Tuesday, December 31, 2002

I got one of those sappy e mail forwards the other day - - most of it was just warm fuzzy stuff that ranks a ten and a half on the Gag-o-Meter - - but there was one line I loved . . . "It's taking me a long time to become the kind of person I want to be."
The kind of person I want to be is graceful. Not ballet lessons and charm school graceful. More of a Great Gram sort of graceful - - it's more about confidence, personality, attitude, and being genuine, than being less of a klutz. That's not really a New Years resolution, but it's something to think about.

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do;
the fun is in having lots to do - and not doing it.

- Mary Wilson Little

We have been scared into thinking small but the Arts Administrators will change the world (or at least the arts!!) A spiffy article by the guy in charge of the Kennedy Center!! (with a promise that I'll be employable in a couple years - - it must be true - I read it on the internet!!)
From ArtsJournal

Monday, December 30, 2002

My fairy tale archetype is . . .

So which fairy tale archetype are you? Hmm??

made by Michelle at EmptySpace.

An interesting article (Courtsey of Doris Gazda about the only orchestra in Iraq. It's an interesting piece ( or should I say peace?) It gives me a new perspective - - Americans worry about terrorist attacks on their country - - Citizens of Iraq worry about attacks on them. Why can't we all just get along??

I complied my notes / papers/ handouts / tests / etc. from the semester into one GIANT binder today. That sucker has got to weigh 10 pounds (I can't find a scale to weigh it - but it's heavy!!) I wonder if it's weight in gold would pay tuition?? (I got my bill for next semmester and am moderately bitter - - they don't have my grades posted for THIS semmester - - but want me to pay for NEXT semmester??? I don't think so . . . )

Saturday, December 28, 2002

I just got my mail for the week (the post office held it while I was out of town) LOTS of good stuff in that pile!! The WDM schools sent me a nice sized check I don't know why (it just says "teacher compensation") but the extra cash will come in handy!! And THEN, Emily sent me a tape of the Stilwell Winter Concert (thank you Emily!) They sound fabulous!!! Brandenburg 5 is my favorite, with the cello quartet piece coming in as a close second!! The Curse of the Rosin Easint Zombies from Outer Space is just cool - although not my favorite (i'd love to see it performed - and I"m curious who won the screaming part??) It's so nice to hear the concert (And I was very surprised - Emily is terriffic!!)

Friday, December 27, 2002

I'm Home Sweet Home (and very much looking forward to sleeping in my own bed!) I'm also anxious for some "me time" (poor family does not understand my need for time ALONE and AWAY)

Wednesday, December 25, 2002


It's like a slumber party here (wall to wall sleeping bags!!)
Internet time is scarce (too many e mail accounts - one phone line!)
It's weird with out my grandfather here (esp. meals - someone has to sit in "his place" and that's very strange)

Monday, December 23, 2002

Andrew should show up any minute now and then we're outta here!! (I'd like to be in Chicago before Portillios closes at 10:00 so we can have HotDogs for late late dinner!! Tomorrows "ToDo List of Food" includes Pop's Italian Beef and Giodanos Pizza!!) People think we're visiting family - but actually I just go to eat quality junk food!! (Wednesday, of course, is BANKET Day!) Yipee!!!

Collar Bells
A Christmas Carol for Cats
Sung to Jingle Bells

Collar bells, collar bells
Scares the birds away
Oh I hate this stupid thing
It's with me night and day - ay

Collar pink, collar pink
Oh I really pray
I can wriggle out of this
The guys all think I'm gay

Stalking through the grass
Jingling sound of brass
Caught nothing for a week
Feling like a freak

Collar bells, collar bells,
Scares the birds away
O I hate this stuppid thing
It's with me night and day - ay

Collar smells, colllar smells,
catching all the fleas,
Everyone just treats me like
I have a disease!!

From The Catmas Carols Book by J.&J. Hope

I hate packing

Sunday, December 22, 2002

hee . . . hee. . . hee . . The Americian String Teachers Associations website was hacked by FAPSI. A quick google search reveals that it's the Russians! Are the Russian String Teachers trying to start an internet war with the Americian String Teachers?? I find it very hummorous (I bet the ASTA people won't - but I have a sick sense of humor!!)

