Adventures of a Drama Teacher

{February 10, 2017}   I really want to thank the Lord

Ubantu-Humanism, I can’t help but sing to the high heavens and be grateful. My formative spiritual life based off of Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell. These shows cemented my life in theatre and we’re my first introduction to the Bible stories. I mean sure I hung with the after school Bible club ever once in a while in grade school, my parents took us to church once on Christmas with friends, and we had the privilege of attending an international Catholic school in Europe for a short sojourn in my junior high days.  It was that sojourn that my big bro and I purchased our first vinyl copy of both the original Broadway version and the movie soundtrack of Superstar which we both had only seen once many years earlier when my parents dropped us off at the local movie house/baby sitter. I was in the second grade my bro two years my senior when Ted Neeley’s vocal talents first enlightened our musical tastes. My parents bought us an eight track tape which we wore out.  Both of us fell in love with it then, we memorized every word. I did color pictures of some bible people in kindergarten, I recall, but not enough to recall much of the stories. I wanted to be Mormon when I loved Donny Osmond in the fourth grade and I wanted to be Lutheran when I loved Paul Daughtery in the 10th. But never enough to actually follow religion. I wasn’t baptized as a child. My mom brought us up on “Do unto others. Love thy neighbor” but not much more.  It’s been almost six years since I gave my mustard seed to Jesus in a bathtub in the Narrows Inn in Ketchikan with my friend Taya.  I must say there has been a greater peace for me. I have had to come to a compromise with the man upstairs that I am where I am supposed to be; Teaching kids, teaching here in Oregon. It’s hard when your love is a mariner/ pilot and you love what you do, and he loves what he does including flying on frozen lakes and going glider flying and scuba diving and all the wonderful activities that are 97% sure to puke for you, but I’d risk it and have many times in heartbeats to be with the one I love. Unfortunately, or fortunately I have a job/career, that is also wonderful, exhilarating and time consuming but it keeps me in one area for a contracted time, no just up and go to Arizona or Alaska or Fiji willy nilly, I can only do those things on summer break or Christmas, and those things don’t always align with Magyver Bond, the OO7 of Wolf Creek. So I continue with the job I love and pray that I am where I am supposed to be and always look out for a theatre/English teacher position in Ketchikan and continue to write and create and guide our next generation of humans who are kind to one and other and think about their actions and how it affects others. And when I do my musical lesson plans I can use both JCS and Godspell to teach and learn and to live in the spirit for as long as I want. I get to do that. I get to walk into this big beautiful auditorium every day and teach these amazing kids and make theatre (I get motion sick sometimes here too, lol, dancing or walking down the spiral staircase of the outrageous catwalks). It’s so fun but I miss my love. So let’s just pray fellow praying type peeps that OO7 and my schedule aligns and or my plays take off so I can have a more convenient type job, or whatever because it’s God’s call. I am so grateful I have a job I love, a beautiful warm home, a smart handsome son and a furry best friend that I honestly S%#& rainbows. Speaking of rainbows Shambala Project is coming and we started with our Big Brother pre-shoot stuff and costumed some of Our Town today. It was a good day. Gotta get some sleep. Friday performances tomorrow and I think I just might perform some JC Superstar. Time to turn the kids on to my passion play. ”All good gifts around us come from Heaven above, oh thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love.”


{January 16, 2017}   a better place


I have lost track of the snow days. I may have gone all “Here’s Johnny” by now but instead I chose to slay the Purple Dragon once again by painting my (turns out to be a lot bigger than I thought) walk in closet. It’s just what I do. Pull on the overalls, zone out to my favorite rock and roll and let my mind go as I dance paint. I know it will delight me when I am triumphant. But in order to win, one must play the game. It reminding me of another meditative paint fugue I went into 5 or so years ago in Alaska.

closet girl.jpg

Painting is therapeutic to me. Color is therapeutic. Once my world is in order I can sit down and focus on my writing. A Theory of a Deadman, Who, Tom Petty. Still want CCR, Eagles, and have notes already on Kix. I love music, I love writing, I can’t make myself stop. I hope I have time for puppet shows this year, they turned out so well last year. But alas, how many days have we lost to Mother Nature’s cold streak now? We’ll be lucky to be ready for regionals much less state etc and our winter and spring shows for that matter!



