Monday, January 28, 2013

As Easy As. . .

You know, there's a reason the saying is "as easy as falling off a log," and not "as easy as trying to deal with academic institutions".  

When I decided to become a school librarian, I was clueless about what the requirements for the position were.  I quickly found out it required a Master's degree, and jumped in with both feet.  Once my feet were wet, I found out that you also had to be a certified teacher.  Okay, more jumping through hoops.  I figured graduating in December would give me plenty of time to work on that certification before the next fall, when I would be ready to look for a job.  

So, I graduated, and began with a plan.  I will do one thing (even if it's small) every day to bring me closer to my goal of becoming a school library media specialist.  Step 1:  Send in an application with all my transcripts from all my institutions.  Sounds easy enough, right?  I filled out the application, and sent off for transcripts.  I attended a total of three institutions.  My graduate school requires five weeks from the end of the semester to actually post your degree in their system.  I'm still waiting, although by my count, it's been six weeks now, and a quick call to the registrar's office this morning confirmed that I'll be waiting at least another week or two.  I haven't received anything from the junior college that I took summer courses from yet, although they said they processed the request the day after I sent it in, and I should be seeing it "any day now".  The third institution is the one that awarded me my bachelor's degree, and they were really prompt - I got the transcript within three days of requesting it - only it has the WRONG DEGREE on it.  After three days of getting transferred to wrong departments and leaving voicemails  I finally got to speak to someone that seemed to take responsibility for figuring out the problem, getting it fixed, and resending me the transcripts.  I can hardly wait to see how this works out.

I've decided not to stress out about this too much, because life's to short to sweat the small stuff, right?  I have a feeling that this is another stepping stone on my path of learning how my timing is not necessarily God's timing, but that he has it all under control, so I don't need to worry.  This just gives me more time to update my resume, and create a Linked-In profile. (And re-read Linda Dillow's Calm My Anxious Heart while I'm at it *sigh*).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Caught Up!

So, here it is - the first post for a new year.  Of course, that's not counting the eighteen posts I've done this year to catch up from last year.  But who's counting?

Since graduation my theme has been "Catching Up."  First I caught up on Christmas preparations, but that spilled over into the new year as well.  As we left for Texas I glanced back and saw our un-decorated gingerbread houses, but try as I might, there was no way to fit them in to our schedule or (more importantly) in our car to get them done before Christmas.  Instead, we spent one of our days after Christmas decorating our houses.  I had splurged an extra $1 or so to get the pre-assembled ones, just to shave a day off our gingerbread process - after all, the decorating is what we really enjoy.  When we  opened the package we found that it also came with pre-made icing in TWO colors - score!  We stopped at one of those Candyopolis stores in the mall to get fun stuff to decorate and we were ready.

Our Creative Process can get a bit messy.

Maggie's house is always neat and tidy!

Gracie is just getting started with the candy.

Chocolate rocks were good to make a fish/duck pond.  They tasted good too! 

Gracie's never happy until her house groans under the weight of all that candy!

The front of the houses.

The back of the houses.  
We had fun getting all caught up with that project.

What else have I gotten caught up on?  Well, I spent four weeks off and on getting all my digital scrapbooking content labeled and tagged so that when I go to scrapbook and I search for red paper I get something that looks like this:

Instead of like this:


Which is what happens when you have too many tags on every single paper.  They just aren't meaningful.  All in all, it was a good exercise for a budding librarian.

What else have I caught up on?  Well, I deleted about 1000 emails regarding school assignments, sold back some theory-heavy textbooks, and am still working on going through all those school papers and deciding what to keep.  I still have to put together a portfolio for the state department of education, so I don't want to go too crazy there.  I caught up with reading on several subscriptions that I have to various blogs and magazines, so now I just need to keep current.

Really, I thought I'd have more time when school was out, but it's the same old story.

I thought I'd have more time when the girls went to Mother's Day Out two days a week, but I didn't.

I thought I'd have more time when the girls went to school five days a week, but I didn't.

I thought I'd have more time when I got out of school, but I don't.

Life just expands to fill the available space.

But on the upside - I'm never bored.



Saturday, January 26, 2013

Catching Up - Christmas

We spent Christmas (as usual) in Texas with family.  We got there a few days before the festivities, so we got the chance to go see GGma in her little apartment.

