Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monorail Kitty Claims the LoveSac


Seems to be the theme this week. Not that I don't have a lot to do - I just keep getting stuck in places where I can't do anything.

Right now, for example, I'm at a speech meet. It's the last novice meet of the season, but it's also a tournament meet (Schools under 1440 kids = Festival, over 1440 = Tournament. MTHS is so not tournament in population, but a lot of meets are "invitation" = open to anyone who wants to come and this one was only 1.5 hours away. So here we are). I already finished the book I brought with me.

I had hoped to watch a round or two of debate, so I can figure out how the heck to teach that, but they put me in the tab room. Which means for about 5 minutes out of every 90, another coach and I enter the rankings and schedule the next round. The rest of the time, I sit here. Luckily, the computer we're tabbing on is online, so I have decided to write to you dear folks.

After two snow days in a row, it was kind of nice to go to work yesterday. The kids were in a weird place, energy-wise. Who can blame them with such a week: two snow days, then school on Friday, then Halloween on Saturday? Oy. They were restless and didn't want to focus on anything. Felt like junior high again.

The storm knocked out the power at the school a few times this week. That, apparently, threw the server out of whack. Which meant that we had no internet and no access to the network all day yesterday. Which made it very hard to do any of the work I needed to do.

I have missed being online this week.

Ooh! The final results for poetry just came in. My kiddos took 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th in that event. Woot.

I woke up at 4 AM. I don't like doing that.

The snow is rapidly melting, so after we wrap things up here and I escort the kids back to Mountain Town; I'm going back to the condo to pack things and Natasha up. I haven't been home in 5 days, so it will be nice to get back to my place.

The condo's been really nice, though. The bed was pretty comfy, the place was warm, the 10-minute commute to work yesterday was heavenly, and I'm totally addicted to Zelda again. I'm tempted to pack it up and take it home with me so I can play more. I was going to leave it up in the condo as entertainment when I'm stuck up there, but I want to keep playing it now. That desire is in total disregard to the fact that I have owned the game for two years without playing it because of a lack of free time.

I better go. Blogs are probably verboten on school computers, and I should probably go figure out something to do.

P.S. Happy Halloween!
P.P.S. Don't forget to set your clocks back tonight - it's one of the happiest times of the year!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


They've canceled school tomorrow (Thursday).

I paced myself today - there's still a lot of books to read and DVDs to watch.

Am I awful to complain about a forced vacation? Oh, woe-is-me, I had to take a two-hour nap today?

It looks like the storm will end sometime early Friday morning. If they cancel school Friday, I'm canceling the speech meet Saturday and headed slowly home. Otherwise, I'll stick around up here to avoid the commute and to be ready for that 4:00 AM wake-up on Saturday.

Despite the cabin fever, it's been really nice to catch up on sleep.

Speaking of, I'm off to bed. Stay warm, all of you, and think of me as you enjoy your internet.

Nash Discovered the Birds Outside

7 Inches So Far!

7 Inches So Far!
Originally uploaded by chitarita

You Have to Admit It's Pretty

Checking Out the Accumulation

A Day of Long-Time-No-Do

A Day of Long-Time-No-Do
Originally uploaded by chitarita
Frozen pizza, hot chocolate with mini marshmallows...

School's cancelled for the day, I'm stuck up in Mountain Town, and I'm
experiencing things I haven't for a while. Like free time. And
sleeping in until 8. And a cat trying to suffocate me in my sleep by
sitting on my face. And video games (Twilight Princess and Rock
Band). And, dare I say, a nap later?

I'm bravely battling the Cook genes that make me panic at the thought
of free time.

Snow Day!

Snow Day!
Originally uploaded by chitarita

A Spy

A Spy
Originally uploaded by chitarita


Originally uploaded by chitarita

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan

Sometime tomorrow night, a two-day snow storm is supposed to begin.

Saturday, I have another early speech meet (leaving at 5:30 AM).

Given those two facts, I've decided to move to the condo for the rest of the week.

I was hesitant to do this. There's no TV reception and no internet at the condo. Call me technology-dependent, but I wasn't looking forward to five days without access to the outside world. Aside from school, that is.

