Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Those You've Known

Ages ago, on one of my trips to SLC, I was talking with my dear ami Teresa. She bemoaned the fact that she probably wouldn't get to see "Spring Awakening" since there's very little chance of it touring in SLC. I pointed out that it was on the schedule for Denver at the end of this year.

And, voila! I got to play with Teresa last weekend!

She had not really been to Denver before this, so I tried to show her the best of my city in the 36 hours or so that we had to play. Thus, after I got down from the mountain on Friday, I drove downtown to pick her up at her hotel and we hit the town.

Stop #1 - Tattered Cover

I honestly had not planned on going here right away. I swear it. I was just driving aimlessly around while we figured out what to do when and suddenly there it was, right in front of us. How could we resist?

Stop #2 - The Shoppe

And while we were at Tattered Cover, how could we not visit the yummy cupcake/cereal bar down the street?

We each got 3 mini cupcakes to go (mine were dark chocolate orange, ginger, and pumpkin chocolate chip, if you're wondering). Then we sat down in the shop and ate one right away. Because we're adults and we can spoil our dinners if we want to!

Stop #3 - Watercourse

It was dinner time by then (despite the cupcake). Rachel had told me about a good vegetarian restaurant, and now seemed like as good a time as any to try it. It was excellent, and the murals were properly creepy. I plan on returning.

Stop #4 - Teresa's Hotel

We talked, holding onto our table a bit too long for a busy Friday night at Watercourse. We also both admitted to being exhausted, so once we had planned our Saturday plans, I dropped Teresa back at her hotel and headed home. We pledged to eat our remaining two cupcakes in our respective beds. And they were delicious.


After a much-needed sleeping-in session (8:30!), I picked Teresa up and we headed for our first stop of the day:

Stop #5 - The Denver Zoo

Dude. I haven't been to the zoo in years, but this was awesome. Brace yourself for an onslaught of pictures from this particular stop.

Lion Ladies
Teresa: Hey, ladies. 'Sup?

Sleeping King
Lion: zzzzz

Lionesses: Men!

1/2 Polar Bear
Teresa: Grr.
Polar Bear: ... (Is only a picture.)

Two Guards
Teresa: Hey, have you noticed the peacocks everywhere?
Amanda: Now that you mention it....
Teresa: Yeah (laughs), it's like they're the zoo mafia!
Amanda: Peacock mafia! (laughs)
Peacocks: (notes the two women who seem suspicious/aware of Peacock Mafia.)

Teresa: Hey, what's that noise?
Amanda: It sounds like ducks.
(We turn a corner)
Ducks! 1
Us: Holy crap!

Ducks! With Guard
Us: (Approach, amazed by number of ducks).
Peacocks: (Notes suspicious women. Remains in control of ducks.)

Peacock on Fence

Empty Duck Pond
Amanda: The ducks understand irony!

Owl: What?
Amanda: (Melts in owl cuteness.)

Teresa: (Buys fries for lunch.)
Amanda: (Buys corndog for lunch.)
Both: (Sit at table outside near the sea lions to enjoy the 45-degree weather) (That's not sarcastic, by the way. It was lovely!)
Teresa: (Gets up to get some ketchup.)
Peacock: (Sees pair have separated. Takes opportunity to demand mafia payment in return for safety.)

Peacock: (Accepts payment.)

Teresa: (Talks to monkey.)
Monkey: (Shows her his bottom.)

Blaaah! Cropped
Teresa: BLAAAHH!
Goat: (Blinks.)
Teresa: BLAAAHH!
(Conversation continues for several blaaahhs.)

Escape Route?
Amanda: (Figures out why that large pen is empty.)

Bathroom Guard Cropped
Peacock Mafia: (Controls bathrooms until further payment.)

Stop #6 - 16th Street Mall

After we shook off the PM, we zipped to the 16th Street Mall to catch a matinee of Fantastic Mr. Fox. As I said before, it was fantastic. Go see it.

From there, we walked up and down and up and down and up and down the mall before deciding on Chipotle for dinner. A Denver classic.

Oh, also in our walking, we found

Stop #7 - The Big Blue Bear

Blue Bear


Stop #8 - The Dancing Aliens

Dancing Alien 2

which are right outside

Stop #9 - DPAC for "Spring Awakening"



Spring Swoon

I enjoyed it. Even with the drunk man near us who apparently didn't see any of the warning signs going in to the theater and kept exclaiming "Oh, my!"

We hurried out of the theater and down the 5 blocks to the parking garage and down Broadway to arrive just in time for our last stop

Stop #10 -

Ice Cream

Wait, no, not liquor. Ice cream. From this place, in fact:

I had mint chocolate chip and Teresa had berry lavender. Delicious.

All in all, a delightful Denver weekend. And with In the Heights coming in the spring, we may get a chance to visit the places we missed this time!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I want to tell you all about my awesome weekend.

Because, well, it was awesome. (Hint: It involves a peacock mafia.)

I'd also love to do the dishes that are scattered around my kitchen, make a test batch of marshmallows, and work on the various Christmas projects I have going.

But I can't. Because I have to practice the accordion.

It's that time of year again - when I have my students (the speech class, in this case) do the Take-a-Risk Goal Project.

I am, of course, completing a goal right alongside them. And the risk I decided to take was to commit to learning to play a song on the accordion. It's a major and very scary risk because there's no way in cuss that I have time right now to learn a cuss song on the accordion (yes, my weekend also involved seeing Fantastic Mr. Fox. It's also awesome).

And so, I delay my weekend's story, my dishes, my marshmallows, and my projects. And I pick up the accordion and play.

Be grateful you can't hear me.

