Friday, December 31, 2004

New Year's Eve Plan - Play Risk (and take over the world!) [insert evil laugh here]

New Year's Eve Reality - Alas, one among us could not handle the trash-talk about his crumbling empire. "Sensitive One" quit halfway through the game - taking his allay with him. (I'm bored.)
With no fair way to divide the defectors countries (and the realization that 2 player games aren't much fun) we ended the game. (Darn Communist defectors ruin all the fun!!)

And so, 2004 ends with me in control of Eurpoe, and half of South America. World domination will wait until 2005. Meanwhile the people in my neighborhood have decided to blow up fireworks, and freak out the dog (who is hiding in the bathtub).

Be forwarned - when I take over the planet as dictator, dog scaring fireworks will be banned, except for appropriate occassions - - such as my birthday (FYI - March 8 is just around the corner!)

For a long time, I rolled my eyes and acted annoyed whenever plebian brides requested Pachabell Cannon at their wedding ceremony.
I acted bored (sophisticaed) and forced my way through it
I thought that would indicate I was a "serious" musician.

Last night I realized that Pachabell (and Jesu Joy, and Here Comes the Bride)equals easy wedding. No practice necessary - just sit and play (and play and play)

One can easily keep an eye on the processional - and stop just about anywhere, and it all sounds beautiful.
Call me unprofessional - but Pachabell is my new friend!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Says me to the bride, "I have tons of prelude music - hymns, classical pieces, movie themes, random love songs, is there anything in particular that you want/don't want.

The bride pokes through my collection of music and sees a Phantom of the Opera book. Says the bride, "I LOVE Phantom - do some of that!" and then adds, "I loved "Chicago" too, do you have anything from that?"

Yeah, "He had it Comming" makes for really appropraite wedding music. (But I'm thinking it might work better as a recessional!!)

* * ** ** * * * ** * * * * * * ** * * ** * * * * ** * * * * * *
And, as if on cue, Drew McManius posts about wedding gigs. First there's an "interesting" performance of the Messiah and then there's other adventures in wedding music

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Finally, MERRY MARRIED-NESS to Ms. R. (soon to be Mrs. D)and her lucky fiance. Congradulations!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Want to win an argument? All you need know was sketched out by Schopenhauer long ago. Logic? Forget about it.
[full article]
Via Arts and Letters Daily

I have an interview today at a women's homeless shelter.
The job is for an education coordinator -
It has nothing to do with the arts -
And I'm probably over-qualified.
But going anyway.

It's SO much closer to home (and I'm ready for a shorter commute)
It has the job title I'm looking for
It involves working with teachers and schools
It has extremely flexible hours
It pays less than the VE job
I donno . . .

Perhaps it'll give me bargining power to encourage the promised-yet-not delivered job to be delivered.
If nothing else, I can just practice interviewing.

UPDATE: Nice facility, great philosophy, and an effective program - but I don't think they're going to hire me. I did an OK interview, but they asked about life after the masters -- and I was honest ("I don't know. I'd like to tell you that if I got this job I'd be around for years and years, but the truth is I don't know what will come next.") I wouldn't hire me if I knew that there's a chance I'd be flying the coop in 5 months!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

My lowest Grad School grade (so far) is in Ethics.
(Does that mean I'm not ethical, or does it prove that grades are dumb?)

There has been a grade tirade bubbling up in my brain for quite some time. I mentioned it to tk a while back, but it's been on my mind for years. It’s no secret that I have a serious problem with grades. As a teacher I gave them begrudgingly (and, on more than one occasion, just had my students fill in their own report cards) .

As a student, I don't discuss grades. It's been my policy ever since 3rd grade (when ugly peer pressure / grade competition started to rear its disgusting head). I was in a class with Heather and Kristin (grade queens extraordinaire). They were smart and had the grades to prove it. I was struggling with a slew of C’s and D’s, and thought by keeping all my grades a secret they’d be clueless as to my stupidity. (Alas, in 6th grade the local paper began publishing an “A Honor Roll” and a “B Honor Roll” - so not only did Heather and Kristin know, but the whole wide world knew exactly where I fell (or didn’t fall) in terms of academia. Not to mention the silly in-class grading (“Trade papers with your neighbor.”) Ugh.