Moreover, what if it snows so much they call a snow day? I'd be stranded in the (newly furnished) wilderness for an entire day without my DVR or Hulu or all the comforts of my home!

I was debating this tonight before I started packing, when I spotted a solution: my Wii! My poor, underused Wii! Suddenly, the possibilities abounded - I could play Rock Band and Twilight Princess and Mario Galaxy for hours on end with no guilt because what else could I do? I'm stranded at the condo!

The supplies are in my car (along with 5 books, some craft projects, and a bunch of DVDs). (What?)

Of course, this plan guarantees that there will be no snow day.


P.S. Natasha is freaking out because I'm packing. Little does she know, she's coming with me. Bwah ha ha.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Soup's On

Some good things:

- I put together a loaf of no-knead bread last night and had beef stew simmering in the crock pot while I was at church. Perfect food for the snowstorm outside.

- I bought snow tires yesterday.

- I read a book-and-a-half yesterday.

- I bought a new TV yesterday.
(They're predicting snow Wednesday and Thursday, and I have another speech meet on Saturday, so I wanted to take my old TV up to the condo.)

- My RS counselors showed up at my house unexpectedly Wednesday night with hot cocoa in hand and a birthday card.

- Two of the three bishopric wives and the bishop pulled me aside to see if I was okay. They all said that I looked... different (exhausted?).

- My speech team took first place at the meet this week.

- After the speech meet I gave them an hour at the mall to get dinner. I went to a bookstore.

- Oh, and there was this:

Speech Meet Birthday from Amanda W on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chain Gang

Morning. Early morning. A young, energetic teacher is dreaming of an alarm clock going off. In her dream, she is dismantling the alarm clock piece by piece, and yet it does not stop ringing. Eventually, after 8 minutes of blaring beeping, she figures out that in order to silence the alarm clock, she needs to wake up and turn the actual one off.

Recalling the forecast from the night before, she immediately looks out the window. The weather is not bad at all! It's wet, it's fuzzing, but the itty-bitty flakes aren't even accumulating yet.

Still, she leaves for school 20 minutes early, just in case. No problems as she exits the neighborhood and gets on the freeway. Then, as her car begins to climb the mountain, the snow begins to accumulate.

The traffic on the other side of the road is heavy. On her side, there are not too many cars, and the ones that go by quickly pass her. This is normal - her car is not that great at mountains.

The road turns slushy as the steepness increases; then, impacted. Suddenly, her wheels lose all grip and she slides. She keeps it on the road, but the car refuses to go uphill anymore. She slowly, windingly, slides off the road onto the shoulder of the just as she comes around a corner to see two police cars flashing their lights at a car accident in the median.

Young, Energetic Teacher: Huh.

Wheels: Whirrr. WHIRRRR.

Young, Energetic Teacher: Huh.

She watches three snowplows drive by on the opposite side of the road. There is no one going the direction she's heading.

She opens her car door and looks at the inch of snow on the ground. She pops the trunk and gets out the snow chains. Groping in the murky pre-dawn light, she puts on the chains. She tries to drive back onto the road, and the chains slip off the wheels and onto the axles.

Young Energetic Teacher: Huh.

Snow: HA!

Just then, a bundled figure approaches from the direction of the police cars ahead. He carries a flashlight. Our heroine gets out of the car and tries to untangle the chains to try again. The policeman shines the light at her.

Policeman: You okay?

Young Energetic Teacher: Yeah, my car just slid off the road. She manages to unhook one of the chains and yanks it out.

Policeman: You should try to stay off of this part of the road He indicates the snowy shoulder with his light, this part's better to drive in He aims the light at the road proper where her sliding tracks are still freshly imprinted. She tries to find the other side of the hook by touch alone, since she can't see anything in the dark.

Y.E.T.: Cheerfully, reminding herself that if she gets grumpy, he's less likely to help her Well, I wasn't trying to go on this part of the road Laughs. Alone.

Policeman: Looking around Yup. It's snowing pretty hard.

Y.E.T.: Indeed. She wrenches the chains loose and resets them.

