Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Friends!!

Theater is such a CRAZY, CRAZY are thrown together with a bunch of people, some that you might know (from previous shows), but most that you don't.  You spend every day together going through the tedious process of blocking, learning lines, choreography, vocal rehearsals, tech rehearsals, and form an intense "symbiotic" family.  It's CRAZY, but I wouldn't trade it for the WORLD!

Last night, a bunch of us went out after rehearsal for drinks and food.  It was a HOOT!  One of my new friends, Kate, wrote the sweetest things on her blog, and about the evening.  Click on "blog" in the previous sentence to go to her site to see photos of the evening, and to read what she wrote. 

Thank you new're a delight to "play" with!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oklahoma City!!!

Okay...I have to admit that when the Middle Years Programme coordinator at the high school in which I work said that there was a "media specialist workshop" through the International Baccalaureate (the "umbrella" under which all three programs (Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme) operate, I was excited...until I heard WHERE it was taking place...Oklahoma City.  Never been....never wanted to go...

BOY WAS I WRONG!  Wow!  I really LIKE Oklahoma City!  It was a little like St. Paul, in that it COMPLETELY closes down on the weekends, so I don't know if I got the "real" experience of being there.  It was CRAZY! convention center...and absolutely NO PEOPLE ANYWHERE...!!! 

Anyway...I flew in on Friday afternoon, and checked in at the Renaissance Hotel, across the street from the convention center, in which all of our workshops took place.  I planned to stay in my room the entire weekend and memorize music for "Children on Eden".  OF COURSE that didn't happen, because, even though it WAS Oklahoma City, it was a new place, and I can't resist wandering around.  My friends often tell me that I can find interesting things to do no matter WHERE I go, and this was no exception.

I wandered around for awhile, trying to find a Carl's Jr. that Yahoo! said was about seven blocks from my hotel...there was no Carl's Jr.  I ended up at the Murrah Federal Building Memorial, and it was REALLY, REALLY somber, and cool, and sad, and well done!

After watching the sun set over the memorial, I headed back to the hotel and ordered room service (LOVE room service!), then spent a little bit of time working on that memorizing thing...UNTIL I looked out my window and saw a really cool glass "tube" that kept changing colors.  OF COURSE, I needed to explore, so headed out into the night, and discovered the COOLEST botanical garden!  The "tube" was the actual indoor garden, but there were waterfalls, landscaped terraces, a "lagoon", tables, fountains, sculpture, and an AMAZINGLY cool park surrounding it!

After taking a ZILLION photos, I headed back to the hotel, and went to bed.

Saturday morning, I headed to the convention center for the workshop.  I was the only one from Minnesota to attend (which I hate), but, luckily, found some nice people from Missouri to sit with at breakfast.  They were a Primary Years Programme school, and I've spent MOST of my IB career in a PYP school, so was able to "talk the talk" with them, and even do a little networking!

After breakfast, we headed to our sessions.  I WISH I could say I learned a lot about the MYP, but, unfortunately, since there aren't many media specialist sessions, they combined category 1 AND category 2 into the same workshop.  This means that participants ranged from those JUST starting in an MYP school, to media specialists who have been working in the programme for several years.  TOO broad a range to be effective for anyone. 

It was also unfortunate that I recently went through the PYP academy (to become a workshop leader myself).  I had more recent information than the leader of this workshop, and, since I've spent the last two years as PYP coordinator at my school, am no longer afraid to assert my opinions, or offer my advice.  I, apparently, spoke up too much that first day.  People started coming to me for answers, and I REALLY don't know that much about the MYP...just IB, in general, which is the focus of what the category 1 participants were there to learn. 

In fact, on the second day of the workshop, several of the participants came up behind me on the escalator and told me that they wanted to vote the workshop leader "off the island" and put me in charge.  After that, I vowed to talk less (although it was a boost to my confidence, and helped me to get "off the fence" about whether I want to be a workshop leader or not....I DO)!!

Duane flew down to join me for the evening, which was AWESOME, since I really DIDN'T want to spend the evening memorizing music.  UNFORTUNATELY, that's when the rain started.  Oklahoma City had been in a streak of 175 RAINLESS days.  OF COURSE we arrived, and it started pouring...terrific (by the end of the weekend, Oklahoma City ended up getting FOUR INCHES of rain...soggy...). 

Rain be damned, our first stop was the Murrah Federal Building Museum, which was amazing!  The museum is housed in the building that was behind the Federal Building, which was razed after the explosion.  It used to be the home of one of Oklahoma City's newspapers.

The museum visit started with everyone sitting in a room, listening to an audio recording of a water board meeting, which took place across the street from the federal building. As we listened to the meeting leader setting the agenda, the audio is taken over by the sounds of the explosion.  The audio continued to play, and we then heard a few seconds of these people reacting to the chaos. As the recording ended, the pictures of the victims of the explosion were projected onto the wall in front of us...very sad, and a REALLY powerful way to set the mood for the rest of the exhibits.

the door of a nearby building after the blast

A reconstruction of one of the rooms in the newspaper building after the blast

After spending a couple of hours walking through the displays, and following the timeline of the day, (and weeks and months to follow), we walked around the memorial site for a little while.  It was MUCH MORE POWERFUL and SAD to look at the memorial after seeing all that took place during that very dark time in Oklahoma City's past.

