Monday, April 25, 2011

Pity Party

I feel like I'm 10 again. And not in a good way.
I'm blue.
I'm sad.
I feel like the world is ending.
I know it's selfish and childish.
But I can't help it.
My everyday best friend is moving away.
And it's terrible.
And if that weren't bad enough,
She's taking her two kids with her.
I know I've been spoiled having her here so close.
And I know that Southeast Polk isn't that far.
It's just that there's no one like her.

Some of my favorite Suzanne memories:
* stalking Family Video for Sex & the City dvd's
* camping when Emma was a baby at Lake Lacey
* a variety of Christmas crafts and our yearly Christmas goodie factory
* Emma's baby shower
* taking Emma to see her new baby brother Jack
* helping Suzanne take the kids to have their pictures taken
* swimming with her in the summer in her pool
* laughing laughing laughing
* going w/ Suzanne & Heather to see Spring Awakening
* when Suzanne drove me to Iowa City so I could mail my National Boards box after I pulled an all-nighter
* being narrators in Joseph
* craft night!
* going w/ Jason & Suzanne up to Mankato to see Stephen in Miss Saigon
* surf and turf in her kitchen w/ lobsters Kevin brought from Rhode Island
* birthday parties for all of us for all ages
* having Jack tell me "dat for people" when I was buying my backpack... I said, "Jack, I'm people!" He said, "No, you're Tena."

I have too many memories, and it's making me sad to write about them. I'm happy about Jason's new job. It's a great opportunity for their family. I'm happy about them being closer to their families. But mostly, I'm sad and selfish. I'm going to miss my friend.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ben Folds

I don't go to many concerts. I'm just way more into musicals than actual music (bizarre, eh?), I guess. This summer, however, I'm going to two different concerts that I'm so freaking excited about. The first one is Michael Ball, which I've posted about before. But the second one is Ben Folds. My tickets just came in the mail this week. I love his voice, I love how he plays the piano, and I love his songs. I can hardly ever get through this one without bawling:

I first heard him on David Letterman singing his song "Brick." I immediately went and bought the Ben Folds 5 cd that it came from. I think my favorite song of his, though, is actually his cover of the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers." I just love his voice. It's so unique. I have no idea what's going on in this video, but just close your eyes and listen. :)

Good stuff. I can't wait to see him in concert!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Versatile Blogger

Thank you, Mandie (To Love a Rose), for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award! Fun!!!

These are the rules:

1. Winners grab the image above, and put it in your blog.
2. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
3. Tell 10 things about yourself.
4. Award 15 recently discovered bloggers.
5. Contact the bloggers you have awarded to let them know they have won.

So, here are the 10 things about me:

1. I hate raw tomatoes.
2. My miniature poodle, Avery, is the sweetest dog on the planet. He's always happy and loves to meet people. He also loves fetching his toys and could do it for 23 hours a day, leaving one hour of rest.
3. My best friend and I have known each other since 7th grade.
4. My first car was a red 1980 Volkswagon Rabbit.
5. My favorite pair of pants to wear to school are 12 years old. They are on their last legs. Ha.
6. I much prefer to be deluded and to think the best about people than to know the truth.
7. Cadbury Mini Eggs got me through the last 8 weeks.
8. My favorite beverage is a Shirley Temple.
9. I love to play the handbells.
10. This summer I get to see Michael Ball and Ben Folds in concert. I can't remember the last time I went to ONE concert, let alone two!

My Nominees:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Public Education Reform and Me

I read this article today, and it really rang my bell. It's called Seven Reasons Why I Really Dislike Public Education Reform. It's short. Read it. And welcome to my world.

I do have a few issues with #6 in the article because I'm a neck-bowed Hawkeye (I don't know what that actually means... ask Meredith Willson), and Iowa is the only remaining state to keep local control of curriculum, but I have to face facts... that's fading fast with Iowa Core and Common Core and all the other jargon I'll try not to bore you with.

If you read ANYTHING in that article, read #3. It sums up my frustrations. Exactly. Please read #3. Can you read #3? Here's the link to the article again so you can read #3.

And, if that isn't disturbing enough to you, read #4. Read it. Did you read it? Are you disturbed?

Last year, I read Donalyn Miller's book called The Book Whisperer, and I had an epiphany about my teaching. A life-changing epiphany. I realized that despite my passion for reading, I was screwing up how my students felt about reading. I was trying to hold my students accountable by having them complete weekly reading logs, documenting the minutes they'd read during the week. Reading The Book Whisperer was like a mallet to my skull. Here's the epiphany: I had been asking my students to lie. Yes, LIE. I had created an assignment that was basically asking them to lie to me every week. There was not a single student who said they had never lied when I asked about it. Not a single one. Not even my dearest, sweetest, teacher-pleasers. They were reading, but when it came to the documentation, they were lying about it. Flat out lying about it. Notice a problem with this system? I needed to change! I chucked those reading logs, and I revamped my system to make a more meaningful way for us all to think about reading. It's not perfect (in fact, its WAY more work for me), but it's SO SO SO SO much better.

