Monday, March 30, 2009

D-lightful Day!

Today was a whopper of a day! Blizzard conditions before school, musical assembly during school, and a concert after school! My D Track kiddos pulled it off, with only THREE real days of practice (they would have practiced 2 more days, but thanks to the snow days we had, THAT wasn't happening!) They really accepted the challenge, and gave two very nice performances. Yeah, D Track!

Here I am after 25 minutes outside in the snow.
I just LOVE crosswalk duty! ARGH!

Here's what the Gym looked like before.
This was the area for Grade 3.

(Note: many fun photos removed from original post...)

Beautiful flowers from the Cody family!

One of the flowers - happy end to a great day!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tune Up

Well, we are on Day 2 of no school - isn't snowy Castle Rock quite the sight!? I did get some time in on the elliptical, which always makes me feel better. Nothing like walking and striding to Bon Jovi to start your morning! I went outside after that to dig out my car - not too bad. Ended up shoveling the sidewalk of our apartment complex, too. I had energy to spare!

I called Chantel, my science colleague at school, and she kindly agreed to swap kids on Monday, allowing me one last day to practice with D Track before their 3:00 pm assembly and 6:30 pm concert. That will give us a moment or two to figure out the last minute details - not ideal, but better than nothing! My younger kids are ready - it's my 5th/6th graders who need the extra practice. They certainly have the will - they just need to have time on the xylophones and autoharps.

Oy! That reminds me - tuning autoharps is one of the most musically painful jobs out there! Each string needs to be to be tuned (between 30 and 40 strings PER instrument!) You have to physically tweak/twist each one until it matches the desired pitch - oh the pain! My ears go beserk after tuning one of them, and I have 7 autoharps to tune for the concert on Monday! The kids do adore strumming them, though, and that makes it all worth it. You should see their glee when I hand out the picks for strumming. Love it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Brake

Oh, I can count the number of people who are going to think I made a spelling error on my blog title today. No worries - it's only a play on words!

This is our new sign at church! My pastor, Ron Glusenkamp, is known for his catchy sign phrases. He's even published a book, "Signs for These Times: Church Signs that Work", that is filled with clever sign ideas. He writes that his book is "about how your church sign can be a 24-hour evangelism tool...present a clear, focused message that enlightens and entertains people who drive and walk by your church."

Snow Day

"Due to expected blizzard conditions starting between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and projected worsening throughout the day, all Douglas County Schools are CLOSED today. All before and after school child care programs are closed and all after school activities are canceled today."

Castle Rock at 9:30 am
(Wondering what all the hoopla was about.)

Castle Rock at 12:00 pm
(Okay, so it MIGHT be snowing now.)

Castle Rock at 5:30 pm
(Ah, there is the snow!)

While today was nice and all, I need there to be school tomorrow. Am I nuts?! No, just preparing for a CONCERT that is on MONDAY! I need to be able to meet with the kids one last time before the poor chaps go on the stage in front of their peers and parents. So, yeah for today's time to read, nap, and just SIT...and it's back to work tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Apple a Day...

...keeps Brenda really, really happy! I came home tonight to a caramel apple in the fridge! The Herrells left me a happy surprise upon returning from their trip to Estes Park! WOOHOO!

On another happy note, the yearbook is complete AND we are finally out of debt! It's been a long time coming, and today we financially came out ahead! Whew!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book of Faith

Yesterday at church, we dedicated 500 new Bibles that were given as memorials in honor and memory of Arnie and Melba, Pearl and Janet. These were four faithful people who died this past year. Their families were willing to direct the memorials so that we might be renewed, a people who are all about Bible Book of Faith.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fingers and Fish

It has been an absolutely lovely weekend. The temperature is currently 71ยบ at 6:00 pm and the sky is true, Colorado blue. Yesterday was a day at the theater, and today was church, followed by an always enjoyable brunch with Marie. We had attended a budget meeting for church, which naturally lead our conversation toward our school situations, also involving budgetary matters. We can't seem to get away from anything budget related - important information, though, and it was nice to be able to converse with someone who is up to speed on the the subject.

I've been working my tail off, putting the finishing touches on the yearbook. There are over 100 additional candid photos in this year's book, so it's taken a bit longer to digitally assemble than usual. The company, however, has been amazing, and their speedy online software has allowed three people to work on the book at once. Nicola and Kelly were my partners in crime this year, and they were awesome!

