Monday, November 29, 2010

Joseph's Coat

Just a quick update:

1. Had a grand Thanksgiving in SLC, despite getting horribly sick almost right away. Fortunately, I was in a place where I could curl up and sleep all day while my parents and grandmother attended to me. If you can't be sick at home, being sick at Grandma's house is pretty good.

2. My mom, grandma, and I spent Saturday afternoon/evening sewing Macbeth costumes.

3. I spent tonight dying said costumes. See?


4. Since I'm at the condo for the week and therefore sans washer/dryer, I hung the dyed tunics/skirts/witchy-vests/sashes in the garage. Here's hoping they're not crusty-frozen tomorrow morning.

5. Macbeth is looking great, but sounding weak. The spectacle's working - we choreographed the ending fight scene today, strewing the stage liberally with the corpses of the extras we brought in just for that purpose. Happily, the choreography for the fight between Macbeth and Macduff still works, even with all the bodies around. The students don't know their lines nearly as well as they should, but that's in their hands.

6. Tomorrow we're going to try a run with all the effects - blood, fog, flash cotton, etc.

7. Wednesday we've got a field trip to see A Christmas Carol at the DCTC. It was supposed to be next week, but scheduling issues arose.

8. Saturday is our last speech meet until January.

All of the above make for a hectic week, to say the least. It also makes now not the greatest time to be sick. Still, at least the worst of it fell over the break.

It was also really fun to see all the relatives, especially Andy and Jenn. I was hardly the greatest of company, but I did enjoy seeing them all the same.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

By the Sword

I'm up at the condo. They were predicting snow, so I figured why not pack up the cat and head up the mountain for the two days of school I have this week?

When I arrived, there was a chirping sound coming from upstairs. One of the smoke detectors had a low battery. Not a big deal, except the detector was mounted at the peak of the vaulted ceiling upstairs, a good 5-6 feet above my head.

A puzzlement, but I was on the phone with my parents at the time, and my dad reminded me that I had a trunk full of long, semi-pointy objects. I fetched the claymore, climbed on top of a chair, and attacked the enemy.

I managed to unscrew the case using the tip of the sword, but the battery was in the cover and it chirped teasingly at me as it danged from its wires. Now, whacking at an actively electrical object with a 50" metal sword named "MacLeod" might not be the cleverest idea. But still -

Victory is Mine!

Victory is mine!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Momma Looks Sharp


A. Receiving 11 swords in the mail from my dad has triggered all the D&D glee in me.

B. I mean D&D as in Jason's 4 Groups of People (F, D&D, Peace, and Bobo), not as in the actual game.

C. I'm stating for the record that I have never once played D&D.

D. Although a growing number of my speech/drama kids are apparently meeting on Monday nights to play D&D together.

E. It heightens the irony of my being called "Coach" when my "jocks" get together to play D&D, doesn't it?

F. The kids are as excited as I am over the swords. They've claimed their favorites and, to my absolute delight, they've been really, really great about being careful with them. Macbeth and Macduff work on their fight scene in slow motion, per my instructions, AND they switch themselves back to wooden staffs anytime they find kinks to work out. I'm quite proud of them.

G. Still, the swords were pointy. So I jumped at the chance when a dad at the school offered to dull them down for me (he's a metalworker). He dropped them off for me after school today, and they're nice and round at the tips.

H. Oddly, at the same time that I felt relief for not having to worry as much about my students' safety, I was disappointed that I didn't have a trunk full of suitable anti-zombie weapons.

I. Because, yes, I had actually thought about how I now had lots of protection in the event of a zombie attack, provided I could get to my car.

J. I had my hair colored this week. I wanted something different.

K. I was not so fond of the results, but after a few days I've decided it's because of how the lady cut my bangs, not the color. I'm liking the boldness of the color.

L. Even though one of my assistant coaches said, "Huh! It makes you look... older. Which is fine, if that's what you were going for."

M. My students all love it, though.

N. Which might just call the color more into question because, after all, #D.

O. The bangs are definitely wrong.

P. One of my classes is starting the Goal Project. (Remember that one, former students o' mine?)

Q. Which means I also need to come up with a risky goal to accomplish in the next month.

R. There's another speech meet tomorrow. We leave at 5:30 AM.

S. They pulled the entire student body out to the football field today to spell out "Buckle Up" for an advertising contest.

T. I was in the bottom of the "C".

U. This was after a fire drill earlier in the day.

V. And a bunch of kids went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter. Then they stayed for the 3:15 AM showing.

W. It was not the most productive of days.

X. That's it. There's no concluding point to this post. As I said, "Miscellany."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Honor of Your Name

Long ago I got used to being called different names by my students. Often affectionate ("Water"), some are humorous ("Grandma"), some remarkably clever ("H2Owen"), some unimaginative ("Waterbottle"), and some are inappropriate to print here.

