Friday, December 27, 2013

What? I have a blog?

I just remembered I have a blog.  Reading through the posts also reminded me how much I enjoyed writing in said blog.  I might have to pick this back up...

A couple of huge life updates:

1.  I got married!  Remember how I said I really loved all my students in that last post?  Well, there was one I loved a bit more than the others.  Not while he was still my student, mind you!  No dating until after graduation...barely.  I'll admit there was quite a bit of flirting going on there towards the end of the year.  Anyway, it's been 2 and 1/2 years now since I married Brian Owen, and I can't imagine my life without him!  He's my best friend, and the cutest man alive!

2. I've moved.  Twice.  First to Santa Fe, NM a few months after the wedding.  Brian had one year left to finish his BFA.  Once that was done, we moved to Sarasota, FL for him to attend grad school at the FSU Asolo Conservatory.  He's getting his MFA in Acting.  And I couldn't be more proud.  I loved living in Santa Fe, and adore living in Sarasota.  Life is good.

That's my update in a nutshell.  I'll try to make it more exciting in the future, but you'll have to live with this for now.

Actually, I'm not sure if anyone will be reading this...  Do people still blog?  Hmm...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home, home on the range

And no, they're not kidding about the deer and the antelope. This winter I've seen more deer in town - right in front of my house, in fact - than I've seen out of town. One actually ran into my dad as he was driving to work just down the street. And there's been a little baby deer that likes to eat our bushes. He's so cute!

It's been a few months now (okay, almost a year) since I wrote about moving and getting a new job. I think it's high time for an update! And for any of you who may have forgotten...

I moved to Wyoming!!!

Ah yes, lovely Wyoming. Some of you may sense some sarcasm in that remark, but let me assure you, it's completely sincere. I love being from and living in Wyoming. For one thing, there are so few of us (around 500,000) that it should be counted as a rare and unique pleasure to meet someone from this vast, though sparsely populated state. Sure, it may be a little windy - okay, more like "what's the point of a hairdo" windy - but that's all part of its charm. I believe it's one of the best-kept secrets of our nation. What a great place to be! Now if only there were more single, attractive, intelligent men...

*clearing throat* Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Wyoming. I moved here.

I'm working at the best, most fulfilling job I've ever had! And, if you recall, I've had a number of jobs to judge from. Let me list and discuss a few of the things I do for my job:

1. Teach voice lessons. I am basically the vocal department at Western Wyoming Community College. Currently I have 28 students enrolled through the school. I'm not gonna lie - I was a bit apprehensive at first about teaching voice lessons. I'd done it a bit before, but nothing this intensive. Plus, my background is more in conducting and education than private vocal instruction. But, thank heavens, I love teaching voice! It's the best thing in the world when a student has a breakthrough and makes serious progress because of something I've said. And the days where they all have breakthroughs are a literal high for me!

2. Teach choir classes. I have three groups - an SATB choir, a Women's choir, and a Men's a capella group with 7 guys. The a capella group has been around for a number of years, and I was pretty nervous to work with them. Not because I doubted my ability to direct them, but because I wasn't sure what my role was with them. They'd been pretty autonomous before, so I didn't really know what they expected of me. But we've found a good balance and they are so much fun to work with. I love it!!! They're all so talented too, which makes my job so much easier. And they keep me highly entertained, which is a nice bonus feature. As for the other groups, they only started gaining momentum in the last couple of years, and were pretty dinky before that. Fall semester I had 9 people in the SATB choir and that number doubled to 18 in the Spring! They're also incredibly talented and fun to work with. I gotta say, for only 18 people, they sound pretty phenomenal. Watch out GLEE! And the Women's choir is blossoming too. I LOVE directing choirs!!!

3. Teach music classes. I teach sections of Aural Theory, Written Theory, and Singing for the Actor. All of them are way fun for me to teach. Sometimes I wonder if I like teaching so much because I'm an attention hog and a social butterfly... It's possible, pig.

4. Direct vocal music for theatre productions. This is one of the most fun things associated with my job. I LOVE musical theatre and being involved in it so heavily is super rewarding. I think part of what makes it so great is the high quality of the program here. I can't get enough of how much talent there is in our dinky little school! I feel so privileged to be here, I can't even tell you.

That pretty much sums up my job duties. But so much is still left out! My absolute favorite thing about being here is the people. The faculty, community, and students are the BEST! I genuinely care for all my students - they are seriously talented, extraordinarily fun (though some might say "kooky"), and some of the most wonderful people I know! I'm probably a bit biased, but I just love them!!! And I can't say enough about the faculty. I've never known a faculty to be so invested in the lives of the students. They don't just teach these kids, they actually care about them. It's so refreshing to see after becoming a little jaded with the public school system. I'm definitely in the right place.

Alright already, enough of the gushing! I get it.

I LOVE MY JOB!!! And the fact that it's in Wyoming makes it even better.

The only thing lacking (and I may have mentioned this previously) is the lack of social opportunity.

