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Feeling Over the Rainbow with APO!

What a crazy, incredible weekend. My internal schedule is all messed up and I ate way too much, but it was the annual APO Region IX conference, and for the first time in several years, it was right here in Madison. Over 100 students and around 18 staff members from chapters all around Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota came here because there’s no place like APO (our conference theme!)

Some of the highlights from the conference for me were getting to present a panel and a workshop, going to banquet, the usual post-banquet staff hangout in the hotel, and post-con morning brunch.

My first panel of the day was one on diversity and inclusion, which I co-presented with past national president and one of my personal favorite people, Maggie Katz. We had 90 minutes and even though both of us are big talkers, we managed to only go 40 minutes before taking questions. After that, there was a lot of audience interaction, both with us presenters as each other and a lot of great ideas were exchanged. Current national president, JKO, was in attendance and told me later how much I impressed him, as did one of the students from Coe College petitioning group.

After a giant staff lunch at the Nitty, I presented my brand-new theater workshop. The first time I tried to present one at a regional, many years ago, I had 3 people. In March at Sectionals, I had about 13 people. This time, a whopping 21 people were interested in my course, and packed into the atrium: 13 from Wisconsin chapters, 7 from Iowa, and 1 from Minnesota. The room I was given was not conducive to moving around, so we did it in a small hallway atrium. I had my fingers crossed the whole time that no one would come yell at us, and I guess it worked. Most of the activities went over pretty well and I got great evals, despite running out of worksheets, a too-small space, and the fact that the ceiling acted like an echo chamber so I pretty much spent the whole time talking as loud as I could. I found out the day of that I only had 45 minutes, when I had planned an hour (yikes!) but ended up running about 50-55 minutes, speeding up some parts and probably skipping something here or there. No one seemed to mind. It was a little disappointing that not everyone got to perform, but about 3/4 of the participants did.

Banquet was delicious, and Maggie gave a great keynote speech. I got to catch up with Andrea, an advisor I met in Pittsburgh and came up all the way from Chicago, and then we headed back to the hotel for the usual staff hangout/eval session, which is always a highlight. We packed into this tiny hotel room, pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder, and I couldn’t help but feel so appreciative that I was in the same room as all these amazing, lovely people: Andrea, Maggie, JKO, Ginny, Stockdale, Zach, Brandon, Michelle, Ding, Kate, Kelly, Derek, Kristin, Ken, and Glen (I think that was everyone), with appearances from Eden in Texas and Natalia in Minnesota via FaceTime. The best part was when a woman knocked on the door at midnight, not because we were loud, but because she was a bridesmaid at a wedding on the other side of the hotel and needed to pee so badly that she couldn’t make it back to her room. Of course we let her in, unfortunately we didn’t catch her name so we could make her a Section Chair or award her with a DSK. We did, however, applaud as she exited the bathroom, so that counts.

It’s cliche, I know…bu there’s no place like APO.

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Misfortune Cookies

**Revisiting this post from 10/16.**

Today, I had the good fortune to step into World Market, and the first thing I saw?

A container of black and orange fortune cookies labeled “misfortune cookies.”

Naturally, I had to buy them ($6.99!) and bring them to APO meeting.

They said cute things, but what if they said something like…

 

Things Halloween Fortune Cookies Might Say:

“Are you allergic to peanuts? Whoops.”

“Haha, you’re stuck with the check!”

“You lost the game.”

“Help! I’m trapped in a fortune cookie factory!”

“Made from 100% recycled paper. Toilet paper, that is.”

“I’m boo-ten free!”

“Dare you to fart and blame it on the guy next to you.”

“You don’t even want to know your fortune. Just stuff me back in the cookie.”

“Why are you reading a tiny piece of paper? Get a life!”

“Put the cookie down, fatass.”

“Lies! All lies!”

“Come play with me.”

“Oh no you di’int.”

“I’m right behind you.”

“Don’t you know to knock first? Rude…”

“If you plant me in the ground…nothing will happen.”

“You will regret ordering the moo goo gai pan, right about…now.”

“Where’s the cream filling?”

“That’s just the way I crumble.”

“Any questions?”

