I’m sure what you meant to say in that email critiquing my repertoire choices was thank you…

Dear sisters,

Today, my music teacher colleague and I ran six back-to-back rehearsals with about 50 kids in each group. We listened to fifth-grade narrators practice over recess. We inhaled our lunches to the sound of Feliz Navidad on xylophones. Then, we ran an all-school rehearsal for over 300 young musicians.

That’s crazy, right? Is this really what I signed up for?

Tomorrow, we’ll unload five bass xylophones over at the middle school auditorium, make sure the stage is set, and wait for the school buses to arrive carrying those 300+ musicians. They’ll pour out into the auditorium as it simultaneously fills with hundreds of parents, eager to catch a glimpse of their little snowflake, who’s all dolled up in their “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes.

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This colleague and I, we already did this once. Last week. Same story, different students. That’s crazy, too, right?

The other 170-odd days of the school year, I am alone in my little classroom on the prairie. The principal crosses my threshold once in a great while, and parents far less frequently. Teachers rarely have more than a minute to spend in my music room, because, as we all well know, those copies aren’t going to make themselves.

How do I reconcile these two sides of what I do? Nearly 200 days of music-making, unseen by outside eyes, just me and my students and my little classroom… and this one day of enormous production, preparation, stress. The learning really lives in the hidden days, but my reputation as a music teacher waits for me on that stage.

The show must go on,

Abby

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sunday afternoon

Sunday afternoon.

We meet again.

You always fill me with unspeakable dread. This week more so than usual.

A big event at school that feels scary – I’m afraid of failure, of embarrassment.

And politics… Oh, politics. The state government is trying to pass so many awful pieces of legislation that time prohibits my naming them all.

Last week I was angry. Upset. Fired up. But that was when there was only one issue to fight for. Now there are

SO.

MANY.

If I called my legislators for each issue individually, I would not have time to go to work. And, well, that’s not an option, particularly given the aforementioned anxiety about school.

I love Jess’s description of the end of the semester. I know the point she’s talking about – where you abandon everything and cling to the shimmering Christmas tree, the promise of joyful time with family, and the hope of a fresh start in the new year. Another week, and I’ll be there, too.

At least, I hope so.

It is hard to have hope for the new year in our current political state. It seems that the country has collectively lost its mind, and our state is doing no better. I’m sure I’m driving all of Facebook crazy, in particular any political conservatives. (Who haven’t unfriended me yet…. Ha.) But how can I stay silent in the face of what’s happening? I want to run out right now and yell, to anyone who will listen, “WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. THE. WORLD?!?!”

There is a beautiful dusting of snow falling. It brings back memories of childhood Christmases, candlelight services at RRC, everything tinged with the special fuzzy camera lens (a la South Pacific) of nostalgia. It is trying to trick my brain into believing that everything is fine, that I can sit back, relax, trust…

But I can’t.

I just can’t.

The snow is only an illusion. These are not the shimmery flakes of beautiful memories. These are the cold, hard ice crystals of Narnia’s Wicked Witch.

Our world is frozen by our own hatred and ignorance.

We need Aslan.

I need Aslan.

courage2

Decemberween already?

Hello friends! Remember how we have this blog and also sometimes I write things? I’m following two inspirations today: 

  1. Sara did a blog post earlier this week or month (what even are units of time? let’s say semester. that’s the only time unit that means anything to me right now) with a time limit – 18 minutes of writing. This seems like a good idea! Attainable goals! Boundaries! 
  2. My friend Kiri and I did some habit-forming brainstorming earlier this semester (okay, it was probably September) and suggested that writing a blog post could be paired with a treat-yo-self trip to Goldenrod Pastries. So, I’m at Goldenrod currently, with a slice of pumpkin layer cake topped with sprinkles by my side.

 

I’m at Goldenrod, enjoying a slice of pumpkin cake with sprinkles on top, and it is snowing. It is really truly snowing for the first time this season. I think we had a few half-hearted super frozen flakes earlier this week, but today it’s the big wet fluffy stuff. In fact, it’s the big wet fluffy snow alternating with just honest-to-goodness rain. Is there anywhere nicer than a bakery to sit and watch the snow? Big windows frame the snowflakes falling on cars, bustling through the neighborhood; the pastry case full of colorful cupcakes and macarons and cakes and breads. Well, I could imagine it being nicer – I could be here without my grungy lump of a backpack and without the ever-lingering specter of work to do, projects to complete, papers to grade. Instead, I’ve set a timer for my writing and my next stop is the coffeeshop next door and the ambitious goal of finalizing the papers I’m editing.

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This is my Christmas tree. It’s the best.

I’ve been in school for a long time now; this is my ninth semester of grad school. That means we’re heading into finals week number nine at Nebraska – and this should be old hat by now. Truthfully, it kind of is. There’s something comforting about the letting go (is it giving up?) that can happen at the end of the semester. Now is the time to go into survival mode – get way too excited about Christmas trees and pumpkin cake and procrastinatory binge-watching of Netflix – turn on the focus mode that only happens with very tangible deadlines like the end of the term – let go of the big-picture questions and fears about what I should be doing or how I should be handling things or what I wish I was capable of – get through the end by dreaming about what could be the next time around.

Here’s to annoyingly persistent optimism and the sweetness at the bitter end – Happy December, sisters!