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Honor band

February 18th, 2014 No comments

I was in the band in high school. I played flute. (Go ahead. Throw out your best American Pie joke. I’ve heard them all.) I was a member of the colorguard. I loved every single second of it. Most of my favorite memories of those years are tied to one band event or another, and I took pride in being a member of the band. I learned so much in my years in band. There are many, many elements of my personality and point of view that were molded through the discipline and leadership band demanded of me.

But I’m going to be brutally honest here. The band was the afterthought when I was in school. My years were spent battling for attention from the community, the rest of the school, and even the state as no matter what we did it wasn’t good enough. Membership dwindled. Those of us that cared surely had our moments of wondering why we even tried at times. But then there were those moments when it was magic. And it was those moments that kept you going.

Fast forward to today. My nephew is a member of the high school band, and its a whole different world for him than it was for me. Membership is swelling. There is a pride that you can FEEL when you are in the band’s presence. It is NOTHING like it was when I was there. It’s a bazillion times better, stronger and respected.

The Texas House of Representatives Resolution honoring the Yoe High School Band.

The Texas House of Representatives Resolution honoring the Yoe High School Band.

When I was a member of the Yoe High Band, we couldn’t have even dreamed of being acknowledged by the Texas House of Representatives!

They’ve won at the state marching contest. And, as the resolution reads, they were named the State 2A Honor Band.

These kids… they have talent beyond what I could have dreamed of having cultivated when I was in band. Their band director, Steven Moss, clearly is an amazing leader. He works them hard. But he also treats them with respect and rewards their efforts and successes. From the top-down this band is, in a word, amazing.

Last Friday, I traveled with my parents down to San Antonio, TX, to see the band perform for the Texas Music Educators Association conference. I sat in the front row and was moved time and time again by the performance.

TMEA State 2A Honor Band

TMEA State 2A Honor Band

One of the pieces they performed was commissioned by the band to be written specifically for them. How many bands can really say that has happened for them!? Sure as heck wasn’t going to happen when I was there!

During the performance, they took a moment to honor the band, band director and to thank certain guests in attendance in the audience.

TMEA State 2A Honor Band

Drum Majors accepting the state honor for the band.

They asked all Yoe High alumni in attendance to stand and be recognized for setting the foundation on which these kids have built upon. I’ll be honest, I was a little amazed by this, even as I stood up. I joked later that we set the bar low, so they had no where to go but up. But that was purely my being funny. In reality, I think part of the band being where it is today IS due to our fight in our years to be acknowledged and recognized. We had to go through those years to, today, stand up and go, “HEY! PAY ATTENTION! The band is amazing and deserves all the support and recognition and honors it gets.”

I’m going to piss people off with this. And I don’t care. Texas is a football state. Generally, we Texans will eat, breathe, sleep, drink and live the game. Even if its just armchair quarterbacks.  Its in my blood, and I won’t deny that. But it also makes me downright ANGRY to see the band programs in so many schools get brushed aside to make more money available for the football programs. To hear people suggest a band director should be payed less than a football coach gets me seething mad.

Studies upon studies have been done that prove music helps learning. I know when I was in school, very, very few band students failed out of being able to participate. Show me a band student in college today who didn’t get there through sweat, tears and hard work both with their instruments as well as in the classroom. Whereas just recently CNN did a report about college athletes who read at a 5th grade level.  Think about that for awhile.

I’m not here to point fingers. I’m just here to point out that these students in this band work their fingers off and deserve every bit of attention and respect they’ve gotten… and then some.

Me with my niece and nephew after the concert

Me with my niece and nephew after the concert

 

I’m so proud of the Yoe High School Band. I’d be proud of them even if my nephew weren’t a member, but its safe to say he’s my favorite member and makes my pride in the band more personal.

Congratulations, band! You have done Cameron, Texas proud. You’ve done yourself proud. You have surpassed everything I could have ever dreamed of doing when I was a member of the band… you amaze me every day and remind me all is NOT lost and there is still a lot of amazing and positive youth in this world. You don’t get to hear about them much, and I’m sorry that is the case. But keep it up, and all the positive accolades will continue to come your way. You deserve it all.

Sending love from your fan and alumni member living in Music City…

Facebook is great, but face-to-face is better

February 10th, 2014 2 comments

Tillamook CheeseLast night, my husband and I invited some friends over for a “wine-and-cheese party.”  We had Tillamook Cheese we wanted to share with our friends that we brought back from our recent trip to Oregon, and we figured what goes better with cheese than wine?

