Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Michkaelle: A Great Love Story

Sometimes, if you are a very lucky person, you may find a very special companionshipship in your lifetime.  I don’t mean a man or a woman, but an animal. It may be a dog or a cat or a guinea pig, who comes to know you better than most. On Dec. 29th, 2012, at around 10pm, my little Meeks passed.  Mikey has been my guardian, my friend, and my strength in some of the most difficult times of my life.  In the past few years, learning to live by myself for the first time in a big city (along with roaches and mice), and not knowing anyone was really difficult, but I never felt alone because of my cat. Mikey was the one little being who was always home to support me, guard me, and take care of me.  He was there when I cried, under the covers when I slept, and always down for a good mid-day naptime snuggle.  He even greeted me at the door when I came home. He would listen, with his quitet, thoughtful expression, so that I could unload all of my struggles and emotions, and he accepted them with care and understanding. 

Most of my life is strewn with memories of this big orange cat. I remember talking on the phone with friends in high school for hours late at night, and the conversation always turning back to Mikey and how awesome he was, referring to him by one of the many bizarre nicknames me and my brother had come up with for him (Michkaelle, Meeks, Miki-sino, JuJu Bee). Mikey and I would lay on the bed, snugged up, as I alternated talking about the universe and how loud and lovely his purr was.  I remember when he would try to wake me up for breakfast in the mornings, and I was so tired, so I would just grab him and hug him instead of waking up. He would escape my hug and then come back 1 minute later to try and wake me again.  I remember when, at 12 years old, he caught his first mouse, and I jumped up and shouted, but it was because I was so excited and proud.  Another time, Mat came to visit me during one Valentine’s day weekend, and Mikey mysteriously spent the entire weekend in my bedroom, and wouldn’t come out.  We soon discovered it was because he was terribly afraid of the shiny, red, heart shaped balloon attached to one of our gifts. We quickly removed the offending balloon, and he was free to roam the apartment again.  I always told people his favorite color was black, because if there was anything black laying around, be it coat, shirt, or even a binder, he would be laying on it.  He also never failed to snuggle up in my suitcase while I packed for a trip, even down to the very last weeks of his life.  All of these memories help me to remember that we cared for each other like no other, and that we gave each other the best life we possibly could.  
After he passed, I was watching a home movie my mom had found that had Mikey on it.  It was of his first Christmas morning.  He sat in my lap, looking a little dazed at all the activity and excitement of present-opening.  After we had opened his stocking to find kitty food and toys, 10 year old me leaned down sideways into my own lap to look at him, and said, “Are you comfortable, Mikey?”  It wasn’t until the moment I saw that home video clip that I realized what a large portion of my life I have spent on that question.  Mikey gave me the most loyal, dedicated companionship I’ve known, and to return the favor, that was the question I asked, always.  It was more than just about his physical comfort, though. It was about wanting to give him as much as I could, because I so valued and understood what he gave me.  

  Today was my first day back at home in Minneapolis with Mat.  After we arrived last night, I couldn’t stop myself from searching the places he sits in the house, even though I knew he wouldn’t be there. I am still trying to greive, a process I know will take a very long time with him. Even as I try to work through the sadness and loss, I still can’t help but wonder how on earth I became so lucky to find a companion like him.  What I'll miss the most, though, are those little details that get hazy with time.  His kitty smell, the magnificence of his whiskers, and how sweet his soft little front paws were. And I know that I'll continue to hope, everyday, that he is the most comfortable right now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

“Playing” Cops and Robbers when you are an adult is no longer fun.

When FH and I first went house shopping, I toured the house we live in and said, “I’ll take it!”  Sometimes I can be indecisive.  But when it’s time to make a big decision and I know what I want, I REALLY want it.  So we moved in (somewhat to FH’s chagrin).  After we had lived here for a year, we debated over the hotly contested lease renewal, and I also won that battle (who actually wants to move?). 

 Until now.  

