Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weird Props

Another show, another strange set of props to make.

No sparkling dog dishes or flashing mirrors this time.  Instead, I spent the better part of this evening making a fake fashion catalogue, Photoshopping a student onto a 1980's laser background, and looking up headshots of 80's heartthrobs.

Speaking of which, does anyone else remember this game?

This show has caused more flashbacks than I can count.  The fun of stumbling onto long-forgotten relics of my childhood almost makes up for the number of things my born-around-2000 students have never heard of (Atari, DOS, and "Heroes in a half shell - Turtle Power!" for example).

Come to think of it, have I told you what show we're doing?  I'm not sure I have.  We're doing Back to the 80's: The Totally Awesome Musical.  It's your standard jukebox-kinda show - great playlist, weak book, tons of references that Jesse, Rachel, and I have to explain to the students.

Hence the night of 80's hotties.  Here are just a few of the photos I'm printing for "Let's Hear It For the Boy":

Whew!  Try to contain yourselves, ladies.  

This should be a fun print job to explain to the front office tomorrow morning.

While it's been a night of Googling images, I'm just relieved I'm not making is a life-sized car out of cardboard.  What kind of show requires a full-sized vintage car on stage that actors can dance on? I ask you!

Now if someone will just loan me a 1980's white brick-style cell phone..

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Wove a Rug! (Weaving Project #2)

I figured it would be better to drive up the mountain in the midst of a blizzard in the afternoon than after a blizzard in the pre-dawn hours.  It wasn't the worst commute I've made.  I didn't need chains, for example.  I also figured I was well-prepared for being trapped in my vehicle, should it come to that.  I had a week's supply of groceries and clothing in the trunk, as well as a rigid heddle loom.

Despite having minimal free time, I wanted my loom with me up here.  So long as there is a chance of a snow day, I want access to my archaic hobbies.

Happily, I had time after dinner to finish my current project.  Look!  I wove a rug!

Seen here, behind the cat.

She was actually very helpful as I removed the waste header.
Here's a better shot.

I like the stripes the variegated yarn created.

I did a basic knotted fringe. 
This may change, once I see it in the hallway at home.
Here's one more shot, with a cat for attention scale.

The bad news is that now I have to figure out my next project.  I have several lovely yarns to choose from:

...but what to do with them?

Weekend Trip - Salt Lake City

As noted, I ran away to Salt Lake City for President's Day.

My parents came up from Grand Junction for the weekend and picked me up at the airport late Friday night.

We spent most of Saturday in Salt Lake proper, visiting Andy and his animals and shopping.  Sunday Grandma Cook hosted a mini family reunion where I got to meet my four new (well, to me at least) Ukrainian cousins.  Monday we met up with Andy and Jenn for breakfast at Finn's before Mom and Dad hit the road and I stopped by to see Janelle and her brood for an all-too-short catch up.

It was a quick trip, and I got home Monday evening with just enough time to throw a week's worth of clothes and the cat in the car and head back up the mountain.  Still, I enjoyed seeing the old sights (and new ones - they have a Trader Joe's now on 4th South!), and I hope to be able to get out there again soon to see the sights and people I missed this time around.

A German Bakery
We enjoyed the pretzel bread.

A corner of Blazing Needles

Andy and Roman
Mom's got a fan club
Lucy begging for more scratches
Breakfast Monday morning at Finn's Cafe

A proper Utah lunch at the airport

Sick Day, Snow Day

It's Sunday.  There's a blizzard outside.  I'm in Littleton.  And I have another cold.

The speech banquet was Friday night, so I ducked out of musical rehearsal a few minutes early to dash over to the other building to set up.  It wasn't an extravagant affair by any standards, but it did take a good chunk of planning and organizing to put together.  Doing that on top of working on three shows made me quite happy to be able to check it off my list.

The banquet wrapped up at 7:00, and I headed back to the Mountain Town condo and to an early bedtime.  Cold #2 of the month had hit earlier that day, and I slept for a solid 13 hours.

