Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Dale has been retired six years. But he quit drinking 25 years ago, and quit smoking cigarettes in the early 70s. Illicit drugs? Try over 100 years ago.

For fun, Dale climbs trees.

"The hardest tree to climb is a Spruce. You have to climb on the outside of the tree, because it's so prickly."

"My favorite trees to climb [pause] are the Sugar Maple and Burr Oak. There are a bunch of Burr Oak trees in this area."

I had to ask Dale how to spell Burr Oak, because I thought he was going on about Baroque trees; my fumble didn't even elicit a smile.


1) Burr [more commonly spelled Bur] Oak trees are some of the most massive and slow growing of the Oak trees, and can live for huuunnndreds of years. They grow solo, hans solo, away from forrest canopy. The tree pictured below is rooted 300 feet from my parent's house, not sure if it's a Burr Oak, but I envision zebras and gazelles trading afternoon gossip beneath its huge swell of cool shade.

2) Sugar Maples: from which both pancake-syrup and bowling alley pins are born!

3) Have you ever climbed a tree? It's kinda freaky. I used to climb as a kid, but then freeze at the top, "Daaaad! Help! I can't get down!" Last month, I had to climb about five different trees. I was helping my dad clear the sight lines from his various deer stands. [If he didn't have a clear shot of me in the tree from a particular opening in the field, he wouldn't have a clear shot of a deer while seated in the stand. Trees grow between hunting seasons, duh, so we had a lot of work to do. With rope, we tied mini-saws to long branches to trim other living branches hanging twenty feet above our heads. I was pretty slow at task; I had to stop every few minutes to bend over at the waste and let my arms hang and rest. So Dad had me mostly climb and hug, for deer life. "Whoooaa, Nellie!"]

Dad shot his first buck (bow and arrow) last weekend, and hopes to fill the freezer after opening gun weekend, which is this weekend. When the area men go Up North to hunt, the ladies hit the bars [and the strip clubs, so I hear].

I've got plans to hit two local dives this weekend: Houge's and Acee Deucee. I've invited some of the ladies from work. Age doesn't impede on the party round these parts. I'm sure to get an earful of bizarro stories including: "woods" "that one time" "wasted" "cousin" "field" "pregnant" and so on... Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Becoming the 'Older, Non-Traditional' Student

I pulled through for you guys. I actually accomplished the previously posted goals regarding applying for school, auditioning, etc... And as of 9AM this morning, I became the newest member in the UWO piano squad.

Three weeks ago, I submitted an application to the school online in one two-hour sitting, personal and professional statements included. The audition process into the music department has been the beast. I have been practicing the same two piano pieces over and over and over again every day since my October 5th post, and relearning scales. My bruised fingers and sore wrists have healed, thankfully; however, my parents are still bored with the repertoire. My Dad keeps requesting 'honky tonk'; he purchased a harmonica this past June at Main Drag in Williamsburg. He was playing a bit this summer, but hasn't had the same enthusiasm since we hosted a surprise birthday party in September, wherein the short familials gunked up the factory with their wet sticky mouths.

I am technically enrolled as a transfer student, since the credits I earned while completing a piano minor in 2003 are helping to shorten the expected graduation timeline for my second bachelors degree. I am enrolled as a music major, but will receive a degree in education. I hope to fulfill all the zany expectations of frazzle-dazzle music lady: bright clothes, world music collection, and all!

The drills begin now. I need to relearn a few techniques on the piano before the semester officially begins and I need to complete the Praxis I exam -- required by the Department of Public Instruction for admission to teacher preparation programs. I took a sample Praxis exam online last Saturday night, it is similar to the SAT. [In another year, once admitted into the College of Education, I have to take the Praxis II exam.] In a way, I'm pleased to know there are required general education exams, in addition to the licensure application -- I hope the extra work would weed out anyone on-the-fence. But at the same time, what a bother. Each exam costs nearly $200 to take and each requires surveillance at an approved testing center.


Back to frazzle-dazzle: I have enrolled in slew of random music lab classes. It is a requirement to learn how to play all instruments. I begin with woodwinds and percussion next semester. I promise to somehow video-record myself attempting to make music out of a reed-instrument. In years past, on numerous occasions, I tried to make sound out of my sister's clarinet, just a single note; always unsuccessful. I don't see why things will be any different now. But at least I'll have a small moment to shine with the sticks, unless I need to hit more than one drum at a time.

But the #1 most awesome headline from the past week:

Parents surprise me by offering to put $ towards my tuition! Said $ will be pulled from my no-future Wedding Fund. How bittersweet. Especially coming from a gal who DVRs The Nanny on Nick at Nite, twice daily.

I meet with my piano professor again next month to discuss future repertoire and ways to convince myself to purchase more Henle editions. Note: repertoire will include chamber accompaniments! You have no idea how happy this makes me.