On the bright side Morrison is improving daily, getting skinnier and happier by the day. He’s worked so hard to lose 75 lbs since July! I wish he’d let me take a picture but alas pictures and males in my life have never mixed too well with this social media stuff. But I digress, I was thinking during my paint fugue that Mr. Mojo Rising will be entirely able to move out or take care of himself financially and physically in a few years, then I can do whatever I want to do! I mean I love, love, love my job and want to stay here/there till at least my niece Chelbi graduates and I get to produce more of my bucket list shows and promote my own work. But I have also always dreamed about living in a place in Ketchikan and writing and spending  time at Wolf Creek and writing in the little cabin there. Then there’s acting work in LA and artist work in LA I could work for Johnny Depp in a roundabout way if I wanted to work for Gregg in LA. I could teach in any place in the world, I have and I could (as long as I could take my dog I would) , I could go to LA with Cathy and do extra work and read books and write, write, write. I could go back to Mesa, act in professional Shakespearean  playsa and be warm at night.  I could go back to school and get my PHD?eye-on-prize Oh lord the world is an oyster to me!!  Problem is I won’t eat oysters. Unless I had to sell it for an acting job. I know the kinds of jobs I’d get too. Lol.

I got to get up early and put my closet back together. I am making this house everything I want it to be if I choose to stay here for at least 10 years you see. You never know. Stay tuned for the show. Pictures will be included. Happy 2017 my lovelies, what is most important is being kind to every person, place and thing you come into contact with including yourself, leave the world a better place for having YOU in it. Ubuntu

{January 2, 2017}   2017 is…

Snow outside my window, again, the last day off before school or will it be? Happy New Year 2017!  2016, what a rush! Not just in the beginning where I was still so new to my job at Sandy High but the world had/has gone crazy too and finished like the meme of the dude going down the slide and wiping out uncontrollably at the end (maybe I can link it).

But as I finished my sit ups listening to one of my favorite Tom Petty songs, well I’d say the Tom Petty song that might describe me the most , “I won’t back down” I think of how to sum up 2016 and go into 2017. I guess I haven’t told you my thespians won the NWOC (North West Oregon Competition?) with Vowels, we swept the student director, and actor awards there too in February. We produced a very 80s version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in May, brilliant and fun, I loved every minute of it and Gregg designed and came up here from LA and built/rigged our set. Too bad Sandy is not yet cultured to Shakespeare, but they soon will be. This show we used Bunraku puppetry, lots of great light effects and rock and roll icons, I’ll post a pic here




If was a tough year on Morrison, he lost his best friend and was struggling with the transition moving to Sandy from Mesa. He did though, graduate, still a year early and now has finished his first semester in community college. He has grown tall and good looking. He is who he is though. Summer for me was spent working with Morrison on finishing high school, hiking with the dog, conceptualizing Annie and at school learning my auditorium and the inventory, I got a week in Alaska and the rest was learning, learning, learning electronics and film, just whatever I can teach myself and with the help of my high tech kid and students. I even have an Instagram now. I have snapchat too, just not the time to play around enough to capture a fabulous enough selfie to post. Oh my gosh, the best or one of the best things of 2016 is I/we bought my house in Sandy, and (you must picture Molly Shannon here when I say this) I  love it, love it love it!! Thank you Captain Sam!

I finally just painted my bedroom Purple Dragon same color as my bedroom in Arizona.

