Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Over time, I've grown used to the Aqua Ladies, that group of women-of-a-certain-age who fill the pool three days a week, and leave trails of pool water all over the locker room (and toilet seats). Most of them are cheerful and friendly, so I've started trying to overlook some of their more annoying tendencies. (Share the bench, eh, ladies?)

Anyway, aside from the odd wave and hello to a few of them in passing, I largely ignore them, but on Monday this week, I overheard a conversation that left me shaking my head.

"...running around naked! I've asked the front desk to change it, but they won't."

My ears perked up at the word "naked," and I glanced in their direction. I was distracted by the television mounted in one corner of the room--and sure enough, some "real housewives" of Some American City were frolicking on a beach in their birthday suits.

I smiled to myself and shook my head slightly. To be sure, I find 98% of reality TV annoying and pointless, and despair at our country's fascination with people who don't appear to do much of anything as they are richly rewarded with celebrity status and lavish lifestyles simply for existing. I mean, at least bring some kind of talent to the table, right?

That said, nudity doesn't really bother me. I mean, I'm about as likely to frolic naked on national television or any other public sphere as I am to marry a rhinoceros, but if that's your thing, well, more power to you. It's not like the people on the show were gettin' busy or anything, they were simply skinny-dipping in the ocean and running around. 

To hear the Aqua Ladies tell it, however, it was A Scandal. 

"It's disgusting! I've complained several times to the front desk, but nothing's been done." the original complainer cried. 

"There were children in here a few minutes ago!!" exclaimed another woman in reply.

If they'd been wearing pearls, I'm sure, they'd have been clutching them. As it happens, they weren't wearing pearls...or much of anything else. One was standing there, in the aisle, with her swimsuit pulled down to her waist, her breasts proud and free.

Unable to contain a giggle, I turned away from the unfolding drama, and let them have their disgust.

Today, I was back for more gym fun, and as I locked my belongings in a locker, again, I was entertained by a few distressed Aqua Ladies in the locker room, one holding a remote control she'd demanded from the front desk and aiming it at the TV, desperately clicking buttons and saying, "I can't get it to change!"

"It's so disgusting," her friend replied. "It's trash."

I made my escape before I lost all control. When I returned to collect my purse a while later, the Aqua Ladies were gone...and the TV was firmly turned off.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Week in Instagram (Week #104)

With #104, this makes two years of Week in Instagram posts. This week was The Last Week Before Vacation, and I now get A Whole Week Off for Thanksgiving. Life is good, my friends.


A little pampering on a Sunday.

Fresh-faced, pajama'd, and cuddling with a cat.

Mom made beer bread.

I made pumpkin soup.


November, and Mom's roses are still going strong.


Getting good pics of Millie is difficult.

But oh, how I love this face.

For the first time in a long time, I ran in the afternoon.

The clouds were moving in, but it was another day or two
before we got rain.

Mom hosted her train group.

More cuddle selfies.


Furby started barking when Lynn went outside with the band,
so I put her on my lap for some Furby Time.

I've been telling my kids about this pic for ages--it made Sac
Choral's blooper reel a while back. But that is a damned good
"Ooh" vowel. Just sayin'.

A new milestone for RoPro.


Foggy morning at the Large Suburban High School.

Rainy afternoon at the Large Suburban High School.

Quality time at the tire shop. I had picked up a nail.

"If I hold on to your purse, you can't leave, right?"


It was a foggy/sunny morning, all in one, and very eerie. 

SO happy to find my keys on Friday morning.

The same tree featured in last week's post--I'm slowly watching
it turn red.


No pics. I spent my day making confetti and watching Harry Potter movies.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Keyed Up

Yesterday, as I pulled up to the gate at the back of the Large Suburban High School, I reached into my purse for my school keys so I could let myself in. I park behind the theater, but to get there, I have to get past a locked gate (school safety). It's no big deal, I've got the key, I let myself in, I lock up behind myself...but yesterday, I didn't have my keys.


I searched my purse, and felt a small knot form in my stomach as I emptied it onto the passenger seat. My keys were not where they should be.

I pulled into a parking spot on the outside part of the gate, and sternly told myself to stay calm. After my workout, my purse had been upside down on my gym bag within my locker, so maybe the keys were in my gym bag. Except they weren't. Still refusing to panic, I grabbed my school things and started walking the long way 'round to the front of the school, where the only unlocked-during-school-hours gate is located. I called home, asking Dad to check my bedroom. He even looked in the garage, in case I'd dropped them, but alas, no green lanyard.

The next step was to call the gym. I'm very good about checking the locker and the area where I do my hair and makeup before I leave, but maybe I'd missed the keys. The girl at the front desk was even kind enough to run back and look for me, keys.

I still didn't panic. There were two more possibilities--the tire shop or my office. I called the tire shop as I walked, and got the same answer: no keys had been found.

