Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another Birthday

Another year has passed.  I'm another year older.  In this year, I felt like not a lot has changed.  I'm still with my boyfriend of a year and now six months. I still have the same job that I've had for almost 8 years. (8 Years sounds crazy!  Has it really been that long?!)  I've been working with my choir, the Indy Adult Show Choir, for an entire year. (http://www.indyadultshowchoir.weebly.com/)
Have I learned much in this year?  Maybe.  There are things I've been working on that I'm getting to be more successful with those things.  I've also learned more about dealing with drama or avoiding drama in many ways. 
I've just decided, I'm going on to bigger and better things!  I hope the next year proves this!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


If you didn't know already, I'm a little obsessed with Cake.  Not the band, even though I love them dearly, but the actual confection!  I love the taste, the spongy texture, the frosting (especially buttercream), to bake it, to decorate it, to stare at other people's decorated confections and decide what techniques they used.  I just love every thing about cake!  I've spent hours decorating cakes for friends and coworkers, making sure they look beautiful or cool and are appropriate for the occasion. I do this purely for a hobby.  I don't ever plan on being a professional cake decorator.  I have a friend in town that is AMAZING and award winning that I refer people to when they need a cake for any occasion. I have a niece who also does some AWESOME work in the Utah area.  I check out cakewrecks.com on a regular basis to see what people who are "professionals" screw up, or their Sunday Sweets, in which they display cakes that are very beautifully done!  (My local friend previously mentioned had a cake on Sunday Sweets just a few weeks ago!) 
I'm also obsessed with the most important cake of all cakes, The Wedding Cake!  I spend hours on TheKnot.com looking through the Wedding Cakes. Every thing from contemporary and modern to classic looking wedding cakes, I love them all!
This weekend, I'm going to make a horse cake for my boyfriend's niece.  We'll see how that turns out!
I think there should be cake at every occasion!  But that's just me!

My Thoughts On the Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse

If you didn't know, I worked for Live Nation at Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville, for four years.  I worked in Merchandising, renting out Lawn Chairs, selling Blankets and ponchos, and selling ticket upgrades.  This blog is not to say anything about the people that got injured or died in the State Fair Stage Collapse that happened on the evening on April the 13th.  In fact, if my friends didn't happen to get married that day, said friends and we would have been at that concert!  My heart's thoughts and prayers still go out to those people and those families that are still dealing with the happenings of that day. 
I've experienced numerous storms at the venue in my four years working as an employee of Live Nation. I remember at Pearl Jam a couple years ago, the tornado sirens were going off on top of the main structure or the Pavilion.  No body was moving!  When I asked manager what was going on, she told me, the storm warning was for the other end of the county, to not worry!  It wasn't raining.  It was getting a little cloudy, but it didn't look that bad.  I was having a small panic attack, because tornado sirens scare the crap out of me!  That happens when you live in a trailer for the first eleven years of your life!  That next gust of wind could be the one that blows your house down!
Then, there was the Eric Clapton concert a couple years ago.  A HUGE electrical storm was coming in.  Mr. Clapton was supposed to play until eleven o'clock.  Storm warnings were starting to come.  We were all radioed at our stations that Mr. Clapton and his camp had decided they would end early to get people out of the dangerous area.  So, Clapton played until 10:30pm.  He probably only got one "famous" or popular song in, which was "Beautiful Tonight."  Then, he ended his set.  People would not leave!!!  I was in the Lawn chair "Shack" which is literally a shack on the hill.  People kept coming in the shack.  We told people, "Please LEAVE! Go to your cars!  It's much safer there!"  They wouldn't!  It took us an extra hour to get people out of the venue that night!

This is when I came to the conclusion: Concert goers don't listen! 

