Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today's List of Adventures

What did I get up to today? Let's see...

  1. I started with a trip to the gym, where I kicked a little butt on the Stair Master, did some push-ups into T-stands on the BOSU (unstable surface), step-ups, jump-ups, and some uphill sprints on the treadmill. Then I showered wearing flip-flops (gym showers, ugh) and blow-dried my hair while managing to keep a towel wrapped around my body in a public locker room.
  2. Once at Petite School, I taped a bunch of "grass" cut out from construction paper to the front of the stage, then watched in awe as our school's art teacher created an Enchanted Forest out of butcher paper and tempura paint. Genius.
  3. I worked with a small group of my characters from the musical on some music stuff they needed brushing up on, then sent them off to lunch.
  4. After lunch, I watched in awe as the guy from the sound rental place set up my system for me, and as one of our school security/hall monitors helped him and then had fun playing with it. He's gone to school for sound engineering and worked some gigs before, and he's totally happy to help me with the show tomorrow. A HUGE weight off my shoulders.
  5. Oh, and he was willing to climb up a fifteen-foot ladder to fix the back curtain on the stage, which was flapping down and showing off a huge collection of crap the temple we rent space from has stored back there. I had to help him maneuver said ladder from a back corner and across the stage, which was a second workout for the day.
  6. Worked with my third and fourth grade classes briefly to reassure both teachers that their kids know the songs and can stay with the music, especially with me conducting them. 
  7. Then we ran our first dress rehearsal, with full costumes and sound set-up. It was a bit chaotic, and mistakes were made, but the kids got a sense of how it's going to sound, and they had fun, which is the most important part.
I finally made it home at about 6:30, where my awesome mom had dinner waiting and the electric kettle hot and ready for me to pour a cup of tea.

Tomorrow's the big day! Exciting, nerve-wracking, exhausting. Wild and Absolutely True.

Would I give you anything else?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wild, True, and Absolutely Moronic

Production week for my musical is here, and with it comes an absolute inability, on my part, to hold one thought in my head for more than three seconds at a time. It's part of my charm.

I got up early this morning (5:30) and had my healthy breakfast. I managed, even, to get a couple miles of running in. Then I showered and headed off to Petite School.

My first task was to get my sound system paid for--I reserved equipment last week, but needed to call the rental place with payment information. I did that, then called a local costume place to see if they have pig noses for my haste to get everything on my To Do List done, I missed one important factor. My play has three pigs in it, and I had one pig nose. Problem! With little time for an Amazon order, my best bet was Evangeline's in Old Sacramento, and sure enough, when I called, they had pig noses in stock. (Really, if Evangeline's didn't have pig noses, no one in Sacramento would.)

Petite School is just south of downtown and Old Sac, so it was easy enough to pop over that way to buy a couple of pig noses--let me just say that this is what I do for a living, people. I buy pig noses. Anyway, I was kind of tickled to have a brief outing to Old Sac, and I had my iPhone out and Instagram ready for this photogenic little slice of Sacramento. I found my pig noses in good time, then wandered the long way 'round back to my car in the parking garage. I reached in my pocket for the little ticket to pay...and, oh. Shit.

I've never lost a parking garage ticket before. Turns out the fine for losing a scrap of paper the size of a credit card, after only parking there for 30 minutes, is $29. They'll take check or cash at the garage, or you can mail a check. Of course, I only had my debit card and about $5 in cash.

I had to pull into a parking spot at the exit to get my little "bill" or whatever, and as I backed up, I banged--rather loudly--into a cement pillar. Gah!! Proving that Mazdas are awesome, Rosie, the poor beat-up girl, doesn't even have a dent in the bumper. I managed only to scratch a part that had recently been scratched in an incident at the Mazda dealership (their fault, not mine). I love this car.

Still, it was loud, it was embarrassing, and it heightened my already too-high feeling of being a dumbass.

I handed over my driver's license to the attendant on hand. He looked up, grinned, and said, "This doesn't even look at you!" I grinned in response. "Thanks! Ninety pounds!"

"Nice! I lost a hundred twenty-five."

"Go you!"

