Saturday, April 19, 2014

Let's Play Ketchup

I'm a weird blogger.
Well, I mean, I'm just weird, period, but my Blog-Life (similar to 'hood-' or 'thug-') is incredibly erratic. 

I'll go months without a single post
then BAM...
way too many all at once. 

In any case, a lot of things have happened since last we met, so..
...let's ketchup, shall we?

  • I am ALMOST DONE with my FIRST YEAR OF TEACHING. Can you believe it? I can't. It has been one crazy ride--with a shockingly unpleasant dose of the crazy--but I am surviving, and I'm almost there!
  • I took two ensembles to two separate festivals and each group received a Superior rating

some of my advanced orchestra kids getting ready for a pre-festival concert.

a few of my intermediate orchestra kids after their festival. on a Saturday. at 8am. 

I guess, as a sort of sub-bullet, that now would be the time to mention how much I adore these kids. And, no, that's not creepy. When I first got my student teaching assignment and realized I'd be working with middle schoolers I was......what's the best word.......apprehensive? But now... I can't imagine teaching anything else. I don't know what it's like to be a parent, but I think I have sort of an idea. It's ridiculous how much I love these kids. How they can make a terrible, awful, no-good day a million times better just with their bright smiles. I can't count the number of times I have been caught honestly off-guard--and had to take a minute to stop laughing--by their humor. To see them work and struggle and conquer and even fall in love with makes all the hair-pulling days and anxiety-ridden nights worth it. I don't know that I'm any sort of good teacher: I'm not a musical genius. I don't compose. I'm not a brilliant soloist. I don't have amazing lesson plans that will get published in education journals. But what I do, I do pretty well: I love these kids and the subject I teach. I count myself incredibly blessed to be able to honestly say I love my job. And these radiant young souls I get to come in contact with every day are teaching me more than I thought I'd learn :) 
  • I've made new friends. 

  • I've kept in touch with old ones.
  • I've gotten used to finding movie theaters in big, smoke-filled casinos.
  • I've seen some pretty good movies. Divergent, Saving Mr. Banks, Winter's Tale, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. 
  • I've had a vegan burger.
    • not my thing.
  • I've stood toe-to-toe with people who are more than twice my age--stood my ground, and made decisions I never thought I'd have to make. I've felt the backlash of spineless mortals and been the subject of plenty of slander. I've raged and ranted and held my tongue and carried on. And you know what? I've won
  • I've gone rock-climbing/hiking. Like, across rocky gaps and slippery slopes and unbelievable heights. 
  • I've been to my favorite place on earth. A few times :) With many plans to go back. 

I always swore to myself I'd live in Cali. Now I'm in landlocked NV, but some day....some day.............

  • I've gone to a pro (okay, minor league...) hockey game. 
  • I cheered myself silly for the Olympics
  • I've seen people make some really bad decisions
  • I've kept up my Supernatural addiction. 
    • Okay, really, if you haven't seen this show at least once by should. It is wonderfully weird to me that I--the biggest chicken you will ever meet, the person who (as a 16 yr old) had to sleep in mom and dad's room the night of Pref after watching Poltergeist--have fallen for a show all about the freaky and spooky. That's how good it is.
  • I know approximately how many Little Caesar's pizzas I can fit in the backseat of my (old) car. 
I'm not even gonna explain this one. 
Let your imaginations do as they will. 
  • I've written pretty faithfully to a missionary. Yep, Elder Connor Ontiveros is still one of the funniest people I know, and it has been AMAZING to see all the change that has happened to little bro since he went out into the field. The people of Iowa/Missouri/Mississippi are lucky folks :) 
  • I've had root canals and crowns and cleanings and basically my teeth suck, but I legit don't hate my current dentist, so that's a plus. 
  • Yes, I was there for the Mailmanapocalypse
Why so many? In one place?? At one time??? The world may never know.

  • I've been a homebody, a partier, a hermit, a social butterfly. 
  • I've cried, I've prayed, I've ranted, I've stayed up too late with every possibility chasing the others around all because of my job, but I've kept at it. 
  • I've been lonely. 
  • I've been overwhelmed. 
  • Goodness knows I've been annoyed. 
  • I've been happy. Confident. Content. 
  • I've been intensely self-critical all with the intention of always trying to be just a little bit better

Spring break is nearly over. 
6 more weeks. 1 more concert. A few end-of-the-year awards nights and meetings and business to attend to.
Then it's summer. 

Maybe I'll have some blog-worthy experiences for you by then ;) 

In Search of a Good Name

I know I probably overuse the phrase
"I'm an adult!"

Please understand: I am aware.
It's like when you say the world "milk" too many times in a row.
Eventually, it just feels weird. 

But, honestly, it's mostly because you don't really notice how things are changing until you stop to consider. How you are changing. 