I was, however, mystified when some of my speech team boys started referring to me as "Lady Deathwhisper."


It is a compound noun of three syllables, but kind of a stretch still. "Am I that strict?" I wondered, with not a little pride to merit such a title.

No, they clarified. Apparently it's a World of Warcraft character, whose voice is remarkably similar to mine. Here, I'll show you:

What do you think? Does it sound like me?

According to the WoWWiki:

The lich Lady Deathwhisper is the Supreme Overseer of the Cult of the Damned and the second boss of the Icecrown Citadel raid.

It does not make a great deal of sense to me, either, but it sounds impressive. I'll allow it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Great Big Stuff

Contents of my car:

- 1 empty wine jug, stripped of label
- 5 bottles of fake blood
- 3 ignitor palm switches
- 1 packet flash cotton
- 1 up-lamp
- 1 fog machine
- 1 sewing machine
- 10 black hooded capes (Thanks, Rachel, for the sewing help!)
- 6 swords

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Choice is Mine

And I chose sleep.

Well, to be accurate, I chose sleep, my Netflix Queue, two books (so far), and homemade rice pudding with coconut milk.

And maybe some Cafe Rio later for dinner.

It's been a decent day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I woke up with a sore throat this morning. I've had a headache since first period and a cough since 3rd.

Shortly after school let out, I went to the secretary and filled out the form for a sick day tomorrow.

I'm allowed, right? It's okay for me to take a day off and sleep? I could still get up and go to work. I can still talk and stand upright (for a few minutes at a time, at least). I could do it.

Or I could sleep.

Beautiful People of Denver...

...I have a story for you.

I showed my drama class "Clue" as part of our post-show celebration. As they watch, the students are required to list the characters, describe them, and then cast the show using the people in our class.

The kids loved the movie (of course), and were excited to share their cast lists afterwards.

As the final question in our discussion, I asked the students which character they'd want to play, if they had a choice. They answered in chorus. To my surprise, more than half the class said, "Wadsworth!"

To which Dom, this adorable sophomore who's about 5 years old developmentally, said, "I'd go to Colfax!"


(Yeah, see? You have to know Denver to get it. But, since you were nice enough to read this far anyway, here's two movie clips for you:

Monday, November 08, 2010


I love swimming in the ocean.

I love floating in the waves, feeling weightless and very much aware of the up and down pattern. I love the tumble of the rougher waves, the loss of balance and control when I get swamped and suddenly it's all salt water and sand.

Yesterday felt like that moment when I finally find the right way up and get my head above water for a breath of air. There's always that next wave coming, usually faster, harder, and higher than I expect; and I'll get swamped again. But, for a moment, I catch a breath.

I worked three 14+ hour days in a row last week on top of my usual 10-hour days of rehearsals and practices and classes. It all went well - the show was good, the audience turnout was good, the speech meet Saturday was good for the kids (as in, we didn't do as well as usual, but they've been slacking off lately in practicing, so it's good for them to get a little humble), the improv show we went to after the meet was a huge hit with the kids, and I'm finally down to only one production in the works. (Sort of. Rachel, Jesse, and I are planning to meet soon to talk musical stuff, so the reprieve will indeed be short-lived.)

So, yesterday was my gasp for breath. I called my parents on the drive home from the improv show Saturday night when I was finally off-duty. I needed them to talk me home so I'd stay awake the whole way. I made it, thanks to them. I greeted my neglected kitty, and I crawled into bed immediately.

I got up in time for church and actually stayed for the full block. I'd close my eyes for the prayers and have a really hard time opening them again. One woman sat by me in Relief Society.

"How are you doing?" she asked, friendly-like.

"Oh, fine," I replied.

"Really? Because you don't look so fine sitting over here."

"Well, I'm kind of exhausted," I said, a little surprised at her forwardness.

"Why? Fun weekend?"

"Heh. Kind of. I worked a long day yesterday."

"Worked?" She blinked at me. "What did you have to do besides... teach?"

I'd try to explain, but I just didn't have the energy to get into what, exactly, it means to be a speech coach/theater teacher. I stuck to a generic response and, thankfully, the lesson started up.

After church I started a load of laundry, then fell asleep for a few-hour-nap. Happily, Rachel, Ben, and Jack came down for dinner. Even happier, they brought dinner with them, since I haven't been to a grocery store in two weeks except for props/paint/costume-parts runs. They took off around seven, and I wrapped up the laundry.

And then I heard the rumbling as the water rushed past me back to the sea. I took a deep breath, found my footing, and dove back under the next wave.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Happiness Is...