But what do you think the summer's for? *nudge, wink*

Speaking of summer, if anybody has a great idea for a summer job for me, please let me know. I'm on hunt...in more ways than one...

Whoa...that sounds ominous...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"You Threw Off My Groove"

I've had some friends in the blogosphere complain to me about the lack of news coming from my blog lately. Peru is all fine and well, "but what's happening with you???" I get the hint.

Just give me one more little indulgence and I'll get back to my life, okay?

Peru Highlight #3 – Cusco

I absolutely loved this town! It was so utterly charming - everything you'd expect from an up-and-coming international tourist destination, but with a certain degree of coziness. We toured through cathedrals and museums, ate at local restaurants, visited surrounding countryside complete with ancient Incan ruins, and really felt at home there. Such a gorgeous little town!

I will admit that part of the likeable-ness of this town comes from it's name - Cusco. I mean, what's the first thing you think of when you hear that?

*Singing* "What's his name? CUSCOOO!"

Right? Right. Granted, this town had its name long before somebody threw off the emperor's groove, but it's thanks to that movie that we've heard the word before. I'm pretty sure we mentioned that film just about every day we were in Peru. ...Twice...at least...

Seriously though, Cusco was a perfectly charming city in every way. Even in the "scary" parts of town, I never felt too threatened. Here are a couple of things I loved about Cusco:

Qorikancha - a huge Spanish cathedral built on top of the main Inca Temple. Cusco was the Incan capital, but when the Spanish came, they tore down almost every building and used the Incan foundations for all their cathedrals, homes, businesses, etc. The Qorikancha still has several walls intact and is a highly impressive building.

Plaza de Armas - I loved walking around and sitting in this main square. It was so gorgeous and filled with people at all times of the day. Ah, the ambiance.

Marquesas Hotel - This hotel was fantastic! The rooms were all so original and well-maintained. The staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating, and the building itself was so historic with its cobblestone courtyards and original architecture. The breakfast was pretty good too!

Pacha Papa - YUM! What else can I say? This is not the first restaurant we ate at in Peru, but it was easily the best and most authentic. We had our first chicha morada here, as well as some incredibly delicious lomo saltado, some fried papas (4 different kinds), some alpaca steaks, and yummy hot green sauce. I couldn't get enough!

Shopping - You can find anything in Cusco. There is so much to buy! If you can't find it at one store in the right color or fit, just walk to the next booth and you're good to go. I loved browsing the little stores. I probably did a bit too much of that...

So for anyone anticipating a trip to Cusco anytime in the future, whether near or not, be excited...be very excited. I loved every moment I was there!

Hooray for Cusco!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Big Birds

Peru highlight #2:

ANDEAN CONDORS!!!

I don't know how many of you are aware, but these giant birds are so awesome! I've wanted to see one ever since I was a kid watching the Hayley Mills classic, "In Search of the Castaways." In this movie, they travel to the Andes mountains in search of their shipwrecked father and have all kinds of adventures. Here's the clip with the condor if any of you are unfamiliar with this Disney action masterpiece. (You only need to see about the first 3 minutes or so, but the rest is great too!)



Is it any wonder I wanted to witness these winged marvels for myself? To see them, we had to travel to the deepest canyon in the world (in actual depth, not elevation) - Colca Canyon. The canyon itself is quite a sight to see. It's gorgeous, with Incan terraces everywhere. At the top, there's a great place to watch the condors, and there were sooooo many people there to do just that. We did this the day after my birthday, and I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do to celebrate.

Andean Condors are the largest flying land bird. They have a wingspan of 9 to 10 feet! Yep, they're pretty huge... The young ones are brown, and the adults are black with red heads and a white ring of feathers around their necks. They live to be about 50 years old!

Here's a video of the real thing. I give you the Andean Condor!


video


As you can see, they were flying right over our heads! It was so amazing! We watched for about an hour, but I could easily have stayed much longer.


video

One childhood dream...check!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I am a Champion!

Ah, Peru. Land of llamas, mountains, condors, Incas, and coldness. What can I say about you?

Well...a lot, actually.

Probably too much. It's been a few months since Nathaniel and I got back from Peru, so I've had sufficient time to condense the experience into something bloggable...barely. We'll hit only the highlights here, and goodness knows there are enough of those! Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I'll let them do most of the talking.

So, without further ado, here is the first of the Peru 2009 highlights...

Highlight #1 - Lares Trail: 3-day Trek through the Andes to Machu Picchu

If I could have chosen one thing to last longer on our trip, it would have been this. You can visit cities all you want, but there's something special about getting out away from the tourist-trodden path. It's like you learn what makes up the heart of the country. And the heart of Peru is indescribably breathtaking/amazing/glorious/majestic/resilient/magnificent/stunning/wonderful.

Allow me to describe what this trek was like. 'Trek' is an appropriate word for this adventure. It doesn't do it justice to call it merely a 'hike.' My friend Tanya and I prepped months in advance for this by hiking all around the Vegas valley every Monday. I was SO grateful we did that, because I think (or, rather, know) it really helped a lot.

