Saturday, December 30, 2006


Wow...another year flies by. Blink and you'll miss it. It seems like just moments ago I was reflecting on the wild, crazy and absolutely true year of 2005, and yet, here I am, watching 2006 close.

To say this year has been like the title of my LPB is an understatement, to say the least. Let's look back, shall we?


2006 dawned with me in a bar called Horse and Cow in Bremerton, Washington, surrounded by Navy guys. Not a bad way to start off a new year! It also found me still employed by Mervyn's and teaching one period a day of 6th grade choir.

The Puget Sound region hit 25 straight days with rainy weather, and my family lost a dear friend, our grumpy old tortoiseshell, Maggie. I cheered for the Seattle Seahawks as they earned a spot in the Super Bowl, and also learned--the hard way--that my students are growing up much faster than my own generation did.


Ahh, the month of hearts and flowers. Presidental holidays. Love is in the air--and so are the wind storms.

On Saturday, February 4th, a massive wind storm ripped through the Puget Sound, leaving thousands of people without power...some of us for three days. Being powerless for such a long time was a huge upset to all of us--and it was during this adventure that Mom and Dad told me they wanted to return to California.

To say I was shocked doesn't do my reaction any justice whatsoever. I was coming off of a few huge upheavals in my life--going to England, Mom and Dad leaving California, the hugely stressful decision to leave England and set up a life in Washington--and the thought of packing everything up again and heading back to California did not appeal. At all.

But this train was rolling, and it wasn't going to stop for me, so I had a decision to make--and we all know which state won.


March was pretty calm, though Mom and Dad started readying the house for selling, and I was busy searching for jobs in both Seattle and California. The whole "move back to California" thing still did not appeal, I have to say. I did manage to have some fun, taking a long day trip to Seattle with my ever-present digital camera, taking lots of pictures.


April started off in the most lovely way: A three-day trip to our Northern neighbors in Canada. Victoria, to be exact.

Victoria is lovely--part Miniature London, part Far West Trading Post. The Canadians are a friendly bunch, and Victoria itself is clean, well-tended and blessed with gorgeous weather in a part of the world known for gray skies and rain.

In April I found time to justify some of my many quirks, and I survived a lengthy lock-down with 40-something sixth grade students.

Mom and Dad found a new home in Lincoln, California, and I started to resign myself to the fact that I would probably end up back in CA, myself.


The preparations for moving begain in earnest, and a date was set for mid-June. May was a busy month; a time for me to explore as much of the Puget Sound as possible before leaving it, and to desperately seek a new job.

Mom and I cheered like mad for the glorious Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby, only to be reduced to tears as he pulled up, seriously injured, in the Preakness.

We had a brief "power struggle" with Puget Power, leaving us really ready to go back to Pacific Gas and Electric in California, and also (in the same link above), the official announcement: I had been offered a job teaching high school choir in Antioch, CA.

To celebrate, I started catching up to technology, and revelled in how cute my brand-new iPod is.


Ahh, a truly adventurous month, June.

There were suitcases in my bathroom, adventures with root beer, and the realization that you can take the girl out of California, but you can't take the California (driver) out of the girl.

Heather showed ultimate friendship and loyalty by volunteering to spend 15 hours, and 700+ miles of Interstate 5 with me in a small Mazda. Of course, she got some shopping time in Seattle out of the deal.


In July, I finally realized the full impact of having a full-time job. I get to have my own place again!! Hooray!!

Before I could find an apartment, however, I had to come to terms with Tom Cruise, and I am pleased to report that while these days I still find him pretty much repulsive, he did not win--he did not ruin Top Gun for me!

After celebrating the birthday of my own country, I commemorated a sad first anniversary of my adopted country--the anniversary of the London Tube Bombings. I also found and signed up for a lovely little apartment in Antioch, and excitedly began readying myself for my new home--the key word being "my."


In my mind, I sort of divide 2006 into different phases, all of which feel like completely different eras of my life, instead of small chunks of the same calendar year. January through May revolved around life in one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of the country, and maybe the world, the Puget Sound. June and July were a brief adventure complete with long drives, hot days, and utter laziness.

August, then, was a beginning. For the first time since college, I once again had my own place, and I looked forward to a full-time job and the future looked bright.

I started off the month by settling into my new home, and making it my own (even dealing, on my own, with ants).

On the 12th I turned 28, and skipped my 10-year high school reunion.

Then, of course, I started my new job, and the LPB has suffered ever since!

