Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lookin' Good But Feelin' Bad

This week has been a turmoil of emotions for me.

First, happiness:
Teresa, Nick, and I rendez-voused at my place on Saturday and watched more of "Slings & Arrows".
Sunday, Heidi, Brent and I drove to Boise to see Saltimbanco (which is totally worthe the drive to Boise!). We stayed the night at the nice Cambria Suites, and I got to meet Heidi's awesome friend, Mary. I'll post pictures from this trip soon.

Then, wonder:
As we drove into the valley on Monday afternoon, I suddenly felt very strongly like this wasn't home for me anymore. Denver's home now, and this is just temporary. Odd that the feeling came so soon!

Then, stress:
Tuesday I got back to school to find Awards Night disaster. I'm not up to describing it here tonight, so just sympathize with me over screwed -up orders, zero time to cope with anything, and kids who suddenly decided that they want summer NOW.

Then, sadness:
I got an email from a woman who said she had just been hired to teach drama at Dead President Junior High next year. While I was thrilled that 1) they hired someone and 2) that person wanted me to help them "make a smooth transition", I was suddenly seized by a fervent and fierce mother-bear determination to protect my program and my kids. They are MINE!

Yeah, I know it's my choice to go, and I'm really not crazy or changing my mind. Still, as soon as I heard from my successor, I was terribly sad about leaving. I'm dreading starting over again, and I'm going to miss my colleagues, my students, and my department.

Then, realization:
I only have to wear dress code five more times!
(Again, my choice, so I'm not really complaining. Still, I totally get where the kids are coming from when they complain about it. I'm sick of it, too. However, I'm still totally in favor of it, so don't go misquoting me around school, oh dear students of mine!)

Then, pride:
After a lot (LOT) more stress and anxiety and determinated-not-crying, the Awards Night came together rather smoothly. My techlings did well with their first time running things without the old techies, many of my kids got awards, and I am downright proud of them all. And there's that sadness again.

Then, excitement:
The seller agreed to fix everything I requested for repairs based on the inspection! I tell you what, either this is the perfect time to buy, or these people are desperate to sell, or I'm missing some major problem with this place. I optimistically suspect the first.

Then, challenge:
Heidi and I decided to submit the teaching play we wrote last summer to a local playwriting festival. Scripts are due Saturday, so we decided to put it all together tonight. Ridiculously ignoring the chaos that is both of our lives right now, we planned for two hours and spent five instead. Still, it's done, we're submitting it, and I'm thrilled! Yay, us!

Now, exhaustion:
'Nuff said.

Given these glimpses of my emotional barometer these past few days (and this is indeed just a glimpse), is it any wonder that I'm sporting a stiff neck, a constant headache, and the perpetual desire to just sit down and cry (which I'm very good at burying)?

It'll come together. For now, I'm gathering boxes, looking forward to a weekend with the fam (they're in town for Andy's college graduation), and bracing myself for a lot of good-byes next week.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Show Me the Key

I left the house a little earlier than usual this morning so I could run to the grocery store on my way to school. I needed to get paper plates, cups, napkins, and some sort of treat for the AVID party 1st period. I dash into the store, grab my items, buy them, and then head out to my car. The radio key stopped working awhile ago on the driver's door, so I stuck my key in the lock and turned it.

It snapped off.

Now there's a fun way to start a workday morning, after a very long work week!

So there I am in the parking lot, about 5 blocks from school, 15 minutes before the bell rings, with part of my car key in my hand and part in the door's lock. I unlocked the back door with the radio key and reached in to manually let myself in. Stupidly optimistic, I tried starting the car with the stub of my key. Nada.

And here's where I am really thankful for cell phones. I called Ben, praying that he 1) hadn't taken the day off and 2) had his cell phone on him in his classroom. Success! I explained and he very kindly immediately kicked the kids out of his room and drove out to get me. While I waited, I called my brother and left a message, explaining my predicament and asking him if he could please, please, please go to my apartment, check to see if I had a spare key, then if I did, run it out to me at school.

I made it to class on time, buoyed by the news from Ben that he had brought Rock Band, "just in case." I told me class all about my morning's adventures, concluding that "Now I'm here, my car is way over there, and I have no idea how I'm getting home today!"

My students were surprised that I said that while laughing. I told them that I figured out a long time ago that the best way to cope with crazy situations like this is to realize what an awesome story it makes and to laugh. "... Just like the time I got robbed!" Which led to more questions.

During my 2nd period, while my students were rehearsing their final projects (our traditional lip sync competition), I told John (science teacher, drummer in our Rock Band group) the story via IM. He offered to drive me out to my apartment to fetch the spare key (which I was really, really hoping I had) during our consultation period. I know! I work with such nice people!