My husband and I happen to really love hosting get-togethers at our house, but we haven’t done it much in the last few years. We just felt like our house was too small to adequately host friends. The house we rented prior to the one we are in now was PERFECT for parties, but it was a little ways out of town and hard to get people to come out to visit. We moved into town, but downsized dramatically. We felt like our party hosting fun was still on hold until we moved again.

Boy were we wrong!

So what if we had to haul my desk chair from the office in and another chair up from basement?

So what if we didn’t have room on the table for plates, so we all just picked out our choice of finger foods with our fingers?

So what if there was a line to our one bathroom at one point?

323: Rhythm in WineIt didn’t diminish the wonderful evening that we had one bit. We put together a spread of cheese, veggies, fruit, bread, sausage, etc. We had Merlot, Moscato, Rosé, sparkling red, vodka, beer, Irish whisky, and water.

We had conversations.

In person.

Face-to-face conversations. We told stories, laughed (a lot), high fived over the table, and bounced ideas and thoughts off one another. No one was on Facebook. No one was on Twitter. We were all there, in that moment, together, enjoying each other’s company.

It was amazing.

When the party broke up, we all agreed that THIS was what it was all about. Friends getting together and catching up. And we vowed to do it again. We vowed to do it more often.

When our friends left, my husband and I looked at each other with big grins. I told my husband, “This just proved no house it too small when your heart is this full.”

 

Categories: friends, fun, general-post Tags: , , , , ,

CRASH!

February 5th, 2014 No comments

Last week, a friend mentioned having had their laptop stolen awhile back. My heart stopped in fear FOR them. I’m that paranoid person who leaves home for work and splits up her laptop from the power cord (after reading it makes it less interesting to thieves because a laptop without power is worthless.) My life is on my laptop. Photos. Finances. Business programs. Everything. Losing my laptop… I couldn’t even…

Then Saturday, it happened. I asked my laptop to do too much. Or something. It crashed. It locked up, wouldn’t do anything, and I did what I always do: a hard reboot.

But nothing happened.

So I rebooted again.

Finally it went into a self-repair. That worked last time! Instead, I got, “I can’t fix myself. Get help.”

No. No no no no no. NoNoNoNoNoNoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

So Sunday, when I was supposed to be getting ready to go to a Super Bowl party, I was at Best Buy praying the Geek Squad could save me.

They tried. But they couldn’t even get into the diagnostics. Prognosis: she’s dead, captain. There’s no saving something that they can’t even read to save. S-O-L. Done. R.I.P.

I looked at my husband who just went, “Let’s go find you a new one.”

And we did. Got a GREAT deal on a new laptop. It’s faster. All fresh, clean hard drive. And it has a great graphics card for photo editing that I didn’t even realize I was missing prior to this. Oh and its HUGE. When everyone is going smaller, I went bigger. This will be awesome for photo editing while traveling.

I got lucky on one front. I was sick all week last week. (Hence being so MIA on Social Media and the blog last week.)  I generally keep my laptop hooked up to an external hard drive that constantly backs up new files, but being sick I took the laptop to the couch with me. But even with THAT, I was only on the computer for about two days total last week. So I literally only lost 8 photos. That’s it. Oh and maybe one PDF copy of paying a bill. Otherwise, everything was backed up.

AND I finally delved into using “the cloud” so I could sync things between my laptop, cell phone and iPad. I knew it was awesome for that. I had no idea how it would save me on this front. I installed my web browser. Logged into my account. And ta da! All my stuff was there. Bookmarks. Passwords. Etc.

2014-02-05 14.43.2

I have never had to start from fresh on a laptop before where I didn’t have an old laptop to refer to find things. It’s always been a case of transferring files. Trying to remember passwords. Looking for links. I was freaked out that it would not only take days to get back to where I was, I might not be back up and running for MONTHS.

Instead? It look about an hour. And I’m slowly transferring “must have” files from the external drive to the laptop, but I am being very picky what I transfer, allowing me to keep this new computer cleaner longer.

So. Who knew? A computer crash ending pretty positive? Never would have thought that, but that’s what’s happened! Taking it all in stride and realizing it is what it is. I still fear having my computer stolen, but at least now I know… its possible to get back on your feet fairly quickly.  WHEW!