Maybe not all concert goers, but good bulks of them come to the shows and drink.  They get billigerent.  They don't listen to the people that work at the venues.  We would say, "Please go to your cars! An electrical storm is coming, and your car is the safest place to be!" The concert goers would refuse and laugh in your face. This is when the job would become frustrating!  Then, we would be called to our office to sit out the storm.  A couple of my coworkers thought they were cool and would ignore our managers directions to come to the office.  Those co-workers would let concert attendees hide in the lawn chair shack with them during the storm.  I'm positive that's a lawsuit waiting to happen.  What would they do if a strong wind came in and knocked that shack down?  But like I said, these girls thought they were cool hanging out with those people in the shack.  Another part of this is; sometimes, we would get radioed what was going to happen before it was announced.  So, we would start instructing nearby concert goers on what we had been told by radio.  They wouldn't listen.  It's a lot quicker to radio an entire staff than getting to a stage to announce something. 
VWMC was my fun summer job that made me a little extra cash.  This year, I didn't even try to go back.  Snotty twenty-somethings ruined the happy feelings I got from going to that job.  On top of that, there were a lot of repeat concerts every year, and most of them were country! 
When you work at an out door concert venue, there isn't a safe place during storms.  All of the concerts at this venue were "Rain or Shine."  I had been to one concert before I worked there that got rescheduled.  That concert was a Christina Aguilera concert, and the reason it got cancelled was due to a report of a tornado touch down in a near by area!  It did get rescheduled. 
As a person who actually understands how venue management works, thanks to my degree program (Music Business with a focus in marketing and arts administration), it was really hard being low on the toadem pole, so to speak, and working with children that had no clue about life.  They didn't care about the customers, and they didn't care how they acted in front of them. That became embarassing! 
The first three years, I LOVED working at VWMC.  I have no hard feelings against the venue or the management team.  VWMC is ran like a well oiled machine.  It has too be, since it can hold up to about 25,000 concert goers.  That's a lot of people!  Sometimes, those 25,000 people don't always cooperate!

I wasn't there and don't know what actually happened at the State Fair that night.  I'm really sorry for those families and friends that have lost love ones.  I know this was a shocking tragedy for all that were involved or even for many in the state of Indiana. I just hope and pray that eventually, those families who are still suffering get some resolve and/or closure in their lives.  I know this can take many years for this to happen. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

McDonalds Response to My Question

Hello Heather:

Thank you for taking the time to write McDonald's and to share your thoughts with us about our Happy Meals.

I'm sorry you're disappointed with some of our Happy Meal programs. First, please be assured that none of our toys are meant to be gender-restricted. Rather, all of our toys are meant to be enjoyed by all our younger customers -- both girls AND boys.

When we offer a Happy Meal with two different themes, our employees have been specifically trained to ask customers which of the two toys offered that week they would like, and not whether they would like a "girl" toy or a "boy" toy. I'm sorry if you've experienced anything different.

Please be assured, we would never want any of our promotions, games or premium items to disappoint our customers. Because you're a valued customer, your comments are very important to us, and have been shared with our Marketing staff for their on-going review.

Again, thank you for contacting McDonald's. We look forward to serving you for many years to come.
McDonald's Customer Response Center

I kind of want to do a sting or undercover investigation.  I'll talke my Flip Cam with me and record what the Crew Member says when I order a Happy Meal!  I might just do that!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Question for McDonalds

I have one pet peeve for McDonalds, so, I finally sent them a message about it.  This is the message:

Why when I order a Happy Meal, does the crew member ask, "Do you want a girl toy or a boy toy?" I find this very sexist!  They need to tell me what the toys are and ask, like, "Do you want the Barbie or the Hotwheels?"  What if my little girl wants the "boy toy" or my little boy wants the "girl toy?" When asked the original question, you are putting constraints on children of what they can/will choose just due to titles.  When I was a crew member during college, I always said what the toys where.  I even had all of my fellow crew members doing it.  And yes, some parents are obnoxious and say things like, "My son better not want a BARBIE!"  But that's the parent's choice to teach the child ignorance. 
Please retrain crew members to not be sexist!  I've always loved McDonalds since a young child, and I worked there as an adult.  I know sometimes the people that work there aren't shown by others how they should do things properly in this industry.  I don't know why there are always two options for toys now anyway! It didn't used to be that way! You just got the toy that came in your box! 
I also know it will take a HUGE national effort to get this one little thing trained, but it could be included in the obligatory sexual harassment training or something.  This really hurts my feelings!  I don't even have children yet, but when I do, if this is not changed, I will not be taking them to McDonalds for a "Girl or Boy" happy meal!