HERE KITTY KITTY It has been brought to my attention that no update on the kitty has ever graced this page. Rest assured kitty is doing well and enjoying her new home in the cold north! And now, for your reading enjoyment . . . selected kitty ancedotes

1.) I've hidden her food way back in a corner of the basement. (The Dog, likes to eat my cats food - - the crazy dog thinks she's a cat! (Dog also likes to eat the cat nip and play with cat toys!) Anyway - the cat can get to her food dish, but it's tricky for dogs (and julies) to get to

2.) Kitty is fascinated with the Chilla - - which actually belongs to my sister, but she can't have a pet in her apartment, so chilla lives with me in the basement (apparently all poor, homeless borders are relegated to the basement zoo!) Kitty and Chilla stare at each other through the cage for hours on end. The cat has never tried to attack or eat it - and chilla isn't afraid of the cat- they just play some strange staring game (Very funny to watch!)

3.) Henry (my mom's cat, aka the EVIL CAT, the fat cat, or the mean cat) and my cat (Pretty Kitty, GOOD Kitty, The NICE kitty) do not "appear" to get along. Everyday I'll hear howls of utter pain and screams of anguish. I'll investigate expecting to see a huge cat fight, but they aren't even touching each other - it's apperently a great game to make horrid cat noises, see how long it takes before the humans come to break it up, and then pretend that nothings wrong!

4.) There are lots of sunny windows in this new house of hers - kitty is very happy!

5.) The heated water bed in the basement is her favorite sleeping place. She likes the waterbed more than sunny windows. (One might have to share a window with the "other cat" but the "other cat" doesn't venture into the basement much - so she can sleep in peace!)

6.) I have not been practicing (or even playing) much since I moved here [gasp!] I think kitty prefers life without a screechy, whininy, high notes every evening!!!! (I really ought to practice - but it's so cold in the basement, my fingers don't work, and I hate to play anywhere else �cause then everyone in the house hears me! I am thinking about auditioning for the Dakota Valley Symphony next month - just to motivate me a little - but I can't get excited about weekly rehearsals on cold January evenings!)

7.) The website with kitty pictures got deleted (unbeknownst to me, Angelfire deletes pages that no one visits) There are no plans at this time to create another kitty web page. (I see her every day - - and obviously no one else wants to see her everyday or Angelfire would not have deleted the original kitty webpage!!

8.) Kitty likes Minnesota as much as I do. This is good. We are happy!

I wish my brain worked faster
I wish the computer worked faster
I wish the computer didn't break everytime Jon came home
kind of a strange coinsidence if you ask me!!
I wish the strawberries would defrost faster
I'm hungry and didn't plan ahead very well
I wish the basement was as warm as every other room
I wish it were going to be an easy Christmas
I wish I could find my black jeans
I wish I could think of a good way end this post
but that'll have to do (for now - maybe my brain will think of a better ending in a couple days!!)

Friday, December 20, 2002

"Boys. . . ." said Bea Romo, sort of rolllng her eyes, 'You're certainly not going to win any brain awards."

"Well, I don't want a brain award," said Robert.

"Me too," said Gilbert. "I don't want a brain award either."

"Unless they give money with it." said Robert.

"Do they give money with it?" said Gilbert. "In that case maybe I'll take it."

"Money or candy," said Gilbert, "or a trophy."

"Or a medal," said Robert.

"Unless they pin the medal right directly into your brain," said Gilbert. "In that case, no I don't want it."

"Me too," said Robert. "If they're going to stick a pin into my brain about it, forget it."

"Boys, stop talking" said Bea Romo.

"Okay," said Robert. "But no brain awards."

"And that's final." said Gilbert.

From The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders
(Thank you brother dear! I love it!!)

It's Christmas! Too many people,( and too many schedules) means that we get to do Christmas TONIGHT! Yipee!! Pizza, Presents, and COOKIES are the order of busihness this evening (it's gonna be a good good night!!)

Thursday, December 19, 2002

We all should know that
diversity makes for a rich tapestry,
and we must understand that all the
threads of the tapestry are
equal in value no
matter what their color.
- Maya Angelou

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Polk Country "randomly seclected" me to be a jurror!! The thing is . . . I don't live in Polk County!! (The post office kindly forwarded the summons to Minnestoa and requested that I "inform sender of new address" -- giggle!!) I'd love to be a part of a jury - it's probably not as exciting as what happens on TV - but you never know!!