Enough has been written about the uselessness/evil-ness of grades (Alfie Kohn, Grace Lewin, Dan Lilenthal, William Ayers) and I’m not going to re-list their arguments or pretend that I have anything new to say. (Yes, this is a passion-less tirade). Except - the most interesting people in my life, are the ones that got less than stellar grades (Diane, Don, and Jon to name just a few).

Monday, December 27, 2004

My new sweatshirt: "I'm not ANTI-SOCIAL, I'm just not real friendly" (Thank you kristie!)

A new violin case! (Yes, The 7th grade hard shell stupid case has been replaced with a "grown-up" case!) It has a subway strap, suspension cushioning, 2 carrying straps, music pocket and a humidification system - yipee!)

7 hour drive to Chicago on Saturday,

8 hour drive to Minnesota on Sunday

"There's no place like"

Holding my "crack-baby-foster-cousin" all night long! (He is the cutest, most precious thing in the whole wide world!)

Pepermint ice cream!

Spoiled children are at their worst on Christmas Day

There were ten snow plows on the Illinois Tollway system on a clear clean Christmas Morning (A Holiday requiring overtime pay!) That's five times the number of plows I've seen in Minnesota all month - INCLUDING the I saw during the ice storm last week! (Pay attention Minnesota politicians!)

Caution - A good audio book can result in missing an exit and add an extra hour to your drive

I got How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb !!

Says Papa VW, "I would like you to play at my funeral" (gulp)

Books Books Books

Homemade applesauce

"Thank you for the figurine, it's so cute" (You really don't know me at all do you?)

Grandma made me a fleece-y blanket (so soft! so nice!)

We are a beautiful family - Kristie made a scap book to prove it!

Played Mario Brothers on Kristies laptop (too cool!)

All that and the VW family christmas (aka "Presents Galore") is still to come (maybe Saturday). Fingers crossed for a rock tumbler (wouldn't it be cool to have my very own rock tumbler?)

Thursday, December 23, 2004


I thought about putting up a Landini style modal cadence for this month's Chord, but that probably would have seemed too obscure and 'intellectual-y,' so I opted for good old C Major, since Christmas music is expected to be triadic and cheerful.... not that I would ever 'dis' Cole Porter, mind you.

(Brought to You by The Muse at Sunset)

Since I stoped teaching in the public schools, I haven't gotten a single cold. No sniffles, no sore throats, no ringworm, not even a tired voice or that yucky fall crud that was going around. (Is this how "normal" people live? Amazing!)

But today I feel blah . . . coincidently I spent three hours with the munchkins at The Little Academy - and two days later I have a cold. (Damn kids!)

The new Executive Director at YA found a mistake in the payroll system today. A few hours of my hours had not been properly counted with the result being that YA owes me $500 (!!!!!!!)
Surprise! (I might have to re-think my opinion of this woman).

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Tomorrow is supposed to be my last day at YA. My co-workers already took me out for a goodbye lunch and gave me the "have a nice life" card. I have been humming My Sundown all week as my "Goodbye to YA Theme Song."
It's time to go

But . . .

The new Execeutive Director called me into her office today, and asked me to stay on through JANUARY!! She hasn't yet hired anyone to be her lackey assistant, and doesn't expect to have a person in place any time soon.

After thinking about it for all of 20 seconds, I comitted staying through January 15. This means a few things
1. I'm still at YA for a little while longer
2. Holiday pay for all of next week (YIPEE!)
3. An extra one and a half paychecks
4. If VocalEssence comes through with a job offer, they'll just have to wait
5. Continued uncertainity on Planet Julie

I said my goodbyes this is my sundown.
I'm gonna be so much more than this.
With one hand high, you'll show them your progress.
You'll take your time, but no one cares.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


SECRET # 1 I'm not doing to well at this computer hiatus. The moment I have nothing else to do, some hidden homing device automatically draws me back to this machine and a zombie like voice says "Must. Check. Email. Must. Go. Online." Sad to say, but I fear I may be turning into a computer geek (no, please -- anything but that!)

