Midwest & Chicago was a lot of fun. I didn’t venture too far away from the Hilton area but I met a lot of nifty new people, as well as got a chance to hang out with folks I already knew. It was great to have dinner with BOTH Montoya brothers at once. We went to Eleven City Diner and had yummy open faced sandwiches. There was more food on each plate than any of us could have handled. Why didn’t we split plates, guys?
I know you’ve read about the trials and tribulations of my getting to Chicago but I wanted to show you a picture of why I had so many troubles. Seems like the snow on Tuesday (when I originally wanted to fly out) never stopped. When we landed early Wednesday afternoon, I could definitely see why they closed O’Hare Tuesday night. A lot had been cleared at that point (I’m sure thanks to de-icing planes all morning) but that one point that had been driving through is still thick with snow.
I went to a few clinics and concerts but I must say that my two favorite concerts were Betty Pierce and the Grisham Middle School Band from my very own Round Rock ISD and the Ensemble Liberte Wind Orchestra from Kawaguchi-City, Japan. I actually did a lot more walking the floor and talking to people than I did going to clinics this year. Networking is a huge portion of conventioning.
Travis Ancelet and Damon Talley enjoyed the concert as well!
Speaking of networking, I was very excited to see all the folks who were at the Jazz Education Network open forum. I’m really glad that this is going to be about jazz and education and about all the members instead of being about the big names, as the previous organization became by the time I joined. I’m excited that I’m a charter (and the first “regular”) member. They asked me to be the forums moderator so if you’re a member, check out the forums and say hi!
I got to meet Ronald Carter while walking the exhibit halls. Paper is heavy and his new book is HUGE so I didn’t get to add his autograph to it (my buddy Ron McCurdy’s a co-writer and already signed it) but we did take a picture together. I think I’m going to ask TMEA to invite him to be an All State Clinician sometime.
Martin is the Director of the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park Band in Michigan and their “regular” tour company gave him tickets to see the Blue Man Group one night and he invited me to come along. It was a great show and after, we went to the top of the John Hancock Center for a reception. Catching up with old friends is always great. Especially when you have an amazing view of Chicago!
The rest of Midwest was a lot of fun. Like I said, I got to catch up with a lot of people and meet new ones. I talked at length with Frank Ticheli (composer) and Col. Alan Bonner (Executive Director for Kappa Kappa Psi/Tau Beta Sigma) and met composers Michael Daughtery and Eric Whitacre. Of course, I had a chance to hang out with Steve Bryant (congrats on the 2nd Revelli Award!!), John Mackey and Jonathan Newman. Always a great time at the Hilton.
Getting home wasn’t the easiest but it was smoother than getting out there. I had a nice time waiting and waiting at O’Hare with JD Janda, Kerry Taylor and his wife Valerie, Jack Green, Paul Crockett and DJ Jennison. Hanging out with these guys made the wait not seem so long!
Both needing to do some last minute Christmas shopping this week, my friend Crystal and I ventured out to the craziness that is retail shops a few days before Christmas. When Crystal and I shop, there’s no stress because we can always make anything we do full of laughs and fun things. And my always having my camera with me captures the fun for a lifetime (gosh, don’t I sound like a commercials here!). Regardless of what we’re shopping for, we always keep our eyes open for cute shoes and while stopping at Marshalls, we found some hats we wanted to try on. Hence, our HAT PARADE!!
Gold and sparkly. I think there are Christmas ornaments or something on this hat!
Purple…just like the purse Crystal REALLY REALLY wants.
I do like how this hat fits but it’s wicker and that doesn’t work in the winter.
Gold and sparkly on Crystal. And here, you see the other side of the hat better, too.
I was actually going to get this hat but it was over $10 and would have matched my sweater. We were looking for a bit more outrageous than matching.
Plaid is fun.
This hat just makes us sad.
So, there you go. We finally picked these two hats to buy and wear the rest of the day. Fun hats make Christmas crazy not so…crazy! Yes, we wore them to dinner, even.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I love to cook. I’m not much for baking but I LOVE cooking things. My oven went out last September or so and I’ve been going nuts. I even took all my supplies and made my lasagna at Keith & Jones’s house about a month ago just so I could make something in the oven. They certainly enjoyed the fruits of my labor but I really miss having my oven working. You must be asking, “Why didn’t you just get the thing fixed?”. Well, I get this really nifty (not) trait from my dad called “gotta fix it yourself if at all possible” and with him being an electrical engineer, we usually can for very little money. Thanks to a very long and busy marching season (Go Tigers!), time for that hasn’t been available. Finally, about a month ago, I did a bit of research on “the internet” and found that it might be so difficult to do the repair ourselves and dad came over to take a look. After taking things apart, we still weren’t sure and had ran out of time so we decided to hold off until more research and time could be found. So, yesterday, we narrowed it down to one part…that we couldn’t get disconnected! We were quite frustrated and I decided that I was going to break down and call an appliance repair place. Appliance Connection from here in Pflugerville came today, diagnosed the same part that I had as broken and replaced it in a matter of minutes…and $200. Oh well, I can use the oven now!
So, this turned out to be quite a long post but I hope you enjoyed it. I thought maybe people had stopped reading my blog and I was going to stop blogging but it seems as though you haven’t so I won’t. Have a Merry Christmas, everyone! Cookies will be ready after I eat my frozen pizza…..