Adventures of a Drama Teacher

{March 31, 2011}   Hooting my own Horn

I feel like a wise old owl. Well, like a 29 year old gorgeous-goddess of a wise old owl, as I watch my students and student teacher rehearse. Me, in the background, in my uniform of color, the overalls that tell many tales of theatrical whimsy and woe. I am so proud of the growth I am witnessing. I am extremely ecstatic to see that my teaching hasn’t fallen upon deaf ears. They are doing what I trained them to do, and they are doing it with passion. My assistant principal, the Angel of Theatre that was sent to me last year, that formally taught drama for 25 years, approached me as I watched my babies practice from above. He let me know that “The Big Guy” THE PRINCIPAL, loves my cobblestone work of art and wants to keep the amphitheater painted that way. That made my day! The visual picture is truly stunning; two of my advanced students approached me with the concept of doing Romeo & Juliet in Nazi Germany. Their power point presentation that hit upon every element I taught them so convincing, I had to say yes. Good decision as the Swastika on the poster has caused controversy and controversy sells tickets. I guess this  has been my year for controversy (Shambala and its gay character in an extremely conservative high school). I played the game and sold this concept as “Imagine if two teenagers’ love could have changed the course of world history.”  It really is going to be fabulous! The passion of this play, my career, my friends and family make me one of the luckiest persons in the world, then I get home to Sam and Mo fixing the lights on the pool to create us, in Sam’s words, “A serious rockin’ place.” I can’t wait for my cast party Friday! My lovely sister just gave me a box of Godiva Truffles! As Sam and I feed the exquisite chocolate delights to each other while relaxing on our Captain’s bed watching the Suns play, I think, “Life is good” although Steve Nash will not be in the play offs this year. The wise old owl in me reminds that there is no such thing as absolute perfection but dang, I am close! Hoot, hoot.


{March 26, 2011}   I want to ride my bicycle.

I made it through another intense work, or I really could say, play week. Romeo and Juliet looms in the foreground. My body aches from painting the amphitheater floor to look like cobble stone, me and a few choice students have been going at it die hard, they’re hurtin’ too. Our story takes place in Berlin Germany. It was a fast and furious week of working hard and playing hard.  My student teacher’s days are numbered, she was/is such a delight to work with; my students and I, ever so lucky to have had her grace our lives. I had numerous laughs and was once again reminded why I do this, it’s the laughter and the accolades, but mostly the lives that are touched. I had so many of my ex-students stop by this week. One beautiful young lady left the most amazing letter for me about the life lessons I taught her, it made me cry (in a good way).  My student teacher is so young I have to reiterate that sometimes it’s not about teaching theatre; it’s about teaching them to be thoughtful human beings. I love my job.

We are home today, as we will be until this house gets finished, Sam is doing all kinds of projects (putting in the lighting system in our Captain’s Bed) getting the pool ready for my cast party next week etc. No rest for the wicked. I haven’t gotten to run this week, I have been so busy with R & J so I think I will commence my morning with exercise and then get started with the marathon of projects.

I received a surprise package in the mail this week too, from my good friend Gregg in LA. What an enchantment to open the crazy and colorful Bali woman sarong we laughed so hard over, when we bought it on our trip to Indonesia back in 1993, oh so many moons ago. I had completely forgotten about it. No note in the package, no forewarning of its arrival, just the sarong. My friends look out for me. If you cruise back in this blog you can see the magnificent set Gregg designed and built for me at my school in Belgium. He has designed for me since, but we, of the real world, who are not Gods of Theatrical Design and Creation, have not the skill, and or money and resources, to facilitate all his deigns to their glorious potential. So the set in Belgium, is the only one thus far, he constructed for me, and it was splendid! U2’s “She Moves in Mysterious Ways” plays on the radio at this moment which reminds me of another group of my glorious students; The Fab Four, who worked on a U2 musical in my Rock-n-Roll playwriting class. I am sure Bali woman moves in mysterious ways, and I love you and miss you Peter, Phillip, Ann and Alison! And thank you Gregg for all you do for me.