September, October, November, December

In September I met my upstairs neighbor who happens to be a colleague, caught a cricket in my washing machine, and vacuumed a piano. I met the first day of school head-on and lived to tell about it.

October found me finally getting some time with Heather and Summer, and also making a day trip to Santa Cruz to cheer for my drum line kids. I also made it through my first big fund-raising event of the year, much to my ever-lasting relief.

November found me delighting in the arrival of Autumn (finally! It's always so late in California!) and cheering like mad for the high school football team as we made the playoffs...and lost.

December, of course, has been mad--between carol gigs and my concert, I barely had time to do the fun stuff, like my Christmas cards. But somehow I managed to stay on top of everything. My progress report grades were in on time, my cards got mailed with time to spare (even my English recipients got them in time!) and the only thing I ended up neglecting was to mail Christmas gifts to my brother's family in Idaho. Fortunately, they were understanding.

And So...

Here I am, three hours shy of 2007, reflecting on what a Wild and Absolutely True year it has been. One year ago, I thought I would be making my life and career in Washington, and only returning to California to visit friends, and yet, here I am, once again a California Girl. I still miss the wild beauty of the Puget Sound, and yes, even the cold, rainy weather. But mostly, I'm happy with where my life is. I have a great little apartment and a good job...even with the stresses and challenges it presents. My family and friends are near enough that I can see them from time to time without, say, a 14-hour drive along Interstate 5 or a trans-Atlantic flight. I finally have a little bit of savings put away, and I can afford things like servicing for my car without help from Mom and Dad.

Yes, life is good, and I'm optimistic about 2007. I'm sure it will bring all the Wild and Absolutely True Adventures I can ever hope for.

Bring it on...

And a very Happy New Year to all of you, dear friends. May 2007 be your best year yet.



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gah! Finally! I'm really, really bad about updating. Not that anyone really reads this anymore because really, anything Wild and Absolutely True about my new job can't go in this blog because I worry about who might end up reading it. Not like the good ole days at St. Pete's when I posted any random incident that happened without fear...

Anyway, I do have some good excuses for not updating:

1. I have been extremely, wildly busy running around eastern Contra Costa County with one of my choirs doing carol gigs.

2. I had a concert to plan (and stress over).

3. Christmas shopping.

4. I haven't been able to log on since I've been at Mom and Dad's house (though somehow tonight I managed).

But enough excuses. I'm ready to give the pertinent headlines from my world.

Carol Gigs

One of the big fundraisers for my top choir is December caroling. The kids get gigs going and suddenly I find myself driving all the way to some little out-of-the-way town called Rodeo (that's Roh-daayyy-oh, not Ro-deee-oh, I learned the hard way) to sing at a Breakfast With Santa, or to every Ace Hardware location in the tri-city area. I went to countless private homes and businesses, and spent many an evening listening to carols. I even finished my mid-quarter grading at Safeway, while my kids walked from Floral to Produce to Seafood, through Frozen Foods, back up to the Deli. Ever spent four hours at a Safeway store? I don't recommend it in terms of entertainment value, but at least I got caught up on my grading.

I've put many, many miles on Rosie Protege (but I'm getting some mileage reimbursement!) and spent a lot of time wishing I could be home, curled up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. It's all for a good cause. Believe me, though, I don't want to hear certain carols for a while yet.

The Concert

Oh, goodness, the stress.

I looked at my Dec. 21 concert as a debut of sorts--a chance to prove to the kids and their parents that I know something about music and choir. Needless to say, I wanted it to go well, and worried endlessly in the few weeks proceding that it would be terrible.

My worries were unfounded. Halfway through the concert, I guess my dad leaned over to my mom and said, "What the hell was she so worried about?" Meanwhile, DD (Darling Daughter) was up on stage suffering from a serious case of dry mouth. I haven't been that nervous in a long time.

The concert went quite well. My beginning choir (key word: MY beginning choir) rocked the house with "Seasons of Love" and they had a pretty good time doing it, too. I was so proud of them. My other groups did a great job, too, and I hope this will boost their confidence in me. They don't hate me, but we're still working on trust and all that. It takes time.

Anyway, I had a lot of compliments, and I managed to keep the program to an hour and fifteen minutes--this is with five choirs and a few solo acts going. By 9:30, I was sitting at home in my pajamas. Perfect!


I hope everyone had as lovely a Christmas as I did. Truly, it was one of the most relaxing Christmases I've had in years.

Thursday night was the concert, and Friday (the 22nd) was our last day. We finished at 11:30, and by 12:30, after sharing Corn Dog Friday with two of my colleagues (long story), I was battling the crazy holiday traffic to get home.