By this time, I was in the school quad, nearing my classroom. I couldn't get into the office via the choir room, but the band room was wide open for their 2nd period class, so I slipped in that way. One of the drum majors saw me and pointed to my desk--"They just brought that for you!" I looked and saw my familiar green lanyard, and shouted, "Oh, thank God!!"

(It turns out the keys had been there all along, what had been brought for me was a gift of yummy chocolate from my PEST, so the drum major was initially confused at my loud deity-thanking, believing it was for chocolate!)

Seriously, though, I'm so glad I found those keys. I'm usually very good about making sure they're in my purse when I leave, but I was distracted by tire concerns on Thursday. If I'd lost them, it would mean re-keying a whole building. The key that lets me into my room is the same key for the whole of the theater building--all of our classrooms, offices, the main lobby to the theater, etc. Not to mention I have a gate key and a key to the piano lab.

So it's all's well that ends well, thank goodness. Rest assured that from now on, I'll be even more paranoid than usual in checking that I've got my school keys with me.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Stepping Out

If there's anything I've learned in a decade of teaching--and it took most of that decade to learn it--it's that stepping outside of my comfort zone is often what yields the best results for me as a teacher. This is especially true for me when it comes to asking for help (my considerable Leo pride can get in the way of that) and also in putting myself out there to new people. See, I'm not the most extroverted person I know, but nor am I an introvert (the term for me is ambivert, and it really depends on my mood and current stress level). However, I have a deep dislike of feeling like I'm pushing myself into someone else's space, which I believe comes from hating having my own space pushed into.

Sometimes, though, it's necessary, though in this case, it's no so much pushing myself in as just blatantly asking for some time. If I'm going to be a successful choir director, I have to start building relationships and learning everything I can now. So in the last month, I have emailed two different local choir directors and asked if I could watch them teach.

Both teachers I met or encountered at least briefly at a couple of recent choir events I took my kids to, so it's not like I'm some perfect stranger coming out of the woodwork. Still, we're all busy getting Winter Concerts ready, so having someone come in to watch can be a distraction, even if that someone is perfectly happy to sit in a corner taking notes. But both times, now, I've found that both directors were really happy to have someone want to watch them and learn from them, and both have been happy to sit and talk choir between class periods. It's gratifying, to slowly make myself part of this community, to know that I, too, can be a bigger part of it as I grow in my own teaching.

Of course, it makes my boss happy, but that's not why I am doing it. I'm finally realizing that to become an expert, one must be exposed to experts in their chosen field. I must surround myself with experienced choral directors--singing for Don in Sac Choral, watching other teachers, maintaining good relationships with the other choir directors in my district--in order to grow in my own teaching. More importantly, I'm realizing that no one minds me asking for opinions or a bit of time to observe; in fact, I think they're rather flattered that I am singling them out.

It's been interesting, making myself step outside of my comfort zone to contact new people and ask if I can observe them, but it's paying off big-time. I'm finding new ideas, seeing how some things I already do are actually good practice, and I'm getting a better sense of how to run a choir program. It's all about putting that pride aside and acknowledging that I don't know everything--but I certainly can learn.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Week in Instagram (Week #103)

It's finally starting to look like fall around here. In this part of California, Autumn lasts for about a week between Really Hot and what passes for winter in these parts. So I like to catch it as much as possible.


The Niners have been giving me indigestion all season.

Mom gave up on the game and ran some errands. I texted
her updates.


I felt kinda cute on Monday. 

I stayed late to update and submit my mid-quarter grades,
which were due on Wednesday for progress reports. Tuesday
was a holiday, so I wanted grades finished.

Flags flying everywhere in our neighborhood. : )

I went for a nice walk that morning.

Later I went to the ceremony my dad's Veterans Group holds
each year.

Dad gave a really great speech (the one I blogged on Tuesday)
and Mom and I were bursting our buttons with pride.

Dad's Air Force bling.

Some cuddle action with this character.

But who's counting?

I cleaned out my file drawer and found this--which goes back
to my credential classes, 13 years ago. The language is the
same, but the acronyms have changed. So it goes.

Only my hometown would put an ice skating rink around a
Gold Rush era railroad turntable.

I was meeting my friend Meghan for dinner--we'd decided on
The Fat Rabbit but when she mentioned walking by Hop
Sing Palace we both decided Chinese sounded better.

Another selfie, 'cause why not?

My fellow Keane fans will get the reference. (They have a
song called "Staring At the Ceiling.")


This tree is right outside the choir room. It's finally turning.

I'll be gone on Monday (observing another choir director), so
I left this note for my kids.

Friday Night Lights. We are in the playoffs.

I volunteered for duty because all teachers have to do a certain
amount each year, and an upcoming event I was supposed
to work got cancelled. They'd find me for something, so I
figured I'd volunteer. It was cold. Very cold.


Mom and I went to a craft fair in Lincoln. 

Some people are so amazingly talented.

Others are...very creative.