SECRET #2 VocalEssence still hasn't come through on an official job offer, so I'm applying for jobs (again). Today I sent a resume off for a Executive Director position in Des Moines. I exceed their basic requirements, but doubt it'll come through. (Exec. Director seems too ambitious, and I donno that I want to move back to Iowa). Expectations should stay exceedingly low.

SECRET #3 As part of a wild crazy, dare to myself, I joined a internet matching service last month. (Don't worry - much to the annoyance of the creepy people, I've been safe & smart). It's actually been kind of fun - esp. if one is willing to sit back and look at things with a left brain perspective while participating with a right brain perspective. (Right Brain says "awww, look at his picture, he's holding a baby - that's so cute!" Left brain says, "Wow, posting a pic with a kid - how smooth is that? Betcha that gets him a lot of chics")
Alas, my trial membership expires this weekend, and it's too expensive to re-new (even if I were gainfully employed - it's silly to pay for the privilage of meeting people -'yaknow?) T'was fun, and while I don't think I'll ever do it again, at least I can say I did it once (in my wild and crazy youthful days).

SECRET #4 I spent some time today at The Little Academy. You may recall that my replacement quit after a month. The second replacement also quit after a few weeks on the job. (Long time readers know that The Little Academy has a difficult time keeping teachers!)
So, I went over today, saw some of my kid-os, sang, danced, got more than my fair share of hugs, talked to some of the teachers, yelled a few kids . . . and realized that leaving was the right thing for me to do! They would give me a job if I wanted it -- but no thanks.

SECRET #5 Harry Potter book 6 is scheduled to be released on July 16! YIPEEEEE!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all;"

AND . . .

a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2005, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regard to the race, creed, color, religious, or sexual preferences of the wishes."

(Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Hey Kids! I sent off my last paper Thursday night! My second to last semester is OVER! [insert wild applause here!]
And now, my glazed over eyes are in some serious need of non-computer time.

SO. . . I'm taking a break from screen time. Until the natural sparkle returns to my eyes; until my butt stops complaining about sitting; until I've gone out to play and play and play; until I've made some cookies; until I'm ready to throw myself back into blogging. It might be a few days before I post, so happy holidays to all who read, and I'll see 'ya on the other side of this break!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I can tell you about Great Gram.
I can say she was wonderful.
And a million other adjectives, but you wouldn't believe me. You might smile an say "Oh, how nice." Or something else that is polite and appropriate. But you would not know about great Great Gram was.

Mrs. Bafia, the 7th grade English teacher from hell, would suggest that I explain WHY Great Gram was wonderful, or give examples of her wonderful-ness.

If I were to follow the "Mrs. Bafia writing Model" I'd explain how Great Gram laid out candy for her great grandkids, or how she baked cookies for her Grandchildren's birthdays (but gave the cookies to the Great Grandkids so they'd have a present for to give their parents).

I'd tell you about the sucker box that never had suckers, and about the story books she kept in her closet, and the magnifying glass that kept us entertained for hours at a time. I'd write about our tradition of Saturday lunches at her house (we brought over hotdogs and then had ice cream or homemade muffins for dessert!)

In the Mrs.Bafia-Model I'd write about the certain way she kissed her great grandkids, and saved the cartoon pages for my brohter under a chair in her house, and how her graceful stubbornness has influenced/ inspired me. So many people respected and revered my great gram.

BUT, even if I did everything Mrs. Bafia said, and wrote all that down, it would not convey thee ssence of Great Gram. You'll just have to trust me that she was amazing.

This is supposed to be 1,213 words about banket so maybe it's time for my train of thought to focus a bit. Banket is a Dutch pastry - flakey crust with an almomd paste filling. Quite tastey, although I'm told it is an aquired taste.

Great Gram used to make four sticks of banket for each family. She packaged it in wax paper, wrapped with with christmas paper, and pased it out a week or two before Christmas. My mom always put it right into the freezer - thinking that we wouldn't eat it quite so quickly if it were frozen (litle did she know that her children liked frozen banket as much as thawed banket!!!)

