Saturday, October 28, 2006


What a week!

I won't get into the gory details, but let's just say it was a busy, hectic, exhausting, frustrating, wildly hilarious, nasty, interesting, batty week.

My Idol

My big American Idol-esque fundraiser went very well on Thursday night--except that it almost didn't go at all! Twenty minutes before house was to open, we found that the sound board had died. The drama/stagecraft teacher was still around so he took a look--the board is fried.

"Megan...we might have to cancel your show."

In show business, the show must go on, and it did--thanks to some quick thinking on the drama teacher's part, and the clever rigging of a microphone, a portable CD player, and an amplifier. I think my heart rate is just now getting back to normal!!

The evening after that was a success. We finished at 8:40--much earlier than expected, and I was in bed by 10:00.


One of the campus security guys worked my show, ensuring that everyone left in a timely manner and didn't loiter on campus. He was great. We sat by the parking lot together waiting for all kids to get rides home, until about 9:30.

Towards the end of this time, I learned of some possible drama between one of the kids on my drum line and some other kids. My student is a good kid--and it turns out that he's sort of an innocent bystander in a feud between his friend and another kid. But at first, I thought that he was getting some grief from other drum kids--and that was disappointing.

These are some great kids and they are a fantastic team. So the thought of silly drama between them made me mad, actually!

I saw a few of them on Friday morning and asked what was going on. They set me straight. "No, Miss C! We're all friends."

"Exactly--a TEAM."

So I felt better...and happy enough to quip to Larry, "So, if the drumline has drama, do we call it drum-a?"


Mom's Good!

Mom made it through her surgery and is actually off the pain meds already. She's keeping her foot up and only walking on it to go to the bathroom and stuff. I'm sure between Dad ("She's got me waiting on her hand and foot--I can't get any rest!!") and the Terrible Torties, Mom's got plenty of love coming her way.

Still, I'm sending mine, too.

I thought about going home this weekend, but frankly, the thought of driving to Lincoln doesn't appeal. And my apartment was filthy, so last night I cleaned.

Five Servings a Day

I am ashamed to admit it, but I will state this publicly--to shame myself into better behavior:

I had take-out five nights in a row this week.

Terrible! On the agenda for today is a massive grocery trip, so I can stock up on fresh veggies and fruits. I'm craving salad, and soup, and healthier fare. Now that this week is over, I have some time to prep some food. I think I'll make onion soup, a pot of chili, and the preparations for a big Greek salad. That way I can just heat things up throughout the week.

Sounds marvelous!


As I mentioned, I did some cleaning last night--and about time! There were balls of hair on the bathroom floor (from brushing and having a cat) the size of Ping Pong balls. I'm not kidding!

Last night I did the hard part--scrubbing down the kitchen and bathroom counters, the toilet, and then sweeping, vacuuming the debris, and mopping the linoleum.

This morning I will do a quick dusting and vacuuming in the living room and bedroom, start some laundry, and make sure everything is straightened up. That won't take more than an hour, so I'll still have plenty of time to sit on my rear end watching movies or reading a book. I've just been thinking it's time to do a couple of re-reads...

Hmm, Decisions, Decisions...

Now, am I in a Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice) mood, or a To Kill a Mockingbird mood? I'll have to think on that one.

In the meantime, the sun is coming up (yes, Meg had a hard time sleeping last night...again), and I have an urge to get started.



Thursday, October 26, 2006

Shout-out to Mom!

Just a quick little update as I sit here, bleary-eyed, drinking tea, and facing a long, long day. I need to give a quick shout-out to my Mom, who is having a hammer toe surgically corrected this morning at 7:00.

I'm thinking of you, Mom, and I love you!

In the mean time, I've got a very full day today--we've got a fire drill during 2nd period, I don't have my prep today, and I won't be home until well after 9:00. We've got a big fundraising event tonight.

So if you all could send Mom and I some good vibes today, I'd appreciate it!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Oh, My Legs...

I walked, walked, and walked some more yesterday.

