Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Wanna Be A Producer

Now my backseat contains 3 cans of whipped cream, 4 cans of shaving cream, 10 heads of lettuce, and a giant tub of licorice.

I have a strange job.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Too Many Mornings

- I drove through snow to get to work this morning.
- It's the last week of April.
- A cloud settled in on the school during first period, which meant the view out my windows was completely and totally white.
- It was kind of awesome.

- After some shopping and cabinet-rummaging, my backseat currently holds two rubber chickens, a 6' long piece of pipe insulation, batteries, a bejeweled plastic goblet, a sewing kit, and four pie tins.
- My second-to-last play of the year is Thursday and Friday this week.
- I am so very, very ready to be done with plays for the year.

- Today was Senior Ditch Day.
- I pointed out to the seniors in my Adv. Drama class last week that I would be a lot less ticked at them if they ditched for a day if they had their lines memorized.
- Especially since, you know, the play's in a week.
- The seniors were all missing today. So were half the sophomores.
- Grr.

- For Easter, Rachel, Ben, Brian, Jack, and I had a potluck dinner (Ham! Deviled Eggs! Various Side Dishes! Strawberries!) and watched the new Who.
- I like Who. A lot.
- I also like peanut butter M&M eggs.

- Remember that obtuse blog post from two weeks ago that I never explained?
- There system panel for all of the fire alarms in my building is located in a closet on my patio.
- Occasionally, it starts beeping one really loud beep every six seconds.
- It likes to start doing this sometime between 11:00 PM - 4:30 AM.
- My HOA won't give me a key to the closet because I'm not supposed to have access to the fire panel despite the fact that my water heater is located in the same closet.
- I've gotten really good at jimmying the door lock since I moved in.
- As far as I can tell, no one hears the beeping but me. The fire department certainly never respond to it and the HOA swears they can't fix it because it's never going off when they check it.
- I pointed out that's because they keep checking it during business hours and this fire panel is running on Tokyo time.
- ANYWAY, it went off again two weeks ago. Each night I broke in, hit the silence button, and called and called and called person after person to try to get someone to help me.
- Finally, I found someone at the HOA who seemed to care (I think the three messages I left on her voicemail in the middle of the night while standing in the closet itself so they could fully appreciate the loudness of the BEEEEE helped).
- She gave the fire company the approval to turn off the beeping.
- They came out during that obtuse blog entry.
- It hasn't beeped since then!
- Yay!

- Saturday morning I woke up at 4:30 when I heard a loud "BEEEE".
- I flounced out of bed (oh yes, I flounced) in a murderous-albeit-sleepy rage and went to the kitchen to get the trusty knife I use to jimmy the lock.
- Then I heard it again: BEEEE.
- But it sounded a little different. It was louder in the kitchen. That's not how that works.
- I waited clutching my knife, my cat-like muscles poised, for the next beep.

- Of course, when I say cat-like, I mean hypothetical cat-like since my resident cat's muscles were occupied with butting her head against my leg in an attempt to get scratc-


- Ah. It's my carbon monoxide detector.

- I took out the batteries and waited.
- Silence.
- I went back to sleep.

- There has not been any beeping since. Happily, I also have not died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

- Yay!

- P.S. Summer vacation starts one month from today. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hernando's Hideaway

So... I have this blog entry that I don't want to share with the whole world.  I certainly don't mind sharing it with you, dear family/friends/former students, just not with Random Stranger McGee.

My probably-overcomplicated-as-I-am-sure-Ben-will-prove-by-suggesting-a-far-better-choice-within-seconds-of-reading-this solution was to make a seperate blog that's private.

If you don't mind a little extra work to read an entry, just let me know - send me an email (chitarita at yahoo) or leave a comment (as long as I have your email address).   I'll send you an invite.

Sorry about the hassle, though.  You'll see why when you click over.  And I promise I'll keep posting here per usual.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I got to babysit Jack this weekend. We walked some walks, swung some swings, slid some slides, napped some naps. We lead the epic life indeed.

Jack at the Park

Why Can't the English?


This ad campaign is, killing me.


As Long As You're Happy

A couple of months ago Jason and I were discussing possible summer travel plans. Sometime after ruling out Morocco but before Canada came up Jason said, "Why don't you come out here?"

