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

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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, 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.