Back to the ATX

Yes, I’ve moved back to Austin. It was both an easy and difficult decision to make but it had to be made. I loved the kids I worked with and we were making progress towards high quality music making. Leaving them was the hard decision I had to make.

My parents are older, some may say elderly. Both our parents have had some health issues in the recent years, mostly minor things, but watching and hearing about these little things add up from 8 hours away has been one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in my adult life. Moving back to be near them was the easy decision.

So, with a leap of faith that the right opportunities would come along at the right time for the right reasons, I quit my job at Tascosa and moved back to Austin. Not only am I now closer to my parents, I’m living in their house! 😮 It’s been nice, actually. Already, I’ve had wonderful chats with them about random things and helped them start getting organized and rid of stuff that’s been lingering around the house, in boxes after their fire incident a few years ago. I think in the first week back, I went through almost 25 book sized boxes of random papers and stuff they didn’t need anymore.

I figured I’d either find a teaching job or make connections to teach private lessons, masterclasses and clinics while at Summer Convention. Two days before I left for San Antonio, I got an email from a friend and mentor asking if I might be interested in a job at a charter school. It’s only part time but they’re looking for someone enthusiastic, energetic and ready to build a program. “Like you” were the words in the email. “Sounds great”, I emailed back. That same afternoon, I got a call from the principal and I almost feel like I was hired before we ended our call setting up my interview for the next morning. “Oh, by the way, we start school next Monday. Can you start right away?” was how we ended our call. So there ya go – if you’re patient, the right thing comes along at the right time.

I’m now teaching 6th-12th grade band and orchestra and the entire program is just over 100 kids. My orchestra class (6th-12th grade in one class) doesn’t really fit in the classroom I’m assigned but we’ll make it work. I think right now, we’re all just happy that we get to work together. I’m also working at the desk at The Yoga Room in Round Rock as well as working on some video editing, photography and web editing projects for them. They’re a wonderful yoga studio and just sitting at the desk during classes is a calming and relaxing environment. Once I get my schedule settled, I’ll be coming up to get back into my yoga practice here. I’ll also be helping a friend with office administration stuff for his business. Ya know, back of my hand stuff. I guess I don’t know how to just work part time….

As quickly as the school is growing (it’s in its third year of existence), I’m sure we’ll be moving to a building that’s purposed for a secondary school and my position will become full time before I know it. It’s exciting to be a part of new growth. It’s also a little frustrating because we have very little equipment but the administration is extremely supportive, nothing like I’ve experienced before, so I know that won’t hinder our success. The families are also understanding and willing to do whatever it takes to make the school and its programs successful for their kids. Again, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before from an entire campus view. An example of extreme support – the school asked for donations of community supplies such as paper (both copy and lined), tissues, cleaning wipes, pencils, etc. for our campus. From around 400 student families, they almost filled a classroom, both on the floor and on folding tables, with their donations. Then asked what else we needed. It’s like having a school full of the best band boosters you could ask for!

Me: “Kids, you need to rent your own instruments because we don’t really have a working inventory here.”
Them: “Okay, can I get mine this weekend?”
Me: “Um, not yet, we’re doing instrument testing on Monday so you don’t know what you need to get yet.”
Them: “Oh yeah. Monday night then?”

They’re all willing to get on the same page so they’re eating up counting basic rhythms (Count-Tap-Clap) and Masters of the Alphabet. I’m cramming string pedagogy as fast as I can absorb it and local music stores are more than willing to help however they can. I also had a friend at Yamaha walk with me at convention so he could introduce me to his friends to collect donations of items. I have a lot of Thank You emails to send out still. It’s going to be another wonderful year!




Originally uploaded by big_benford

Isn’t he just the cutest?

Random Thoughts

Can I just say that I hate the Financial Aid Department? It was the same way when I was at ol’ S-Dub as well. I got an email from SHSU saying that they don’t have me listed as Accepted into the Graduate School and I need to send a copy of my acceptance letter. If I have my acceptance letter, then shouldn’t they have it in their computer systems and isn’t that THEIR error?? ARGH! I called the Graduate Office then the Financial Aid office and low and behold, it was their error and I don’t have to send in a copy of the acceptance letter. I can see how fun dealing with Financial Aid will be from here on out. Somethings just don’t change.

As a note on packing things up – if you’re moving out of your office, the desk should probably be one of the last things you pack up. I’ve packed up my desk (it felt like the right next thing to do) and now I need things that were in it and now are in the bottom of the box. I’m finding myself going to Brian’s office to borrow scissors and such. Oh well….