While all those pictures were uploading this afternoon, I decided my still-living fish deserved a clean bowl. I was completely done with the first bowl, and had just about completed the second, when I scraped my middle finger on some raised bump of glass at the bottom of the bowl. Big ole gash. Lots of blood. For a moment, I wondered if I should be driving myself to Sky Ridge, my friendly local hospital. Thankfully, it finally stopped bleeding, and while I certainly had enough strength left to grab the camera (you can see the vertical slice - it's almost 3/4 of an inch! OUCH!), you could use the gash in my middle finger as a puppet! Ugh!

Here are my happy fish in their clean, glass bowl.
I can't believe the little swimmers are still alive!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Past the Point of No Return

You have brought me to that moment
where words run dry,
to that moment where speech
disappears into silence...

Christine during The Point of No Return

We (the Herrell Family and I) attended "The Phantom of the Opera" today at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It was my 30th birthday present from the fam, and we had a great time! The costumes were intricately detailed and full of color, and the voice of the Phantom (John Cudia) was pure gold. He captured every moment on stage - a first-rate performance!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Friends, My Way

Some people go to priests;
others to poetry; I to my friends.
Virginia Woolf

Ah, the Thought Jar has officially come to an end. I have been pulling a thought each day since January 1st - there were 79 posts in all. Perfect number - my birth year! A ton of fun quotes, deep thoughts, and ironic comments. Thank you, again, Kato!

What I've learned:
  • I learned about a bunch of new people - people I have never heard of, people I had heard of but had forgotten, people I should know more about.
  • I've learned that some individuals really have nothing to say.
  • I've learned that I love blogging daily. It's a release as much as it is routine.
  • I've learned that today's quote will point me to where I want to go with this blog: to my friends. Be it daily or not, I know that the people that surround me will supply this blog with the quips, wisdom, and remarks I seek.
Some of my favorite quotes/posts:
~ ~ ~ • ~ ~ ~ • ~ ~ ~ • ~ ~ ~ • ~ ~ ~ • ~ ~ ~ • ~ ~ ~

And now, the end is here;
And so I face the final jar thought.
My friends, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

I've read a ton of quotes,
I've thought through each and every notion,
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Regrets, I've had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each daily blog,
Each careful step since January,
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I wrote it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Listening for Wisdom

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.
Jimi Hendrix

I'm not sure where the hidden wisdom of the day can be found, but I'm still listening!

8:00 am: Our school staff receives a sad e-mail about a colleague who fell off a horse and is in serious condition at a local hospital. Lots of prayers.

2:15 pm: An over-zealous 6th grader gets a little bit too excited about scoring a base in Musical Baseball, and, while dancing his celebration dance, full-on head butts me. Direct contact between his skull and my left hip. Awesome.

3:00 pm: I accidentally get my pinkie finger stuck inside the mallet holder of the xylophone. Yes, inside. A little pushing, a little pulling, and some water, and the finger popped right out. 10 minutes later, that is.

4:00 pm: Weird, automated reverse-911 call from local authorities to be on the lookout for a missing 5 year old boy in the neighborhood. (Update: Another reverse-911 call at 6:00 pm: Missing child has been found and is safe at home with his family.)

YES, it's been that kind of a day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bon Jovi: I Am

I like to think that the moon is there,
even if I am not looking at it.
Albert Einstein

EXACTLY. I have been in this state of faith for the last week. I heard a Bon Jovi song while walking the other day, and I couldn't help but think of it in broader, more theological terms. The text of the refrain has been running through my head:

I Am.
When you think that no one needs you,
Sees you or believes you,
No one's there to understand,
I Am.
I'll be there to be that someone,
When you think that no one is there to hold your hand,
I Am.

Now, being a music teacher, I easily connect to musical text. Connecting the text of a Bon Jovi song directly to my faith in God, however, was a bit of a stretch, even for me! I've been a fan of Bon Jovi since, well, birth, although I never looked at their songs through a faith filter. Perhaps, in this season of Lent, I'm a bit more reflective. Einstein mentions remembering the moon, even while not looking at it. I'd like to think of today's quote in a bigger sense: remembering God, even though I can't see Him. Physically, that is. I can certainly see His presence in my life. The great I Am is always there, ready to understand, there to hold my hand. How completely comforting!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Get over it

Get mad, then get over it.
Colin Powell

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bet on Patience

In any contest between power
and patience, bet on patience.
W. B. Prescott

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Fresh flowers for a Sunday morning

Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the
truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.
Sid Caesar

Curlicues and light: the beautiful new glass votive I
received from my friend, Pat, as a congratulatory gift
for earning my Master's Degree. The light simply dances!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Change for the Better

Any change, even a change for
the better, is always
by drawbacks and discomforts.