As it was told to me by FH, he had woken up late in the morning to what sounded like consistent knocking on our front door. After the knocking ceased (he’s not one for answering doors straight from bed), he wandered out into the living room.  A moment later, he saw our air conditioning unit fly onto the floor from the window.  He turned the corner and saw a human being attempting to climb into the window of our house.  From his body emitted a massive and utterly primal “WHAT THE BLEEP?,” as said human being fled from the scene.  On a bike?

Cops were called.

Discussions were had.

Security systems were installed (by our insanely, unbelievably nice landlords, who are genuinely kind and concerned people... tell me when that ever happens?).

And we are moving.  *sigh*  

My first reaction was that I needed a gun... mainly for punishing the greedy, sticky fingers of the villain. My second reaction was, “ohhhh... we’re moving...  :( “
Although FH tends to be a worrier, it does not mean his worries are ever uwaranted, and now is the time to secede to the worries.  Although I have accepted (I *think*... I’ll get back to you in August when our lease is up) the fact that moving must happen, I tried to explain to FH why it would be so difficult for me.  

After having lived a rather difficult year in Minneapolis on my own, finding this house was a really important step for me.  The precious little bay window in the living room, and the cutsie primary-colored glass in the front door were so inviting, and the tiny rooms that made up the tiny house made me feel like it was our own little space and world, independent of anyone else.  It is the first place, since living at my parents house, that I could really truly call home.  And perhaps it’s even more like home to me because it’s all ours, and having FH live with me is what home means to me.  It’s the first place I’ve lived where I can say that I’ve been really, truly happy.  We will make home elsewhere, and to be honest, home will always be where FH is. My favorite memory of this house is sitting in the living room during my 2nd to last semester of grad school, getting my butt kicked every week in my History of Indian music class, laying on the couch for hours and hours trying to get through all the reading.  And morning coffee when the living room is really sunny, that’s the best. I know that change happens, and we can’t stay here forever, but I will really, really miss this place.  :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

In which I have no cash money and then have some again.

Seeing as how I have already talked about religion and politics, I suppose I can’t do much more harm by addressing the last traditionally taboo topic: money.

Considering the wretched financial state of the country, though, it seems that no one has felt that money is such a taboo topic anymore.  And my own personal finances are really probably not much different from any other young adult first attempting to navigate a financial plan (or lack thereof) for the first time as a Big Girl. It seems, however, that it is finally that time in my life when I need to come to terms with a seemingly inevitable post-graduation situation for my chosen career path:  being broke.

It’s not that I am not working, I’m working plenty.  It’s that the school districts I work for take their sweet time dispersing my check (lump sum? divided over a few weeks?  Your guess is as good as mine!  Yayyy...)  I am part nervous, part aggitated, part genuinely appreciating the frugality I now have no other choice but to embrace.  Things like choosing my favorite brand of conditioner somehow seem far less significant than it did before.

I have, however, learned a few valuable lessons in the last month of being pretty damn poor.  The first, and probably most important for me, personally, is that I spend A LOT of money going out to eat. I think my conscience knew it, but I justified it by telling myself that I deserve it, and that I work hard. Which, I do, but I am beginning to realize that there are ways to treat myself which don’t involve chinese food, a surprise trip to chipotle, or a new pair of shoes.  I actually have not been too upset at having to reel in my spending habits.  I am also realizing that the resulting money in the bank is a security blanket that I absolutely cannot be without, given my profession choice. I know the money will come in, but I need to be prepared for the worst, because if I don’t, I’ll keep getting stuck and never go anywhere on the road of financial security, if I can even get on that road at all. 

Throughout the month of no money, I had really thought that I was handling the stress well.  I was in a decent mood, I didn’t spend anything, and I knew that I needed to be more careful. It finally got to me though, the week rent was due.  I woke up on the wrong side of the bed all week, and couldn’t shake the grump off my shoulders, knowing that I would spend my last pennies on rent. Then, after Mat had done a few rounds of trying to cheer up, and I noticed he started mentioning job opportunities at retail stores, I realized it was time for a talk. It’s always been in the back of my mind that money is the number one cause for divorce, so I really wanted to make sure we could talk through issues like this effectively. We actually had a really amazing talk, and came up with a plan on how to manage what little money we make.  It felt really awesome to be able to work together and figure out our problems together (like real big kids!). 