Oh and Tiff returned with my massive amounts of old photo albums, oh goody another project! I think the Indonesia trip mementos are in there somewhere.

Back from a run listening to Cheap Trick. I checked out the new paint job on Sam’s 185, then danced home from the airport. On the run home I got to experience a bicycle race. Sam’s now off glider flying for a bit. I’ll sit this one out, better yet, get back to my projects!

In my electro-ruination the photo I shot of Bali Woman is not zooming through cyberspace into my laptop for uploading unto mine blogspace page, and it VEXES me. Such is life Ying and Yang. 🙂 😦

Just a few photos to add today. I am back to school in a few hours and Romeo & Juliet will take precedent over journaling. I couldn’t even bring myself to paint anymore yesterday, I did clean up the majority of the mess and worked on tile grout staining etc. Here are a few photos from our wet Disney Christmas a few years back. Mo is so little and cute. Now he is almost a teen!!! Noooooo!!! Anyway on this trip we took the bus and parked it right first in the Disney lot and came in and out all day warming and watching marathons of CSI and James Bond. The adventures never cease.

{March 20, 2011}   My love of Shatner.

Lately I have succumbed to the need and aid of the dreaded glasses. Actually my whole life I played with the idea of spectacles. I wanted those cat eyes, like my friend Brenda when I was in second grade, and the wire ones, like Anita, in the 3rd. I had the trendy 80’s look “attitude glasses” in my aspiring actress days in Hollywood. But now, I need them! What’s up with that?!  It is an entire “pain in the arse”,  always losing them, and getting in the way if you tie them around your neck with granny string. (BTW I am a granny now anyway, Dawna had Brenton. Big Boy! Day before yesterday.) I have a new found respect for people who wear glasses or need them, or contacts. In my new found sight I gaze upon the collection of Shakespeare books on top of the Captain’s Bed and see “The Complete Works of  William Shatner”.  Now why does my eye sight read that, when my head KNOWS it’s Shakespeare?! Not that Shatner’s is bad, I kind of like his acting style it makes me laugh, and well, you gotta laugh!

{March 20, 2011}   The Purple Dragon
BainBath before purple dragonBefore Captain’s BedSlaying the Purple DragoonThe feat et fini

Writing break as Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody commences on the fine local rock-n roll-station. The purple dragon affect closing in on the ubiquitous beige that previously ensconced our chamber walls. The Salle de Bain is nearly perfect; a few choice art work spots remain but as we all know art comes when it comes, you can’t force the right eclectic piece.

Sam just buzzed the house in 007 on his way somewhere as I stood and waved by our crystal clear pool he and Mo have worked so hard on. Last night we swam in the moonlight, our first time in the pool. The kids have had the guts to enter previously, and even Tiff, in a “Super bowl frenzy” took a dive in, but last night was the first for Sam and me, and the moon was on its last night of waxing and it was so beautiful! I swam under the waterfall and sat there for a bit, imagining, counting my blessings. It is a deep pool so we can practice scuba. We sat for a while longer, under the light of the silvery moon, in the hot tub before retiring; the Captain’s bed still pulled out from the wall so as to allow access today to slay the purple dragon and leave him to rest forever on my chamber walls.

Two of my ex students, getting ready to head back to college, stopped by yesterday. These fine people are what make me love my job; my ex drama club president and his wonderful consort. I remember way back when Ashley darling had the biggest crush on Billy, and Billy was so young then he didn’t have a clue. Ashley kept me abreast of their budding romance when I was in Belgium. These two were really the catalysts that brought me home from Europe to teach at Red Mountain. Ashley is the most brilliant costume designer although she is studying business, and Billy, the best stage combat swordsman student I ever had, is studying to be a pediatrician. They are my kids; I love them and miss them. Writing break over, I am hungry now.