We'll see if they send me a real response, or if I just get a generic, "We are sorry about your concerns, blah,blah,blah!"  The last time I complained about Target, that's all I got. I'll keep this updated on what they send me! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My life... In cars.

I didn't get my license until I was 17 and a Junior in high school.  When I was practicing to get a drivers license, my dad bought me a little car.  It was a Subaru and a stick shift.  He didn't even attempt to teach me how to drive it.  He turned around and bought a little Renault.  I loved that little car.  I drove it into the ground. 
After that, I haven't had much luck with cars at all.  Some problems were my fault, and some were not.  After the Renault died, I had already learned to drive a stick.  I took the Subaru and drove it until the muffler didn't work any more.  I would drive it through campus and set off car alarms on all of the other students' nicer cars.  After the Subaru, and when I was a Sophomore, I ended up buying a Ford Escort Station Wagon.  I loved that car.  But alas, it wasn't meant to last very long.  I drove it for over a year and a half.  During that time, it had the "Imaginary Problems."  It would die, and then, an hour later, start right back up.  A mechanic finally figured out, it had some kind of equalizer valve problem.  After that, it ran well. 
Then, it kind of gets wierd.  My parents decided that I should by a better car to get me back in forth to the hospital, which was in Indianapolis, and I was in Terre Haute.  My dad had me come look at a Pontiace Sunfire, which soon became know as the "StartFire."  I didn't really think I should buy that car.  I just had a bad gut feeling about it. It was a reposessed car at a local bank.  I don't even know how my dad found it.  When we were test driving it, it ran out of gas, a couple blocks away from my parents' home.  I kept telling my dad, "I don't think I should buy that car.  I don't feel good about it!"  Well, my dad talked me into buying it.  Within a couple weeks, it was developing "Imaginary Problems."  I would drive it around the city, and it would just die.  Then,  I'd get it towed somewhere, and the mechanics would get it to start right up!  That is one of the most frusturating things that can ever happen to a person!  Like, "Yes Ma'am, your car problems are all in your mind!"  Finally, we decided to take it to a transmission shop, and had the transmission rebuilt.  My dad had to take a loan out for that. (He felt bad for talking me into buying the car, so, he covered the loan.)  Having a transmission rebuilt is one of the most expensive things you can have done on a car.   After we got the transmission fixed on that car, after a couple weeks, it still started dying for no reason.  I finally gave the car to my brother to keep for a while.  He's a mechanic.  I borrowed a little Geo Metro from my parents.  While I had that car, it got broken into.  It was in my back yard, and it must have been a group of teens.  They broke the steering collum to try to hot wire it.  Yes, a crappy Geo Metro.  Some Terre Haute teens need to get lives, or learn to steal better cars! It took a couple weeks to get that car fixed. Then, my brother finally figured out what was causing all of the "Imaginary Problems" on the Startfire!  The spark plug wires were faulty!  Why had none of the previous mechanics thought to check that!  He fixed the car.  I had two cars for a short period of time in Terre Haute.  I loaned the Geo Metro to a friend.  The insurance had replace the CD player in that car for a nicer one.  The car got broken into AGAIN in front of his house.  So, I had to make another police report and get the CD player replaced.  That was just a couple months after I had had that car fixed and CD player put in. 
I kept driving the Startfire.  One day I was driving home from Bloomington on 46, and the whole computer system on the car failed!  I was stuck in front of these random houses by myself.  This was before cell phones were a necessity of life.  Luckily, one of the people was nice, and let me use there phone to make some phone calls.  I had to have a friend come pick my up and have the car towed away!  It was such a frusturating experience!  That was an expensive fix!
After I got it fixed, I was ok with that car for a while, when the muffler went bad on it.  That was the last straw for that car.  I started looking at cars at dealerships.  That's it!  I had to have a car with a warranty! 