And again picture Molly Shannon here, I love it, I love it, I love it! I guess I am easily pleased. My Christmas break didn’t go as planned, we didn’t ski or do a photo shoot because no how matter how good you are, life happens and my BFF Cathlin’s brother died unexpectedly so we again had to stop and take into account how lucky we are to live each day and to be loving to every person you come into any kind of contact with whether it be face to face or in this cyber space of the internet world. We didn’t pencil this into our plans. I did though get to spend time with Gregg and his elderly parents, I met up with fellow Sandy High Thespians for lunch (down town Portland, you go girl, big city) Oh I went to Portland, drove and took my niece Chebi and my BFF cradle baby cousin Tina to see Wizard of Oz and it was great! Loved the multimedia. See I am not such a homebody! I saw several of the plays that Sandy Actor’s Theatre performed this year with Tina, Chebi and Sarah, oh and Tiff, Shakespeare Unabridged. Kind of freaked her out, but theatre people do freak non-theatre people out sometimes. See my year was full, yes it was! As I sit here on my gorgeous Captain’s bed, a birthday present 2010, that makes me feel like a Queen I realize I made it through another birthday, my lovelies all here save Cathlin (still dealing with brother issues) and Sarah didn’t come over because of…snow.

I need to go into school and grade journals, I did not procrastinate, really, we have had several snow days, and I have been in and out of the school for other reasons all break, I still haven’t listened to Godspell and that was on my list, I watched High School Musical last night with Chelbi and decided against it, it just doesn’t do it for me, even though I love, love, love the collector’s book Grama Romey dropped off for me. It’s now maybe Beauty and the Beast (I have done it before and it is a killer, or, Sweet & Innocent, that is what I am proposing) which door will they choose?

So here we are contemplating 2017, Ubantu be kind; here are my classroom rules and this covers everything really 1)Be Kind (don’t be mean unless in a scripted scene) 2) don’t waste time (this you cannot get back) 3) Don’t litter (respect yourself and the world) Remember you cannot help others unless you take care of yourself first. Breathe, meditate on peace. I love you all. GRIFFIN Then David Bowie Let’s Dance comes on the radio reminds me of Whobabe and my student Arianna and how much I love my life.



{December 18, 2016}   I am because we are.

Cathy and me sometime in the 90s?

I guess I best procure some new skis if I am to succumb to the Pacific Northwest which I traded for the snowbird life style of the South West.


Relaxing in AZ


I guess I can go back there to “vacay” as the high school kids would call it, but not this Christmas as oo7 is on ships this year, and right now he’s finishing off his secret mission to Fiji. So alas we are in the beautiful Pacific North West under what my BFF Cathy Kennedy has been calling “Snowmagedden”. In the last two weeks we missed a total of six days of school. In the 13 years I was in Mesa, we never missed a day because of weather. It is kind of nice though, as I get the projects done around the house like dance vacuuming etc. You all know how I love to dance clean? Listening to my loyal KGON (since high school days man, this be the station I dig while in the PDX realm) so I go with the flow. Which is another gift from God, it takes me so many places, especially a lot of the British Invasion, and The Who. So I have to stop and think of how lucky I am to be alive and to have the choices I have in life. I am ever so excited to be directing, again, Our Town, and stage managing Shambala, and all the fun and exciting activities I have planned for the new year. But over Christmas break I have Gregg in town, Becky’s party, Rob’s party and my birthday photo shoot, and hopefully at least one day ski, that is my yearly goal, so it may happen over this holiday break. It will be a goal if I get chains for my car today, as it is after all Sunday, and technically a day of rest. I did do sit ups though, God, and there’s dog do in the yard, is that work? Yes, that is, that is work. But sometimes OCD just sets in. Let’s just see if Gregg can cajole me out of the house.

{December 11, 2016}   Snow Day 4

Snow day 4

My Whobabe talks to me every day with our drink 10 gulps of water every time you take a drink of water and maximize your life because it might be gone before you think, oh and take no bull$%^&. That was Erica #whobabe my model, dancer, actress, fitness instructor, LA roommate, fellow Disney partner in crime, movie fan, Lost Boys fan, Beatles fan, fellow dessert fiend, West Side Story fellow Anita, hitch a ride to Honolulu, Cher impersonating friend

.tomi erica.png

Every time The Who comes on the radio there’s a lesson in there and she speaks. My mom speaks too, with Erica in Beatles songs. It’s awesome. I got to go backstage with Erica at the 2000 Hollywood Bowl Tour and we had up front center seats.


