Yet another missed calling, perhaps, except for the screaming thing

If I wasn’t a writer, or a Broadway star or Justin Timberlake’s girlfriend I’d totally be a preschool teacher.

I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty awesome with kids. They love me. Seriously. I’m fun. They can sense it. Ask anyone who’s seen me any Wednesday morning – when I babysit little Spanish-speaking kids, at any elementary school event, in the nursery at church or being stared and smiled at by some random baby in Target.

The few years in there before they start school are my favorite – that’s when kids are the funniest. I’ve had three-, four- and five-year-olds tell me I’m older than Santa, that I’m their best friend, that I’m a womanizer. I don’t know what it is.

And in my job at the newspaper, the easiest events to shoot are the ones at the schools, because they don’t say “I hope I didn’t break the camera” like older women and sometimes men do, which, trust me, gets really annoying after a while.

So yesterday when a former roommate – and one of my favorite ones at that – told me today was the first day of school at the preschool where she teaches, I made plans to stop by. It’s in our coverage area, in a part of the county we don’t get to cover very often and all I had to do was take a few pictures of some kids either really excited or really upset it was their first day of school.

One of them will run in this week’s paper, but I wanted to share a few of the good ones I got. And as much as I say I would be a preschool teacher if I could, I don’t know how much of the screaming I could deal with on a daily basis. One was crying basically the whole time I was there. You’re a tough lady, Mook. I couldn’t do it. 🙂

P.s. The first two pics are my most favorite. Just sayin’.

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Idea for a career change that comes up everytime I see a new musical

I am by no means an awesome singer.

I can read music. I can match pitch. I can carry a tune. And given the right song to work with, I can harmonize like a champ.

The extent of my singing includes that time I was in choir at church when I was like, 5 – you know, when everyone’s in choir and it doesn’t matter if you can sing because “Look how cute they are!” – a couple times singing with a group at church as a teenager and the occasional (and usually beer-induced) karaoke.

I sang by myself once at karaoke. It was bad. I blame Ashlee Simpson (my song choice for the evening). Luckily, my friend Katie was there and instead of looking at all the people wondering why I decided to sing in public, I just stared at her and pretended I was anywhere else.

Since then, it’s improved a little. I sing with my friends sometimes at karaoke – Liz and I do a pretty impressive version of “Cowboy Take Me Away” and Chuckie and I kill it on the FRIENDS theme song – “I’ll Be There For You.” But I could never sing solo. Or in front of hundreds of people. Or on American Idol.

Which is why in my car, my apartment and my shower, I take the time to practice for the career change that will pretty much only happen IN MY DREAMS. What career, you ask? Oh, the one where I give up the whole writing and photography thing and join a touring company and perform in musicals. I could have parts in Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler On The Roof, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Hairspray and Les Miserables. Doesn’t matter. I know all the songs for all of them. And now, I can add a new one to the list.

About a week ago I saw Wicked. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Ever since that night, I’ve listened to the songs from it at least three times a day. And when nobody else – except maybe my sisters…or Liz – is around, I belt it out like I’m the one on the stage. It’s like that whenever I hear/see a new musical. A couple years ago, I was pretending I was Tracy or Penny (depending on the song) whenever I listened to Hairspray. I usually listen to the songs enough times that I know the dialogue they throw in too. Yeah, I’m that cool.

Too bad I don’t have the amazing voice I need to actually be in a musical. One of my favorite things about seeing a show like Wicked or Phantom or whatever, is seeing people with voices made for these kinds of performance. For example, there was a point – or three – in Wicked where the girl playing one of the leads, Elphaba, hit a note in the song that sounded so amazing it gave me chills. And almost made me cry. Yes. That good.

I will never be that good. But I’m awesome at pretending I am. You should hear me in the car.