I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

My photo
I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

TBT: The Hamel Clan

Last Sunday I had to give a Primary Sharing time on Family History.  I brought some old photos from my family and thought I'd share one this week.

My grandfather was born in 1919 as the 10th child in a very Catholic family of 16.  Yes, you heard right.  My great grandmother had 16 children.  And then lived to be 102.  There were ELEVEN boys.  And from what I've gathered from my grandfather and his brothers, every single one of them was hell on wheels.

This picture is from the late 1920's--I think my grandfather who is sitting, second from the right is around 8.  There was a set of twins that didn't live very long that are not pictured here.

Family pictures for the Hamel family were rare.  They lived on a farm way out in Central Kansas and they had...well, 16 kids.  My great grandparents were both of French Canadian parents who migrated down to claim newly available farmland with the westward expansion.  They spoke french at home.  In fact, the whole town was settle by French speaking Canadians and when we went back to bury grandpa a few years back the very few establishments in town still had menus/information in both French and English.

Just across the river that ran along one side of the farm (which still exists although no one farms it anymore) is the town of Nicodemus, KS, which was one of the first western towns settled by and for recently freed black men and women heading out to meet a brave new world.  My great-uncles were still giggly about this "new" idea and wanted to know if we wanted to go over and see the town.

I love this picture.  I love that I have this one picture of my grandfather as a boy.  I only ever knew as an "old man", but the glint in his eye was the very same.  And I am certain he caused all sorts of mischief.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

TBT: Pineview Panthers!

Oh Goodness.  You're going to like this one.  I stole it.  My BFF from back in the day posted this today and it made me laugh so much I just stole it.  And I need some laughter.  I've had a tough week emotionally, had all sorts of deadlines at work to meet and then went all klutzy on myself today and can barley move tonight.

The year was 1990. Start of our Senior year of high school. Pine View High School in St. George.  I (and everyone in this picture) were on the Student Council.  WHAT?  You didn't know I was on student council?  But you're not surprised are you?  You shouldn't be.  I thrived on student council.  Without it I would have been just another emotional drama queen smoking pot behind the seminary building.  But I wasn't.  I was on student council.  I loved every minute of it.

What cracks me up are the way our personalities shine through in this odd odd picture.  I don't know whose idea this was.  I know it was for the year book...but beyond that, time has stolen the details.  I love how I am wearing high-waisted, pleated, pegged, high-water, acid washed jeans-belted with my shirt tucked in.  That  my friends, was a CHOICE.  I love how Kirsten somehow has the goofiest possible expression and is classically giving us a peace sign as we sport actual weapons of war while standing on a TANK.

Enjoy.  For the record: I LOVED high school.  I'm not sure that is something you are supposed to admit, but I did.  I wouldn't go back for the world, but I loved it.  It saved me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

TBT: I've Always Had a Thing For Maleficent

Washington, Utah.


I believe, the weekend before I went into the MTC, which is why I have such a jolly group of friends with me.  We were on our way to the movies...The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Kirsten and I had spent quite a bit of time that week on our costumes...Kelly, I'm pretty sure was supposed to be a Bob Fossey devotee, but I'm pretty sure those are her own everyday clothes, and Mel  (who I'm sure is trying to be a good sport about all this) looks like she is wearing a mash-up of things from Kirsten & my closets-including my very favorite tie-dye from a Grateful Dead concert in which I nearly passed out from the air inside the stadium (Marijuana lightweight...and only second-hand I assure you).

Good times.  Good, good times.

Friday, June 13, 2014

When Homework Pays Off

I love to go on vacation.  Who doesn't?  Crazy people maybe.  I love going with the Citizens and I love going new places.

But you know what I love almost as much?

Prepping to go on vacation.  Not the lame stuff like packing and stuff, but the research.  The book work.  The planning and making of reservations.  I LOVE that.

We're heading out on our fifth to last true family vacation this summer and so I stopped by the library to see how they could help me out.

Just looking at this pile of books gives me tingles.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TBT: Pendarvis House

In 1998 we moved to Wisconsin.  Diplomas hot in our young naive hands, we headed off in search of dreams...or some such nonsense.

Anyway, we eventually settled in a small house in a small town called Mineral Point.  Settled by Cornish miners in the 1830's, it had become a tiny artist's community.  It also had some great Historic homes and introduced us to the pasty which was served in every diner and bar in town.

That first summer, before we had really settled there permanently, I worked for a summer theatre company called American Players in Spring Green-the home of Frank Lloyd Wright.  It is a lovely theatre company.  You should go there.  My friend Tara also ventured to the mid-west and worked at American Players for the summer.  There were several Tornado warnings that did not much agree with her. (I think I should have been more scared of them than I was...I hadn't watched enough news at that point in my life to realize what those sirens really meant.)