I’m not gonna lie: reality just handed my super gung-ho post graduation attitude a nice fat slap in the face.  Yeah, we’re making what we want to do work, but I am realizing it’s not easy. Like, for real though.  It’s a constant revising of scheduling, weeding out what doesn’t work and what does’t pay enough.  I still maintain, however, that it’s worth it.  In my more somber moments this week, I’ve wondered why I couldn’t have just found a higher paying career, and then immediately answered myself with a resounding, “because this is AWESOME!”  So, lesson learned.  I’ve also bemoaned the fact that some of my high school jobs seem a little dead ended, i.e. they’ve all got much bigger financial problems, too big to care about anything else, including the new ensembles I’ve started, concerts I’ve put on, and the vast improvement in musicality. Even so, it’s not always about finding one place and staying, or even whether you receive recognition necessarily or not.  I know sometimes I’ll have to move around, and maybe even move on, eventually. That’s life. Kids are great, I love hanging out with them and teaching them about stuff that’s awesome. It’s a sweet deal. A deal that FH and I will have to make some sacrifices for, but I know we both see the immense value in loving our working lives. 

So it’s a couple weeks later, my long awaited checks have finally come in, and I’m ready to stick to a plan.  The best part it, though, that I was able to work with my FH to talk through a plan that will work for us together (insert sappy “awwww!”s).  And I got to realize yet again how super awesome he is and what a great team we make.   Go us. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The First of Many Posts About *cough* Feminism!

Feminism is a dirty word.

Well, it's not, but I really only came to experience the true ugliness of it's misconception more recently.  I was doin my thing on fb, perusing the news feed, and I came upon a video about feminism and the "disposable male," posted by a dude friend.  It peaked my interest, so I decided to see what it was all about.  I hit play, and on the screen  am greeted with the most scornful, sour looking woman.  She began talking, and in between scoffs, she expressed her contempt for feminists and their horrible male-hating selfish ways and all about how men don't have choices in their behaviour, so why should women demand them?  Reluctantly, and actually quite angrily, I made myself sit through the whole thing and try to understand what she was saying.  The negative energy was so great, and the scoffing so copious, that it was a very, very difficult 16 minutes.  Especially a 16 minutes speckled with bitterness from someone who a) is a woman, b) is bitter about the very movement that has fought to give her rights, c) seems to think she really does know all there is to know, d) gives of the air of an unwillingness to listen to another viewpoint besides her own.  Naturally taken back by her woman-hating bitterness, I responded.  And oh, did I respond.  And ohhhhhh did I get a response in return.  It seems that while I have been preoccupied with exploring the nature of my gender and the psychological  make-up of our patterns of behaviour, there has also been another camp.... who really think that feminism is a dirty word, and that feminists are horrible people.

So let's back up.  I had mentioned in a previous post that I have been wondering about being a girl since I have been very young. I had a close friend in 4th grade, and she was what my mom would call a wild child. She began smoking in 5th grade, and was sexually active by the 8th grade.  In high school, my closest friends developed eating disorders.  Others dated burn-outs, or guys who were clearly not good for them, or were just wildly unstable and highly emotional, even as friends. Others used their sexuality like dog treats to reward boys for good behavior.  Basically, when I was growing up, I noticed that all the girls I knew were about 68 kinds of crazy, and those were only the ones I knew.  The dudes I made friends with (many of whom remain some of my best friends, I love you guys. :) meanwhile developed into stable young adults, and rarely seemed to become even half as lost as my girlfriends.  I realize that teens in both genders span the spectrum of totally lost and out of control to stable and put-together... but there were an awful lot of girls with some pretty insane issues.... everywhere. So I began reading all about women and girls, and haven't stopped.  I'm not even sure I've really made a dent.

But the bottom line is: we are about a million kinds of effed up.