Policeman: You sure those are the right size?

Y.E.T.: I sure hope so! I don't know what I'll do otherwise.

Policeman: Well, you could get towed out. Or you could leave your car here and get a ride with someone. He watches her hook the chains on again, much tighter this time. You know anyone who could tow you?

Y.E.T.: Nope.

Policeman: Huh.

A second policeman walks over. He joins his companion in watching the young, energetic teacher rub her hands together to try to get enough feeling in the fingers to hook up the second chains.

Y.E.T.: Do you know what the weather's like past here? She points in the direction of Mountain Town High School.

Policeman: 'Sposed to be bad. Worse. I'm heading up that way to another accident. I'd go back if I were you.

Y.E.T.: I might, but I'd need to get my car going, first.

Policeman: You might need a tow.

Chains in place, she gets back into her car and tries again. This time the chains stay put and she starts making her way onto the road. She looks at the constant stream of cars heading towards her home, and figures she can't turn around here anyway. She starts to rattle up the mountain.

Y.E.T.: Yelling out her window at the policemen Thanks!

She continues up the mountain as cars passing her slow, noisy car. She doesn't care - she's got chains. She calls her school, principal, and principal's secretary to try to see what the weather's like ahead. No answer. She rattles past Conifer, and the snow stops. The road is merely wet. With no shoulder, she drives on her chains for another 10 miles before reaching a gas station. Chains removed and tossed onto the floor of the passenger seat, she hits the road again, almost going the speed limit.

She reaches the school at 7:30, exactly when class starts. She parks her car and dashes in to the building, calling out a thanks to the secretary who arranged for someone to be there for her first period. The students greet her cheerfully as she runs into the room. She tells them the story, showing off her muddy, greasy, scratched, and bruised hands.

The students tell her that's what she gets for living in town.

After speech practice, she heads out to the nearly-empty parking lot. The roads are wet and it is snowing still. She eyes her car warily.

Y.E.T.: Now. You got me here this morning, and I'm glad. You're going to get me home now, right? She gives her tires a particularly strong LOOK. They do not respond. That's what I thought. Let's do this!

The drive home is better - she only slides once. Many, many cars pass her. She decided to spend her one free day this month shopping for snow tires.



A student comes into second period. She smiles when she sees the teacher and exclaims happily.

Student: You're here!

Y.E.T.: Smiling back I'm here!

Student: I heard you weren't here today. That made me sad. I'm glad you're here!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oh, by the way...

I fixed the settings so all of you can make comments, even anonymously. I didn't realize those were blocked! Sorry about that.

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm 30 today!

And I'm totally not freaking out. I came close a few days ago when I realized that I am now equidistant from 20 as I am to 40. But, like usual, I started feeling like this was the right age for me a few weeks ago.

List time!

Ways I celebrated:

- The Yay, 30! trip this past summer
- Rachel and Ben took me out to dinner tonight, and we're enjoying ice cream cake and HIMYM right now.
- Family all got together this weekend to celebrate (it was Andy's birthday Friday).
*Had Fondue
*Put together all of the furniture at the condo
*Went to the ballet
*Enjoyed each other's fabulous company!

I got:

- A Cuisineart Food Processor! (I've been lusting after Rachel and Miranda's for a while)
- Stamping supplies
- Gift Cards (J.Jill and Amazon)
- A baking cookbook (such pretty pictures!)
- A sweater/shirt
- A check (which will go towards Spring Awakening tickets)
- A lot of very sweet messages from y'all

And the best present I gave myself
(aside from the Turkish rug and the trip):
I worked all day today and totally caught up with my grading!


