Saturday, September 29, 2007

Theater Night!

Duane and I had DATE NIGHT on Thursday. It was GREAT fun. We went downtown (Minneapolis) and had dinner at "The Newsroom" of my favorite Twin Cities restaurants. I had the margherita flatbread, which was DIVINE, and he had the ravioli, which he said was delightful as well.

After a SPEEDY dinner, we went to the Orpheum to pick up our tickets for "The Wedding Singer". WHAT A FUN SHOW! It's based on the movie, but has been turned into a really fun, 80's retro, be-bopping fun time! The music was AWESOME ("Hey, get out of the dumpster" being one of my new favorite musical theater songs!), the dancing was REALLY, REALLY well done, and the story was silly, but a HOOT! My favorite line of the whole show was "Is what he said, fake Imelda Marcos, true?" (you'll have to see the show to know what THAT'S all about, but TRUST's really funny!).

Duane and I haven't done the "theater thing" since the Judy Garland tribute, "Over the Rainbow", at the Minnesota History Theater, so it was REALLY good to get back into the audience of one of these things! Even MORE fun to enjoy it. I think I got a little burnt out on theater awhile back. Maybe it was the shows that I was seeing, or maybe it was just having DONE so many shows, but I wasn't enjoying sitting through them AT ALL. I was bored, and critical, and just didn't want to be there.

I'm also excited that I FINALLY got that little "I need to do another show" twinge. I haven't had that feeling for a REALLY long time...not sure if it's just that I've been too busy and "two jobb-y" to even CONTEMPLATE doing a show, or that I just needed a LONG break from the whole "rehearsal,-over-extend-myself,-almost-have-a-nervous-breakdown-from-all-the-stress-and-exertion,-get-sick-from-lack-of-sleep-and-bad-diet" thing.

Anyhoo...I'm thinking I'll pursue the community theater thing again. Andy, at work, found a GREAT website for auditions in the Twin Cities, (, so I think I'll check it out, and, at the very least, start getting some auditions under my belt again. Haven't done THAT for awhile, and, the only PROFESSIONAL audition that I did up here was kind of a disaster, so I need to "get back on the horse" again!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BOP Car Show

Last weekend was a HOOT! Friday night, I had to work my "one day a month" shift at the mall (to keep my discount). I was prepared to quit at the end of the shift, but, Angie was actually in a good mood, and the customers weren't COMPLETELY annoying (it's amazing what a month off can do for your attitude), so, I decided that I'll stick with this "once a month" plan, until I DO NOT enjoy it anymore, and THEN I'll quit. I'm thinking that'll be some time around December...I'm SO not doing the holiday retail thing this year...yech!

Saturday morning, Duane picked me up in the Riviera, and we went to the BOP car show in Apple Valley (don't ask me what BOP stands for...I have no idea). I didn't think I'd particularly enjoy sitting on a lawn chair with Duane and about 150 other "old car" enthusiasts, but, the people were nice, and complimentary of the car, and the weather was cool enough that it didn't SUCK! We met some nice people (although they all seem a little too "into cars" for my personal taste, but, I guess that's the IS a car show after all).

Duane met a guy who has the same car that he/we have (although the other guy's car is a 1st edition, and his/ours is a 2nd edition...whatever that means). Duane got some good pointers on where to get car emblems (to replace the ones that are missing on his/our car), got info on joining the Buick club, and the Riviera club (a little TOO over the top for me!), and we got to see some REALLY cool old cars. Many decades were represented, as were many models of cars.

Pat met us at the car show, and she and I were going to bop (no pun intended) off to look at some lofts that were on the Parade of Homes tour, but, Duane asked if we could stay a little longer, so we did, ate some BBQ, and then ALL of us went to St. Paul to look at lofts. Pat is working on her interior design degree, and has to design a loft as a class project, so wanted to get some ideas. We saw some nice ones along the river, some small ones in the converted train station downtown, and some REALLY cool ones in an old warehouse near the farmer's market. I SO want to live in a converted loft now! The new ones were nice, but the converted lofts had SUCH brick, beams, HUGE rooms...very cool!

