Thursday, February 25, 2016

Odd Job

The topic of chaperoning dances came up while Justin and Jason were visiting. They asked what exactly that entails, and I talked about making the customary sweeps at Prom to keep things at a PG setting.  It was their reactions to my description of how one goes about discouraging couples from coupling in corners* that made me realize how strange my job is at times.  There are few careers in the world that include tasks like managing horny teenagers or determining whether someone has to go to the bathroom or if they're just bored.  But that's teaching.

Teaching theater does make my job a bit more unusual though.  I enjoy the looks I get from the kids when we say things that just aren't said in other classes.  "What do you think, guys - should we electrocute Robert or just stretch him?" for example, or "Sierra, make sure you aim the crossbow at Ryan's head instead of his chest," or "Josh, quick, grab your crotch - the bubble wrap is falling out again!"  Theater is just plain weird.  One of the many reasons we love it, right?

Even when I allow for other teaching jobs or other theater jobs, I still think I work in unusual circumstances.  For example:

Those are my techies painting a flat by flashlight.  In addition to 4/5 of our stage lights not working, our house lights have begun to go out at random intervals.  We've held more than a few rehearsal in the past few weeks in the mostly dark.  The maintenance guys took a look after a couple of days and pronounced "the system is old."  It hasn't been updated since it was installed in 1979, so I can't blame it too much for giving up the ghost now.  The maintenance guys tried to patch around the faulty dimmer switch to restore the house lights, but they still flicker and go out once in a while.  There's not much to be done when they don't even make the parts anymore.

Still, the show goes on and I congratulate myself, Jesse, and Rachel again for selecting a musical that works in the dark.  Oklahoma! - not so great in dim lights what with "O What a Beautiful Mornin'1" and all.  Addams Family though fits nicely.  Even if we may be offering a literal interpretation of the final song, "Move Toward the Darkness."

There are also few careers that would lead to this:

The student council approached me a few days before our winter pep rally.  They wanted to hold a drawing to let three kids hit teachers with pies and asked if I'm willing to be hit.  I naturally agreed, then asked who the other two teachers were.  Jesse, the band teacher, and Steve, a science teacher newly moved up from the middle school, they replied.  I nodded - we were exactly the three teachers I would have gone to with such a request.  And I am glad that I'm that kind of teacher.

When we were called forward at the rally, without any forecoordination Jesse pulled on a spare t-shirt, Steve pulled out a pair of safety goggles, and I whipped a shower cap out of my pocket.

Jesse and Steve went first, so my lucky student, a freshman I have not had in class yet, got to hit me with both remaining pies.  He smashed them gleefully on the sides of my face, immediately rendering me deaf with whip cream stopping up my ear canals.

It took a bit of dexterous wiping to in the girls' bathroom to get to the point where I could hear again.  I cleaned up the best I could before returning for the end of the rally and after-school rehearsal.  I thought I had gotten most of it, but couldn't clean myself properly since I had to rush from rehearsal to dinner with Fara to seeing A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder at the Buell.  I kept encountering sticky patches on my skin and crunchy, sweet-smelling sections of hair.

Totally worth it.

* Stand next to them.  If that doesn't suffice, watch them pointedly.  If that doesn't suffice, verbally tell them to stop.  I rarely have to go past step one.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Very Happy Holiday Weekend

Last weekend was an absolute delight.  A semi-miracle, as you know, being less than three weeks from the musical and directly following the slow affliction that is Parent-Teacher Conferences and the stress of midterms.  By job woes aside, it was one of the best President's Day Weekends I've ever had, and certainly the best Valentine's Day for Jason and Justin came to town!

I picked them up at DIA late Friday night, and we behaved quite responsibly by going to bed by 3:00 AM or so.  I spent the first few weeks after Jason forwarded me their airline itinerary as proof of their intention to visit cataloging possible activities.  It would be Justin's first time in Denver, but it's mid-February and the performing arts options are slim.  I had a list of a dozen or so possible excursions and a plan to cram at least four of those into each day; and then I recalled the time Jason came to Denver for Christmas.  Granted, he was coming off an absolutely horrendous slew of work; but he arrived and declared his intention to simply take it easy. 

And then he did.