Major events of the past year:
- Changed jobs (thank goodness!)
- Taught myself a new curriculum (Speech!)
- Called to be RS President
- Performed "Waves" for SLAC peeps, for Pueblo Ingles people, and saw it performed by a different company
- 359 entries on this blog (live-blogging while traveling sure racks them up!)
- Saw Obama and a lot of other famous people live at the Inaugural Concert
- Got snowed in at UNC job fair
- Went disco skating
- Did some more international volunteering
- Rode in a hot air balloon
- Discovered how awesome I am at being naked

Places traveled:

- Salt Lake (4 times)
- Grand Junction (4 times)
- Washington, DC
- New York City
- Madrid, Spain
- Valdelavilla, Spain
- Prague
- Athens, Greece
- Crete
- Rhodes
- Ephesus, Turkey
- Cappadocia, Turkey
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Chicago

Number of books read:
>69 (I didn't list books for about two months - shame on me... probably around )

I promised last year that this one would be better. I certainly beat my old record for blog entries, and I made up for the lack of international travel. My job situation is better (despite the depressing nature of my recent entries), and I'm looking forward to more adventures to come!

So again I say, Yay 30!

30 Cake
(Is ice-cream cake with sprinkles from my awesome sister!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's a Privilage to Pee

Pioneer Woman has a post today that begins like this:

Mrs. G. loves books. Her house is filled with them. Her car is filled with them. She even carries a couple of them in her purse. While some people fear heights and great white sharks, Mrs. G’s idea of terror involves being stuck at the DMV or Jiffy Lube without a book to read. Rather than sit quietly and enjoy a moment of self-reflection, Mrs. G. will pull out her Chapstick and read the instructions.

I read that today and thought, holy crap - that's me! Seriously, replace "Mrs. G" with my name, and you have an extraordinarily accurate description of me. I have been stuck in places without a book and have meticulously read the labels of all items in my possession and within reach - instructions, ingredients, Spanish and French translations of instructions and ingredients....

In the past, the first quality I would look for in a purse is it's capacity for holding a standard paperback. The dawning of the Age of the Kindle (and it's handy-dandy iPhone app) has opened up many fashion choices to me, yet that phobia remains. Many of you know of my talent for being able to read while showering, let alone walking. But here's a biblio-secret I haven't shared yet: there have been numerous occasions where I have had to go to the bathroom so very, very badly, and yet I'll dash about my house with my legs desperately clenched together, delaying the inevitable a few more seconds to grab my current reading material before heading for the bathroom. For #1, by the way. It's not even like it's a long distance call. I just can't stand the thought of sitting there for 20 seconds without a book in my hand. Yes, keeping a stack of books in each bathroom helps with that thought, but I usually have to have the one I'm currently reading to feel best.

Too personal?

Still, it's nice to know there's others like me out there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Man's Gotta Do

Dilemma #1

My philosophy of teaching theater has been to
1) Help my students create beauty
2) Teach collaboration
3) Celebrate the arts and
4) Push my students to discover their own strengths and talents

To succeed at coaching speech, I need to
1) Make winning a priority
2) Hand-pick pieces for my students
3) Tell them outright when the pieces they pick are wrong for them
4) Pick the pieces that will win, which are typically not the ones that make good theater, in my book.

For example, one of my students had an excellent version of "Harrison Bergerard" for the meet Saturday. The pieces that won were a) a piece about a girl committing suicide by slicing up her arms, b) a piece about a girl getting an abortion, and c) a piece about the Holocaust.

I spent some time Saturday night when I got home from the meet digging through my files, looking for depressing stuff. What I wanted, sadly, was the screenplay for this:

I can be competitive. I know how to do this, and I know what it'll take. I just have to box up my ideals and tuck them out of sight.

Dilemma #2

My English students need to write more to improve. And they need good feedback on their papers.

I barely have time to do my laundry, and I haven't done dishes in a week. I'm so far behind in grading that I'm considering taking a day off this week to catch up on grading papers. I don't want to assign any more papers, at least not until I catch up, but I'm feeling like a bad English teacher.

Dilemma #3

My speech team didn't do as well at the meet this weekend. 19 awards, 2 Best of Events. I despondently reported this to my friend Madam Senora this morning.

"But that's great!" she exclaimed.

"Well, it's not as good as it should be," I responded.

"What? It's not like they're state champions or something."

I gave her a look.

"They're state champions?"

"For several years now."

"Oh, honey," she said, patting my arm. "I'm so sorry."