Sunday, Duane and I went on the tour of historic homes in the Summit Avenue area of St. Paul...very posh, and very expensive (and, apparently, Summit Avenue is inhabited by LOTS of "family" this, gay that, gay everything...interesting...)! LOVED some of the houses, thought MOST of them, however, were tres tacky. Goes to prove that just because you have money, doesn't mean you have taste. Some of the houses were SERIOUSLY in need of a professional decorator. SO SAD...I have LOADS OF GOOD TASTE, but absolutely NO money...sigh...

Went to Robin and Dave's for dinner Sunday night. Had Robin's FAMOUS avgolimono (Greek egg and lemon soup), made a run to Bergen's for ice cream, and got to play with the kittens (which aren't very "kitten-like" anymore!). Hadn't spent time with them since the PREVIOUS weekend, so had LOTS of catching up to do!

BUSY weekend, but, it echoes my BUSY weeks these days. Will have to take a weekend SOON to just collapse and do nothing! Certainly can't keep up this pace for long! I don't think there's ANYTHING on the social calendar for this next weekend, so will have to take THAT opportunity to relax and recouperate!

Hope YOUR week is going well!

Monday, September 10, 2007


We've officially been in school (with students) for a week now, and I'M EXHAUSTED!
I've realized that there's a lot of "forgetting" involved in teaching (maybe so that we'll come back year after year to do it all again!). I forget EVERY YEAR how much energy it takes to teach. I also forget how EARLY I should be going to bed, and how EARLY I have to get up to get ready to go to work.

Things are going well, so far, this year. I'm still "babysitting" (providing prep) for kindergarten and 1st graders, and I ALSO forget how YOUNG, and SCARED, and...YOUNG...the entering kindergartners are. I've forgotten that they don't know how to walk in a line from point "A" to point "B", and that if you tell the first person in line to "walk over there", the second and third and fourth and ninth and eighteenth person ALSO need to be told to do so... I FORGET that they cry because they miss their mommies and daddies and pets. I FORGET that some have had a gazillion books read to them and know how to listen, while others have never HAD a book read to them before and have NO CONCEPT of what it means to listen. Oy!

The rest of my day is spent planning, and organizing, and charting out how my year is going to work. It has been LOVELY to have just a couple of classes a day, and LOTS of time to prepare lessons, work on "library business", and get stuff organized and redone without having to stay for HOURS after school. I wanted to make sure that people didn't think I was GOOFING OFF down in the media center, so I've already seen all of the second grades and most of the third grades for "library orientation". 45 minutes of stories, review, and library checkout to get the year's been CRAZY BUSY, but it's also been fun to do things the way they SHOULD be done...the way I've always WANTED them to be done.

In other school related news: I FINALLY get to make my "this is how the media center will work this year" presentation to the staff on Wednesday. I've had a GAZILLION questions from them that could have (and would have) been answered by now, if the principal hadn't taken all of the meeting time for his stuff, and I'd been able to present it at the opening days meeting, as scheduled. All classroom checkouts would now be scheduled, teachers would be using the table area and the story step area for classroom activities, and things would be up and present aren't. Oy again!

Other than that small glitch, it really IS starting out to be a wonderful year. For the first time since I began teaching at this school, I'm optimistic, and think that I really will FINALLY start making a difference in the educational growth of our students!

Hope this finds YOU all doing well with YOUR jobs, FORGETTING what you need to so that YOU'LL go back again and again, and that YOUR jobs are evolving in positive ways too!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Minnesota State Fair!

Wow! Where did the summer go? I know that I said that I was SO ready for school to start, but...ACK!... it starts tomorrow! I DEFINITELY have different feelings going into it this year, as my job will be so DIFFERENT, and so much BETTER, but I SO have to prove myself right from the start, and show everyone that the "new" media program is the way to go. I'm TOTALLY up for the challenge, but am SO TERRIFIED going into it.