Banket takes a long time to make. One must roll out the crust, thinly spread butter on it, fold and roll again, butter, fold, roll, butter, fold roll - - the whole process happens at least 20 times. And then the cook still has to deal with filling, shaping, and baking it! (There's a reason why it is a once a year treat).

Great Gram was a resilliant thing.
There was a bout with cancer - but she bounced back.
Heart attack - and she bounced back.
Little tiny stroke, and she made a complete recovery.
Once, when I was in high school, she got really sick and we didn't know if she'd make it (I cried that night wondering how in the world life would go on if she died), BUT she pulled through that too.

In 1995 she fell and broke her hip.
At the time she was 90-some years old and the doc didn't know if her body would survive surgery (let alone rehab). I really worried about her not being able to walk again, and she went into Rest Haven (which is the Nursing home prefered by the South Side Dutch-boy community).

And she stopped making banket.

* * * * * * * *

I don't get too thrilled about the exclusive-ness attitude of some of the "old time Dutch-boys network." But I went to Central College, in Pella Iowa anyway.
Pella is one of those annoying Dutch towns. Everyone in Pella owns an "Dutch Costume" (never mind that no one in Holland dresses that way now). Pella People wear their annoying Dutch Costumes every spring for their annual annoying tulip festival.

If you are a new resident of Pella, and don't have a Dutch costume - the Pella Public Library has Dutch Costume patterns that you can check out. (Along with a list of sewers that will make the costume for you). It's insane.

I really didn't want to go to Central.
My mom went there - and I had no desire to follow her. Plus the whole "Dutch-boy" exclusive-ness thing.
But then I visited and fell in love with the place. The people were articulate, interesting, friendly, and smart. I didn't want to like it there, but I did. And I ended up going to Central IN SPITE of my mother's alumni status (and a crummy financial aid package).

Pella has this bakery.
And, being a very Dutch-y town, the bakery specializes in (you guessed it) Dutch Patry and candy (this is a banket story, so I won't get sidetracked by candy, but someday I'll need to write about Willeminia Peppermints and cinnamon rusks!)

This Dutch bakery makes Banket.
It is mass produced banket - but it is mass produced by hand. (Not quite as good as Great Grams). When I was in college, I used to bring a box or two home for Christmas (and the VW family went crazy happy for a taste of it).

It's a VW Christmas Tradidion.
It's tastey stuff.

Great Gram had her 100th birthday party my in September of my senior year. By that time sister Kristie had joined me at Central (despite her desire to NOT follow in her mother/sister's Centralian footsteps, she fell in love with the place too!)

There was no way Kristie and I could make the party, so we walked over to the bakery and bought six sticks of banket, and mailed it to her at Rest Haven. Everyone knew it was coming and they were looking forward to a taste of banket at the party.

They were watching for the box to come, and it didn't. Kristie and I were a little worried that it had gotten lost in the mail - - but - - Great Gram got the package, told no one, and ate it! Every last crumb (good for her, and when I'm 100 years old I might eat a whole box of banket too!)

Great Gram died in April of 2000.
No one expected it.
She hadn't been feeling well, and she WAS 102 years old. But it was still kind of a surprise. She'd bounced back so many times, that we all kinda thought that she'd do it again. Vienna by Billy Joel was on my CD player when I got the call. It seemed appropriate.

Kristie graduated from Central in 2001.
With no easy courrier, the following Christmas was banket-less.

In 2002, mother dear overcame her fear of credit cards on the internet and ordered a dozen sticks of banket to be delieved for Christmas (and there was great rejoicing throughout the land).

Phil started his first semester at Central last September.
And finished his first round of finals yesterday
He is without a car.
And since I have vacation time to burn, I went to pick him up.
(And visit the bakery!)
It was a good day for a drive - no rain, no snow, sunny
Phil drove part of the way home, so I took a nap (car sleep is the best sleep in the world).
T’was good (and I have banket!!!)
The End!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

It's been kind of a surreal morning.
When I woke up - the radio was playing MY FAVORITE camp song!
(That's a pretty amazing way to wake up - When's the last time you heard any CAMP song on the radio, much less my favorite one?)

