Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Some Say

A few verbal snapshots of my life from the past few days:

Scene: My Drama 1 class. We're playing To Tell The Truth. Three boys sit on the cubes up front.
Boy 1: Hi, my name is Alain, and I came to this country when I was 8.
Boy 2: Hi, my name is Martin, and I came to this country when I was 8.
Boy 3: Hi, my name is Edgar, and I came to this country when I was 8.
Me: Okay, who has a question to figure out who's telling the truth?
Kid: Where did you live before?
Boy 1: Mexico.
Boy 2: Mexico City.
Boy 3: Mexico.
Another Kid: Did you come here illegally?
All three boys look at each other, then at the ground, then say in a way that convinces me they're all actually telling the truth.
Boy 1: Yes.
Boy 2: Yes.
Boy 3: Yes.
Scene: My English class. Chris stands up at the front, giving his Greek Mythology report.
Chris: My guy's Eros, aka Cupid. He's the god of love. I looked up his picture online, but I won't show it to you because he's hella-
Chris looks at me, then corrects himself

-hecka nasty. He was all nekked!
Scene: Advanced Drama. We're workshopping the Shakespeare monologues that I assigned to each student. Laura, a cute, dimpled girl, just finished playing Juliet's "Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds" speech.
Laura: "... and every tongue that speaks
But Romeo's name speaks heavenly eloquence."
All girls in the class: Awwwwwwww!
Me: as Laura takes her seat and I cross to the front Isn't that beautiful?
and, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night"
Emily: so caught up that she says much more loudly than she intends I LOVE Shakespeare!
Scene: Advanced Drama. More monologue playing.
Me: Ah, "Macbeth"! Okay, we'll need four volunteers for this one.
Kid: Ooh! Ooh! I want to die! Is there going to be a lot of blood?
Another kid: You know, that's a really weird sentence if you're not in drama class.

And, finally, in honor of spring pictures next week:
funny pictures

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Doctor Is In

NameThatDisease.com - The Disease Test

They're picky to get to Doogie! I only missed one of the questions once. Still, I'm a MASH fan, so there you go.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Les Poissons (reprise)


I entered my classroom Tuesday morning, to find poor Nick Bottom floating sideways under his tree, gray and hollow-looking. So, I carried his little tank into the nearest girl's bathroom and flushed him.

I can't say it was a surprise. The janitors turned off the heaters as soon as school let out on Thursday. My room got progressively chillier as rehearsal went on. I stayed late to get my grades entered into the computer (end of the term), and by the time I packed things up at 6:30, I was shivering and my fingers were going numb. Poor guy spent four days in there like that. He didn't have a chance.

I broke the news to my drama classes, which they took rather well. Aside from the one girl who thought that Nick Bottom was a student in our class (this in one of my classes that have been around each other for five months and did a play together). She figured it out after a minute or two. I asked my kids if any of them would like to say a few words. Three boys raised their hands.

Me: Jacob?
Jacob stands, wipes away a few invisible tears, then says in a choked voice: I have many happy memories of Nick. From the moment I first met him... aside to me How many days ago?
Me: A week.
Jacob: back to sad ...A week ago, I knew.
Daniel another of the boys, quietly begins to sing in the background: Oh, Danny boy
The pipes, the pipes are calling.
Jacob: He was a good fish, a beautiful- aside What color?
Me: Blue
Jacob: Blue fish
Daniel: From glen to glen
And down the mountain side.

By this point, I was laughing so hard I was crying. It only got better when Ashton got up to describe his "brother-like" relationship with Nick.

Some of these kids are so freakin' talented. They don't need me to teach them how to do it, they just need me to let them do it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Les Poissons

My techies have been really good about being there at rehearsals for the musical. My sound techie in particular is there almost every day, waiting up in the booth for us to give her to cue to run the songs. I felt bad that she was up there alone most of the time, so I bought my techies this:

It's a male betta, so we can balance the techie gender ratio a bit more (2 guys, 3 girls this year). To my delight, they named him Nick Bottom.

As for other musical news, we got our set! Well, some of it. A high school down the way did "Mattress" earlier this year, and the director agreed to rent it to me. The only catch was that he didn't want me to use the district's free pick-up and delivery service. So our kind shop teacher offered his trailer and we ran over on Wednesday last week.

I don't think I told you about my car troubles over New Year's. I had packed up my car, loaded the cat, and got in to drive back here from Colorado only to find that my car wouldn't start. Being New Year's Eve, there wasn't a car shop in town open, so my parents offered my dad's car to me for a while. Having an SUV came in handy for getting these items, since we had packed the trailer full. While Mark drove the big pieces back, I loaded up my vehicle with air mattresses, fake dumbbells, a changing screen, and some large books.
When we got to the school, I recruited the band class and a few other strong kids to unload the sets and take them on stage. In a continuing demonstration of the lack of intelligence of school's architects, they put our stage in the middle of the building, with no access to the outside. All except one platform actually fit through the doors (once we removed the poles from the middle of the doors). We had to take that platform apart in the parking lot, then take it inside piece by piece.

Yes, despite being about 18 degrees outside at the time, that kid's not wearing a coat. None of them would, actually. It's not coo', yaknow?

It's really nice to have the bulk of the set right now to rehearse on. We'll have to build some more pieces to make it seem more uniform on our stage's dimensions, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, my parents were nice enough to have my car towed and looked over by their favorite mechanics. Naturally, it started up fine for them. They did a general tune-up, though, and I took advantage of the long weekend to drive down to Colorado again to swap cars. I got to hang out with my parents, go play with Emily (yay, chick flicks!), and generally enjoy being out of state. I headed back early yesterday, since they were predicting snow. The storm actually held off until this morning, which was fine by me since I could stay inside until they shoveled out the parking lot (3:00 this afternoon). We got at least 5 inches here, and supposedly that's just the beginning. A whoo hoo hoo.

