About Me

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Illinois, United States
I am a band director at five private schools in Kankakee. Music is a big part of my life, but knitting and crafting are right up there too. I own a ridiculous stash of yarn, which I am slowly using... and replacing with better yarn... I tend to knit and crochet a lot, in class, out of class, while watching tv, while driving, pretty much constantly. I have been involved with crochet romantically for 15 years, and involved with knitting for 11 years. They sometimes get jealous of each other. I think its funny. Along with knitting and crocheting, I quilt, spin (drop spindle) and design patterns!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm back- Sort of

I want to say that life has gotten easier and calmer since I got back from the Germany trip. But it is the exact opposite. Not that I am complaining or anything, because I absolutely despise sitting around doing nothing.

The issue is, I'm sitting around not able to do the things I need to do because I am waiting for my apartment to get done so I can move in. Until then, a bunch of stuff I need to do is put on hold.

But I'm keeping busy. Don't you worry! :)
Now here is what has been on my plate since I got home from Germany.

I get home and jet lag took over, making me wake up at 4-5 am every morning. I got stuff done. :)

Two days after I got home, I met with the five principals of the schools I will be teaching band with. One high school and four grade schools. We discussed how next year is going to look. I will have a lot of freedom in creating and molding the band programs, considering one of the schools does not even have a band program. I am going to have to be creative to keep the students interested and excited. So my mind is racing of different things I can do.

I decided that I would host a "band camp" a few weeks before school starts. I would have the beginning band students come in for two days, an hour a day, and do a type of instrument petting zoo. Let the youngins hear and see how someone plays the instrument, and then in the end get to play it and hold it themselves. This will get them prepared to choose their instrument the first week of school.

Then after the beginning band camp, the 5th and 6th graders will come in for an hour, Monday through Friday, and we will learn about the expectations of the next school year, the cost of being in band, do fun ice breakers, get to know each other, and then work on some fundamentals in music, possibly even play some music. It really depends on the skills of the students. I need this band camp to see where we are at skill wise so I know what music to choose for this year.

Theeeeen after that band camp, I will have the 7th and 8th graders come in and do about the same thing. For these two older groups I would like to reach out to them and see what they expect from me, and then make rules and whatnot based on what we agree on. I think it would be a really great experience. I am also planning on having the high school band students come in and help out, lets just hope they agree on it!

Ok so thats that, my minds going nuts about what music to use, but I cannot look through the music because I am 2.5 hours away and my apartment is not done being painted. So I cannot move in until that is done, which will be this Saturday.

So. Fun list of things that have happened to me these past couple months.
-Went to Florida with the high school band group I was student teaching with: Marched through Disney world with the marching band.
-Graduated college with a music education degree
-Sent out over 30 job applications all over Illinois, and one in Alaska. Why not.
-Went to two interviews for jobs
-Got turned down for the first job
-Got a call back with the second interviews job offer the day before I left for Germany, and accepted it.
-Went to Germany for three weeks to study the German school system, and travel. I miss it dearly
-Got back, met with principals
-Had an awesome graduation party!
-Found an apartment, and put the security deposit down- I HAVE AN EXTRA ROOM MEANING.......CRAFT ROOOOOOOOOM

So now I am sitting around answering emails from parents of my future students about the band camp, knitting, crafting, and packing up my old apartment. Which... I think I am done and all I have to do is move it all into my car tomorrow and Friday.

I did get to see my little cousin in all this insanity, which I always look forward to. Though I feel horrible because my mind was so preoccupied with the job that I felt I was not as much fun as I usually am. I hope she understands!

Now for some crafty stuff.
I have been working on this scarf for quite some time now. It is the Pedestrian Crossing Cowl by Melissa Sibley, only changed around a bit to make it a scarf instead. I am making it from some stash busting yarn, no idea what it is though. For mother. Cause I keep promising her a scarf but I never get it done. So this is it darnit! I am going to make her this scarf and then cross it off of my que!
I love how the colors look, and I really think it is her type. So I am excited to get it done.

When I knit, Kitty likes to lay down next to me. It does not matter if I drape yards and yards of yarn over her head, she looks around wondering what is going on before she plops on her side and passes out. I have never encountered a cat that does not go ape sh** when it comes to yarn until I adopted Kitty. haha
But does she not have the absolute cutest mug you have ever seen? :)

Next up is an almost finished object. I had bought a whoooole bunch of baby yarn years and years ago, and its about time I stash bust. All that I have left to do is crochet up a cute little flower to add to the front of it.
I decided on the cute little ruffle around the edges, nothing too girly, but also sweet. The flower will match the edging a little.

Full out view of cuteness. I will probably pop out the flower tomorrow in between packing a bit more.