I started looking at cars and when to the Chevy dealership.  The car salesman recommended this Hyundai Elantra.  It was such a cute little car!  I took it for a test drive.  I loved it!  The salesman said to me, "This is the car I put all of my women in!"  I think he meant, his wife, daughter, sisters, ect.  It was just funny the way he worded it!  I bought that little used car and had my first car payment.  It was such a fun car! Power everything with a Sun/Moon roof, plus, it still had a warranty.  Hyundai warranties are some of the best out there if you didn't know.  After a couple months, the battery started dying on me... Well, I kept leaving my lights on because it didn't have a little bell on it that said they were on.  So, that messed up the computer.  The car dealership was so nice to me, and the problem was covered by warranty, including my rental car!  A year or two later, a window motor went out.  That was fixed!  A year after that, the other one went out.  They fixed that too!  That warranty was awesome!
In August of 2004, I man backed into they drivers side door of the Elantra, and then, said it was my fault.  He was screaming that at the cop, when the cop laughed in his face, and said, in no way could this have been my fault.  His insurance still didn't pay up for the accident.
On Thanksgiving of 2004, I was on the way to Lafayette from the Chicago Suburb, on I-65, when I rearended a car.  It had snowed the night before, and there was black ice on the road. Plus, there were eight accidents within a two mile stretch of I-65.  I was so sad to leave my little car and the Wilcott Dairy Queen/Gas Station.  That was the last time I saw that little car.  My sister even had to go clean it out for me in Lafayette, because I was living in the Suburb.
The car was "Totalled" and all the money that I got from the insurance, went to pay off what was left of the loan.
I borrowed my parents' Subaru station wagon to get back to the Suburb.  Boy, were those Toll booths scary!  Everytime I went through one, the car died!  (This was right before everyone had the I-Pass.)  In December, I started searching out a car. I went to one place, and nobody came out and talked to me.  I went to the lot next door, and I had bought a Neon before the end of the day.  It was a blah car.  It didn't suit me at all. It was a dark gray, it was big and clunky. Even though the car was barely a year old, it still had a tape deck!  Why a 2004 would still have a tape deck? I don't know. 
I kept the Dodge Neon until April.  That's when I started seeing the little neon green Chevy Aveo on the Chevrolet lot.  I drove by it three or four times that week, and then, I  went into the dealership to look at it.  I traded my Neon in for this little Aveo.  Probably not the smartest thing I've ever done, but I loved that car! 
Two weeks after I bought the car, I was driving home on I-65 one morning, and hit a dear!  I got that fixed.  Then, a couple months after that, I hit some wooden pallets a truck had dropped on the road on Highway 41 going back to Indiana.  It seemed something has happened to that car every year since I bought it; hail damage, tire/rim damage, attacked by a truck tire blowing in front of me, a rock flying off a truck and cracking my windshield, all sorts of things. 
Well, about a month ago, I bought two new tires for the car.  Two weeks after that, my boyfriend was driving it and hit a huge pot hole.  We ended up on I-70 with a flat tire and a destroyed rim.  My brother came and fixed that for me. Then, this last Saturday, I turned a corner, and the engine started making a crazy noise!  My cute little Keylime Green Aveo now sits at the dealerships service center.  This is the month I'll be just about paid off on my car! 
Cars have always been a frusturating thing to me.  I want one I can enjoy driving, and I'm not going to lie, color of the exterior is important to me!  I'm just sad my poor little car broke down right before I am going to pay it off!  I just hope it doesn't cost me an insane amount of money to get the thing fixed.  I just want my little Aveo back.  I. has been out of town, so, I've been driving his car.  I don't really fit in his car.  I know that sounds wierd, but I do fit in my car.  I don't want to have to buy a new car for a couple more years.  I was just planning on paying mine off and driving it until it doesn't work anymore. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Indy Adult Show Choir