And then, as I'm driving into work, listening to the same radio station, and the guy reading the weather said "The wind chill is minus zero today." (Now, my math skills never got me into advanced calculus - or even basic calculus - but negative zeros almost makes me curious enough to try!)

Finally, one of my YA jobs is depositing donations. So I walked over to the bank this morning to drop off a few checks, as I came out the parrot guy from last summer walked by!!!
This time I wasn't so polite.
I blanantly stared.
It's a pretty parrot.

Yes - a strange morning indeed!
And now I must work on my LAST assignment of the semester. "Write a self-assessment that also outlines career plans and professional development after completing the program" (uh . . . yeah . . .)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Someday, someone is going to google the words "Pineapple Top" or something like that, and then end up right here. This post is soley for that person - The rest of you can leave. (And to the pineapple person, Welcome! It's nice of you to come here - I've been waiting since December 2004 for someone like you to drop by!!)

I've heard that a person can grown a pineapple plant. But it almost sounds like one of those internet urban legends. So today I got a pineapple, cut it up, and planted the top.

Nothing's happened yet. But I'll document the progress (or lack of progress) in the comments section. So the Dear Pineapple Top google-person will know if it really works, or if it's just a silly rumor. (And other pineapple top planters are free to comment their experiences here too - - it can just be one great big pineapple top planting research station right here! Think of it as my contribution to humankind.)

New York's Juilliard School might be the world's most famous training ground for young musicians. But even armed with a Juilliard degree, the highly competitive world of classical music is a tough place to make a living, and no one on an orchestral audition committee will give a rip where you went to school if you can't nail that fast run in Don Juan four times in a row. A look at Juilliard's graduating class of 1994 reveals that, ten years removed from the school's rigorous teachings, some have gone on to great success as soloists or orchestral musicians; others have become teachers themselves; and still others have given up the dream of playing music professionally altogether.
[Full Article]
via ArtsJournal

Saturday, December 11, 2004

December 11, 1996 was a Wednesday.
I got the e mail right after lunch.
"Call home. Love, Mom"

Lunch had been macarnoi and cheese
with root beer and a chocolate chip cookie.
(Why do I remember the food so vividly?)

Dinner that night was chicken enchalidads with rice.
Mindy forced me to eat.
We sat with Michael Hackforth and Joe Eason.
Michael and Joe philosophized about rice,
Then threw ice cubes at Mindy.

Uncle Mickey and Aunt Pearl picked me up.
They drove 10 hours just to get me home,
But I didn't feel like talking.
So I pretended to sleep for the entire ride.

Uncle Mickey took me straight to the funeral home.
I remember the drive in on Harlem Ave.
And suddenly being *cold*
Papa was in the hospitality room, eating crackers and cheese.
Everyone wanted him to sit down and rest.
But he stubbornly stood up to hug me.

Papa was concerned that I hadn't seen her yet.
He told uncle Robby to take me.
I said "not yet"
But Uncle Robby wakled me out anyway.
I looked once.
That was it.
They did her hair wrong.
I didn't want the "casket view" to be the image I remembered.
So I didn't look again.

I went home with someone,
(who?? why can't I remember THAT?)
And Andy make me Kings Hawaian bread french toast
along with an egg,ham,potato "thing"
and apple juice
We stayed up late.

In Loving Memory of
Jody VW

Friday, December 10, 2004

His Joke is Cheesy and His Burbon is Light
It's a Sing-A-Long Messiah night!
And then there's two "normal" performances later this weekend
Plus we had a dress rehearsal last night
And an extra rehearsal last Tuesday

In case anyone's counting, that's FIVE complete run throughs of the Messiah in 6 days! Just the thought makes me tired and sore. We've split things up so no one gets hurt - but still!

One of our soloists sounds like a goat
And he's flat
And he squeezes his butt for the high notes
(First violins get an excellent view of these things.