At the time she was married to Alan Childs

who was a drummer for The Who periodically, she went on their Tommy Broadway Musical Tour, (that’s why she liked me, because my name is Tomi).

erica alan.png

I am not fat here, I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Morrison.

It was wonderful to watch Erica live her dream. She became friends with The Who. Roger called her at her living celebration of life. I had to miss it as I was moving up to Oregon and I had just passed through her California town up and back from Oregon/Alaska to Arizona. We watched Across the Universe (Beatles Juke Box musical) with my niece Sarah on the way up, and one of our favorites, my favorite as you know, Jesus Christ Superstar,  on the way back down. Then when I got the job, Mo and I had to bee-line it for Oregon, and she passed soon after that. I am glad that we had gotten the Disney time and the movie nostalgia visits. She even made me take her/sneak her out for onion rings on that last trip, my stubborn friend. It was hard to say goodbye. She had chatted with me, well, texted, she couldn’t really talk anymore, about Oregon’s assisted suicide laws that summer when I was up in Alaska. I looked them up, she was far too gone to move to Oregon and get approved for that.

Day 4 SNOW DAY, cabin fever sets in. I had to finally go out as I was totally out of Diet Coke. I braved the treacherous streets for the caramel colored liquid toxin. Now that’s an addiction, Erica did not go for unhealthy things. Oh except when we splurged on desserts. She never gained weight, just a bundle of excitement she was.

It’s time to feature a few more students:

Brittney Peters- My Little Red in Into the Woods, has booked and performed in the new Frankenstein off Broadway musical. She took the Best solo Musical Award at the Arizona Thespian Festival the year I took her.

Grace Baldridge is a comedienne in LA, she was one of my students in Belgium. Super talented singer, actress, and comedian.

Allison Campell- My Belle in Beauty and the Beast. LA based actress/singer.

Jacob Paap-USMC, ARMY This kid! Married another student Katy they have two gorgeous little boys. I based a character-the lead in Buying My Way into Heaven on him.


Billy and Ashley Nichols. Teachers Science and English but still heavily involved in medieval sword fight reenactments. These are the kids that cajoled me home from Europe. They met in my 7th grade performing arts class and are married several years now. Billy’s mom, is one of my BFFs.

So as you can see, theatre leads to adventure, thinking outside the box.

I’ll end this entry with more tribute to my Whobabe, who I plan on writing a musical for. So every time I listen to the The Who, Beatles, Queen, god so much music reminds me of her. Our song was “I got my mind set on you” George Harrison. We would blast it in the discotheque of the 80s aerobics room at Hollywood Holiday Health Spa where we met. We would dance like maniacs across the floor. But that’s a story for another day. Gotta get this posted, and with pictures it can be tricky. I love you all!!!!


{December 9, 2016}   Snow Day 2

I got the Carharts and only wore them once to school in Mesa,


then they ended up staying in Alaska, I wear them when I summering up north in the last frontier. They were scratchy and too short for my long legs.



It’s been over two years since I’ve written in Adventures of a Drama Teacher, or on any specific personal project at all, so much has happened.


First of all, not long after my last entry my mother passed away (breast cancer), it is an emotional recall that I don’t want to recall. She was 72.


A year after that one of my BFFs Whobabe also passed of a horrible disease called Multiple Systems Atrophy. She was 48. My BFF Gregg, Mo and I took her to Disneyland as a dying wish. These events put a new perspective on life for me.



So let’s skip the two years of dark writing hiatus and get to where we are today.

My dream position in my hometown in Oregon, my high school alma mater,  finally opened up and I got the job.


I prayed so hard on the decision to leave Red Mountain, Mesa and Arizona. It was bitter sweet, one year after my mom died. But this area has my family and friends as well as 007s. Morrison will and is finally getting to know his extended family; he graduated from high school (a year early) and now is attending Mt. Hood Community College. He’s tall and handsome and still ever so opinionated but keeps totally to himself most of the time. I don’t care if he’s opinionated as long as he talks to me. He’s highly intelligent but different in the Asperger’s Syndrome sense. Hopefully someday he’ll like hanging out with his ole’ ma, like I liked hanging out with mine. He did turn me onto a new favorite band Theory of a Deadman, and I got to meet them. It was surreal, I felt like a fangirl. I want to write a play for their music (I’ve written a sketchy outline). They’re now up there with Sammy Hagar and Donny Osmond.


