Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happiness Is...

For today, happiness is a walk on the trails in the beautiful weather and a nap snuggled with my boyfriend.  The weather was stunning here today.  It had to be over 50 degrees.  Andrew and I went down to the Lamson Woods trail and walked through to Chautauqua Park and back again.  Then we had an absolutely delicious nap... the kind like Joey and Ross took on Friends.  I feel so revived and relaxed all in one.  

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Broadway Meets Saturday Night Live

I grew up with Saturday Night Live. First, Matt and I became obsessed with Martin Short's Ed Grimley, and from there, we graduated to the Church Lady and Hans & Franz. Even though it's not the same, I still have to watch occasionally, hoping for brilliant moments like Alec Baldwin's Shweaty Balls or the Spartan Cheerleaders. The skit that brought Broadway to SNL can keep hope alive for me for a long while. Hang in there, SNL!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Whew... Another Observation Done!

I just had my observation with my new principal. He came in to watch my 6th hour 8th grade GOAL class. It was a good period to be there because I was introducing our Images of Greatness unit, and that's the biggie of the 3rd quarter. I was nervous about it all morning. I don't really know why either. He taped me, and I guess that added to the apprehension. I've been taped tons before, but it was really only for my own use, in finding lessons for National Boards. I've never had it done as part of an evaluation before. It went well though. I'll be interested to watch the tape. I hate hearing all my little speech tics though. Blerg.

I'm still on Cloud 9 in the boyfriend department. I'm not comfortable sharing a lot about it here on the blog, but I will say that it just keeps getting better and better, every single day. Sigh. ;)

Play practice is also going well. We're not as far along as I'd like to be, but that always happens. I have to say, though, that I look forward to it every day. We have a lot of fun, and so far, the kids all have great attitudes. They're working really hard for me, and it's just been very enjoyable so far. We have a lot of work to do before March 5 & 6, but we're off to a good start. My favorite day so far was choreographing the Sweeney Todd number. They're so cute, singing about the Demon Barber of Fleet Street! HA

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Own Spring Awakening

I thought I was overwhelmed on Tuesday.  I had no idea what was in store for me this week.  I feel like something in me was dormant and is now alive.  New relationships do that to a person, I guess.  Every day this week has been a new blessing.  I feel like a teenager again.  Pretty ironic because yesterday in Des Moines, I went with Heather and Suzanne to see Spring Awakening.  Poor Heather and Suzanne were good sports throughout the day, having to endure stories of how wonderful my life is.  They developed a code... "ER."  That stands for EYE ROLL, and trust me, I got plenty of them yesterday.  But I know they're happy for me.  I'm happy for me too.  We had a great day, laughing, talking, singing at the tops of our lungs to different soundtracks... our "Defying Gravity" was especially incredible.  :)  Then we got to the show.  Wow.  It was so emotional, raw, intense, and beautiful. I haven't been that moved at the theatre since I saw Edges last year. Below are some clips from the tour cast, the exact people we saw. They were phenomenal. I loved the music already, but to actually see the show... well, I'm still having a hard time expressing it. It was amazing. I can't believe the 1st National Tour went through Des Moines.  It's also incredible how a play written in the 1890's can have relevant messages today... teenagers dealing with suicide, their budding sexuality, abuse, and those general heightened emotions that feel like they're going to bust out at any moment... I guess those emotions are why I could relate so well, especially this week!

I've often said that every artist has his/her own medium... clay or oils... mine's Broadway.  Click below and see why...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I had no idea how emotional I'd be today. My tears started the moment I saw all those people, with hope in their eyes and pride in their hearts. I cried when all the ex-Presidents came through the door to take their places and witness one who came after them. I cried when Rick Warren prayed. I know many people in our country were angry at Obama's choice to give the opening prayer. To me, it symbolizes that President Obama does not want to surround himself with Obama clones. He wants to reach out to those with different opinions and philosophies. He wants us to learn from each other and pool our resources and gifts. Despite what people might assume my opinion to be, I was inspired by Rick Warren's words. I cried when I heard "Hail to the Chief" played for Obama for the first time. I cried all through the President's speech. I love my country and all it stands for. I love how far we've come. I love the hope and optimism I feel for the future. And I couldn't keep it in. I'm overwhelmed.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Waxing Poetic

At a Window
by Carl Sandburg

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Random Thoughts on Snow Day #5

Yep. Snow day #5. I'm not complaining. I got my grades done at about 12:45 this morning (it probably would have been 4:45 without yesterday's snow day), and then I slept until 10:00. We've only had one day of school this week since we had a work day Monday for the end of the semester. Maybe tomorrow will make it two. We'll see. The wind chill here is -39 degrees. The actual temperature right now is -13. FREAKING cold. I'm feeling very grateful for my warm home, and I'm hoping everyone out there has somewhere warm to go. Yesterday, I had the furnace looked at... it had been doing some weird things, culminating in my house being 40 degrees when I got back from California. The plumber (also known as my friend with the warped mind, Steve) cleaned up a couple of the sensors on the inside, and wanted me to keep an eye on it to see if that was the issue. I'm happy to report that it's been working perfectly since then. I'm very happy that I'm not worrying about replacing a furnace in this cold, cold weather.