- A show where every student in the cast shows up
- A gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a thank-you card
- A show that the audience enjoyed despite all kinds of mistakes and sloppiness of execution
- A note from a student that says "[She] knows Romeo and Juliet by heart, thanks to [me]"
- A kid who's missed a lot of class for court appearances/being locked up who tackles the problem of making a jail that rolls on wheels whole-heartedly and who does a great job figuring it out
- Having a place to stay near school so I didn't have to drive all the way home last night
- A little sister who steals my beauty products, even though we're both grown-ups
- The chance to see my parents next weekend
- Only one more show to go before I only have to work on one production!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Not a Day Goes By

So you want to take your students to a speech meet?

2 Weeks Before: Create and post sign-up sheet for that meet. Remind students daily of deadline for signing up.

The Monday Before: Pull down sign-up sheet and register online. Hunt down and convince students to add/switch events as needed. Practice after school.

The Week Before: Update online registration constantly as students add/drop as health/grades/parents/relationships/whims demand.

The Tuesday Before: Check eligibility list; inform students whether or not they can go. Practice after school.

The Wednesday Before: Confirm bus, paperwork for student travel, registration, and submit request for check for entry fees. Practice after school.

The Thursday Before: Compose and send out letter to all students attending describing the details of the meet. Hold team meeting to confirm students attending and get those who haven't been practicing in to practice.

The Day Before: Deal with last-minute changes to registration. Practice after school. Attempt to get to bed early, since you have to meet the kids/bus at 5:30 AM.

The Day of the Meet: All kinds of crazy.

The Monday After the Meet: Take photo of students who won last meet, email photo and press release to local paper. Write and email announcement of how you did to school secretary and administration. Record points for placement of each student who competed. Post sign-up sheet for meet two weeks from now, pick up plan for the next meet that week at "The Monday Before".

And repeat.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Blood Brothers

Do you remember the movie "Defending Your Life"? Where Albert Brooks dies in the beginning while listening to "Somethings Coming" and goes to a video-and-pasta-filled version of heaven?

One of my favorite lines:

Waiter: You like pie?
Albert Brooks' Character: I love pie.
Waiter: I like you. I'ma gonna bring you nine pies.

My dad reminds me of that scene. Sometimes it's because he's quoting it. Sometimes it's because we have phone conversations like this:

My dad: You need anything for Macbeth?
Me: No, we're good, Dad.
My dad: Nonsense. I'm going to buy you blood. Look! Zesty Mint Flavored!

Oh, I love my dad.

And I have had so much fun this last week or so. I keep getting packages in the mail at school, and I, of course, open them right away and pull out the latest prop. I've got five different types of stage blood on my desk at school right now. And, of course, I immediately open each bottle and test it out on my hands. The other teachers and students are getting used to seeing me head down the hallway towards the bathroom with bloody hands and a big smile on my face.

I might even let my students play with it sometime.

Nah, I kid. This morning I led my class out to the parking lot to try out the new flash paper ignitor. I handed one girl a bucket of water and instructed her to "throw it on anything that catches fire, including me if need be." Then I put a little tuft of flash paper in the metal thimble-sized cup in my palm and flicked the switch.

"Whoosh," went the paper.
"Whoa," went my class.

And then they all stopped complaining about the cold and wanted a turn.

I'm thinking it goes either with the witches or Ghost-Zombie Banquo's disappearance from the banquet. Not sure yet, but it will certainly be used.

We then went back to the room to keep running the show (we're in my room since the theater's filled with stuff for Robin Hood). When we hit the first murder scene, we just had to try out the blood:

Bloody Hands

(Yup, the dagger's a present, too. It's got a clear blade that fills with blood from the handle when you tilt it.)

Bloody Mackers

I love it. The students do, too. Then, I get this email from my mom:

We are definitely doing puffy shirts over the holidays. And anything else that might help you get ahead of the game.

She's insisting we spend the holidays sewing puffy shirts for the MTHS costume storage. This is not too long after spending the holidays sewing several dozen white skirts for a certain musical.

My parents are awesome. The end.

P.S. Here's the clip of the restaurant scene, if you want to see it:

Monday, November 01, 2010

Racing With the Clock

I dyed 13 tunics last night, all of which I had sewn out of white sheets I got donated from a hotel last spring. I also finished sewing a stack of Robin Hood-style hats, a pair of pants for Prince John, and hunted down some sound effects.

I taught three classes today, filled out a bunch of paperwork to clean up from the meet, registered our team for the next meet this Saturday, ran a 2.5-hour after-school dress rehearsal while playing Prince John from the booth (since he didn't show up), then stayed after for another hour to help two kids block their speech duet to convert it to a duo interp for the tournament meet Saturday.

I want life to slow down.

Funny thing is, it already has. Today felt... doable.

But I'd still like a day off, please.