Monday, August 31, 2009

The Last Day of August

The last day of August is always bitter sweet for me. It ends the "official" summer months, you know those three that teachers love--June, July, August. Isn't that why we all went into teaching? Many people think so.

No, now teachers are on the job come the first of August. Some school districts around here were up and going the first week of August. Kind of cuts the vacation time short, doesn't it?

There is a sweetness about August though. The flowers are lush, although sometimes the green grass is turning ugly brown. Usually it is bleeping hot here in the Midwest in August, but this year, we've been blessed with some very nice weather. "Resort like" is the term used, cool nights, warm breezes, no rain, low humidity. This is definitely NOT what August usually bring to us as far as weather.

Another sweetness is the nice clearance sales we shoppers can cash in on. There is still enough time to wear these purchases a couple of more times before the winter clothes must be brought out. Of course, our white pants have to be put away as of next Monday. So, I've tried to wear them every day this past week and will try all of this week! Then the dreary black, brown and grey can sneak into the wardorbe.

Two fine relatives were born in August. My only son, and my step grandson celebrate their birthdays in August. I found out my colleague in the sewing room from Joseph also had her birthday yesterday, so there's another August birthday of someone I know.

But tomorrow is the first day of September. And, truth be told, September is my favorite month. Not only is it the birthday of many good friends, (Nancy, Rita, Al, Joe, Elaine, I could go on and on), but it is MY BIRTHDAY MONTH also! And two of my children celebrate wedding anniversaries in September. My BFF and her hubby also celebrate their anniversary, same day as my son and daughter-in-law! So it is a full month of celebrations.

The beauty of the month of September is always something I cherish. Colorful leaves, breezes gently blowing, warm days, cool nights, a hint of the cold days to come. I revel in it all.

So, goodbye August. You've been a nice month for me one more year. I enjoyed my mini-vacation, my play, my work, and the fine weather. My flowers are growing like crazy, the tomato plants are finally showing some pink fruit. I got my fine new Toto toilets this month, and bought a Coach purse for the first time. Such fun!

See you next year, August, God willing and the cricks don't rise!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The first day of school


That is how the first day of school usually is! Today was no exception!

No big yellow school buses to dodge, just a bunch of half-asleep young adults trying to find a close parking spot for their 8:00 a.m. class! I was about sideswiped by someone in too much of a hurry to look both ways!

My colleague wasn't that lucky. She was merrily on her way to school, on the off ramp of the highway, and got rear-ended! It was a jolt, not really a crash, but it shook her up a lot, but she was/is a trooper and pulled herself together despite a bad beginning to the day.

Other colleagues came and went, the dean came and went, the department chair came and went, and by 2:00 p.m. I had absolutely nothing done of my own! So things quieted down in the mid-afternoon, and I finally got a few lessons planned.

I didn't officially begin my teaching today, just was in the office planning, and greeting the colleagues who I haven't seen all summer. It was busy, buzzing, and cordial, but everyone was on a mission!

We have full classes this semester. Some say the community college benefits by a downturn in the economy. That must really be the case, because our halls were jam packed before every class today. One of our classes was actually without a classroom until yesterday! Luckily, they found a place for them to meet.

My day in the trenches starts tomorrow with two absolutely new classes that I've never taught before. So, I'll have to see how I do with new curriculum and a new group of students. It is always a challenge, but usually a very rewarding one!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The week before school starts

This week seemed to creep up pretty quickly on me. It is my last week of summer before school starts.

Now some poor kids have been in school for a whole two weeks now, nevermind that they started the first week of August. For them, summer was over way too quickly. And for me, this week seemed to come upon me rather fast.

It has been a whirlwind week of meetings, planning, registrations, meeting with students with oddball situations who needed a bit of advice. Plus our new scholarship group came in last week, and I've been dealing with getting them registered and supplied, something new each and every day.

The president of the college has spoken to us each day, and two of the days, she sprang for lunch for the teachers. On Monday, it was a lovely catered affair, for the department chairs, deans and program coordinators. I lucked out on that one because I am a program coordinator. On Tuesday, it was lunch for the teachers after the general opening session. This one was more like a picnic, but free nevertheless.

Today I worked on registrations, book and supply orders, and then went to a lovely ESL "retreat", where all the ESL teachers in the district meet to plan things for the upcoming semester/year. That was very nice, and lunch was again provided.

But now, Friday is looming in a couple of hours, and I still don't have a syllabus made, (I need two, for classes I've never taught before). No schedule, no handouts, no nothing! Hopefully, I'll be able to do some of that this weekend.

