Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dog Talk

We include the Puppinator in a lot of our conversations - as if he could take our side, commiserate, support, et. al. Sometimes we even speak on his behalf - guaranteeing he has a part in the conversation. But some of those canine chats are topics for another entry. This morning, he fulfilled his 3rd-wheel-of-support role. I commented to the Frau, "We should invite the girls [our neighbors] over to watch the game on Saturday." To which the Frau responded, "What game?" "What game?!" I exclaimed, "Hello? The Mizzou/OU Big 12 Championship game?!!" To which she nonchalantly said, "Oh . . ." A little while later, the game was mentioned on the morning news, and I looked at the dog and said, "'What game?' she says. Can you believe that? She's just not a big sports person." To which the Frau turned to the dog and said, "I never have been." A pregnant pause. "But I'm still just as gay as she is!" He just rolled his eyes, tuning us both out. Smart dog.
Tiger Proud

This is an especially good week to claim my roots as a Mizzou Tiger. The football Tigers are currently #1 in the nation - for the first time since 1960 (coincidentally, the year of my birth), and the recent Mizzou alumni magazine featured an article on New Yorker cartoonist (and alum), Michael Shaw. Two of Shaw's cartoons - which are now #1 in my national ranking of cartoons are shown below.

Monday, November 19, 2007

On Growing Older . . . and Growing Up

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take some of my students to visit my college alma mater on a field trip. It wasn't the first time I've done this, and I always look forward to the trip. Funny enough, this "Music Day" event that the college hosts each year is always very near to my birthday - so my reflections on my student past always coincide with my annual musings on aging. For some reason, they seemed a bit more profound in their collision course this year - I'm not sure why. I can only surmise that as I'm growing older, I'm also growing up.

I'm sure I'm not the first student who dreamed of returning to the hallowed halls of ye old alma mater to teach. As I grew older, I would addend that desire - at least publicly - to say "or some place like it." Privately, I continued to hold to the original plan. At my core, I think I believed that my "journey" would not be complete until I found my way back "home" to teach. I even told myself over the past couple of years that it is no longer the same place - still a very good place - and, yet, not the place I dreamed of returning.

This last visit, though, served as a catalyst of sorts to shake up my thinking. And in a good and resolutely satisfying way, I might add. I followed my students around to various classrooms where I had spent countless hours as a student. They were seeing what the future might hold for them as a music major or minor. I was getting lost in echoes of memories in each room - a Saturday morning practice session with my chamber trio, the excitement of introduction to music literature as a freshman (yes! it was exciting!), Beethoven's Ninth and performances by Marilyn Horne and Janos Starker and countless others in the "chapel." I would wander in and out of these memories, as the current staff was telling prospective students about all that the college had to offer them. And that's when it clicked.

For years, as I tried to create my own little master plan, I was wallowing in those memories and making plans to go BACK - back to the past. There was nothing forward thinking about it. This particular day, I found myself getting caught up in the present and FUTURE of the school. It was a place that I would be excited to attend TODAY as a student. But not because it was the same - but because it had continued to GROW and look ahead. The college is still rooted in a strong heritage - some of which includes my very fond memories - but it hasn't gotten stuck there. It has continued to be a dynamic, growing entity.

The college has grown up, and I think maybe, so have I. Turning 47 (which in my mind is "almost 50") seems a good age to start feeling more like an adult. I'd be lying if I said I had no desire to teach there anymore. I don't think it will ever happen, and I'm really quite comfortable in that knowledge, and I'd certainly explore the opportunity if it should present itself. What I know, though, is that now I would want to teach there because of who the school has and will continue to become, not merely because of who it used to be. That bit of clarity leaves me content to be a proud alumnus of the school, a better potential teacher, and an adult who has found contentment in the life she has been given as opposed to the life she planned.

"Cardinal is her color . . . "

My Tree - My House

Do I really need to say more? Is this not one of the best representations of fall you have ever seen?

It's leafless now. But for a few days, for those who were taking note, it was beautiful - inside and out.

Blog Bloat

I'm feeling a bit like I used to in college in those classes where I was supposed to maintain a "journal" of sorts. Invariably, I would go through spells where I would mentally compose all sorts of brilliant observations - which never made it to paper. Then, the night before the journal was to be submitted, I'd be sitting in Perkins with a pot of coffee, trying to "recollect" all those insightful comments. Of course, I'd do my best to make them sound as if they had been written over the designated period of time, and not crafted at one highly caffienated sitting. Cyber-journaling doesn't allow that. Thanks to tattle-tale technology, if I manage to write several entries this afternoon, it will be abundantly clear that they were all written on the same date.

Get over it! And be glad I'm back-on-blog for the moment.