I tucked myself in yesterday afternoon, started a movie, and had a great nap. I absolutely love when I have enough time to start a movie with the sole intention of falling asleep to it. I love those naps that happen while falling asleep in front of the TV. I know. I'm weird. Yesterday, it was Waitress. I almost cannot express how much I love this movie. It has romance in it, but it's not really a love story. It's about a woman learning how to love herself and "start fresh." The dialogue is terribly witty, and there are parts where I laugh out loud every single time. There are also parts where I tear up every single time. It's just a great movie.

My favorite line from the movie is where Jenna says, "Dear Baby, I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight and that's all they do. They don't pull away. They don't look at your face. They don't try to kiss you. All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight, without an ounce of selfishness in it." I love that line. Oh, who am I kidding? I love the whole darned movie! :)

Last night, I found out that the Shakespeare Ensemble isn't going to King Lear or The Merry Wives of Windsor as they had previously announced. I'd really been working myself up for my first Shakespeare show, freaking out over choosing a monologue, just generally freaking out... all that good stuff. Now, I'm kind of disappointed. Looks like I won't be doing a show this spring. Maybe I'll do the FACT show. It's Children of Eden, and I know absolutely nothing about it. I need to research.

Switching gears... I'm counting down. What a scary/exciting/worrisome/hopeful time to be an American.

As you can see, I've been dabbling on the site. It's a little overwhelming to me. And, full episodes of the shows I really want to watch, of course, aren't on there... Top Chef, Project Runway, The Tudors, Inside the Actor's Studio, Weeds. At least I can't find them. Maybe I don't know where to look. I'm going to have to do some more investigating. Maybe that's a way to waste another day off school! :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow Day #4

That's right.  We now have 4 days to make up at the end of the year, but I am definitely not complaining.  Teachers were already at school for our Wednesday morning meetings.  The kids don't start until 10:00 on Wednesdays.  At about 8:30, we got the announcement.  We only got 3ish inches of snow (totally guessing here), but the streets are terrible (who knows what it's like in the country for our bus kids?), the wind is picking up, and the wind chill is -20-some degrees.  Tomorrow the high is supposed to be -2, and that's not counting the wind chill... ugh!  Anyway, for me, this couldn't have happened on a better day.  I'd not scheduled a practice with my kids after school because I was supposed to have a mentoring meeting.  It's nice to not have to worry about missing a day of rehearsals.  And, I have grades to finish today.  I was probably going to have to pull a very late night to get done by 8:00 am tomorrow, but now, not only will I finish and get to bed at a decent hour tonight, I'm also planning on having a big nap this afternoon... right when I'm done typing this, as a matter of fact!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Wonderful World of Technology

Technology is a wonderful thing. Today I can periodically check on Senator Hillary Clinton's Secretary of State confirmation hearings through a blog on the New York Times' website. Cool.

Next week, I'll be watching the inauguration of President Barack Obama live with some of my classes. But through the internet, I'll be able to replay speeches at will, focusing on whatever parts I'd like to show. I know technology has its downside, but being connected with the world is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Notting Hill

Jeff just reminded me how much I love the movie Notting Hill.  Hugh Grant is just plain old yummy, in his self-deprecating, totally lovable way.  And I'm not sure Julia Roberts has ever looked more beautiful.  The movie has an excellent soundtrack too. Here are a couple of my favorite scenes...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Weekly Update

I survived the first week back. It wasn't easy. That's the downside of having a great Christmas break... it makes school seem like more of a drudgery than it is. I was glad to see the kids and hear about their breaks, and I was glad to be in the classroom too, but I guess I'm as bad as the kids. I just wasn't ready for my vacation to be over.

We started rehearsals for our show this week. I have a very small cast. I've never had such a thin turnout for auditions before. But, we'll do the best we can. They're very quick learners with choreography, but they're not very experienced singers. We'll have to work hard on that.

