Monday, December 30, 2013

Plays 2013

The plays I saw in 2013

39 steps - Hale Centre Theatre
       The lovely Emily Bell played the only female in this small cast.  She was wonderful!

Lend Me a Tenor - Hale Center Theater Orem
       We sat on the very front row!  The lead looked almost exactly like Rick Moranis. 

No Time for Sargeants - Hale Centre Theatre
       Cute show.  The lead was a really great.

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown - Fort Herriman Middle School
       I had several students in the play and so I went to support them.  I was glad to finally put the music to some context.

Mid Summer Nights Dream - Fort Herriman Middle School
      Supporting students again.  They put a fun twist on this one to make it slightly more relatable to middle schoolers and so the kids were all dressed in poodle skirts and leather jackets.

Ragtime - Hale Centre Theatre
       Front row seats for a really moving play about life and how it affects different groups of people.

Urinetown - Hale Center Theater Orem
       Front row seats that almost got me kicked in the face on several occasions.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Hale Centre Theatre
       Ames Bell was such a good Dick Van Dyke.

Peter and the Star Catcher - Shakespeare Festival
      So much fun.  I love stories with pirates!

Love's Labour's Lost - Shakespeare Festival
      A Shakespeare Comedy where the guy doesn't get the girl.

Anything Goes - Shakespeare Festival
      Do all sailors tap dance on trans-atlantic voyages?

The Tempest - Shakespeare Festival
     Another Shakespeare play I'd never seen before.  Why don't more people do this one?  Nice message of forgiveness

12 Angry Men- Shakespeare Festival
     No intermission, because there are no intermissions during jury deliberations.

King John - Shakespeare Festival
    The first of Shakespeare's history plays that I've seen.

Peter Pan - Herriman City Arts Council
    I had a couple former students and some neighbors in this production, so Brad and I decided to catch it one night after he got home from work.  They did a good job.  I'm always impressed by community theater and what they can pull off in a pavilion. 

Tarzan - Hale Centre Theatre
   Great use of Cirque Du Soleil style vine swinging.  Very athletic show. 

Thoroughly Modern Milly - Tuachan
   I saw this on a girls weekend with my friend Traci.  Great show, Stolworthy's (Grant and Connie) ended up sitting right behind us and we didn't even notice until intermission.

Richard II - Shakespeare Festival Fall show
   I know why people don't do the history plays often.  Curse the complete the canon initiative!  I did enjoy the lecture in the grove with Fred Adams before the show started.  I think I would have been totally lost were it not for his summary beforehand.

Brigadoon - Hale Centre Theatre
   Emily finally gets to use her Celtic Dancing skills!

Elf - Pioneer Theater Company
   6 year anniversary date.  I liked the new parts almost better than the direct from the movie parts.  It felt like actors just quoting the movie when they were the exact same.  I did enjoy the songs and dancing though. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Books 2013

The books I read in 2013.

Dear Jo - Christina Kilbourne
    My school had the kids read this book the year before I began teaching there so it was in every classroom.  I had never read it so I picked it up.  It's about internet safety so I wondered if it would be a good one to suggest to my students now that the group who read it originally is all out of the building.  It's not.  The whole thing felt like it was written in 1994 when the internet was just becoming something you could have in your home.  They talked about chat rooms like people talked about chat rooms when I was 8.  I was shocked to find out it had been written in 2007.  If you are going to write a book for kids about using the internet safely, the first thing you should do is learn how to use the internet.

Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
     My coworkers had been passing around this book last year, but I never got in on the rotation to read it.  Then it came out as a movie and I had every intention of seeing it, but never did.  Then the movie was released onto dvd and I thought I might rent it.  The day before it came out on dvd I saw a student with the book and I told her, "Oh hey, that comes out on dvd tomorrow.  I was thinking I might rent it this weekend."  She asked if I had read the book and I told her I hadn't, but had thought about it.  That was the point at which she pulled out her bookmark and handed me the book and told me she had read it a million times and she wanted me to read the book before seeing the movie.  They promote the book by saying it's a story about being a teenager, but I was a teenager once, and it was nothing like that.  I'll be honest, I think I liked the movie better.  