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, unfortunately, he has vaporized into nothing-ness!

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Just to make sure I'm feeling good and miserable I've decided to dwell everyday on what I'm missing at MidWest. TODAY I don't get to . . . . eat a fabulous breakfast courtsey of music publishers, A Multi-Cultural Begining Orch session, A Sally O'Rielly presentaion on Shifting "Without Fear" (!!!!), the Army Orchestra and an evening reception (with really good food!) by more music publishers. (insert tiny pout here)

Monday, December 16, 2002

THE "IF I WERE STILL IN WDM . . . ." Game.

If I were still in WDM . . . .
I'd be getting lots of "holiday" (can't say the C-word!!) presents from my students this week. I'd be watching more television, and eating better food. I'd have bigger paychecks and more free time. I'd have an Anne-Marie, an Amy, a Tracey, or a Sue around almost every day! My JC office would now be shared with 4 other people (!!!) I'd be in the middle of some serious budget battles - wondering if I'd have a job for the �03-'04 school year. I could send stuff to print and someone else would do all my photo copying, I'd spend about an hour planing my rehearsals for the week. At least ten of my 4th grader beginners would have quit by now, and Solo & Ensemble nightmares (plus the pizza fundraiser) would start right after break. (I'd also have to spend my Birthday working Solo and Ensemble Festival - UGH!!!) I would be making good money with my private studio as full as I wanted it to be. My student loan would be close to paid off. The Orch Team would be fighting (or at least disagreeing) about something. I'd know all my kids names, we'd be playing "real music" by now, and I'd know I was a "good teacher". I'd have most of the supplies I needed and Orchestra Guild money available to purchase anything else I might want. I'd have a 15 minute / 4 mile commute and enjoy cheap Iowa Ethonol gas prices!!

I get hugs (and kisses!) from my students every day, I can say "CHRISTMAS" in front of any student without fear of offending! I think more, eat more junk food, and have less "Me-Time," although I am learning all kinds of spiffy things and making LOTS of art-sy connections. (There is now just 2 degrees of separation between me and Yo-yo Ma!!) I can't cloister myself among specials teachers (I'm the only one!) so I'm much more connected with the classroom teachers (and the school as a whole). I don't have an office (or even a classroom) to share! I'm protected from budget battles, but spend too much time making copies. It takes several hours to plan Core Knowledge General Music lessons for the week, but NONE of my orch kids have quit!!!!!! My Solo Day will a much smaller affair with few nightmares (although I'll have to spend my birthday in a Fin Man Class). My student loans are not paid off (they're growing larger each month!!) NO PIZZA FUNDRAISER (yipee!!!) I still fight (and disagree) with the Orch Team (although I'm the only team member!!) My kids still struggle with Twinkle, I still struggle with names, and question my ability to be a "good teacher." I have few supplies, and no Guild money or PFC wishlists. I drive 30-60 minutes to get to work and pay a whole lot more for gasoline (and insurance!)

Yeah, there's a lot in WDM that I miss (mostly people). But I enjoy the challenges (even if they come with frustrations) and love my academy kids. I'm so excited by the potential and possibilities of the future. I like it here and I'm glad I made the choice to do this -- no regrets -- but I miss you guys!!
Merry Christmas WDM People!!
(Hee . . .. hee. . . I said the C-Word!!) ( -:
Have a Great Break!!

Sunday, December 15, 2002

So . . Picasso, Van Gough and some of the boys are sitting around in a bar. . . . (werid stuff - strangely funny!) Stolen from ArtsJournal

Saturday, December 14, 2002

I have 11/13ths of my christmas shoping done!!
Miller is still present-less and I'm stuck on what to get him (he already has so many toys (and is getting a small truck load of more toys for christmas!) Clothes are just boring. I thought about a drum (hee. . . hee . . . his parents would HATE ME FOREVER!!) But couldn't find one that wasn't plastic junk (if they're going to hate me, I might as well get a good LOUD drum that will last for many many years!!) I like shoping for Miller (toy stores are fun places!!)

