Monthly Archives: September 2014

15 Things Every Band Teacher Will Encounter

So you’ve learned how to cue the clarinets while quieting the trumpets and making a mental note to remind the trombones about the B natural. Here’s what the credential program DIDN’T prepare you for.

1. The trumpet player who thinks it’s funny to play with his bell in his neighbor’s ear, even though you’ve explained that it can cause permanent hearing loss.
2. Vocal chord damage from yelling “F SHARP” over a full band playing. Several times a day.
3. Explaining why the abbreviation for ritardando is not funny.
4. Dented instruments, and arguments about who caused the dents.
5. Spit
6. Arriving at work only to find that your room will be used for the science fair today. But it’s okay! You can have the custodian’s closet! Just carry all those stands and drums over!
7. “Prodigies”
8. That sinking feeling when you realize that a clarinet player who’s been squeaking all year had a problem you should have seen on the first day.
9. Concerts minus a lead trumpet player who didn’t show up because he couldn’t find the right shirt/she got nervous/her parents forgot to come home from work to give her a ride.
10. The administration/other teachers forgetting to mention to you that the new student has a rap sheet.
11. More spit. This time a strange color.
12. No desks to get under during earthquake drill. Just say “We’re all screwed,” and keep rehearsing the Percy Grainger.
13. The kid who’s been just moving his fingers all year deciding to actually make sound at the concert.
14. The concert high.
15. Kids who are lucky they’re so cute.

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Since I Left Facebook

Before I tell you about the amazing thing that happened since I left Facebook, I’d like to explain why I left. I used to champion Facebook every chance I got. Every time one of my friends threatened to unplug, I’d remind them “You can reunite with old friends! You can ask how to unclog a drain! You can see who has a copy of Hunger Games to lend you!” All true, and I enjoyed all those benefits. So did I leave because Facebook is secretly spying on me, reporting me for my bad puns? No. Because I spent too much time on it? Maybe I should have, but no.

I left because I can’t keep my mouth shut, or rather, my fingers still. I can’t shut up when someone insults the president (oddly, not the president that took us into an unwinnable, unjustifiable war) or tells me that I don’t care about babies because I question the current immunization schedule, or says something subtly sexist, or misrepresents the Word of God. This is a humor blog, and for the sake of humor, I would love to tell you some of the gems of memes my friends have shared. But my first priority is to not insult anyone for the sake of humor.

I found myself, at least twice a day, with my heart literally pounding in anger against my ribs, and ain’t nobody got time for that. So I figured out how to delete my page, but just before I clicked, I realized that I need my page in order to reach the pages I maintain for other companies (duh.) Instead, I “unfollowed” (formerly “hid”) my friends and left in my feed only the pages that might tell me about important upcoming events, such as my church’s and my daughter’s school’s page. Can you guess what happened within two days? Someone posted to the school page that we needed to discuss the risks of our school’s unusually high immunization exemption numbers. And did I post a Hear This Well video of the mother of a vaccine injured boy? I think you know the answer. Sure as Bush took more vacation days than Obama I did.

At least these things happen less often now, though. Anyway, soon after I made my dramatic exit from Facebook to the dismay of about 8% of my friends, I realized that this might not be good for the release of my novella in a month or so. How will the ten people who bought my previous books hear of its availability? For a second, I thought about a one-time return to announce the book. But then I’d be one of those people. The ones who come on to advertise, but never comment on my witty statuses. And I’m stubborn, so I think I’ll stick to my promise. Who needs fifteen dollars and forty-four cents in royalties, anyway?

So what’s the amazing thing that happened after I left Facebook? Well (and I know, this is so amazing) what happened is nothing. Nothing has changed. The same people who didn’t change their minds when I argued before still haven’t changed their minds. The same people who loved me before (and yes some people are in both of these categories) still love me now. The only thing that has changed is now I don’t have to feel stupid when I see someone in real life and forget the major life change that I supposedly congratulated them on in a comment. Now I can honestly say I didn’t know. “Oh, didn’t you see it on Facebook?” No. No, I did not 🙂

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Preparing For Your New Puppy

Many articles have been written about preparing your home for your new puppy. Preparing for the chewing, the potty training, the socialization, the vet bills, the parvo-avoiding. But this article is not about preparing your home, it’s about preparing YOU.

My basset mix is ten years old, and something happened last night that made me think, “THIS is what people need to know about dogs before they get one. Not how to potty train or which dog food is healthiest.”

I went downstairs for a last cup of water before bed, saw the dog lying by the sliding glass door, and thought, “Look at me! For once I’m remembering to let the dog out, and he won’t bark and get me out of my cozy bed right when I’m finally dozing off.”

I slid the door open, and that dog, the one I wanted so badly ten years ago that I told my U2-loving-but-on-the-fence-about-a-dog husband that I’d name our dog Bono, gave me a look out of the corner of his eye that said he was not about to go out, and that I was inhumane to suggest it. We had a staredown. Me facing him boldly, straight on, and him still avoiding my direct gaze. “Fine,” I said. “But I better not hear you until morning.” I slammed the door shut and went to bed. And of course, what do I hear just as my creaky joints are finally starting to settle and my insomniac eyes are starting to close?

Woof.

This happens all the time. My husband says I should teach Bono a lesson by not going down there, but my husband can sleep through a “woof” every five minutes.

I got up. Again.

Be prepared, that’s all I’m saying. A few more things I wasn’t prepared for:

1) Excitedly running to the door the first time Bono barked to go out to potty after about 14 months of unsuccessful training, only to have him run over to the couch where I’d set my dinner and eat my dinner instead of going out.

2) Leaning over to pick up his poop only to have him jump up and put his paws on my butt so that I stepped forward into his poop. (At least the poop was outside.)

3) Running around the neighborhood yelling “OFF! OFF!” after he escaped out the front door and bolted down the street jumping (in extreme friendliness) on frightened walkers.

And so, before you prepare yourself for the training and the vet bills, prepare yourself for the attitude of an infant and a teenager all rolled into one. Prepare yourself for the lack of sleep and the embarrassment. Prepare yourself for a Bono.

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