And my "Systems Analysis" is about half done!
Stated goal - to email it to my advisor by tomorrow night!
That's all

Nonprofit workers are often far readier to hold liberal views of the need for change in the external society than theyare ready to accept changes in their own organization
- From Financial Basics for NonProfit Managers by Thomas McLaughlin
(p. 23)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

OK - you'll need some background information before we get to the good stuff
First, I taught for quite some time in an upper (upper upper upper) middle class suburban school district. For our puroposes, we'll just call this district WDM.

Second, WDM loved to toss around the term "Technology." Technology Teams, Technology Audits, Technology Training, Technology Plans, and Technology Everything

Third, WDM really used the phrase "technology" as a synomym for "Computers".

Fourth, WDM annually requested that I write out my year long "Curriculum Map" and include how I would be intergrating "technogy" into my rehearsals. (I listed my piano, my tuning fork, pencils, and the school stereo). My principal thought it was funny (and appropriate). The technology corridnator got angry and told me to use *computers* in my beginning orchestra rehearsals.

Fifth, computers don't scare me (although they seem to scare a lot of teachers). I would have happily incorporated a computer into my rehearsals *IF* the district had musical software/hardware. But they didn't. And I refused to take time away from the important stuff (making music) to do a dumb computer assingment. (The sole purpose of which, I think was just to justify the computer teacher's job).

All that, just to highlight this wonderful article: (that says I was brilliantly ahead of my time!!!

A new study reports that students who were heavy users of computers did worse in school than those who were not. "From a sample of 175,000 15-year-old students in 31 countries, researchers at the University of Munich announced in November that performance in math and reading had suffered significantly among students who have more than one computer at home. And while students seemed to benefit from limited use of computers at school, those who used them several times per week at school saw their academic performance decline significantly as well." [more]

VINDICATED!!! Article via ArtsJournal

Sunday, December 05, 2004

SMU wants me to write a "Systems Analysis Paper" of an arts organization.

It is supposed to take everything I’ve leanred (or forgotten) in the past two years – including financial management - and synthesize it into one big . . . thing.

Last summer (before Jo left) I selected and got approval to use YA as the topic organization.

At the time, I thought I could write all kinds of nice things, share some of my academic observations with Jo, and turn it all into a nice and easy paper. But, Jo's departure brought about so many changes (including me getting laid off!) That the warm fuzzy paper I would have written has long since wandered off into the sunset.

So . . . my first challenge, is to re-learn financial management (Or find an old Fin. Man. paper and plagerize myself into sounding smart!)
The second challegne is to write an objective paper about YA
I don't feel very objective

Writing about a different organizations is not an option – partly because of the lengthly approval process, partly because of the research involved.

You know I’m capable of doing this ...
In a way, it'll be kind of fun (one last chance to describe everything that's WRONG!) And if I can be objective enough, it might be fun to give a copy of the final paper to the new Exec. Dir. (who knows NOTHING about runing a non-profit) as a way of "helping her." [evil laugh].

If only the paper would magically come out of my fingers and into the computer.
I really don't feel like writing it. (Maybe I'll take a nap instead, and when I wake up little elves will have magically written it for me. It happens all the time in fairy tales, so there's no reason why it couldn't happen, right?)

My mother would tell me to quit procrastinating and start writing, but there's nothing wrong with taking a little nap --- just as an experiment, to investigate IF little elves DO come and help me out. It's scientific research, right??

Saturday, December 04, 2004

ANOTHER PSALM -by popular demand
(OK OK two polite comments really doesn't constitute "popular" or "demand"
- but I like the phrase "popular demand". Give me some artistic license here, please?!)

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the council of the wicked,
or stand in the way of sinners,
or sit in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord.
And on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by the water,
except lively-er, we hope,
and more given to conversation.

His leaf shall not wither.
And whatever he does prospers.
Tho’ not necessarily right away,
or in a material way,
or even in such a way that one would notice.

The wicked are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Or like snow,
that is plowed to the side of the road,
and carried away in trucks,
and dumped into the river.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous -
Even in Minnesota and Wisconsin!

But the way of the wicked will parish
like a palm tree planted in Ely.

