Sunday, February 27, 2011

You'll See (Reprise)

Wait, let's try that video post again...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

You'll See

Want to experience an 8-hour field trip in under 3 minutes?

video

We're Okay

I survived the week! Hurrah!

Thankfully, I have a relatively free weekend. I say thankfully because I developed a cold Thursday that's now in full swing. Happily, I had the energy to get through the field trips and be the responsible adult and such. Midsummer was a good, solid production. The Wall was actually the funniest I've ever seen. 12 students met me down there, and we all enjoyed the show quite a bit. They even met some of the actors afterwards and fawned over them as high schoolers do.

Rent was interesting to see as a college production. The singing was great, but most of the actors had no idea what to do with their bodies. Mimi's "Out Tonight" was just awkward, as were most of the love duets. Angel, sadly, was stiff and aloof and the costume they picked for her was hideously slutty. That was sad.

The kids loved it, though, and we got all 61 kids and 9 chaperons home safe and sound. At midnight. Once the last one was picked up by his folks, I drove back to the condo in MT, took a large dose of Nyquil and crawled into bed for eleven hours.

Then I woke up, ate the other half of the sandwich I got for dinner in Boulder (by the time I got the kids off the bus and pointed in the right direction, I only had 15 minutes to get dinner myself), then fell asleep again for another three hours.

I'm home now. I left the beast and all of my stuff in MT. I just came home to do laundry and play the piano in church tomorrow. My plan is for an early bedtime tonight, then I'll head back up the mountain after church. Hopefully with enough sleep I can kick this cold and be ready for school again on Monday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Girl Meets Boy

After a delicious weekend of Waterhouse fun, I flew back to Denver Monday morning. Thanks to my parents, I tried out a charter flight service. You know what they say about luxuries once tasted? Well, it's going to be hard to go back to DIA after that. Flying to Junction through DIA takes between 4-5 hours on average when you factor in the drive there, the parking, the security, the waiting, and the flight. Driving to Junction takes 4.5 hours. This charter-flight-thing took just over 2 hours, including the drive to and from the airport.

Fantastic, I tell you.

Anyway. I get back to Denver on Monday and run to the grocery store, then get home and give affection to the cat, workout, shower, try out my new makeup (I went makeup shopping with Rachel since she wanted to look her age ((in a good way)) for her birthday with grown-up makeup and such. I gave into temptation and got some new cosmetic treats for myself), and headed out the door for a date. As should come as no surprise to those of you who know me, the date was a source for quite a lot of introspection.

The fellow was nice and (unlike the last internet-founded date) a talker. The conversation went fine, but there was no... spark, I guess? I was responsive out of politeness rather than that genuine pull of a great dialogue. Inbetween my responses my inner monologue was running along these lines:

- I think I'm out of this guy's league. In a good way.

- What a crazy thing! I spent the days leading up to the date in a panic that he wouldn't be interested, that he would take one look at me, at my body, and would lose all interest, and now that I'm here, I'm thinking I'm out of his league.

- How horrible of me. Beggars can't be choosers, right?

- But I am. I am choosy. I'm choosy because I can't turn off the direct circut that links dating to marriage.

- I trying to, believe me. I'm trying so hard to figure out how to date just for the sake of dating. I want to figure out how to undo all those years of Young Women's brainwashing.

- I don't mind meeting new people, but sometimes it's exhausting. During those preliminary verbal exchanges I think about all of the things that person should know about me and all of the stuff I should know about them and there's just so much. I want relationships to come out naturally, to meander to and through a friendship. But dating (and internet dating in particular) isn't a pleasant walkabout. It feels more like a marathon of check-points and next-step-goals.

- Does that mean I have to date more to figure out how to do it right?

- I like having a reason to try new makeup and dress up. I like how I stopped being nervous the second I walked into the coffee shop. I like the confidence I discovered I had.

- I don't like dating, though. I like my friends. I like the conversations I have with my friends.

- I also like a certain classiness. For good or for bad, I am elitist and I like being around people who know how to and who do play the rules of the social game.

- So here's this perfectly nice guy sitting in front of me and he's smart and his profile online was very attractive and yet...

I promise I was conversant above these thoughts. Heck, I was even flirty. Not flirty in a Grandma Cook-approved way, granted, but in a brainy-girl way. Which totally still counts as flirty.

I think what I want is to go back to college. That is, I want to go back to the days when I was meeting and working and playing with a lot of new people all of the time. That, for whatever reason, was not exhausting but rather exhilarating. Some of my closest friends came from that time as well as a heck of a lot of people I loved knowing and being around. Those relationship-opportunities have gone from great big lakes to what feels like this.