Arnold Bennett

I've been up for 3 hours now, and have heard, read, or come across the word CHANGE close to 20 times! Just what kind of change am I in for today!? Last week was Daylight Savings Time, so it's not that. I've already rotated the tires on my car. Adding more exercise and activity to my life? Check. Tackling and maintaining a daily Bible Study? Check. Might this refer to the insertion of another job (Kagan) in my life, and the time I will need to allow to refine my craft? Perhaps it's a change of health - a shift toward finally feeling better!

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Official!

(click on the words above)

My Inner-Youth

Young people need models, not critics.
John Wooden

While I'm not always sure what kind of role model I am to my kids, I know that I try each and every day to let them know they have someone who won't judge them standing in their corner.

Here's a letter from a former 6th grade student:

Dear Ms. G,

I am writing to you on the account that you have been a major impact on my education. I always feel ready to learn when I walk into your room - yeah right! Your class rocks! You've made old people, that were the composers of their time, sound awesome, and we crack jokes about them. You host the best special because you're the coolest, funniest and most energetic!

I like how you can relate to us by seeing movies like Pirates and you can talk about it. It's a nice way to keep in touch with your inner-youth. You're the funniest, too. I liked when I wore pants that zipped into shorts and you told me "Boy, put your pants on!" Good times, uh?! I can picture you right now, you're saying, "Good Lord!"

With lots of laughs,

Marc A.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

An Uncommon Way

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world. George Washington Carver

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quick Quips

"I've got it Ms. G. - I've completely
remememborized everything you
told me!"
~ Second grade boy, ready to go!

--- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ --- ~ ---

Me: "Any questions about what I just said?"
Elisa: "No problem, Ms. G. I've been doing this for 10 years.
Me: "Elisa, how old are you?"
Elisa: "7."

Conquer Not

I knew we were getting down to the very last thoughts in the bottle, but we're actually down to the last 10! I've been pulling a thought from the thought jar since January 1, 2009, and this morning I just had to know how many were left inside. The sheer routine of posting each day has been therapeutic at times, taxing at others, overall - amusing! Whatever shall I do on day 11? :o) Ideas!?

He who angers you conquers you. Elizabeth Kenny

Ah, learned this one the hard way YEARS ago. Oh wait, I learn this lesson just about every week. I am reminded of this again and again when people at work can't figure out how to get their dishes from the table to the dishwasher. I must strive to understand that there must be an invisible shield, preventing them from bypassing the counter or sink, and allowing them to place their food-filled dishes in the big, water-filled box that cleans things.

OR when my downstairs neighbors play touch-football in their living room. I must not let their shouts, tackles, and full-contact body slams anger me. I should focus on the fact that the more they exercise, the more they will realize their apartment is too small, and that they must move to a larger soon as possible.

OR...okay, enough of this. Anger? Gone. I shall not be conquered.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you,
then they fight you, then you win. Mahatma Gandhi

I win. I'm hoping this post doesn't come off as boastful....just victorious! This is EXACTLY what happened to me during my last year of college. I was in one of my final music education classes, and we went around the table, sharing what we'll be doing next year. After 2 or 3 people shared something about hoping to be working at Borders and have some gigs on weekends in the Twin Cities, it was my turn to share my employment goals.

I informed my class that I'd be teaching elementary school music in a year-round school district in Castle Rock, Colorado.

This seemingly simple statement was the source of instant mockery, probably for the following reasons:
  • Wisconsinites usually don't understand nor believe year-round school districts actually exist, and if they do, it doesn't work
  • most of the people born in WI die in WI, thus Colorado was a foreign land to them
  • elementary school jobs were in high demand, and being hired seemed like a long-shot
  • nobody else at the table had any actual plans made for their first year of employment
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you..." Most of my classmates passed it off as Brenda over-dreaming. One instructor actually laughed, saying I'd never be able to afford the sales tax, it would be too expensive, etc.

"...then they fight you..." Others fought me on the facts surrounding teaching in a year-round school district. Some thought that not having the 3 month summer would be a deal-breaker, and that I'd be back in Wisconsin within the year.

"Then you win." I would like my UWEC classmates to know that I am currently an elementary school music teacher in a year-round school district in Castle Rock, Colorado. I win.