So for today's TBT I give you Tara and La at Pendarvis House.  Ahhhhh youth.  So unjaded.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Whatcha Up to La? Love Potions and Sundance

Tonight L'elisir d'amore  or The Elixir of Love by Donizetti opens.  It only runs through the weekend and has 2 different casts (well...the leads anyway).  It is pretty fun.  The costumes for this show consist of country peasants (French country if you are talking to me....but it is sung in Italian so non-specific if you talk to anyone else) and they are all pulled.  Even so, I think they turned out fun.  I used LOTS of layers with multi-skirts on all the women.  No corsets.  I wish there was dancing so they could swish all those skirts around.  I was lucky there were a lot of options to pull from out of BYU stock.

I used this painting at BYU's art museum as one of my primary bits of research.  I LOVE this painting. It is called
Le Premier Chagrin "The First Grief by Daniel Ridgeway night c. 1892.

Anyway.  Plays through Saturday.  Go here for tickets.  This may be the last opera I design for them for awhile with my other job stuff, and you'll definitely want to see one of the operas I did for them.  They're the best.

I'm also getting geared up for my 5th season with Sundance Summer Theatre.  This year we are doing Fiddler on The Roof.  Here are a couple of pics from our publicity photo shoot that I snapped with my iphone.  This show seems to be VERY popular with the Utah crowd and already has one sold out performance.  If you want to go see this, I wouldn't wait to get tickets.  You'll end up very sad. Ticket information here.  Seriously, don't wait.  It is a bit more expensive to go to theatre up the canyon, but still reasonable and it is so fun to go up there and see outdoor theatre up on a mountain.  Plus, you never know...you might run into Bob.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dog on Patrol

Last week I posted a picture of Huck in our backyard.  To the casual observer he may have looked as though he was lounging around in the grass...but I knew better.  We've had these birds who have taken to terrorizing the poor beast by bothering his toys.  He was guarding them.  He had gathered up all his balls and bones and his favorite stick into a pile and was standing watch.

Yesterday, I noticed Huck being uncharacteristically active in the backyard and went to check it out.  He kept running around on the trampoline and then sticking his head in between the springs at which point a large bird on the fence would swoop down and then Huck would chase it back over to the fence.  This went on awhile.

Turns out...there were 2 of the birds trapped under the trampoline.  They eventually found their way out, but they were giving our tubby puppy a little exercise in the meantime.  After awhile he grew tired and came in for a snack, Mr. Beene went out and took a couple of the springs off to make a bigger hole and the birds hopped out and flew away.

It is hard being a dog that the birds tease. I guess they didn't get anti-bullying instruction in their youth.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Let The Wild Rumpus Begin!

Today is was the first Official day of summer as far as I'm concerned....school's out, it is Monday, and we take summer seriously.  I'm a planner, so as you can imagine, summer is not a time for sleeping in and being lazy!  It is a time to get caught up, go places, do things, etc, etc.

So I presented The Citizen's with an agenda for the day, which included a nice late start of 8:00 am (I was up earlier to try to get in a walk before the dreadful sun got too strong) which listed the day's activities as well as the things they needed to get done like chores, piano practice, etc, etc. along with a menu because one of my least favorite kid question of all time has to be "what's for dinner?" or any of the other meals they seem to think they need to eat everyday.  Every thing had a little box for check marks because everyone knows that a check mark on a list is pretty much the best thing ever, so I wanted to make sure they had that little joy in their lives.  I'm a good mom that way.

So after chores, etc, etc., we betook ourselves with some friends to Mrs. Cavanaugh's chocolate factory for a tour.  Located in NORTH Salt Lake (do NOT let Siri take you there, you'll end up in the Avenues) where they show you a little movie and you can see the production floor (which is very quiet this time of year) and then they give you a chocolate.  We watched a woman make peanut clusters with her bare hands.  I can't say it will be the high-light of our summer, but it was a fun kick-off.

We then headed south where the Urchins spent the afternoon at the Noorda Theatre Summer Camp at UVU.  This is their 4th year there; this year they are doing the backstage class where they paint sets and make props and apparently will be trained in stage lighting (they get to go up on the grid Wednesday-so I'm told).  They love it, although I think this may be Mr. Beene's last year.  Anyway, this allowed me to get in a teensy bit of work (yay me!  so hard to do in the summer...).

After camp we hit both the library AND Barnes and Noble for the summer reading program sign-ups.