Saturday was spent housecleaning the condo, then heading down the mountain.  I picked up groceries for the next two weeks as well as some more props and tools for the musical, then headed to my Littleton home to do some laundry.

Rachel's birthday was this week, and while I didn't make it down the mountain to see her on the actual day, I did join her, Ben, and Jack for dinner (and to give her her present) at CPK Saturday night.  It was just beginning to snow as we left the restaurant, which left me torn.  Do I race home, finish the laundry as quickly as possible, and head back up the mountain in the dark?  Or do I stick around for another day to Accomplish Things and hope the storm ends early?

I opted for the latter, popped a muscle-relaxant (not for recreation - my neck has been seized up all week), and slept for another blissful 10 hours.

Upon waking I discovered that church had been cancelled due to the snow.  It's been near-white-out conditions all day.  While that does make for a cozy sick/snow day (stupid illness), it does not bode well for my getting up the mountain.  The forecasts are saying the snow won't stop until sometime after dark.  I think at this point it will be better to deal with the roads early tomorrow morning than this afternoon while the snow's still coming down.  They're just barely starting to plow my parking lot now, and the trek I made to my garage to retrieve some of the afore-mentioned groceries was perilous enough to keep me from trying to get to work while the snow's still falling.

I like how you can see the wind carving the snow, like rock canyons on fast-forward.

So, home I sit.  The fire's going, but the cat's still up in Mountain Town.  Alas.  Instead I'll do a bit of work and weaving.  At least I have my yarn and loom.

Sick/Snow Day Breakfast - Mint Tea with La Perruche Sugar and Cranberry-Orange Morning Rounds.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Run Away!

Much in need of a trip, I'm running away for the weekend. It'll be a quick visit - just enough time to visit family and squeeze in lunch with Janelle, but it's nice to be sitting next to a suitcase with an airport-headache and a delayed flight again!

Painting the Set

For splatter painting, the students were pretty dang good about containing their colors; although one girl did accidentally get me across the face...

A Valentine's Gift from a Student

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fashion Sense

Ann pulled up a chair next to my desk at lunch the other day.

"Can I ask you a personal question?" she asked.

"Sure," I said, wondering what it might be.  I'm always game for personal questions.

"Where do you buy your clothes?"  She went on to explain that she had a friend who was trying to update her wardrobe, but didn't know where to shop.  Ann figured I would have good ideas, since I "always look so good."

That actually took me by surprise - I hardly consider myself a fashion icon.  Plus, I was at the end of the laundry cycle that day and was feeling particularly frumpy.  However, Ann's question caused me to wonder if I've actually learned how to dress myself.

You see, fashion is not at all instinctual for me.  It's taken me years and years to figure out what I think I look good in and what I like.  Like learning another language, I figured out colors, lines, propriety, and shapes only by meticulous observation, research, immersion, and a great deal of trial-and-error.  I've mixed up my cases and conjugations - wearing a suit to the opera because I felt put together in my new clothes then later realizing that put-together-business is not the same as put-together-opera, for example.  I avoided wearing patterns of any kind for years in a virtual silent period, sticking only to the limited range of solid colors that I trusted the most.  The day I bought a skirt that went only to my knees took courage tantamount to chiming in on a political discussion.

Upon reflection, I do notice that it's gotten easier.  I have enough of the basics under my belt that I don't have to question every single item every time and I'm quicker at figuring out what isn't right.  It's easy to lose sight of such growth, and Ann's compliment gave me pause enough to stop measuring myself against native speakers and recognize how much of a sense of fashion I've acquired since I launched this particular field of study.

It also means that when I overhear my students saying to each other as they pass me in the hall, "I like her outfit today.  She always looks good," I can accept that it's me (me!) they're talking about and that, in Mountain Town at least, I appear to be fluent.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Accomplishments and Astigmatism

With my illness finally on the wane and a somewhat surprisingly free weekend, I seized a day of accomplishment.  While I did not get a much-needed hair cut (my free time did not reveal itself early enough to schedule an appointment, so I shall continue to brush my bangs to one side for a few more weeks), I did my taxes and had my eyes checked.