To focus on OTHER things (as the clock continues to tick away to that "early bedtime because you have school tomorrow" thing...ack again!). Duane and I had a LOVELY weekend here in the cities. On Saturday, we got up bright and early and went to the Minnesota State Fair. Neither of us has been there before...Duane because he just hadn't gotten there yet, and me because I HATE the whole "Great Minnesota Get Together" nickname (it's stupid and...stupid...I much prefer the Iowa State Fair, which just seems more like a real fair than this "city" thing). We both finally decided that this was the year.

We took the shuttle from Eagan (very well coordinated by the MVTA (Minnesota Valley Transit Authority)). The bus dropped us off at the "Eagan" drop point (there was even a big sign that said "Eagan", so we'd know where to pick it up after we were finished at the fair). For $5.00, we got a round trip ride, and didn't have to worry about driving, or, worse yet, PARKING at the fair.

Were we to EVER do it again, however, I think we'd try to go on a week day EARLY in the fair schedule. To go on the LAST weekend of the fair, LABOR DAY weekend, and NOT be expecting a horrendous crowd was a little silly on my part (Duane knew that it was called SUPER SATURDAY, but, in an effort to actually GET me to go, didn't mention that part). It was fine for the first couple of hours, but by 11:00, it was wall to wall STUPID.

Highlights: deep fried Spam bites (dipped in ranch dressing), deep fried fruit on a stick, the cool chickens in the poultry barn, seeing my niece Abigail's parrot picture with a 2nd place ribbon in the education building art display. Lowlights: stupid people everywhere, crowds, we didn't find the "hotdish on a stick" stand until we were leaving, we missed the jams/preserves/baked goods ribbon winners display, I just don't get the whole "princess Kay of the milky way" dumbness, and it was rather hot!

I think we've decided that we'll try to get to the fair every TWENTY years, so I have awhile to psyche myself up for the next journey. I got a little testy and unpleasant when it got to the point where we couldn't move because there were so many people who, for no apparent reason, decided to just STOP right in front of us. I AM kind of looking forward to trying more things on sticks (but not a pronto pup, which is just a stupid Minnesota way of saying CORN DOG...!), but am DEFINITELY not in any hurry!

On Saturday, we drove up to Taylors Falls to climb around on the rocks, enjoy the GORGEOUS scenery around the St. Croix river, and eat greasy fried food and drink home made root beer at our favorite "drive in". It was even hotter than the day before, but it was nice and shady throughout most of the park, and I got some AWESOME pictures (about 250 of them) while we were there (Duane is SO not enjoying how much I enjoy my digital camera!). It's always a GORGEOUS drive up there, and it's SO beautiful once you finally get there.

On the way back, we stopped in Oakdale to see "The Simpson's Movie"...SO not worth the money...even the $4.50 matinee price that we paid. "The Simpsons" works well as a 30 minute cartoon, but there's just not enough there to maintain a storyline through an entire feature length film. Duane (and I) also didn't appreciate the "grown upping" of the show (Marge's character just isn't suited for taking the Lord's name in vain!). They hinted at a sequel in the closing credits...we can only hope that the show is cancelled, or there's some sort of natural disaster that keeps this from happening...oy!

Today was very mellow. Duane and I ran some errands (I had to go buy wine, so that I could be mellow and relaxed this evening, so that I can actually sleep and be "rested" for tomorrow). We also walked around Lake Nokomis and went to visit Robin and David and family, who just returned from surviving a family reunion on David's side of the family in Sioux City.

The rest of the day was spent watching multiple episodes of America's Next Top Model (the season with that crazy/scary Jade!), and updating this blog. Now I'm going to try to continue the "relaxation" with a bubble bath, soothing music, and probably a few more glasses of wine before bed!

If school is part of your life (as a teacher, student, or parent of a student) hope your school year is off to a FABULOUS start/will start off FABULOUSLY!!!!

Wish me's going to be an interesting year!