My new school which is my old school, which now is a brand new school is really high tech and beautiful. My facilities are like The Mesa Arts Center.


I just put on an elaborate production of Annie which was very well attended and received in this quaint mountain community.


I did The Tempest last year among three productions, which my friend Gregg, who is the production designer to the stars in LA, designed and built my set.


I got friends in low places.

Speaking of friends, let me brag about some of my ex-students:


Taylor Sackson with her band Vintage Wednesday opened for Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding last Saturday. We connected over our mutual love  (my mom’s too) of Fleetwood Mac, I taught her for four years and she was many a lead in a musical (and straight play for that matter), including my Lydia/Lola in  The Road to Shambala and originated Olive in my Donny Osmond musical Sweet & Innocent. I based the character of Marin in Buying My Way into Heaven, my Sammy Hagar piece, on Taylor Sackson.

Casey Ellings is booking away in LA! I have never had such a hard working student and actress, she was on my writing team for Shambala. One of the sweetest people I know.

Castille Ritter is a costume designer for Michael Jackson’s One Cirque du Soleil in Vegas, she designed the costumes for Shambala.

Morgan Evans writer/director/ actor for several late night talk show hosts, Host of Teen Wolf after show on MTV, has his own show on MTV with his side kick since my 7th grade performing arts class Tim Mahoney. I am so glad I made them write silly stories.

These are but a few of my students that are on the brink of stardom, I also have many, many students that have gone on to be successful in copius other occupations in which theatre played an important role. I will feature them in future entries as I have been writing two and a half years worth of catch up today.

I have some wonderful and talented students here in Oregon too. One young lady who happens to be the niece of one of the first classmates to befriend me my freshman year in high school, Trinity Rodrigues,  the niece of Becky Rodrigues, is a talented costume designer like Castille and she also acts, writes, directs, lights, set, you name it. She wants to be a theatre teacher. She is going to direct a Shambala workshop so we’ll see what comes out of that, it will be our spring show, we’re going to film it, because I got me some brilliant film students too.  Another talented and gifted student, Riley-Boy, will hopefully take on assistant directing Our Town with me this winter.

That brings us to today, snow day see my new/old home town is at the foot of Mt. Hood. I can finally get caught up on things, rest mostly on my beautiful purple captain’s bed with my dog warming my feet, Annie as wonderful as it was, done tuckered me out. But now I am looking forward to the Christmas Holidays, my annual birthday photo shoot. (Hey I didn’t do one last year) and maybe doing Our Town again. OO7 is off saving the day as he does, trying to wrangle a deal in Fiji. TTFN Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!! I love you all!!!

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{March 20, 2014}   The Life of a Drama Teacher