Friday, December 13, 2002

YUMMY!!! You heard it here first . . . .
Dear Mother overcame her fear of sending her credit card number over the internet and ordered banket (from Jaarsma's!!!) for the VW Christmas at Papa's house!!! (I'm so proud of her!!!) What's more exciting . . . . Banket??? Or mother dear trusting the internet???

Appropriate education for poor children
and children of color can only be
devised in consultation with adults
who share their culture. Black parents,
teachers of color, and members of poor
communities must be allowed to
participatefully in the discussion of what
kind of instruction is in their childrens's
best interest. Good liberal intentions are
not enough
. In an insightful study
entitled 'Racism without Racists' Massey,
Scott and Dornbusch found that
under the pressure of teaching, and with all
intentions of 'being nice,' teachers
had essentiall stopped attempting
to teach black children.

From Other People's Children by Lisa Delpit

I stayed up way too late last night reading this book (and then laying awake thinking). I have not figured out how to get past my "good liberal intentions" to be an effective teacher in an inner city school. But I'm starting to understand some of the problems we have my little Academy - "good intentions" that hurt instead of help.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

WHY I'M A CYNIC (part 289) Here's what I learned this week. People who volunteer with an organization are much more likely to support that organization financially. HOWEVER, some organizations beg for volunteers - not because they need help or manpower but because they want more money; a corp of volunteers often turns into a pool of donors.

I'm still trying to sort it all out in my own mind - there's nothing wrong with using volunteers (they are there to be used) But there's an attitude that's wrong. Instead of appreciating a volunteer for the skills they can bring (or doing the unskilled scut work) they are valued for their future potential as a funder. ("Please, come help us . . . and don't forget to sign a nice fat check on your way out the door!")

This puts a HUGE black cloud over the whole world of volunteering. The plan feels SO WRONG! I can see the logic - I send money and supplies to the places I've worked (there's a certain "emotional attachment" after having been in the trenches and seeing firsthand the vision of a group. It's probably more effective than a letter from the Executive Director begging for cash. But it's misleading, and it opens up all kinds of other questions that I don't like (Do you screen volunteers based on their net worth? Do you leave things undone so there are things for the "volunteers" to do? How can volunteers know they are actually needed - - and not just watching an elaborate (sneaky) sales pitch.

The non-profit world is just as rotten, and deceitful as the for-profit world (only the for-profits might actually be more honest about their goals!)

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

My semmester is officially OVER!!(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
I met with my advisor, and finished off some paper work, and other formailities. (horray!) I now have 3 lovely weeks off to enjoy life, catch up on my laundry, go Christmas shoping, and learn Excell (er . .. uh . . that is . . get jon to teach me Excell) because it is required for Fin Man II (the sequeal!!)

Monday, December 09, 2002

Smiley Faces vs. Sad Faces
(Smiley Face) Our "Problem Child Extrodinaire" transfered to another school today. On one hand it will be very good for the classroom teacher and my gen music classes
BUT . . . he was my only bass player (sad face) (and he behaved well in orch!) My "orchestra" now consists of 10 violins, and 2 violas (just a little unbalanced!)

(Unhappy Face) Someone pulled the fire alarm this afternoon (it's cold outside without a coat!!!)
BUT . . . My secret santa left chocolate on my desk (Big Smilely Face!)

(Sad Face)The aide for "Problem Child Jr." resigned today. She's only been around for 4 days. I liked her - - everyone did (although I can't blame her for wanting to leave) We are so understaffed right now that loosing her will be tough.

(Sad face) I talked with the director after school, and because of our staffing / sub shortage, she can't let me go to the Mid West Band and Orchestra Clinic next week
BUT . . . it's on the list for next year (smiley face) AND I get to go to the Nutcracker with my kids next week(Yipee!!) (specials teachers usually have to stay behind and supervise the naughty kids, but I've done all the prep work to get our kids ready she's gonna find someone else to babysit "those kids" and let me go (Smiley Face!)