After spending some quiet time at the memorial, we headed to a cafe Duane found on TripAdvisor...Cheever's.  REALLY great food, and a COOL place!  I TOTALLY fell off the "dieting wagon", and ordered the chicken fried steak (well I WAS in the south, and if anyone can do chicken fried steak well it's the south!!!).  It was divine...especially with the jalapeno cream gravy and garlic mashed potatoes...YUM!  It was so good, in fact, that I would return to Oklahoma City, just to eat there again!!

OBVIOUSLY not our photo...since the sun is shining in this one!

After dinner, we headed to Bricktown, which was a few blocks from the hotel.  We found an AWESOME cupcake bakery/candy store called Pinkitzel.  I WANT TO LIVE THERE!!!!!  Totally cool "retro" candy, AMAZING cupcakes, and a really "kitch" ambience.  FUN! 

After satisfying our sweet tooth, we headed to Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, the new (opened this year) outlet mall.  We found some good deals at Banana Republic, and saw some stores that we don't have in the "north", so it was fun to explore (WET, but fun...).

Again...NOT my rain...

We then headed back to the hotel, with a quick stop at the botanical gardens so Duane could see it, then went to bed.

Me and Duane's umbrella (THANKS FOR BRINGING
THE UMBRELLA DUANE!) under the sculpture at the botanical gardens

Sunday, I said goodbye to Duane (who headed back to the cities later that morning), then went back for day 2 of the workshop.  I spoke less, but people were still coming to me for answers.  We worked on an MYP planner, focusing on recycling, and how the media center can "plug in" to the unit.

After the workshop, my new buddy Lisa and I went to Target (Delta lost her luggage, and she needed some "things"...).  Our cab driver, Turtle, was a TOTAL hoot, and we had a great (and EXPENSIVE) trip there and back.  It all worked out, though, because we were able to "reserve" the cab for the next day's trip to the airport (the hotel had TWO, seven seat shuttles, but there would be 150 people trying to get to the airport at the same time, so we didn't want to take any chances...).

After Target, we headed to Bricktown for dinner at Abuelo's Mexican Restaurant (FABULOUS!).

We then walked to a nearby bar to hook up with some other new friends to watch the Green Bay Packers play. be honest, I walked her there, and headed back to the hotel as soon as the game started... I spent the rest of the evening actually working on my lines!!!

Monday, we had a half day workshop to wrap everything up.  We were all WAY more focused on checking out, getting to the airport, getting our flights, etc., than the "wrap up", but it was all good.  After the workshop, Lisa and I had an hour to kill before the cab ride to the airport, so we walked over to the botanical gardens again (the sun came out OF COURSE...since we were leaving).  It was a LOVELY day, and it was AWESOME to see the sun again!

We then headed to the airport, had lunch at Sonic, said goodbye, and boarded our flights home!

It was a GREAT trip! Oklahoma City is surprisingly AWESOME, and I met some AMAZING new colleagues with which to collaborate! 

Here's hoping YOU were pleasantly surprised by something recently too!!!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Aunt Dixie's Visit!!!

I've been SOOOO busy with work and the show that I haven't had a chance to post for awhile, so I'll try to chronicle SEVERAL events over the next couple of days, because it's FINALLY the weekend...!!!!!

My dad’s sister Dixie paid her first visit to the Twin Cities a couple of weekends ago! It was SOOOOO cool to have her here!  For as long as I can remember, Aunt Dixie has been one of my FAVORITE people.  My first sentence, in fact, (according to my mother) was "Dikie go to school".  Her brothers used to tease her mercilessly, and when I was little, it would make me cry.

She's spunky...and fun...and sarcastic...and nice...and sarcastic...and did I mention sarcastic??!!  AWESOME!!!

Anyway...she drove up to mom and dad’s from her home in Oklahoma, and the three of them continued the trek north the next day. They arrived on Friday afternoon. I had rehearsal Friday night, so didn’t get to hook up with everyone until Saturday morning. OF COURSE our first stop was the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market! We hit all of our favorite spots, and, as always, it’s fun to watch someone who’s new to it all, experience it for the first time.

We spent a couple of hours there, then went back to Robin and Dave’s for awhile before heading to a GREAT restaurant on Nicollett, Sun Street Breads. Duane and I split an AWESOME meatloaf sandwich.

After lunch we went back to Robin and Dave’s for a couple of hours, then I headed home to start on dinner, since everyone was coming over. This must have been my biggest “dinner party” to date…I had to set up an extra table in the living room. I ended up cooking for the rest of the day, since I made Greek lasagna, and a tiramisu cake…which took A LOT of work!

It was a GREAT evening, and it was fun to have so many people crammed into my tiny townhome!

Sunday, we went antiquing in the afternoon, and had a great dinner Sunday night.  Duane had taken the Riviera out of storage, and we took her for a ride to Minehaha Falls before we ate.  Apparently, one of her memorable dates (??!!) was with a guy in a Riviera, so she thought the ride was AWESOME!!!!

A FUN, FUN weekend! Can’t wait for her to come back again!!!!!!  Perhaps this could be a YEARLY event!!!!

Here’s hoping YOU caught up with family recently too!!