ImageI just procured myself a new set of coveralls/overall, Carhartts to be exact. After two trips to Sears, and the dreaded mall with no luck, I finally succumb to ordering on the internet. I hope they fit. Point being I wanted the ones that look like the ones my man wears. I find a man in work clothes; you know heavy work, sexy. I guess he does too, I mean, like the work clothes thing, he likes me best in my Carhartts/overalls/coveralls whatever, I have worn out three pair in our relationship tenure. He’s off again, working, as I finally get a chance to write, six days into spring break, where I’ve done literally nothing but catch up since he left, and I am still not caught up. The life of a teacher; and a theatre teacher at that. Our Town looms immediately when school starts up, a new principal is taking over, I’ve asked for a raise at school, my son has had a miracle girlfriend since Christmas time that has pulled him somewhat out of the trenches of the abyss of teenage angst only to have her family moving them across the nation to Florida at the end of this school year. My focus, or most important focus, is of course my son, his health and happiness.  I contacted an agent who wants to package my Donny Osmond jukebox musical (if I can get all the permission). I have done the preliminary ground work on all permissions requested but have yet to get a response from Donny, and only Sony/ATV of the copious music publishing/song publishing companies has gotten back to me on permission and royalty payment information, and even Sony hasn’t given permission or price yet. It’s a wonder that jukebox musicals get produced at all. I guess my next step is send the email request again, and package all for snail mail request as well? We are producing, again, under the ascap education umbrella The Road to Shambala but have requested permission and royalty payment package from all the publishers that be as well. It’s funny these music publishing companies don’t want to make money? Why don’t they get back to you? So the metaphorical pounding of payment continues. My students debated the superiority of The Road to Shambala over Sweet and Innocent  in an argumentative paragraph for PARCC and Common Core preparation after Sweet and Innocent being the interest of the literary agent and a possible Broadway package. The majority thinking that The Road to Shambala has better music and theme. Some students, though, the ones who’ve gotten the privilege of reading Buying My Way into Heaven (RED), think that the raw, gritty realism of RED makes it a better script, which doesn’t matter anyway without the Red Rocker’s permission.  So there I am, or here I am, in my fiftieth year wondering about the choices I’ve made in life. Our culture influences our creative thought and there is nothing original under the sun, only the scaffolding to build something new. It is our influences that give us inspiration yet, we still continue to doubt that maybe success with this particular project is not meant to be, then you think but it IS Sammy Hagar and Donny Osmond that influenced so much creativity in my life and they taught me/the world not to give up on our dreams. So I am putting it out there again, the world needs a Sammy Hagar musical and a Donny Osmond musical, and The Road to Shambala is just damn cute especially if you love The Wizard of Oz. The Road to Shambala is a great way to introduce children to diversity.  So hurry Carhartts get here, so I can continue to build with my students and create a new version of Shambala for future advertisement and package sales. Let my son’s involvement in this project influence his happiness. Stay tuned. AND I am massively bummed that Sammy and The Wabos will be here on  April 5th, which of course is OUR TOWN. The life of a DRAMA TEACHER!!!!!Image

{July 17, 2013}   Go away little bear

Me & DingoCauldron dropDoggie on Dance platform


Go away little bear, go away medium sized bear, black bear just “Go away!!!” I am not supposed to be alone with you.

I am back where eagles fly. Wolf Creek, Alaska where I pen my hopefully someday famous juke box musicals. I just finished the rough draft of my latest, “Sweet and Innocent” done with the greatest hits of Donny Osmond. “The Road to Shambala” with the greatest hits of Three Dog Night is currently being shopped by producers; and not yet after one year of personal and electronic attempts have I heard anything from the Red Rocker camp besides (we have passed on the scripts to Sammy and his manager to enjoy), no endorsement or comments thus far on” Buying My Way Into Heaven” with the music of Samuel Roy Hagar, my spiritual enlightenment piece.

After observing four rather large eagles fly past the bay view bedroom window I share with my spouse OO7, on our island Shangri-La, I am placated that this flying feathered fowl foretaste assures me that God, and the god of all rock and roll stars, and I are linked in the cosmos. So patience is my friend.

I am excited to begin work-shopping” Sweet and Innocent” with my students when I return down south to commence another school year.

This year has been different in the company that has tagged along with me on my annual sojourn-a high school friend, fellow artist and dog lover (the tallest girl in school for all those who went to school with me) is with me and gone is my teenage son Morrison James aka  Mojo, who stayed south and attended camp in Oregon so he could be with kids his own age. Unfortunately,  Mojo missed our Dingo Dog’s obsession with the two seals that tease the pooch daily by flapping their tails until the cute k9 swims out in the bay to meet them-only to have the sea-dogs dive and come up and slap their tails again yards away. It looks to me as if the seals are saying, “hehe hehehe can’t catch me land doggie”. I promised Mojo to watch carefully over our pup pup-but in the great outdoors which is monikered “Seward’s Follies”, that it is nearly impossible to keep a curious k9 behind on my daily hikes; when a pod of killer whales swam past the place, OO7 did make sure to hold the Dingo’s collar and we were careful not to alert the pup to their presence. How do I explain to my son that our dog was devoured by killer whales? I also had to communicate with a rather large eagle that was thinking about my dog; I could see it in his eyes, I could. “That’s my baby” I said when Eagle and I had eye contact. It gave me a look that said, “He’s too big, I was just thinking about it.”