I guess the weekend will be spent making my syllabi, and trying to get my thoughts together as to what I need to be doing this semester. It isn't even near fall yet, and here we are, back in the saddle again, ready to start a new school year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My 6th, 7th or 8th or maybe 9th career!

I tried to count them, but really, I didn't go back much further than 30 years ago. In those 30 years, I've had 5 distinct career changes.

It would be hard to categorize my first "real" job after bearing three children as one career, because in that job, I was a part time teacher, swim coach, swim instructor, lifeguard, day camp director, latch key supervisor, all in the span of one week, and all for the same organization. That would be the YMCA, an organization that would give you as much work as you were foolish enough to sign on for. So let's just call that career #1. I went back to school during this time to get my associates degree, with the plan to move on to regular 4 year college to get my degree in elementary education.

After I graduated with my BS, I became a first grade teacher. That was my second career. It lasted 9 years, complete with lots of memories, both good and bad, lots of friends made to keep forever.

Somehow, during the end of these 9 years, I got the notion that it might be interesting to be calling the shots at a school, and I began working on getting my administrative certification. To move out of the classroom and into a somewhat supervisory position was my third career. This particular setting wasn't exactly a walk in the park, nor was it the creative outlet that classroom teaching had been. So, I began to look for greener pastures.

Then the job in Mid-Mo opened up. Our small parish down in Small Town, MO, was going to reopen their elementary school. I was an experienced teacher with some administrative experience, so I put my name forward to be principal and teacher. I passed the mirror test ("Breathe on this mirror, did you fog it up? Ok, you're breathing, you're in!") Career path #4 lasted about 7-1/2 years. Life's circumstances* interfered, and so I had to move on.

Coinciding with life's circumstances* was an idea to begin to study and become certified to teach English as a Second Language. While in the midst of my studies, I answered a call for an ESL part time instructor, back in my community college where I had gotten my associates degree 25 years before. Passed the mirror test with flying colors! I loved the work, and began Career #5.

After I lost my spouse, I was looking for things to fill my spare time after my part time ESL job each day. So I started my costuming for community theatre groups. After I had done it for a while, I thought, "Gee, wouldn't this be nice to do this for money?" Well, today, I was offered a job in the college theatre's tech department as a part time costumer! And I would get paid! I thank my dear dean of liberal arts who saw some of my costume pictures and made the connection for me with the theatre manager.

Awesome! I'm very happy about this. Of course, it will be part time, and will not take away from my ESL work. But, the extra time I can spend in costuming at this theatre will yield me a little money, and a new opportunity to dress beautiful people in beautiful clothing, and someone else will pay for the materials! Yippee! I can hardly wait to start.

*Life's circumstances--husband diagnosed with malignant brain tumor, requiring 22 months of intensive therapies, surgeries, before he lost his battle and we lost him.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Party's over.....New Edition

The stage is bare, the costumes are put away, the parties are all over, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat are just a memory now. It all seemed to go so fast getting ready for it, and now it is over.

I have some work cut out for me, namely about 50 stinky costumes to clean and put away. They are all still in the back of my vehicle yet, I'll attack that tomorrow.

Two of my dear friends from mid-Mo came up today to see the last show. Then they helped me put away the costumes. They've done this for me several times now, and we've got it down to a predictable routine now. Sort, fold, place in bins, transport to the car. Organize the hangers, say goodbye to everyone and get the heck out of Dodge!

So, I'll be getting ready for several other shows for the rest of 2009. "Doubt" and "On Borrowed Time" are next, followed closely by "A Christmas Carol". I'm sure the next 4-1/2 months will fly by, and it will all be over in a flash!

Until the next show starts, I'll just relax a little.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Getting Ready for the next gig

My next costuming gig is going to be the play "Doubt: A Parable". This is a very serious play about a very serious topic, priest sexual abuse and how it was handled 45 years ago.

Meryl Streep, Philip Seymore Hoffman and Amy Adams played the two main sisters and the priest in the movie of this play. My friends and I went to see it, and it sort of put me into shock. You see, I was the principal of a Catholic School, and while I didn't have that experience that Sister Aloysius had, I could very easily put myself in her shoes. She suspected something was very wrong and acted on her suspicions. And the result wasn't what she had hoped.

If you haven't seen this outstanding play or movie (scrip by John Patrick Shanley), make plans to see it. It is very dramatic and you are left with doubt when the end of the performance happens, you aren't sure about the results, showing how very cleverly crafted this story really is.