I saw this TED talk on my blogroll tonight:


Maybe that's the issue. Maybe the fact that I don't even have time to watch a 13-minute TED talk about balancing your work and personal life because I work all the freakin' time is the issue. (Because I haven't actually watched it yet. I've just flagged it for future viewing. Do you know what that is?


That's right, kids.)

I don't know how to make this all better yet. But then there was that other thing I flagged on my blogroll today:



And really, I think that's all I need to know.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Openin' Another Show

One down, three to go.

My Advanced Drama class performed their One Acts tonight for their parents and friends. It went just fine.

Tomorrow they perform for other classes during our period.

Then Thursday is the Midsummer field trip and Friday is Rent.

Also, teaching and musical practice.

It was a very good weekend, but it was not long enough.

Bed now, details later. Good night!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying

This week is taking FOR. EV. ER.

I'm experiencing a medium-sized case of burn out. I'm tired to going to school every day, of teaching stuff and grading stuff every day, of dealing with teenagers and their constant questions (not good "Hey, there's thinking going on!" questions. I mean the "Are we doing anything today?" insulting-type questions) and their tears (Oh my lands, the tears! Valentine's Day hit the freshmen girls hard this year. The sobbing, the weeping, the "Today's (sniff) not such a great day for me (sniff, sniff)." and the tug-your-hair-over-your-eyes "I'm not doing okay? Because I don't like it? When people lie? To your face?" check-ins this week!) and having to walk to my classroom in the west building. Then to the theater in the east building. Then to the west building. Then back to the east building. Then drive up the mountain and down the mountain and up the mountain and down the mountain and wake up at 5:00 AM when I really, really need to sleep until 6....

Yeah. I'm a little grumpy this week.

The sudden change in weather might be part of it. We went from so-cold-we-cancel-school-because-the-buses-won't-start to the mid-50's-no-jacket-needed in a pretty short time span. Everyone's feeling spring fever and itching to go frolicking, yet it's still just February.

There's also the usual show craziness. The musical's chugging along, but we're hitting the stage where it's not new-stuff-fun and it's not show-time!-fun. It's more chore-like, and it's harder to keep my enthusiasm up high enough to drag along the students.

Plus, the Advanced Drama class is doing their first show next week. I told them at the beginning of the term that I didn't want to do a play the first quarter because of the musical and speech and other craziness. They, of course, begged and pleaded. We compromised with a student-directed one acts festival. And really, it's gone fine considering. There's the usual personality conflicts, of course, when you ask students to direct other students, especially when the director-students don't really know how to do that without bossing everyone around (which produces, what else? More tears!).

They asked me today, "Are you worried about our shows next week?"

"Not really," I said honestly (I'm busy, yes, but not worried).

"Why not?"

"Because I'm not the one who'll be up there on the stage in front of people I know."

"Harsh!"

"Maybe, but it's true. It's your show and how you do has very little bearing on me personally."

"Because you're God?"

"That's right."

Their performances are next week. As are two after-school field trips. Because I've apparently turned into a masochist.

All of which is to say that I get to go home this weekend and play with my family. And I really, really need to do that right now. Which I think is part of why this week is taking so freakin' long.

Two more days. Heaven help me, two more days.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Doin' What Comes Nat'rally

The bell toned an incoming announcement during 2nd period today. Carol's distinctive Texan drawl came over the speaker, saying something that sounded a lot like:

"Teachers, please excuse the interruption. We need you to keep your students in the building. It's not safe for them to go in the parking lot right now. There's a gang in the parking lot. Do not let your students go to their cars."

My students looked at me for clarification, but I was just as baffled as they were. Whatever was going on, the administration was apparently dealing with it, and we had Greek myths to discuss. I continued the lesson.

Bell tone. Carol again, speaking with a lot more precision: "Teachers, please excuse the interruption. It seems my accent is causing some confusion. We don't have a gang in the parking lot. We have game in the parking lot. There's a coyote in the parking lot."

Which, oddly, makes a lot more sense.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Secrets of the House

Last year Rachel and I kept our relationship a secret from the cast. I introduced her as "a choreographer from Denver," and although the kids figured out we were good friends, they never suspected more than that. Since I was new and still proving myself, I figured she'd get a lot more respect from them if they knew her as "the choreographer from Denver" rather than "our teacher's sister." And they did.

This year, though, they started to put the pieces together. One by one kids have figured out that we're actually related, and when they ask I don't lie about it.