Tomorrow, we start in on swim lessons!   I sure love the first week of summer!  I'll be exhausted by this time next week, but for now, for this very minute, it is great.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Every Girl Needs a Project: New Digs

File this under things I did so you don't have to.  So when Memorial Day hit I guess I was bored or something?  So my studio/office had been bothering me, so I decided that the room that had been serving as a playroom of sorts for The Citizens would be put to better use as MY room.  They don't really need quite as much space for playing these days...so I took it.

I'd never painted this room since moving into this house and two of the walls were aubergine.  A deep dark purple.  It took most of the weekend because in addition to painting I had to sort and go through and re-organize everything.  But it is lovely and new and shiny!

Take a look.  I think it will serve quite nicely.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

TBT: 4th Grade

The Missus will finish up 4th grade tomorrow.  She will be 10 this year and I've notice how NOT small she is anymore.  *sigh*.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE not having little kids anymore, but I do miss how sweet they were for a brief moment in time.
4th grade was a big year for me.  We moved from Las Vegas to St. George.  I cannot say I was a particularly attractive child, although I think at least some of this was because I was left 100% to my own devices as far as hair and clothes and general presentation were concerned....so pretty much every picture of me until I was about 14 is really sad.  EVERY picture.

And with that introduction I present to you Mr. Fawson's fourth grade class of 1982-83.  Go ahead.  LAUGH AWAY.  I am.  Oh...I am.

Monday, June 2, 2014

And the Old Shall Be New

Whilst running errands the other day I passed a woman who looked as though she was walking for exercise.  This is not unusual, but like myself, she had an aversion to the sun.  How do I know this?  Because she was wearing this:

And I was impressed.

And then there was that whole thing with Reading Rainbow last week.  (You know, where the guy who told the stories bought it and wants to make it all available to everyone online and did a kickstarter and everyone said YES! and he raised a million dollars in a day??)

And then I got to thinking about old useful stuff and what other things from our not so distant past could I use to my benefit? Or that I missed?  Things that had sadly, and for no apparent reason, fallen out of favor?

Like a real hair style.  I used to obsess about that hair.  Iron it (yes with an iron--this was before the flat iron) sleep in curlers, crimp, perm, mousse and rat.  And now?  I just feel lucky buns are the "in" thing right now, because I can totally keep up with that.

Or Ankle Weights.  I think I could give myself a good workout wearing those without actually exercising.

And when did the bathroom stop being a place where we made a decorating statement?

This.  This poncho/dress/Caftan thing is probably universally flattering on ALL women.  And it looks nice and cool for those hot summer days.

 Back to exercise.  Remember when this came on PBS?  I think it used to broadcast out of BYU...We could all use a little of this in our lives.

 MOOD Rings.  How great would it be just to look at someones hand and be able to know what mood that person was in before we even started talking?  Simplify.

 Mr. Rogers.  I just miss this.  I know you can still watch it, but I wonder what good ole' Fred would do now?  Probably take us on a tour of an iphone factory...

 Which also makes me think of this:  Picture Pages.

I am not suggesting we go back to simpler times.  I like my internets and iphone and a whole host of other modern things very much, thank you.  But I wouldn't mind a few of the oldies too.  What do you miss, or could otherwise put to good use from yester year?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Celebrate with FIRE

SUMMER is almost HERE Y'ALL!

My kids still have a couple more days of "school" but I'm not too concerned because this last week the teachers just call it quits.  They stop checking to see if you've signed that planner (I haven't) and they've even packed up all the books and at the elementary school level, they've already taken away the desks.  So what is the point of these last few days??  To fulfill their educational obligation, of course.  Whatever.  The Missus has field day tomorrow and I'm volunteering and hope to get assigned to a hose.  Because nothing says power on field day like being able to spray kids with water.

So I decided to kick off summer for reals today since it IS June 1st and all.  And how do we do that, you ask?  FIRE, of course.  Growing up in Southern Utah (well...anywhere in Utah really) all you hear about all summer are the fires.  Evil, destructive fires that take out national forests and char the land.  But here in our lush green back yard, they are safe and contained and help create deliciousness on a stick!

The Citizens really like fire.  Mr. Beene has become the resident fire maker at our house and is the ONE job I can count on him doing immediately and thoroughly.


So how do you ring in the good tidings of summer fantasticness at your house?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

TBT: California Gals!

Throwback Thursday!

Here I am with my lifelong BFF Kirsten (we've know each other since we were....maybe 11?) at Sea World in 1988 at a time in our lives when we thought nothing of having our photo taken with a Walrus....oh how times have changed!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Testing the Fortitude

It is nearly the end of the school year.


I can hardly even muster enough energy and excitement to celebrate properly.  You wanna know WHY??