We headed out right after the bell. Thank goodness, I was right about having a spare key, so I retrieved my car after we picked up some lunch from Mad Greek to take back and share with Ben.

After school, we rendezvoused again for some much-needed Rock Band. Janelle stopped by the school for an audition, and we talked her into joining us, which freed me up to take a few pictures:

Tomorrow I'm going to go make a whole lotta copies of my key.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Simple Little Things

Things I'm glad about:

- The spring rain.

- My cold is a relatively quick one.

- The trees that bloom purple and the green-blooming trees that grow in front of them.

- My peace lily is still alive!

- The Blackberry my sister gave me keeps me entertained when I'm stuck waiting somewhere.

- My district hasn't blocked yet (it's great to have while I'm grading at school!).

- School ends in 2 weeks!

- Four students stayed late after school today to decorate my classroom because we're throwing a party for the AVID tutors tomorrow.

- Ben loaned me his classroom today so I could teach somewhere warm.

- I had an unexpected 15 minutes in my English class today, so I threw on West Bank Story. They actually enjoyed it!

- Stephenie Meyer's writing is ridiculously addictive.

- Working the concert tonight gave me the chance to read her latest book for almost an hour.

- I get to see Cirque this weekend with Heidi and Brent!

- And, best of all, I get to go to bed now.

Good night, dear readers!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Trouble in His Brain

My cold got bad enough that I took yesterday off. I slept in, read a few books, took care of a few house-buying tasks, and enjoyed not being in charge for a few hours.

When I got back to school today, one of the aides followed me into my room and told me that she had covered one of my classes yesterday.

"Oh, really?" I said as I put my stuff down on my desk. "Did the sub not show up?"

"No, he came," Melodee said. "He just went... well, he went a little crazy."

Melodee went on to explain that the sub apparently went a bit nuts during first period, including swearing at the kids, waving a large stick around at them, and chasing one of them down the hall when Junior ran to the office to get help.

See the kinds of things I miss when I'm out sick?

On the bright side, I am feeling better today (evidenced by the fact that I taught a full day and then worked tech for the film festival, and I'm still awake!). Tomorrow I get to do some psychological clean-up in my first period class, squelch the rumors in the other classes, and work an elementary school concert in the evening. I'd like to complain about the fact that the front office schedules these kinds of events in the auditorium without considering the fact that I always have to work them, but honestly, I'm glad for the money right now. Buying a house is expensive!

My cold has made me turn to comfort food lately - I made creamed tuna on toast for dinner last night and goulash tonight. I was craving magic bars yesterday, too, but found no graham crackers in the pantry. Taking a page from Grandma Cook's cookbook, I substituted Nilla wafers and a few butter cookies I found instead. They weren't the same, but they will do.

I'm deliberately not watching "American Idol" right now. I've never actually watched the show for more than a few minutes; that's about all I can tolerate of it. But it's more important now because this week I'm a Nielson Family! Yup, they offered me $30 to track what I watch on TV. Here for you for free is a run-down of shows I typically watch:

- The Daily Show
- The Colbert Report
- House
- Ugly Betty
- How I Met Your Mother
- The Office
- 30 Rock
- Scrubs
- My Name is Earl
- Gray's Anatomy

Unlike America, I typically eschew reality TV. I think I will watch "So You Think You Can Dance" this summer, though, given how much I enjoyed the MTV marathon this weekend.

I'm curious to hear the report from my 1A tomorrow. The thing is, they're a good class. Yeah, it's a bigger class (40 usually), but they're good kids. I chalk it up to the usual crazies I attract because the district lists the sub job opening under "drama".

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I got the yellow house!

To my amazement, they took my first offer with no negotiations - only a change in one of the dates, which did not matter in the least to me. And now I have an enormous stack of papers to wade through and try to make sense out of. This whole house-buying process has created a very steep learning curve for me.

This week, then, has been crammed full. Between teaching, working all of the end-of-the-year concerts and events in the auditorium, and trying to find time to run out to the parking lot to make real estate-related phone calls, it came as little surprise to me when I woke up Saturday morning with a head cold. As Teresa pointed out, it has been a few months, so I due to get sick again.

It timed itself about right - my hope is that by taking it easy all day today, I can get over it quickly. I'm not in a position to miss school next week, so I hope it goes away soon. So I'm watching the "So You Think You Can Dance" marathon on MTV. I'll head out for an hour of church in a few minutes, but after that it's back on the couch for a nap. Stupid immune system.

But yay for the yellow house!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I put an offer in today.
The leasing agent says he'll pitch it to the owners tomorrow morning.
And so I wait.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Great Big Stuff

A quick update on the events of the weekend:

Thursday night:
Flew to Denver

Friday morning:
Went to Dead Playwrite School District, met Teri the HR Lady, was the victim of two hit-and-run compliments in course of 5 minute conversation with her, signed many papers.