Today Rachel came up to choreograph, and she brought Ben and Jack with her. Jesse was practicing with the pit orchestra for the first time, Ben worked on homework, Rachel taught "Suppertime" to the Snoopies and the featured dancers, and I took care of Jack and supervised the rest of the cast while they made Valentines for the Valentine's Day scenes in the show. It's also Parent-Teacher conferences this week, so I would step out of the room periodically to confer with parents (we're all about multi-tasking here). I took Jack with me into the hall since he was a little freaked out by all the big kids fawning over him and singing, and I introduced him to one of the parents as my nephew.

When I got back into the room, some of the kids looked a little confused.

"So... he's your nephew?"

"Yup."

"So... are you related to Mr. Mason?"

"No, Ms. Mason is my sister."

"Really?"

"Yes."

"Like, literally?"

"Like, she's my little sister."

"By blood?"

"As in we have the same parents, we grew up together, we shared a bedroom until I was in sixth grade, and we were both in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown when I was a senior in high school and she was a freshman and she was Linus' blanket and it was really kind of creepy having a lady as the blanket in the dance."

(slight pause, then)

"Aww! That's awesome!"

And, in fact, it is.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Chain Gang

I changed my mind - I LOVE my new tire chains. (Thanks, Dad! You rock!) They're this kind, if you're wondering. They're also super-easy to install. I put 'em on in under five minutes this afternoon to get up the hill to the condo.

Of course, that could also be thanks to my pioneer woman awesomeness. Especially since I've now put on chains twice in the last 24 hours without breaking a nail.

Stand back and admire my awesomeness.

Speaking of awesomeness, Rachel came up with a fantastic solution to a pickle today. The weather and roads were indeed crappy (we had a delayed start, but it totally should have been a snow day. The roads were just as snow-packed and icy when I left school as they were when I went in), so we decided it wasn't safe for her to drive up for rehearsal. However, we really needed to keep moving on the dances since we only have a limited number of days when she can teach them.

The solution? Tele-choreography!

Rachel filmed a series of videos in her basement to teach the chorus part of "Suppertime" and emailed them to me. I downloaded them to a jump drive and hooked it up to the projector in the auditorium. So rehearsal went something like this:

video

With the show's two dance captains counting off and demonstrating moves, the chorus learned their part. I uploaded the videos to the show's Facebook page so the cast could review as needed. And, just in case they are tempted to make fun of Rachel's "gospel choir crazy" moves, I also posted the video I shot of their last run-through. Besides, I wanted Rachel to see what they had done. Because they're cute.

Go, Tech Sisters, Go! (Digital High Five)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Cool Hand Luke

Everyone's holding their breath for a snow day tomorrow. The amount of snow forecasted drops each time I check, but they're still saying 100% at 3-5 inches.

The snow from this weekend made quite the spectacle today. Here, take a look:

video

Yes, that is my classroom window. I love the view, although you can see why the walk between buildings is not always so fun.

So after a commute like what you see (plus darkness), many teachers were rooting for a snow day tomorrow. I told them at lunch that I contributed my part by moving up here for the week. It seems every time I take precautions like this, we get a snow day. I'm magical!

I did not, however, tell them about the cat in my office.

See, since I moved up here for the week, that means Nash came with me. I left early to swing by the condo and drop her off, but I didn't factor in enough time for the lousy commute. I tried to get to the condo. I made four attempts to get up the hill, but slid back down every time. I thought about calling in late to put on chains or walk up the hill, but decided to just deal with it after school instead.

I drove to school and headed straight for my backstage office. I picked that one since it's the least used - my office in the other building (the one near my classroom) is shared with the janitors. I put Nash inside with a a makeshift litterbox, an open can of cat food, and a cup of water. She meowed a lot, then crawled under the desk.

And that's where I found her after rehearsal. She hadn't moved at all during the day.

I shouldn't be surprised by her stamina in the face of an unfamiliar place. When I first got her and brought her home to my apartment in Salt Lake, she disappeared. I looked everywhere for her, then gave up and went to bed, figuring she'd come out during the night.

Nada.

It was three days later (during which I had concluded that my new cat had somehow escaped and was gone forever) that I finally figured out the one place I hadn't looked. And sure enough, when I reached behind the dishwasher in the kitchen, I felt a furry ball tucked in the farthest corner under the wires and pipes.

It took the combined efforts of Emily, Ben, and me to dismantle the dishwasher and pull her out. I sealed it up afterwards and Natasha and I became fast friends.

Three days. No food, no water. This cat is a pro at Hide 'n' Seek.

So this afternoon I tried the hill twice more but still spun my wheels. I parked at the base and pulled out my chains. They're new ones. I've put on chains before, but they were on my old car. Yay! First time using chains on my new car! Yay for going 13 months without needing chains!