"What?" I asked.

"Come to DC; you can stay with me. You can go to museums or read or whatever you want during the day and we can do things together on the weekends."

How could I possibly turn that down? We batted around dates for a while inbetween saying things like "Ooh! Harry Potter! We can go see that together!" or "I went to another restaurant we should try when you get out here," or "We should sign up for this!" We knew we wanted to do a roadtrip somewhere sometime since Jason deserves a vacation, too. Between Jason moving to a new apartment, Craig coming out to Colorado in July, and other things we both want to do, the length of my stay both fluctuated and grew.

When we finally established a rough timeline I pulled up some possible flight itineraries. And then I found one that worked. And then I saw the "Length of Trip: 42 Days" part. And then I canceled the sale.

42 days is a really long time. I mean, we've known each other for 12 years, we've visited each other and traveled together a lot in that time and I know we get along really well.

But still! 42 days!

I sent another email to Jason to make sure he really was up for having a roommate for that long (He is!), then I squished my fears of being the guest who incredibly overstays her welcome and took the plunge: I bought my plane ticket last night.

I'm really excited. I love having specific travels in my future. Now when high schoolers are whining at me I silently remind myself that I get to live in DC for six weeks this summer and read and go to museums and do whatever I want.

Six weeks. Holy crap.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

With Catlike Tread

I have two plays left to go this year, and I spent 4th period today teaching my Intro. to Drama class the dance for the song at the end of their show.

I including the hay in the dance, so there was that natural stage of them freaking out over it. To their surprise, though, they learned it and they'll be great as long as no one falls off the stage.

The song, though, won't get out of my head. The lyrics ("Dead, dead, poor Hamlet's dead!/Vengeance had to happen/with chicken as a weapon...") are sung to "Hail, Hail the Gang's All Here!" That would be this song:

Or, as I know it:

(The tune starts at 00:42)

I share this with the hopes that, like me, you

1) spend the day humming that tune


2) watch the whole "Pirates" clip anyway just so you can see Kevin and Rex lunging forward in leather pants and open shirts.

(You're welcome, Rachel)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Western People Funny

One of my monk friends, Phra Sanjoy (pictured here with Phra Bart), sent me a link this morning to this article. To my surprise, I'm quoted in it! Well, kind of. Despite some inaccuracies (There were actually three Buddhist volunteers working there with me, and "each day one of the cooks delivers breakfast, lunch, and dinner" my foot!), it was fun to read about the program and to see pictures of my student monks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011








(This is why I'm not asleep yet.)




Monday, April 11, 2011

Is This the Real Life?

It's 3:05.

My grades are totally up to date.

I don't have any students waiting for my attention.

I don't have projects or orders or painting or prop shopping or sewing or anything I need to be doing right now.

I get to GO HOME.

And it's 3:05.

Say it with me now:

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Perfect Family

As you can see below, my spring break got off to a wonderful start. For the second half of my week off, I headed down to Grand Junction to visit my family.

There were, technically, two reasons for the trip:
1) Saturday was my mom's birthday and
2) Barry Laga and my parents were playing in the high school's annual community knowledge bowl and I wanted to play, too.

Andy came down from Salt Lake for the weekend for the same two reasons and, much to all of our delight, Rachel decided at the last minute to bring Jack down for the weekend, too.

It was simply grand to get to hang out with my family all weekend. I even got a bonus day! I was about 40 minutes into my drive back to Denver on Sunday when I passed a sign announcing that I-70 was closed due to a spring blizzard. So, I turned around, called in for a sub, did what I could online for my school to-do list, and enjoyed an extra day at home.

The weekend wasn't anything exciting, but it is pretty awesome that my family got to be together and that we all genuinely like being together. Rachel posted some pictures of the weekend here, if you'd like to see.

Getting Out of Town

I'm done! Done, done, done!

I survived the field trip and the Speech banquet this week, which means next week I have nothing, NOTHING, after school! I'm only teaching! That's it! Can you imagine?