Image result for david s pumpkins

Image Credit: BuzzFeed

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Summer Odyssey 3.2 (Summer Od) – Northern California, Part 2!

I spent the last part of my Northern California trip in Berkeley at the LMDA (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas) Conference. Even though I’ve been an LMDA member for quite some time, their conferences have always been either a) in an inconvenient location, or b) at an inconvenient time. However, I resolved to make it one year, and I guess this year was that year.

Day 3 of the trip, or Thursday, was Day 1 of the conference. I headed across the bay from San Francisco to Berkeley, bright and early. I couldn’t check into my Airbnb until 2 PM, so I had to spend the first few hours of the conference lugging around all of my stuff around the building in which the conference took place, the Ed Roberts building. A community center of sorts, we were sharing space with people of varying abilities going about their daily business, whether it was going to the employment office or a yoga class.

The elevators in the building were probably the most interesting ones I’ve ever seen. When the doors opened, a lady walked in and actually kicked the wall. I was thinking, well someone’s having a bad day, until I realized that there were floor buttons on the bottom of the elevator walls. Of course, they were in the normal place as well, but this way, someone with a cane or wheelchair could hit them easily. Pretty neat.

This conference was way smaller than ATHE. I’m talking 120 people, maximum. I actually counted, and I only saw 10 people I knew before. Fortunately, they were 10 people I adore and was excited to reconnect with, in passing. I got to talk with some of them at our regional lunch (Midwest/Metro Chicago/Great Plains), on the second floor terrace.

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Summer Odyssey 3.1 (or, Summer Od) – Northern California!

I know I’ve been missing for awhile, but fear not, I’m hanging in there. I’ve been on the go on my first trek of the summer. Currently, I’m in Towson, on the third leg of this go-round. The first two were last week: Tuesday-Thursday in San Francisco, California, and Thursday-Saturday in Berkeley before arriving in Washington on Sunday, and I’ll be here in Baltimore until Monday.

To recap:

I decided to bite the bullet this year and go to the theatre conference I usually don’t or can’t go to, LMDA. This year, it happened to be in Berkeley, and California seemed like an appealing change of scenery from Wisconsin, so off I went. The conference is only 2.5 days unlike the 4 days of ATHE (which is this August in Vegas!) so rather than fly to the West Coast and screw up my body clock for just a few days, I decided to add on two days at the beginning and play tourist in San Francisco, which I have not seen since I was about 7 or 8. Also, Ciara moved there last year to be a flight attendant on United, so I could spend some time catching up with her.

Day 1: Up at 7 AM to catch my super-early flight to Denver, with a 2-hour layover there before getting to San Francisco. The airport there is really confusing, and it took me about an hour to figure out how to get out of there and get to my Airbnb, which was in the Excelsior District. My hostess, Kate, was an absolute treasure, and the accommodations were spacious and comfortable; I’d absolutely stay there again.

My first goal of the trip was to get my National Park Passport stamped from any/all of the sites in San Francisco, and since it was 3:30 PM, I had to hustle in order to get to any of them, the closest of which was an hour away. So I made my first quasi-mistake of the trip, taking the bus there. I got there on time and in one piece, but I forgot that San Francisco has hills, so I spent most of that hour clutching my bag on my lap and keeping my eyes shut to keep myself from passing out/throwing up. Eventually, we made it to the Presidio, where I got stamps for Golden Gate NRA. The park rangers told me about a few more stamping stations around the Presidio, including one that was open until 6 PM (it was 4:50 when I got to the Presidio Visitors’ Center, and they closed at 5), so I caught the free shuttle to the bridge lookout at Crissy Field. Fort Point had a separate stamp, but alas, they were only open on weekends, so next time for me.

The Golden Gate Bridge is pretty, and I hummed the Full House theme song in my head as I took pictures and tried to sidestep the crowds of foreigners and the Jehovah’s Witnesses set up in English and Japanese (I swear, they’re everywhere these days). However, there’s not too much to do there other than photo ops and overpriced snacks (at least not at 5 PM, so I waited for the free shuttle back to the Presidio, since I didn’t have a car or another way back. Another mistake there; had I walked or taken a cab/Uber, I wouldn’t have had to wait the hour I waited for the free shuttle. And it wasn’t just an hour, it was an hour in chilly bay winds, and I was in short sleeves. Eventually I made it back to the Presidio, and a friendly lady on the bus told me to check out Chestnut Street for dinner.