Because of school Projects.  In the last two weeks, The Missus has had no less than 4 large school reports or projects due.   She has one due tomorrow.  We worked on it over the weekend and then all afternoon today.  Fourth Grade curriculum includes Utah history and culture...and county reports.  But not just a report.  But also a poster and also a float.  A float, you ask?  Yes, as in a miniature version of a parade thingy.  A float.

Now I'm pro-education.  I'M AN EDUCATOR.  And I love and respect the teachers at our schools.  But they are obsessed with Projects.  I'm not anti Project, but I AM anti Project-at-home.  And here's why.

The early stages
It isn't about the kids or what they learn or what they can do.  It is about testing the fortitude and resolve of the parent in getting it done.  And parents?  They have enough on their plates, but a good chunk of them want to be good parents and invest in their child's education, and we're made to believe this is how.  This stuff?  Doesn't teach anything but how to make miniature models of things.  Which is super helpful if you either build tiny elvish villages for Hollywood movies or design sets for living.  And that's about it.

And then there are the other parents.  The ones who don't give a damn about their child's education or maybe they are busy working three jobs and can't run around finding tiny coal miners or fake bushes.  Or maybe they don't have the resources or the skill to build a paper-plaster mountains and then put 1/2" skiers on it.  So those kids either don't do the project, or do their best with what they have.  What did they learn?  They learned a lot probably, but not in the way intended by The Project.

In the end, it isn't at all about the kids; it's about the parents.

I'm pretty good about making sure The Missus makes the plan and does as much of it as she can, but she needs help and also I work in Theatre and have lying around (seriously it's right there) all kinds of odd things that only come in handy for things like this.  And I'm also ready to go out and get extra stuff she decides she needs.  Because I can.  But not every parent can.  So the resources available to each child varies wildly.  And I get it, kids need to learn hard lessons, life isn't fair--but that is the same lesson learned by the same child for every Project all year long.

And what did it take to build this float? One shoe box top, brown paper,  5 different colors of acrylic paint, white glue, glue sticks, hot glue, paint brushes, 2 kinds of gravel, rocks, plaster, fake bush pieces, dinosaurs, tiny skiers, fake grass, skewers, 16 gauge wire, floral wire, fake vines, green beads, a tiny jet airplane, railroad tracks, a train, a printer, card stock, black card stock, a paper cutter, wire cutters, pliers ribbon, a sea sponge, 2 trips to Joann's, 1 to Hobby Lobby, 1 to Walmart, 1 to the neighbor and one to the local Hobby store.  And also about 5 hours. And also about a month's worth of patience.

All Projects lead to stress and I'm guessing NOT improved parent-child relationships.

So Projects should be done at school.  Period.  If they are that important.  DO IT AT SCHOOL.

But we finished.  I *think* this might be the last one.  Maybe.  There's still a week of "school" left.
It turned out great and The Missus is thrilled and will probably want to keep it forever and ever.  (But here's the thing...half the stuff on this came from Mr. Beene's 4th grade float which we then gave to a neighbor who used parts of it for her son's last year and we will hand it all back over to them for their daughter's next year...).  Take a peek.  And find yourself enlightened about Weber County.  Glorious Weber County.

Don't get me started on Homework.  I don't think they should bring that home in elementary school either...

Friday, May 23, 2014

TBT: Baby La

I keep forgetting to post pictures on Thursdays...maybe it its because I am about exhausted by that point in the week.  Anyway...here I am!  Baby La.  I think about 10 months?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Time Panic

From our Glacier trip 2 summers ago
A few weeks ago I was having a little chat with an "old" High School pal who also had a daughter in Seussical.  We were lamenting the huge time commitment of letting your child do the thing she wants to do and she said it was her daughter's last year.  Her oldest would only be home a few more years and she wasn't willing to give up Spring break (a requirement for the timing of this show).  She had things she wanted to do.

Well this sent me into a sort of spiraling-out-of-control panic.

Mr. Beene just turned 13.  He's about to wrap up 7th grade (Thank goodness that year is nearly behind us) and if I stop and do the math....I only have (realistically) FIVE MORE SUMMERS with the 3 of us together.  After that he'll go to college or mission or work or whatever it is an 18 year old boy gets into his head to do.  He'll be grown.  And he won't be mine anymore.  (You just started doing the math on your people, didn't you??)

Five.  I have Five summer vacations.  Five.  We talk about all sorts of plans of things we want to do and see.  We're go-ers, you see.  We like to go and do things.  And we've been very very lucky that we've been able to go.  Some of that was because of the other parent, but some of the more meaningful camping trips have been mine and mine alone.  It took planning and saving.  The next five years are going to take planning and saving.  I'm lucky that I am typically able to take 2 or 3 weeks in the summer to do stuff.  But it is still going to take planning and saving.

