Community Service

My parents are awesome. They raised my brother and I to be kind, helpful people. I’ve even said that sometimes one of my faults is that I’m too nice. I hate bragging about myself, so I’m going to try to make this more about my favorite organization to volunteer for.

I promise to not make this blog all about my dog, because that’s what it’s starting to seem like.

I’ve mentioned before that Starbuck is a therapy dog. We volunteer with a group called Love on a Leash. We visit places that have invited us to help their clients feel better. Some of the places Starbuck and I have visited include nursing homes, juvenile correction facilities, schools, libraries, and colleges.

I have many warm fuzzy stories about things we’ve done, and places we’ve visited, but I think the picture speaks for itself. My favorite place to visit is the Pike Library. We have a program there called Barks and Books for kids that struggle to read out loud. Kids are rarely ever afraid to read to a dog because they don’t interrupt them with help or give negative feedback to their reading. They sit and listen. For a lazy dog like Starbuck, it’s the perfect doggie job.

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A Ruff Interview

So I didn’t get a chance to interview anyone today. I got home, and decided to interview our dog Starbuck. The hardest part about the interview was the language barrier.  She was also more focused on keeping the cats upstairs than answering the questions I asked her.

She did finally stop caring about the cats and paid some attention to me. She showed me her stuffed turtle. I didn’t get to learn a lot about it before she rudely ripped it out of my hands and ran into the other room. I followed, only to find her upside down and chewing on said stuffed turtle. I said her name, and she righted herself and looked at me. Then I realized that we could have a nonverbal interview. An interview based entirely on reading body language. How many of you did that? Ours was a very quick 5 minutes before she lost interest.

I found out that our dog is completely content when both my husband and I are home. She also prefers the banana chips I’m eating right now to her dog food. Her favorite toy at the moment is her stuffed turtle. Over the course of the past year she has learned that the word “oops” means something fell on the floor and she should eat it. She also learned that headphones mean she’s going on a walk, and the words “crunch crunch” mean she’s getting food.

Ok, so I didn’t really try to talk to my dog. My question to you is how many people do you know that you could actually hold a completely nonverbal conversation with and how often do you use nonverbal communication without realizing it?

I bet the answer is a lot more than you think.

 

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A Tough, Wise Decision

Last December, I quit my job, and my career.

I was a high school band director.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Ever. I loved my who I worked with, but not who I worked for. I loved the kids, even the knuckleheads. One day my husband and his coworkers sat me down and had a little ‘intervention.’ I was miserable, and refused to admit it. I kept making excuses, and telling myself “next school year will be better,” when in fact, it kept getting worse. “I just want my wife back.” Said my husband. I lost it.

I wasn’t a bad teacher. I had excellent evaluations every year. My district supervisor kept putting me in bad situations until I finally broke. I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t worth it on a teacher’s salary. It wasn’t worth it on ANY salary.

What about all that time and effort I put into getting that Bachelor of Music in Music Education? That was probably the hardest pill for me to swallow. I averaged 20 credit hours and 12 DIFFERENT classes a semester for 5 years. Music Ed. is essentially a double major. It was time well spent. I developed a deeper appreciation for something I loved, and now that I’m not doing it every day, I can enjoy it again. I LOVE going to the ISO. 

What did I learn?

  • Just because it’s something you enjoy immensely, doesn’t mean that you should make a career of it. I love music. I love band. But the hoops I had to jump through and the politics and BS I had to go through to make band enjoyable for me – and more importantly – the kids was insane. It ruined it for me. And sadly, the kids too.
  • The company you work for can make or break a job. 
  • Work/life balance is SUPER important
  • How to say no with confidence
  • Forcing an 18 year old to decide what they want to do for the rest of their life is silly. 
  • Teachers do things besides teach. They’re project managers, client success managers, problem solvers, all rolled into one person. Not to mention they have pretty much figured out how to ‘work smarter, not harder.’ They get things done with very little time and resources, and aren’t typically ‘in it for the money.’ They’re very selfless people. 
  • I want what I do to feel valued and needed.
  • Mad props to my high school and college band directors. Their situations were better than mine, but for them to create something that so many students wanted to be a part of and enjoy takes a lot of time, effort, and selflessness. They also helped create and nurture my love of music, something I can take with me to my grave. I can only hope I did the same with my students.