When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead
   This was a book that was picked by my middle school "book club" that meets before school in the library.  It was a quick read with an interesting concept.  I knew nothing about it before I read it, and I think that is the way it should be.  So if you are bored for an afternoon, this would be a fine way to spend time. 

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
   The same student that told me to read 'Perks' brought me another book by her favorite author and told me to read it.  The author is a man that does a popular youtube channel and so I knew who he was, I just had never read anything of his.  It is a story about a girl with cancer.  I was hesitant to read it.  Those kinds of stories are hard for me.  I ended up reading it all in one day.  A friend told me she had the worst 'book hangover' after finishing the book.  I had a headache from crying.  I also laughed out loud often.  I am torn on whether or not I actually liked it.  I mean I liked it, but it was sad, and I don't love being sad.  I think my next book will need to be either funny or a mystery or something.  Not sad.

Matched - Ally Condie - 
  Matched was a good change of pace for what I had been reading.  It was a semi-sappy teen romance meets dystopic society.  

Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion
   We listened to Warm Bodies as we drove to Las Vegas for Easter.  We had already seen the movie that came out based on the book.  We enjoyed the book (warning: it has some foul language) and we also enjoyed the movie, but they are different.  Most of what happens in the movie doesn't happen in the book until about halfway through.  

Divergent - Veronica Roth
  Brad actually read this first.  He loved it.  Does it need more of a recommendation than that?  

Insurgent - Veronica Roth
    Book 2 of Veronica Roth's series.  I should have waited until the third one is out to read these because now I have to wait to find out what happens.  BOO.

Maphead- Ken Jennings
  Nerdy book and I loved it.  I wish I could make anyone who questions why we learn geography read this book.  
The Dressmaker- Kate Alcott
  Is it normal to get cold in the middle of the summer just because of the book you are reading?  I was freezing the whole time I read this book.  I love learning about the Titanic.  I think if I'd known that the story was based on actual people on the Titanic from the beginning I would have been a little more into it. 

Crossed - Ally Condie
 It was weird coming back to this after reading Veronica Roth's books.  I kept getting the stories mixed up.
Reached - Ally Condie   
  Fun fact.  Ally Condie taught english at my high school.  I didn't have her a teacher, but I'll pretend like her writing a series somehow makes me cooler.

Enders Game- Orson Scott Card
  We listened to this book while driving to the condo.  I'd never read it and I wanted to know the story before the movie came out.  I really liked the book.  I also liked the  movie, even if it didn't really follow the book. 

Allegiant- Veronica Roth
 Ugh.  Just ugh.  I feel like she had a rough outline of what she wanted to have happen in the story, and then she published it. 
Hyperbole and a Half- Allie Brosh 
  I bought this book for Nate for Christmas.  But I had to read it first. Allie Brosh is really funny, but I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone who is offended by language.  She has a bit of a potty mouth.

Lock and Key- Sarah Dessen
  This book was darker than I thought it would be based on the cover.  It was one of those books where I started caring more about the characters than I thought I would.  It was pretty good.
On the Map- Simon Garfield
  This one only kind of counts because I didn't finish it.  It's one of those nerd books that takes awhile to get through.  I eventually had to take it back to the library.  But I liked it and will probably finish it at some point. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Books 2012

Here is my list of books I read in 2012.  It's not bad considering I felt like I never had time to read.   One of my goals for 2013 is to read at least one book a month.  Perhaps I can even beat this past years list. 