Here's the run down:

#1 (this year) Northwest Tour: Portland, Seattle, camping on Orcas Island with our dear friends (whose daughter I secretly hope lures William in 15 years to marry her).  Then down the coast to San Francisco where Wm really wants to see Alcatraz and then possibly several more days in Yosemite.

The next several could be in any order:

#2 Southwest Tour: Grand Canyon, Pueblo, Carlsbad Caverns, Lake Powell and the like.

#3 Eastern Tour: Washington DC, Monticello, perhaps some Civil War sites.

#4 Island Tour: Hawaii.  This one will only really work if we can tag along with some friends who have a condo there.  But We've talked about it and now it is on my calendar.  I think she'd on the Big Island but I really want to go to Kauai too.  Volcanoes and stuff.

#5 British Isles Tour.  This would be for Wm's graduation.  He really wants to go to England.  I've never seen Paris.  How bad could Ireland or Scotland be?  I mean, really?

So as you can see, the planning part of my brain has swung into action.  Planning and saving.

I've only got FIVE years.  And then I'm left for three years with a teenage girl (heaven help us all) and then they are gone.  GONE.  If I had had more children, I wouldn't be left an empty-nester before 50.  But there you go.  So go we must.

Planning and saving.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Got The JOB!

As many of you know, I decided that working THREE part-times jobs wasn't really working for me anymore.  I purposely pulled back to part-time several years ago, but over the last few years the part-
time work has ramped up significantly to be full time (if not more) without the benefits of full time.  I knew I would need to go back eventually, but then the recession hit and there just aren't that many jobs in my profession anyway never mind that the first thing that gets cut when funding gets tight is the arts.

Anyway, this is the first year there have been significantly more jobs posted (and by significant, we're talking around a dozen.  Yes, that's right 12 for THE ENTIRE COUNTRY).  So I applied.  Not for all of them, but most.  The response has been positive.  I was sent rejection emails from 3 schools--2 of which I was over-qualified for and one was in FLORIDA-so no love lost there.  Three others chose to interview me. YAY!  I've flown to New York, Pennsylvania and Kansas.  I feel like an old pro at this.  If you include the interviews I did after grad school, I've interviewed nationally at 11 schools.

And then there were multiple job offers.  I can't even begin to explain how great it felt to know that other universities out there saw the value in how I've spent my time and energy over the past many years.  To know that I was competitive.  It was very validating.  And of course, it is my year...

And then there was a last minute contender. UVU decided to switch one of its Full time tenure track lines over to costume design.  So I applied.  And I interviewed.  And today they officially offered me the job.  And I took it.  I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled we won't have to move and uproot kids and dog and all that goes with moving (been there, done that), but also because I really like teaching at UVU.  If you're surprised by that, so was I.  It is actually a different school than when I started teaching a makeup class there 7 years ago, and waaaaaaay different from when I started college.  I like my students and I like my colleagues there.

I start in August and I'm sure there will be growing pains as there is with all new jobs (and this one is really new), but I'm happy to stay and continue to build my life here.  Plus, I really love the mountains. Kansas would actually have been a great job, but man...not so much as a sledding hill in sight.

The part of my brain that likes to plan things can now switch from "what if we have to move" to building new syllabi and decorating my office.   I really like to have my calendar pretty well mapped out for 6 months (and tentatively for about a year-really, I do), so the uncertainty was killing me!

And yay!  ONE job (I'm sure there will be some shows I take on, but they won't be as necessary) WITH health insurance and WITH benefits.  Maybe my kids won't have to take me in when they're grown.  YAY!

So moving upward and onward.  Molding young theatre brains as best as one can.  Who knew I'd end up a college professor? Go Wolverines!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Notes to the Interviewers

I've just concluded a round of interviews at schools all over the country.  I had decided last year that working full time as a part time adjunct faculty at multiple universities was a waste of my time and energy and also I've started to panic about retirement, so it was time to move into a full time, tenure track position.

There were qualities I was looking for in a position, and think I ended up interviewing at a pretty good
group of schools.  My particular field is so specific that there are not many positions out there in any given year, but this year several opened up and it seemed like a good year to go back to full time for realzies.

ALL the places I interviewed were very nice with many passionate people that clearly know what they are doing and LOVE to teach.  However, as someone at the battering end of the interview process, I have a few suggestions to make the process easier on me and you (for the record this is not a list of things schools did wrong--some of them are things schools did right that I noticed made a difference.):

1. Before 8:00 am is too early to start the day.  Especially if the person is coming to the east coast from the west coast.  You're going to kill them.  Also, they won't be as coherent as you or they'd like to be.