The results of this decision?

  • Well there’s the obvious. I don’t have a full time job, and I’m in the position now to be a little  more picky about the job I will eventually take. Right now though, I have a couple kick ass part time jobs, that will hopefully lead to a kick ass full time job. 
  • I am no longer the shell of the person I once was.
  • I inspired at least one other person I know to quit their job and find a better one.
  • Some rooms in our house got painted
  • My husband got his wife back

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Year in Pictures

So I’m going back to the prompt from December 2nd. Show your year in pictures. I’m going back through my photo stream on my phone, and grabbed a highlight of each ‘event’. Here it goes…

This year I…

Started my year at the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Polar Pedal. It was cold.

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Took a pretty picture of The Monument right before an ISO performance.

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Did the Polar Plunge in Eagle Creek. There was snow on the ground, and ice on the lake. Brrr!

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Went to my first roller derby bout.

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Had bagpipers surprise us the Friday before St. Patty’s Day.

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Saw Time for Three play in the Catacombs of the City Market. 

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Strutted my mutt in the Mutt Strut for the 3rd year in a row.

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Had a kid show Starbuck how many books he checked out. (HINT: It was A LOT!) Starbuck is a therapy dog. One of the things we do is visit the library so kids can read books out loud to her. 

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Played beer pong at Lake Cumberland in KY. It’s a dry county by the way 🙂

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Started messing around with Codecademy.

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Watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the brewery.

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Rode my bike in the Tour de Cure for the second year.

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Went to the Strawberry Shortcake festival.

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Attended the wedding of one of my childhood best friends.

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Found some old chairs at GenCon.

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Painted my upstairs hallway and guest bedroom.

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Went to ET Connections.

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Bought an Indianapolis Monthly magazine with my husband’s picture in it. Actually, I bought 5. Gotta hook the parents up!

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Went to The Mall of America. There was a Ninja Turtle ride… IN THE MALL! Along with some roller coasters and a log flume.

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Played in the leaves with my niece and nephew. My brother is the only person I know that brought leaves from someone else’s house in big bags so his kids could play in the leaves. They don’t have any trees in their yard.

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Participated in my first Start Up Weekend.

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Went down the slide at the Children’s Museum.

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Bring it 2014!

Weird, Wacky…..Strange

“Share the strangest experience of your year. Did you do something new or unexpected, see something out of the ordingary, or have a unique experience? What was so strange about it?”

The ThinkKit prompt. It made my head hurt. So much so, that I’m just now sitting down to write this.

About a year ago from the day we recently had those tornados, (does that make sense?) My husband and I were out with friends in Broad Ripple. It was a Friday, we weren’t out late and we hadn’t had a lot to drink. In fact, a quick thunderstorm had blown through while we were at Flatwater. We got home at around 9pm. Early for a Friday, and dark when we got home. 

We got home, let the dog out and back in, and settled in for the night. 

We woke up the next morning, my husband let the dog out, and I hear a shout of confusion from the back porch. 

This is what he found.

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My poor, poor chaise lounge. What happened? Who dunnit?

After much confusion and searching, we found the holes in our siding. 

Hail. 

The downside – I’m kinda sad I missed the storm, I love me a good storm. Our roof was only 6 years old (because of hail) and we had to replace it.

The upside – Our siding was 20 years old, and we were saving to replace it. It was ugly, and faded, and falling off in spots. Go go insurance. New roof, siding, and gutters!

That’s my weird story. 

A Quick Intro

A blog. I haven’t done this since college. It wasn’t a live journal, but an actual blog. It was bad. No one read it. That was in 2006. Fast forward 7 years, and here I am. Thanks to SmallBox and their ThinkKit, I’m getting a prompt in my email everyday in December.  What will come of this? Who knows.

I hesitate to tell you too much about myself, I want to see what you/we learn over the course of the month. I missed the first two days, but I’m not going back. I’ll start on Dec. 3rd. Prepare yourselves!