I got a new camera!! I know, I should be saving that money for deposits and moving to Huntsville but it was really a deal I couldn’t pass up. It’s a Canon EOS Rebel XS with Case Logic backpack. I won’t say how much I paid but I feel a little guilty paying as little as I did. I hope to do the previous owner good by taking lots of great pics and posting them regularly. Now to get a book on photography and actually read it. 😉 I think this will be a good alternative, creative outlet while I go through graduate school. Don’t you??

I’m feeling a bit discombobluated today. I’m not sure why. Almost as though I’ve had too much coffee or something. But I can’t imagine coffee is the culprit since I only had one cup (as normal). Maybe it’s just all the chaos around here, trying to wrap up the year and with all my packing chaos.

I’m also bothered because I’m at a loss of what to pack next. I’m down to knick-knacks and my filing cabinet. There are a lot of knick-knacks and some of it I can dispose but others, I have to sort through since they’ve been given to me by the kids. I think my #1 thing is to move out anything that belongs to the band program so I can really see what is mine to pack. But where to do I put all that stuff???

Okay, I need to get to it. 2 more days of school, graduation on Saturday, Brad comes on Friday night to get his stuff and visit (I’m not sure how long he’ll be here, either), and my last contract day is June 1. The SPHS Band Boosters are having a reception for me on Wednesday, June 1 from 6-8 pm in the band hall. How nice is that??

About those Christmas decorations….

It’s January 6 and the today is the 12th day of Christmas and I figure many people will take down their decorations this coming weekend. I’m not sure what’s different about this year but when I’m driving or walking through my neighborhood and I see houses still lit up, I keep thinking, “why are they STILL up??”. Maybe it’s because I didn’t put up any decorations this year. Okay, I did get an official “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” and put it up after Christmas (I couldn’t resist having it and not putting it up) but I’ve put that away already. Maybe it’s because the weather is bright and warm again. Maybe I really never felt the Christmas spirit so much this time around. 2010 was a pretty bah humbug kind of year. Who knows, I’m just ready for the decorations to come down. Let’s move onto other things. HEB has…. 😉


I’m thinking maybe it’s time to officially take a hiatus from the blog again. Mostly because I’m not near a computer as often as I am during the school year (that’s a GREAT thing) and I feel guilty if I don’t blog every once in a while. I promise I won’t let any nifty recipes go by unrecorded and if something spectacular comes about that I need to let everyone know in any and every way I can, I certainly will. Take care and as always,

Love you, mean it!

I skipped May? Really??

Wow, it’s been a LONG time since I blogged. Almost two months. If you look in the archives, I don’t know if I’ve ever gone over a month without blogging here before. Oh well, what can ya do?

So, what have I been up to these last two months? Well, if you follow me on Facebook and on Twitter and on Posterous, (or called me), you’ll know what I’ve been up to – lots of stuff. And it’s been pretty much a mixed bag of good and bad.

In April, I worked a Choice Music Event every weekend, except the last weekend when I was a customer. I made some good money except the weekend it rained for the first time in forever and I hydroplaned into the back of a lady about 7 miles an hour and my weekend’s pay was devoted to my insurance deductible. Thank goodness for Express Auto Body in Georgetown. They got my car back to me all fixed up right at a week. And I was treated like a princess, as always. Thanks, Dave!

May was a blur. Aside from my wonderful birthday day, a lot of stuff happened in May that I don’t want to or can’t talk about now. But I’m certain there is a silver lining to all the crap of May that will make itself seen soon, if not already.

So school is out and I’m bombarded with summer projects. I’m going to pull up the carpet in the living room and hallway and stain the concrete. It’s a fairly big project but I’m going to take it in stages so it’s not overwhelming. First up, pulling up the nasty carpet and padding. After that, assess the situation and probably hire someone to do the rest! 😉 I may not be kidding about this. We’ll see. I’m also getting with my friend Fred to put down some stones in the back portion of my back yard. Most of my back yard isn’t shaded so the grass burns up fairly quickly by the back fence. Why try and waste water and money trying to make grass that won’t grow grow? Yup – stones it is.

I also have little projects for school here and there along the way but luckily, most of that can be done from home.

A couple of shout outs to my friends who have some big things happening in their lives right now. I won’t say what because it’s not my place to say but I want them all to know that I’m thinking about them and they have my support every step of the way. So, shout out to Monica, Martin and Brad. You’re all very special to me and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

Alrighty, that’s it for now. Sorry it’s not more interesting (maybe this was interesting, I never know). I might just blog again soon now that I have a little more time so check back!
Love you, mean it!