2.  On that same note: Get the girl a coke.  or coffee, or whatever.  It takes a lot of energy to keep up appearances all day long. Also a bottle of water.  We don't know where the drinking fountains are and we end up talking All DAY LONG.

3. DO find out if the person being interviewed has any special dietary needs.  I don't, nor am I picky, but I'll bet this is important for some people and they may not want to ask for special consideration.  For me, I always want dessert.  ALWAYS.

4. Remember, you're being interviewed too.  If I'm going to pack up my life, my house, my kids, the dog and the kitchen sink and move it across the country, I want to know that this job and town is a good fit.  Have materials ready for me--anything I might want to know that concerns my job: budgets, benefits, classes I will be expected to teach (especially in the upcoming fall semester), a list of the next season's shows...etc.  Oh, and salary.  Someone should know what this position pays.

5.  Please be efficient with the schedule.  I'm busy.  You're busy, and if you're doing it right you have at least three candidates you have to entertain and shuttle around, all at the the worst possible time of the year.  I may have to find someone to cover my classes and I KNOW you have classes and grading and who knows what to do.  If you can fit it all in a day or day and a half, please do.  I understand how tough scheduling can be, so do your best.  Also, not all candidates need prep time before a lecture or portfolio review--ask us what we need before you schedule in 2 hours of prep time.  I came prepared. I'll probably glance at my notes, but most likely I'll end up checking Face Book.

6.  IF there is downtime, please don't feel like you need to babysit me.  If you are there, I'll feel like I need to talk to you and be all charming and pleasant.  If you're me, that takes an awful lot of work.  I will not be offended nor will I try to escape if you let me out of your site.  I know you're trying to be a good host, but really, if there is going to be "downtime" I'd really rather not sit up quite so straight or smile quite so much for a minute.  Also, I need to check Face Book.

7. Typically the school doing the interviewing pays for the trip out there.  Please be specific about what you will or will not (or as in most cases can and cannot) pay for.  Checked luggage?  Water at the airport?  Parking? I may not ask if you don't offer.  But since I'm looking for job chances are I'll let you pay for every penny.

8.  Please give your candidates a timeline.  From the very beginning.  I know that the wheels of administration in higher education grind slow, but if you are too slow, I will assume you've moved on and aren't considering me anymore.  You may not be able to say where you are in the process, but please don't ignore us.  "We've just started our reviewing process" or "We're still reviewing applications" is a great way to relieve a little stress.  And then as soon as you can, send a little email letting me know you've hired someone and have closed out the hiring process.

9. I know you can't ask me about my personal life and family and if I have kids or not and I'll be careful to try to obey that little HR code too, but you CAN offer up details that I MIGHT be interested in IF those things applied to me.  Like schools in the area (I'm an educator after all), and who we could talk to in the department SHOULD that interest us IF we are offered the job.

10.  And lastly, please be honest.  If there is conflict within the department for whatever reason, at least give me a hint, especially if it will impact (or deals directly) with the job I'm interviewing for.  Maybe I don't need details, but I also don't want to be blindsided on the first day of the semester.  You want to hire the best person for the job for keeps so you don't have to do this again in a year or two and quite frankly, if I'm interviewing for tenure track positions, and have moved across the country for this job, I probably don't want to have to repeat this process again next year.  It's exhausting.

I think I've concluded my interviewing for the year; I'll keep you posted on what ends up happening. For the record, I'm not quite sure at this point. I feel really good about all of my interviews.   I have a lot of options.  Options are good.  But the one thing I feel confident saying to any of the schools I might end up working for is this: I'm a nationally competitive person in my field, who really was that comfortable interviewing and no I really didn't sweat at all and yes all my lectures are that funny and brilliant and you didn't choose poorly (if you choose me--can't vouch for the others ones).  Well done, you.  Well done.

And now we nap.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Portfolio Updates

I know you all have prolly had your fill of Seussical over the last few weeks, what with me and the costumes and the missus performing and Face Book updates and Instagram rehearsals and all, but I just updated my portfolio with production photos.  Take a peek!



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Survival Mode

For nearly six weeks now we've been in what I like to refer fondly as "survival mode" at our house.  Typically they are not this long, but we've had a perfect storm of events all conspiring to take us down.  Luckily we are sturdier than we look.

