Concerning Us…

Well, it’s been five years since I first wrote something like this. I’m going to try and update what we had before a bit. It’s funny to look at it now, and see where we were five years ago! If you saw it before, and questioned the voice (or the DETAILS)… well,  hopefully, this time around, I’ve gotten it RIGHT 😉.

I’m guessing you are somebody we know, and (let’s face it) given that this is a monologue, I don’t know how much I went into last time we spoke. At least, I’m hoping you and I have spoken before– otherwise perusing this blog is probably a mix of the pedestrian and the banal. Please find herewith a short version of how Dr. Lana & Mr. Tristan Dalley constructed their family– eventually to be “enhanced” by 4 unseemly children.

Starting with me, and with college: I went to University of Evansville. Majored in Design Theatre. Did a minor in Art, and got two associated degrees in Graphic Design and Sculpture. Did a semester abroad at Harlaxton College in England. Met Lana in the last semester of senior year. Fell madly in love. Got married 6 months later. (Some have concluded this a mite rash. This group may or may not include Lana.) We went to graduate school together at the University of Washington— she did a Doctorate in English, with an emphasis in Victorian Studies. I did an MFA in Scenic Design. Completed my MFA with an internship at the Royal National Theatre (I had interned there & the Royal Opera House in college, so it was awesome to build on that experience).

Lana finished her doctorate while on fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Immediately following her graduation, she got a job as an Assistant Professor of English at California State University, Fullerton— and we moved from Seattle to Orange County. When she’s not teaching students about Jane Austen or the Victorian Novel, Lana researches the relationship between gender and economics in nineteenth-century British imaginative writing (particularly women’s writing) and political economy. Currently, she is working on a book about how economic language and thinking came to bear upon representations of mothering/maternity in nineteenth-century political economy and literature. She also recently completed a co-edited book collection (with her friend and colleague, Dr. Jill Rappoport) entitled Economic Women: Essays on Desire and Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century British Culture, and was recently promoted to full professor. After four very LONG years as department chair, she’s returned to full-time research and teaching.

When we moved to Southern California, we initially moved into artist housing at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, CA, for a month (I got a job at the theatre before we moved down). Then, it got interesting. We moved from SCR artist housing to housesitting in Huntington Beach, CA, courtesy of a fellow professor in Lana’s new department who was teaching abroad in London; from there, to a rented bungalow in Brea, CA; after that, to a house we bought in Buena Park, CA, through a CSUF program designed to help faculty and staff; AND THEN, FINALLY, to our current accommodations, a house we bought in Fullerton, CA. SO, basically, we “moved” to California in FIVE EASY STEPS 😳.

May 20th, 2014, our fourth, second, LAST child was born. Fourth of four, second son, and LAST kid. Dashiell Jude Dalley is the tallest and biggest of our four, and is hilarious in the way that the youngest is often caused to be. He is a lover of dinosaurs, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift (courtesy of his sisters?), and a great pretender.

June 25th, 2007 our second daughter, Sawyer August Dalley, was born. In many ways, Sawyer is the most eccentric of our children, in both her fashion and her ideas. She is certainly the most outgoing; she makes friends with everyone and seems to have a gift for making people smile, even when she doesn’t intend to. Interestingly, when I first wrote this “About Us” in 2011, I said that,

“she is happy to sit and observe all that goes on– though please do not ask her to roll over. Sitting, yes, but rolling, NO.”

SOOOO– turns out that was a mite off. Sawyer, even at that point, needed glasses. She rocks ’em with pride, now, and they help her in every artistic endeavor (endeavors which are beyond number).

Nine years ago (as of March 10th), our first daughter, Finley Sofia Dalley, was born. She has evolved significantly– from “pudgy baby” to “young woman with opinions to contend with.” Very sure of herself, very talkative. Finley is in the GATE program at her school; she enjoys writing, and is interested in a career as a National Geographic journalist. Her love of animals, especially endangered ones, is evinced (quite literally) in the group she & her friends started called “Save The Endangered.”  Eli and his two younger sisters all attend school in Fullerton– he is in eighth grade, while his sisters are in fourth and first grade.

Eli, the thirteen year old, is getting “older” all the time; a process that is crazy and disconcerting to watch. He is doing well in school, reading well, and evidently doing well in maths (a bit of a shocker to his liberal-arts-major parents). He is interested in a career as a designer for LEGO when he grows up– a dream I also fondly cherished for many years, but which he seems more determined (and better suited) to make real. (See his LEGO Instagram: @my_own_lego) At this point, our LEGO purchases for him must entitle us to some stock options, so getting that dream job may be easier than it seems to me now. In temperament, he and the girls seem to play opposite to hackneyed gender roles. He is gentler and somewhat reserved, they are more outgoing (especially Sawyer). He is more introspective, they are more assertive. We appreciate these shifts from stereotype– we enjoy having two strong young women, and will continue to nurture an intellectual boy– it seems like the world can use more of both.

After six months, I left South Coast Repertory (where I had started when we initially moved down), and began a new sequence of jobs: I currently work as an Art Director in the Art Departments of two “tween” comedies on Nickelodeon– Henry Danger and Game Shakers. I started at Nickelodeon on a show called “iCarly”. I began by building the hero sculptures for the show (“hero” is a term for items in a t.v. show that are referred to specifically in the script, are manipulated in an obvious way on camera, or are otherwise given extra camera time), and shortly thereafter started work as the graphic designer for the show as well. (Fittingly, there was an artist from Seattle written into the script!) In Season Three of the show, I moved up in the Art Department again, to work as Assistant Art Director. Since then, I have had the pleasure of working on the subsequent Dan Schneider shows– vicTORIous, Sam and Cat, and now Henry Danger and Game Shakers!

Lana and I started this blog because we thought a blog would be a way to keep folks at home posted on our activities & whereabouts. (What do you think so far?)

That’s it in short(ish) form.

cheers, tristan miles theopholis dalley

(if you’d like to see this post in it’s five-years-younger manifestation, look here)