Maggie, Suzy, GGma, and Gracie smile for the camera

It was nice to spend some time with GGma by ourselves, simply because it's easier for her to hear us when there aren't competing noises in the room.  Maggie brought her violin, and I brought my piano music, but GGma preferred a private violin recital in the privacy and warmth of her room.  (The piano is in the comparatively frigid common room - must be at least 78 in there.)

The next day I finally got the chance to make some cookies, although they were technically not "Christmas" cookies - just Chocolate White Chocolate Chip cookies made with hazelnut cocoa.  Yum-o-licious!  We ate them at Christmas, so that was Christmasy enough!

Unfortunately, that day I got the gift that keeps on giving - some type of viral infection.  Not sure where I picked it up, but my throat was on fire for Christmas Eve and Christmas.  At first I was sure it was strep, but since there was no clinic open in town, I just suffered through, and figured I'd get a culture done the day after Christmas.  Luckily, by then the soreness was gone - so no strep, yea! 

Cousins from Grandmas side of the family
  
Gracie The Red-Nosed Grandkid!
Papaw The Red-Nosed Grandapa!



Christmas Eve was at Grandma's house, so after we played with all the cousins from that side of the family the kids headed to bed, and Santa began his visit.  Our girls had opened their gifts from us before we left - Since we brought the dog this year, we had to conserve our packing space in the van, so we left Gracie's ice skates at home, and Maggie packed in her present - a new suitcase!  Just out of curiosity, how many of you wanted luggage when you were twelve? 

Jerry and Oreo in her new jingle bell collar
Watching Santa's other helpers assemble a Barbie townhouse and a Hotwheels racetrack made me glad we are past that stage, but boy, I love seeing the excitement for those gifts on Christmas morning!  The other challenge is that the things that pre-teens / teens want are pricey!  Santa used to go for quantity, but now Santa has to be a smart shopper!

 Christmas after brunch we headed over to Mimi and Pepaw's house, where we got to have a relaxing afternoon.  Aaron and Paul arrived and we got to hear about their rather exciting trip to Texas - one of their bags fell out of their airport shuttle and got hit on the way to the airport!  Yikes!  Luckily nothing was lost that was irreplaceable.  

The next evening Jerry's half-brother and some of his family came over and we all headed to a restaurant for dinner and then back home for a gift exchange.  Since we've only known the O'Connor side of the family since this summer, we had a fun time getting to know everyone a little better.  

Suzy, Terry, Gracie, Michelle, Katelyn, Gerald, Maggie, Jerry Sr., Mary Jo, Jerry, Aaron, and Paul
For our gift exchange we were supposed to bring a $25 gift, and I racked my brains to think of something that would get those competitive present-stealing members of the family excited.  Here's what I came up with: 

 
It's a bouquet of gift cards!  I had a theme too - can you guess what it was?  The cards were from Sonic, Freddie's Frozen Custard, Baskin Robbins, Braum's and Coldstone Creamery.  If you guessed ice cream, you think like I do!  It did get stolen the maximum number of times, so I suppose it was a success.
 
The next day we headed to Granddad's and Nana's house,  where the fabulous four were reunited: 


Unfortunately, by now, Jerry was feeling not so hot, but at least at Grandad and Nana's it easy to get away upstairs and rest. 

Grandaddy and Nana
We spent the next few days visiting with extended family from both Dad and Terri's sides of the family. We ate way, way, way to much, and had fun playing games and (for Amy and I) working on scrapbooks.  I didn't realize until it was time to leave that the girls did not go out to see the goats even once while we were there.  It was pretty cold and muddy, thanks to a Christmas Eve thunderstorm that everyone was very thankful for - the drought here is still quite severe.

Jamie, Randy, and Uncle James
It was a whirlwind trip, with two nights at each household, but it was good.  Even though we moved around quite a bit, we still had quality time to visit, which is what we enjoy the most.  We headed back to Oklahoma the Saturday after Christmas, which meant we had a whole week to rest and relax before the girls headed back to school and Jerry headed back to work.  It was a good end to a good year!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Catching Up - Christmas Lights

For the last several years I have put off Christmas shopping until school was out, and it has all worked out fine.  This year however, I quickly came to the realization that I had painted myself into a corner.  Because of the way the dates fell, there was not enough time to have items shipped in between school being out and us leaving for our family festivities, so I actually had to hit the malls this year.  The girl's last day of school was the  21st, and we headed down on the 22nd, so there was no time for any of the usual things we do, such as making cookies or mixing up 9-bean soup.  It just seemed like there was no lead up at all to Christmas! 