I spent this, my first Saturday off, doing light work - I washed and vacuumed my car, scrubbed down my bathroom, went grocery shopping (at Sunflower so I could get some good produce), made a home-version of Chipotle's steak salad (with this dressing), and now I'm watching Inception while finally getting around to blogging about my spring break (yes, I've seen it before. But I've been on a Joseph Gordon-Levitt kick after watching a lot of 3rd Rock from the Sun on Netflix lately as well as this video about how they filmed the hotel hallway fight scene).

So! Spring Break.

I flew to Seattle Thursday night. The flight was smooth and, thanks to a certain app I got for the trip, it passed quickly.

Emily met me at the airport and began what was to be a string of surprises for the weekend - she had booked us a room at a lovely hotel downtown! I tell you what, her husband is pretty spiffy. Ben was taking the kids for the day on Friday so Emily and I could play in the city. And sleep in. We mustn't forget the sleeping in.

We first went to a Cheesecake Factory near the airport so Emily could get some dinner and I could get some cheesecake. After we checked into the hotel, we ate cheesecake in bed while flipping between HGTV and the Food Network. Most excellent. I fell asleep sometime around 1:30 AM, thus setting the precedent for the trip.

We woke up around 10:00 the next morning to a gorgeous day outside. Behold:


We discussed options like going to see Jane Eyre or hitting the art museum again, but ultimately decided that we didn't want to be pinned down by a schedule. Instead we headed for Pike Place Market for our favorite breakfast:


Gyros from Mr. D's!


Delicious. Also, please note the daffodils on the roof of the market. As I told Emily, I wanted to go to the market specifically to be jealous of the flowers. And I was. Sigh.

We browsed and wandered and ate the most delicious cheese curds which we artistically arranged in a photo for you in front of pussy willow branches:


until it was time to head up to Mt. Vernon. We relived Ben of the kiddos and went to Bellingham to wander along the coast. Caitlyn and Logan climbed rocks and hunted for crabs and provided all kinds of entertainment.



We got dinner, frozen yogurt, and even had time to swing by Trader Joe's before they closed. Man, I wish we could have Trader Joe's in Colorado!

After we put the kids to bed, Emily and I stayed up late again talking despite Emily's tantalizing reminders that we were heading off on our next adventure early the next morning.

And, in fact, we did! Ben and the kids dropped us off at the train station where Emily and I took the Amtrak to Vancouver!


Emily had booked us into yet another fantastic hotel and, to add to her duplicity, she had already exchanged money so we wouldn't need to go to a bank. (Really, the weekend could be tallied by the battle over who got to pay for what. Emily was both devious ((pre-paid hotel rooms, train tickets, etc)) and downright aggressive ((such as when she threatened to knock me down, tell the cashier my credit card was a fraud, and cause a scene when I tried to pay for both of our purchases at H&M)). I managed to pay for a few meals, mostly by making arrangements with the waitresses while Emily was in the bathroom. It was extraordinarily generous of her and also made for some fun arguments.)

We dropped off our luggage at the hotel and headed out on the town. Our first stop was lunch, which we got at a Greek place in a mall.


(Are you sensing a theme here?)

We visited a most excellent bookstore called Chapters (the Canadian version of Borders, I assume?) and a chocolate cafe that Ben had discovered on a previous trip called Mink. Oh, it was delicious. Emily and I shared two fondue sets - one with fruit:


and one with s'mores:


(The oranges dipped in dark chocolate were my favorite.)

We then went back to the hotel and changed for a play. Emily had gotten tickets to a production of Shaw's The Philanderer! After an erroneous cab ride we got to the theater about an hour before the show. We walked around a bit before finding a pan-Asian restaurant to eat at. We just ordered a bunch of appetizers, including a green papaya salad like the one I learned to make in Thailand. Yum!

The show was very well done. The set and costumes were excellent and the script was quite interesting. A lot of talk about the point and purpose of marriage and Ibsen. The director's notes in the program described how there is actually an unpublished fourth act that she used in cutting this production's script together. I looked up the original script when we got back to the hotel and found with a cursory read that her cutting changed the ending and the characterizations significantly. I've got it on my iPad for future reading - there are many quotable lines and I'm curious to reread it to see what else she changed.

