Monday, October 24, 2011


Live theater isn't an obsession of mine. I know some people who live for live theater. I grew up in a musical household, and on classics like The Sound of Music. I was taken to see the Nutcracker and Porgy and Bess as a child. I enjoyed the plays produced at my tiny college.

It's really not until I'm in the theater that I remember how much I love it. It's not until the dance sequences start that I get goosebumps. I haven't spent much time going to theaters because, well, they cost money. However, I had a great treat from my mom this last weekend when she took me to see Portland Center Stage's "Oklahoma!"
The music was wonderful, the singing was great, the actors top-notch. It was fun to revisit a classic that I had seen many times before, because in seeing it again after many years away I was able to laugh anew at some wonderful comedy. This was all presented with a fantastic new twist: an all-black cast. Most people are surprised to hear that, but it was both intriguing and fun to read the director's note, which stated that he could not find anything in the script that would exclude African Americans from that possibility. Further in his research he found that there were numerous all-black towns in the Oklahoma territory, making it completely plausible for the story.

OKLAHOMA! TRAILER from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.
It was a spectacular take on an old classic that even presented many of the songs in a new light, sung by characters who were most likely freed slaves, not only bent on personal freedom, but also the optimism of  a new land.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Getting back into running hasn't been easy. The gym stifled me - the heat inside was too much, and I was frustrated because I never felt I could last like I could outside. Out on the trail I can last at least 30 minutes, if not more, yet in the gym I feel like I could pass out at 12. Because it's fall and the weather is cooler, I've decided to run outside to build up my stamina. I've been using the gym for other machines on days when I'm not running.

If you ever need motivation, I've got one for you: On my way from work to the gym this morning I saw elite marathoner Shalane Flanagan out for her morning run. If that can't get your rear in gear, I don't know what can.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Yesterday morning I ran around like crazy at my job. There were fussy girls and it took me forever to get the youngest one out the door. I started laundry, cleaned up their kitchen, and finally was able to head out the door. I came to my own house, started some laundry, and changed into my running clothes in record time. I raced over to the trail in my car, got out, attached my ipod, and just as I began to run, the sun came out. And everything was good.

Janae is having a giveaway - a pair of shoes!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life As I Know It

A full-time job leaves one pretty busy.

Well, the truth is that I am not all that busy, but I am gone from home a lot, and that makes me feel busy. I leave every morning at about 6:50am and work until 7pm. I have a very large break in the middle of my day, and since I live pretty far from work, I spend my break time going to the gym, and then eating lunch and reading at Manfriend's apartment.

What could I possibly be doing that leaves me with this much time (which is, at its most, 5 hours)? I am a nanny.

I looked for office jobs. I am not sure I want to be a teacher anymore, and I wouldn't be able to find a job anyway, with the way budget cuts are working out these days. I'm also not sure I would even want to teach a classroom of 35 children (which is what a lot of classrooms are at these days). When looking for office jobs I realized that the salary I could make on my zero office experience was crazy low. I'm not beyond working for little money - I've certainly done it before, with much more stress. But, when the opportunity of a nanny job came up, with a lot more pay - I had to take the dive. First, I had to ask my mom if she would think any less of me for being a nanny. Being a nanny is not a respected profession. Being a professional babysitter is not met with a reaction of  "oh, cool". Well, maybe it's met with "Oh, cool", if the person is trying to act not surprised by your low goals.

But, the thing is that with my resume of a human development and education degree, my years working with children both in and out of the classroom, and my ease with kids - being a nanny just fits. Sure, it ain't glamorous, but it's a job. And, I'll be the first to say - a pretty good deal.

I work for a busy family who recently moved to Portland after the mom took a job here. The dad is still looking for a job. They have two girls, C who is 4 1/2 and H who is 2 1/2. C is a sweet, precocious, assertive, and active girl. H is an ornery, stubborn, and temper tantrum-filled crazy girl, but when she smiles, it's pretty sweet. The girls actually BOTH go to school during the day. I help get them ready in the morning and take them to school. I pick them both up in the afternoon at different times, do an activity, make dinner, do baths. I do their laundry and their dishes, and walk their dog. Sometimes I think "What am I doing?" Most of the time I think "This is a pretty sweet gig."

I have just finished my second week of working with the family, and things are coming around. There are still cries for mommy and daddy. There are still temper tantrums. There are still very difficult discussions about dinner choices - but we're coming around. This afternoon, as I picked up H from daycare, she ran to me with open arms, a first. She actually let me carry her. C has started protesting when I leave at night. Things are looking up.

I cannot deny that this has been a gift from God. I remember sitting in my room in Mexico, looking at this job opening and thinking "Should I?" I called the nanny placement agency when I got back to Oregon, had two interviews, and the job was mine, and I know they had their choice of nannies. I'm extremely grateful for this job - I could have been searching forever, and instead I have a great job. Also, big huge thanks to my brother who is letting me borrow his car (without which, I wouldn't be able to have this job).