Friday later morning:
Went to my new school, toured the building, met a ton of people, observed a few 8th grade LA classes, constantly had to remind self that there is no dress code to regulate at this school (my teacher-sensors were going nuts!)

Friday noon:
Got a little lost

Friday afternoon:
Met Elizabeth (the awesome realtor), Jeff (the lender) and Rachel (the sister/opinion-giver), signed many papers.

Friday later afternoon:
Toured 9 properties, narrowed it down to two. Also found many that caused us to say "What are they thinking?!" (burgundy carpet - seriously?)

Friday night:
Had Chipotle dinner (they're like Starbucks now - you can find one on almost any corner in Denver), picked up parents, grandma, Andy, and his girlfriend at the airport, all rendezvoused at Rachel and Ben's for dessert and discussions.

Saturday morning:
Met Elizabeth at the two selected properties for Mom, Dad, and Grandma to give opinions. Narrowed it down to one. Tested the drive from that one to school (12 minutes on a Saturday in good weather - not too shabby!).

Saturday noon:
Met up with Rachel, Andy, and Jen for lunch at Garbanzos.

Saturday afternoon:
I called Elizabeth and told her to start the papers to put an offer in on the property (!!!!), then shopping in Boulder. Rachel and I officially switch phones, so I am now a member of the Blackberry world.

Saturday night:
Pizza party at Rachel and Ben's, lots of talking.

Sunday morning:
Mother's Day brunch at the hotel (it was yummy for a buffet!)

Sunday noon:
Returned rental car, flew home.

Since then:
Resumed normal life, constantly obsessing/fretting/calling parents over decision to buy. Much guilt - if I can't do the dishes regularly in my current place, I don't deserve to have a pretty place, etc.
I'll post more about the home buying situation as it develops. Hopefully it develops. Briefly, I found this charming, lovely condo that I've taken to calling "The Yellow House." English major that I am, it, of course, is a reference to The Yellow Wallpaper but I promise that it is a beautiful shade of yellow and in all likelihood will not cause me to go insane. After all, I didn't see a single creeping lady in either of the walk-throughs.

More news to come!

The Easter Parade

I've been enjoying videos of the Broadway Easter Bonnet Competition on youtube this afternoon while I wait for my realtor to call. (If you don't know, it's an annual competition between the running shows to 1) make a spoof/skit and 2) make some kind of Beach Blanket Babylon-esquq hat. Really, the whole thing is a fundraiser for Broadway Cares.)

Here's some of my favorites:

(Caution - language)

(I wish I could do a version of Fiddler like this!)

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
(terrible sound quality, hilarious Rent reference)

Sweeney Todd meets Queen

John Doyle's Company

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Real Big News (Reprise)

I've really, really wanted to blog about something for a long time, but I couldn't because of certain political reasons. However, I've resolved most of those this week, so I will finally post the news.

Bad news first: No Africa for Amanda this summer.

Wait, let me put the emphasis in the right place:
No Africa for Amanda THIS summer.

I will go, oh yes, but it's not to be right now. When my cell phone, car, and elliptical machine all broke in quick succession, I figured the universe was telling me to rethink where my money was going. Especially since plane tickets to Tanzania tripled in price over three week's time. So, instead, I'm bracing myself to grow up a little more and use the money (plus a lot more) as down payment on a place to live.

Yes, I am working on becoming a homeowner (news #2). Which totally freaks out military-brat-me. Fortunately, those nomadic genes are pacified by news #3 (brace yourself):

I'm moving to Denver!

That's the big secret - the one I've been working on since, well, my trip to Portland. Remember that? It wasn't just a pleasure trip - I was scoping out possible places to live, since I knew this would be my last year at Dead President Junior High. I loved Portland, but I also figured that most of the things I love about it are offered in Denver, plus Denver is my sister's hometown and it's within driving distance of my parents. So, Denver won!

I went out there in February and in addition to the fun I noted in my entry on the trip, I also went to a massive job fair. Many interviews and stresses later, and I accepted a teaching post in a tiny district in Denver. Eighth Grade Language Arts, with the option to start a theater program. Hmm... sound familiar? But this school not only has no history of a drama program, they have no performing space whatsoever. No auditorium nor cafetorium; nada. My creativity should be stretched in all kinds of new ways. Fodder for dis blog, right?

So, there's the news. And for those former students of mine who read this (shout out to Sarah - Of course I remember you, and I'm happy you're doing well with your own little family) well, spread the word. Because your last chance to see your old drama teacher on this side of the Rockies will be June 5th. Ish. It may take me a few days past the last day of school to pack up my classroom. So come see me!

Speaking of, if anyone knows where I can get my hands on some boxes, I could use a few.

Okay, a lot.

Seriously, I needs to gets me some boxes.

Holy cow, I'm moving.