Friday, December 26, 2008

A REALLY Good Graph

I found the following graph while "stumbling" a few minutes ago ( I couldn't have explained it better myself!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

...And So It Goes...!

Crap! I KNEW that if I got back into the "theater thing", I'd get hooked again... I TRIED to convince myself that theater was "silly", and a "waste of time", and that, perhaps, I'd finally outgrown my need for adoration. Yeah right...

My friend Keri convinced me that I should be a part of "Once Upon A Christmas" at the Maplewood Community Center with a group called "Ashland Productions". I KNEW that they were the company responsible for "Pirates", a musical involving LOTS of grade school students in SEVERAL schools around the metro, and BRILLIANTLY exposing our students to the magic of the theater, and thought "wow...they are doing such a COOL thing, getting kids involved on stage", but I SO didn't think it would be a group that I would ever be involved with...

Well...I was wrong. From about the fourth or fifth rehearsal, I was hooked! How much better does it GET than learning four part harmony to standards of the season??!! OF COURSE the first couple of rehearsals were AWFUL (here's a secret for those of you who don't know me very well...I'M SHY...and going into a show, where I don't know anyone, TOTALLY freaks me out...and to make matters worse, Keri went to New York for the next THREE rehearsals, so I didn't know ANYONE there...ack!).

I have to say, though, that the people who act for Ashland are AMAZING! What a fabulous group of people...from the little kids, to the high schoolers, to the "adult chorus"...they were AMAZING!!! I had SUCH A BLAST hanging out with these people...!

I can't truly say that I like rehearsing a show, but I can DEFINITELY say that I LOVE being on stage...what a "catch 22" to be such a diva, and "socialphobe" at the same time! Luckily, the diva usually wins, and I left my comfort zone, and chatted with people during those rehearsals, and met some COOL, COOL people!!!!

Anyway, the show closed yesterday, and I'm actually a little sad (okay...I'm also REALLY glad to be home, and to NOT have to drive through the CRAPPY weather and HORRIBLE roads we've had the last week or so). The performances went well (despite having the LEAST AMOUNT OF REHEARSALS FOR A SHOW I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED...!). In fact, I liked it so much that I've already scheduled my audition for their next show: "Seussical: The Musical"! NOT that I have the time OR "stamina" to face snowy/icy/hazardous commutes to Maplewood from Eagan in January, February, March, and part of April, but...who knows...maybe it will all go away early this year??!!

Here are a few shots from the show that just closed. If you're in the Twin Cities around the end of April/beginning of May, come see the show (I'm HOPING to get cast...I guess you'd better wait until the "I Made it Into the Cast" post before reserving your tickets!!!).

"The Years are Passing By"

"Christmas Time is Here"

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

"A Strange Way to Save the World"

"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"

Hope YOU rekindled a passion from YOUR past this week!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nausea and Wildlife

Okay...these have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with each other, but BOTH have been on my mind today...the nausea because I've felt that way since about 11:00, and am hoping it's just too much coffee, or a touch of food poisoning from last night's party, or too much wine AT the party, because the alternative is the flu bug that's been seeping through school, and I SO don't have time for that!

The show (see previous blog entry) opens NEXT weekend, and I need EVERY SECOND of rehearsal time between now and then to figure out WHAT THE HECK the words are to all of the songs, WHERE THE HECK my blocking takes me through each of the songs, and HOW THE HECK I transition from point "A" to point "B" (and "C"...and "D"...and...).

Wildlife has also been on my mind today. I have it here in my new place...from the wolves howling in the woods off my deck a few nights ago, to the family of deer that ambles into the yard out back to forage for corn a neighbor leaves out in the snow, to the GORGEOUS quartet of cardinals that sit in the crabapple tree out my dining room window. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE living here yet????

Hope YOUR day is NOT queasy, but full of wonderful wildlife, too!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spell with Flickr

I saw a cool "artsy" photo montage in a gallery a year or so ago, and thought "wow...this is cool!". It was a word, spelled out with photos of different letters...some were taken from signs, some were Scrabble pieces, some were magnetic letters.

I've tried to take photos of signs and letters to make my own, but, at the TIES Technology Conference (and awards ceremony, in which I was one of about 50 educators from around the state honored as "exceptional teachers of the year"...but that's a different story) went to a presentation on blogs, and discovered Spell with Flickr:

You can go to this link, type in what you want spelled out, and it'll bring it up with various "Flickr Photos". You can click on the individual letters to change them, and create ALL SORTS of cool things.

I haven't figured out ALL of the "ins and outs" yet, and the best I've been able to come up with is copying and pasting it all into a Word document and rearranging them to read from left to right (they cut and paste vertically).

Not really sure of how I can use this yet, but I'm sure there are ALL SORTS OF POSSIBILITIES!!!!

J - järnväg = railway E Lower-Case Letter F (Washington, DC) f

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I went on the GREATEST field trip with the 6th graders today! There's a place here in Eagan called FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN. It's a non-profit, Christian organization that focuses on feeding the hungry of the world. We are in the process of preparing our 6th graders for their HUGE "end of elementary school" project, called exhibition. One aspect of the exhibition is an "action piece"...doing something to "better our world", so we took them to FMSC to give them a "real life" example of something they could do.

Feed My Starving Children's brochure says: "Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children has a mission of 'Feeding God's Starving Children Hungry in Body and Spirit'." Their approach is simple...volunteers of all ages hand-pack nutritious meals for severely malnourished children. The meals are distributed to starving children in over 55 countries around the world.

FMSC has a unique food mixture which was designed specifically for severely malnourished children by Minnesota food scientists. The meals consist of rice, textured soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, and 20 vitamins and minerals with a vegetarian chicken flavoring (we got samples after the session, and it's NOT bad...kind of a mix between Rice-A-Roni and ramen noodles...!). The facility is 100% volunteer run, and it costs 17 cents to produce each meal.

We started with a short "lecture", and learned some SOBERING facts...for instance, every 4.8 seconds, someone dies from starvation...18,000 children die EACH DAY from starvation or starvation related HORRIBLE!!! FMSC "contracts" with various religious groups, and humanitarian organizations, and feeds one child (or group of children) for an ENTIRE YEAR.

We were introduced (through photographs) to a child in an orphanage in El Salvador. His name is Omar, and, at age 8, weighed only 19 pounds. After eating FMSC food for 6 months, he weighed 73 pounds, and is now a healthy was AMAZING!

After the lecture, we washed our hands, donned EVER SO ATTRACTIVE hairnets, and gathered in the "bagging room". We learned about the FOUR things to be added to each bag (mentioned above), and how to bag it, seal it, and box it up for shipment (ours are scheduled to head to Uganda on Thursday).

Our kids (along with various staff and parent volunteers, as well as various corporate and church groups who were also there to "bag stuff up") did a GREAT JOB...the morning group bagged 10,584 meals (each bag feeds ONE child SIX meals, or SIX children ONCE). The volunteer who led the session said that we saved TWENTY NINE kids from dying of starvation. The afternoon group bagged 13,176 meals, saving THIRTY SIX kids from starvation.

What an amazing experience, and what a COOL organization. You can learn more about them at They have "drop in nights" for people to just "show up" and bag meals. They are also looking for volunteers to help with various aspects of the process, and I THINK I'm going to get involved...what a REWARDING experience, and a GREAT cause!!!

It's really HEARTWARMING to know that there are organizations out there like FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN to help the needy of the world. I was TRULY blessed to be a part of this one.

Hope YOUR day was FULL of fulfillment and blessings too!!!