This happened:

Tire Hand
(The other looked the same, but I needed it to take the picture.)

But also this:
Chains!

Yes, they're still on. I didn't want to deal with them in the morning if I do have to wend my way to school through the 6-10 inches of snow (and I do like them, Dad. He sprang for the fancier self-tightening ones for me and they are easier to use, despite what the photo evidence suggests).

Ah! But the adventure didn't end there!

In going through the routine of powering up the condo, I discovered a broken pipe. Seems the temperatures that shut down school last week also defeated my leaving the furnace and water heater and 100 watt light bulbs on.

With a few phone calls to my mom and several phone calls to plumbers (because of course I'm finding this after rehearsal, which means after business hours), the conclusion was that the pipe is part of the water meter and therefore needs to be replaced by the city water people. Who are not so great about returning phone calls.

Happily, the pipe just drips now. I propped a bucket under it and found I could still use the faucets inside. I filled up a few containers and then shut it off again for the night. At least I can shower! Going three days without showering and then conducting parent-teacher conferences is not something I look forward to.

So! All kinds of adventures today! Despite all of that, though, I'm still really glad to be here:

Front Door

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Hymn for a Sunday Evening

Snow Day #3!

Despite the hours I put in this week to get the two hymns that had been selected for me to play in my inaugural accompanist Relief Society class today, I was not at all disappointed to get the call this morning that church was canceled due to the weather.

What I did today instead:

- I made Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- I made Big Soft Ginger Cookies
- I made Hot Apple Cider
∴ I made my house smell delicious
- I worked out for an hour (while watching Psych - Yay Netflix for iPad!)
- I practiced the hymns I'm supposed to play next week in church
- I did laundry
- I trudged a path through the calf-deep snow in the parking lot to check the mail
- I talked to my parents (fingers crossed for the potential new partner!)
- I discussed with Jason the play I saw Friday night which he had seen in DC a few months earlier
- I started reading this book
- I decided I wanted a house with snowy woods and a lamppost and
- I wondered what the chances were of school being canceled again this week (90% chance of snow on Tuesday. Can't they just call it off now so I don't have to decide whether to move up to MT for the week?)

Please excuse me now; I'm off to have a slice of bread with some hot chocolate.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Slide a Little Closer

We did have school today, albeit late. And, oh, it was nice to start at 9:00!

Aside from the obligatory student complaints about having to come for "just one day of school," things went back to normal quickly. Classes, lunch, classes, rehearsal.

The drive home, though, was not so fun. It started snowing during the last class of the day. They had predicted "light flurries," but it was a bit more than that.

I slid quite a bit coming up one of the steeper hills. This was after passing three cars that had completely slid off the road in the muddy slush that was left uncleared by the two snow plows I passed in the opposite lane. I almost followed them off the road but instead got stuck on the shoulder. Every time I tried to go forward, I slid more to the right; that is, more towards the cliff's edge.

Eventually, between the bursts of traffic climbing past the wreck behind me, I managed to reverse myself to a place of traction and merge back onto the main road. The highway past that hill was snow-packed and a bit icy, but not as slippery-slushy as the other.

It took an extra 30 minutes, but I am home again with no damage to me or my car. Hurrah!

And, even better,
Tomorrow = Teacher Inservice Day = No Rehearsal = Carpool = John drives through the snowy roads instead of me.

Hurrah encore!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Call Back in the Morning

6:30 PM - another phone call from my district

"Although we have been trying with heaters and [other instruments], we were unsuccessful in starting the buses today. We will continue to work against the cold to resume school tomorrow, but it will be on a delayed start schedule. The high school will start at 9:00. We will send out another automated message if we are unable to start the buses tomorrow morning."

To summarize my week:
Monday - Normal school day
Tuesday - Snow day
Wednesday - Snow day
Thursday - Delayed by 90 minutes (if not canceled)
Friday - Teacher Inservice Day (no school for students)

P.S. I've read 4 books since yesterday morning. Is there such a thing as book bulimia?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Home Again

Partway through my gloriously lazy day (I spent the morning reading. Reading! I've missed you!) I got a phone call from my district's automated system.

School's canceled tomorrow, too.

Well!

I decided I wanted to spend my second day off at home (elliptical and laundry being at the top of my to-do list tomorrow), so I packed up the condo and the cat and we drove home as the sun set. It's bitterly cold outside, as you may have heard, but the roads weren't bad at all.

And now I'm watching The Daily Show while my cat sleeps in front of the fireplace.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow I get to wake up naturally. When I've had enough sleep. In my own bed.

Sweet.