Thursday, January 16, 2014

My First Menu Plan

I'm really rather anxious to start a new blog, now that I'm all married and stuff.  A grown up, big girl, married woman blog.  Where I talk about how great life is with my husband as we learn to smush two lives into one, and do domesticky things like post my menu plans and talk about budgeting and making my house a home and whatnot.  And occasionally still ramble on nonsensically and make up words.

Really, though, JW and I are quite happy, and the point of this post is to post my menu plan.  It's a thing I'm attempting - as well as very moderate couponing.  And by that, I mean actually using coupons.  No extreme couponing here.  The only reason I'm posting this is it gives me a way to keep myself accountable by having it out there, and I can link to recipes if necessary.

So, the as-yet-unapproved-by-John list is:

lunch: with mom and dad (Costco samples!)
dinner: lentil tacos

lunch: sandwiches
dinner: chili cheese tater tot casserole, John's beans, avocado salad
dessert: baked apples with ice cream

lunch: sandwiches
dinner: ultimate grilled cheese and tomato soup

lunch: hummus and veggies
dinner: chicken salad

lunch: hummus and veggies
dinner: leftovers

lunch: hummus and veggies or sandwich
dinner: pizza pasta

lunch: hummus and veggies
dinner: sandwich (Regionals)

Thursday, August 15, 2013


A new school year has begun.  Funny that that should be the time I finally sit down to blog again, when I feel like I have no time to breathe amidst the rush of things that have to be done now.  Especially considering I spent my entire summer reading Harry Potter in German, watching Dr. Who, and staying up too late with John every night.

It's been a victorious day for me.  In my two freshmen classes, my boys are tripled by the number of girls in their sections.  They also can't sing (yet).  The first day of school, one boy asked, "Wait...we have to sing in this class?  Everyone?  Even the boys?!"  They were aghast.

Freshman year is a rough time for boys.  Their instruments are so wonky, poor things.  All those changes...or worse, none of the changes just yet.  I do have one boy alto still.  He bears it well.  Individually, they can all match pitch pretty well.  Stick four of them together, and something goes terribly wrong.  Instead of a surprisingly developed bass sound that they can create alone, this gravelly mush of non-notes comes out.  Call them up and have them match around the piano, and it's once again a nice, musical sound.  We'll have to work on that.

Anyway, I had two Freshmen Boy Victories today.

FBV#1: A parent came up to me today and said her freshman son came home yesterday and told her that music was his favorite subject, even though he (and his mother) thinks he can't sing. 

FBV#2: It's quiz day in my class today, and one of the boys had his hand in the air before he even sat down in his desk after the bell.  "Miss Cardy!  Miss Cardy!  Are we going to have time to sing after our quiz today?"  After I answered in the affirmative, he said "Yes!" with a victorious fist-pump, echoed by the two boys around him.

Slowly but surely, I will win these freshmen over to love singing.

Other happy choir moments:

As I was demonstrating the opening of a song and stopped at the end of a section, one girl called out, "No, keep singing!  You just sing it so well!" 

A girl who I thought disdained both my class and singing just signed up for an extra-curricular choir.

A couple girls are still joining my Women's Choir, even though it means they will be late to volleyball and have to run extra laps every day.   That's dedication!

I have almost 50 girls signed up for Women's Choir, and at least 40 of them actually showed up for the first rehearsal.

Students left my class singing today, and I've heard bits of song floating through the hallways.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Final student treasures

Final exams are over and graded!  Fortunately for me, my students never leave me without some very amusing attempts at answering their questions to keep the grading from being dull.

"Clarity played a huge role in the Classical Ara [sic].  Now in musical piece, you see that there is less of something, and doesn't feel or sound as gody [gaudy, sic].  What I mean by gody, is that there is a lot of the same thing going on, like when you wear too many bows in your hair, for example.  So in the classical ara, there is no more godiness, but now clarity.  Clarity is pretty much no more gody, so like only wearing one bow in your hair, it's clear!"

Why does the Count want Cherubino sent away?  "B/c he is a playa'."

"Marcellina wants to marry Figaro because he pledged to marry her if he didn't pay some money back.  It's good that she doesn't however because she's his mother!  eeeeeeewww!"

Also, every possible mutilation of the German words "Empfindsamer Stil."