I've always been obsessed with dancing and singing.  When I moved back to Indiana, a friend I have known since high school asked me to go to a show choir competition with him.  From that day forward, I swore we were going to start a group of people that were going to do show choir for fun! 
A couple of years later, we started working on it.  Then, one day at dinner with friends, we found a place we could rehearse. The next mission was to find people to sing with us!  We created a Facebook page for the chior, and started inviting everyone we knew.  Then, they started inviting everyone they knew. 
We had our first rehearsal, and abouth 20 people attended.  We sang through a bunch of music.  As rehearsals went on, we started having less and less people.  We learned a couple songs and learned choreography.  The main problem was, so many people were in community theater and kept doing shows.  I could never get a show scheduled for our group that didn't conflict with something us.  We finally took a break for summer.
D. and I came back after summer, and we decided we would hold auditions.  We felt bad doing that, but thought that would encourage more commitment from people.  Two people showed up.  Those two people are actually still in the choir to this day.  Then, we went from there.  We had a whole four or five people in the choir.  Then, we decided to do more advertising.  More people came and dissappeared.  Finally, I ended up with a mostly consistant group of ten.  Then, D. decided that, with the family issues he had going on in his life, he couldn't be involved anymore.  From that night on, I became the groups choreographer, also.  We did finally make it to our first performance last December.  We had about sixty people show up and watch us! 
After the Holidays, we started again in January.  We started preparing for our Spring Show.  Again, there was the interesting dynamic of people showing up in the begining to see what we are, and as the song says, We are Who We are.  People wouldn't come back.  We again had a consistant group of eleven.  Then, a couple things happenned, and we were down to nine.  We did our Spring Show a couple weeks ago with the nine, and again, had about sixty people show up!
We are again on Summer Hiatus.  We will start again on September the 1st!  My question is, how do I find people that aren't involved in community theater that have a higher commitment level?  We meet once a week, until the couple weeks before the show.  It's not that much of a commitment! Really!  I've tried different outlets of finding people.  A lot of people show up and expect it to be like high school show choir.  It's not.  It's just a fun group that gets together to dance and sing.  We have fun doing it! 
We advertise on web sites like, Facebook, Indymommashup, Craigslist, Indianaaudtions, we have our own blog, ect.  Where else is there to advertise something like this?  I've also tried to connect with one of the other local community choir people in town, who said he would send people my direction.  I didn't hear anything from him after that.  We also did flyers and papered Mass Ave. and Starbucks all around town.  That's actually where a few of my people came from last year. 
The thing is, right around the time I started really advertising for the choir, a local radio station DJ decided to start his own choir.  So, I couldn't call that station and advertise. 
How can I make this choir grow?  I also need a consistant accompanist that would play on a volunteer basis. 
Any Ideas?  I'm open!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm conducting an experiment!