So that totals out to 4 sad faces and 5 smiley faces - Not a bad day (despite the fire alarm)

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Back in October, as part of a big settlement, several recording companies agreed to refund money to anyone who bought a CD between 1995 and 2000. I expected one would need a receipt from 1995 to get the refund - but you don't! Today's paper explained how the settlement will work and gave the official website to file a claim. One can get up to $20!! (Although it's possible I could end up with only $5 or even nothing at all). Read all about it (and file your claim here

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Wild Rumpus is my new favorite store. It's everything a bookstore ought to be!! There are books EVERYWHERE (and not in those neat little perfect Banres and Noble displays, the whole place is kinda random), they have cats (and other creatures) roaming the store, creaky wooden floors, book recomendations taped on every shelf, ambiance, cozy charm, and . . . FUN (even the employees looked like they enjoyed working!) Kids are playing with the cats, customers are steping over each other, and no one really seems to care if you buy something or not. I could easily spend several hours there. Very cool!!

Friday, December 06, 2002

Each of us was given a list of reindeer names to memorize and told it was important to have a low voice, friendly attitude, and good hygiene. "We'd like to think Santa brushes his teeth and showers every day." Our training video admonished that the three most common reasons for Santas getting fired were tardiness, insobriety, and shoplifting. The Santa Manual also suggested what to say to children. To my surprise we were not supposed to "HO, HO, HO" because it scares little kids.

Who'da thunk that NASA would have an arts program? I'm not surprised that Kronos is involved - but I am diapointed that a Brittish paper is more excited about it than the American papers.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

I started my Young Audiences internship this morning.
Honestly . . . I didn't love much of anything when alarm went off this morning. I've enjoyed the luxury of alarm-less mornings for 5 wonderful months. This morning I had a rude awakening (delicious pun!!) to the real world!

They are SO HAPPY to have an intern (it's nice to be appriciated - even if it is just for my slave labor!) I have a desk, a computer, AND a phone (My REAL job doesn't have half that stuff!) My first project involves updating the background info sent to a school before a performance. No one on staff has time to do this (but it must get done). There is an overall vision for the end product - but it's a flexible vision without micromanagement or supervision - I'm surprised at the amout of automony I get (but I like it!!!)

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

This is bad. Very bad.

The Philadelphia Orchestra was rehearsing Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. . . . Then, the downpour began. A high-powered sprinkler system, set off by construction work elsewhere in the building, engaged, and showered the musicians, their instruments (many valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars,) and the new stage with enough water to fill the $75,000 Steinway grand that sat on the stage.

That "Writing" "Teacher" (neither a writer nor a teacher be) raised most of the money for the Kimmel Center. Bad, Bad very, very bad. I do like the image of Eschenbach bailing water out of the piano. (that's worth a giggle!) and I love his quote "It was The Rite of the Sprinkler." (a second giggle!) I can only imagine the insurance nightmare that is going to be.

Miller Boy and I had our first extended 2 way conversation this morning!
It went like this . . . .

Julie wanders up the stairs in sleepy stuppor, barley concious of her surroundings. Miller is playing with legos and hears her come up, and crawls to the stairs

Miller: (in a very loud loud voice) HI!
Me: Hi Miller!
Miller: Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Me: Hi!
Miller: hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhi
Me: HI!
Miller: HI!
Me: Hi!

This went on for at least 5 minutes (the child is totally brilliant!!)

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

The more of us musicians there are,
the crazier we all become.

- Erik Satie

Computer Problems Abound AOL kicked me off my account 'cause Phil's account got "kissed" and then some weird file kept giving me illegal errors. I think it's fixed now (I hope it's fixed - I need to get a paper written!) Yes, it's the same paper I've been talking about for two weeks (you think I'd just get it done instead of procrastinating about it) I promise not to talk about it anymore until it's done (and it's due on Saturday, so I should be getting it done here fairly quickly!)
Big ToDo List Today
- That paper which I can not mention
- Get appointment made for oil change (stupid Saturn needs to answer their phones!)
- Call on my teacher lisence (oops!)
- Call Natulis (yeah, I've been putting that off)
- Laundry (A certain dog crawled into bed with me last night. Then said dog wet my bed while I was in it - eeewww!!!) I was too sleepy to clean anything up other than me - so I found a new bed and slept there - which means I have a lovely little mess to take care of today.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Why is it?? That once I think I have the pattern figured out - it changes? Moderately Frustrating