So my question, of course, is why.  And there is no good answer.  I could say it's the media's portrayal of women for my friends with eating disorders, and I could also say it's daddy issues for the girls who used sexuality to get attention, and I could say that gender roles kept some girls from coming back to the wrong guys and putting up with their crap, but what I think all of these girls hae in common is the issue of self-esteem.  The me who existed before this past year is rolling her eyes right now.
"That's so selfish.  All they want is attention, and it's ridiculous.  They just want a dude to tell them how wonderful and beautiful they are and grow up!  It's out there, ladies!  All the good dudes, all the happy feelings of self fulfillment!  Figure it out!" is probably what I would have said...
But!  Current me has realized that these girls really are suffering.   They're suffering from whatever deep, dark thing is eating at them and pulling them in to make them believe that they're not worth it.  I'm not saying that they are completely helpless, because I am not a fan of "life victims" who choose not to help themselves, but I am saying that the pain they're feeling is real.  It's not all an act.  Then I began thinking about all of the lives of my friends, what their childhoods were like.  A good deal were sexually assaulted, some were victims of divorce, estranged fathers, unstable family lives. And all this we know, it's not news.  And that's what we're left with.  And I don't know that anyone really knows where to go from there.

Since we got engaged, feminism in wife form has been at the front of my mind... all the time. As soon as planning started, little references to my new "role," have been tossed around.  One example was a reference about how I have to "take care of" future hubs as his new wifey.  This is all fine and good, but he also takes care of me, which in this scenario, seemed to be particularly underplayed.  Please don't roll your eyes at this point and say "uh, I think you're taking it a bit too far..."  because I know it was there.  Do you ever walk into a room and you know people are talking about you?  It's like that feeling.  You can't explain the exact body language and tone of voice or the silence, but you know it's there. I just feel like I've entered this world where two people dating is modern enough and works, but the word wife still carries gender stereotypes hidden in it's cupboards. Part of my research has been through APW, which I brought up in my first post and has been totally awesome.  There is a whole section called reclaiming wife, which addresses this very issue, and they are amazing.

All that being said, feminism never ceases to perplex me.  I think I have been really wrapped up in finding a common ground with EVERY woman, which is probably never going to happen.  I think secretly I've been pining for a universal group therapy session in which we ALL (women) sit down and say to ourselves, "Okay, so let's figure this thing out.  How are we going to represent ourselves in a way that makes sense?  We have been at this whole equality thing for a little while now, and I think it's high time we decide who does what so that no one is unintentionally being degraded or not demanding their rights while remaining respectful and loving to the other half... No nonsense."  And then we would all sort it out and really understand each other.  Once I discovered this secret wish to understand everyone in my gender, I did understand that this would never happen.  Not every man understands every other man, so why should that be any different for women?  Such is life.  I suppose the only thing really left to do is to continue having this conversation about what is expected, what is realistic, and what needs to change. And also, to keep reading.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On Being a Religious Free-Agent

The old saying goes like this:

"My mother told me to never talk about three things: religion, politics, and money."

My mother never actually told me that (her rule is if it needs to be talked about, it will be talked about, which I am very thankful for). That being said, I realize it’s a sensitive issue, so please take this with a grain of salt, as this is just one woman’s path of exploration and very honest feelings on her experiences.  

Religion goes a little something like this for me: being raised Catholic has been something with which I have settled for a long time.  I have always known I was settling.  And I am not talking about settling in terms of getting cozy with the idea, I am talking about in terms of remaining Catholic, but not in a comfortable or sustaining way. I have always had little inklings of an uncertainty in my mind.  My parents are great Catholics and sent me to religious education, but I continued to feel like I was being run through the mill of all these life markers that I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted, but not sure that I didn’t want, either.  What I learned in religious educaton never translated to something that I felt.  It was still just more information about a religion to which I was supposed to belong.   I am sure that there are plenty of "cradle catholics" that have felt this way... settling for what was being taught and not really grasping fully the goings on with your whole self.  I want to make clear that this is no one's fault.  Religion is a really personal thing, and that's something I think most can agree on.  Similar to building any relationship, it takes time and commitment.  And even though you want them to, sometimes things just don't click.  As I went through high school, I learned about other religions and did a little research here and there, but ultimately I ended up settling again.  I reasoned that I didn't have to be comfortable with everything, that I could make it my own regardless.  Instead of that, I ended up not really participating at all.  I've been drifting along, with an occasional prayer, in whatever I've established to be my own semi-functional spiritual existence. 