I ended up spending the last hour of sunlight in a busy Starbucks, recharging my phone, which was almost dead at that point, and eating a late lunch. Dinner was Thai food at a place called Blackwood. I had some spicy ahi tuna while watching all the yuppies hop between wine bars before heading back to the Airbnb for the evening, during which I made my third mistake, leaving my phone in the Uber. Luckily, I managed to contact the guy, who brought it back to me at 11 the next morning. Still, it was strange and confusing being without my phone for 12 hours (mostly because I was staying in a stranger’s house, in a strange city, where I knew basically no one).

Day 2: Wednesday.

I stayed up worrying about my phone, but when I woke up, I realized that it probably wouldn’t look good for the Uber driver to steal my phone – I could go on the website and write a bad review, which would have been sad because he was really nice to me in the car – but after an hour of worrying (he promised to drop it by at 10), he came by with it at 11. Kate was really nice throughout the whole thing; she made me coffee and kept me company while I waited. It was sad to leave her the next day.

Next up was…lunch with Ciara! We had a happy reunion and caught up on our lives over fresh fish at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. Then, we walked to the San Francisco Maritime museum, which was really informative, plus I got some stamps. I bought her some chocolate at Ghirardelli Square, and after a quick Starbucks (where we made a birthday video for Alex), we walked to Chinatown, which was really fun. Even though I’m not the biggest shopper, I just couldn’t pass it up, and ended up spending about 15 dollars on a gift for Kate for helping me out (a calligraphy of her name in Chinese characters in a red cardboard frame), a bracelet, and 2 cute toy panda keychains, on sale for 99 cents. I wanted to get a rayon jacket to replace the one I lost, but they were pretty expensive, and Ciara said she’d get one for me for a quarter of the price the next time she had a layover in China or Taiwan.

We ended the day back at Ciara’s place, with Netflix and Middle Eastern food delivery, before I Ubered back to Kate’s place and packed up for the next leg of the trip – the conference itself, in Berkeley.

My fingers are getting tired, so stay tuned for a recap of parts 2 and 3 of the trip – part 2 is the conference in Berkeley, and part 3 is the part I’m currently on, which started on Sunday night at a banquet in my sister’s honor in DC, followed by a whole lot of sleeping, and will conclude next Sunday with my cousin’s wedding in Potomac.

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Jenna Julien Podcast Commentary (possibly part one?)

So, I’m kind of obsessed with anything Jenna Marbles/Waffsicle, which includes watching each week’s Jenna Julien podcast in full, even if it’s over an hour long. Usually I do it alone, on my couch, on a weeknight. Today, I was preparing to do the same, when I randomly posted what I was doing in Waffsicle Skype chat and half-jokingly asked if anyone wanted to watch with me. And weirdly enough, I got a very quick bleep-blorp from another chatter saying that she would!

Everyone, meet my new best friend Gessica Getto (a self-made, Jenna-inspired pseudonym), coming to you live from Fort Collins, Colorado.

Below is the video we watched and our commentary on it. I’ll try to break it up every so often with a gif or a picture so it’s not just a wall of text.

So, here it goes…Jacob and Gessica’s take on Jenna Julien Podcast Episode #144: Don’t Get Me Started.

[9:55:32 PM] Jacob: OK, got my Google cast set up and about to stream
[9:55:53 PM] Gessica Getto: Ok I’m getting there
[9:56:15 PM] Jacob: Cool, maybe I can put this up as commentary on mah blog
[9:56:30 PM] Gessica Getto: Oh yes please do!
[9:56:57 PM] Jacob: This episode is brought to you by Naturebox WHAT A DEAL, Marble’s backpack, and Jenna’s fierce hair realness
[9:57:14 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂 yesssss
[9:57:41 PM] Jacob: And Meeeeundies, which I would never wear, because…I’m actually a garbage person IRL
[9:57:51 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂
[9:58:02 PM] Jacob: Jenna’s ready for her closeup with dat shawl doe
[9:58:36 PM] Gessica Getto: Ooooo yes gurl get it
[9:58:41 PM] Jacob: her hair shape looks like Princess Leia’s mother, IKR?
[9:58:52 PM] Jacob: or some red extension cords
[9:58:58 PM] Gessica Getto: It does 😂😂