I'm conducting a small experiment. I'm starting a vlog on http://www.youtube.com/ . A vlog, for those that might not know, is a video blog or video journal. 
My channel is: http://www.youtube.com/user/pechin6
I've already have four official vlogs up.  I also have some older videos on there of some other stuff!  If you get a chance, go ahead and watch, subscribe, thumbs up, all of that fun youtube related stuff.  I'll keep posting them.  Hopefully, they will improve in quallity as I go.  I'm really new at the video editing thing.
I'm doing this for my own entertainment.  Maybe it will entertain you too! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How do you meet friends? The "Adult" Years

How did you meet your college friends? What happend to your friends that you had met previous when you started college?  How did you meet friends after college?  This is my perspective. 
When you get to college, at least at the college I went to, you're "forced" into new friendships.  I mean this in the nicest way possible.  For freshman, the first whole week of living in the dorms, you meet tons and tons of new friends.  There are meet and greets and tours to go on with groups of new people.  There's a RA (Resident Assistant) who's there to create commorodory on her floor between the inhabitants.  Also, being part of the music department, there were mixers and lunches to "force" us to meet others in the music majors.  There were mentors who helped us meet others in the department. 
My college roomate was someone I was friends with in high school. She was a Theater Major.  I ended up going to a lot of theater events and meeting theater people my first year along with all of the other people I was meeting. My voice teacher hated that I was hanging out with theatre people!  The thing is, my roomie and my other friend that were "Theater People"  were more straight laced than any of the music people I was friends with. In fact, I came to a lesson one day, and I got this lecture from her about how "all of the theater people smoked and drank," so, I should be hanging with my fellow voice majors.  Secretly, most of them were drinking and smoking right under her nose.  (Hopefully, I'm not ratting people out... no names are being mentioned!)  I almost starting laughing in her face when I got "the Lecture" about theater people.  See, the theater majors were just more open about the fact that they did all this crazy stuff and had all of the crazy parties.
By the end of my freshman year, I was hanging out with more music/vocal majors and trying to decide if I was going to join a sorority.  Both of my really good friends that were "theater" friends did formal rush at the beginning of Freshman year and joined the Delta Gamma sorority.  I really liked those girls, and they were always very kind to me.  I had a music friend that joined Sigma Kappa sorrority second sememster freshman year, and they were always really nice to me.  All of my music friends were joining Sigma Alpha Iota, which is a music Fraternity for women.  So, I had choices to make.  Which group would I join, if any?  Which one could I afford?  Was I really going to concider joining one when some people called it, "Paying for your friends?"  I did informal rush with Delta Gamma first semester and Sigma Kappa second semester.  First semester, I didn't join Delta Gamma. I was uber expensive!  I could be wrong, but I think I remember is being about $50 a month or something. When I rushed Sigma Kappa, I was suffering from an awful first semester of college, I was asked to come back first semester the next semester and rush again when my grades came back up.  I participated in Sigma Alpha Iota's Rush activities second semester, but again, grades where a problem.  I worked really hard second semester and got my grades up. I came back after the summer and decided to join Sigma Alpha Iota.  The thing with SAI was, dues were by semester, not monthy.  At the time, they were about forty bucks a semester, which was way more affordable.  All of the members were music people.  They all seemed to be willing to have study sessions for all of the music classes.
By the end of my sophomore year, I was starting to think that I was going to change my major from a double major in Music Ed/Performance, to Music Business Administration.  There was a group that was for the Music Business Majors called, the Music Industry Association.  I started hanging out with that group when I was thinking about changing my major.  Again, I met a few of my really good friends in this group.  I also met people who were doing things in the same area that I was working towards. 
On top of all of that, Music Majors did almost everything together.  We partied together. We ate together in the dining halls and on the weekends.  We studied together. 
My Junior year, I had an apartment with three other girls.  They were all in my sorority, and three of the four of us were music majors.  On November 4th, I got the call for my kidney transplant.  That day, I dropped out of school. (Probably the wrong thing to do, but that's a whole other story.)  I finished the rest of the year of 1999, living with my parents and recouperating from the surgury.  I finally moved back into my apartment right before New Years Eve. 
When I got back, my roomies seemed to be at odds, and I was kind of in the middle.  Then, I ended up "choosing a side."  The other problem was, dropping out of school put me way behind.  Most music classes are on a year rotation.  I had to wait until fall to retake a lot of the classes I had dropped out of.  It's also hard to remember what I had learned to lead up to those classes the previous year.  This whole situation made my academic career a couple years longer.  I'm a horrible student in the first place. 
College dragged on and on.  I finally went on my internship with my company in January of 2004.  I moved up to the Chicago Suburb to work for them.  It was mentally,emotionally, and physically exhausting.  I called my friend M. everyday.  I didn't start hanging out with my co-workers in the end of February or March.  Then, I started making friends and getting social interaction.   I was hanging with my co-worker's social circle, which had an interesting dynamic.  (I still talk to a lot of them to this day!)  They were a lot of fun to hang out with, and they also got me into DDR (Dance Dance Revolution, a video game).  I lost a lot of weight playing that game.  In September of that year, I finally had saved enough money to bring my cat to the suburb and pay the pet deposit.  My cat is still with me and one of my best buds! 
In March of 2005, people from the LDS church started seeking me out in the area.  That's when I met L. and her family.  They adopted me right away!  The first day I met them, they told me I was coming to dinner!  I said, "Umm... Ok."  The circle of Young Single Adults was pretty tight up there.  They were all pretty kind to me on the most part.  M. always tells me, it takes about two years of living in an area to create a social circle.  Well, I was coming up on my two years in the suburb and had met some great people.  Then, I was offered a position in Indiana, closer to my family.  I said yes to the position and moved.
I took my niece with me to help me move.  My boss and his wife from the suburb with their daughter drove the moving truck.  I had arranged with some members of the local YSA's from church to meet us at the new apartment.  E. helped me set up the apartment that weekend to a livable state.  Then, I took her back home.
Then, it was just me and my cat.  I tried to go to Family Home Evening (FHE) that Monday which was Halloween.  I got there at 7:30, because I that's what time it started in the suburbs.  Nobody had told me it started at 7!  I was late.  They were already done with the lesson, and they were playing a game.  It was a really short game.  Then, they played volleyball.  I soon learned, that volleyball was the only activity they really did.  I hate volleyball!  I stopped going to a lot of things because it always ended in Volleyball.  It took me a long time to finally go to church on Sunday.  I realized that I wasn't going to find a real friend right away like I had in the suburbs.  I was actually becoming a bit heart broken by that fact!  I quickly learned, people already had their groups and places, and I really wasn't going to fit into any of them.  Not that anyone was really down right mean to me, but I didn't really feel welcome for a long time. 
I started reconnecting with people that lived in the area that I had known from college.  They became my main go to group. 
Finding friends as an adult is a whole different story once you're done with college! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Mind Shift

