Friday, January 22

Another Rainy Day in L.A.

Even those of you outside of the L.A. area have probably heard about the heavy rain and winter storms hitting the west coast right now. The rain in the last few days has been heavier than I've seen here in quite some time. I usually enjoy the rain--you start to miss weather when you don't really have it anymore--but southern California just isn't prepared for such heavy rainfall. Everyone is always fixated on the prospect of an earthquake, but SoCal is relatively prepared for that eventuality. If you really want to mess the place up, just dump more than five or six inches of rain on the place all at once. This week's storms have done just that, and things have gotten a little crazy. Yesterday two trees fell on the ranch house that sits behind the Villa. Luckily no one was injured and the damage was mostly cosmetic. Apparently the rain-saturated soil and incredibly high winds blowing around yesterday caused the trees to fall. As I understand it, those trees were planted in containers and hadn't developed a very deep root system yet, so they were particularly vulnerable to the wind and rain. This morning a huge crane was brought in to remove the debris before we opened. Thunder, wind, rain, hail, and tornado warnings--feels like home to me!

One unforeseen benefit of the rain has been school group cancellations. Angelinos are so unaccustomed to rain that many of them just hunker down when it starts to pour, and many schools decided to cancel their scheduled visits to the museum. Fewer teaching assignments doesn't bother me at all, but it seems silly to make the kids miss out on a field trip just because it's raining. It's not like this is an open-air museum! Still, I think it's worked out for the best. In the past two weeks we've had half our teaching staff decimated by illness, so it's given those of us still standing a bit of a break this week.

In spite of the fresh start to the new year I've not gotten back into a habit of posting here regularly. My delinquency is in part due to being busy both at work and at home, but also because things have been kind of boring around here lately! It seems like all I do is work, eat, and sleep. Things will be picking up in the coming weeks, though, so I'm hoping to get back to making at least one post a week. Next week Sabina (another teacher) and I will start to work with another sixth grade class through our multiple visit program. It's always an adventure to actually go out to a school and work with students on their own turf, so I'm looking forward to meeting the new class. The program consists of a classroom introductory visit, three lessons at the museum (separate visits), and then a final visit to the classroom when we give the kids a chance to handle some ancient artifacts. It sounds a little crazy, but it's a much less hair-raising experience than you would think. If you don't believe me, check out this post on our last artifact handling visit.

That's all for now, but you'll hear from me again soon.

Monday, January 4

A New Year

Well, the holidays are a thing of the past, the new year is here, and it's time to get back to a routine daily existence. My first order of business was to take down the Christmas tree, an annual ritual of carefully packing away ornaments and wrestling Christmas lights off of a dry, drooping tree and back into their boxes. As frustrating as dealing with a dead tree is, it did very well--it didn't start drooping until after the new year, and we've had it since early December. All that's left is for Eric to haul it away. He may get out of fighting with the lights, but there's no way I'm attempting to move an eight foot tree on my own!

My new favorite pastime since Christmas morning is playing Super Mario Bros. Wii. It's an excellent compliment to Wii MarioKart, which I got last year for my birthday. Like MarioKart, it has a two player mode so Eric and I can play together, leaving him no excuse to deny me video game time. Learning to play this game together has been an eye-opening experience. With two players on screen, you must work together--no one can just run ahead and try to take the lead. We've successfully navigated our way into World 5, despite certain incidents that end in indignant accusations of "Hey, you just killed me!" "No way, you killed me!" The shouting is all in good fun, I promise--it's pretty funny to hear the back and forth as we struggle to free Mushroomland from the iron grip of the evil Bowser and set Princess Peach free. If things like work and productivity don't get in the way, we should bring liberty and peace to Mushroomland by the end of the month.