I do believe, though, that our doggie is smarter than I realize as for the first time in the 12 years I have vacationed in this Alaskan wilderness, I came, or should I say a bear came rather close to where I was enjoying my daily meditational, exercise dance hike. I know the score- make lots of noise etc. (I always do-singing at the top of my lungs whatever songs I am working on at the time). This year on my first hike I spied several piles of what I determined to be bear scat but didn’t really think too much on’t.  But a few days ago whilst I was visualizing to the Donny Osmond song, “Go Away Little Girl” at my waterfall platform I heard a mighty crashing behind me (which was hard to hear considering I was listening to the 70s Teen Bop Star in my earphones AND the waterfall itself is rather loud) but a crashing sound I did hear to turn around and see a rather medium sized black bear across the ravine from me! I didn’t totally freak as there was a ravine between us, and I immediately started fumbling with my iphone to get the video going, started worrying about Dingo Dog maybe pursuing chase while singing” Go Away Little Bear, Go away medium sized bear”, that’s a black bear not the scary brown bear, oh maybe I should be scared?” Go away bear,  you go!” It ran faster then and disappeared into the dense forest before I could get the video going.  It was big, not a cub, cubs are what you really gotta be watching out for.  Or their mothers that is. So I decided to ascend from my waterfall haven to tell the tale to our company. Since then I have been a little more aware on my hikes and Dingo Dog stays closer. In fact the very next hike he wouldn’t move from the dance platform. He’s better now, but today we realized that there is a fallen tree that goes across that ravine so if the bear, or a bear, or if we wanted, a traverse could be done quite easily. Hmmmm, food for thought. I do not want to be food for thought.

It’s been a warm one, the whole trip from leaving Mesa, a stay in Las Vegas with a glorious Vegas show The Beatles “Love”. Ten days with the family in Oregon then the long drive through Beautiful British Colombia to Hyder, AK where OO7 fetches us in his spy-plane. I finished reading the Bible a mere two years to the date (Independence Day) that I commenced the epic historical saga; this 4th of July having several momentous happenings such as Dingo Dog’s second birthday among the list of “There is a God after all” events in my life.  Most importantly, I finished the first draft on my newest musical, and I am happy, as long as I am not caught alone with the bear again.

Fat Bottom Girls
An AIMS Writing Essay by Tomi Griffin

“Fat bottom girls you make the rocking world go around” crooned Freddy Mercury in Queen’s 1970’s monster hit Fat Bottom Girls. Our school’s monster budget deficit forces us to have to choose what compulsory curriculum should be included in our daily high school schedule. Suggested cuts are to P.E., our lofty physical education program. Yes, lofty I say, not because it is not unnecessary for life, but because it is unfair in life that most schools put more funding into sporting teams than into their other programs. (This is hearsay by the way; I have not actually studied the statistics). Well I say, those who want to be physical- will be physical, don’t waste precious school resources on physical education when we know (hearsay again) that too many teenagers want to just sit and veg all day, fall asleep in class and careless about their health and physical appearance. It’s a free country, why push the physical stuff on everyone and waste more time and money? There are other ways to skin a cat. Or should I say dog?

For it is a dog eat dog world out there, so the dogs must fight. The really smart kids would like more money put toward their intelligence. Brain work. Smart kids already know how to get exercise, they do. That is because they are smart. They would rather work on things that build their creativity, and expand their brain power and sometimes, is physical as well, such as performing arts.

Classes that are active will give the students needed movement. The smart kids would have less and less competition because they already know how important exercise is, they do it on their own, they get on with it, so that they can get other things done, to improve their position in life. It’s a dog eat dog world, Darwin might say take out the unhealthy ones. Think of the money the schools could save by making classes more physically active, even a five minute stretch before the classes sit, would help circulation, focus and concentration. It’s also a free country, so the fat bottom ones who choose lack of physical exercise can choose to sit it out. No more dumb jocks getting the needed dollars for their gladiator games. Make them pay to play these barbarian rituals. No disrespect to the entertainment and traditional value of sports, they are even at times amusing, and perplexingly, generate funds (hearsay again).