A Blog's Best Bud:

Okay, so I'm always curious as to what brings someone from Mississsippi or Maryland, much less JAPAN or MEXICO, to my little ole blogspot blog. When I checked the little gadget that tracked my readers, I noticed these new visitors had reached my spot from, a site that allows you to browse other people's blogs! It's unreal! As if I didn't already spend ENOUGH time surfing the web, reading blogs, here is a program that does the hunting for me! Every few seconds, it switches to another blog site, giving you a wide array of choices. Thanks for the shout-out,! Sweet!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Don Quixote meets Disney

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
Walt Disney

HA! I read this right after the doctor told me to stay quiet for 48 hours to allow my throat to heal! Brenda. Silent. In the same sentence! Talk about impossible! I returned to the doctor today, not feeling ANY better than last week, and my throat culture was a tad bit scary, and now I'm on some equally as frightening steroids and anti-bacterial meds to get me back in the game. AND silence. So much for teaching this week! UGH!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thankful for Bread

There are people in the word so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. Mahatma Gandhi

This reminds me of our Disciple lesson this past week - we've been discussing the promised land, the exodus, laws of the land. Tons of laws. Weird laws laws and regulations about everything from mildew to not wearing men's clothing (if you're female). A couple of odd ones about no tattoos, not turning to mediums/spiritualists, not eating blood. Good reading, that's for sure.

Anyway....we read about manna appearing to the people of Israel, and that, even after being delivered from slavery, they still were still finding things to complain about. This is where the bread comes into the picture: even when provided for in the desert, they still griped about, oh who knows what, lack of flavor? Variety? Unreal.

Then again, I've never been a slave. Never followed someone through the desert. Never actually eaten manna with thousands of people. Regardless, it was a reminder to me to be aware that God appears in my life in very odd, very unique ways, and that I need to be aware at all times. And thankful. Definitely thankful. Even for bread.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Well Done

Well done is better than well said.
Benjamin Franklin

Walking your talk is so much more important to me than talking your talk. I need to SEE what you believe, WATCH what you mean. With that being said, I'm off to get things done!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Creation of Thought

Concentration is the ability to
think about absolutely nothing
when it is absolutely necessary.
Ray Knight

I tried my very best to concentrate on absolutely nothing all night. Well, that's not entirely true - I did concentrate on the music I was listening to. I attended the Cherry Creek Chorale's concert of "The Creation" by Haydn. Loved it. Such high-quality music, right in my own back yard (Bethany). Orchestra was spot-on (amazing bassoonist and timpani player), the Chorale was energetic, and the soprano soloist (from Regis!) was amazingly clear in tone. I tried my best to think about absolutely nothing while enjoying this concert, as my week was full of enough details. Tonight was a gift for me!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Natural Conclusions

Too many pieces of music finish
too long after the end.
Igor Stravinsky

HA! One of my second graders said nearly the same thing yesterday! We were listening to a Minuet by G. F. Handel, and the form was A section, Be section, A section, B section, A section get the point. Well, my kiddos did too, and one little guy said that we should have ended it after we heard the A and B section 4 times - "we get it, Ms. G, it ended two sections ago!" As if I was playing it longer just to belabor a point! HA!

The bigger point was that the kids are beginning to feel as though they know when a piece should naturally conclude - that's something I can't explicitly teach them. Feeling when a piece of music concludes can only come with experience, listening skills, and a little dose of common sense. I couldn't believe I was having this kind of conversation with 7 year olds! Hooray!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Measuring Up

A pint of sweat saves a gallon of blood.
General George S. Patton

Ah, Wednesdays. A full day, by any measure. Here's hoping the funk I was clearly in yesterday has cleared, and that I can enjoy this middle day of the week. Meeting, teaching, piano lesson, food-prep, Bible Study. Pretty sure I'll go through more than a pint (of sweat, thank you!) today!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don't move. Satchel Paige (American baseball pitcher)

I'd suggest ducking. The balls are going to be thrown. RARR.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mutual Understanding

The fact that no one understands you
doesn't make you an artist.

So much for my artistic flair! This brings me back to the chapter I was assigned when we were opening Flagstone. Each member of the Planning Team was assigned a chapter from Stephen Covey's Book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", and my chapter was habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding. I am reminded of this chapter whenever I need to deal with someone new, someone I don't initially understand, or when I'm misunderstood myself. There is always more to the story, more that might help me better understand the other person. I couldn't have been assigned a better life lesson!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Without further delay...

While we are postponing, life speeds by. Seneca (4 BC – AD 65) Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, humorist, tutor, and advisor.

Yet another gentle reminder to GET GOING. I have a few things to complete before the weekend is over, most importantly, GRADES. (Didn't I just post about this!?) Nothing like clicking on six different things per child (over 200 kiddos), and then waiting while the computer decides to slowly save. Ah, patience.

I'm going to the later church service today, and then meeting up with the 20s/30s crowd to go to Le Peep for Le Lunch. I'll hopefully finish those grades inbetween that and dinner with Ann and Susan. See, I'm not really postponing things...just doing them later!

Oh, and Happy March! Can't tell you how glad I am for this particular February to be behind me. I'm hoping...praying...March is a calmer, less stressful month.