Padme Amidala

Princess Leia’s actual mother is Padme Amidala. Not too far off… (photo from AboutSerialKillerMovies.blogspot.com)

[10:00:30 PM] Jacob: Oh Marble.
[10:00:49 PM] Gessica Getto: He’s so cute in his little suitcase 😂
[10:00:51 PM] Jacob: I’m up to the part where Julien is explaining.
[10:01:05 PM] Jacob: And Jenna’s wearing Wisconsin HELL YEAH
[10:01:11 PM] Jacob: I want a WI LMT so bad
[10:01:19 PM] Jacob: Jenna pulls from the hat…
[10:01:25 PM] Gessica Getto: HELLZ YES
[10:01:33 PM] Jacob: Renting your house?
[10:01:45 PM] Jacob: that was some noise, Jenna
[10:02:57 PM] Jacob: …and now we know how many toilets J and J have.
[10:03:23 PM] Gessica Getto: Yep 😂 it’s nice to know
[10:04:28 PM] Jacob: BTW, I wonder if Jenna has seen Waitress the Musical, I think she’d like it because the main character’s name is Jenna. Whenever I listen to the soundtrack I always imagine Jenna as Jenna.
[10:05:09 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂 Oml that’s hilarious
[10:05:19 PM] Jacob: I’ll link you when we’re done

It only takes…Jessie Mueller as Jenna in Waitress (photo from Pinterest)

[10:05:29 PM] Jacob: TBH, them talking about their house is kinda boring
[10:05:38 PM] Jacob: Unless plot twist, they have an open house@
[10:06:29 PM] Jacob: Ok, Julie’s turn
[10:06:40 PM] Gessica Getto: Yesssss
[10:06:42 PM] Jacob: LOL ITS ABOUT JENNA
[10:07:02 PM] Jacob: Jenna is absolutely right, she would rant about it.
[10:07:19 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂😂 SO TRUE
[10:08:18 PM] Jacob: “Will you wheel me around?” ::slow motion pull::
[10:09:28 PM] Jacob: Marbles in his PATW
[10:09:37 PM] Jacob: Jenna picks…Gildey
[10:10:02 PM] Jacob: No it was Julien
[10:10:10 PM] Gessica Getto: Oh lord Gildey 😂😂
[10:10:30 PM] Jacob: She’s not in the videos enough for us to really know a lot about her.
[10:10:37 PM] Gessica Getto: “She runs away!” 😂
[10:10:44 PM] Jacob: I only remember her from 4-way dog sweater
[10:11:22 PM] Gessica Getto: I remember her from Debbie bringing her around in the vlogs and stuff
[10:11:26 PM] Jacob: Heh, dogs that don’t know how to dog
[10:11:38 PM] Jacob: Yeah, but she was not really featured.
[10:11:50 PM] Jacob: I wish I had a dog 😦 never have
[10:12:06 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah that’s true. You’ve never had a dog??? Really?!
[10:12:13 PM] Jacob: No.
[10:12:25 PM] Jacob: Not a lot of people had them where I grew up.
[10:15:39 PM] Jacob: Yeah, morning drinking, kind of pathetic
[10:16:02 PM] Jacob: It’s called Kathie Lee is watching her years trickle by.
[10:16:06 PM] Gessica Getto: *cat
[10:16:21 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂😂
[10:16:53 PM] Jacob: Yeah, Hoda is annoying.
[10:17:08 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah
[10:17:23 PM] Jacob: LOL I almost thought he was going to say wine drinking ho

Much funnier gif than what you find when searching “wine drinking ho.” (photo from Giphy)

