Friday, December 20, 2013

A Breather

Why, hello there, strangers!

My apologies for the long silence on this front.  As happens at this time of year, work exploded and I found myself with barely the time to breathe, let alone blog.  Happily, though, after far too many days packed so full that I fall asleep while eating a fast-food dinner three hours past my bedtime, the end of the term is in sight.

Today, for example, is a Teacher Work Day.  Even happier, it is a Teacher Work Day With No Scheduled Meetings.  This meant I got to wake up at the humane hour of 6:30, eat breakfast, wrap up a few projects at home, drive to school during daylight hours while admiring the trees in the canyon every one of which looks like it was perfectly dipped in white frosting, and tie up all kinds of end-of-the-semester loose ends.  I'm still at school, but I only have one recommendation letter to go before I run away for the rest of 2013.


As crazy as it's been, I do love accomplishing so many things.  Some of these accomplishments I can't show you yet, for they are Things To Be Revealed on Christmas.  I can tease you, though, with a sight like this project-in-process:

There's a treasure under those tomes!

Others I have been all too happy to document for your viewing delight.  Please to enjoy a partial list of accomplishments:

One - End of Term
As of yesterday, my classes are all finished and my grades are posted.  My speech class in particular this term bonded as a group.  They started referring to themselves as a "Speech Family" a few weeks ago and have bemoaned the end of the class since mid-November; so I made sure to plan time the last day for a proper "check out" session for them.  They shared many kind and generous words, a few tears, and a group hug.

Cute little buggers.

Two - Auditions
Despite all of nature and transportation conspiring against us, we managed to hold auditions and cast the musical!  After four years working together, Jesse, Rachel, and I have a pretty good system in place.  Each year Rachel prints out thumbnails of every auditioner's headshots and tabs of the roles so we can sort them visually as we discuss possible casting.

(No spoilers here - this is before we did any sorting)
With the biggest turnout yet, we wound up with an excellent cast.  We actually had choices for some of the leads roles!  I'm ecstatic to work with these kids on this play, and they're all psyched as well.

The snow-days put us three days behind schedule, so we only had time for two rehearsals before the break.  Last Thursday was slated for our first official read-through.  Sadly, Jesse and I also had a mandatory faculty meeting that afternoon.  We gave the materials to a couple of our seniors and asked them to keep everyone in the auditorium and under control until we got there.

Naturally, this was the faculty meet that ran 15 minutes longer than any other.  I was a bundle of anxiety by the time we were released, and as Jesse and I approached the back doors of the auditorium, we could hear the kids through the walls.

"That's not a good sign, is it?" I asked him.  He shook his head.  With visions of kids parkouring off the walls and balcony and running completely amok, we opened the doors and parted the curtains to find...

...the entire cast sitting in chairs in a circle on stage, sheet music propped up on music stands in front of them, singing along to the soundtrack for the show.

"You guys!" I exclaimed, dropping my bags and boxes in utter delight, "You're rehearsing?  Look at you!  You're rehearsing!  You are totally getting cupcakes for this!"

They cheered.  And so,

Three - Cupcakes
Mom talked me into getting knight-themed decorations at a darling cupcake shop near their office over Thanksgiving, assuring me that the students would deserve such a treat at some point during the show.  The cast earned them far sooner than I anticipated.  I spent Sunday afternoon making cupcakes for the cast for our last practice Monday.

They're pretty freakin' adorable, if I do say so myself:

They're also thematic.  Knight toppers for Spamalot, bones and red sprinkles for the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, "mud"  frosting for the scene with Dennis, and vanilla cake because England (and Mountain Town) is so white.

I thought about adding a bit of coconut as well, but I was worried about allergies.

They were greatly admired and quickly eaten.

Four - Field Trip

I took my Advanced Drama class downtown last week for a Day of Drama.  We started off with a workshop on stereotyping and bullying:

One group's tableaux

Then saw a matinee of Jackie and Me, a new play about Jackie Robinson.

The play was well-produced, if a bit fluffy.  My students loved it.  One of them is an avid baseball fan, and when he walked into the theater and saw the stage floor his jaw dropped.

The entire floor was painted with vintage baseball cards,
as you can see in this publicity still.
"You like it, Jeff?" I asked.

"I'm geeking out pretty hard, Waterhouse," he replied, without taking his eyes off the sight.

After a talk-back with the actors, we grabbed lunch on the 16th Street Mall, then headed back to the Theater Academy for a second workshop, this time about slapstick stage combat.

Playing Columbian Hypnosis

Practicing dying

I would have taken more photos of the combat itself, but the instructor pulled me in to partner with one of my students since we had an odd number.  Ryan took great delight in being taught how to punch, slap, and pull his teacher's hair and nose.

Five- Speech Meet

No photos this time, but we did go to another speech meet last Saturday.  At only 1.5 hours away from the school, it's the closest meet of the year.  Unfortunately, the meet itself ran long and it wound up being a solid 14 hour day.  Oy.  The kids did well, as usual, and we came home with quite a few awards.  Three meets to go!

Six - Friends and Food

The past few weeks have been a lot of work, but I did manage to squeeze in a little bit of fun along the way.  I babysat Jack and Sam one night at my house and introduced Jack to the joys of The Sword in the Stone (Remember this scene?  I certainly do!  I would say that I wish I could pack like that, but honestly, the chaos of it would drive me absolutely crazy in my pre-trip anal retentiveness.)

I also enjoyed a brunch with Cindy at Toast, a restaurant near me that I've always wanted to try.  Happily, they had good service and tasty food.  They also had a great accommodation for the indecisive-types like myself - the Pancake Flight that gave me four different pancake types!

Peach Crumble with fresh berries, Key Lime, Banana Chocolate Chip,
and up in the corner you can see the Sausage and Gravy Pancake.

Sure, I only ate, like, a third of the food, but it was delicious!

Last night I also escaped school early enough to run errands and then go out to dinner with Fara.  We went to Bonefish Grill for a tasty meal and excellent conversation.  As happens every time I see Fara, I came away with a fresh bibliography of books to read.  At least this time there's hope of reading them with a break nigh upon me!

And now I must turn back to my work.  One recommendation letter to go and then I'm off to finish a craft, wrap presents, and pack for Grand Junction.  See you on the other side of the mountain!

1 comment:

  1. Have a lovely, relaxing break and a Happy Christmas! You have earned every minute!