My vision has seemed blurrier lately, and while gesturing during rehearsal the other day I knocked my glasses off and one of the lenses popped out.  I snapped it back in place, but noted that my glasses were beginning to show their age.  When I realized I had a free afternoon today, I found an optometrist near me with appointments available that I could schedule online.

My prescription actually hasn't changed as much as I had expected, although I am going to try a slightly different fit for my contacts.  I declined the optometrist's suggestion that I get dilated for a retina check, explaining that I could just get it done the next time I visited my parents (she seemed a bit skeptical about this plan, perhaps because she doubts my claim to have a retina specialist for a father.  After all, if I did have such connections, why would I go a few years without getting dilated?  "What's with that?" her cocked eyebrow seemed to say).  I did, however, ask if we could check for farsightedness.

"Really?" she said.  "I usually don't do that unless you're over 40.  How old are you?"

"33," I said.  "But I've noticed that I'm having to hold things a little closer to read them, or change the angle."

Actually, it wasn't so much that I noticed it as it was Rachel pointing it out to me a few weeks ago with a laugh about my getting old.  I quelled my displeasure at the thought of needing reading glasses already by recalling that I am the Waterhouse sibling without a single gray hair.

And so we checked my close-up vision and discovered that, in fact, it was my astigmatism that is causing the problem.  It's in both eyes now, and it's gotten worse.

"I can prescribe you glasses you could wear over your contacts that would correct it," the optometrist offered.

"Which would defeat the point of wearing contacts, right?" I replied.  She also offered to fit me for toric lenses, but I didn't like the hard lenses I tried a few years ago when the astigmatism was first diagnosed.  No, I'll just continue to live with less-than-perfect vision when I'm wearing contacts, and get myself a new pair of glasses to wear a little more often.  Perhaps from here.

Lest you think I was all business this Saturday, though, I'll also reassure you that I attended to three other much-neglected tasks: I wove 10 inches on my green rug, and I gave Natasha some serious lap-time while reading the seventh Harry Potter book.  Which I read in one day.

You recall how I tend to binge on books after a forced abstention?  Parent-Teacher conferences + musical rehearsals + a school internet connection that's so slow that I have been spending most of the minutes I have to spare at home downloading everything I could possibly need or want to refer to in upcoming lessons for off-line use.  I have read for pleasure too little the past few weeks, so I finished my recent return to the Rowling series by reading the last (784 page) book in a day.

And now I feel the usual post-major-series melancholia.

I also feel as though I accomplished what I needed to today.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Poetic Illness

As one would expect after being cooped up with germy teenagers for days on end, I have developed an illness.

Rather than an ordinary cold, this one had fun novel symptoms like blurry vision and my throat swelling nearly shut.  By Thursday I dismissed it from being the bronchitis Rachel was battling because sibling rivalry never dies I hadn't seen Rachel in a while and instead concluded that it was probably strep throat.

When I looked up the symptoms of strep throat on line; you know, for the fun of it; I discovered that some strains of strep throat can cause a rash on the neck and chest.  And do you know what that rash is?  Scarlet fever!

Hot diggety.  I'm far more interested in being sick if I have a chance of getting one of the most poetical diseases.  When it comes to literary illness, scarlet fever is right up there with consumption (if you're dying) and cholera (if everyone else around you is dying).  If I have to miss a day of work and be little more than a lump on a log for my parents' weekend visit, at least it's for a poetical disease.  I crawled into bed late Thursday night after a field trip, imagining somewhat-feverishly how much more awesome I be if I went blind like Mary Ingalls.  Yes, she used her blindness to help her teach blind students, but my blindness would also have been caused by students!  Martyrdom win!

But then I check my newsfeed this morning and discovered that modern research is messing with my childhood again.

While a decrease in my overall odds of going blind is probably a good thing, it did make my illness a little harder to bear.  Ah well.  At least it killed Beth. I still have that going for me.

Plus this illness makes my voice sound like Eartha Kitt in my ears.  And that's nothing to sneeze at either.

Do you know what it's like to kissssss such smoldering lipssssss?

Do you want to find ow-out?