Sisterhood- The Remake

To balance out my previous post, I had to share this little incident that happened tonight.

Scene: Living Room, Kelly and Jesse watching “So You Think You Can Dance”.

A preview for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants jingles onto the screen. The second it’s over, Jesse starts to twitch.

Jesse: Aghhh!!! Can I make fun of it Kelly, can I, can I??”

Kelly: [smiles]

Jesse: Please, please? Please let me?

Kelly: Fine. Show me what you got. [Big mistake, my sides are still hurting].

Jesse: There’s just too many things!

Kelly: Bring it on.

Jesse: Well, for one, you have to start messing with the title….

Boy should Hollywood hire us. Here are a “few” of the new titles we believe would be better suited for this movie. Trust me folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- They’re larger!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- This one’s a pair!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- One leg at a time!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- There and back again, a hobbit’s tale

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- Follow your heart- er- pants!

Sisterhood of the Traveling 2- Judgment Pant

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – They’re a Size 2, I swear!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2-Let’s hope they’re Lucky!

Got any more? Let’s hear them!

Garden Hoedown Comes to Town

So much has happened this last week, it’s been hard to keep up!

Last Thursday was my performance of “How Does Your Garden Grow”. Did it go well?” people ask me. Hehe. Depends on how you look at it. Let’s interview myself to find out.

“Did the kids sing well?:”

Check.

“Did they know all the words?”

Check.

“So, basically, it went great!”

<silence>

“It did, right? I mean, overall?”

<more silence>

“Okay, I’m taking it there were some things that didn’t got according to plan?”

<emphatic nodding>

“Would you care to elaborate? Or is it too painful….”

<pulling of hair>

“Well, what went wrong?”

<takes off gloves>

I don’t want to sound like a complainer. However….there were around 400 of us, crowded into a tiny excuse for a gymnasium- about the size of a four car garage.

“Oh my….”

There was no room for me to stand and direct. Also, one of the kids’ parents turned out to be a Fire Marshall and he was furious. We’re just lucky he allowed the show to continue.

“Wow, what else?”

Well, all we ended up having for a sound system was a heavy duty boombox. Since no one, not even the people sitting next to it could hear it over all the noise, one of the teachers had to hold up a battery operated microphone to it the entire time.

“Whew!”

But then the mic’s batteries gave out. So the last song was cutting in and out the entire time.

“Uh, oh, that doesn’t sound…”

Oh, and did I tell you that I, the director, got KICKED OUT of my own musical? Yeah! Despite the fact that I warned the parents for the entire 1/2 hr preceding the show of where I would be standing, they STILL set up their tripod camcorder directly behind me. Which meant that after the first song they made a big scene about it and I ended up standing in the wing instead of the middle where I belonged.

“Yikes!”

Only the half standing nearest me did/copied any of my hand motions. The other half on the far side from me sat there as still as statues.

“But at least the kids sang well, right?”

Yes, yes the kids did sing quite excellently despite everything trying to get in its way. I also got 2 sweet bouquets of flowers out of the whole deal, and a lot of compliments from the parents (even the one who <grrr> set up the camcorder).

“And did you do anything to unwind after such a stressful show/performance?”

Margaritas and daiquiris with Jesse and Jenny. And lots of chips and queso:)

How Does Your Garden Grow?

For teachers, springtime means a variety of things. Finals, bad grades to students (well, only at “Flexing Poplars”…), and, for music teachers: recitals and musicals.

I, for one, already knew about recitals. I have already given 3 for my students back in LA, and they were all fairly successful. The first was small, seeing as I only had two students, and was held in one of their living rooms. The second was in the same living room, but the number had increased to six students. Last spring was my third with 15 students. Since I had been giving 80% of my lessons at Plymouth Christian Elementary, they let us use their church auditorium for the recital.

Looking at the growth rate of about 50% added students per year, the stats say that I should be looking at a recital for around 30 kids.

But for this year…let’s just say, that my FIRST recital will have 25. The second (on the same day, at a later time) will have 42. And this was only after passing off about 30 of my students to another teacher a month ago. Not exactly what I had in mind!

Finding over 60 recital pieces for beginning piano students is, to say the least TOUGH as nails. What this usually means is that I end up writing myself from scratch on pieces of music paper. The older kids got to actually “pick” their song, but for most of the younger ones I chose tunes that were easily recognizable, like Winnie the Pooh and Beauty and the Beast songs. I can’t TELL you how many requests I had for High School Musical and Hannah Montana songs, but I absolutely refuse to support that. For the very youngest-just-started students, I simply rewrote a song from their lesson book and let them rename it something personal- things like, “Adam’s Power Rangers”, ” “Snow Lollipops”, or “Riding in the Car with My Mom”.

But the biggest challenge, so far, has been the mini-musical I am supposed to put on for my Montessori preschool. My boss chose, “How Does Your Garden Grow”, a small 5 song production about planting good seeds in your life and weeding out the “bad things”. All in all, cute as ever, but there are certain songs….well…they’re hard to get through without laughing. I don’t know if I just have a dirty mind, but….well judge for yourself!