P.S. I received a large, long mysterious package in the mail today with no note or indication of who it is from. I also love it. Or, I should say, them. If it was you who sent it, will you please let me know so I can thank you properly? And I'm sorry I opened it before Christmas, but I was looking for a note and discovered the unwrapped present instead.

Monday, December 07, 2009

I'm Not that Smart

While poking around a little online this weekend, I found a blog written by a CCS volunteer in Tanzania this past summer. For reasons I am not sure of, I'm feeling quite drawn to this particular destination. Even despite reading stories like this one and reading her exclamations about having hot water while one safari one weekend (does that mean there's no hot water at the CCS house? Oh, dear.)

What may not have been smart is telling my parents the story. I know my mom frets while I'm traveling, so it was probably not the kindest thing to feed her imagination like that.

Speaking of unwise moves, I can add my sudden plans to craft a bunch of gifts for Christmas to that list. The craft-muses are singing, but I hardly have time to plan, let alone execute their ideas.

Let's see what I can get done in ten minutes or so I have before bedtime, at least.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Five Forever

The Historical Society performances last night went well, despite my late realization that Historical Society = old people = people likely to be offended by performance of Reduced Shakespeare Co.'s "Complete Bible". The two boys doing that piece and I did a quick rewrite of most of the sex jokes, and they remarkably pulled off all of the changes without rehearsing them first. And we weren't chased out of the building with pitchforks, so yay.

Actually, it went really well. The woman who had first contacted me about it explained that they have all been reading about the speech team for years in the local paper, but had no idea what it actually did. In the shuffle of all of the kids I went through to get enough to show up to this thing, I wound up with one of each of the scripted events we do - duet, poetry, humor, drama, and original oratory. The kids did well (although not their best), and the audience was kind and receptive.

I drove home and collapsed in bed at 10 to wake up at 5 for the meet today. This meet small, but fun. They had an unusual feature - the pentathalon.

A bit of background - at tournament meets (those hosted by/for large schools), the students compete in one event for three rounds, plus finals. At festival meets, the students can do two events - one in the morning and one in the afternoon, each with three rounds but no finals.

Today's school is a tournament one, so most kids did one event. Students had the option, though, of of competing in five events simultaneously. They would run from event to event during the rounds. It also means having five pieces prepared to compete with.

Last year, when MTHS went to this meet for the first time, Ruth didn't let the kids do the pentathalon. I'm not sure why, but I heard it was because she worried about them being distracted and doing worse on their specialties.

I took a different approach, figuring that it would be a good exercise for the kids who wanted a challenge (I'm still not good at this whole perform-to-compete/winning-is-everything thing). So, 8 of the 24 kids who went today from my school were pentatheletes.

And we rocked it! We placed in every category we competed in, swept one category completely (meaning, all six finalists were from my school, something that hadn't happened before), won the pentathalon, got four Best of Events, and took first place overall with more than twice as many points as the second place school.

Not to brag, or anything.

Me, I spent the day dealing with typical student-issues, grading essays, and judging two rounds of Public Forum Debate and the finals round for Extemp. The PF debates gave me a headache. The topic right now is about merit-based pay for teachers, which is a tricky topic to be a good, fair, neutral judge on. It took more mental stretching than usual to make sure my evaluations were based on what was stated. Plus, I had to listen to team after team after team after team debate the same issue, making the same points. I don't like judging debate.

I'm happy for my kids - I'm glad they did well and are feeling good about themselves right now. I'm also tired, and I'm going to bed.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I Ham What I Ham

It's really cold.

My proof:

1. When I got in my car this morning, some snow fell off my boots onto the floor under my steering wheel. I drove to my fellow carpooler's house, rode to school, and returned to my car nine hours later. The snow was still there on my floor, in perfect condition.

2. When we left MTHS this afternoon, it was 0 degrees. 0.

3. My cat has developed a greater affection for my fireplace than my lap.

On a completely unrelated note, I used the leftover ham, onion, and bell pepper from Thanksgiving to make a very yummy dinner o' comfort food. With my mom's recipe and my food processor, I made a basic bread dough, rolled it flat, filled the middle of it with ham, sauteed julienned peppers and onions, and shredded cheddar cheese, cut and braided the sides of the dough to cover the filling, and baked it. With a side of boiled sweet potato slices, it hit the spot on this chilly, chilly night. I would have taken a picture of it to share with you, but I was too hungry. Instead, I'll offer you a picture of another baking item:

Photo on 2009-12-03 at 19.01
(Not dead. Cold.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Found on my classroom floor this morning:

Did you go to the rodeo Saturday night?
Where @?
near the Denver colosium. I can't remember the name of the place. Did you go though?
no, I went duck hunting. I wish I did!
It was fun. I went with my girlfriend and her folks. almost got lost in the storm.
ya, it was fun because I was cuddling with my gf the whole time

I am impressed at the use of complete sentences and the occasional capital letter/punctuation mark. It also shows how different the lifestyle is of MTHS kids compared with STMS and DPJH! Some things never change, though.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Accentuate the Positive

+ Fell asleep just before 8 last night = 9 hours of sleep.

- Developed mild case of food poisoning

+ Planned out remaining three weeks of English class.

- Want to teach Othello, but there's only a class set of Julius Caesar. Might need to spend planning period tomorrow formatting and printing Othello script.

+ Arranged to have assistant coach ride the bus on Saturday, since the speech meet is at the school just down the street from my house.

- The Mountain Town historical society wants my speech kids to perform for their meeting this Friday evening (should be a positive, given the community involvement, but I'm begrudging the loss of my Friday night).

+ Speech kids are retelling myths/fables, and I'm reading a novel about the Trojan War. I love Greek mythology. I love it even more since I know what it's like to stand at the base of the Acropolis or wander around the labyrinth on Crete.

+/- I'm covering for a French class during my consultation period on Thursday.

That is all.