Hello, Education Reform?!?!?! Anyone there? You've created a system that asks schools to lie! Schools are desperate, and it's creating ugly results.

In the past 10 years or so, this is what's been happening in education. I love my job. I love teaching. I love teachers. I love school. But... it's not easy right now.

I'll stop ranting. But this is a great article. Did you read it yet? If you're a parent, a teacher, a student, a tax-payer, well... basically if you're a breathing human, I think it pertains to you. Here it is once more in case you actually haven't read it yet.

Read it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It Totally Pays to Creep

I was creeping on a friend's website, and I found a link to our "Easy Street" from Way Off Broadway's production of Annie this summer. Score!!! Watching it, I was instantly sucked back there... I could practically smell it! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Favorite Hawkeye

Dallas Clark on TV? Wait, I mean... Dallas Clark on TV not in an Indianapolis Colts uniform? I don't know how or why it came about, but I like it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Baker's Wife

Into the Woods closed on Saturday, and it's left a big hole in my heart. The Baker's Wife is my very favorite part that I've ever played, and I know I should just be grateful for the experience, but it's hard to not be sad. I've been lucky enough to play her twice, and she's really a part of me. There is so much of me wrapped up in her... the dreams, the loss, the wit, the indecision, the longing.

We had a great run. I wish it had lasted two more weeks... at least! I was lucky to have lots of friends see the show. Tracy came over from Council Bluffs, Brenton came over from Shenandoah, Mike & Betty came over from Dexter, and Jeff came down from the Twin Cities. I wish more of my people could have seen it because I truly believe it was some of my very best work. Parts like that do not come along every day. I met great people, talented people. I performed for all the Fairfield Community Schools' elementary students in grades K-3. I worked my tail off, and I got to submerge myself nightly in the beauty of that show. What a gift.

My last scene on stage begins after I've died. My husband is on stage wondering how he'll ever raise our baby on his own. I come on stage and deliver one of the most important messages of the show to him. The song goes, "Sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood. Do not let it grieve you; no one leaves for good. You are not alone. No one is alone." I'm tearing up just writing the words. Every night before I'd go on stage, I'd ask my mom to walk out with me. I'd imagine her arms around me, and I always felt her close.

On Sunday, one of my mom's classmates left a message in my Facebook inbox. She said she had a question for me and asked when she could call me. I got the call two days ago. She asked me what the lyrics were of that last song, so I told her. She said that when she was in the audience, during that part she got this strong vision of my mom and me together, and it gave her goosebumps. She asked if I'd ever thought of that. I told her, "every single night."

No one is alone.

See you around, B-Dub, and... thanks.

Shannon, our Rapunzel. She played my Baker's Wife when the middle school did the junior version 4 years ago. She gets what the part means to me.

Andrew, my Baker. He's an intense, talented, and amazing performer. I got something new out of each night on stage together.

Our stories. Please note my apostrophe. It was absent until I had an English teacher hissy fit before we opened. There would NOT be a grammatical mistake on the Baker's Wife's book. No, there would not. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011


* We had a great opening weekend of Into the Woods. I was lucky enough to have Tracy here on Friday to see the show and to spend the night. It was a short visit, but we crammed a lot in... long hours of talking, Revelation's, and Crepe Escape! Brenton, my class helper from Wabash Arts Camp, also drove over from Shenandoah for opening night. I was so glad to see him! Mike and Betty drove over from Dexter for Saturday's show. It was so great to see them, and they'd never been to the Sondheim Center before. They were impressed!

* Geof Northridge hosted a great cast party on Sunday night after our matinee. It was fun, but I was tired. Plus, it was 84 freaking degrees on Sunday. What is up with that? It made it extra warm in the theatre. I love my costume, but it was sticking to me like glue! Thank goodness we only have one matinee in this run. Matinees are not my thing.

* I had a meeting this afternoon in Ottumwa. I always enjoy the TAG networking meetings. It's great to collaborate with other TAG teachers in the area, and I always enjoy driving over with our elementary TAG teacher, Ann Hektoen. Sometimes it seems like those are the only times we see each other face to face instead of communicating through e-mail.

* Right now I'm sitting in auditions for FACT's summer show, Willy Wonka. Andrew & I can't audition because our trip to the U.K. will conflict with the show. We're both FACT board members, so we're here to help. We thought it would be a quick and easy job, but it turns out that between 75 & 100 people have shown up just on the first night! This is a great problem to have, but we weren't expecting to be here all night. Luckily, I have internet access and have been working on some homework and updating this poor, neglected blog!

* Have you been watching the eagles in Decorah? I'm sort of obsessed. 2 of the 3 eggs have hatched. I love popping in on them during the day. Today I saw the 2 babies being fed. Cute! And a little gross! But cute! :) Watch here if you have yet to check them out!

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