Sunday, January 24, 2010

"And What Does the New Year Bring, PonchoMeg, My Modern Bohemian Friend?"

I say, "It Brings a New Life.  I am Reborn Daily So That I May Always Learn Everything All Over Again...and Change the World."

What a life I lead.  I never quite know what to expect of others, myself, or I suppose, life in general... but I think that might be a good thing.  I mean, they say to "expect the unexpected," because it helps you to prepare for the un-prepare-able, maintain flexibility and spontaneity, and "go with the flow..." so, I mean... it can't be all bad to be a little surprised from day to day.

I feel like this whole month has been full of unexpected events and happenings though, which is getting me pretty excited about this year.  Is this the year that I will look back to when I am older and go "Yeah... that's when it all REALLY got started!"?  Maybe...

Let's go back.  What has happened?

Well, New Year's Eve is a part of all this too, I mean.... come on.  But anyway, our New Year's Eve celebrations as a house started at the house, spinning records, jamming out, hanging out, whatever.  Then, we headed out to see Cloud Magic and Project Object.  What a sweet show!  We didn't stay the whole time, but we stayed for awhile.  Then... back at the house... we had more music, more fun, a lot of picture taking, and we even gave someone an impromptu haircut! When the ball dropped there was kissing, hugging, cheering, and laughing all around and much merriment.  Since then, I have felt changed like this was (not to quote High School Musical or anything) the start of something new.

I went back to work after Winter Break and apparently I have some kind of rekindled creativity that I haven't really felt for almost 3 years.  I am writing all new activities and lessons, I am incorporating so many new things into pre-existing lesson ideas, I am planning more concerts than required, AND I am working on Music in Our Schools Month and Reading Month activities in March.  

The biggest education related creativity burst came when I decided to write an activity about making the right choices and learning about positive and negative consequences for Wacky Wednesday. (Wacky Wednesday is when all the grade levels come in as a grade level and do team building and character building activities.  It is run by me, the art teacher, the computer teacher, and the gym teacher.)

The activity was a bit like a choose your own adventure book, which I loved as a kid, and still love now (especially the Vampire Express one).  The story was that the kids were a part of a tribe, and they had to get 4 things for their tribe: Food and Water, Shelter, Transportation, and Entertainment.  To get these things, the students had to make choices.  I had "bad" choices such as: to get food and water...steal it from a neighboring tribe. The consequence for this: they had to sit in silence for two whole minutes and come up with better solutions for getting food and water.  I had "pretty good" choices such as: to get food and water, send everyone in the village out to get it.  If they chose that one, they had to run four laps around the gym to get home because they remembered they left the gate open, and with no one left behind to guard the village, an open gate could mean theft, destruction, sabotage, and other acts by other tribes.  AND I had the "best" choices, such as: sending some people of the village to gather food and water and leaving the rest behind to watch and protect the village.  If they did this, they got large amounts of food and water (pretend) and got to celebrate with a dance party for a few minutes (real).  It was a great activity.  Some of the other things that could happen throughout included:

*As a smaller team, creating a shelter out of a chair, a crate, a hula hoop, two fun noodles and a blanket
*Having two people team up and learn how to use each other as a wheelbarrow
*"Wagon" races.  The concept:: the animals that pull the wagon can't pull so people have to instead.  So I had 3 kids on each team- one to be in the box and two to pull.  The boxes are each set on a blanket which is held onto by the rider and used to pull the box by the pullers.  It is really fun.
*Learning a new game, song, or dance.  Such as "Bluebird, Bluebird,"  "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and/or "The Chicken Dance."
*And lots more

Alright, enough about that.  Though I will say I am glad my creativity is sending out magical sparks at work and at home.

I actually started writing a song.  I haven't written a new song in ages.  I've jammed, but I haven't just sat down at the piano to write in a long time.  Until a few weeks ago, when I scribbled words on an envelope (the only seemingly available paper at the time) with such fervor (yes fervor) that I had a verse and a chorus in under 10 minutes.  Being able to read these scribblings NOW is a little difficult, as the pen was running out of ink.  But you know, I was so determined to get my words on paper that as the pen ran out of ink, I simply pressed harder and carved my words into the envelope. haha

Some of those words are:

"I... never thought that I...
would change completely overnight and drift away...
Oh I... didn't realize...
that to change my life and all my ways,
I'd thrive and live the best of my days!

How could I know?
How can you know?
An unknown dream I was imagining...
How could I know?
How can one know?
But now I'm waking up and living in this dream... I... know!"

Writing this song inspired me and so I have decided to start working with my friend Jeff again on some music stuffs.  The thing about Jeff is that he seems so easy to work with, he is inspiring and motivating because he seems to really believe in my abilities, and of course he is a skilled musician himself as well.  We also seem to kind of feel a lot of similar feelings when it comes to music, and we basically want to spread love and give people an experience that they can truly be a part of, fall in love with, and remember.  So we will see where that goes.

In other news, we have spent a lot of time hanging out with friends at "The House."  Mainly, we are trying to convince people to live with us as J. no longer lives here. (She moved out in December...) :(
Mostly we are working on a new J. This J. is a male, and he is way cool.  He plays in like 30 bands (just kidding... kind of) and he is a very creative, chill, amazing kind of guy.  I want him to move in because he fits in with all of us so well (and he's not bad for eye candy either! haha)

This past weekend I wasn't around "The House" as much, but that is because I went to Grand Rapids, MI for the Michigan Music Conference.  I also stayed with my friend Kelsey, met up with Jeff and lots of Kelsey's theatre friends, and did some karaoke.  So, I had a little 2 day-vacay!  Yay!

What else happened this month?  Well, my mom's birthday was on the 11th.  It was an extra awesome birthday celebration because we went to see "Avatar."  Between watching "Avatar" the first time and the second time, I saw a lot of behind the scenes info. as to just how much went into creating the characters, so when I saw it again, I had an even deeper appreciation for Zoe Saldana and the other great actors who played Na'vi or Avatars.  Plus it makes me feel changed and new each time I see it.

This new year MUST be full of changes, (not so much in my world happenings; though there will probably be changes there too) but mostly they will be changes in me.  Inside of my heart, soul, mind, and spirit... I can feel it.

And I am sure I will be writing about... so stay in touch.

Peace and Love,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti Disaster Relief - How Can We Help?

My heart just hurts so much knowing that there are so many people who have been seriously hurt or killed due to the devastating events in Haiti.  If you are wondering how to help, here are some ways:
1. Donate blood.
2. Start a drive for food and supplies
3. Donate time to special organizations or church groups who are supporting the relief efforts
4. Check out this article from The New York Times News Blog on how to contribute.
5. Keep donating time, money, and/or supplies to your regular charities.  We don't want them to suffer because we all turn our eyes elsewhere, and who knows when tragedy will strike again, or where.
6. If you are a spiritual person: Pray.  The power of prayer is strong.

I hope this helps.  Please, if you can, help our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
Peace and Love,