[10:17:38 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂😂 I did too
[10:17:46 PM] Jacob: SAMESIES!
[10:18:02 PM] Gessica Getto: TWINSIES!! 😂
[10:18:08 PM] Jacob: This is so much better than just watching it alone.
[10:18:20 PM] Jacob: With my lame lime water and chicken
[10:18:50 PM] Gessica Getto: It is! I literally don’t have friends so this is the most fun I’ve had in a while. Ooooo and chicken sounds good!
[10:19:21 PM] Jacob: Julien picks…
[10:19:37 PM] Jacob: huh?
[10:19:54 PM] Gessica Getto: What?
[10:20:11 PM] Jacob: ah, ok, Jenna explained it.
[10:20:18 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah ok
[10:20:35 PM] Jacob: “for centuries in video games”
[10:20:56 PM] Jacob: Yep, just like Marie Antoinette did.
[10:21:08 PM] Gessica Getto: Yep
[10:21:53 PM] Jacob: Kind of a pet peeve when they say asinine comparisons like that.
[10:22:19 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah it’s a bit annoying 😂
[10:22:52 PM] Jacob: Also, not a video gamer here
[10:22:58 PM] Jacob: You?
[10:23:29 PM] Gessica Getto: I know some but not much. I just play a lot of GTA 5 and the old original Nintendo games
[10:23:43 PM] Jacob: Yeah, another thing I did not have growing up.
[10:23:53 PM] Jacob: Although in theatre we had body mics

Image result for old original nintendo games

Maybe this? (picture from nesfiles.com)

[10:25:58 PM] Jacob: Is Julien doing all the picking from now on?
[10:26:02 PM] Jacob: AD TIME
[10:26:10 PM] Gessica Getto: I guess so
[10:26:35 PM] Jacob: Jenna singing Madonna
[10:27:07 PM] Gessica Getto: Her singing gives me life 😂
[10:27:21 PM] Jacob: I legit LOLed “have these been on your butt?”
[10:27:24 PM] Gessica Getto: I don’t either tbh
[10:27:31 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂 that was great
[10:29:51 PM] Jacob: Contact probs are real life
[10:30:08 PM] Gessica Getto: They are definitely
[10:30:17 PM] Jacob: Next up…something else I don’t know much about.
[10:30:29 PM] Gessica Getto: Yep
[10:31:15 PM] Gessica Getto: I’m so sorry I’m like the most boring person ever I don’t know how to talk to people sorry if I’m lame
[10:31:35 PM] Jacob: Just comment on what you’re seeing/hearing 🙂
[10:31:57 PM] Jacob: I think Katy Perry peaked at I Kissed A Girl
[10:32:02 PM] Gessica Getto: Alright 👍
[10:32:06 PM] Gessica Getto: Yes I agree
[10:32:16 PM] Gessica Getto: Her new stuff I’m not a fan of
[10:33:34 PM] Gessica Getto: I’m actually surprised that she is on YouTube and does livestreams
[10:33:53 PM] Jacob: I just feel like she wants to one-up everyone
[10:34:00 PM] Jacob: Out Gaga-gaga, Out Miley-miley
[10:34:59 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah, it seems like it to me. I’ve never been a big fan of her, but I listen to classic rock so I don’t really have a good grasp on music from the present
[10:35:51 PM] Jacob: Whoop there it is

Image result for pitch perfect whoop there it is

Thank you, Rebel Wilson. (gif from Giphy)

[10:36:10 PM] Jacob: Katy Perry
[10:36:21 PM] Jacob: Katy Perry + YouTube = $$
[10:36:45 PM] Gessica Getto: It’s so true
[10:37:06 PM] Jacob: If you can’t do the content, get off the YouTewbs
[10:38:32 PM] Gessica Getto: She did a therapy session? Jesus get off your high horse Katy
[10:38:47 PM] Jacob: I think she’s on a marshmallow horse
[10:38:59 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂😂😂 true
[10:39:20 PM] Jacob: I’m up to pulp
[10:39:28 PM] Jacob: I don’t like orange juice at all
[10:39:49 PM] Jacob: Is he referencing Dewey Defeats Truman?
[10:39:57 PM] Jacob: That was unexpected.
[10:39:58 PM] Gessica Getto: I’m not supposed to drink orange juice because of the sugar content
[10:40:06 PM] Jacob: Me with the acid
[10:40:36 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah. I do crave it once in a while but I don’t ever drink it
[10:40:49 PM] Jacob: You know what is good though?
[10:40:55 PM] Gessica Getto: What?
[10:40:55 PM] Jacob: Chicken made with frozen OJ
[10:41:04 PM] Jacob: it’s surprisingly tasty
[10:41:16 PM] Gessica Getto: OH YEA THAT IS VERY TASTY
[10:41:20 PM] Jacob: To make orange chicken
[10:41:37 PM] Gessica Getto: It’s really good I do agree
[10:41:54 PM] Jacob: Starbucks Refreshers have bits
[10:42:06 PM] Jacob: Heh he thought Starbucks too
[10:42:14 PM] Jacob: Bubble tea!
[10:42:19 PM] Jacob: Jenna, bubble tea!
[10:42:34 PM] Gessica Getto: I’ve never actually had bubble tea

