Monthly Archives: February 2014

True Confessions III

Yeah, once in a while I come clean to my fiends. Like here and here, today’s post will feature truth-telling from the depths of my black, shriveled soul.

  1. I am bitter about a 9-year-old issue. Truth. My local school levy (for which many of my colleagues and I put in hours and hours of work and personal time and creativity) failed, 70%-30%. It would have included a 500-seat theater, complete with stage rigging, a scene shop, dressing rooms, acoustical treatments, draperies, pit, the works. I took the failure quite personally, and after seeing the plans for my local school district’s new high school performing arts wing, my bitterness burns anew. I know there was not much I could do about it; heck, I couldn’t even vote for the levy, as I don’t live in the school district where I teach. But I’m still mad. And jealous. Jealous and mad. Madly jealous. It’s not fair to my kids. Oh, well. Whining and $4…
  2. I hate the idea of getting dressed up and going somewhere. No joke — I can’t count how many times I’ve looked at the clock and thought, I suppose I could just cancel… But once I’m there, I usually enjoy the experience a great deal. I am a lazy n’er-do-well when I want to be.
  3. Although I have, in essence, cried “Wolf!” in the past regarding rehearsals for an upcoming show, I must confess that the recent spate of snow days, coupled with myriad rescheduled athletic events and basketball tournament games, is cutting too deeply into my rehearsal schedule. I fear cuts of the musical kind. At least I have that option, which I wouldn’t so much with a standard Broadway musical. Revues can be a bit more flexible, but one still has to give the customer what he pays for. Ah, first-world problems…

Confession: good for the lungs, heart, digestion and general constitution. I hope my three-hour rehearsal this afternoon will yield the same results with regard to preparedness. Oy.


Stop the presses

Today’s news: Stop the world. I wanna get off. Wasn’t that a Broadway musical? I’m too lazy to find out.

But seriously, hold up.  Lots to discuss today.

1. Last night, we had dinner-and-movie evening (the first one in a very long time) with Bob & Kay. We watched the first part of a Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl. Incredible. If you have Netflix streaming or Amazon Instant Video (it’s free for Prime members), you must watch it. Here’s the trailer:


It seriously made me ashamed to complain about long lines at the grocery checkout or sluggish internet downloads.

2. The extra snow days thing passed the Ohio House. Now it goes to the Senate. If it passes there, the governor (whose proposal it was in the first place) will sign it into law. But now there’s talk about not paying teachers for snow days, as well as puffed-up politicians piffling on about the allotted extra days causing students to “miss out on educational opportunities” — as if they (the dirty pols) are more concerned about kids than appearing to take a hard stance in their districts with regard to those filthy, money-grubbing, overpaid teachers in order to bolster their chances for reelection. Bite me.

3. Remy, while still afraid of his shadow (and everyone else’s shadow as well) is making progress: He will now go to visit the Thriller in his office while I am home. Although right now, he’s in his standard hideout, at my feet, under my desk.

4. Well, sorry Arizona (and awesome RtB fiend David, who is likely ashamed as well), but after the ridiculous anti-gay vote, I’d say if I were an Arizona resident, I’d eat at Rocco’s. Like, daily.

5. I know I’m going to Hades for being a grown woman and laughing at this, but if you get it, you might smile, too. Haha.

6. I did a lesson with all of my choirs on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in the US. The range of questions across age groups was, at times, comical. From a high school junior: What was the main reason the Beatles broke up? From a 10-year-old 5th grader: Did anyone video John Lennon getting shot?

7. The sad result of myriad snow days: Sunday rehearsals. Ugh.

Have a great weekend, fiends — I’m off to get my tap shoes and dance the afternoon away.

Snow day #9?

I’ve lost count, truly. All I know is we’re going to school in June (we’re generally out by or around Memorial Day). It’s OK. Not complaining about a job where the weather affects whether or not you go in. Lots of folks don’t have that benefit.

Hard to see, but that's my unplowed street at 5:30 a.m.

Hard to see, but that’s my unplowed street at 5:30 a.m.

I was surprised to get notification of closure, rather than delay, this morning at 5:20. But then I looked outside. All area schools are closed today, both where I live and 22 miles away, where I work. I do feel bad for the people who have to dig out their driveways so they can dig out their cars. But hey, it comes with living in the Great Lakes area, ja? No biggy. Onward. Though I am kicking myself for not bringing more work home…

So, there’s this, Capital One customers. Nice. The IRS and police would need a warrant from a judge to visit you at home, but the credit card company can drop by your house to collect any time they choose. Read the fine print, fiends. Or just use a debit card exclusively. Truly, there’s very little a debit card can’t do when compared to a credit card, although there are some rare exceptions, like funds capture above and beyond the total, and car rentals.

Then I read this, and while that may be true for some companies, Chase has never done it to me.

Problem 4: Theft protection

Lose your credit card to a thief, and your exposure is limited to $50. Lose your debit card to a thief, and you’ve got trouble. Why? Because that thief is out spending from the minute your card is gone, and your bank account is being depleted in real time.

Yes, your exposure is also limited to $50 if you inform the bank within 48 hours. But in the meantime the money is gone from your account and it might not reappear quickly.

The bank has up to 10 business days — and up to 45 if an investigation is required — to restore your balance. And if you take more than 48 hours to report a lost card, your liability limit is $500, not $50. Worse yet, if you fail to report a loss within 60 days of a bank statement showing the fraudulent transaction, your loss is unlimited.