Today my new washing machine is being delivered. I was not excited about spending that kind of money, especially out of the money I was saving for my new roof, but it had to be done. I'm excited to try it. It's a front-loader, so I'm hoping I'll use a lot less water. The washing machine I had before was the one I bought from Grandma's previous renter when I moved into the other side of her duplex. I'm sure it was at least 10-15 years old at that point... maybe older! So, it did its job. I'd had to buy a dryer a few years ago, so it was only a matter of time before the washing machine pooped out too.

I have book club today after school. We're discussing The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. If you don't know anything about Randy Pausch, you should really take a look at the website. What an amazing spirit, and what an amazing teacher.

Despite my New Year's resolutions, I had a really down day on Wednesday. I don't know what was going on, but whatever the cause, it was a very down day. Always a glutton for punishment, I ended the day looking through some Sutherlin home movies for a clip of our Arizona reunion. I was frustrated because I cannot find that thing! I have no idea what I've done with the tape that included that footage. However, I saw some great images. I watched video of my cousin Kelly hugging my mom, and it made me think of how I feel about Claire, Kate, and Cameron. I watched video of Kelly scooping me (age 1, I think) up in her arms. Life goes on. Families go on. It was comforting to see the love through the generations. I decided to put in the video of Mom and Mike's wedding. I don't think I've watched it since Mom died. I expected to be upset (glutton for punishment again), and I did have tears. However, it wasn't bad. It was actually fun to look at us all. Jeez, we were young. Matt and Travis look like kids. It was fun to see the Mornin' Crew tailgating group 13 years younger. Brad was still a ham for the camera. Kate and Cameron were so little. Steve hardly had any gray hair! Tim was still married to Sharon... weird. Most of all, it was so great to see how in love Mom and Mike were... how they looked at each other, how they talked to each other, how they had to be holding hands or touching all the time. They were so happy... we all were that day! And, it was just so great to hear my mom's voice. I was emotional, but I wasn't hysterical or anything. I guess I just needed to hear her voice. I went to bed feeling better than I had all day. I'm going to have to remember that little remedy. I've shied away from that tape for a lot of years. I'm glad I didn't stay away from it forever.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I'm putting them in print, releasing them to the universe...

1.  I will be hopeful, grateful, and positive.
2.  I will make spending time with friends and family a priority.
3.  I will finish decluttering my house this year, in hopes of moving to the garage next.
4.  I will do 30 minutes of some cardio activity per day, only allowing 1 day per week off.
5.  I will eat breakfast every day.  

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sweet Child of Mine

There is way too much to do at the ranch to watch TV, but I did watch one movie with my cousins over Christmas Break.  It was Step Brothers.  Um, yeah.  I feel pretty confident that I lost a couple of IQ points in the hour or so that I watched with them, but there was one particular part that did make me really crack up.  Pay particular attention to the kids in the backseat, and be very afraid for my future children.  ;)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Post-Vacation Blues

Today I'm battling the post-vacation blues.  I'm home.  It's fine.  I'm glad to see my dog.  I'm glad to see my friends.  But... sigh... I just have the blues.  There's no other way to describe it.  I miss my cousins!  We had such a good time together.  I know I should write about the last part of my fabulous trip, but right now, it just makes me sad.  Maybe I'll finish it later, but for now, I'll post some pics at least.

The day on the shooting range was one of my favorites.  Here I'm shooting the 38, but the 44 was definitely my favorite.  

Cameron and Claire lighting the flamethrower of death :) for a picnic around the campfire.  In the background, you can see one of the old mining shacks on the property.

I'm modeling by the muddy four-wheeler.  I ripped it up with this baby!

These trees grow right out of the rock by Claire's hidden waterfall.  They're so beautiful, and they could go over pretty much at any second.  The rocks they grow from look like ancient walls of an old castle.  It's amazing.

On my last full day at the ranch, we hiked up the mountain to see where they're clearing some underbrush and small trees.  Here are Kelly and Cameron taking a little break.

the view from the shooting range

On this day, we all rode ATV's up the mountain for a picnic.  Steve and Kelly are leading the caravan in this pic.  It was a BLAST!

Claire, Kate, Celeste, and Briana are in the Mule, waiting to show Brad and Ted the way into the ranch.

Kate and Claire and I in the tepee on New Year's Eve

On TJ & Noah's last day at the ranch, we took the ATV's up the mountain for a short ride.  The sun was just setting over the mountain behind us, and everything was golden.  

Claire and I are standing in front of Elaine Cassidy's bridge.  Miss Cassidy was an "entertainer" of sorts during the mining days.  The boys of the ranch were not allowed by her house.  It mysteriously burned to the ground one day, and she disappeared.  Hmm... ;)

The best part of the trip, though, was absolutely my family.  I'm so lucky and so blessed.  We had a great time together with lots of laughs, hugs, and fun.  And I need to stop typing now before I make myself upset!!!!

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