Image result for bubble tea

Me, yelling at my screen (gif from Rebloggy)

[10:42:44 PM] Jacob: Jenna’s turn!
[10:43:06 PM] Jacob: Heh, we haven’t seen Ad in a while
[10:44:30 PM] Gessica Getto: Jenna scared Ad 😂 I feel awful but it’s slightly funny
[10:45:12 PM] Jacob: Julien describing what a hamster does
[10:45:44 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂 it’s perfect I love it
[10:45:56 PM] Jacob: Julien picks Post Mates
[10:46:06 PM] Jacob: Another thing I’ve never used and can’t relate to!
[10:46:12 PM] Jacob: But its J and J so whatevs.
[10:47:07 PM] Gessica Getto: I don’t have access to postmates in Colorado so I can relate that we can’t relate to using postmates
[10:47:27 PM] Jacob: I’ve never even looked if it’s here in WI.
[10:47:52 PM] Gessica Getto: No one I know knows what Post Mates is
[10:50:24 PM] Jacob: I’ve never seen Ree either
[10:50:38 PM] Gessica Getto: I can relate to Taco Bell tho
[10:51:10 PM] Jacob: Julien outros with a dog hat
[10:51:23 PM] Jacob: Dop dop dop dop deep deep
[10:51:54 PM] Gessica Getto: 😂😂😂 best out to ever
[10:51:55 PM] Jacob: That was fun, we should coordinate another watching!
[10:52:12 PM] Jacob: I think I’ma go check on my laundry
[10:52:36 PM] Gessica Getto: Yeah definitely! I’ll have to fix my computer so I don’t have to hop back and forth. Ok, have fun with laundry!
[10:53:01 PM] Jacob: Hope no one threw it on the floor. Don’t get me started….

 

 

If you came down this far, hope you enjoyed reading this kind of lazy post 🙂

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Tales From School: Drawn, Quartered, Nickeled, and Dimed

Another day, another tale from elementary school. As usual, all names changed.

In today’s Jewish Studies lesson, we talked about kehillah, or the concept of community. With the unusual amount of stress of the past week, I hadn’t been able to think of anything worthwhile to do today, but about an hour before class I was sitting on my couch, looking at the items on my coffee table when I came across my dish of spare change.

Then the idea came to me.

Fast forward an hour or two to school. We spent the first hour talking about what a community is, what it means to be a part of a community, and why community is important. At the start of the second hour of class, I asked them to name different members of the community. Early choices were money collector (for the poor), charity organizer, and event coordinator; all good ideas, but not exactly what I was going for. So then, I suggested, a town mayor, and along came suggestions of doctor, lawyer, dentist, fireman, and policeman. Then, Allison chimed in with “hairdresser,” which she wants to be when she grows up. I wrote it on the board, but in a separate column from the other jobs, explaining that hairdressing is a service and a luxury. Not all towns need or can afford to have a hairdresser, but a hairdresser can be a community member. Other people then chimed in with toy store owner, bookstore owner, restaurant owner, and musician. Back in the first column, we included construction worker, plumber, engineer, teacher, food seller and a few others. My co-worker Clara suggested truck driver, to transport goods in and out. I made a few final suggestions, with postal worker (in case our community has no Internet), garbage collector (somebody’s gotta take the trash out), and rabbi (because, Jewish.)