Monday, January 14, 2008


It's when I hear news like this that I wish I was teaching high school or college theater. I want to make kids excited about this, and I just can't promote Mamet to my little 13 year olds.

To promote his new play, November, David Mamet will be writing a blog as his main character after the premier of the production. How great would that be use as a teaching tool?

Here's the Times article link, if you want to read more.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Time Warp

For check-in yesterday, I asked my Drama 1 students to tell me

"If you found/invented a time machine, which historical event would you choose to see first?"

Of my 41 students, about 95% of them named something from their own lives. As in, "Last summer, when I went to California," or "When I was ten and I fell off my dirt bike," or even "Yesterday, so I can go to sleep again." (I have to say, though, that given my body's total refusal to adjust back to a school sleeping schedule and my subsequent all-day headache today, I was totally in agreement with that last one.)

The only "historical events" named were "I'd see Martin Luther King speak," "The original cast of Wicked," "The dinosaurs!" and "World War II."

It seems to me that this was another defining middle-school moment. I tried to figure out the reasons for their apparent narcissism. Either
1) They don't care much about historical events.
2) They don't know much about historical events.
or 3) They just can't think about anything outside of their literal experience.

Whatever the reason, it was an interesting moment to me.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Dangerous Game

Sadly, all too many of my students' parents would miss the irony.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Augustus and the Soup

Yesterday being a Saturday, I had time to cook!

Curried carrot soup; spinach salad with dried cranberries, apples, and candied almonds; and toast. Yum! Thanks for the recipe book, Em!

Other parts of the day were wasted with this:
Yes, I finally got to join the rest of my family in Wii-ness. Santa also brought me a Kindle, which I'm loving. Access to thousands of books at my fingertips? Priceless! And it's readable, too. I've already read three books on it, and I'm in the middle of two more. I'm actually looking forward to my next plane trip, so I can try it while traveling!

Christmas in Colorado was delightful. It was calm, quiet, family-filled-fun, and just right for the midst of a typically busy school year. Plus, thanks to my mom, my sister, and Caprice, a family friend, we also were productive. We actually sewed all 70 of the skirts needed for "Once Upon a Mattress"! My sewing family members took my arrival with 210 yards of white fabric quite nicely. Here's a shot, courtesy of my dad, of me, mid-project:

See, Grandma Cook? I can too sew! O, ye of little faith.

I'm Dreaming of a...

White Christmas!

You Could Drive a Person Crazy

Inspired by my friend Meg's recent commute-in-pictures post, I thought I would show you guys the excitement that is the drive to Colorado for me:

By the way, my east coast friends, these are mountains!

Entering the canyon.

Sunny skies, dry roads, red rocks, green trees, and white snow - it's a great day to drive!

Just past the summit, starting one of the long, straight stretches.

More long straightness.

Following the railroad tracks (which I memorably tried out last summer)

"Welcome to Colorful Colorado!"

Entering the grand valley.

The exciting town of Fruita!

A glimpse of the river, and a "Deer Crossing" sign that should be heeded (as my sorority friends and I can well attest, right Emily?)

A bit of the monument, close to my parents' home.


I got a bit crafty this Christmas. The big project was a pair of felt Norwegian house slippers for my daddy-o.

It was an educational project. First, about 9/16 of the way into the crocheting, I finally looked up the directions for how to felt and found that acryllic yarn doesn't felt. Whoops. So I ran to JoAnn's on my lunch break and picked up more skeins of yarn (100% wool this time). It took almost non-stop crocheting, but I managed to finish the 16 squares required, and I sewed them together.

They were rather large.

However, when I tried them on my feet, I realized how big they were. I hoped that felting really did shrink things. A lot.

Natasha "helping".

Although they didn't shrink nearly as much as I had hoped, Dad liked them. Here he is Christmas afternoon wearing the slippers, playing with one of his own Christmas craftiness projects - a harmonium-type instrument for Andy. Essentially, a collection of glasses glued to a board that, when filled with the right amount of water, become worthy to play the theme of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" on.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Whistle Down the Wind

A storm's a brewin'!

I rather like it when the weather become so tricky. After a long freeze (it hasn't been above 28 degrees since Christmas), the mercury soared today to above 50! As Janelle and Ben and I left our faculty meeting to get lunch/debrief the week at a Mediterranean restaurant, the winds kicked up and the icicles started melting.

The early arrival of spring? Nuh-uh! 'Tis a blizzard!

It hasn't hit yet. They're saying sometime after midnight comes the first wave, and the second wave Sunday afternoon. Sitting here, listening to the threats of the meteorologists, I decided to get ready for a day-at-home tomorrow. I threw on a coat and headed out to the grocery store, and found my doormat on the lawn in front of my apartment building. These are really strong winds. I put it back, drove to the store, got the basics that I hadn't replaced since going to Colorado, drove back, picked my doormat off the lawn again, and took it and my groceries inside. Now I'm all set for the storm, and my cat's sniffing the mat for a taste of the outdoors.

If I'm snowed in tomorrow morning as expected, I'll finally upload my holiday photos and post them for you.

Till then, bonne nuit!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Last Five Years

It's the five-year anniversary of my teaching career!

(And the three-year anniversary of my blog!)

Can you believe it?