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13 Apr
I find myself thinking about home.  Where is home? What makes a home?  Defining home. I have decided the old cliche is true.  Home is indeed where your heart is.
Last night we went to a tiny UCC church for a concert for the annual Lakeland College Choir tour, which now includes the band.   And it was like being home again. Seeing all of the kids (and WOW do they look young…maybe I am just old) running around before the concert.  A couple playing on the piano before the concert.  We have all been there.  Four years of choir tours. Blizzards, bad lasagna, making the Mitchell Park Domes come alive with sound with an impromptu concert, crossing the border before passports were needed,building lifelong friendships, staying up so late watching the sunrise just to sing early in the morning and of course – choir tour romances.
Ahhh, I had one of those.  A choir tour romance.  It seems there was one every year.

Mine was with a quiet guy.  Butterfly city – I never got butterflies.  I had tried to start something with him earlier in the fall, but he had his eyes set on another girl.  One we’ll call “Fish Head” (story for another day). So he blew me off.  Then on this choir tour, it seemed like every time we got on the bus, the only seat open for me was next to him.  Now, I was not looking for romance.  I had just started seeing a guy back on campus.  By seeing, I mean watching hockey in his room.  It was a young relationship, if you could call it that after a week or so.  On tour, I just kept getting “stuck” with this Mr. Nice Guy.  
We started hanging out.  Everyone started to notice.  My own friends warned me that this guy was nice, too nice for me.  I wasn’t ready to settle down, they all told me.  I believe there was a “wild mustang” metaphor thrown in there.  So, I tried to cool things off with Mr. Nice Guy, but somehow we kept getting put together.
Ahh, the memories. I’ll have to dig out the pictures and scan them.  It was long before digital cameras.
Anyway, last night the conductor – a woman who has influenced my life in more ways that she will ever know – dedicated one of my favorite pieces to us, my hubby and me.  It was Biebel’s Ave Maria.  Probably my favorite piece of my college career, maybe top 5 ever.  This piece was even more near and dear to my heart, under the baton of this same conductor.  Against better judgement,she lead a men’s choir of our most amazing friends performing this very piece  at my wedding.  (I’ll have to get it converted to DVD so I can share it!) When she made the dedication to us and shared with the audience that it was from our wedding, it brought tears to my eyes.  I never cry in public.  It was a bit different coming from a mixed choir and of course our guys rocked it even more amazingly.  We were the best, of course!  😀  But, it moved me more than I expected.  

Biebl’s Ave Maria – Miami University Men’s Glee Club


I think it was everything last night –  nostalgia, homesickness where we are now and knowing that what we were witnessing was a reminder of where my family got its start.  This choir tour reminded me of our most simplest of beginnings – a choir tour romance that would be over as soon as we got back to campus. However, what no one saw coming is that I might actually marry Mr. Nice Guy,but I did.  My firefighter and I got our start just like these kids. Singing in small churches for our supper. 

Lakeland College 1862 ~ 2012If you are around, there are two more performances –
  • April 13 – First Congregational United Church of Christ, 724 E. South River St., Appleton, 7 p.m.
  • April 14 – Union Congregational UCC, 716 S. Madison St., Green Bay, 3 p.m.
There is also a Homecoming concert on Campus at 3 pm. You will not be disappointed.
To the Muskies reading this, we are heading to the Sesquicentennial reunion this summer, let me know if you are.  After the concert last night, I can hardly wait! 

Home Again

13 Apr

It was a cold rainy Saturday night…

27 Sep

and my FF and I headed out of the house.  Heels and a dress, pearls.  J’s sister watching the kids until bedtime when our oldest feels confident to take over.  Where are we off to?  Dinner, dancing, the theatre?  Nope, a Homecoming dance.  My kids BEGGED and BEGGED me to chaperone and I gave in.  J usually joins me and tonight was no different.  We make our way to the school and into the gym.  The Senior Class president yells from the balcony, “Hey, H______!!!  How do you like my sad little balloon arches!”  and laughs.  They would not stay up.  We admired the pictures from the last 50+ years that the kids had blown up and put all over.  Laughed at the gaggle o’ nuns from the 50s, fully habited in the stands for a basketball game.  Chatted with the other staff members.  It started out very well.

The kids came in, stopped at the photo booths for goofy pictures, came screeching to show me they dresses, the guys game to strut.  So funny.  About 8:30pm, I looked at my husband and fussed about how slow the night was going.  Oh my goodness, I know better than to say that.  I am a FF Wife for crying out loud.  I chided my hubby the night before when told how slow it had been all day.  Sure enough, as soon as he hung with me it was run after run after run.  Why would I actually say something like that out loud?? Me and my big mouth!

Fifteen minutes later, one of my kids pulled me aside.  “H, you need to do something about Suzy, she is REALLY drunk!” And so it began.  Now, mind you, I was not in charge. Our admin left, the student council advisers were at a loss as to what to do. I am junior class adviser, I am in charge of prom, not homecoming. <sigh>  This always happens.  One of the deputies that I was working with looked at me and said, “You may not want to be in charge, but I think you are anyway.”  Yes, yes I was. <sigh> I ended up pulling out 18 kids.  I tested every kids whose name was brought to me.  There were no favorites.  8 blew positive. It changed the whole mood of the dance.  We lost our star QB a week ago for something similar, now my kids were upset that two more of our boys were gone.  There were tears and pleads.  Phone calls were made.  Let me tell you, 11 o’clock came really fast after that!  May I just say that the off-duty sheriff deputies that acted as our security were WONDERFUL!  They came with me when I spoke to parents.  I am used to the “Not my baby” reaction and was a bit nervous since I had not come to the dance with the mindset of being and admin.