The third song is just for the “weeds” to sing. I divided up the girls and boys for some of these songs. The girls get to sing a waltz-like song called, “We Are the Loveliest Flowers” and the boys get to rap “We’re the Weeds”. Innocent seeming, until the boys start talking about “choking” the flowers and telling them to “beware”. Deflowering, anyone? Oh, and let’s not forget the part where they chant, “WEEDS RULE!” which quite often sounds like “WEED RULES!!” What am I teaching these kids?? Am I supplying “Flexing Poplars” with future drug dependent high schoolers?

The fourth song starts with the line: “Everybody grab a hoe”. Of course, they are referring to the “garden hoedown” they are about to have. But I’ll let you do the math on that one.

Just so you can see that I’m not making this up, here’s a clip I found of another school performing this “WEED RULES” song. Keep in mind that they are all a lot older than the 2-5 year old range I have to work with!! Agh.

We’re performing in 4 more weeks- hang on!

My Weather Instrument

When the weather is getting crazy bad here in Texas, I have the best indicator around.

If you think I’m talking about the weather channel, you’re wrong. Oh, there is one here, don’t get me wrong. In fact, for the first time in my life, I have been paying attention to the weather not just because I don’t want to be caught in a tank top in a random snowstorm or a wool sweater in a muggy-excuse-for-a-day greenhouse.

In other words, the weather channel is no longer about “what to wear”. No, people pay attention to the weather because their life depends on it, especially, from what I hear, in Dallas as opposed to other parts of Texas. We are located in a weird spot where we are subject to the humid/warm tropical winds from the gulf, the hot/dry winds from south/west Texas, and the “arctic chill” that sweeps down from Illinois/Wisconsin.

Normally these extreme elements sweep through one at a time, which explains the fact that during this winter we had a week where it was LITERALLY 80 degrees one day and then snowing less than 12 hours later. And for once, I’m not exaggerating. There was also an afternoon where we experienced a 50 degree drop within 2 hours.

And what happens when all of these elements converge at the same time on the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex? You get extreme weather, bigger-than-life Texas style. If you don’t pay attention to the weather, you could end up getting caught in hail as big as softballs (happened last year in Fort Worth) or getting struck by lightning (happened last week to one of my piano students’ house). We also are subject to out-of-nowhere icestorms and tornadoes.

But I am getting off track. Like I said, remember, I have the best extreme weather indicator around, and it isn’t a weather channel or radar from Radio Shack.

It’s Mirabelle.

Before the first roll of thunder is made audible to our ears, MIrabelle feels it. And, true to Mirabelle’s personal affinity for being afraid of just about everything but her own stupidity, she is terrified. It’s almost as if she says, “I knew that the monsters were real!” It explains why she exhibits open hostility to any “strangers” who enter our home- they could be “agents of the scary voices and low rumblings”.

Whenever the thunder begins, no matter how far away, Mirabelle suddenly loses the ability to walk around standing up. Instead, she gets as low to the ground as possible, spreads all four paws out as far as they can reach, and slithers. Picture Gi-Jo in a trench somewhere in Germany, trying to get low enough to avoid any possible bullets or shrapnel. Now think of how a cat would look doing that, and you have captured what Mirabelle looks like. It’s absolutely hilarious.

At first, I wondered if she was playing charades with us. My guesses would have been, “snake!” or “gecko!”. But then the thunder and lightning came just a few minutes later, and I put two and two together. It’s also entertaining to pick her up during these times, because she hangs there like a limp ragdoll. It’s like she suddenly gets so scared that she loses all motor-control function and can only flop like jello.

In all fairness, the thunder and lightning here are pretty scary, and yet strangely fascinating at the same time. For instance, all the commotion outside woke me up at around 4am this morning. For a while I found it hard to fall back asleep, first, because it was kinda awesome to look out the window and see jagged forks of lightning split across the sky at a rate of 1-2x/per second (again, I am NOT exaggerating, it was a really really bad storm), and secondly, because a huge part of me was terrified as well.

Coming from living in California my entire life where it rains only a few times a year and I have never ONCE seen lightning fork across the sky, I felt as though I had just stepped into the scene in Bambi where all the animals are hiding and the lightning starts pulsating in time with the orchestra. Only, it seemed as if somebody had taken that part and was playing it over and over and over again with the fast-forward button on. The sky didn’t just light up- it was lots and lots of different neon colors.

And don’t get me started about the thunder- I felt as though an entire army of cymbals was standing right outside our window. Usually, thunder peals gain a little momentum as they play- the low rumble eventually crescendos and becomes a BOOM. But this was like BBBBAAAAAAAAAMMMMBBBBAAAAAAAAMMBAAAAAAAMMMMM!!!! the entire time. And since there wasn’t any pausing in between, it was just one overwhelming sound coming from all directions, like a few hundred trains roaring through.

I asked Jesse if we should wake up and turn on the tv and find out if we were in the middle of a tornado or hurricane. He, of course, rolled over and responded with something about fish. So I lay awake, terrified, with only Mirabelle’s trusty cowering and crawling to confirm my suspicions that were were about to be swallowed by this seemingly apocalyptic storm.

I always knew she was good for something besides destruction.