You all knew I was working on Seussical?  Yes.  And that Anna was in it?  Yes.  So while I was busy trying to get 200 costumes on stage, my dearest had rehearsal every night in Utah County for a month.  Did you know that I live in SLC?  yeah.  About 40 minutes away.  EVERY NIGHT.  And then performances (with matinees) for a week.  We made it through that , but before, and immediately after and still I am also interviewing for jobs ALL OVER THE FREAKIN' COUNTRY.  Seriously.  So for 3 or 4 days at a stretch, I've had to be gone (I'm leaving on my third this week).  Getting people to cover my classes, getting people to take care of The Citizens and run them around to all their stuff...and also do these costumes and teach and get ready for finals and blah blah blah blah.  You get the picture.  I'm sure you also go into Survival mode at your house, it is just for different reasons.

So what does survival mode look like:

  • The bare minimum of laundry gets done and you have to fish it out of the clothes basket yourself.  And if you don't tell me you need a particular something for a particular something?  It didn't get washed.  
  • Weeks of freezer or easy prep food.  Corn dogs, burritos, easy mac,  hot pockets, toast, bagels and applesauce.  Basically stuff kids can fix themselves.  Hardly nutritious.  This was novel for about a week and then they felt the gravity of the situation.
  • The basics got cleaned.  As in, the dishwasher was loaded and run every 3 days and then instead of unloading it, you just use the clean dishes from it.
  • Huck did not get a bath.  We all suffered for this one.
  • Homework.  You are practically on your own.  
  • Hair?  Yeah right.  It takes me 40 minutes to blow out those locks and then another 10 to curl them up again.  It has been pony tail/bun/tied up-o-rama round these parts.

The only thing that saved me was the fact the I neither had to shovel snow nor mow the lawn during this little spate.

I like to think that if you stopped by my house at this point you would merely think I must be really busy and not be grossed out, but I've been in such a fog, I really couldn't say.  And I'm pretty sure the kids still bathed regularly.  So there's at least that.

I'm grateful that we're nearly through.  I cooked dinner tonight for the first time in weeks, and The Citizens each walked through the kitchen and wanted to know who was coming over for dinner....the concept of me cooking for them had already grown so foreign.  But really, I got caught up on laundry this weekend, I have finals to give and grade this week, have one more interview to go and then we can settle into me not cooking for them by choice.

So what do you do when you have to prioritize?  How do you make do?  What do you let go?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

10 Songs to Empower You Today

So I've been thinking a lot about empowerment lately.  Since this is my year, and I feel like I've taken life by horns (so to speak) I've been thinking about how we personally empower ourselves to do good things and make good things happen.  Good things for our lives, our families, our careers.  I know a lot of women who are awesome, but we all have down days, or years...

And while I know we don't always have things in control, I think attitude plays a big role.  So, if you don't feel up to the task today, here are a few songs to help you get there.  And I should say that I made this list thinking specifically of empowering the women in my life, but if they help someone else get through the day...awesome.

You're welcome.

Now go gettem'.

Girl on Fire
Alicia Keys

Katy Perry

Brick House
The Commodores

Best Day of My Life
American Authors

Can't Hold Us Down
Christina Aguilera

I Will Survive
Gloria Gaynor

Good Life
One Republic

Sara Bareilles

Christina Aguilera

and just for fun....
These Boots Were Made for Walkin'
Nancy Sinatra

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Seussical opens today at the Covey Center in Provo.  This is my fourth year doing costume for Center Stage Youth Performers, and surprisingly, this may be my favorite show for them yet.  I think the costumes turned out pretty cute overall and the show itself is pretty fun.

I'm actually not a huge fan of this particular show, but these kids have done a great job this year.  And I'm not just saying that because The Missus is in it this year. But she's pretty cute too.  She plays a who, a thing and a circus clown, and it is terrifying because she seems soooooo in her element.  And I can only blame myself.  And she's um....very, um....very loud.  I'm backstage, but went out into the lobby tonight to get a signal on my phone and despite the fact that there were dozens of kids singing on stage and I was listening through closed doors I could still hear her particular voice.  

If you have smallish people, this is the perfect show to take them to.  An hour and twenty minutes, starts at 7:00, so you are out the door by 8:30, full of lots of fun Seuss characters they may recognize and singing and tons of color and movement.  No dull moments.

You can buy tickets online here. It runs through Saturday.

In the meantime, here are some more pics from dress rehearsal.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mother of a Teen

It happened.  (Or to be technical will happen in 5 minutes....)  I am the mother of a teenage son.
I never intended for this to happen.  And in recent months have begun to suspect I might actually murder my own child out of frustration.  Yet, he lives to reach this milestone.  And to be fair, he  is a sweet, kind, generous soul even if he absolutely refuses to turn in homework he has already done.

Happy Birthday baby boy.  *sigh*

Sunday, April 13, 2014


GUYS.  I met Ira Glass.  Here is proof.  This is also a rare picture of me because I'm not terribly photogenic and refuse to let my picture be taken, but I did in really bad lighting because: IRA GLASS.