We had the most awesome tour guide in the entire universe! His name was Isaac and he was a huge part of what made this so enjoyable. He called us "champions" the entire time and was super supportive, and hilarious to boot! This is him in the yellow shirt. Half of our group's jokes from this trip were inspired by Isaac's awesomeness. He was the best!

We had originally planned on doing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. That's the really famous one that everyone and their dog goes on (and there were definitely a lot of dogs...everywhere in Peru). I read up on it online and everyone talked about how challenging it is and how you have to train months in advance to do the Inca Trail. Well, the permits for that trail were sold out by the time we decided to do a trek, so we signed up for the Lares Trek. We were eating lunch on the first day, and discovered that the Lares Trek is actually MORE difficult than the Inca Trail. Surprise! Yeah, thanks for that one Isaac... Apparently, the Inca Trail goes over only one mountain pass, and on the Lares Trail, we conquered three! And all of them were well over 14,000 feet! Just to put it in perspective, the Grand Teton's peak is at just over 13,000 feet. And these were the passes! The peaks in the Andes were much higher than that. Talk about majestic...The Lares Trail also passes through some Incan villages. Here the people still farm, herd llamas and alpacas, and live in stone huts. It was absolutely eye-opening. These people have so little and are humble and meek, yet know how to take care of what they do have. What a valuable lesson for we who have possibly too much.

A few other things about the Lares Trail:

- The food was INCREDIBLE!!! We had a few chefs that went with us and cooked gourmet meals on the trail. I don't know if it was because we were burning calories like crazy, but I don't think food has tasted so delicious to me as it did those few days. I'm salivating now just thinking about it...

- I also don't think I have ever been colder in my life than nights spent on the Lares Trek. August in South America is the end of the dry season (which is just a nice way of saying 'winter'). It. Was. Cold. Understatement of the year. I thought I would be fine the first night. I put on layers and bundled up in my mummy bag...and froze...literally. (Okay, maybe not literally. I just wanted you to feel the coldness.) Good thing I was also exhausted. I managed to get a little sleep. I learned my lesson though. The next night I had on my long johns, sweats, three pairs of socks, t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt, windbreaker, polar fleece, alpaca wool sweater, scarf, hat, and mittens. Yeah, that was enough...barely...

- I love the Andes. They are some of the most... (again, words fail me) ...mountains I've ever seen. It had been a dream of mine to visit the Andes ever since I was a kid watching "In Search of the Castaways" with Hayley Mills. Plus, I love Andes mints. Now that I've been there, I pray someday that I can go back and spend more time in them. It was a journey I'll never forget.

(Cheesy, I know, but whatcha gonna do?)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Before you ask...

Yes...I do know how long it's been since I've posted something. My reasons are as follows:

- moved from Vegas
- 2 weeks in Peru
- weekend in the Tetons
- painting rooms in house
- prepping for new job
- unpacking from the move

I believe these reasons provide ample justification for my scanty (okay, nonexistent) blogging.

This post is just to inform anyone out there that I am still alive and well. I'll be posting a few Peru blogs complete with photos, stories, and much more (maybe) soon. As soon as I get my computer back up and running...

Thank you. That is all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Need a Topic

Wow - I can't believe it's been almost a whole month since I've written anything. It doesn't seem like I've done anything lately that's worth writing about in my blog for the whole world to see. I just can't think of anything that's blog-worthy.

For example, should I write about the few days I spent at home organizing and cleaning in preparation for the big move? Camille and I made a two-day marathon out of the whole thing, and man, we have a lot of stuff.

Or should I write about the trip to Lake Powell with friends? Do people even care that I tried water-skiing for the first time and never quite made it? Or what about camping on the beach and the insane wind storms we got to experience? Of course, it was way fun and might make for a good blog, but who can say?

Maybe I should write about helping out with the play this year, "The Wizard of Oz." Kate and I are manning the spotlights for it and having a good time cracking jokes over the headset. Plus we get to see good friends every night! Is that even interesting?

How about this little tidbit? I finished the Yellowstone video after months of grueling labor. Our preview party was great and everyone really loved it! I was so happy with the final result, but do any of my blog readers really care?

Perhaps some people may be interested in how I spend my days, now that I'm living the life of the unemployed... I have to make to-do lists every morning just so I can actually get things done. It's amazing how time really flies when you don't have a job to go to every morning. I just don't know if that stuff is blog-able!

Would it be interesting to read about how I'm preparing for my Peru trip? About how I've been hiking every Monday with Tanya to train for the Lares Trail? About how I've been exercising every day on top of that, but still haven't lost any weight!?! About how I spent a fortune at REI just to get everything I need to go down there and spend more money?

Should I write about how I'm already starting to feel phased out? How, with about a month left to go in Las Vegas, I feel like the time is just slipping away until The Big Move? How people around me (and me too, actually) are already moving on with their lives and starting to break ties? How that makes me a little sad?

Nah...

I just can't think of anything to write about. Hopefully I'll get over this writer's block soon, but I make no promises...