As per a previous blog entry, I went to Santa Cruz with the marching band yesterday. It was a great day, and I'm glad I tagged along. For starters, the weather was gorgeous--sunny, blue skies, temperatures in the 70s all day. The kids were in good spirits and everyone had a great time.

We left the school at about 8:15, arriving in Santa Cruz a little after 10:00. The kids started getting uniforms on and unloading instruments. I helped my drum kids get sorted out a little, and even carried an extra bass drum (not particularly heavy but those harnesses HURT!) for a few feet.

After warming up, the band stood in formation while waiting for their turn to go. One highlight at this point was an adorable little girl emulating the marching bands that passed by. She was in black pants, a white shirt with a little red plaid tie, and a black vest. A red and black marching hat was perched crookedly on her head. She stood at perfect attention with a recorder in her hands. She couldn't have been more than 6 years old, and she was adorable. The band moms and I all went gooey over the sight. At one point she ran into a nearby house, so I assume she lives there and was showing her excitement over the visiting bands.

The parade route covers a good couple of miles and includes many different sections the students have to pass through. The first is Inspection, where they stand at attention and a judge inspects uniforms, how straight the lines are, etc. After inspection, they march a little ways, playing the march one time. Then they enter the competition zone, where they are judged for their overall march--music, marching, formations, color guard, etc.

Finally we entered the drum line zone, where my drum kids (many of them didn't play in the band march, and a couple of girls are also on color guard, so they had to run over and join the drum line very quickly, grabbing their bass drums from some awesome band parents who carried them all that way for them).

This was the part where I felt like a nervous momma! Larry laughed at me because I was standing on my toes with my fingers crossed, looking worried.

Can I just say that my kids were AWESOME? They played their song, "Walk the Walk," better than they've ever done it, and the countless hours of hard work they've put in, both in class and after school, really paid off. I wanted to shout out, "That's MY drum line!!!" I refrained, but I did cheer like mad when they were done.

Unfortunately they didn't place in the drum line category at awards, because there are bigger drum lines playing harder music...but what we all took away from it is that they beat their own personal best, and exceeded the goals they had set for themselves. So all in all, it was a great day.

And I think they liked having me there. : )

We finally marched down Front Street (by the beach and Boardwalk), playing the march and a few drum cadences for the happy crowd there, before finally making it back to the busses.

I waited with Larry while all the kids got their instruments and uniforms put away, then we set off for the pier to find a good restaurant for lunch. We were both hot, sweaty, exhausted and famished. We pretty much inhaled our lunches. When the bill came I pulled out my wallet and he said, "No, this one's on me." I gave him my patented "one-eyebrow-raised-make-the-students-shudder" look, and he put his fists up and said, "Believe me, I know what your paycheck looks like. Besides, I want to thank you for coming today." : P He won, so I gratefully accepted a free lunch.

After this he had a band director's meeting so I furthered the workout my legs were getting by walking along the beach and the boardwalk. I got about halfway down the boardwalk and decided to turn back. Well, the park is pretty crowded, and I hate crowds. I considered my options: I could weave my way through the crowds, making slow progress and dealing with all the idiots who steer strollers into my legs or stop directly in front of me for absolutely no reason. Or, I could make somewhat slow progress on the beach, with fewer people to deal with.

I chose the beach. My thighs need toning, anyway.

Pretty soon it was time for awards. We didn't get any trophies but apparently the scores were higher than they've been, so Larry was pleased with the progress. I high-tailed it out of awards a few minutes before the end to avoid the massive crush of everyone leaving, making it back to the bus in relative peace.

The best part of the day was being able to show my drum kids some love. They're a great bunch--genuinely nice kids--and I was so proud of them. They in turn, seemed happy that I came along. They all seemed eager to hear what I thought of their performance. One of the band boosters even thanked me for coming, saying, "It means a lot to the kids that you're here--and it means a lot to us parents that you'd make the effort to come." Her son is not in drum line, but her daughter is in one of my choirs, so that was nice.

It was a great day--I fell into bed last night, exhausted, but I'm so glad I tagged along on the trip. I think it will further strengthen the relationship I have with the drum kids, so when it comes time for Winter Drum Line (which I'll be solely in charge of, as it's not affiliated with the band), we will have a trust in place already.