After the engagement, I started to plan for everything. And I mean Everything.  If you know me well enough, you know that this is unusual. Getting engaged, however, has been different. Not only am I absolutely thrilled to be marrying my best friend and my favorite person in life, but I get to plan a rad party so everyone can celebrate how awesome we are. Pretty sweet.  So after stumbling upon the issue of ceremony a few times, I realized that it's high time I pick up the situation of my religious inklings and resolve it once and for all.  I need to figure out where I fit.  I'm an adult, and I have some level of spirituality happening, but it doesn't really have a home.  I honestly think I have been really lucky to be a musician, because on some level, music sustains that rather neglected aspect of my life. I do, however, need a home for it now.  I'm not going to go into the deeper layers of the uncertainty(discomfort?) I have with Catholicism, but I will say that there is one issue that has become particularly important to me, especially since the engagement, and that issue is feminism.  I don't burn my bras and I am not a man-hater by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I have often claimed to understand dudes way better than I understand a lot of women.  But I have always wondered about being a girl, since I was pretty young. What that means for me, for other girls, right now. My catholic upbringing has also clashed with some of my most basic beliefs about being a girl: that we should have an equal part.  Men and woman are totally different creatures, but there's a reason it takes two: and that is because we're a team, which my wonderful parents have always exemplified through the years. And not a team that defines its roles by a generalized and stereotyped model, but one that works for the talents of two people, whatever people they may be.  Men in Catholicism are in all of the leadership positions, even though religious education of children has traditionally been a woman’s responsibility.  We end up getting stuck with all of the responsibility and none of the power.  I’m not at all calling for an entirely female clergy, that’s not something I agree with, either.  Excluding men would only perpetuate the problem.  I want to find a place where equality is built into the system. We don’t harp on it, we don’t have to even think about it, but it just exists.  

I recently read a book called “Dance of the Dissident Daughter” by one of my favorite authors, Sue Monk Kidd.  I found it while looking for more books of hers, and because after reading the description, I thought, “Oh!  That’s me!”  The book goes into Sue’s transformation from being a “good little wife/lady/daughter/mother,” to really understanding what she needed in her life, and to taking care of her spiritual needs as a woman, which tend to be largely undernourished and sacrificed for everyone else’s needs.  This is a theme, in our culture and society. When I think about all of these roles, the good wife, the good daughter, the good mother, it is the sacrifice that comes to mind.  All of the women I have known who have done their absolute best to fulfill these roles sacrifice everything they have endlessly.  When a woman gives endlessly, there’s often little room to take for herself.  In my young and inexperienced life, I have still lived enough to see the maddening effects of endless giving of yourself.  If you don't take care of yourself, as well, you'll wither, and no one will get the care they need.

This is why it’s important to me to change.  It’s not something I can gloss over and settle for, in any aspect of my life.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to never wear a dress again and demand that my man get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich, because that’s not what it’s about.  It’s about respect, options, and choices.  If all of my decisions can come from a knowing, observant, and representative place, I can begin to change what it is I want for my own daughter, and for my son.  It’s also a weighty feeling, realizing that all of these decisions need to be carefully thought out, because they will be everything my own kids, when I do have them, experience in the world for their first years, and probably set the stage for the rest of their lives.

At the encouragement of my Dad, who has been ridiculously awesome through all of this (I know he is not such a fan of my explorations, even though he knows I have to do what I have to do) I have been doing a lot of reading up on feminists within the Catholic church... and let me tell you, it's quite a scene. From what I have gathered, there are a lot of women who know what they believe and remain in the Catholic church, but are constantly at odds with it. I've read a great number of articles titled: "Feminist Catholicism," and by the end of nearly every article, I am always left with the feeling that there really is no resolution. All this discussion and research has given me a few things to take away, though.  1) Few people, if any are ever really perfectly in tune with their religious institution of choice. 2) Ancient traditions are ancient and unchanging for reasons, and mostly likely good reasons, whether you agree with them or not. 

