Friday, May 28, 2010

You've Got a Nephew

Meet Jack Danger Mason!

Grisabella the Glamour Cat, Part 5

With summer and its accompanying travels quickly approaching, it's everybody's favorite time of year!

Cat-Shaving Time!

Before 2010



Before, with Scratches

Shaved Nash


While I was trying to get a decent "After" shot, Natasha decided it was a good time to do some grooming on her own.



Buddah Bath

She's like a penguin, she is.

Furry Leg Warmers

I call this one her "Chorus Line" pose. Complete with legwarmers!

Freaky Leg Warmers

Legwarmers that need licking, apparently.

P.S. This post is for Rachel to distract her from the labor. Happy pushing to her, and expect a baby post soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

(For You RSS Readers Out There)

I had to publish my last post several times to figure out the quiz formatting, so you may have seen it crop up in your feeder before it was ready. If you'd like to take it, you can click on this link to go directly to my blog entry.

(Did it help kill a few minutes of time, Rachel?)

Art Isn't Easy

Here's a section from the final exam my Humanities class is taking today.

For each of the "parodies" below, name the original artist, title, and the period in art history it comes from. An example is provided.

Answer: Grant Wood, "American Gothic", Realism

The answers can be seen by highlighting the space below each work. Enjoy!

Answer: Michelangelo, "David", Renaissance

Answer: Van Eyck, "The Marriage of Arnolfini", Northern Renaissance

Answer: Mondrian, "Composition with Yellow, Red, and Blue", Abstract

Answer: da Vinci, "The Mona Lisa", Renaissance

Answer: Picasso, "L'Accordeoniste (The Accordion Player)", Cubism

Answer: Botticelli, "The Birth of Venus", Renaissance

Answer: Michelangelo, "The Creation of Adam (The Sistine Chapel)", Renaissance

Answer: da Vinci, "The Last Supper", Renaissance

Answer: Van Gogh, "Starry Night", Post-Impressionism

Ooh, tricky! There's two artists at work in this last one. Can you name them both?
Answer 1: Munch, "The Scream", Expressionism
Answer 2: Escher, "Reflection in a Glass Ball", Surrealism

P.S. Tell me your score in the comments!
P.P.S. If you come across other such "parodies", send them my way. I'd like to do more of these in next year's class.
P.P.P.S. I should give credit to Worth1000, since most of these came from there. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

One Day More

Tomorrow's the last day of school! Whoo!

I finished writing my Humanities final today! Whoo!

Thailand's back on! Whoo!

They're going to have wifi in the orphanage! Whoo!

They're moving me to a different classroom for next year. One with a door! Whoo!

I made bread! Whoo!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener

Well, now I'm in a pickle!

You've offered me such tempting choices. I got so excited with each new comment that I started wishing for war. I would be terribly disappointed to not do this program, but you had me almost hoping for an excuse not to go to Thailand.

Not that I could choose between you. Oh, no. I want to do all of those things - go to see Meg and her boys in MA, tromp about Canada with Emily, and rustle up those traces of Spanish I learned in my stint at STMS with Brenda. Oh, why did my summer get so booked up? Why am I not independently wealthy? Why must I wait until later vacations for such fun?

Because here's the travel update:

I talked to the Global Service Corps peeps yesterday. They have been in constant contact with their counterparts in Thailand and with the State department, and they tell me this:
  • The provinces where I'd be working are not on the "unsafe provinces" list.
  • The airport is actually quite a ways outside of Bangkok, and
  • The State department said that the airport is safe.
  • GSC is also changing the itineraries to completely avoid Bangkok: instead of the scheduled opening weekend of touring around the city, I'd be taken directly to the placement site.
Essentially, GSC is saying they're taking every precaution, and they believe it can be safe.

And I believe them. The protest leaders surrendered today; and although a remainder of the Red Shirts went on an arsonistic looting spree through the city, I think it's the beginning of the end.


So, I might still be going, but it's not certain. I read the news headlines every few hours, scanning for more information on which way it's going to go. I look at the photos (like these, for example) and can't believe I might be going there shortly. Well, not there. Near there. The same country as there.

In any case, this arrived today in the mail:


And if in the end I can't use it, at least I have some fantastic alternatives to choose from.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Like Life

1) It turns out that Billy Elliot is playing in Chicago the same weekend I'll be there to see Lookingglass Alice. So I got myself a ticket today. Nice way to pass the time until Jason's flight arrives, isn't it?

2) My principal forwarded me this email this morning:

Subject: Fwd: Thank You from the Board of Education

At the May 10 meeting, the Board asked me to thank you on its behalf for the care and follow-through in selecting Amanda W---- to replace Ruth B---.

Board members commented that she has done an outstanding job and that their concerns about finding a quality speech coach and play director were very well addressed.

