Thursday, April 30, 2009

I survived

Music Fest was very awesome. We spent about 29 hours, or so, on the ferry getting up to Sitka. Some of the scenery was amazing. I just continue to enjoy the area I live in. We arrived in on Wednesday evening. We went straight from the ferry to a meeting in the auditorium, which was followed by a directors meeting. I sent my kids, with my chaperone, to the hotel while I went to my meeting. It's a good thing too, we didn't finish our meeting till almost 11PM. It was a long meeting. I checked into the hotel and went to bed, I woke up at about 5:30AM. There are times, I hate being a morning person. We left the hotel a little late, so we didn't get to the event right at 8AM, not that that was a big deal. I went to go do a few director things, like turning in scores for our adjudication that night, and left my students to watch solo and ensembles with the chaperone. One student snuck out and proceeded to talk on her cell phone for 20 minutes in the bathroom, only to get caught by another director. Needless to say, her phone got taken away for the rest of the trip. Let me tell you how popular I was. Thursday afternoon we had our dress rehearsal on the stage in the auditorium. It was pretty awful. It sounded more like I had handed my students brand new music than music that we had been working on. After getting through that, we had a rehearsal, at the students' request. That went a lot better. That evening was our performance on the stage, it went very well. There were still plenty of times where parts weren't really together, but I'm still very happy with their performance. All I have to say was, that stage was a bit intimidating. Friday was another long day of solos and ensembles, clinics, and performances. We left a little early because my students were falling asleep in the auditorium. On our way out we ran into Tasha, who was upset so we talked and my students and I sang An Austrian went Yodeling and Baby Shark for her. It was hilarious. We got her to smile. Saturday was similar to the days before except my chaperone left to go visit with some of his family and I was left with one sick child sitting in the van (and throwing up near it) and the rest of my students in the auditorium. I spent the entire time running back and forth checking on them. I also left at one point to go get my sick student Pepto and sprite. After the last performance, there was another director's meeting, I left a little early because I had to get everyone down to the ferry. In that time my chaperone reappeared. We drove down to the ferry and loaded. Then everyone got ready for bed. I think we were all pretty exhausted. That was a 24 hour ferry ride. We overnighted in Ketchikan at a pretty nice hotel, which there was a miscommunication and they didn't move all of our room reservations to the correct day, they had only moved mine. So then we kinda scrambled to find rooms for everyone, but it all worked out. I went out and got breakfast in the morning only to come back to the hotel, miss a step, and hurt my ankle. This is not the ankle I sprained back in February, it's the other one. I'm happy to say that my ankle isn't broken, but it sure hurts. I went to the clinic, they said it wasn't broken, but didn't give me much more information than that.
I figured it out, we spent a total of 56 hours, or so, on the ferry, had two 14 hour days, one 13 hour day (which was followed by getting on the ferry), and slept on floors for two nights. It was a long, exhausting trip, but it was great. The rest of the year is pretty much all down hill from here. We have about 3 week left and a week after that I fly home. It should be fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another week has come and gone

It's been another week and I don't know where it's gone. Time flies. I'd say when you're having fun, but some of that is debatable. I've spent a lot of time out walking. It's been great. Last Tuesday I even went walking twice, so I probably walked about 7 or 8 miles. I usually walk between 3 and 4 miles when I go walking. I've enjoyed my time outside. Wednesday I made Buttermilk Spice Cake with cream cheese frosting. It was pretty good. It was my first adventure making a spice cake. It was a big hit at school. Friday I took the day off and in the afternoon went to town. I was singing Saturday at a church thing, which was fun. It was also nice to attend a full church service on Sunday. While I was in town, I stopped by the music store to pick up some kazoos for my high school band. It's my solution to practicing on the ferry. They were pretty excited when I handed them kazoos yesterday in band. They have come such a long way on this music. We had an extra rehearsal last night in preparation to leaving today. The high school band is meeting in my classroom this morning to load the van and get on a ferry. We go to from here to Ketchikan, then have a couple of hours before we get on the ferry that is taking us to Sitka. We'll be on that ferry for 29 hours. I'm pretty sure we'll be picking up most of the other schools on the way. It'll be crazy on the ferry. We'll get into Sitka tomorrow evening. It should be fun.
For any one wondering, 38 days till I'm back in Illinois. I promise I'm not counting down.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pancakes, Easter, and Mondays