I don't think I realized all the things my parents taught me by example as I was growing up.  Their marriage taught me that parents are a team, no matter what.  My mom's own thoughts on religion taught me that you need to make it your own and believe what you believe whole-heartedly. My dad taught me that tradition can be something powerful that roots you in a profoundly deep meaning.  Both of my parents taught me, in their own very unique and different ways, about the very personal make-up of spirituality.

Spirituality is something that I believe is innate.  You don’t need a book, a religious institution, or a community to show you the wonders of the world.  You do this on your own.  Everything you learn as a child is new and exciting, and many times, absolutely wondrous (peek-a-boo, anyone?).  I believe that spirituality’s center is wonderment. You begin to develop a sense that there is something greater and more amazing at work than yourself and the people you know.  For some, it’s nature, science, and nothing more.  For others, it’s God, for still others, it’s some unknown higher power. Either way, you have a sense that there is something bigger and more powerful than yourself.  Maybe it means origin, maybe it means chance, maybe it means perfection. Regardless, spirituality is not taught, it’s felt. 
My unforgivably romantic notions about figuring out what one does with one’s life absolutely involve wonderment and joy, and doing “what feels right.” I believe that I was gifted with a strong sense of intuition (thanks mom :)  and although I have the common sense and humility to know I am not right even close to 100% of the time about things in general, I strongly feel that if something feels right, as in really, deep down, gut feeling, completely, undeniably, and honestly right, then it probably is, and you should keep doing that thing. This is why I have gone and gotten two degrees in music, which many would argue is a waste of money.  I have a hunch, though, that it really was a good place for me, because I’m kind of making it work. I think the same is at least a good place to start for figuring out what I’m doing spiritually. I’ve got a few ideas about what I know feels absolutely right to me, and what nurtures my soul and inspires me. I think if I start there, I’ll be able to really find my center and figure out where I belong in all of this. 

I’ve talked with my brother about some of this, and he’s whole-heartedly insisted I read Nietzche.  Nietzche also said “God is dead,” but I’m going to trust my bro and start the book.  So, in the spirit of Nietzche, here’s a quote I like better:

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privelage of owning yourself."


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blogging Is Like Dreaming About Showing Up To School Naked

Ever since I had heard of the concept of blogging, I had been convinced that I had nothing to say.


I have PLENTY of opinions that those close to me are well aware of, and there have been so many times that I have felt like an impostor because I'm too damn polite and courteous.  It's not that I am filled with abhorrent, inhumanly evil judgements about people, but sometimes there are things I'd like to say that I know I cannot, whether it be for the purpose of maintaining my professionalism, catering to bridges I'm trying not to burn (though I may very badly want to), or because the truth is just hard.  This is why blogging has been kind of a landmark moment for me.  I have finally decided to splay my opinions across the wide open interwebs for all to see.  Even as I clicked to publish my very first post, I shuddered as the comments started to filter in, realizing that everyone I know can actually read what I write.  Of course I won't post on every topic, but those I do, I feel a commitment to write honestly about, and I hope it will be something that people are able to respect.

 This topic, though, seems to be a pretty common theme among the blogging community. The idea of public thoughts versus private thoughts, and what you're safe, comfortable, allowed and not allowed, to share.  Cassie Boorn really says it best in this post.  There are so many things I wish I had the courage to say to people.  But I can't, so I hide, too, when I need to.  And some of it might hurt, and some might be really important, but I can't say it.

Sometimes it's not my place.

 Most times, probably.

It's a really tricky thing: staying true to yourself and knowing when and how to speak up.

Authenticity is also a big problem.  Everyone is trying to be so different, and so special, and even if you're not trying, you're wishing.  When you start a blog, or at least when I started a blog, I wondered what I could write about that was new and interesting.  I wanted to write things that people wanted to read.  I told a friend I was starting a blog and he said, "Oh, the old graduate-from-college-and-get-out-into-the-world-blog."  And I hated that he said that... and I told him to shut up... because he was right. The idea just sounded so trite and asinine that it almost made me want to just not.... do that. I so badly wanted to do something that I loved to do and be able to do it well, and I hated being just more of the same...  which is poignantly characteristic of my over-populated, over-educated twenty something generation.