  • The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde 
    • Always a favorite.  Love the book, the play, the movie.  Everything about it is hilarious.
    “Good heavens, I suppose a man may eat his own muffins in his own garden."
    "But you have just said it was perfectly heartless to eat muffins!"
    "I said it was perfectly heartless of YOU under the circumstances. That is a very different thing."
    "That may be, but the muffins are the same!”
  • Amazing Grace - Eric Metaxas 
    • I also liked the movie version of this book.  I always feel smart when I read a historical non-fiction novel.  This one is about William Wilberforce and the fight to end slavery in England. 
  • Impressions - Liz Anderson
    • This book was written by my good friend and co-worker Liz.  I'm so proud of her.  Even though I only met her once the book was finished I'm still inspired by the work she put into it.  It surprised me in a few places with the directions she took it. 
  • Sarah's Key - Tatiana De Rosney
    • A book club choice by both of my book clubs.  No surprise on why.  It was a good read.  Also a good movie.  Interesting to think about the effects of concentration camps on those left behind in Paris and other cities. 
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
    • I liked this book, I like learning reading a story that is secretly teaching me about history at the same time.  :)   Probably only the second book I've ever read about the Japanese Internment camps.  
  • Stealing Lincoln's Body- Thomas J. Craughwell
    • This one took some time to get into.  The whole first half didn't seem to flow, but in the end it was really interesting to read about the plot to steal Lincoln's body from it's tomb. 
  • Unbroken - Laura Hildenbrand
    • Another WWII book.  I read a bunch of them this year.  This book made me so mad at the Japanese soldiers.  Then in the end I realized if he could forgive his captors then I should be able to let it go as well. 
  • Extranormal - Suze Reese (Jen Perry's mom)
    •  This was a quick read.  High school drama makes for good time filler while you fly across the country.
  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened - Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)
    • I love the Bloggess.  I'm excited for her next book to come out.  
  • Copper Sun - Sharon Draper (I wonder if we are related?)
    • I am surprised this book is read by 8th graders.  It is always hard for me to read about slavery.  This book had some details that were hard to read about. 
  • Bossypants - Tina Fey
    • Tina Fey is hilarious on tv and in print too.
  • The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
    • We actually listened to this one on audiobook as we drove to my family reunion.  I enjoy Dan Brown books.  
  • Okay for Now - Gary D. Schmidt
    • This book made me so sad for the main character.  He has so many things going against him.  It reminds me that I can't be quick to judgement. 
  • Small Steps - Louis Sachar 
    • The sequel to the book Holes.  A quick read during Thanksgiving break. 
  • Prisoners in the Palace - Michaela MacColl
    • Historical fiction about Queen Victoria's upbringing.  
  • Boy in the Striped Pajamas - John Boyne
    • A story of the Nazi Concentration camps  from the point of view of a German child. 
  • Life as we knew it - Susan Beth Pfeffer 
    • This is book one in a 3 book series.  I will probably never read the other 2 books.  This book is about the end of the world and all sorts of natural disasters that happen when the moon gets knocked off of balance.  It made me decide that my emergency plan is just to die in any emergency.  I can't handle the anxiety of trying to survive something like that.

My favorite book was probably The Bloggess's book 'Let's pretend this never happened'.  She is hilarious.  I took it with me to Peru and would read chapters out loud to Matt and Erin and Mom when we had down time.  They all loved it so much that I bought it for Erin for her birthday when we got home. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Plays 2012

Time for my yearly wrap up of our theater experiences!  

Game's Afoot : HCT (January)
Zorro : HCT (February)
CSI: Provo Decaffeinated DNA : Desert Star Theater (February)
Addam's Family Home Evening : Desert Star Theater (March)
Aladin : Tuachan (August)
Merry Wives of Windsor : Shakespeare Festival (August)
Scapin : Shakespeare Festival (August)
To Kill a Mockingbird : Shakespeare Festival (August)
Wait Until Dark : Covey Center for the Arts (September)
9-5 : HCT (September)
Hamlet : Shakespeare Festival (October)
Les Miserables : Shakespeare Festival (October)
Stones in his pockets : Shakespeare Festival (October)
Oliver : HCT (November)