If you do not know who that is you are dead to me.
If you would like to pretend you know who that is until such time as you can google him and listen to all 522 episodes of This American Life, I will accept that.

Also, this is my friend Megan whom I lured to Utah from Portland with promises of Ira.   When your friend lives in Portland you have to pull out the big guns to get her to visit.  It worked because she is as nerdy as I am and has as big a voice crush on Mr. Ira as I do.

We got to go to a meet n' greet before the show which is where this pic was taken and we were quite frankly some of the youngest people in the room.  Apparently public radio is really for the 60+ crowd which makes us nerdy and OLD.  Megan waved at him across the room and he came over to talk to us, but then we got star struck and Megan said something about pickles and then the conversation got weird and he just stared at us quietly for a minute and then we took the picture and he went on to people who can hold actual conversations.  He had strep throat so he didn't shake our hands, but I would have risked it.

*Note to self: think of things to ask and say before hand when you are going to meet famous and interesting people so you look less stupid.

We then sort of stalked Doug Fabrizio around the room a bit before we left.

The show was great.  He operated the whole thing from an ipad mini in his hand.  And he danced.   HE DANCED.  And looked like he enjoyed every moment of it.

And now, pretty much, my life is complete.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Wisconsin

Did you know I used to live in Wisconsin?  Yup.  I went there in the summer of 1998 as a first hand for American Player's Theatre in Spring Green, and ended up staying and taking a job in corporate America designing soft goods for the home dept. of Lands' End.  As in sheets, quilts, kids bedding, blankets and towels.  It was an interesting job.

We bought a little house in Mineral Point (pop. 2112) that had been built in 1912.  Our first Christmas we went to a tree farm and chopped our own tree down.  And then when we got it home it was too big to fit through the front door.  So we had a porch tree.  Our house looked so cute.

When we had to put that house up for sale two years later (in November-for another move) we used these pictures.  Our house sold in 5 days.

I can't say I loved living in WI, but I loved so many of our friends that we made there and miss them!  They need to come visit us.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eating Out: Fats Grill

Fat Grill
 2182 S Highland Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84106 (Sugarhouse)

Ok.  First off, I've been trying to diversify my date nights with The Citizens.  If we get the opportunity for me to take one of them out on a date night, I usually let them pick, but I bought a Groupon to this place because it was advertising great burgers (which Mr. Beene loves) and is right around the corner from his art class (convenient).

So last week Mr. Beene and I went, we were there early-ish, but discovered immediately that it was a bar.  The Groupon made it sound like a burger joint that served beer, while this was clearly a bar that served burgers.  They did have a separate dining area and minors could eat there until 7:00, which was fine as we had a full hour to eat and go. It also looks like this is a place for local bands to perform. It is probably a great place for a younger hipper crowd than me.  But we came for food, so it didn't matter so much.

The menu looked pretty good-lots of burgers panini, pizza, wings...but after waiting twenty minutes (and it was not busy) I finally went to the bar to see if we were supposed to order there.  Since I had already talked to a member of the wait staff about having a minor with me and they had informed me that we needed to leave by 7:00 I would have thought getting our order so we could get out would have been a priority.  Not so.  They seemed surprised and said "Oh.  I didn't know you wanted to order food."  We were reading menus, sitting in the dining area for fun...

After giving our orders, the food came out pretty promptly and looked pretty yummy.  I had opted for a bacon-blue burger and Mr. Beene for a traditional bacon cheeseburger.  Sour-dough buns, nice presentation.
Taste, however, was pretty mediocre.  The fries were semi-burnt, dry and hard.  I think they may have been baked, which is great, but they weren't done very well.  The burger and bun were also dry with the bun tasting a bit stale and the burger overcooked.  The bacon and blue bits were tasty but didn't really compensate for the dry burger.  She also brought me a regular instead of diet coke.  

I think individually, none of those things would have bothered me, but when grouped together does not equal a good experience.  I had a great time chatting with Mr. Beene, but we are unlikely to go back.  I'll bet they are a great place to check out the local music scene, but I wouldn't go for the food.  When I asked Mr. Beene what he thought, he shrugged and said it was "just ok."  It really isn't too hard to please a growing teenage boy, so that is probably the worst recommendation of all.

In all, Mr. Beene gave it 1/2 thumbs-up.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Grand Canyon

These pics are from a camping trip we took to the Grand Canyon in 2003.  Citizen #1 was just 2.  Man, he was pretty much the cutest kid ever.
It is hard to believe he will be 13 in just a couple of weeks!

Have a Great Weekend, y'all!