Toast and Diet Coke later, I vacillate as to write, or go on a walk/dance/run around the canal, Mo has just requested to bike to McDonald’s. This is hard for me, letting my child go out in the world. We discuss a trip to Wal-Mart because school starts again on Monday, and well, we’ll have to have food; which ends this sojourn into the writing realm for now.

Okay, okay so now I have slain the Purple Dragon and taken copious gorgeous photos but this lovely site (I am being sardonic here) or my incredible talent for electro-ruination makes it so I cannot, or am not willing to continue the frustration of trying to post them, so at this point “it is what it is”. The damn site will not silence the author though!!!!

I have yet to go for my meditational walk/dance/run because Mo and I did Wal-Mart and The Depot, and I, with my mighty sword in hand, took the flying purple beast down and now his blood colors my chambers. Color therapy, color zen; been doing it for years. Been playing the color game with my students for years. Color is mood, mood change is power and Purple Dragon is not short of “Weeeeeeeee to the eyes!!” I choose colors partially because of their names. writing break over, go for a run now Tomi! 🙂 I love Pop Tarts.

{March 18, 2011}   Everyone needs a break

Writing break. Spring Break 2011-spent remodeling, working out, teaching my son to work. Just finished painting my closet Purple Dragon; the bedroom is next after extensive OCD touchups in the Salle de Bain et toillette. Joan Jett’s “I hate myself for loving you” vibrates in the background. I had a lovely bike ride workout with Mo this morning and he took me to the best-bright-yellow- flower-spots in our neighborhood and I taught him more about meditation and peace and stopping to look at the flowers, and he taught me more about growing up in an era of the internet and  I vow to play  Nazi Zombies with him when his games come out of banishment. Now we’re both back to manual, or womanual in my case, labor on our family abode. So I have taken a short break to write and show my summer meditative spots. Arizona is brilliant for becoming one with nature but it is only second to Wolf Creek Alaska where I spend my summer days hiking, exercising, meditating and writing (eating and other things are in there too). We have been working on a writer’s cabin for two years now and hopefully this summer it will be fully functional so as to actually sleep, eat, bathe, relax and WRITE  there (in the new cabin that is). The photos on this page are on last summer’s Fredrick’s Sound whale watch, Swan Lake, Petersburg jaunt with our late friend Larry. That’s Larry and I standing on an iceberg and me asleep on the way home, after Dramamine (Oh now I know why they call it Dramamine {for the Drama Queen?}

 I love music; I constantly listen to music which is meditational in itself.  Last summer when Larry visited, he reintroduced me to Ravel’s Bolero. I was soothed to sleep on the return from the adventure day to Bolero’s rhythm. Thanks Larry, RIP.

This site is so frustrating, I have uploaded two more photos on this page but they’re not showing on the published version. ????????!!!!!!

It’s Saint Patty’s day and the other half is out getting us some


Brazilian yummy drinky thingy to celebrate!

Well looky there, my favorite picture of Mo finally shows up! Isn’t he adorable?! This was two summers ago at Throne Bay Alaska cutting wood for granddad. He grew his hair out really long for “Locks of Love” and just recently cut it. I will eventually post those pictures too, he gave me permission. 🙂

{March 15, 2011}   My Color Zen

After 2

During 2 Big Booty Number 1

After 3


Although frustrating as it is trying to line these photos up to my perfection (sometimes it feels like I cannot build or hang anything level) I take a break and write, for writing frustrates me not. In fact writing calms the wild beast.

Spring break continues with the house remodel but the colossal feat was started in November and we still have a lot to go, but we’ve also gotten a lot done. Today is the “Ides of March”. “Beware the Ides of March” croaked the Soothsayer in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. My baby pool is on Brenden, my step-daughter Dawna’s baby boy, to be born today. And “Happy Birthday MacGyver-Bond.”

 No flying for me today, thank you very much. J L

{March 15, 2011}   Look at the way I glide

Look at the way I glide!

