Friday, June 29, 2012

Jazz cat

What a musical summer this is turning out to be! We had a day at home to decompress after Interlochen, and then Sunday Annabelle started jazz camp at UMKC. Each student was assigned to an ensemble, and then on Thursday the ensembles did their recital. Here is Annabelle's group (her solo--improvised!!! which totally blows my mind--is in the second number):

I wasn't able to snap a photo of her group all together, so I'm stealing this picture of her with a couple of her jazz friends from her Facebook page:

This concludes the musical portion of Annabelle's summer. Still to go: visits to University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, a week of linguistics camp at Ohio State, and then a few days at a leadership program at KU. Oh, wait, and then band camp. So I guess the musical portion of the summer ISN'T over after all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The cat is alive and well!*

When I arrived at Interlochen last Thursday afternoon, I saw Annabelle briefly before the final recital. We agreed that she would save most of her stories for the long drive home the next day, but she did tell me that she thought the week would go down as one of the best experiences of her high school career. So yay for that!

First the group divided up into quartets, with each quartet playing something different. I wish I had had sufficient disk space to record all the quartets, because each was amazing in its own way. I also wish I had remembered to take my monopod to the recital, as my video is a little bit shaky, but oh well. Here is Annabelle's quartet:

After the quartets, all the players assembled into one enormous bassoon band and played several more selections. Star Wars fans will recognize this one:

Here is the second selection (I don't have my notes with me and can't remember what this is):

They played "Somewhere" from West Side Story. It's a beautiful piece, but this video cracks me up. Watch the woman right in front of me and see if she doesn't sprout Yoda ears at the end:

Here is their fourth piece, and once again the name escapes me:

Here's the whole gang right before the recital:

And Annabelle saying goodbye to her cabin:

She's already talking about maybe returning next summer. This week though, the bassoon has been put away, and she is doing a daily jazz camp at UMKC on the bari sax. It's a very musical summer!

*If this doesn't make sense to you, go back and read my previous post.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Schrodinger's cat goes to camp

Annabelle chose not to take her cell phone with her to camp, a decision that I initially applauded. How nice, I thought, for her to have a week without the Internet/Facebook/texting monkey on her back, a week for her to focus on her music and to read a book or just stare at the lake during the quiet times. What I didn't count on was how cut off it was going to make ME feel.

I'm dying to find out if she's having fun. Is she learning a lot? Has she made friends? Did she pack the right clothes? At any given moment, she may be happy or she may be miserable, but I won't know until Thursday. I'm reminded of the story of Schrodinger's cat, which is best explained by Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory:

Over the past couple of days, I've become somewhat of an Internet stalker detective, trying my best to get a peek inside the box. I've been following the Interlochen weather reports (thunderstorms! hail!), which is child's play. But I've also been checking Twitter and Tumblr, media that I haven't used much in the past, to find updates from her fellow campers who didn't leave their phones with their mothers.

GoBassoon Reeds has tweeted a couple of photos from workshops, but I haven't gotten a clear view of Annabelle yet. I THINK that the person to the far left in this photo might be her (red sneakers, pink water bottle), but without a head it's kind of hard to be sure:

Until I open the box on Thursday, I'll just have to hope that this photo I snapped on my way out of camp is representative of the overall experience:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The school that's fun to say

Annabelle and I began our journey to Michigan last Thursday by driving to northern Indiana, stopping for the night, and then proceeding on to tour Kalamazoo College the next day. Really she was just humoring me regarding the tour, as she hadn't been terribly impressed by the school's website. All that changed though on the tour, and K'zoo is definitely going on her applications list for next year.

I kind of suspected it might be a good match when our guide turned out to be Annabelle's 4-years-older doppelgänger, wearing a similar dress and similar hairstyle and boots that I just knew Annabelle was secretly coveting. The similarities continued though when we found out she was majoring in theater and minoring in French and sociology. I managed to get a photo of the 2 of them without appearing too creepy (I hope):

Kalamazoo is a pretty campus, set into a hillside in the city of the same name. This is their performing arts center:

The stained glass as seen from inside:

We were quite impressed that such a small school (1400 students) would have 3 separate performance venues--a black-box theater, the recital hall, and the main theater:

Annabelle was favorably impressed with the dorm room we went into. It's a nice, large room with plenty of storage:

Also, each dorm has a wonderful lounge area and full kitchen:

After the tour, we did a little bit of exploring downtown. We had an amazing supper at a restaurant called Food Dance and talked about some of the highlights from the tour. Annabelle was really taken with K'zoo's flexible curriculum. Beyond the foreign language and physical education requirements (the latter of which can be fulfilled through classes such as Stage Combat), there are no other general education requirements, which makes it easier to double major. Kalamazoo also has a huge emphasis on study abroad, with something like 85% of the students going overseas at least once.

I'm glad she has another school for her application list that she feels really excited about!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I keep forgetting I have a blog. Sorry 'bout that!

Mike came home a week ago, and we've been enjoying having him around. A couple of shots from the airport:

Fred went down to Alabama last weekend for his family reunion. It was ACT weekend for Annabelle though, so we didn't go along. He had a nice visit. A couple of shots (stolen from Facebook) from the reunion:

Annabelle and I are taking off tomorrow for a little 2100-mile roadtrip. She is going to bassoon camp in Interlochen, MI, with a stop along the way to tour Kalamazoo College, and I am going to hang out with a couple friends while she is at camp. Way to break in the new car, eh? I'll try to take lots of pictures while I'm away.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

New wheels!

I've been aware for some time now that I really needed to be getting a new car. My poor old van was still running fine, but it needed a lot of work: the check-engine light was stuck in the on position, and I could no longer direct which vents I wanted the air in the front to come out of. Little things like that, but they would have been expensive to fix, and we were up over 250,000 miles.

I knew what I wanted: something with great gas mileage that we could pay off within a year. As much as I loved my van (and the Honda Accord I had before it), I did NOT love several years of high car payments. Oh, and I also wanted some cool bells and whistles--heated seats, XM radio, on-board navigation, that kind of thing. We compared the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra, and Sentra came out the winner (although it was really close), just like it did last year when we bought Mike's car.

Here's the new baby!

And here's the proof that the old baby was getting pretty long in the tooth:

I have to admit I cried a little bit when we said goodbye to the van. My kids grew up in that van!

I think we'll be quite happy with the Sentra though. Just as soon as I figure out how to work out all the gadgets!