I’ve had my debit card compromised three times in the last ten years, and each time, Chase immediately refunded all purchases made by the hacker (both times in excess of $600), canceled the card and issued a new one within hours. Their fraud division has real people to talk to, and I’ve never once encountered an issue on any dispute.

Not that I love banks, mind. (That’s another lengthy post.) But in a world of gargantuan financial institutions set down to rob us blind, Chase — for my money — has been a minor offender.

How did I get off on that tangent? This post was supposed to be about snow days. But since I’m on a stream-of-consciousness bender, I’ll tell you about a story I stumbled on last night. I never knew about the horrifying mid-air collision between a United and a TWA jet over Brooklyn in 1960. Never heard about it, ever. Had you? The photos are eerily reminiscent of a monochrome 9/11 retrospective. No survivors, although a young boy from Wilmette, Illinois hung on for a while before succumbing to his burns. Tragic.

If any good can come out of something like this, it is apparently the advances in “black box” technology that have enabled the air travel industry to refine its safety efforts. For a confessed aviophobe like Yours Truly, that is encouraging.

Well, hasn’t this just been a literary mash-up? Hey, good news: my blogging mentor, Ross — my Mr. Miyagi of online writing — has a guest post coming up. I love guest bloggers! RtB fiend David wrote a beautiful one about his combat experience in Viet Nam, and Ross has written one in the past as well. Do you have something to say? I wish you’d say it here. Hit me up; we’ll get you a username and password. :-D

Happy Tunesday! I’m off for more espresso, and maybe even the treadmill **gasp**.


A week

Man, what a week it’s been. For me to not write for almost seven days is beyond unusual. It’s a scandal! It’s a outrage! (Name that show.)

And here it is, quarter to ten on a Saturday morning, and I’m still in jammies, drinking coffee and reading the news. Part of it, I’m certain, is a hangover from 1) eating pizza last night (a food we generally avoid), and 2) micro-bingeing on Season 2 of House of Cards on Netflix. And, after going up to bed with me at 1 a.m., Remy decided he had to use the men’s room — at 5:00. Nice. So there I was, in boots, mittens and parka, standing outside in the dark. And of course, once I’m up…

So Grammie will be ready to hit the hay with the Js tonight, that’s for sure. And the Thriller is taking me away for a fun weekend up north after that; I’ll need to be rested.

Remember when you never thought about “being rested” in preparation for a weekend away? Haha. Yeah, those were the days, my friend

Speaking of that record by Mary Hopkin: did you know it was produced by Sir Paul, shortly after the Beatles decided to open up Apple’s recording division to aspiring/struggling artists? James Taylor and Billy Preston were in that group as well. Who says you don’t learn anything by reading RtB?

Anyway. Outrageously busy day today, but I’m going to try to get out and see the As before the Js arrive this evening. The rest will be spent on Dinner Theatre, getting grades in the gradebook, and various & sundry mundanities.

But first: a GRAND shout-out to RtB family member BoomR, who got married on Valentines Day. We love you, brother!

Hope everyone had a great week. This one will be better for me, swear. Ready, steady, go.

Where have you been?

Or wait: where have been? It’s been awhile, fiends. I don’t like that. I’m convinced that’s why I get crabby after a few days of not writing to you.

This past weekend was the Ohio Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference (or, as we oldbies have called it forever: Convention). I really enjoyed seeing and chatting with people I only see once a year. Too bad it was likely my last convention. Behold, I climb into the confessional:

JECO has been the biggest reason I’ve attended convention over the last six years. Putting jazz ed out there where everyone has access to it has been a passion of mine for a couple of decades now, and I’ve enjoyed my 6-year run on the exec board, and functioning as JECO webmaster. But truthfully…I’m weary, luvs. The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be. I’ll admit it.

It’s not that I don’t have energy and passion for teaching jazz. I still do that part of my life every day with my select v-jazz ensemble. Love it. But with choirs and Broadway musicals & revues every year taking up more and more of my brain and body time, I have to draw the line somewhere. I only have so much “passion space” where my career is concerned, and it’s pretty much taken up by those events. I don’t feel guilty about that.

Nor do I feel guilty about “not learning new things” by not going to convention. Sorry, but I don’t. Should I? Probably, although new learning isn’t confined to two days in February at a convention center. Everyone needs to stay fresh and current in their profession, but I will likely glean those nuggets from other sources. It’s a great huge hassle to leave school for two days during an incredibly busy rehearsal run for Dinner Theatre. I can be of better use to my students by staying home.

Of course, by the time December rolls around, I might change my mind. ;-) But for the time being, my remaining nine or so years in public education will be spent how *I* think best benefits my kids. How’s that for old battle-ax thinking? Heh, s’ok mate. I’ll wear it like a badge, and fight the machine until they grind me into submission. Then I’ll work as a baker, or a secretary, or a travel agent, and have some more time for grandsons. I like that idea, too.

Do you believe I have a rehearsal scheduled on a Sunday? I petitioned for, and received, papal dispensation to meet 25 students for three hours of rehearsal, because the weather has made a complete mockery of preparations for my show. Now there’s more snow coming down, with three inches expected today. We’ll see around noon how those back-country roads are shaping up (or not). What kind of odds are you giving us today? Oy.

Happy Sumday, fiends! Relax if you can.