And with their work ethic and strong group dynamic, I don't see why we can't bring home a few trophies while we're at it. : )

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Send Me Good Vibes!

Tonight is my first performance with any of my groups. I'm taking my top choir to a local college to participate in a concert there.

We are singing only one song, as the director there asked me to just have a few minutes' worth of music. There is a guest tenor from the San Francisco Opera, so that will be great to hear.

Anyway, if you think about it, at 7:00 tonight (PST, of course), send some good vibes my way!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cruisin' Down to Santa Cruz...

I'm going to Santa Cruz on Saturday!

I've volunteered to help Larry with a marching band trip. They'll be competing in a parade competition, and since I teach drum line, I want to show the kids some love and support my colleague. Besides, it's in Santa Cruz and it's been ages since I've been on a marching band trip...since high school, in fact.

We leave from the school at 8:00 in the morning and will return at about 9:00 that night. I'll help out as much as I can, but also take some time to have fun on the Beach/Boardwalk, taking pictures and stuff.

Speaking of pictures...

Eighty bucks later, I have a year's worth of digital pictures ready to be archived in my scrapbook. With my first paycheck I decided to order prints of photos dating back to August 2005, when, a week after returning home from England, I went on a road trip with my parents to Idaho and Utah. Shortly after that, we were adopted by the Kindergatos, so I got prints of all the baby pictures, too.

Well, another busy day. I'm exhausted! I'm going to heat up some potato soup (made it from scratch yesterday) and then put in a movie while I sort out my photos (all 600-somthing of them!).



Saturday, October 14, 2006

Summer Time

Yes, yes, I'm aware that it's actually Autumn! The turning grape leaves of Napa Valley reminded me of that.

But I had Summer Time today, in that I drove up to Napa to see Summer, and spend an afternoon driving through the wine country, smelling the gorgeous smell of grapes being crushed, and poking in and out of various shops in the adorable town of St. Helena.

Mostly, though, it was just soooo good to catch up with Summer and talk, talk, talk. Just as it was awesome to catch up with Heather last weekend. We are all so busy with our jobs and other pursuits, that sometimes whole months go by without me seeing my girlfriends. And believe me, I need my girlfriends!

So it was a lovely afternoon, and I can't wait to visit Summer in Napa again. What a gorgeous part of the world! I'll try to upload pictures soon...I'm going to replace my dialup with wireless internet soon, which will make things much easier.



Friday, October 13, 2006


On the surface, it doesn't seem like much of a punchline. But it just might be the one little uttered syllable that made me human to a group of kids. That and being drenched in sweat.

Those of you who have spoken to me know I've had a few struggles with some of my groups. Face it, I've just replaced a much-loved teacher. The kids miss her, they don't know me, and I am quite different. This doesn't excuse some of the little rudeness I've encountered, but it does help me understand where the kids are coming from.

So my show group has been one of the harder groups to "crack," if you will. They're normally much further along than we are now, and they are worried that they won't be ready to perform on time. I'm coming from the never-had-a-show-choir standpoint, and frankly, I'm learning how to run it as I go.

So Wednesday we met and I, as usual, braced myself for 100 minutes of kids not listening, or at least not taking me seriously. Wednesday we sat down to dig into the music, but before we started, I decided to discuss our theme, Sister Act 2, with the kids:

Me: So there are two main conflicts in Sister Act 2. The first is the Lauryn Hill character, who's mom won't let her sing in choir.

Assorted students: Yeah.

Me: The second one is the teacher and the students...struggling to get to know each other.

Assorted students: Yeah.

Me: [Deadpan] Huh. [pause]

I actually got some laughter from them...and it was a proud moment for me, because suddenly, the whole tone of the rehearsal turned around, and for once, I feel that I accomplished something with them.

Of course, in my previous teaching experience, a little bit of progress can go down the drain the next day, so I approached this afternoon with cautious optimism. Especially when I came back from lunch to find that in the 40 minutes I'd been in the staff lounge, the heater had come on (our school's system is a mess right now) and my room was about 95 degrees.