The past year.5 has been all about growing for me. 
You know the story: graduated college, got a job, moved to Vegas, had various misadventures with various characters in various places, etc etc etc.

Some things are legitimately a big deal (first full time job, baby!)
And others are...not as much (first time fixing the stupid water heater)
But when you let yourself pause for a second to realize that a year.5 ago, there was no way you'd be sometimes-leading/sometimes-dragging a large handful of rambunctious, moody teens into the World of Music or getting much too close to the creepy crawlies of the earth whilst kneeling to check on the pilot light--it's sort of a big deal.

While I am fully aware that not every step I take into the realm of "Adulthood" is actually as earth-shattering as I feel it is and therefore does not require a breaking news-style update.....

Hey, guys?

So, I got into my first accident almost exactly a year ago, sometime in the tricky month of April, 2013. Although the damage eventually turned out to be little more than superficial, my little orange Jack was definitely "used goods."
Even so, imagine my surprise when, 7 months later, I'm sitting on the floor in my grandparents' basement hearing my dad suggest that I buy a new car. 

'What??' I thought. 'Me? Buy a new car? Like a grown-up would? Don't you know I'm only a kid??'
But the more we talked it over, the more persuaded I became
Plus, I mean, who doesn't love car shopping??

So I started perusing. And researching. And picking out colors (the important things, you know).
And then it sort of got put on the back burner.
My car hadn't kicked the bucket yet. I wasn't in desperate need of a new car.
Plus there was no way I was going to hit up a dealership alone. I'm far too chicken and nice to deal with car salespeople. (Nothing against them, but, seriously, ask my parents to tell you about the "Photo of a Horse" incident and you'll see what I mean). I have a hard time saying no.

Fast forward to April 2014. 
After a rough couple of weeks (more about that later), I decided, sort of last minute, to pack up my car and hit the road for a bit of spring break with the fam (also more about that later).

Now, I will admit, as I stood in my room, debating whether I should pack another sweatshirt or not (didn't, poor choice, it was freezing), I glanced at my spare set of keys and checkbook and thought, 'Maybe, just in case, I should take both of these with...'
In the end, I left keys, checkbook, and extra sweatshirt.
(But I took the cannoli!  haha! anyone? ....anyone?)
Thoroughly-ignored premonitions aside, let it be known that I had no serious, rock-solid intention of going back to Idaho to find me a car (Adam Pontipee).

But, gosh darnit, sometimes things just fall into place. 
The Chevy dealer in good ol' B, ID, is owned by a Kim Hansen, whose son just happens to be in my parents' ward. On a sort of Saturday-evening whim, I mentioned aloud to dad whether he thought this kind Brother would let us test-drive some cars sometime the next week.
He did his usual dad response "Hmm, I dunno" (love you dad!) then asked what car I was investigating. 

Sunday: inquiries were made, and answered.
credit scores were checked.
bank accounts were perused. 
BlueBook was consulted. 
A plan was set.

I won't walk you through the many, long details of that Monday, April 14, 2014.
Let it suffice to say this:
I walked onto the Chevy lot Monday morning.
And drove away much later that afternoon in my brand new car. 

Ashen Grey Metallic.
Chevrolet Equinox LTZ. 

Is it wrong to be in love with a car?

Maybe a little, but believe me when I say that this car was pretty much everything I wanted.
There were a few other options on-lot: a black (um. Vegas.) a white or 2 (ehh)
and quite a few pearly golds (who honestly likes that color???)
And then, there, on the baby. 

It was one of the higher-end models, and a liiiiiiittllleee bit more than I had initially planned on spending.
But it was awesome. Just perfect. The right color, the right audio options, the right interior. 
The test-drive sealed the deal. 

Big thanks to L. Hansen (if he ever reads this) for all the help and generosity in making my new-found dream a reality. 

So..there it is. I can officially cross "buy a car" off my Adulthood Bucket List.
(that's not really a thing. .....although, maybe it is now)
And, sure, signing all the papers and setting up a payment plan was a bit nerve-wracking.
And, yeah, my bank account feels a little light right now.
But I really don't regret it. 

When I posted pics on various social media platforms (cuz, obviously, you can't do anything unless it is FACEBOOK-DOCUMENTED), one of the comments that came up the most (besides "Congrats!" or, "sweet ride!") was definitely "You deserve it."

I don't know about that. I have a hard time with that phrase in general, but it feels sort of weird to be told that I've been a good enough human being to warrant a shiny new toy. 

But being a financially stable young adult--with a solid, full-time job, and the ability to make complete car payments--I mean, yeah, I guess that's something worth celebrating :)

Celebration, Chevy-style

Now I just need a good name.....


I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to Idaho's capital. Counting occasions and not separate...