Categories: general-post Tags: ,

Days at home

January 11th, 2014 No comments

I happen to be someone who loves staying at home. Despite being far more extroverted than I used to be, I’m still deep down a homebody. That being said, I absolutely LOVED spending most of the last week and a half at home.

Earlier this week, we had a major cold snap thanks to that polar vortex thing they talked about on the news. I mean, when we took our 7th wedding anniversary photo, the windchill was -5°!

SONY DSC

(Yeah, we should have been bundled up… but we were taking a picture, so we ran out for about 1 minute tops to take that shot.)

During the cold snap, we literally didn’t leave our house for three days straight. We stepped outside for a little while, but we didn’t go anywhere. And I loved it.

I tried to be somewhat productive. But mostly I just enjoyed hiding away and resting up from the past year’s go-go-go-go-go. But as we draw to an end of this stay-at-home time, I feel my want to be productive coming back. Yesterday, I got so much done, it made me go, “Man, if I’d been this motivated all week, this house would be perfectly organized and I’d be ready to file my tax return!”

But maybe part of feeling so productive was taking time to rest my  mind and body for awhile. Yesterday, I participated in the Friday Five questions about sleep. The negative effects of sleep deprivation are well documented, but we still push ourselves to our limits. So, taking a few days to do a little less and give myself some TLC? I’m not going to feel guilty about it. Lord knows I’ll be crying out for it to be a possibility again soon.

Wishing my husband a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

November 19th, 2013 1 comment

362: My photography helper

Today is my husband’s birthday. Luckily we get to spend it together, as opposed to his being on the road. A couple years ago I got to be there when he played the Opry at the Ryman Auditorium on his birthday and the whole crowd wished him a Happy Birthday. Gotta admit, that’s pretty hard to top. But hopefully a nice day around the house followed by Jam Night downtown will suffice.

My husband is, of course, the musician of Musician’s Widow. He’s a piano player and a bus driver. He’s awesome at both and takes a lot of pride in doing them both professionally and skillfully. Both take him away from home, but both are something he’s passionate about doing well. And I admire that… and that fire makes ME passionate about both for him.

He loves motorcycles, and he’s even gotten me enjoying rides out on the bike. It was so busy this summer we didn’t get near enough ride-time and now its just too darn cold. He’s constantly looking at houses that are for sale, determined to find that perfect house when we are ready to purchase one. Looking out for our future, he always says, and for that I am SO thankful.

He’s my helper on photo shoots. I joke and call him my “pack mule” but really he’s my extra pair of eyes, often setting up photos I don’t see… but can make happen behind the camera. He sets it up. I shoot it. Basically. And I’m frankly a little nervous about doing a photo shoot this coming weekend without him!

He takes care of me, and he puts up with me. And God bless him for that! Between my being an Aggie (and c’mon even I know that alone is pretty much defined by others as an obsession), having constant sinus issues, having teeth that always seem to have something wrong, listening to me rant about everything from bar patrons to bad drivers, and frankly I can be pretty frustrating when I get upset and clam up (I do a mean silent treatement)… he takes it all in stride and sometimes even with an amused smile.

Look. I got me a good one. And I’m holding on tight, feeling very thankful.

I love you, honey! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Cheekwood

A different kind of “color run”

November 2nd, 2013 No comments

362: Brilliant leaves

I dropped my husband off at the bus lot this morning to drive this weekend. He had the weekend off, but he was offered a fill-in gig as a bus driver for the next couple of days. Going into winter, you take every gig you’re offered when you’re offered it.

This meant seeing the sunrise as we drove north on I-65, a sight that we just never see given the night owls that we are. We see sunsets, but rarely do we see sunrises.

After I dropped him off, I got to experience something else I rarely get to see. The early morning sunlight (as any photographer will tell you is some of the most amazing light you’ll get to experience) dancing with the fall leaves on all the trees.

We’ve already had our first freeze of the season, and as such the leaves on almost all the trees have turned brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. It’s beautiful any time of day, but that morning sunlight transformed them into something extra special… something almost magical. I was as enamored with them as a child is with fireworks. They are gorgeous. Stunning. Awe inspiring.

I chuckled to myself as I called my run to and from the bus lot a “color run” of a different sort. (Referencing, of course, my participation in the 5K last month.) One I don’t have to shower after, and one made by God’s own hands. We had bad storms on Halloween, but those have long passed now. Now we are left with a beauty that only the fall season can bring.

Next time you head out, take a moment to take in the changes of the season. Take a moment to go on your own little color run. Enjoy!