Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My 2010 in a Nutshell

Well, of course I let myself go over a year before updating my "journal" again. My problem is that the longer I let it go, the increasingly more daunting it seems to get back to it, knowing all of the stuff that I need to fill in. It's already an hour past when I should have gone to bed, but I've hit a wall with nobody to talk to, so I might as well vent here. But first, to catch up.

So the first few days after finishing student teaching I was really down. I really felt as though leaving Marcos and all of the teachers, students, and parents I'd grown to love was like what I imagine a really hard breakup would be like. I say imagine, because, of course, I've never been in that actual situation before. There was a scramble to get all of my teaching certification done, and a near fiasco with having the wrong kind of fingerprint clearance card. Even after getting all of that taken care of, there was not a choir teaching job to be had, mid-school year, and thus began the grueling weeks of constant Craigslist job scanning and online application filing. By the end of January I got a job helping teach an after school song/dance program a couple afternoons a week, and at the beginning of February I began doing personal assistant work a couple hours a day for a lady in Scottsdale, whom I would love to forget... Even though I did leave with many amusing stories. For a little while on the side I did a couple voice lessons for Marcos students (and I quickly determined that private voice lessons are not within my realm of comfort), sat in on the MdN musical audition process (never having been through it before), helped kids work on Regional solos for a week, etc. It was hard knowing that I wasn't spending my days doing much, and it would be oh so easy to go back and visit, but there's a time and a place, and frankly, it's just as sad to hold on as it is to let go... Though arguably I guess you could say that it's sadder to hold on, because you just prolong the agony, and watch all of the relationships go sour as you overstay your welcome. Well, anyhow, I digress.

Now how about the bright spots in the otherwise dismal time? I participated in, and saw come to fruition, the Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir "Lux Aurumque" video. You can check it out on YouTube. It got quite a bit of press, and Dr. Holder even called me a couple days after it went live and asked if that was me. :) I guess I didn't really think of it as that big of a deal when I entered my video, but everybody seemed really awed that I was a part of it, so I guess that was cool.

I got back to arranging and composition. Sometime between spring and summer I arranged another Sondre Lerche song, "Words & Music", and composed a new piece called "Underwater," the text for which I found on an online poetry website by a young artist who lives in the UK. Neither of these has been performed, but I hope to hear them someday outside of midi form. It was cool, one day I was walking through the grocery store with my mom, and I could hear a choir in my head singing "Underwater," and I hope that it sounds nearly as cool in person.

My brother Casey and his wife Christi had their first baby that March, a beautiful baby boy named Finnegan. The Grays were all taken aback by his blond hair (What? A blond Gray?), but we love him all the same. His hair grows straight up, and Casey likes to give him a fauxhawk. Silly boy.

Can't think of a whole lot else that happened during that time. It was a lot of scrimping and saving my pittance to make payments on my Saturn, credit card, and insurance... And the Saturn I only used to get to my jobs and church. Spent quite a bit of time with the parents just hanging out around the house, getting lunch at Costco... you know the drill. Not a whole lot going on socially, because everyone else was still in school. There was a period of time when the old game night group would get together on Sunday nights to watch movies, TV, or internet videos... May have been over the summer. That kind of fell out after a while, though.

I guess that brings me up to the beginning of summer, when I continued applying for ever music teaching job I caught a whiff of (You should see my "favorites" tab and the list of school districts I checked multiple times daily for new job postings since the spring time), and feverishly crammed an 8-week online US/AZ Constitution course into 8 days so that I could finally get that stupid deficiency off of my teaching certificate. I was incredibly depressed after not even getting an interview for one job that I really wanted, and all of my friends who applied did. The only thing I could think of to set me apart was that I had that deficiency at the time I applied. I did have an interview for a middle school job in a nearby district, and for three elementary schools (in the same interview) in my home district. Didn't get the elementary job, but they did call back to let me know that I interviewed very well and was barely beaten out. The middle school job didn't even call me back for a couple of months to let me know that I wasn't selected... Good thing I'm good friends with the person they DID select, so I knew that it was taken already, and didn't stress over it.

Then I applied for a middle school job in Paradise Valley... a good hour's drive during rush hour.... The listing was for a half-time choir teacher, but I figured I should apply, because a job's a job. Then I get called for an interview, and I get asked on the phone if I'd be interested in interviewing for the half-time band position as well. I'd be a fool to say no (unless I had absolutely NO band experience... at least I can say that I've had 7 years experience being in band). So I interviewed, I was offered the job, I accepted the job, and the rest is history! Yes, the drive is far, and no, I didn't move closer to the school, even though I had originally planned to. I quickly discovered that I'm a pretty patient driver, and if I leave 2 hours before school starts I have plenty of time to prepare for my day, and if there's horrendously bad traffic, I can still be at school before 1st period starts (and twice I have cut it really close). The cost of gas per month is way cheaper than rent would be, and this way I was able to get a new car (bye bye '98 Saturn SL1! You were a good little car, I decorated your headliner with thumb tacks and adorned your dashboard with origami cranes made from candy wrappers... Alas, the hail storm that tore through Phoenix in October pummeled you, broke your driver's side mirror and left rear tail light, and the insurance money I got from you was enough to make a decent down payment on a 2011 Ford Fiesta), pay off my credit card (which just happened a couple of days ago, actually), and start a savings account to build up funds for what I hope to be the down payment for my first house. I tell you what, it's nice for the first time in my life to have a salary, and not have to constantly be counting my sheckles for every single purchase I make. I love that I'm able to have a savings account now. Love it. I love that for Christmas I was actually able to buy gifts for my family, instead of crocheting scarves and hats that they never use.

Alrighty, I think I've reached an okay stopping point, and all that took me an hour. Time to get some sleep, and I hope I'll be able to get myself back to this before the week is up.

Good night!

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