I survived standardized testing with only minor scarring. Friday was an early release day. Woohoo!!! I fell asleep on my couch after school. I can't say that I did anything too exciting, but the weather was great so I went walking again. I've been walking most days. I even wore shorts this week. I think I wore shorts on Thursday. I don't totally remember. Friday night I went out walking with some friends dogs. I got pulled around town for the first 20 minutes, after that, they settle down. It was awesome. Saturday I worked on cleaning out my mud room. I have everything out of there that doesn't need to be there. Of course that I haven't finished putting it all away, so it's sitting in my living room. Saturday night I made 14 batches of pancake mix, just the dry ingredients. Then I went to church where we were having a get together that involved eating breakfast for dinner. Hence the pancake mix. I made pancakes and waffles. I still have some mix left over. It was pretty fun.
Easter was a beautiful sunny day. I went out walking in the early evening. I didn't do anything really special that day. I did however make banana bread. It turned out really well, but most things I bake turn out well. Later that evening Nicole dropped off some leftovers at my house from Easter dinner. I gave her a loaf of banana bread. I think that's a fair trade.
I took banana bread into work today. I got the missing ingredients to make buttermilk spice cake. It sounds pretty good. I'll probably make that tomorrow among doing other things. I went walking twice today, both times for about an hour. Not too much else exciting is going on. The music for Music Fest is coming along well. I got a few more things put away this afternoon and some laundry done. Now I just need to do one more load of laundry and a batch of dishes and I should be good to go before Music Fest. I should probably also find a home for some of this stuff taking over my living room. Oh well. I always did need projects to do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Standardized Testing...Ugh

That alone should be self explanatory. I'm sitting here on day 3 of standardized testing, bored out of my mind. I've been proctoring testing in the special education area. So I've sat and watched 3 students take tests for 3 days. Today, thankfully, is the last day that I have to proctor. It doesn't make sense to me that a teacher who teaches k-12 should proctor test and have a sub for 3 days. It's three days of rehearsal time that is lost. It is also 3 days where they have to pay me and a sub for me. I could be doing productive things in my classroom versus sitting here. There is admittedly time when many of my elementary classes are testing, since grades 3-10 are testing, but I could be working in my classroom. Heaven knows there are plenty of things for me to do there. I can't exactly haul my stuff up to the testing site in order to work on it. Then I have a sub for the whole day because the students are given all day to finish the testing if they need it. Well the first day one student needed about 15 minutes past lunch, yesterday they were all done an hour before lunch but had to stay with me, and today I think they'll all be done before lunch too. That means all afternoon I have nothing I'm supposed to be doing. Tuesday I went home early because there was nothing for me to do. Yesterday I wrote the itinerary for Music Fest and then wandered around with nothing to do. I don't know what I'm going to do today. I might just go home again. The weather is nice and I don't have any work to do that doesn't involve being in my classroom. It would be very awkward for me to show up to my classroom with the sub there. It's not exactly like I could just go in my office and work either. I shouldn't complain but it just seems kinda backwards, but welcome to the education system. I don't know if anything ever really makes sense.
Yesterday the weather was awesome so I went walking and went to the beach. Today the weather is fantastic again. It's sunny and warmish. I guess you could consider 45 degrees warm. This is Alaska after all and it's only April. Sadly though the weather prediction for about the next week is rain, rain, and more rain. At least we've gotten two really nice days.
Just about a week left until I leave for music fest with my band. (All 9 of them). They are coming along well on the music. Next week will be a big push to run through the pieces and fine tune some things. We have one piece that we haven't run completely through yet and I'm a little nervous, but I'm sure it'll be fine. I have a good group of musicians. We're performing Dona Nobis Pacem, Thundercrest, and Symphonic Overture for Music Fest. I don't know that I've ever performed the first two, but Symphonic Overture I played at my community college. It's completely possible for us to do it. I'm taking it a little under tempo because 152 beats per minute is a little fast, we're taking it at about 130-140 bpm at the opening. It works. It sounds pretty good. We'll see how it goes. We'll go out there and do our best. That's all I can expect.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I can't believe it's April

Where has the year gone? I really can't believe it's April already. April Fools day started with a great prank by Mother Nature. I woke up to snow. So much for spring. The weather after that hasn't been too bad. We had a couple of days of sunshine. I went walking.
Nothing really exciting has happened this week. The pieces that the high school band are working on are coming along well. We have two weeks till we leave for music fest, we've still got a lot of work to do. I lose three days of rehearsal this week because of testing. I also have to proctor testing. I'm not thrilled. They are hiring a sub for me for three days so I can proctor testing. It makes little sense since there are teachers whose students will be testing and the school wouldn't have to find an all day sub for, but they aren't proctoring testing. This doesn't make sense. Oh well. There isn't much I can do about it now.
I don't think there is much else going on. Today I'm going to have a baking day. I'm probably going to make cinnamon rolls, pineapple banana upside down cake, and brownies. I have a couple of places to go today that I'm taking food to, thus the baking. I guess I'd better start.