We left a bit late on the 22nd, so it was nearing dusk when we got to Ardmore.  This provided the perfect opportunity to finally see the Ardmore festival of lights!  For four years we have driven by this enormous display - you can see it from the highway - but it has always been too early, too late, we've been on a schedule, etc., so we have never stopped.  Well, this time it was close to dinner time, and we were not on a strict arrival schedule, so we pulled off at got in line and waited for the gates to open. 


The Festival of Lights is a drive-thru experience, about one and a half miles long, and has over 125 lighted displays.  Many of them were animated, and lots of them went over the road, such as reindeer shooting a basketball over the road into a hoop on the other side.  


We noticed that Santa is very athletic - there were displays of Santa and his reindeer playing basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, skiing and snowboarding, to name a few. 


Each display was sponsored by a local business - most of which had no bearing on the display, but a few did.  Santa bought his toys at Wal-mart's display, and banked a Citizen's bank.


Many of the displays were quite elaborate.


There was one over the road display where a boy and a girl had a snowball fight.  The girl would throw the snowball over the road, and it would splat on the side of the boy's head.  The girls liked that one, but Jerry wanted to know when it was the boy's turn to throw the snowball.  He felt that there was a little gender discrimination going on there!


It was hard to get pictures, as the car was moving at a pretty good clip.  We could slow down, but there was a long line of cars behind us, and we didn't want anyone to get irritated with us.


One of the most elaborate and large displays was this one of Noah's Ark.  It was so big, it was hard to get a photo without some piece of the car in the way. 


We were glad we stopped, because it was just what we needed to get our Christmas mood going.  Thanks, Ardmore!  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Catching Up - Basketball

This year marks the first year that Maggie can play competitive sports through the school.  I half expected her to do archery, since she seemed to like it so much at family camp, but she didn't make any noise about joining any teams until it was time to try out for basketball.  I asked her if she wanted to do Upward this year, but she said she wanted to play through the school instead.

The first two weeks of the season they practiced every day after school.  This was nothing like Upward either - Maggie found that out the first day.  She came home and told me they had to run a lap for every ball they dropped during a passing drill, had to run up and down the bleachers for every free throw they missed during a free throw drill, and had to do sit ups for something else.  The second day it was more of the same - she listed the number of laps and situps she did, and I was exhausted just listening to her.  I half expected her to quit before the first week was out, but she persevered - definitely more athletic than her mom!  The up side - she was eating well and sleeping soundly!

Once the varsity team was picked, Maggie and the other the remaining girls were put on to two JV teams.  They play other JV teams in our district, so all our games are in town - not a bad deal.  

The morning after my graduation Maggie had a basketball game, so all the grandparents stuck around for that.  Maggie was convinced that her big cheering section gave them an edge, and it must have - they won the game! Here's our gal in action:



The winning score!



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Catching Up - M.L.I.S. at Last!

I can hardly believe that my time at OU is finished.  Everyone is always amazed at how quickly it went by, and it did go by pretty fast (especially when I had a paper due!)  I'm not sure I'm ready for what comes next - mainly getting a teaching certification and a job.

 My plan is to get the certification next semester so that I'll be ready when the jobs come open in the fall.  I've been trying to brainstorm ways to get experience on my resume, and, thanks to a friend with connections, had an opportunity before Thanksgiving at a local elementary school.  They received bond money last year to renovate their school, including their media center (library, for you lay-people out there!)  They finished up several weeks before the Thanksgiving Break, so I volunteered to help unpack all the stuff that had been in storage and help set up the new library.  It was fun - hard work, but fun! - and got me some valuable experience and lovely contacts.  It also helped me find an opportunity to start in January at a district about 20 miles away, but after evaluating all my options, I decided to stick with my original plan.