This year we again saw a lot of really good shows.  My family went to Desert Star Theater to see CSI: Provo and we went with Brad's family to see Addams family home evening.  At the end of the shows they announce people's birthdays and anniversaries and at the end of Addam's FHE they announced that Shauntel and Ryan (Brad's sister and her husband) were expecting a child and wanted everyone to know.  This was hilarious because they aren't and we all knew they weren't, but someone found out they were going to be there and told them to announce it so it surprised us all.   The Shakespeare festival was great.  We broke the trip up into 2 parts and saw some of the shows in August and then went back in October.  The first time we went we saw 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.  I could remember parts of what happened as they were happening, but was glad to see it since the last time I had anything to do with it was when I read the book in high school. 
It was fun to see 'Hamlet' and 'Les Mis' again when we went back to Cedar in October.  I love both of those shows and would try to take any opportunity to see them.  I have seen the new movie version of 'Les Mis' twice already and I love it too.
Mom's new boyfriend is Billy Shakespeare

In the "almost theater" category this year I am going to include my trip to Peru.  While in Peru we saw several great productions by locals.  Mostly they performed traditional dances and played their Peruvian flutes.  We also got to see several songs performed by the children at the school we went to.  While on our way home we stopped for a day in Mexico City.  We floated around the canals of Mexico City in a gondola while a mariachi band played songs for us. 

Our own personal floating mariachi band
Some of the students singing us a song.

We got season tickets to the Hale for Christmas and already have tickets booked to see Emily in 39 steps and Ames in Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang.  We are also going to see Lend Me a Tenor at HCTO.  So exciting!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Play list 2011

Last year I started a list of the shows I saw that year.  I decided to do the same this year.

Tale of Two Cities - Hale Centre Theatre (March 26)
Beverly Hillbillies 90210 - Desert Star Theater (April 16)
The Hasty Heart - Hale Centre Theatre (April 30)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - Hale Centre Theatre ( July 2)
Music Man - Shakespeare festival (August 11)
Midsummernights Dream- Shakespeare festival (August 11)
Noises Off - Shakespeare festival (August 12)
Little Mermaid - Tuacahn (August 12)
Grease!- Tuacahn (August 13)
Mary Poppins - Capitol Theater (September 15)
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - HCT (September 24)
Little Mermaid - Tuacahn (October 22)
Menopause the Musical - Rose Wagner Theater (October 29)
My Fair Lady - HCT (November 26)

Tale of Two Cities was probably the most moving of all of the plays.  I loved it.  It was my favorite HCT production this year for sure.  It helped that Emily and Ames were both in it, but the story and the music was so good, that I bawled through the last number and we bought season tickets before going home.  Dirty Rotten was hilarious.  It also featured Emily so that was fun.  Joseph was good, but I honestly don't understand why people are obsessed with it.  Ames did a great job singing "Those Canaan Days" and the whole show is fun and upbeat, but people claim it is the best show they've ever seen.  Did they see Tale of Two Cities?  To round out the HCT/ Dabczynski connection Emily's mom was cast in My Fair Lady, so that was fun. 

I saw Mary Poppins with a bunch of relatives.  The only picture I have currently on the computer from any of these shows is of my 10 year old cousin and I outside of Mary Poppins.  She was pretty excited to be taller than her 25 year old cousin.  It's not that hard to do.
Baylee and I outside of Mary Poppins.  Yes she is 10 in this picture and taller than me.

During our trip to the Shakespeare festival I finally saw Music Man.  I know the music and I knew a little about the plot, but I had just never seen it.  Brian Vaughn was fantastic as usual.  I laughed so hard in Noises Off that my stomach hurt.  I even said so on facebook.  I had the chance to see Little Mermaid twice.  I went the first time with the family during our now annual trip to Cedar and St. George and was given the chance to go again with my Aunt Trudy and my cousin Baylee (pictured above) and some of their friends for a girls weekend.  I made a new friend named Milly a sweet 3 year old who held my hand while we shopped at the outlets and sat on my lap during the play so she could see better.