There's an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in season five, episode 21 called "Weight of the World."  In that episode, Buffy explains that in one moment, she had made a huge realization about the battle about to come.  She knew that she was going to lose and she mentally gave up.  This mind shift comes to her while she was doing the mundane task of putting a book away on a shelf.  Do we have those moments?  Moments when we mentally just give up on something?  After those moments, most people just start "going through the motions" of life.  They aren't trying to get the most out of what they are experiencing.
When I lived up in the suburb.  I had met a guy who had just got back from a mission.  We had so much in common and there was chemistry.  This all happened a couple months before I transfer ed to Indiana.  I really liked him.  After the move, we still talked on the phone and emailed on a daily basis.  Out of nowhere, he starts sending me emails about not wanting to date someone that lived so far away.  The weired thing was, he never really said me, he just kept saying "someone."  Well, he and his friend came to visit me from the suburbs. We all had a great time and did some local things.  Before he left, he told me he liked me too.
The next week was rough.  It's the week my brother died.  I remember calling the guy and talking to him when I found out.  He seemed like he was pretending to listen to me, but disinterested at the same time.  I thought it was really strange.  Within a couple days after that, he sent me an email stating, he was actually dating someone else.  She was from Wisconsin, and they were getting more serious.  I was in shock!  I felt like he had been leading me on for over four months! I just emailed him back and said, "I'm done."  I never emailed or talked to him again after that. He emailed me the next month to tell me he and the girl were engaged.  I never responded.
After over a year of living in the new area and going to the singles branch, I had maybe been on a couple friendly dates.  Nothing serious.  There was a guy that seemed kind of interesting, and I called him and asked if he'd like to go to an event. He said he was out of town. He called me back in a few days and asked me to do something else.  We dated for about two months, and he never even tried to hold my hand!  On our first date, he made a very homophobic comment about how he liked Elton John until he came out as a "Flaming Homo!"  We were on another outing with a bunch of the YSAs when he saw two guys together, who he decided were gay. He started making comments to another guy in out group, "Bubba over there likes you!  Bubba wants you!" and some other very derogatory comments.  I only caught part of this, but enough to realize what he was doing.  The next week, out of nowhere, he asked me to go see the movie "I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry."  I was thinking, why the heck would he want to see this movie, especially after all of the comments he had made previously!  After the movie, I felt like this opened the door for me to say how inappropriate I felt it was to say things like that.  Well, some interesting things came out in the conversation.  The next week, he "broke up" with me by saying, "I was dating you just to date somebody."  And that was that.
That's when my mind shift began.  Why should I date within the "safe" confine of the church after the way I had been treated by the guys in previous relationships.  That's when I gave up on dating church members.
I did go out with one other guy after that. At the end of the night, he invited himself into my apartment, after I had already said, "Good night," and "Thank you!"  He just kept staying.  Then, out of nowhere he says, "Do you know what NCMO is?"  I say, um, no.  "It's a non-committal make out session!"  After about five minutes, I announced that I was turning into a pumpkin, and he had to leave!
That totally confirmed my decision that none of these men were who I want to spend "Time and All Eternity" with.  I had given up on meeting guys at church.  Where was I going to meet anyone if I didn't meet him there?  I didn't want to date a guy I met at a bar, aside from the fact that I don't drink.  I didn't plan on joining any sports clubs to meet people.  So where does someone like me meet people?
There's also the mind shift that can be positive and change a person's life for the better.  I've had a lot more of these mind shifts in my life then the negative kind. I had a mind shift in February last year, the month after my robbery.  I wanted to meet a companion.  My sister had recommended using plentyoffish.com numerous times to meet other people outside of my circle.  I set up an account and profile on there.  I just kept getting weirdos.  you know the ones who rote sentences like this hey you smile cute write me! (Yes, like that,  grammar spelling, and all!)  That's when you don't know if the person actually is uneducated or is just so lazy, he can't write a complete sentence.  On plentyoffish.com, I was getting weirder and ruder responses.  It's kind of funny, because plentyoffish.com is actually advertising in the "Hold it Against Me" Britney Spears video and Kesha's "We Are" video. 
I was eating dinner with a group of friends when they started talking about meeting people online.  One of my friends met her husband online through the yahoo dating site.  Another friend said that he was seeing someone he had met on OKcupid.com. I had never heard of that site before.  He explained it was a free site that actually does a lot of testing and matching.I decided to try OKcupid.com.  I had only been on there about a week when my current boyfriend contacted me.  He sent me an actual email with content and punctuation!  That was a total plus!  That was just over a year ago!
I'm not saying that all LDS men are terrible and not datable!  There are some that are very datable.  They just never seemed to ask me.  And like I said, I did go on a few friendly dates, and still are friends with those guys to this day.  It just seems, the guys that I found or found me relationship material, had a lot of issues!  I just knew after six or seven years of attending numerous young single adult functions and praying about it, I was not getting any where in my goals for my personal life.   

