Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My "Moment of Zen"

Jason has really wanted to go fishing at this state park nearby and I finally agreed to go tonight. It had been raining so everything was damp and humid. It was beautiful. The river's water was so dark that you couldn't see a thing. They say it is the color of "cola". But it was thick and smooth and looked just like a mirror. I saw lots of wildlife, but enjoyed this moment in particular:

As I was waiting for Jason, I was sitting close to a pine tree. I kept hearing something dropping from the tree and looked up. Some white things were falling from about 20 feet over head. Just as I got up to inspect what they were, a pinecone came tumbling towards me. It was not just any pinecone, it was naked, it had been gnawed down to its core. There was a white squirrel that was eating the pinecone bit by bit. With each bite a piece of the cone was discarded until there was nothing left and the squirrel dropped the entire thing. Kinda like the way we eat corn on the cob. He must've had 2 or 3 while I was standing there! He was a hungry little guy.

Also, as I was watching the squirrel, I turned and saw a deer grazing. I guess she thought that we weren't threatening, because she watched us a bit before she continued to eat the grass. I feel very fortunate to have a place like this close by. The evening was very relaxing...except for the pine cone that almost hit my head.

Pinecone Before...Pinecone After
Here's a picture of the little critter.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Back to School (Jason)...

It's been five years since I last attended class. After such a long time off, I feel like it's the first day of kindergarten. I'm so excited but really nervous too: Can I keep up the 3-books-a-week pace? Am I going to be as smart as everyone else? Can I really subsist on grilled cheese sandwiches for the next 5-6 years? Will I ever get a real job?

I guess I just have to say I'm very glad that to have an extremely understanding and patient wife. Heck, this would all be near impossible without her!!!

So my schedule is as follows: I'll be T.A.-ing for both a World Music Cultures class and a Popular Music in America class (which meets three days a week at 8 a.m...crap). I'll mainly just be grading, but with nearly 300 students in the two classes combined, it's going to be a load of work. As far as my classes, I'm taking World Music Seminar, Introduction to Ethnomusicology, and African Soundscapes--pretty cool stuff! I'll also be playing in the Balinese Gamelan Ensemble.

We had a department meeting last Thursday where they gave us the typical "this is really hard and you won't make any money so if you can think of anything else you'd rather do, you should do it!" speech. I always think this is a really dumb speech, because--honestly--I'd rather be the starting power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that's really hard too. And seriously, what do expect me to do: "yeah, you're right, grad school is kinda hard, so even though I've already moved out here to Nowhere, Florida (which Tallahassee basically is), registered for all my classes, and paid my tuition, I think I'll just pack up, move back to Fort Worth and work at Blockbuster for the rest of my life."

We were also told that we already need to be thinking about our thesis (umm, okay, I haven't even taken a class yet) so that we can start gearing our coursework towards our area of research. That sorta took me by surprise. I mean I have a vague idea of what I want to focus on--something to do with Africa and music and spirituality (I think)--but I was hoping to take a few classes in various areas first and see what interests me. Anyway, after thinking about it for a few days, I'm thinking about studying the effects of the American missionary movement on indigenous music and how new churches in various cultures have or have not adapted Western hymnody in ways which stylistically integrate their own music (see, I'm already talking like a grad student, heehee). I think it would be interesting to get into both the pros and and the cons of the issue as well. It's easy for some of us more left-leaning types to get all high and mighty when we see cultures replacing their own traditions with Western religious practices, but you have to realize that there are also great positives to the spread of Christianity, and I mean on a very tangible sociological level (as opposed to evangelical notions of eternal salvation). For example, in Africa, the tribes that aren't at war with each other are often the tribes that go to church together. Of course, that gets away from just the musical aspect of the issue, but that's a big part of what this whole field is about: studying larger cultural and social issues through music.

Anyway, it's a complex issue, and it should provoke a lot of debate. We'll see how the profs like it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

For Natalie:

Here are things we found right outside our house.

Is it a stick or a bug? Posted by Picasa

Attack of the Walking Stick!!! Posted by Picasa

"Can't catch me!" Posted by Picasa

There are huge butterflies everywhere Posted by Picasa

Growing wild outside our garage Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Cape San Blas Posted by Picasa

Trying to show how clear the water is. Posted by Picasa

Isn't he adorable? Posted by Picasa

I'm having fun!! Posted by Picasa

Toucan's Posted by Picasa

Sunset Friday Posted by Picasa

Fun in the Sun

Jason and I took a road trip this weekend. We decided to leave Friday night and drove to Mexico Beach, FL. Got a small cheap hotel and then went out for drinks. The place we went to, Toucan's, was so much fun. It was the perfect kitschy beach restaurant: right on the beach, open air seating, sand volleyball, playground for kids, bar on an upstairs deck, and live music. We recommend it to anyone who just might happen to be driving along highway 98. The next day we got up and went to Cape San Blas, a beach close by. The beach was really pretty. White sand and very clean. Saw some fish and the shadows of stingrays. Jason was mad he forgot his snorkel and mask; he could have seen a lot more. The whole trip was so much fun that we've decided we need to have a savings fund set aside for more little "vacations" like it.

Friday, August 12, 2005

My First Week

I finished my first week with kids. I haven't seen them for therapy, yet. I have gone into the classrooms to meet them and help out. They are so cute! I know already that I made the right choice in working at this school. The children are at the age that they love just about anything you do. All you have to do is look at them with a silly grin and they are intrigued and want to tell you what their cat ate this morning or that they know how to open their milk. I have a feeling that they will wear me out, but in the best playing hard. Yeah, yeah, we will do some work, too.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My Room

This picture is mostly for mom, as she is the one who bought the posters for me. They make such a difference next to that dark wood paneling. I know it will help the kids feel more excited about coming to my room. The far corner is my little library and the table is where I will do therapy...well maybe the floor in front of the table...(I am working with 3 and 4 year olds).

Welcome to Speech! Posted by Picasa