I found Sunday that I missed one.  And it was obvious, I should have thought to test the one I missed, a date should have popped into my head to check.  I am a bit disappointed that I did not think of it.  I know I think fast on my feet, but that was an obvious blunder.  A phone call was made home and at least she got home.

I did not sleep well Saturday night because all I could think about was who I missed.  It was dark, it was rainy.  What if that text came in that they HAD to check and when the looked up, there was that car, that pole, that tree?  What if?  Sunday morning, there was a news report of a teen involved in a high speed chase not far from us.  My heart stopped, my stomach sank and the what ifs came back.  Later in the morning, more details came out, it was a stolen car from another area.  But the “what ifs” still hovered.

Yesterday was an interesting day, full of private conversations in my classroom, tears, rumors and some guilt. Surprisingly, no backlash or blame.  I was fully prepared for that. I was fully prepared for anger, how could yous, you ruined my life.  Mind you, my kids are not back from their suspensions.  I would SO much rather have them be pissed off at me as opposed to helping plan for grief counseling and a memorial service at the school.   I am so okay with them being angry at me. There are now plans for a mock accident, they want to make it real.  Many of my kids have ties with the FD down here, I think we can get some cars donated, that already wrecked.  The kids are taking the lead.  They see a need and they are working to fill it.  How great is that.

Parents, please remind your teens not to drink and drive.  The weather and roads were horrible, I can only imagine what might have been.  Have the conversations, no matter how awkward.  It is our job as parents.

Sorry to be grumpy

23 Sep

I really dislike Homecoming.  We never had it in high school.  We didn’t have a football team.  When I went back to my high school they created a “Spirit Week” to fill the void, but so not the same.  When I came to teach at a high school with a football team and with a homecoming week, I was almost giddy.  Last year I was deprived of the pleasure. I had to help the 6-8 (we are a PreK-12 school) with their middle school olympics.  I was grumpy.  I wanted to participate.  I wanted to play tug-o-war and be at the powderpuff game.  I sulked.  But, I will admit I had SO much fun with the olympics, especially since my team of 8th graders were as cut-throat competitive and WE WON.  That breakfast was delicious! Mmm Mmm good!

This year, I am with the high school kids and I am MISERABLE!  Even though I taught HS last year, this year I feel as though I am really pulling teeth.  The activities have been a zoo.  My juniors have a quiz today and they BEGGGGGGGGEDDD me to let them come in early and take it.  They wandered in anywhere from 10-30 minutes after we agreed on a time.  (which is really frustrating since it is a BLUE shift and I have to get everyone up, moving and out the door by myself.)  Unfortunately, I have to get my kids to the lower campus.  Sorry.  Now you’ll have to make it up on your time.  Hate to be that teacher, I can’t always be the one everyone loves.  Ah well.  Somehow I will find a way to go on.

So, now the principal is babysitting my study hall so I can fly home over study hall and my lunch hour and let the pups out.  6am-10pm is absolutely inhumane.  Thank the Lord, I have a wonderful administrator.  I have to pick up the 2 little muppets from their picnic at 1:30pm, meet the girl whose dad is storing the float.  Have her follow me to drop off my car at the football field.  Go pick up the juniors’ float that I am somehow driving.  Get it ready for the parade with my muppets in the car with me.  Do the parade, do the tailgate, do the game, get home, let the pups out again, put my exhausted muppets to bed and somehow find a way to unwind.  Just in time to get ready to do it over again tomorrow.  I mean what is homecoming without a dance?  And what is a dance without everyone’s favorite chaperone?

A Wife on a Mission

23 Sep

I was sent on a mission.  We live in a city famous for its kringle.  My FF’s last shift for a few months is tomorrow.  After that, we are on a 9-5 schedule, which my fire wife friends have told me I will hate after the first week.  Aside from that I was sent for treats for the firehouse simple mission – Kringle for the AM and pies for after dinner.  How hard can it be?  I got pies in no time flat.  Kringle was another story.  Every one I picked up was a NUT Kringle  – Almond, Walnut, Pecan.  No fruit, no chocolate.  I was afraid I was going to come home a failure.  It has been a crazy week  – teaching through an afro and beard, tug-o-wars, powder puff football, boys who have no idea how to play volleyball, float building – just a LOONEY week.  I couldn’t come home a failure.  I found some strip kringles, never knew they existed, in other flavors and snatched them up.  I grabbed the few other things I went for and headed home.

I got home, my FF hubby shook his head and said, “Ehh, I didn’t care what kind you got.”  Why was I worried again?

So, tomorrow, King and Queen are announced.  Papa takes the toddler.  The other 3 muppets and drive the Juniors “Peace, Love and Rock n Roll” float.  A tailgate party, a football game and a dance the next night.  Sunday to rest?  HA – not even close.

Happy Homecoming!

Wordless Wednesday

21 Sep

Because there really are no words for this…gotta love Homecoming.