Exactly. So, yeah, some of them did fine, but the rest need to get their butts into gear. I talked with Assistant Coach Paula on the way home, and I listened to one of my speechers today talk about her concerns - "Everything's falling apart, including speech. And speech is really, really important to me." She said the kids just want to give up on the team. It's not going to be how it used to be, so why bother.

Which, honestly, is not unexpected. It is also totally unfair. Especially when I hear about a meet LAST YEAR where they only got one BOE.

So, I need to kick their butts a little, remind them of what they can be, and give them some incentive to keep working.

The incentive they need, though, is more meets. So I pulled up the schedule today, sent some emails to coaches, and talked with my team captains about it. They perked up throughout the conversation. It's what the team needs to get through the year, I think.


The theater will suffer. Romeo and Juliet is already hanging on by a thread. My English class will probably suffer (see Dilemma #2).

I think I can do it. I can push myself to keep working, to run on fumes. But I'm afraid I'll burn out. Soon. Moreover, I already feel so out of balance - the last two weeks have been entirely about school, mostly speech. I'm working all of the time, I'm exhausted when I'm not working, and I spend my one day off in meetings at church all day. Which doesn't make me a very good RS President, either.

I want to find balance in my life - to have time to sleep, to be a good teacher in all of my subject areas, to eat healthier and exercise, to socialize and work on that major weakness of mine. I'm an introverted homebody by nature. I've been trying to fix it - trying to be good about meeting new people and being outgoing and such. But this job is eliminating all hope of that.

I want to keep this job. I know it'll get easier after the first year. But I don't know if I can keep doing this.

I feel guilty stopping my grading to write this blog entry. But I needed to process these thoughts a little to deal with them. And now I've written it, so it's back to grading for me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Clothes and a Chocolate Kitty

The kitty's from one of my chaperons. The clothes are from an Eddie
Bauer outlet I ducked into after dinner last night.

Taping Students In

Taping Students In
Originally uploaded by chitarita

Friday, October 09, 2009

King-Sized Bed, One Pillow

Earlier, in the Lobby

Earlier, in the Lobby
Originally uploaded by chitarita

Oh dear

Oh dear
Originally uploaded by chitarita
The hotel has a pool.

Actually, with luck, it'll wear them out. We're taping them in at 10,
since we have to be on the road by 5:45 to get to the meet tomorrow.

We drove to Silverthorne for dinner and turned the kids loose for 90
minutes. They all made it back to the bus on time, only one injured,
and we chaperons had dinner at a Chinese place in town.

That's still weird. The chaperons are all a generation or two older
than me, and I'm certainly not the students' age. Plus, the chaps are
all veterans - they keep telling me what they usually do. (I'm not
complaining - it's very helpful and a relief in a lot of ways).

More later!

South Park

South Park
Originally uploaded by chitarita

Blue Skies over Knosha (?) Pass!


Originally uploaded by chitarita
We forgot to close the side doors. Only one bag fell out, though!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Let's Have Lunch

Missed Lunch

That's the lunch I didn't eat today. Getting things ready for class, grading papers, filling out intervention forms, and taking care of things for the speech meet this weekend sucked up all of my "free" time.

Despite that, today wasn't a bad day. I'm feeling a little lost in my English class - there's no focus, no project right now, and I don't like that. Drama went better - we went to the stage to run scenes and my two problem kids weren't there (one was absent, the other I escorted to the office at the beginning of the class when he refused to hand over the iPod I tell him every day to put away and he mouthed off to me).

The kids are all tired, though. I am too, for that matter. We really should have a fall break right about now - I think everyone needs it to decompress and catch up.

I was tired of my room being messy (they cut back the custodial staff this year for budget reasons, like schools are doing everywhere, so it tends to be a few days between cleanings), so I held elections for a Room Czar in my speech class. I took nominations formally, each candidate gave a 1-minute speech, then campaigned for votes for 2 minutes, then we voted by ballots and I marked their fingers with ink as they turned in their votes (we're multi-national!).