Woot, woot!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Do You Hear the People Sing?

(Photo from the New York Times)

Well, this sucks.

The poor and oppressed people of Thailand had to go and stage an uprising and ruin my vacation! What's with that?

People keep asking me warily, "So... Thailand?"

To which I reply, "Yeah... I don't know." And I don't. Right now, it doesn't look so good. The American Embassy was shut down on Friday, the State Department has upgraded the situation from a travel alert to a travel warning, i.e.: The Department of State recommends against travel to Bangkok and non-essential travel to Thailand at this time.

I'll call the volunteer agency tomorrow to see what they think. In the meanwhile, I spent part of my weekend coming up with plans.

Option A: The civil war comes to a peaceful end in the next two weeks, and I travel to Thailand to bask in the perfectly-safe post-revolutionary history being made.

Option B: The civil war comes to a peaceful end in the next month, and I travel to Thailand for the second half of my planned trip (so, skip the orphanage program and just do the Buddhist one). Oh, and bask in the perfectly-safe post-revolutionary history being made, of course.

Option C: I don't go to Thailand at all and instead fill the time with smaller trips to

Option C.1: Canada with Emily (assuming I can talk her into it)

Option C.2: Massachusetts to see Meg perform (assuming I can invite myself to see her)

Option C.3: Other US locations to encroach on the hospitality of other friends

Option C.4: Spain/Italy for another round of Pueblo Ingles?

Not bad options, granted, but I'm really itching to go somewhere new and quite different. You know, like Thailand.

Dang populace uprisings.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Come What May

Here's the view from the upstairs hallway today at 3:00:

May Snow

Sadly, it won't be enough for a snow day tomorrow.

Colorado's weird sometimes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Want to Break Free

1. I tried writing a post about the plays of the last two weeks, but I'm having a hard time coming up with words about them. I'm going to let that one simmer for a while longer.

2. I (FINALLY) got my reissued passport in the mail. And then I got my original renewal copy in the mail. Because the postal system is a fan of irony.

3. I put my passport in the mail today to fetch a visa. It was terribly nerve-wracking to send it off so shortly after getting it. Treat it well, FedEx!

4. I talked my way into speaking at church next Sunday. No, I'm not complaining. I like speaking in public, and it'll be nice to have a spiritual task to focus on this week. Plus, it might help me pay more attention in church.

5. I outlined my talk during Relief Society on Sunday. So much for it getting me to pay more attention in church.

6. I'm leaning strongly towards using this entry from last fall as a focal point in my talk. I'm curious to see how it goes. Also, I think I'll be the first (in my ward, at least) to quote from a blog entry rather than a journal/Bible dictionary/Webster's dictionary//pioneer account/conference talk.

7. Lovely school-free weekend of activities:
  • Dressed up and got last-minute discount tickets for a show at the DCPA with Rachel a la high school days
  • Unlike high school days, did not get lost driving home from theater with Rachel
  • Slept in!
  • Lunch at Star Thai with Rachel and Ben
  • Followed by Sweet Action ice cream
  • Followed by Fancy Tiger
  • Followed by Tattered Cover
  • Followed by clothes shopping for Thailand
  • Followed by Borders
  • Followed by Cafe Rio take-out for dinner
  • Sunday surplus meetings canceled due to Mother's Day, so I only had 3 hours of church!
  • Pot-luck BBQ/Doctor Who with the gang at Brian's. I brought this.
8. Students are still upset that school's not over yet. I had hoped they would get over it over the weekend, but today was the worst yet. I had to get out the Box of Doom for the freshman.

9. I am taking my Humanities class outside Wednesday to sketch nature. Because how else does one learn about the Impressionists?

10. They're predicting 2 feet of snow on Wednesday.

11. It's nice to be able to carpool again.

12. I love my mom. She's awesome.

13. I'm going to try not to spend any money between now and Saturday.

14. I'm feeling broke again. I try to convince myself that it's okay, since Thailand is now virtually paid for. Still, broke.

15. I want to post the classical music listening test I gave my Humanities class last Friday for you all. Anyone know how to go about posting a music listening test on my blog?

16. When we were warming up before the musical performances, the cast pleaded with me to hold off opening house so we could sing Snip Snip. Other theater teachers may give their students their first tastes of Lloyd Webber or Les Mis. I create Shockheaded Peter fans.

17. Anyone know a good place to shave a cat in Denver?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Everyone's a Hero

Hey! It's Teacher Appreciation Week!

(Wait, what? This logo doesn't even make sense!
"I at teachers?" "I apple teachers?" Holy crap, people.)

At my school we got generic notes in our boxes, a Qdoba-catered lunch yesterday, and breakfast burritos/after-school cake today. Most of that came from our administrators, who are pretty awesome themselves.