Now, if only there were a way to find humor in their written evaluations, too...sigh.  Two classes are done!  The two biggest are still to go. 

BUT!  There is good news!  After tomorrow, I will be able to say I have survived my first "year" of teaching!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

more student amusings

Death by grading: 50 quizzes, 30 musical compositions, 60 two-to-four page essays, and 25 worksheets all in one day.  I have the best mom and sister in the universe who helped me through it.  I feel a bit like superwoman.  Before I go curl up in my bed and pass out, I thought I'd share my favorite gems from the concert review essays.  There were the usual spelling errors and odd uses of terms, but these stood out in their oddity.

"It was a memorable experience, full of unusual music and unique hair styles."

"It then bacon to go all over the place and became loud."

(In the middle of a detailed description of Liszt's Dante Symphony) "PIZZICATO FROM THHE VIOLAS!  I don't know why that made me so excited but it was important in my notes."

"It was also al dente and I can't read some of my notes because it was dark and I can't write in the dark because I cannot see."

"The piece was a bit high-pitched, and, as its title might suggest [Little Potato], very strange.  It seemed to describe an infant, who somehow resembles a potato (or perhaps the infant's cognitive ability is similar to that of a potato).  It described the simplicity of this potato-child's perception of its surroundings, and the potato-child's innocence and naivete, from the perspective of its parent (or perhaps a potato farmer who has hit his head a bit too hard).  The general tone of this piece was a bit unsettling.  It was sung in the childish, condescending tone that parents often use towards their children, and the keyboard was played on a  high-pitched and childish setting, reminding me of those frightful children's television programs of my early childhood.  It would seem, though, that the composer's intention was to express the joy of fatherhood, rather than to disturb me on a deep psychological level."

At least moments like this bring enough laughter to keep me plowing through the rest of the papers.


Friday, May 3, 2013

just some ramblings

Having classes full of freshmen is a wonderful thing when you need to get a lot of something done.  I was facing the prospect of folding three hundred some-odd programs this weekend in my apartment when inspiration struck.  What was a daunting couple hours of tedious folding and likely paper cuts became a five minute diversion that my students enjoyed a disproportionate amount.  At the end of the day, my room was a disaster - this has been that kind of week - and for some reason my floor never gets vacuumed over the weekend.  Dismayed at all the little tiny chads and bits of paper and hair ties and pencil stubs and goodness knows what else littering my floor, I again though, ooh, I have freshmen.  In less than a minute my floor was spotless.  Well, almost spotless, they are just freshmen.  But still.  Free labor is fun!

I also noticed something interesting in my classes today.  We had our first combined rehearsals with both sections yesterday, so I asked for some reflection on that today.  I have two classes of 10th grade and two of 9th grade.  One class in each grade is generally higher achieving than the other.  What interested me today was that in both grades, the higher achieving class had more negative comments when asked about yesterdays rehearsal.  And they were specific negatives, like "so-and-so sang this part of that song wrong."  The classes that are collectively less high achieving were, on the other hand, very positive.  There were still criticisms, but they were constructive and generalized.  I wonder why this is?

My first concert as a real, grown-up teacher is this coming Monday.  I'm not really nervous, because I think they'll do well, but it's still "looming" over me.  Maybe because it's been the end-all of my goals and I'm just now realizing that I have to keep teaching for two more weeks after it's over, and I have to keep their attention when the funnest part of class has been removed!  Eek.  Summer, come quickly!  (In the sense of freedom, not the triple digit death weather.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

musical mishaps

As a music teacher, I don't have much opportunity to read my students' writing.  This week, though, they had to turn in their big quarter project, and I have been ever so amused (and a little aghast) at some of the things I've heard.  I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.  (If you don't speak music, they might not all make sense.)  There were many others that left me scratching my head, but these were the most comprehensible.

"The overall dynamic was mexxo forte." (ole!)

"This piece was sung by an Acapulco choir." (goes well with mexxo forte)

It crescendoed to a nice mezzo-forte, adding a silent beauty to the sound."  (louder music has silent beauty how?)

"The most interesting fact I found about this song is that there are not many pages on the internet about this song."

"The dynamics in this piece were evident variations in volume without change."

"This song has no dynamics."  (it is silent?)

"The tempo wasn't anything special."

"It's part of an Oprah called L'incoronazione di Poppea."

