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September 2015

August 2015 entries

Back to School

Going "Back to School" is a bit of a family affair for the Connors.  Liam, Mike, and I went first, to preschool and in-services respectively.  Liam is really doing well at his new preschool, and I no longer fear that I am going to get a phone call from a school director asking me to pick up my screaming child because his tantrums are threatening the safety of the other students.  That is a great feeling, I'll tell you.  

Gabrielle is living it up as the only Connor kid at Lyter Elementary, and really, as a third grader, she "didn't need to sit through the assembly about the rules uhhh-gain" because she "knows what to do, you know?"  On the other hand, Aidan came home from his first day appalled by the principal's speech about "drugs, alcohol, suicide, and sexual harassment -- whatever that means!" because, after all, he is "just a kid who shouldn't even hear about that stuff."  Aidan has had a high level of anxiety about middle school . . . since oh, June.  But, the first two days have shown him that 1.  He can open a locker (even if it's because the person who had his lock before him took a sharpie to the combination numbers) 2.  He loves chorus and his sparkly teacher, and 3. He can change classes (aka walk across the hall to Science and Math).  He's going to be alright, that one.

I have had the smoothest start to a school year ever -- I guess after 9 years, I should have this down pat, right? My AP and Honors English 11 classes are off to a strong start, and my Drama classes are huge and enthusiastic.  This is my Drama (grades10-12) class on the first day.  We were doing an icebreaker where you throw a ball of yarn around as you answer questions like "What was your favorite stage experience?" or "If you had 10 minutes left to live, what would you do?".  The result was a nice visual reminder of the web-like connection we have as a class:

Drama first day

Throughout the summer, I have been directing Spamalot . . . and not having to really focus on any other work with any particular deadline.  I've done a lot of school work and prep over the summer, but nothing that HAD to be done by a certain day or time.  Now, my life once again becomes a slave to bell which subdivides my day into 45-minute increments of lessons and let's be real: performances in my classroom.  It is ex.haust.ing.  But I love it.  I am so blessed to able to do what I do and get paid for it. Yes, there is a lot of pressure to get high test scores; yes, there is far too much drama in my community about our new high school building; yes, one cantankerous resident made a sign for his yard which proclaimed that Teachers were "over paid pieces of shit."  But, I really wouldn't trade it for anything else at this point.  (A college professorship one day, maybe . . . )

Back to that Spambot thing.  In addition to directing the show at night after teaching all day, Aidan has been cast in the children's theatre show and has begun rehearsals.  So, on my first day of school, I left the house at 7:15 AM with three kids in tow.  I safely and successfully deposited them at three different schools before going to my own school.  I taught all day, then took Aidan to the theatre, met Mike to hand off Gabrielle and say hello to Liam.  I had a production meeting while Aidan had rehearsal, then directed a rehearsal of my own.  I stumbled bleary-eyed into bed around 10, I think.

But this too shall pass.  Spamalot runs the last two weeks of September and Aidan's show is the first week of October.  We will adjust to our schedules and responsibilities soon enough.  And before we know it, it will be June and we will wonder how we did all that we did.  For now, we try to live in the moment, for that is really all we have.  

Tonight, I had my girl at rehearsal, armed with a Starbucks steamer and a  big cheesy smile.  I'm really proud of this show and my hard-working cast.  The process is my favorite part, but the end result of the audience absolutely loving the show will feel great, too.  

Spam girls

So, here we are, Dear Reader.  August -- my Happy New Year.  A new school year, a new birth year (35 years young tomorrow), a new round of adventures.   It's a great thing, isn't it?  This life we each have. 


Back to School: Phase 1

Yesterday, Liam spent a couple of hours at his new school, Little Lambs Preschool in Williamsport. (Liam has had um...trouble adjusting to schools over the years. We are on preschool #4.) Little Lambs is run by the mother of my student who played the title roles in Shrek and Pippin. We love that we are teaching each other's sons.

Liam had a great day (the fact that it was water day and he played in a sprinkler contributed heavily to this!), and he is really excited to start there full time tomorrow!