We chatted while he filled out my paperwork and gave me the envelope to conveniently mail my fine in (for parking, people, parking!!!) and finally, I was on my way. As I cruised down I-5 towards Petite School, the hilarity of the whole situation struck me and I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. Parking citations! Cement pillars! Weight loss conversations with random parking garage attendants! Only in my world, friends.

The rest of the day passed with little drama. I pulled a few kids out of class, hollered at my little chorus singers (again) to listen to me and try not to waste time by chatting incessantly. I ran the after-school rehearsal with minimal problems and took notes on the last-minute stuff we need to work on. I had Dr. Principal laughing when I told her a couple of my chorus girls have to leave early tomorrow and, "honestly? I'm okay with that, because I'm really, really sick of the talking!"

In all of this, my colleagues are amazing. They are supportive, quick to offer support and advice, quick to reassure me that I'm doing a good job. A truly great school community is one where teachers band together like that, and Petite School (obviously, this is not its real name) is one of the best I've worked for.

Day one is under wraps. Tomorrow, I get my sound system, have the final dress rehearsal, and gear up for Thursday, the big day.

At the end of all this, there's a very large margarita with my name on it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Today is so much more than a day off from work--we all know this. Growing up the daughter of a veteran, a man who devoted 21 years of his life to the Air Force during two major conflicts of the 20th Century (Vietnam and the Cold War), has given me some perspective, I suppose. Dad has so many stories, and I'm grateful that he's willing to tell them.

Last week, he sent me an email with this video in it--the Path of the Warrior. It is very touching, and I want to share it here. Give it a few minutes of your day. The hot dogs will wait.

And if you have a little extra time, and want to spend 17 minutes watching something extremely touching, click this link and watch actor Gary Sinise honor his Uncle Jack, a WWII veteran, in a really unique and awesome way (it pays to have connections!).

Or, just enjoy a few pictures from my personal collection, taken in France in 2005.

American Cemetery

Dad and I at the cemetery, overlooking Omaha Beach,

Omaha Beach, one site of the massive D-Day landings.

At Point du Hoc, nature takes it back.

Point du Hoc

Utah Beach, near where the Easy Company paratroopers of "Band of
Brothers" fame landed on D-Day.

Mom looking for seashells.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nerd Headline of the Day

I'm sure you've seen that giant inflatable rubber duck that's been touring various parts of the world. Right now, it's in Hong Kong. According to Instagram, it's leaving Hong Kong on June 9 and coming to the United States!!

It seems logical to me that it would come to San Francisco. I mean, come on! It's right across the Pacific, it's got that gorgeous bay for the duck to float around, and the views of a giant rubber duck with Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge would be priceless. Priceless!!

You know that if it does come to San Francisco (oh please, oh please, oh pretty-pretty please, gods of the absurd?!), that Cali Swimmy and I will be there to see it. There will be at least seventeen pictures of the duck, me with the duck, Cali with the duck, me with Cali the duck on my head with the duck in the background, etc.

Ninety-five percent of the time, I'm a grown-up. The duck thing just makes me happy. Don't judge, just laugh with me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

My Week in Instagram (Week #27)

It was a busy week, but I managed to get some fun shots.


Mom's tomato plants are growing fast!

Incoming roses.
On Monday, I finally got around to having my hair trimmed.
About 3 inches of length off, and long layers restored. It
looks and feels so much better. (The pics on the left are from
a couple weeks ago.)

Excitement--my new registration sticker came.

We had our end-of-semester choir potluck, and someone
made these awesome centerpieces using velum paper!

I got to bring this one home--that's me!

Life is so hard.

Live Long and Prosper baby carrot.
There is a cat somewhere in all that floof.

Cherries from the farmer's market.


Mushrooms. My favorite part of summer--the farmer's
markets! California is good for them.
Sign pic grabbed down near Petite School.

Sacramento's Tower Theatre.
In the teacher's work room at Petite School. It's that time
of year.
This is the pouty face of a very tired music teacher wearing
a back pack.