My courses this semester seemed very easy after last semester's load of courses requiring observation and collaboration at actual schools, along with taking my comps.  In comparison, this semester was a walk on the beach!  I actually wrapped up my coursework a week before the final assignments were due.  After a couple of days I e-mailed my instructor to see if she was going to grade the assignments as they were turned in, or if she was going to grade them after the dropbox closed.  She replied that I "need to relax."  Easy for her to say!  I wanted to know if I had made it through graduate school with straight A's.  A week later, I found out that I had - Woo-hoo!  4.0 Baby!!!!

I had my official portrait made for the yearbook, and decided to walk across the stage.  After all, I had put in a lot of work for this degree!  I bought the smallest package of official announcements and proceeded to try and think of 25 people who would want to know that I had graduated.  You know, for high school and college it was easy to make a long list, because I sent them out to everyone my parents or I knew.  Masters?  Not so much.  Parents, siblings, and then to all the folks who had helped me - along with a note of thanks.  That definitely made the list longer.  I have a lot of friends who have been very supportive, and those who I've met in the local schools that have come along beside me when I've been discouraged about not having teaching experience.  Since they will end up being my colleagues, I'll be fine.  It's easy to see why most school librarians love their jobs - it is a great group of people.

My graduation was set for December 14, and all three sets of parents decided to come up and see me receive my diploma.  We got ready super early, and headed out several hours in advance of the ceremony to take pictures on campus, which was good, because in the five years I've lived here, I've NEVER seen traffic like what we were stuck in that day.  We got there with 5 minutes to spare - so no pictures, but we made it on time - whew!  

Me, Mom, and the girls

 I went in one entrance, and the family entered from the other side of the arena.  I found the rest of the SLIS grads that were participating.  Dr. Brown came by and we got a quick picture before we proceeded down to our seats. 
 We started at the top level and went down one side of the arena, crossed the floor, and then back up the other side to our seats.  Although we had been notified to wear "appropriate footware" for the numerous steps, I was amazed by 1) the number of gals who wore four to five-inch heels, and 2) the number of people who had made it through four years of college (or a graduate degree program) that had not learned how to operate an iron, but had obviously taken the gown straight out of the packaging and put it on.  *Sigh.*

The arena

SLIS students and professor - all wearing sensible shoes :-)

Made it to my seat without tripping!
 I must say, the college had this process down to a science.  As we came down from our seats they took a photo of us in front of a green screen, then we handed our card with our name on it - spelled both normally and phonetically - and they announced our name and we got our diploma (cover).  We came from both sides of the arena, so we moved along at a good clip.

Finally!

A hug from the department chair, Dr. Brown

Getting my handshakes from Doctors Snead, Rubenstein, and White

As soon as it was done we headed to Charleston's for the celebratory dinner, and then back to the homestead.  It is officially over!

Now what? 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Catching Up - Ornaments

It seems crazy that it is the middle of December and we haven't done anything for Christmas yet.  No shopping, no baking, no gingerbread houses, nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Between end of semester stuff for the girls and graduating for me, things have just been crazy.  Last week I went to Michael's for some reason, and as I was walking by the Christmas crafts I noticed some Make-It Bake-It ornaments just like the ones we made when I was a kid for $1.00 each.  I picked out a few, and took them home, where they proceeded to languish on the counter, lonely and forgotten.  Well, not forgotten, just not at the top of the priority list. 

So, I finally decided we NEEDED to do something Christmasy, and (in our one spare hour) I pulled these out.  We each picked two - Maggie chose the angel and the candy cane, Gracie chose the drum and the wreath, and I had the tree and the Santa.  Each one came with three colors of beads, but we shared so we could be more colorful than average.  The girls thought it was neat that this was something that Aunt Amy and I had done as kids too, although I thought that my girls must be much more coordinated that we were, because they didn't get the crystals all mixed up like we did.  Of course, I think we used spoons, or maybe our fingers, while my girls had tweezers and the best invention ever - soda straws cut on a diagonal!  Oh the precision!!!  Our only mishap was when Maggie was working on her angel and accidentally picked up the metal frame rather than the crystal she was aiming for - oops!  We quickly got back on track though.  