We also got the word that extra duty pay will probably get frozen for next year and that, despite the financial situation not being as bad as forecasted, they're still going to freeze teacher salaries next year. Oh, and also that all of our district's schools scored exceptionally (and well above average) on the state evaluations.

So, yeah, I had a nice helping of irony with that after-school cake.

It's nice to be appreciated, don't get me wrong. But you know what would be awesome? If teaching was respected enough in reputation and compensation that there would be no need for a federal declaration of "appreciation".

Ooh! Also? It's National Nurses' Week.
(See that, PTA? THAT's a logo!)

If there was a holiday for philosophers, my siblings and I would hold the trifecta of appreciation commemorations this week!

Wait, let me Google... ah, sorry, Andy. Your holiday's not until November 18. Rachel and I will just have to be appreciated without you this week. Such as it is.

In fact, I think Rachel put it very well in our email conversation today regarding getting tickets to see In the Heights this weekend:

They are doing discounts the hour before the show, but for students, military, and seniors only. Boo! What about nurses and teachers? It's National Teacher's Day today and National Nurses Week this week. We should totally get discounts.

Amen, sister.

In the spirit of the week, though, I would like to make a list of the educators who have made a difference in my life. So, here is my official declaration of appreciation for the following teachers (with sincere apologies to any educator I've forgotten because it's late and I need to sleep):
  • Lois Cook (Who got me through the first years of being a teacher, and who generously shares her wisdom and materials)
  • Sylvie & Larry Evans (Who makes things fun for their kids, and who prove that teaching was inevitable for me, given my DNA)
  • Mrs. Peaceman (Who read "A Wrinkle in Time" to us in 4th grade)
  • Dr. Pearl (Who cast me in the first play I auditioned for)
  • Mr. Doze (Who got me through IB)
  • Mrs... Crap! I can't remember her name! My senior year English teacher (Who taught me how to read films like literature)
  • Max Skidmore (Who made early-morning seminary worth waking up for by recognizing the spiritual value of Indiana Jones and Groundhog's Day)
  • Sue Smith (Who made me brave enough to teach middle school)
  • Marilyn Scharine (Who helped me embrace theater again)
  • Katharine Dalton (Who gets all of her kids to dance; and who wrote "I Took Her to College", which needed to be said)
  • Emily Wall (Who inspires me to be more organized and to play)
  • Meg O'Connor (Who reminds me that I love theater and Shakespeare)
  • Jennifer Owens (Who gives me the funny side of teaching)(and of being single)
  • Craig Robertson (Who reminds me how lucky I am to have a job I'm passionate about)
  • Bob Davis (Who taught me to release my voice and that I am enough)
  • Taylor Mali (Who is the voice of teaching)
  • John Peterson (Who taught me that if my skills and knowledge are valuable, I should be paid accordingly)
  • Ben Owen (Who is the math teacher I wish I'd had in middle school, and who is the teacher I try to be)
  • Kelley Allred (Who taught me about teaching dance, sewing costumes; and who was willing to go hyper-creative right along side me!)
  • Janelle Ruesch (Who taught me how to be kinder to students, and who gave me the courage to sing in front of the entire school)
  • Brenda Whitmore (Who taught me to love the kids at STMS)
  • Jill Carey (Who taught me to teach the toughest classes with grace)
  • Heidi Van Ert (Who taught me to embrace being smart and creative, and who came up with the idea to write about what it's like to be a teacher)
and, most of all, my
  • Mom and Dad (Who taught me pretty much everything I know, including the complete libretto to Pirates of Penzance; and who said one day when I was trying to figure out what to do with my English degree, "I always thought you'd make a good teacher.")

(Oh, please stop. You're just making it worse.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Don't Tell Mama

In preparation for my trip, I downloaded the World Nomad's Thai Phrases app.

It comes with six categories: Numbers, Introductions, Directions & Transport, Places to Stay, Travel Safety, and Dates.

I like how it says the phrases, since Thai is a tonal language. They are limited, with only five or six per category usually, but seem to cover the basics. For example,


Hello: Sawatdee
Excuse me: Kor toht
Thank you: Korp khun
Yes: Chai

It's the basic phrases under "Travel Safety" that give me pause:

Thai Lessons

Monday, May 03, 2010

Inner Peace

Oh, I am tired.

I will tell you all about the show/weekend sometime this week, but I am barely keeping my eyes open right now.

I had a little downtime at school today (!) while waiting for the rest of my carpool (!), so I Googled the Wat I'll be staying at. There, I found this:

The percentages from "last year's retreat" certainly sound promising!

I'm off to find peace myself. Not inner... that apparently will come this summer. No, I'm just going to get me some sleep.

Here's a more official website for the Wat. Be sure to check out the photo galleries!

' Night!