Then, I went over to my backpack and took out the dish of spare change that had been sitting on my coffee table earlier (I fished out all the pennies and foreign coins before class). I told the class that each of them (and Clara, my co-worker, who decided to play with us) would receive a coin. If they received a quarter, that would mean that they had a big job in the community, were important, were responsible for a lot of human lives. Students who got nickels would choose medium-size jobs, not too big or too small, but people who might be of value to the community. The dime would be the most difficult one: someone who is in the community but does not or cannot contribute as much as the other two.

The students closed their eyes and put their hands out, and I distributed the coins at random. Out of the group of 16, 4 ended up with quarters, 7 with nickels, and 5 with dimes. I told all the students with quarters to stand, and tell everyone what their role in the community would be. Shoshana wanted to be the community’s doctor; Mia, the nurse; William, the banker; and my co-worker Clara, as the teacher (creative choice there, partner.) Then, they sat down and the 7 nickel students stood up and chose roles. Jesse wanted to be a pilot, Tricia wanted to own a restaurant, of course, Allison wanted to be a hairdresser, and so on. Then, the 5 students with dimes stood up. Molly wanted to be a girl detective like Nancy Drew, which I thought was a good example; part of the purpose was to recognize that children can be part of the community too. Petunia wanted to be a rookie police officer, someone who was still in school. Pauline had trouble thinking of one, so I whispered in her ear “grandma,” and she announced to the rest of the class that she was going to be a grandma. The other kids laughed until I told them that just like kids, older people can be part of the community too, and made up a hypothetical situation; maybe Mia worked at the nursing home taking care of Grandma Pauline, but when Pauline was younger and still working, she was the nurse who delivered Mia! The class started understanding after that. Finally, David had trouble thinking of something, and someone suggested a student for the teacher to teach, which worked well.

Then, we sat back and looked at our community, comprised of the occupations written on the board. The class was proud of themselves, noting that they had a lot of different jobs and that it would be fun to be a part of this community. We had some time left, so I wanted to do a second round. This time around, 8 got quarters, 5 got nickels, and 3 got dimes. Shoshana got a quarter again, and even though I told her she could still be a doctor, she decided to go with mayor. Jesse chose doctor, and so on. Of the nickel group, both Molly and Mandy chose detectives, and then of the dimes, Petunia and Jillian chose girl detectives. So, this time around, we ended up with a few good choices, but 1/4 of the town was a detective. I brought up the fact that we had no one in the food industry, so Molly offered to be a detective and a food trader, and some others as well. And we had completely forgotten about the charity collector and event organizer from before. Some of the kids suggested that in addition to being a lawyer or an artist or a musician they could also organize charity work, which was a good idea.

My co-teacher was super impressed with this activity, and I didn’t think it was half-bad myself. Something to think about. What do you think?

9

Feminism, In Its Purimist Form

Well, after sleeping for almost 24 hours straight from Friday to Saturday, I woke up just in time to go to the Ovation Purim party last night. It was pretty enjoyable, plenty of hamantaschen to eat and a very nice megillah reading, then back home and to bed.

But this morning, I realized that us Jews and our holidays – well this one in particular – are surprisingly progressive for such an ancient religion. Allow me to explain.

Purim is a day when we celebrate the Book of Esther, and specifically, its heroine, the Queen herself. She was pretty much a bad-ass bitch, making her way into the palace to replace the dethroned queen, hiding her true identity, and then pulling off a pretty covert mission in order to uncover the wicked Haman’s plans to jettison the Jews. Long story short, Haman got hanged from a tree, the Jews of the Persian Empire were safe and happy, and in her honor, we dress up, get drunk, and eat cookies which are supposed to be shaped like three-cornered hats but sometimes end up looking like vaginas.

To me, feminism means disruption of the status quo in order to ensure a greater good, benefiting a marginalized group. And it’s no coincidence that it was a woman-led effort. I mean, what other mainstream religion has a day celebrating a woman, and only a woman?

I hear the arguments that Judaism is whatever, demeaning to women, second class, all that, but at the end of the day, without women like Esther and Ruth, we wouldn’t have some of our best holidays and our religion would lose a significant part of its meaning and importance.

I hope these inside-out hamantaschen turn out all right.