We got the little buggers in the oven, where the crystals were supposed to melt in 15 to 20 minutes.  Only they didn't.  Because we had somewhere to be in 30 minutes.  And they weren't nearly done.  Aargh!  So I quickly ran into the office and dug out the instruction manual for the oven and figured out how to set it to turn off in a certain number of minutes, and we went out the door - ornaments baking away.  When we got back and removed them from the oven, they looked like this: 


The girls were so impressed!  The colors are so much more vivid that the suncatchers you just paint.  They even said they would like to do it again.  (And Santa heard - and got them each one that matched their room decor in their stockings for Christmas!)

You know what was funny - later, on Christmas Eve, the girls found the ornaments that Amy and I made on mom's Christmas tree - including the exact same candy cane and wreath.  Only ours were a bit muddled (spoons, remember?)  I love getting to relive my childhood through my kids.  It might even be better the second time around.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Catching Up - Orchestra

This semester has been one of firsts for our little violinist.  Sixth grade is all about getting used to the instrument, but seventh begins the process of auditioning and solo and ensemble competitions and such.  This year we had to find a new private violin instructor for Maggie.  She loved the young lady who helped her last year, but she was a high-school student who moved on to college, so we were back at square one.  Unlike last year, I didn't wait to start calling, and we found a new instructor pretty quickly.  Her new teacher, Mrs. W, is a bit more experienced with teaching, and although Maggie lamented the lost of her tutor who was her "friend," I think she is learning a lot with her new instructor.

The first audition this year was for NCHO - North Central Honor Orchestra.  (The kids call it Nacho.)  The auditions were in our home district, so very much unlike what I did with choir auditions at that age, we were assigned an audition time, and we just went over there at her designated time.  There was an area set aside for practicing, so she went through her music a couple of times, and then we got in line.  The violin audition was a two-part process, since there were so many violins auditioning.  She made it past the first one with no problem, and got put on the list for the second round.  We went out and found a place to sit and wait in the hallway of the school.  (Note to self, next year, bring a lawn chair!)  When the time came for the second audition I asked her if she wanted me to go wait in line with her, and she said it was okay if I just waited for her where I was - so I did.  She felt like she did okay on the audition piece, but not so well on the sight reading.  When the results came out, she had made it - sixteenth chair for second violin!  Woo-hoo!

For the NCHO concert they had a Friday and Saturday set aside.  The kids spent all day Friday and Saturday morning rehearsing with their guest conductor, and then Saturday afternoon they had their performance.

Oh.  My.  Goodness!  I must say, I was stunned at what this group of kids sounded like.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I was such a proud parent.  I mean, I know it wasn't the London Philharmonic or anything, but these kids have only been playing a year!  Here are the links to their performance on YouTube - they played four pieces.  Maggie says if you only listen to one she prefers Allegro Gustoso, but Gracie likes the Rain Festival!

1.  String Explosion


2.  The Huron Carol

3. Allegro Gustoso
4.  Rain Festival

There you go - almost as good as being there!  (Not really.)

One of my favorite pieces that Maggie is learning now is called something like Table for Two - it's a sheet of music that two musicians place on a table between them, and each read the music from their direction.  Here's Maggie and her instructor playing it at one of her lessons.  (There are three spots where they stopped for a moment and restarted, and I decided to cut those out so the video wouldn't run five minutes. Anyway - here it goes:)

video

Our final orchestra event this year was the fall concert.  I didn't get a video of the seventh grade - my phone spazzed out in the middle and I had to reboot, but the final number was "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" performed by the combined seventh and eighth grade orchestras.

video
 
And that's brought you up to date on our musical talent!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Catching up - The Nutcracker

We have made it a tradition to see the Nutcracker at Christmastime for the last few years, and the girls were excited to be going again.  I purchased the tickets pretty far in advance, and the ticketing website has a new feature where you can see exactly which seats are open and select the exact seat you want, so we had some good seats this year.  We moved down a level in the auditorium, so we were closer than we had been before.

The night of the performance we got ready and headed out early because I wanted to stop at the bank and get some cash before we went to the show.  It was a good thing we left extra early, because just as we were about to exit the highway to go downtown for the show I realized that I had left the tickets at home.  We turned around and made record time back to the house, grabbed the tickets, and headed back.  We made it downtown, but the streets around the civic center have been under construction, and it wasn't cleared up yet.  We took a wrong street, which ran behind the civic center, so we could see it, but the streets were blocked with construction barriers.  Things were getting tense when we finally found a parking lot for the civic center, and literally ran for our seats.  We got there as the announcer was announcing the dancer substitutions for the evening, and as our rears hit the seats, the lights went down and the first bars of the overture began.  Whew! What excitement!  Needless to say, I am using will call next year.