I figured this would spell disaster, as the kids would whine and complain and feel they didn't need to get anything done. On the contrary, it didn't really mess us up at all. Of course we were all sweating profusely, and fanning ourselves with the music, but no one made a huge deal out of it. We just pounded out some music and chose people to do the solos.

Eventually we moved to the band room, which is vacant during that class period and has more room for the dancing part of things. It was cooler in there (somehow, though our rooms are connected, Larry's is always cool and mine a sauna...), and we got started with some dancing.

It was a productive afternoon, and I'm quite...cautiously optimistic about how things are going.

And so ended another crazy/busy week, on a high note. As Larry joked with me after school, "The group that sweats together, stays together..."

The days absolutely fly by. My contract hours are 8:00 to 3:00, but I'm usually at school at 7:30 each morning, and I leave anywhere between 3:30 and 4:30, depending on what I need to get done, or if we have meetings, etc.

My colleagues are great--I am lucky to have supportive, friendly, interesting people to work with. The performing arts people, in particular (there are five of us) seem to mesh very well. We're all very passionate about our particular subject areas, but willing to work with everyone else, too. It's a great team.

And that's it, really. I have half a million things running through my head at any given moment, and I'm alternately very pleased with myself and very unsure of what I'm doing. I suppose that's normal. I'm sleeping better after a few bad nights earlier this week, so that's good.

The weather is slowly turning cooler, and the trees with it. It is getting close to my favorite time of year, as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop. Pretty soon all thoughts will be on Thanksgiving and the holiday season, which is my favorite time of the year.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Just What I Needed...

A girl's night with Heather!

Heather drove down to Antioch on Saturday to have a Girl's Movie Night with me. I think, for both of us, it was just what the doctor ordered. I am so glad we were able to get together. It had been almost two months since we'd seen each other!

Of course, there was much girl talk, and a few moments of hilarity (I have a rather disturbing habit of taping things to my butt...). There was good food (Indian curry) and plenty of vodka Lemon Drops. We had Paul Bettany (adorable Brit in Wimbledon) and a young, shirtless Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. Good times!

On Sunday we had lunch at Mimi's and a short but effective shopping spree at a local mall. Then Heather had to get on the road back to Sacramento.

So yes, my weekend was just what I needed--a break from thinking about school and a chance to catch up with a friend. Next weekend I'm off to Napa to see Summer. Good times!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Night Whalloping


Tonight was Homecoming, so I donned my black and teal garb and went to the game. What a great time! I'd forgotten how much fun these high school games can be.

Four girls from one of my choirs sang the National Anthem--I was very proud of them; they worked hard to prepare and it's not an easy thing to sing this very difficult song in front of so many people.

My drumline class looked great in their marching band uniforms, and they were pleased to see me before the game, and a few times during. I wanted to show them som support. I genuinely like them; they're a great group of kids.

And the football! Holy cow! We have quite a team this year--undefeated and very, very fast. There are two guys who are so fast, no one can catch them. They dodge defenders and run like hell to the end zone--it's so exciting to watch. We trounced the other team, 41-21. The only reason the other team got those last two TDs is because our team got a little lazy in the last quarter--we were so far ahead. The team is now undefeated, but we're up against a difficult team next weekend.

There were a lot of teachers there. I sat in the teacher section, cheering like mad, eating a Polish hot dog (teachers get one free food item and drink), and showing my school spirit.

One thing I also noticed was the terrific sportsmanship. One of our boys went down on a play and took a few minutes to get up. While the coaches and medical guys ran out to assist him, all of the boys on our team knelt down on one knee in a show of support--and even half of the opposing team! I was touched by that. Everyone cheered when he got up. It was such a great show of team unity and healthy competition. The kid was okay; I saw him jogging a bit a few minutes later, but I think he sat the rest of the game out.

What a great evening...that's one thing I love about teaching high school--the sports, the school spirit, etc. It's good for the kids, and it's fun for us teachers to support them.