Friday, March 1, 2013


Alas, poor blog.  Neglected is your state!  Would that I had more time to devote to cherishing you.

On this cheerful Friday, I wanted to take a moment and share a glimpse of my first quarter as a *real* teacher.  It's been insanely busy, especially as I am still keeping all my weekday private students and I just started dating.  JW and I laugh that my first semester teaching and his last semester of law school is a very silly time to start a relationship, but some things are worth the effort.  "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods."  -Thomas Paine.

Here's an adorable picture of us, just so you can see.  :)  Except now JW has shaved off his beard with no warning, and I'm still adjusting to him looking like a totally different person.  But anyways.  We're cute.

So far, teaching has been fun.  Stressful, for sure.  When I decided to be a choir teacher, that was never supposed to include grading papers, and yet I find myself grading 84 homework assignments quite frequently.  Such is life!

In no particular order, here are some of the moments and thoughts that have stuck out.  Some are good, some are mundane, but all contribute to the big picture of my first experience.


I never realized how much my students would occupy my thoughts even when I'm not at school.  I'm not sure they realize how much I want them to succeed, and that I frequently spend my long commutes thinking of them and how I can help them.

I got the sweetest compliment from a girl at our network-wide choral festival last week.  She came up to me after the concert to say that after I ran the soprano sectional, she heard a bunch of girls from other schools talking about how much fun I was and how they wished I could work with them more.  This was especially meaningful for two reasons: one, the girl who told me is one of our all-star soprano divas, and very hard to impress, so the fact that she took the time to come tell me was surprising; two, most of the other conductors there are women who tend to be thought of as choir goddesses in this network, and this is only my second month of teaching, so I was extremely intimidated, and finding out that I could be on their level, at least from a student perspective, was very gratifying.

I like hanging out in my classroom after school when students come in to use the piano.  We can laugh and trade good music and learn a little.

I hate giving detentions.  I've only given three, and they were all at the same time for talking in class.  I hope I don't have to give more any time soon.

I was called "the fashionista teacher" today because my skirt matched my shirt matched my nails.  I chuckled.

My students make me laugh, though so far most have not picked up on the fact that I her hee.  I'm okay with this.

Some of these kids can make great music!  It's SO much fun when they finally come together and sing out strong and really get into it, because we can make some cool things happen.  Sometimes, they really impress me.

Other times, they drive me up the wall with their constant chattering.

I like my classroom.  It echoes, with it's very high ceilings and bare walls.  (The school apparently used to be a warehouse.)

I don't like writing lecture notes on the whiteboard.

I love when a student finally has a "lightbulb" moment and gets a concept.

The best (or only good) part about teaching music history is having a captive audience who has to listen to the pretty music I want to share with them.

I am so entertained by the conversations in my study hall first thing every morning.  Today, we named all of a girl's future children by random letter selection.  One poor kid is named Qhypogo.

Spending 40 minutes a day on 6th and 7th grade lunch duty makes me ever so glad I do not teach middle school.

I just had about 70 reports handed to me to grade this weekend.  Whee!

I really like tutoring one-on-one before and after school, and am glad the school places such a priority on that.  I also tend to like students more when they take advantage of my expertise.

We have some great parents at this school.  I have had nothing but very positive interactions with them thus far, and I hope to high heaven it remains that way.

As a network, our schools seem to attract young, attractive teachers.  And unique; I think there's a uniqueness quota you have to meet to be hired.

I was told my a veteran art teaching that I must really love teaching, because it shows.  :)

We've had two students pass away this semester, which is a challenge I never really thought about facing, much less in my first two months of teaching.

Having one mass faculty office where all our desks are located is convenient for networking, but I am much more likely to be productive working in my room where it is quiet.

There is a startlingly large number of true redheads at this school.

As a classical liberal arts school, the student body here is very different from what I've worked with before.  On our bus ride up to Jazz/Mad at NAU, they were excited about watching someone's copy of RSC's Hamlet with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart.  Most high schoolers I know would have whined about being forced to watch something like that, never eagerly suggest it.

It's equally as fun as a teacher to reward students with a game as it is as a student to get to play said game.

We do all internal subbing at this school, which is different and kind of nice.  It helps keeps things small and connected.

The best things about middle school lunch duty are making friends with the teachers I share it with and the occasional free food from the lunch ladies.

Fridays are my favorite.  Hello, weekend!
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