Anything to do with Neil Diamond I owe to my father. Dear Father we dream, we dream, we dream while we wait, while we wait. Who are we to need?

My father: dad, JB, Jim, Jimmy, Bull Whip, Papa and probably a plethora of other pens, taught me to always put on the paramount presentation (best face), always answer to “How are you?” with “Magnificent” because no one really wants to know anything more than the great. He and my mother gave me the love of music, and I have to dedicate anything I reminisce with, to Neil Diamond, to them. Thanks to my incredible sister as well who made a concert just for me right when I really needed it.  When listening to this song  after years and years of Neil Diamond hiatus, I now realize Sam’s love and dedication to flying. It’s the way this song makes me feel. And I can’t wait to get up there today and “look at the way I glide”.

make your sail
and every heart will know
of the tale

Falcon Field with 007


(And head for the farthest shore!)

make your tune
for none may sing it
just as you do

(And let your song be heard!)

Look at the way I glide
caught on the wind’s lazy tide
sweetly how it sings
rally each heart at the sight
of your silver wings

Skybird, skybird

find your way
for none may know it
just as you may

(Seek out your
harbor of light!)
(Let your song be heard!)
(Rally each heart to
the sign of your
silver wings!)




I wanted to feel like a bird, to feel the song that I downloaded only moments before we took off from Falcon Field, a short jaunt from our new house and the new berthing for 007. I took my Bonine, I had my music, I was armed with my own tenacity and self hypnoses. I was so excited; Mo took the previous photos before we took off from Falcon Field and Sam took the post one after he strapped me into the glider. Is there a higher power that sabotages my tenacity and does not allow me to enjoy the things other people love? I remember the day when I could do Star Tours and Space Mountain twice in a day, now (well last summer when Mo and I stopped by the Magic Kingdom on our yearly sojourn to Alaska; the very first ride, Space Mountain, ruined the rest o’ my day). Yesterday, not too long into Sam’s best ride ever catching thermal after thermal riding them like a bucking bronco in the wind, I shuddered, deep breathed and eventually upchucked several times into my favorite hat. Mo says I need to chew my food better. But listening to Jonathon Livingston Seagull with this new found insight, I can feel why my parents loved it so much. I went running today and listened to the whole album again. It transcends; meditative it brings you to peace. I had so many epiphanies while I soared over Arizona, and although it did not feel like the song, the song still feels like the joy of flying to me. 

” What a drag of an adventure companion I am” I quipped to Sam, and his response was, “Well I don’t always feel so great when you drag me along to plays.”  I retorted, “Plays don’t make you puke.”  He commented, “Sometimes they make me feel like I want to.” We laugh.

 He takes care of me, fixes breakfast, dinner, refits plumbing and remodels our house. Funny that he isn’t into theatre except for me as that is where we met; in high school theatre. I have had success teaching Sam about music and how it transcends people; how art and music and writing takes people to places that they can’t necessarily go. Like if they’re grounded like me. Skybird makes me feel like I can fly. That is why my parents loved it that is why I love it.

Before the glide

Unfortunately the curse of the gods overtook  they’re not letting me go, not just yet. I tried so hard to learn to be a pilot. But…


Hat after scrubbing, might be saved

will the hat survive?

He has been working on a special hypnoses process for my motion sickness. I never give up, I never give in I fight to win. I am a BULLDOG, I can fly and I am magnificent!  Thanks Dad!