The producers of the movie went to great lengths to recreate the nun's habits correctly. These nuns did not wear a veil but wore a hat. This will be the part of the costuming gig for me that challenges me and makes me want to do this play. My dear friend, JY, is directing. She is an outstanding director, and I know the play will be good and well recieved. Hope I can rise to the occasion and make the costumes look like she wants them to look.

The play "Doubt: A Parable" was put on by DLP at St. Louis Kranzberg Theatre in the Grand Arts District. Here's a review of the play done by KDHX

Good Review!

The cast and production staff of a theatre group always wants to know what the critics think. Well, this critic loved our show "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". I've never seen a review from this group gush as much as this one did! Read on....

KDHX Review

She love it, alluded to a couple of costuming things, such as tie dye shirts, colorful, "visual feast" of the women dancing one number, and she even loved Pharoah's blue suede shoes!

I was very excited to get such a nice critical review. No mention of the coats of many colors, but that's OK. This should be one to be hung on the wall in my sewing room!

It's my BLOG iversary!

Some blogger must have invented that word, it is my first anniversary of being a blogger.

It's beginnings were brought to life last summer while I was the passenger on a very long road trip to the east coast. As the miles passed by, I spent my time working on my iPhone, because I could get news from home that way. Oh, and it helped us tremendously when we got lost!

In one of the notes from home, I found out that a good friend passed away. Being about 900 miles away, I wasn't able to attend her funeral. But then, my daughter emailed that she had become a blogger. What exactly is a blogger, I thought?

After several days of reading her blogs, reading her friends blogs, I thought, THIS COULD BE FUN! So, my blogspot, Sew What? was born. I wrote about our adventures on our trip, but my focus had to be SEWING!

I was in the middle week between the first and last runs of the big musical I had just costumed. So, it was a perfect time to try to slip away and see something besides the walls of my sewing room. We went to Virginia via Illinois, Kentucky, Tennesee, North Carolina, and then finally to Virginia, and on the way back came through W. Virginia, Tennesee, Indiana and Illinois. We packed a lot of miles and a lot of interesting stops into our short 7 day trip. It was so interesting, but so short, I wanted to go back this summer, but that didn't work out.

So next week is my mini-vacation week. I plan on taking off Monday and lurking around the Lake of the Ozarks. One main focus is to comb the Factory outlet mall in Osage Beach for bargains. Another focus is to travel to Arrow Rock State Park to attend a theatre production at the Lyceum Theatre. This is professional summer stock type theatre community, and they produce about 8 plays during their summer season. We went to one last year, and loved the town, which is an old Missouri River town, complete with taverns, antique stores, and many things on a little main street to interest tourists and theatre goers. I'm going to let serendipity be my guide. I'm going alone, hopefully the buggy will be up to the task.

Still love to blog, who knows who reads this stuff. I know my cousin from San Francisco found out about my blog and reads it, also some friends who I didn't know were reading keep up with my life. Sometimes, it is a way for Monkeygirl and I to keep up with each other's busy lives. We may not have time to visit, but we can squeeze in some blogging every now and then.

Try it, it is fun to do! Blogging, that is.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Joys of Lolly-gagging

When the adrenaline is flowing, when the amount of sleep you get is counted in minutes, not hours, when the project gets overwhelming enough that every waking moment is consumed working on it, you long for the day when you can lolly-gag around!

Monday was the day!

After finishing up with a whirlwind week of costume tweaking, tech week activities, opening night, and the last week of teaching my summer class, lolly-gagging was the carrot on the stick for me! A day where naps and having nothing to do was the prize!

Monday was the day!

Oh, it didn't start out that way. This was because I put off the inevitable task of finishing my grades for my class until Sunday evening, and it stretched into Monday morning at 1:30 a.m. before that job was finished. Everything had to be in place for Monday morning's conferences with students to give them their graded papers and future class assignments. But when that was finished....

Monday was the day!

One afternoon nap slid into another, and another until hunger drove me from under the covers for a nice dinner at Applebees. Then I came home and did one small task for the upcoming second week of the show, washed a pile of stinky tie dyed t-shirts. Then it was PJ time again, so nitey-night I went.

The aftermath of that sleep-a-thon is that I'm up at 3:30 Tuesday morning with adrenaline once again flowing, unable to relax and languish and lolly-gag under the covers. Oh well, I'll adjust soon, and enjoy the days of leisure once again.

At least for another day or two!