So I wrote anyways, unoriginality notwithstanding.

It is a very humanizing thing, however, when people have the guts to say what they need to say.  So I'm going to continue to write what I can...

Maybe someday, something will need saying, and I will be the right person to say it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Layin' A Strip for the Higher-Self State Line

So.  I had a meeting today with a high school band director.  We'll say he's from school B, since I already have one job at school A (more on that later). It went pretty fantastically, except this is what he said:

"I'd love you to come in and work with our percussionists... except I don't actually have a position for you."


So, over coffee and soup, we discussed ways to get me into school B. The plan is to set me up through the community school teaching private lessons, and have me come in once a month or so to give technique master classes. Also, there is a Winter Drumline Instructor position open that I'll hopefully take over (sidenote: I have never taught a Winter Drumline).   I'll get some face time around the office and administration, and hopefully, they'll eventually find funds to make me a regular every week to teach percussion ensemble and technique.

Freakin' sweet.

Although the uncertainty is stressful, especially when you've got plenty of bills to pay, I LOVE this part of the job.  It's really exciting to create new opportunities and actually get in and make a job for myself, not to mention diving into a position with which I don't have much experience.  Although it is risky, if the success comes, there is no better feeling than knowing that you went out and created a situation where people will pay you to go have fun and do what you love. Krissy - 1 Economy - 0.

Back to the Winter Drumline bit.... so I've never taught one.  Or participated in one.  BUT. I have played in plenty of fall drumlines and performed in Marching Band shows and at least seen some Winter shows, and I know what makes up a decent one. 

 Inexplicably, I am super pumped to do this. 

I really didn't know that winter drumlines existed until a year or two into college, and by then I had all kinds of other priorities.  I cannot wait to go to town on this, though.  I'll have to do plenty of research, but the idea of scheduling and running my own group is like super party happy fun time.  I'll have a sizable group of about 35 kids, all of whom sound really motivated. So excited.

In other life slices, it has always been glaringly obvious to me that I do not have girlfriends, or at least very many (which, like many other women, may explain my sex and the city addiction), so I have finally decided to do something about it.  Not that I don't already appreciate the girlfriends I do have... I appreciate them more knowing it's hard to find a group like that.  The only issue is the ones I do have all live far away (Illinois, Arizona, and 40 minutes North of my house, which is not bad, but thats only one).  It would, however, be nice to have a posse of girls that live near me, with whom I could have conversations like this, and not like this.  So after hearing about my friend Jenny's super awesome chic book club, I though, "Yes, I'm going to do that."  In the course of trying to find a book club, I discovered this awesome little website called Meetup, where you can find groups to join and just hang out.  I joined the Sassy Lassies, and the next day I was hanging at someone's apartment making card and shrinky dinks!  It was really pretty sweet.  Another meetup is happening tomorrow, too.  We're going to see Magic Mike! (I whole-heartedly applaud the role reversals... and also pretty alright with the male stripping....).

That said, finding friends is weird. It's like dating. Part of me is really happy to be there, and the other part of me is a neurotic mess of inner monologue shrouded in a foggy haze of self-doubt.  The neurosis notwithstanding, I will do it again.  It's totally worth the chic talk (which already was had at meeting one) and the company.  Also, I think the types of people that tend to do these things seem to be people who are generally open and honest and just want to hang, so it's pretty sweet. Yay new people.

This post has mostly been about new things: new people, new opportunities.... which sounds lovely and inspirational and full of unicorns pooping butterflies and rainbows..... but in reality, it's super awkward.  When I attempt to do new things, I pump myself up and go in really motivated, and then while I'm doing it I feel like this.  So I want to hear about your awkward newbie experiences, good or bad.  Embarrassing would be best, please. ;)

Also, credit to The Bad Plus for the post title. Check 'em out. Dave King's the man.