lying on the bed/sofa in hopes that whatever it is will heal itself by Monday. Just wanted to keep you all in the loop. And now it's back to bed.

Bloggy Give-away Winners!

Wow! After removing the few duplicate entries, I had 234 people enter my give-away! How impressive! And as such I thought it only fair to have two winners, instead of one! So... I used an online random number generator which picked:
#78: Martha at Polka Dots & Paisleys
#38: Toiling Ant at Living to the Hilt

Congratulations ladies! I've sent an e-mail your way requesting your mailing addresses. If I don't hear from you in the next few days I'll pick (or have the random number generator) pick again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bloggy Give-Away!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

So I've been entering a few (okay a lot) of Bloggy Give-aways this evening over at Don't Try This at Home and I started to feel guilty because I was not offering anything here... so I thought I'd rectify that.

I'm generally a crafty person but with school and the holidays and everything going on I honestly don't know when or what I would have time to make. But I do love Christmas! So... I thought I would put together a Christmas surprise basket. It may contain an ornament or two, some music, some recipes, and maybe something hand crafted if I have time... and if you have something else you would really like to see in the basket put that in your comment and you never know! It might show up in there too (thinking teas, hot chocolates... Starbucks? Who knows! Don't you love surprises?).

So, here is what you need to do:

1. Leave a comment below with a way for me to contact you and one of your favorite physical things about Christmas (the cookies, the candles at church, etc).

2. Go check out the other give-aways! There are lots!

3. Come back and check in with me from time-to-time if you have interest in theatre, home projects, craft projects, living in Colorado, or anything else Jenna related.

I'll close the drawing when I get up on Saturday morning (it could be late... we're having a Halloween party at our house) and draw a name then!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday's Big Project

I am happy to report that I was not an active participant in Saturday's big project. I did take a few of the photos below but otherwise was merely an observer. Reid's friend, Mike, came over and helped with the manual labor.

Reid now has a chimney in his workshop! He was very diligent about seeking out the contractor who gave him advice on installation and building codes and then finding the best deal in town for pricing of the components. He was up early on Saturday morning and began the process of cutting a hole in our garage's ceiling! Eeks! Let's just say I was happily baking bread and then playing computer games inside where I could not see the destruction of our home. Now it's finished and beautiful.
Doesn't he slightly resemble the frightened raccoon or squirrel frequently found in the space between ceiling and rafters in a garage? He is sitting above the part that probably took the longest. He had to frame in a wooden box which held the ceiling support box that goes between chimney and stovepipe.

Once he had the box framed in he found the center of the box (in relation to the ceiling) by dropping a plumb line down through the box and then anchoring a screw in the corresponding spot in the ceiling. Then he took the circumference of his chimney, divided it by two and drew a circle around the screw. Ingenious, eh?

He started using the sawz-all inside but then went up onto the roof to finish the cutting of the circle.

And here is what it looked like from the inside. He's shaving off a bit more... I suggested while he was up there that he install a few sun lights because it created a nice abience in the garage. He didn't go for it.

It took several more steps, but here is the chimney sticking out of the hole, with the flashing screwed down to the roof and netting over the opening of the cap (both to keep animals out and to keep sparks in).

And here is the chimney from the inside with the ceiling box mounted below. The box is what holds the weight of the chimney so it was very important that it is well framed/supported.

And I know what you're thinking... isn't something missing? He wanted to wait and get the chimney installed before he decided how much stove pipe he needed. He also plans on building something (possibly out of cinder blocks) for the forge to rest on as it is a little short for him. After he gets those two things done (and the stand built for the anvil) he'll just need coal and iron and he'll be ready to start taking commissions! :)