Up next is my spinning. I have a bunch of roving laying around and I really do enjoy spinning, even if I am not amazing and my arms hurt after five minutes with the drop spindle. So it is a slow process. But I am getting better every time I work on it.
I don't mind the color, its not amazing, but I think it will look really nice spun up. Right now it is about sock weight, though it always poofs up whenever I take it off of the drop spindle... Any spinners out there with advice? How do I keep it from doing the thick and thin? Is it because I am uneven?

I need a darn spinning wheel already...ugh

Lastly for today I finished my Baktus. I am debating on doing some sort of edging, whether lacy of not. It just feels very plain right now.
My goal for teaching this year is to use scarves to spice up my wardrobe, whether they are shawls, scarves, or cowls. Once it gets cold I am stocking up!

Well.. that is all for now.




Just saying,


Thursday, June 09, 2011


It seems I have gone silent since my last post but I have good reason!

I was a couple days behind with the Germany trip, and then we left for the states! Once I got home I had to start planning with mother for my graduation party. I also met with all five principals in the schools I am going to be working at this coming year. I am excited and terrified all at the same time. I feel they are giving me a bunch of freedom to mold the bands into something I think will work, so I am doing my absolute best to brainstorm.

If you have had any experience with beginning band programs please let me know what worked for you! I will need all the advice and experience I can get!

Oh, and I just put in a security deposit for an amazing 2 bed 1 bath apartment just 5 minutes down the road from the high school!!! I AM SO EXCITED!

As for the Germany trip... it is over. And I am slightly sad. I miss the people we met, all the students we visited and observed, all the places we experienced. I learned more than I could have ever hoped for and I made many new friends. So for all of my new German friends who read this blog, thank you for being so absolutely amazing! You made the stay exciting, and incredeble!

The last couple days in Germany were amazing and relaxing. We met with students from the Hauptschule. The first day we observed I believe we all felt quite overwhelmed with.... the intensity of the classes. I felt that the class I was in wanted to talk about smoking the entire time. 8th grade. smoking....

In the Gymnasium the students asked about Obama, and what Americans thought of Osama and terrorism. In the Hauptschule the students asked if we smoke cigarettes. Give you an idea of the difference?

The class was very loud, and some students did not seem to want to learn as they sat with their heads down or just stared off into space. There was more ethnicity in this school, and the hallways were covered in art. (which I loved!)

While the two classes I observed in the first day were very rowdy, the second day I was put in a class that was absolutely amazing!

We were in the hallway and two 6th graders came up to us and offered us chocolate saying "We are the student presidents of the 6th grade class, please follow us"

The class was.... not what I expected at all! These students moved around chairs for us, looked at us in awe, spoke English very well, and were very excited to learn.

They even had prepared three skits in English for us!!! The skits were hilarious, and I have them recorded but it takes so darn long to get online So when I have free time I will upload them for your enjoyment.

This is one of the skits, where the boy is writing a letter to his girlfriend. The three friends help him decide what to write (very funny) and then he decides to tell her he is going outside to play. Oh my gosh it was funny!

The next class seemed to want to ask us questions the entire 2 hours instead of do their studies. It was fine, but the questions got repetative. I noticed some of the students who were disorderly, but nothing as bad as the first day.
They asked us to sing the National Anthem. And we did. Very poorly. But better then it was at the Super Bowl I would like to think!

They proceded to since the German Anthem, which was interesting as well!

WE made it back to the Mercedes Benz museum, and it was pretty epic. It not only had the cars on display, but also had the history surrounding the cars.

Wednesday night we met up with one of the teachers from the Gymnasium, and she took us out with some more of her English teacher friends. We went to a great restaurant, and then off to one of the bars.

It was nice to be able to really get the insight of the teachers, not just the students. Then again, many of the teachers said the same thing as the students. It was so interesting!!!
I am so glad I got to meet them all, and I hope to keep in contact with them until I get to go back to Germany! Thank you so much for being so amazing!!!
Off to breakfast, then to figure out how I am going to work this band program from the ground up!!!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Just a quick note

When we went to the Gymnasium, I asked the students what they thought of the "lower" schools. They told me the truth, that they felt that they were better.

I learned last night while experiencing the German night life, (with a bunch of the Gymnasium teachers) that these students follow my blog, and felt bad for what they said about the lower schools.

I want them to know that I fully expected what they told me. I totally understand what they were saying and I do not want them to feel guilty at all.

I am doing a paper on the differences between German and American tracking in the schools. And what they said puts the reality of the tracking into perspective. I fully appreciate them being so truthful, because all the other schools were very truthful as well. I find this all very interesting.

Mind you, I was able to talk to students at the Reaschule, but when we got to the Hauptschule, we were not able to talk with the students. We were able to observe, and trust me, we noticed differences.