Menopause the Musical was an outing with Brad's parents.  It was definitely different.  They rewrote a bunch of oldies songs to be about Menopause.  Some of the songs were pretty funny.  My favorite was "My Thighs" a new way to sing "My girl".  We ate at Squatter's Pub afterwords and that made the trip worth it.

In the "almost a theater preformance" category I also saw-
Thriller - Kingsbury Hall (October 29)
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - ESA (December 28)

Thriller was fun, as usual.  I went with an old roommate (Jill) and it was great to see her and spend some time catching up.  Trans- Siberian Orchestra wasn't what I was expecting at all.   The laser show at the end was my favorite part.

We already have tickets to the first HCT production (featuring Emily) and plan on seeing at least a couple of the shows there this year.  We've also picked our weekend for Shakespeare Festival.  We love the theater!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Clap on "um"

When I was teaching at Wasatch I would often get nervous in front of my students.  When I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to say I would have the feeling that I needed to fill every second with noise so they wouldn't notice I was struggling with the content.  This leads to saying "Um".  Lots of people do it.  I would be saying um while thinking of the next item of information to fill the silence; and I didn't notice I was doing it.  As long as there was sound we were good.  Well my lovely students kept track of how many times I said "um".  And it was embarrassing.  They didn't tell me they were doing it, but they gave me the tally sheet at the end of a week as a gift.   A cruel, cruel, gift.  But one that needed to be given.

I decided that just like Pavlov's dogs I could be trained.  I told those students that I needed their help to break this habit.  I had them clap, one single clap, every time I said um.  They listened to me like phone tappers listening for bomb threats and would catch every little um.  They probably would have clapped if geography had every lent itself to using the word "umbrella".  I hope they listened to the other words I was saying and they didn't just listen for the um's in between.  But I'd say overall it was a success.  I was thinking about the words I was using.  Sure there were some points where it was quiet while I formulated the next sentence but I learned it was ok.

Fast forward to the next school year.  I had moved schools and began teaching a subject I was once again uncomfortable with.  I caught myself using um too often as a crutch and so I told a few of my 8th grade students about the "clap on um" trick to help get myself on track.  Just like the first time it worked like a charm.  Today, one of those students, who has the extreme luck to be in my 9th grade class this year, caught me saying um and out of the blue, clapped.  The first time I heard it I didn't understand what was going on.  A little later I said it again and she had spread the word to 3 other students to clap.  When all 4 clapped in unison it clicked what was going on.  And I'm proud to say, they didn't get to clap the rest of the period.  Not because I cut their hands off or because I taped their hands together.  But because when you think before you speak, you don't need those verbal crutches.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

So far this summer I've done lots of nothing. But pretty much everything I've done, I've done with my puppy. So here is a photo essay of my summer so far as told by my dog.

Gambit sleeps on the couch as I read a book about Abraham Lincoln.

Gambit sleeps on our new patio recliners while I read a book about Abraham Lincoln.
(why does he always have his head lower than his body?)

Gambit sleeps on the floor next to the couch, as I read a book about Abraham Lincoln.

Gambit and I snuggle while taking a break from reading about Abraham Lincoln.

Gambit found sleeping under the bed while I fold laundry.

Gambit sleeping almost under the bed. If he can't see you, you can't see him.
(No I have not trained my husband to put his jeans in the laundry basket, or over a chair, or even on the floor of the closet. Life goes on.)

Gambit sleeping while all around him lies the evidence of having spent all morning reading about Lincoln. (The tv is on because, as you can see from the Tupperware and pudding cup, it was lunch time, which means an episode of That 70's show and possibly a shower. The bottles are Gambit's favorite toys which have been taken away because it is really annoying to read while a dog is hitting you in the face with a plastic bottle)