Last year we went to a matinee, and afterwards the dancers came out and you could meet them and have your picture taken with them.  Gracie was a bit disappointed that they didn't do that for evening performances, but at the evening performance we didn't have to deal with many small children wiggling and talking through the performance like we did at the matinee.  I'm not sure which performance we'll attend next year.


After the performance we stopped by the Chesapeake campus to see all the lights.  This year they had a section of lights that changed colors, so we got out of the car and walked around.  They were pretty, and it wasn't too cold, so we enjoyed our walk.    It may not be cold, but it's beginning to seem a lot like Christmas when it's time to see the lights and go to the Nutcracker!  


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Catching Up - Goat Show

For those that are unaware, my step-mother, Terri, and my dad raise miniature silky fainting goats.  (Yes, they really do faint - see here.)  They have been doing this for some years now, and have a nice little herd.  Each year they haul their goats up to Iowa, Virginia, and other points north and east of us for goat shows.  Terri decided she wanted to do a show closer to home, and since there wasn't one available, she got together with another breeder and made one! 

Since Terri was going to be busy organizing the show, she needed some help to actually show her goats, so she asked if the girls would be willing to help Dad show, and then asked me if I would take the pictures of the winners.  The girls had each gotten their own goat from Nana this summer (I use the term "their own" very, very loosely here) and were eager to show them off, so we headed out to Denison, Texas, for the very first Yellow Rose of Texas Mini Silky Fainting Goat Show.  (Say that three times fast!)

That cold front that had held off for the girls camping trip last weekend hit just as we were heading south, and the winter we thought would never arrive did.  Of course, it wasn't cold when we left, so we didn't think to grab our coats as we headed out the door.  Luckily the girls had their hoodies in their school bags, so we just layered up and were fine.  The important thing was that we remembered our bathing suits, because our hotel had a nice, big pool! 

Our first day there were two rounds of judging.  Here are the girls (and Granddaddy) showing their goats:

Maggie shows Firefly, Dad has Franchesa, and Gracie is showing Fiona
This was the youngest category for this show (there were no brand new kids).  The floor of the arena had not been packed down, and sometimes it was tough going getting the goats to head where you wanted them to go, because they didn't like the loose dirt.

Once the winners had been picked they headed back to the photo area, where I took pictures:


Terri kept referring to me as "our show photographer," which made me a bit nervous, as I was not wanting anyone to expect professional results - just snapshots like these!




Gracie lost her love of showing goats pretty quickly, but lots of friends came by to see how the show was going, so there was plenty of help for that first day.  The next morning we started bright and early, and all our help was not too keen on getting to the barns at 8:00!  I got a chance to show a goat or two (or three) that next day.  I'd show a goat, take a picture.  I'm nothing if not flexible!  Here's me, showing Franchesca - we got 1st from one judge and 2nd from another. 


Terri's goats did well over all, and we got plenty of ribbons to hang above our stall.


Gracie and Maggie with Franco, Best Weather in Show

Our Winning Team!
Once the second day shows were over it was time to head home.  We stopped for lunch and headed back north.  We passed through Ardmore on the way, and I had thought it might be nice to see some of Oklahoma on the way back (it was night on our drive down.)  The fall foliage had been very nice, so I thought that we would drive around Lake Murray on our way home.  We got to the entrance of the park and I told the girls, "Okay, put away your electronic devices and shut your books - we are going to have some sightseeing time!"  I'm sure that the previous Thursday it had been quite pretty, but the cold front that had come through on Friday had blown every pretty leaf off the trees, leaving them bare.  It looked cold and wintry.  After a few miles the girls started asking, "Can we read NOW?"  Oh well.  I did stop and get out and take a picture of the tower on Lake Murray to prove I was there, and it felt just as cold and wintry as it looked. 


Actually, it felt wintry-er than it looks.  We had a nice time, enjoyed the goats and the hotel pool, and were pretty wore out by the time we got back.  Not nearly as wore out as Nana was with all her organizing, I'm sure, but hey, she didn't have to drive to Iowa!