Two great speech veterans won; and after the class had some time to work on their midterm performances, we did some meditation. When I proposed it, everyone agreed it was very much needed this week. When I released the class, I pointed out that there were some scraps of papers on the floor and chairs unstacked. My Room Czars sprang into action: "Everyone! Stack your chair! Look to your left! If there's a chair there, stack that one too! No one leaves without picking up 5 pieces of paper!"

Within seconds, my room was clean.


After school, I worked with three different students on their speech pieces - one was girl writing an Original Oratory (OO) on James I, then one of my drama class Juliets/Mercutios doing a humorous interp, and then a speecher doing a creepily seductive interp narrated by a serpent.

I'm settling into coaching, and I love being able to work one-on-one with students like this. I start off each session by asking them how they want me to help them. They're starting to get used to that question, and they're getting better at answering it. I'm using a lot of my teacher-director instincts, too. The OO session was mostly about writing a paper - she had a good outline, but didn't really know how to tie it all together. After she told me that she's been delivering her speech by speaking through the outline, I told her about the times when I would get stuck while writing papers for school, and my mom would offer to transcribe them for me while I dictated. It went so much faster, and it allowed me to focus on the ideas and the flow, rather than getting stuck in typing and conventions. (I don't know if I've thanked you for that enough, Mom. You were so generous to give me that kind of time when I needed it!) She's going to try getting a transcriber so she can talk, in addition to other work.

The humorous interp is already very good, so I got to focus on smaller, more intellectual things with HI Girl - talking about the switch in the narrative from third person to first, for example. I'm loving (LOVING) working with kids who are so smart. It's different for me - something I still stumble over at times when things aren't going right and I figure out that I'm going too slow for them, that I'm not pushing them enough.

I helped one of my student coaches work with Serpent Girl yesterday afternoon (the coach was a senior last year - Rachel, if you remember, she played the Baroness in the rehearsal we saw. She's a great speecher, but she tends to give suggestions for things that work for her, and she coaches in the "no, just copy what I do" method). I figured out pretty quickly that SG just needed to talk through her ideas. I was stuggling to stop yawning (it was 4, and my blood sugar was totally out of whack by then), but I also enjoyed doing that because I've been in that stage of the creative process - where what helps me most is just to talk to someone about all of the ideas swirling in my head, to verbalize those thoughts in order to process them and get some order cemented.

At one point, I noticed two of my male speechers pouring over one of the volumes of my OED with it's magnifying glass. I was thrilled - they were using the OED! Without prompting! And we're not even doing the Dictionary Game!

Then I heard what they were saying. Apparently, there had been some discussion about the difference between fellatio and fornication earlier in the day, and they wanted to resolve the issue. Except they couldn't figure out how to spell it ("Is it FE-llatio or FA-llatio? Or maybe FI?"). Ah, the paradox of the dictionary. When they couldn't find it there, one of them asked if they could use my computer to look it up. I suggested that it might not be the best thing to have in my search history on my work computer.

I'm enjoying high school and speech. I had a meeting in the middle school yesterday, and as I walked through the halls I found myself a little sad that I wasn't there anymore - I miss middle school more often than I thought I would. I did love middle school for a lot of reasons, but it was time to move on.

Oh, and? They're predicting snow all day tomorrow, and all weekend. If you see photos of a snow-banked school bus full of teenagers in blue hoodies on the news, you'll hear about it on my blog.

P.S. I'm going to have to go to New York next year to see this. Care to join me?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ribbons Down My Back

30 kids
22 awards
6 Best of Events

Thank goodness. If we hadn't done well, certain parents would have flayed me alive, devoured my innards, then wrapped my remains in the local paper's article about the changes I'm making to the speech program.

We survived the first meet. We got awards. I learned a lot about scoring working in the tab room. I didn't leave any students behind (or chaperons, for that matter) (Hi, Janelle!), and I have four more days to rest up before the next one.

Rest up. Ha!

I'm supposed to go visiting with my presidency tomorrow. We had a list of 12 girls to contact, and I'm waiting for the word on how many appointments we've got. My girls haven't called me back yet. Jasmine's is a no-answer and a "maybe?" I don't know about Hillary and Allison's lists.

Is it wrong of me to hope for a whole slate of no-returned-calls?