Congratulating ourselves on staying awake through the whole thing (thanks, in part, to the reviving powers of gummy bears), we left the theater to discover not a taxi cab in sight. Hmm. While we were wondering how to get back to the hotel, a bus pulled up to a nearby stop. Noting that it's destination was listed as "Downtown", I pulled Emily aboard. Adventure!

Actually, it wasn't that adventurous. The bus' normal route was altered due to a movie filming, so we followed the driver's instructions and changed buses a few stops in. The second bus took us within a few blocks of the hotel. The sad part about when everything works out smoothly is that I lack exciting travel stories. Hoping on an unknown bus in the outskirts of a foreign city late at night really should have produced more excitement, don't you think?

We went to a CVS-type of store to get some of the food items Ben had requested as well as nail polish remover so we could use the nail polish we got at H&M ealier. We stopped by the side of the hotel where the movie was being filmed and watched a taxi cab race up and down the street. Then we went back to our hotel room and painted our toenails blue while watching The Two Towers in bed. We fell asleep sometime around 2:00 AM and slept well into the next morning.

Since our train didn't leave until late afternoon, we still had a few hours in Canada despite our late rising. We talked about doing some of the touristy things, but decided ultimately we just wanted to wander around the city. After a stop at Urbanfare for a European-style breakfast (bread, fruit, yogurt, cheese, and a lot of reminiscing of the breakfasts we ate when we backpacked it), we walked to Gastown and Chinatown. Here are some pictures of the day:

A quote at Urbanfare that reminded me of my dad

The excellent weather holds

The steam-powered clock in Gastown

The maple leaf is everywhere!


And then in Chinatown we found the prize of the trip:

A Japanese dollar store!

Oh, man. We spent a long time in there. They had bento-box tools:


weird candy (but not the instant-sushi, Andy and Ben. I looked for it, I promise!),

and a whole wall of chopsticks!

We took the Skytrain back to the center of the business district in search of poutine. Although many of the restaurants we passed advertised it, we had been told that the best poutine in Vancouver was to be found here:


The interior was quite promising with a long list of possible dips and rings for holding your cone of fries:


but we were there on a mission. Poutine, I learned, is French fries topped with cheese curds covered in gravy. Behold:


It is a food that could only come from a country that is a) cold and b) alcohol-friendly. As gross as it sounds, though, poutine is pretty dang good. Behold:


although it does make you feel like this:


Keeping up our healthy dining, we walked back to Mink and got ourselves one last chocolate treat before getting back on the train to the States.

The train follows the coast and, since we were traveling at sunset, it was a stellar view (including three bald eagle sightings! And a spring factory!):


Ben and the kids met us at the train station and we grownups stayed up very late again talking.

After Caitlyn got off to school and Logan got back from pre-school, Emily, Logan, and I drove to LaConner.

We saw the fields of daffodils:


Got a healthy lunch from a cute bakery:

Went to a fun bookstore and tried to stay out of the cold ocean wind:

Monday night we all ate pizza and watched Despicable Me together (I hadn't seen it so Logan and Caitlyn were very nice about not quoting the whole thing until after it was over). Since it was my last night, Emily and I went to bed at the very reasonable hour of 3:00 AM.

Caitlyn and Logan came along with us to the airport the next day, so we got lunch at a Rainforest Cafe. Well, Emily and I had lunch. The kids spent the time more like this:


Which was fun. Really, the whole weekend was fantastic and I couldn't be more lucky to have a friends like the Walls. Thank you, Emily, for a delightful (and delicious!) start to Spring Break!


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life

Mystery Print by chitarita
Mystery Print, a photo by chitarita on Flickr.

I came home this evening to discover an elongated FedEx box on my front porch. I opened it and discovered a limited-edition lithograph called "Party Animal".

I have absolutely no idea who sent it or why. It's definitely addressed to me; my name's even listed as "customer" on the Certificate of Authenticity.

Are you a blog reader, O Gift-Giver of mystery? Will you please identify yourself so I can thank you properly for this fun print that made my week?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


I will tell you about my break, I promise. However, my dreams of a relaxed post-speech-post-musical schedule are on hold again thanks to the field trip (23 kids to DCTC for a tour, workshop, and to see As You Like It) tomorrow and the Speech Banquet on Friday.

Soon. Soon, soon, soon! Soon I will work less and blog more!