- Adaptation by Garrison Keilor

Friday, December 03, 2004

Central listed me as an alum with a sucessful career!
(Cory made the list too!
Being on the same list as him is even better than being on the list!!!
Horray for Cory!)

Maybe it's time to update my alumni record. I should tell them that I resigned from The Little Academy
and am about to become jobless
Or . . . maybe not!!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

There's an old saying about the cobbler’s children going barefoot.
I don't know if that's true or not. In my world, the closest thing to a cobbler is Mr. Mark.

Mr. Mark has been selling me shoes since time began. I don't get to Chicago that often, but he is still my primary shoe guy! (If I need shoes immediately, I will very begrudgingly purchase them from someplace local. Mr. Mark is *my* shoe guy!)

Anyway, the corollary to the cobbler's barefoot kids, would be the automotive-ly incompetent daughter of a mechanic.

That's me!

So, today I found out that my car (desperately) needs new tires
Maybe I should have known, but I just got tires (granted, it was 3 years and 65,000 miles ago -but still).
Besides, I don't check these things. That's what Dads and mechanics do!
So today I brought my car in for an oil change ('cause mechanic's daughters don't know how to do it for themselves). And the shop said "You need new tires, and you need them NOW!"

So the shop tried to sell me tires.
I said "No thank you."
They said, "You really ought to get these. They're good"
I said, "Not today."
They said, "Is it a money thing, we'll give you a discount, or work out a payment plan - you shouldn't drive on the current tires."
I said, "Thanks. No."

You see, the mechanic's daughter comes from a Michelin Family.
Some people belong to Chevy families, some to Ford families.
We're a Michelin family.
No debate on the subject.
We just are.

This shop did not carry (and even dared to discourage) Michelins. So I left, went to a tire place and asked for Michelins.
The tech recommended something else, extolling the wonders and virtues of a cheaper [not to be named] brand.
(what to do, who to trust?)

So I called Dear 'ole Dad and asked for advice.

It was a phone conversation, but I could hear him settling back in his chair, stretching out his legs, and assuming the "fatherly advice" pose. After the extended "wisdom-pause" he started, "Once upon a time, to save some money, I bought shoes from Mr. Mark that were . . . "

The mechanic's daughter quickly interrupted, "Yeah dad, I know the Mr. Mark-cheap-shoe-story. Quality Quality Quality Blah blah blah, But two people have recommended other tires. Could it possibly, maybe, be that for my particular type of car, there is an undiscovered gem in the tire world?"

Dear 'ole Dad knows that the mechanic's daughter is just as stubborn as the mechanic. He knew saying what he felt ("You dishonor family! You speak the name of [brand] tire. How can one doubt power of Michelin. You no longer be mechanic's daughter.") would have prompted me to stubbornly purchase the cheaper [brand not to be named] tires.

So instead he went online (or perhaps just pretended to go online) and looked up [the unmentionable brand]. He started spouting off ratings. And rotation numbers. And assorted tire facts. And I got dizzy from the overflow of numbers being thrown at me. A few seconds later I hung up and explained to the tech that my inheritance was at stake, and I'd be purchasing the Michelins.

The bank account is considerably smaller tonight
The car . . . the car can now take turns at 35 mph -- Slowing down is not necessary with fresh Michelin tires.
The mechanic's daughter can now safely travel to Chicago (with her all weather radial Michelin tires) under the guise of celebrating the holiday with family. In reality, the mechanic wants to see the tires. And the mechanic’s daughter is going to Chicago soley to purchase hiking boots from Mr. Mark's.
The cobbler's daughter was too little for shoes last time I was there, but I wonder if she'll still be barefoot . . .

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

They found the owner of that scrap book at my brother's store. Dear brother Andrew will be on the six o'clock news for a happy reunion of photo album and family. (And there was enough notice for his wife to approve his atire before he went to work!)

The family actually came forward a while back, but there was enough time-sensitive warm fuzzy human interest stories (Thanksgiving et al) that the media postphoned the story until today.

Steph (and any other non-local Andrew-groupies) can read/watch the happy ending right here

The First Meeting of the
Procrastinators Support Group
Has Been Postponed