Back to School: Phase 1

Back to School: Phase 1

Back to School: Phase 1

Back to School: Phase 1


The Facebook Facade

Dear Social Media User,

I think you may be falling into the trap of comparing your life to the lives of other people, based on what you see on their Facebook page or Twitter feed or Instagram photos.

Please remember that people post the very best pictures of themselves online. People check themselves in at places they are proud to be seen at. People tag people they want to brag about being with.

No one posts the 25 unflattering photos it took to bring about that perfect one. They don't check in at the doctor's office to report their 15-pound weight gain. They don't tag the boss that they can't stand when they sub-tweet about their jobs.

* Disclaimer -- there are some people who post pictures of their kids screaming at them, or pictures of skin rashes complete with captions reading, "Does anyone know what this is? It really itches!" But, let's be honest. You don't see their posts and wish for their lives. You see those posts and feel smugly superior. These are not the people I am referring to.

I am referring to those people with the Pintererst-perfect children's birthday parties and the Beachbodies and the romantic vacations. You know the people I am talking about. The ones that when you see their posts, you think, "Wow, when am I ever going to get my life together? She looks so beautiful and thin and happy, and I am just a lump of failure."

Here's a little secret -- chances are, Ms. Pinterest-Perfect doesn't actually have it all together at all. Maybe her house is amazing, but she's struggling to make ends meet because keeping up with the Joneses is really expensive. Or maybe she is so thin because she has an eating disorder or a sickness she won't tell anyone about. Or perhaps that romantic vacation was her husband's way of apologizing for his affair with his secretary. We never really know, do we?

So you see, much like it is counterproductive to compare ourselves to airbrushed models in magazines who sometimes are the Photoshop conglomeration of the bodies of three different women, it is useless to compare ourselves to what we see on social media. More often than not, we are given an air-brushed, sanitized version of someone's life. We are destined for failure when we compare the movie of our life to someone else's highlight reel.

Sincerely,
A Self-proclaimed Facebook Fabricator


We spam a lot

I am continuing to have an amazing time directing Spamalot. The cast and production staff are really enthusiastic, and we have made a lot of progress lately.

I find it amusing that whatever show I am doing tends to spill over into nearly every aspect of my life. I make script jokes or references all the time, as evidenced by the screen shot of a conversation with my choreographer today. I was running when she sent me a question about a song we are working on tonight.

If you don't get the references, watch Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail.

Like now.

We spam a lot

We spam a lot

We spam a lot


The Communal Husky

My Thespian Society officers and I had a meetings couple of weeks back, during which we planned out the year's events (including hosting a HS theatre workshop at my school and taking our fall play to the State Thespian Festival!). When we first arrived at the restaurant for the meeting, the kids were joking about getting a "communal husky" -- a dog the society would share and use for stress relief. We would name him Thespis. It was random, sure. But when you work with theatre kids, you grow accustomed to these things.

This week, we met to organize the costume attic. (How awesome are my students, to meet up on a day during vacation and volunteer their time to hang up donated clothes and restock props?). Later, I was reviewing my notes from our meeting, and I can across the "communal husky" item (yes, I wrote it down! It was funny.)

I decided to order a stuffed animal husky from Amazon. When it arrived today, I sent a picture of Thespis to my officers. I soon received texts like "OMG OMG OMG!!!" and "This is like Christmas!!!"and "I think this is my favorite thing ever. I am so happy."

#favoriteteacherstatusachieved
#letsstartschoolalready

The Communal Husky

The Communal Husky

The Communal Husky


Saturday Work Days

This year, CTL is instituting a regular work day schedule for every show that is running. Often, people will call the theatre office, wanting to volunteer, but in the past, no one would report a work schedule to anyone in the office. Now, the cast and crew for each show will be working on Saturday mornings on whatever given project they need to complete.

This Saturday, we painted props and small set pieces. We made the famous monk Bibles, small wooden buckets, shields for the Knights in Camelot, and large white boxes which will become dice for the Camelot (a la Vegas) scene.

Not surprisingly, my junior stage manager loves to come help with these projects. :)

Saturday Work Days

Saturday Work Days

Saturday Work Days

Saturday Work Days

Saturday Work Days