Friday night was Dinner With Heather Night. We met at the Outback Steakhouse and spent a couple of hours rehashing all our recent dramas and joys. Work has been...busy...for both of us, to say the least!

Saturday I ran to Target and Safeway (am still having nightmares about the freakin' lines at Safeway--madness!), then came home to begin 60 hours of extreme laziness.

Mom and Dad went out that evening, leaving me to sit on the couch in my pajamas with a book. I went to bed early, still exhausted from the last few weeks, and slept like a baby until about 8:00 the next morning.

As I mentioned, the next 60 or so hours would be Extreme Lazy Time. I only wore pajamas in all that time. I did not step out of the house once--not even the back yard, front doorstep, or garage. I showered every day (can't go without showering) but I did not blow dry my hair or wear make-up.

We watched several movies over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Lady In The Water, Little Miss Sunshine (hysterical!), The Devil Wears Prada, The Usual Suspects, and The Ref. We had a turkey-and-all-the-trimmings dinner on Christmas which all three of us wore pajamas or sweats.

Christmas moring was lovely. We opened gifts and then sat around watching TV. I read and did word puzzles.

Finally, on Tuesday (yesterday), I was itching to spend my Target gift cards (my family knows me well), so I actually left the house with Mom and did some major shopping. Glorious!

Today was another lazy day. I've been reading like mad and cuddling with various cats (whoever will tolerate me at the time).

And that's my Christmas. It's been wonnnnnnnderful.

What the Heck is Corn Dog Friday?

Back in October, we had an all-staff meeting that was a teensy bit on the negative side (okay, I'm being nice--it was very negative). Various emails went out the next day, the first reminding all of us "why we went into teaching" and the rest letting the email's author know how pompous and condescending he sounded.

You know, we really need to start thinking about when to hit "Reply" and when to hit "Reply All."

Anyway, when I saw another performing arts teacher had replied to it (one with a fabulous sense of humor) I read it. His suggestion--we should boost morale at our school by instituting some kind of fun tradition, say, Corn Dog Friday.

Of course, it had the desired effect--everyone got a laugh and it eased tensions some.

Not willing to let it go, another performing arts colleague, Larry, decided to surprise the idea's originator a couple weeks later by bringing corn dogs to school one Friday. The microwave is in the music library, between my room and Larry's, so they shared with me, and a tradition was born. We three now take turns bringing corn dogs to school, and this last Friday was no exception. We all agreed that one last corn dog in 2006 was a great idea.

Long live Corn Dog Friday.

Good Grief

I can't believe another year has flown by so quickly. I'll try to get a Year in Review post up soon...until then, I've got books to read and word puzzles to do. In my pajamas.

Life is good.



Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Bells Are Ringing

And ooohhhh, boy, am I ready for Christmas. Well, to be honest, for Winter Break.

I've been horrible and bad about updating The Wild and Absolutely True Adventures of Meg. I've wanted to, but everything I've wanted to write about seems inappropriate. I have to be careful, in case my blog is found (though I've never been able to find it in Google searches--someone would actually have to know I have a blog to find it, and I'm pretty close-mouthed about it at work).

Anyway, things are going well enough. As I mentioned, I'm ready for my break. It's been crazy-busy these days. My top group has carol gigs all the time, and next week is our Winter Concert, which I'm just hoping to survive at this point. The kids are getting more and more excited as break gets closer, and I've got commitments up the wazoo--choirs, drum line, etc.

I'm still in that strange place in which I don't know if I like my job or not. There are something I really like, and some things that drive me crazy. I suppose that would happen anywhere, though.

I'm somehow managing to stay caught up on things. I've got my Christmas tree up, and my cards almost ready to mail (just need stamps). My Christmas shopping is about half done, the apartment is clean, and Millie isn't quite ready to kick me out for never coming home--yet!

Just under two weeks and I'll get that much-needed, well-earned break. Then maybe I'll actually email, phone and/or visit everyone! Until then, as ever,



Friday, December 01, 2006

Welcome, Welcome... my new(ish) blog! Blogger did some kind of update, and now I can do all kinds of fun things with fonts and font colors without doing all of the crazy little html codes. And I can change font sizes. What fun! : )

Most of the time, however, I'll keep things fairly normal.

And I promise...more updates are coming soon...but for now, it's 9:30 on a Friday night and I've got big plans...bath, book, bed. Ahh, the fabulous life of the exhausted music teacher.
  1. Wow, I can even do bullets and stuff!
  2. Too cool.

Anyway, enough of that...I'm off!