Transcend, purify, glorious

{March 12, 2011}   Ms. Griffin’s Protégée

This is Joshua Lee Cox, up and coming star. I had to post this picture for a few reasons, I have a student, another up and coming who is playing Juliet in our current production and we picked out the most fabulous photo for the advertisement but she doesn’t like the shot of herself (She is truly a beauty!). Well, I don’t like this shot of me, (Jerry Seinfeld woman) but it is with my fabulous ex-student Josh who I saw in a play last night at MCC, The 25th Putnam County Annual Spelling Bee. I hadn’t seen this musical before and it was wonderful (cheeky humor) and Josh was as always magical to watch. Josh began as a drama groupie my first year at RMHS. This Adonis blond kid hanging in the background, didn’t audition for the show but was just there.  I started asking him to do this or that, and he followed through. Then when a cast member was missing I started having him fill in. Wow, he could READ too! So he was a regular stand in vying for an open spot. I think he got recorded in Much Ado About Nothing as the Sexton but he filled in many parts, he seemed to think he should have had Conrad. One day he asked me to fire the Conrad whom he had filled in too much for. I told him, “I wouldn’t have cast you in that part anyway.” He asked “What part would you have cast me in?” I retorted, “Claudio.” “Really” he replied. “Really.” So exactly one week before the opening my Claudio calls me (I was at the local Chinese take-out) and says he’s in the hospital having surgery. I get on the phone and start calling students who might have Joshes number, so I finally get a hold of Josh and tell him he’s got the part. In 7 days, SEVEN DAYS this kid memorized a lead in a Shakespeare play, and ran the heck away with it, and never stopped amazing me and audiences since with leads in The Pirates of Penzance (King of course) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon) Up the Down Staircase, Beauty and the Beast (Gaston) and now the Spelling Bee. He won several awards at our regional Thespian festivals as well. This kid is the new Brad Pitt. 

Spelling Bee

 P.S. He’s also a phenomenal artist: graphic, sketch, scenic, etc. as well!

This just in! As I write! The very advertisement, with my very LOVELY students!

{March 10, 2011}   Three Dog Night Woman

Three Dog Night Woman

Here I am the other night at my third Three Dog Night concert. Funny how my fanaticism flourished. As most of you know I have been writing rock and roll musical stuff as a classroom project for years thanks to Mesa Public Schools and career ladder and just my own teaching style and love of music. Years ago after the first Rock and Roll musical I wrote, produced and directed titled “Rock and Roll Musical”  I had parents afterwards asking me why I wasn’t selling my work. At the time I never really thought about it but to make more opportunities for my students to perform. Sam took Mo and I to Vegas for Christmas 2005 and we saw Mama Mia on my birthday. I enjoyed it so much because I idolized ABBA when I was a kid living in Belgium and it was the style of writing I had been doing for years. I wrote another jukebox musical, a Christmas one, “A Winter’s Tall Tale” that also proved successful in the jr. high setting allowing 100 students a chance to participate. I moved to Belgium to teach and even the international students got into the spirit of it, my favorite ones (my Irish and Swedish boys ) and the 50s songs I worked on with them. After returning to the states and joining my consort at our cabin in Alaska as we do, I was sequestered with little music. Sam happened to have a few Three Dog Night songs on his iPod (I have since ruined this ipod as I do with my superpower but again Sam fixed it, yeah). I remember the songs as a kid, (I almost used Black and White in a project a few years ago at the jr. high) so I had bought the karaoke CD back then but never really thought about it again. I also remember dancing every Sunday or so, when I was still in undergrad, to The Show Must Go On when it would come on the Sunday classics. It always made me happy and dance around the room entertaining Mo when he was a toddler. So here I was at our humble abode, Wolf Creek, with my little family and very little music and this story blossomed. I returned to Arizona for the school year and presented it to my students and we fleshed it out together. Now we’re at the marketing, copyright etc. part of it. My students are working on a Wikepedia page (which is super frustrating and challenging), we’ve entered it into The New American Musical Festival, and a few other things. But it was thanks to Sam for flying me to Tuscon for my first Three Dog Night concert where I presented my script to the band members and in two days they contacted me with their permission to develop the musical. So that’s where I am, writing is re-writing and The show must go on. Just a note, TDN didn’t play either Eli’s Coming or The Show Must Go On at any of the concerts I have attended. Hmmm? Could it be because Chuck Negron is not touring with them?

et cetera