Once I got over my astonishment that he had indeed suppressed his need to Accomplish Things, we enjoyed a leisurely few days in snowy holiday contentment.  It was lovely.

So I tucked my activities lists in the "just in case" section of my brain and announced to the boys that I was ready to just take it easy that weekend if they were game.

We kicked off Saturday with a trip to DenBisCo for brunch.  The wait was a long one, but they took down my number and promised to text when our table was about ready so we could wander.  We walked down to Tattered Cover enjoying the sights of Colfax (which was probably not the best street with which to introduce Justin to Denver) and got some hot beverages at the cafe inside while browsing some of their recommended readings for the Valentine's weekend (and by readings, I mean a coloring book of hot men with various hobbies and low-slung pants).

Once we were seated at the restaurant, we ordered a cinnamon roll biscuit for the table.  I perhaps didn't adequately describe just how big DenBisCo's biscuits are, given Jason's reaction:

Still, it was delicious as always.  I had my usual favorite - biscuit with fried chicken, honey, whole grain mustard, and pickles:

Jason wanted to revisit Ironwood, a funky store on Broadway, so we headed there to check out their latest odd decor selections and to check out some of the other shops.  Jason picked up an interesting fern at Ironwood, while I adopted a new favorite plant:

It's a moss ball!

(Jason: It's not moss.  It's seaweed.
Me: I own it, and I say it's moss, so it's moss.
Jason: Rolls his eyes at Justin.
Jason: plaintively I want a moss ball.
Me: Rolls my eyes at Justin.)

It's friendly and green and as adorable as any plant could be.  Best of all, the care for it appears to be "change the water once a week or so and keep it out of direct sunlight."  Which means there's a chance I won't kill it!

With a bit of time left before our evening plans, we headed for the Red Rocks Amphitheater.  It's less than 15 minutes from my house, and yet this was my first visit since this round of moving here.  The air was crisp, but the views of the city spread, the rock formations, and the fellow visitors were excellent.

After Jason started getting lovely results, Justin and I began playing with HDR apps as well:

Not too busy.  Just some families, tourists, and enthusiastic exercisers:

Including a couple in the corner just playing around:

Saturday evening we met up with my family (Mom, Dad, Andy, and Jenn were all in town!) to see "Hail, Caesar!" at the Alamo.  Not my favorite Coen brothers' movie, but it had some good moments and provided the stimulus for much discussion afterwards.  And this time we only stayed up until 2:00!

We were up and about earlier than usual on Sunday so we could go to church at my ward.  I was on the docket to teach Gospel Doctrine that day thanks to my own manipulations.  My co-teacher was confused when I specifically asked to teach a particular day rather than trying to get out of a particular day.  I didn't explain my reasons (pride, a need to prove something, and a bit of a grudge) and just let him think of my devotion to my calling as further evidence of my spiritualness and light.

The lesson was full of discussion and interesting questions and man-splaining ("If you just go to the temple, you won't have these questions any more!") and I absolutely loved having Jason, Justin, my parents, and Andy and Jenn there to see me in my element.

After a bit of Sunday School Post-Mortem in the hallway, we decided to meet up with Rachel and co. for lunch at ModMarket.  From there, the Js and I headed to Boulder.  We wandered Pearl Street enjoying the buskers and oddities of Boulder, then found a new cheese shop called "Cured" to pick out several delicious items for a gathering at Fara's house.

When I told my friends that the Js were coming to visit, their immediate response was, "Are you going to share them?"  They were all eager to spend time with them (and why wouldn't they?), and Fara graciously offered to host a get-together at her house.  With a delicious spread of desserts (and cheeses!) and so many of the people I love all in the same place at once, the evening was the best way I could imagine spending Valentine's Day.

The Js and I stayed late talking with Fara and Dave, as it is so easy to do, and their flight wasn't until the afternoon; so we slept in a bit the next morning before venturing out to find one last meal.  We had less success there and wound up at Lucille's.  The good thing about eating later than intended is we missed the crowds and could linger at our table chatting without guilt (or regret).

Then it was off to the airport to say farewell for now (but not for long - India's in less than a month!  Eep!), then back to Bailey for me for another round of teaching and rehearsals.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016