The schools should try spreading the wealth, let the dogs eat the dogs and the cream rise to the top. Let those video playing couch potatoes go down if they so choose and let the smart kids triumph! I am sure more kids get ahead in life by intelligence than by professional sports. Let the physical education be extra curricular only. Cut those programs; give the money to the smart kids.

Besides, who cares if America is obese? Let the people choose what they want. Darwin would say survival of the fittest. According to Freddy Mercury “Fat Bottom girls make the rocking world go around.” They can get on their bikes and ride when they get home from school.

Virgin Overalls

Virgin Overalls

Well Guys and Dolls, Redheads and such:

I made it once again to Alaska this time in a very different way. As you know I am married to OO7 and with that comes a uniqueness that can’t really be explained but I will try anyway.

This summer is my 30 year class reunion. (Yes I know I graduated when I was 5, but that’s another story). Anyway OO7 says to me, he did, “Do you want to arrive in a helicopter at your reunion? “ I say, and excuse my French here, “Hell No! That ain’t my style. You fly the helicopter (we don’t own one, but ya’ll know OO7’s a pilot and D our daughter a helicopter pilot so it’s not that far -fetched) anyway, so I said, “YOU arrive/fly in, in a helicopter at YOUR class reunion (his reunion will be in two years). But I wouldn’t mind taking the bus.” So that’s what we did, at least for the first link of the tour.

OO7 got off the ships, flew to AZ, we took off to New Mexico where the bus had received a new RED stripe on its side and we traversed through Texas, Colorado, Idaho, then at last to our hometown of Boring, Oregon where the bus now awaits. We got to stay the night in a La Grande truck stop! Oh how I miss La Grande (EOU where I got my undergrad degree). So the bus ride was kind of  eventful (for 007 anyway);  two blown tires and an air-ride problem that made me feel like we were on a stage coach being chased by wild Indians, but OO7 being the MaGuyver /Honey Badger that he is fixed the problem with a tooth pick and piece of gum. But I digress.

We left the bus in Boring and took my Drama-mobile which we had towed on a trailer and drove to Bellingham Washington where we boarded the Columbia of The Alaska Marine Highway system-kid, dog and all, and spent 36 hours on the inside passage until we reached Ketchikan. From Ketchikan we hoped on our RED Cessna 185 and flew home (dog’s first plane ride went well, I puked).

We have now been here a little over a week, I finished the rough draft on my current musical project-Buying My Way Into Heaven, and am anxiously awaiting the sale of tickets to Sammy Hagar’s birthday bash this October in Cabo as I have already purchased commercial plane tickets for me and Mo. Unfortunately OO7 can’t go with us as his secret spy schedule will not allow, and it looks like maybe  we will not arrive at my class reunion in the bus after all because he may have to go out on a mission and I ain’t driving that thing without him just like I will not fly the planes solo.

I think there’s a pattern going on here as I sit in my RED flannel PJs with my RED toenails, inside my RED accented cabin, writing on my RED computer after having chosen RED for the paint colors on our planes and bus, (cause Green ain’t mean compared to RED) BEFORE I wrote my new play, while my Sammy Hagar music lie dormant in my little grey cells. Now I am a REDHEAD again, always and forever!

So…Here I am enjoying my peace (Chickenfoot), exercising, writing and basking in the glory God created for us. All good.  It used to upset me when OO7’s schedule takes him away but not anymore. I found the following quote in my RED writer’s notebook, I wrote it two summers ago here in AK. Nothing amazing, just little daily writing warm-up like I give my students:-write down everything you are thankful for then create a short poem, here’s my poem:

I am Beautiful

I am Smart

I have Honesty in my Heart

Wherever I am

Is where I am supposed to be

A higher power moves through me

My happiness spreads to one and all

Wherever I go, I stand tall

God Bless and may the Birthday Bash Ticket God shine on me!

Paint it RED!

et cetera