Three pics today, made into a collage on Instagram.
Happy Caturday from Duchess (left), Bella (top), and

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

And So It Goes

My weekend was a wild and wonderful mix of busyness, fun, choral fellowship, pride, and needing a nap. Sac Choral's concert went incredibly well, and all those hours of rehearsal, and all the time I was away from home, driving around, etc., were well worth it. Joining this group is one of the best moves I've ever made.

That said, I woke up on Sunday feeling hung-over. Even after a good rest, I was tired, headachy, and bleary-eyed. A hot shower, some ibuprofen, and a hot shower fixed me up, but I have to admit, in the days since, I've been running a wee bit behind my usual schedule.

Next week, of course, is production week at Petite School. I will be there all day on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The performance will be Thursday evening, and Friday is my normal teaching day there (I'm so showing a video, and I will so have earned it).

So this week is sort of the calm before the storm. Oh, next week won't be bad, just busy. I won't have a lot of time for myself, I'll be driving more, and I'll have the normal stress and nerves that happen when a music teacher is hoping her kids pull off a great performance. This week is my time to gear up for all of that, to order the sound system (done!), get enough sleep, get some good workouts in (if my left quadriceps would just stop being so whiny), and try, best as I can, to plan for the hectic week ahead. And it will be hectic. As awesome as my students at Petite School are, they are like any children anywhere in that they will have a gazillion questions and concerns that need to be addressed right now or huge panic might set in. I will be comforting fears and talking down the nerves and patting them on the heads to reassure them that they're going to be fine, etc. This, between setting up the stage, overseeing the delivery of our rented sound equipment, and finalizing details. It's the life of a music teacher--I'm not complaining, I've survived this before!

So next weekend, as May turns into June and my responsibilities at Petite School wind down for this school year, I will be sitting on the back patio, reading, possibly sipping a margarita. And the only sound you will hear from me is a satisfied sigh.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Week in Instagram (Week 26)

It was a very busy week. Hectic, fun, exhausting. And I took lots of great pics. On Sunday, I got some shots in Marysville, on my way home from Chico. This weekend, I had a ton of choir stuff.


Six miles out of Marysville, there is an old abandoned
station. I have driven past it hundreds of times, probably.

The park in downtown Marysville.

A wall.

Very blurry zoomed-in shot taken while waiting at a red light.


A sign near Petite School.

The view from the front row of the soprano section. That's
Don, our fearless leader.

Ryan, our fearless accompanist.

On Tuesday, I forced myself to take some lazy time. I ate
lunch on the patio and read my book.

View from the patio.

That evening, between lessons, I made my first of three
forks from poster board and tin foil. My first graders will be
performing "Be Our Guest" soon. There will also be spoons
and dishes.

On Wednesday, I was out most of the day, so I had lunch
at St. Arbuck's.

Then I came home and enjoyed my new socks.

Thursday, I interviewed for something. Hopefully
more details to come soon.

In love with the Peter Pan collar and polka dots.

Friday morning: lesson bag, gym bag, choir bag, lunch
bag, purse...

In the classroom: keyboard and stand, back pack, lunch
bag, purse, poster board for props. Bag lady? Pack mule?

The kinders have chicks!! So cute.

My colleague in his Big Bad Wolf hat.

After school, straight to Carmichael for the gym, then choir.
With a stop at Keane Drive because...duh.

I was right behind the percussion section.

Don and Ryan comparing notes.


Had to walk past the Capitol on my way from the parking
garage to the theater.

I had some time, so I scoped out Mom and Dad's seats.

Sacramento Community Center Theater.

There is always chaos  before a show. I thrive on it, actually.

Cover Girl

The view from the first row.

In the lobby, some miniature service flags.

On my dinner break, I wandered around a bit.

Hear the art!

I sat under this marvelous old tree in Capitol Park and ate
my dinner, picnic-style.

Statue of Friar Junipero Serra, my old friend from all
those mission trips I've been on .

Sunlight, trees, and the rotunda.

A water feature near the Capitol.

What a fabulous old tree.

The front of the building.

A selfie with the capitol.

Hard to tell but this building has the slightest pink hue
to it.

Political ambitions?

I am authorized!

The Choir Nerd Rides Again. Just about show time!