Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Grandpa: not as old as trilobites.

Yesterday, we commemorated my Grandpa being alive for 85 years. It was a big family shindig. (Shindig is a weird word, digging shins would be incredibly painful.) We all got together and ate way too much food. Then we ate dessert. Dessert at these family gatherings is an event. We always makes sure there are 5 desserts, in case someone doesn't like something. We are fat.

I took a moment to reflect on my Grandpa's life and think about how long 85 years is. He can remember getting electricity in his house as a child. He lived through the depression and fought in WWII. He survived Reaganomics, for corn sakes! He also inadvertently taught me one of my favorite pass-times: purposely mispronouncing words.

Like many elderly people, he says things that are horribly inappropriate. We'll laugh about that later when we stop being mortified. And, like anyone else in the family, he can drive us crazy sometimes, but I hope he sticks around for few more birthdays.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Idaho International Choral Festival

Singing for joy or screaming in terror?
July 15-20.
I told a committee member I would volunteer to help for this year's choral festival. I've been involved in the past and it was fun hearing choirs from all over the world sing in Pocatello. In late June I got a call saying they wanted me to be chaperon for the high school honor choir. I agreed reluctantly. I remember going on choir trips in high school, I remember that I was obnoxious. I was kind of dreading being a chaperon. I would have to stay in the dorms with them and make sure they don't die, etc.

It was at the end of the phone call that I made up a new rule for myself:
When you volunteer, you need to be more specific.

The day came and I went to meet up with the other chaperons and high school kids. I was not in a good mood about it. After a while, I realized teenagers say and think hilarious things. Not all of them are intentionally hilarious, but I take what I can get.

They were pretty well behaved (I mean, they're nerdy choir kids. They'll probably grow up to nerds just like I did) I learned that I can not only tolerate teenagers, but that they can be enjoyable.

There were some great choirs this year. The Romanian choir was extra magical. I assume this is because a large number of them are vampires and have been singing for hundreds of years.

The Taiwan Children's Choir was especially good. Children in Asian cultures seem to be so much more disciplined than American children. I remember when I taught violin lessons to two Korean kids. Before the first lesson, their Mom said, "If they not listen, spank them." I told her that I would never spank a child because backhanding them is more efficient. At any rate, they were the best students I ever had.

All of the high school boys were in love with the girls from the Lithuanian choir and that amused me. I'm sure the Lithuanians found them cute and slightly creepy, but I'm sure teenage girls feel that way about boys too.