I usually don't mind the visits once I'm on them, but what I really want to do is sleep. And do laundry. And grade the papers I'm ignoring right now. And sleep.

In speech class today, one of the veteran speechers named the cheer I led them in before the meet as her favorite moment of the whole thing. A lot of students have also been talking about the meditations I've been teaching them (mostly as a way to cope with stage fright). I think I'll do a group meditation session at the hotel on Friday night, if I can find a space for it.

Two of the older boys and I were chatting the other day about the first overnighter. I told them that, based on their reasons for why overnights should be reinstated, I expected them to
1) be in bed asleep promptly at 10:30,
2) spend the entire evening before practicing their pieces (for at least four hours), and
3) divide up their rooming assignments so that each room has at least two freshmen in them, so the newbies can "feel more included."

They laughed at my statement, nervously. My assistant coach (one of the boys' mother) told me later that as soon as I had walked away, they turned to her and demanded in a whisper, "She doesn't mean that, does she?"

Paula said that she just smiled and shrugged.

She's a great assistant coach.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Bad News -

Bad News -
Originally uploaded by chitarita
The store next to where we stopped for lunch sold silly string.
Good News - I didn't find this out until we got back to the school =
kids actually kept it totally put away until we got out of the bus.

Apparently, We Picked Up a Dinosaur

Heading Home

Heading Home
Originally uploaded by chitarita


Originally uploaded by chitarita

Marking Ribbons

Marking Ribbons
Originally uploaded by chitarita
(Some of those are MTHS!)

Waiting for Ballots in the Tab Room

Remarkably Unhelpful Poster

Waiting in the Judges' Room

As the sun rises, so do my students

And... Sunrise

And... Sunrise
Originally uploaded by chitarita

On the Bus!

On the Bus!
Originally uploaded by chitarita
Is very dark at 4:50 am.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Early in the Morning

It's the day before our first speech meet.

I've had a hectic week, trying to keep track of all of the paperwork and hoodies and kiddos and insurance information and kids with questions and angry parents and nice parents and, oh yeah, teaching, too.

This is not an overnight meet, and the school we're going to is about 2.25 hours away, according to MapQuest. Speech meets start at 7:00 am, so the bus is pulling out at 4:45 am. Which means I need to get to the school around 4:15 am. Which means I need wake up at 3:00. A. Freakin'. M.

So. Even though it's not furnished, I am going to spend the night in the lovely condo my parents just bought up here near MTHS. It really is pretty - very foresty and mountainy, and I hope they get to use it to run away from their work once in a while. In the meantime, though, I'm totally going to crash there so I won't have to make the whole commute for these heinously early mornings.

I have an air mattress, a blanket and sheets, towels, and a pillow. Plus, Ben already hauled up his giant LoveSac, so I'll have somewhere to sit tonight, too. I have my laptop and a variety of TV shows on DVD to watch, and I'm going to drive to the closest strip mall (25 minutes away from MTHS) to get some doughnuts for the kids tomorrow, some emergency snacks for the kids who didn't listen to/read my reminders that they should bring snacks since we won't be eating lunch until after the meet and 4:00am-1:00pm is a very long time, and some dinner for myself. Probably Qdoba. They have one of those up here.

And then I'm going to bed. In about 2.5 hours from now. Because if I fall asleep by 7:00pm, that will give me 8 hours of sleep and I'll totally be able to wake up at 3:00 am.


It Begins

P.S. I'm writing this blog entry under the same compulsion that I get right before a big trip. There's always kind of an undercurrent of dread - the what if this is my last chance to write something before... I don't know. The plane crashes? The car wrecks? I get kidnapped by gypsies without being near any stairs to confound them?

I'm not really worried about anything tomorrow beyond the early wake-up time. I think it's actually the fact that I'll be away from internet access for a night that is evoking this feeling. Even with my iPhone that I can hunch over and check and recheck my email on the little screen, I feel like I'll be cut off from the world.

Oh well.

P.P.S. SO amazingly glad that it's conference weekend, so I get to sleep in on Sunday without a single dang meeting I have to go to. If only every Sunday after a speech meet was like that.