So to those Gymnasium students- I fully appreciate your truth! Never feel guilty about anything! You are helping me with a 15 page paper, and all the other students with me on this study abroad trip got the same answers from the classes they observed.

Thank you for being you!

We didn't do much today, just climbed the Alps. NBD.

So we started out Monday with a slightly long trip to the Mercedes Benz museum. It was a hike to the train station, a little bit of a train ride, and then a hike to the Museum. We posed, and had fun with the car statue outside, each one of us getting a good picture with the car.

That got our excitement up for this museum. Until we got to the front door.

So. This museum knew we were coming, and decided it would be fun to close on Mondays so the Americans could not come in. So. The museum was closed. Lets try a different one. The Dino museum? Nope closed to.

So Olaf (our professors husband) ended up taking us all out for ice cream instead. I think it was a pretty fair trade. :)

Tuesday. Was probably the best day of my life. I mean other than the day Steve asked me out. (Don't tell him it was probably better :) )

We climbed the Alps. No Big Deal. But we climbed the Alps. In Germany.

In the middle, and a little to the left you can see Tegelberg, which is the mountain range we climbed. 1720 Meters.

On the way up you can see the Cinderella Castle (Neuswanstein) After the climb we were going to take a tour of this castle.

Me at the landing before the big climb! The view was breath taking. I want to go camping on a mountain. So badly. I want to wake up and see the view!

This is part of the view from the landing. I love how you can see all the fields, with their different crops and colors.

Part of the group that was trucking along, making sure we would get to the top soon. Little Leela there was such a trooper, if I was her age I would be complaining about the hike, but she kept going and was actually enjoying it! We did not know that we were going to be hiking. So one girl wore Ballerina flats, and Olaf wore dress shoes. I of course was all decked out in my comfy jeans, gym shoes, tee and sports bra. Just cause, when I hear the sentence "We are going to the Alps" I think, "Well we will probably have some sort of a hike." :) Thats just me though.

This is one of my favorite pictures. There is a good chance I will print this picture out and frame it. Ok there is no doubt I will print it out and frame it. How could you not?

The cross up there is where we needed to get to. There was a path for a little bit, and then as Tasha says, "S*** got real". I have conquered my fear of heights a long time ago. But after a while of climbing and hiking, I started getting nervous. We were high. Really high on that mountain. Like. For real.

Hey guys, nah its just me chilling on a mountain. It is an every day thing. I am just that cool. IM ON A MOUNTAIN!

This was when it started getting complicated. Instead of taking a nice little forest path, we had to start climbing and actually worrying about life and death situations. Once we started getting higher and realizing there was nothing holding us to the mountain except gravity (and we all know that gravity is great until you fall...) we started to goof around less. Because death by mountain is cool and all. But I envision myself getting stabbed by a knitting needle or something cool like that. :)

We learned brotherhood. Mostly because if it was not for other people helping us up, we would have easily died...

We did however get to hold onto some metal wire thingys. We just knew that if our fingers slipped, there was nothing holding us to the mountain, not like when we went to the climbing park.

We have finally reached the top! The view was just... astonishing. I have not seen anything like that in my entire life. I don't think there was any way I could be any happier.
The group of girls at the top of the mountain!

How amazing is that view? I will tell you. It is amazing.
Heading back down. This was the easy path I was talking about. Not exactly smooth, but it was better than some of the stuff we had to climb up. It would not be very easy to fall down the mountain from this path. Which I was grateful for.
Now for some amazing views. Eat your heart out Americans!

I filled up on some amazing pea soup after we got to the landing. It was amazing. For real. We got stuck up on the landing because of lightening for a little over an hour. We learned that older Germans don't know how to form a line, and continue cutting in line. We discussed elbowing some of them in the face to prove that there was no cutting in line. Instead we stood quietly as the old woman pushed their way past us. (As if we dont SEE you doing that...)

Next up. We went up to the Cinderella Castle (Neuswanstein). Oh and we took a horse drawn carriage up there. NBD. We just took a horse drawn carriage to a castle. Oh and we were in Germany. And we just hiked up the Alps. All in a days work.
This is the view from the entrance of the castle. They wouldnt let us take pictures inside, of course. The tour was sort of... a flop? You go in expecting tons of interesting details, and I mean its the Cinderellas castle. You go in thinking its going to be amazing. What we saw was amazing don't get me wrong. But the 2nd floor was never finished. And it was just like.... ummmmm. But he did have a room that was a cave. Literally a cave. This kinda had a cave in his house. NBD.
But I cheated the system. Thank you google.
That is the Kings bed. Seriously. The woodwork was all hand carved, and was supposed to look like gothic castles. I... WANT.... THAT.... BED......!

Heres my last favorite view from the castle. This will also get framed.

This is our last day, but I am a few posts behind. I figure the layover at the airport in Zurich will give me a chance to finish updating. I hope!