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Natural Disasters and Personal Disasters

I'm sure we have all heard about the very large earth quakes and tsunami that have hit Japan last week. I started thinking about this and how this would effect so many lives.  It also got me thinking about things in my life that I would consider personal disasters.  What moment or moments in your life would you concider a personal disaster?  It could be something as major as a car accident all the way down to a small thought process.
I'll start with my "car accident."  Well, I've had a lot of litteral car accidents within a very short time period, but what I would call a definite personal disaster is the night I was robbed at gun point and tazered.  I had gone over to my friend, B's house to watch a show and do laundry.  When I came home, it was exactly midnight.  I had come home this late or later numerous times before and never had any problems.  I got home and parked my car next to my neighbor's truck. When I got out, I could hear two guys speaking spanish, which I do not speak.  I thought nothing of it.  Then, a guy walked out from behind my neighbor's truck holding a gun.  He started threatening me with very heavilly accented english to stop moving.  I had my purse on my arm and a large McDonald's cup in my hand. He yelled at me to drop the cup and give him the purse, which I did.  Then, someone came up from behind me and wrapped his arm around my throat and stuck a tazer in my side.  I jumped from the tazer, thinking "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!"  This person was more violent and started threatening that if I didn't give him the money, he was going to kill me, aslo in a very heavy accent.  I said, if I had any money, it would be in the purse.  Then, they told me to shutup.  They took my keys and started diggin through my coat pockets, which is where I had my cell phone. They took the cell phone.  Then, the first guy started to climp through my car looking for something.  The other guy blurted something out in spanish.  Maybe he got spooked.  They instructed me to get back into the car.  The first guy said that I had to tell him my pin number or he would kill me.  I lied.  Then, he said, if I was lying, he would come back and kill me.  They shut me in my car.  They drove off in their van.  I had no keys.  I had no phone.  I had nothing. 
I imediately ran into my building and started pounding on my neighbor's door.  She was a little freaked before she realized it was me.  She called the policee for me.  A police officer was there in minutes.  He took my statement and gave me a case number/card.  He said they had actually already pulled over a van in the area matching my sketchy discription.  It wasn't the right van.  While the cop was still there, we went and woke up another neighbor, whom I've known since the day I had moved in.  She was in shock.  
My neighbor had called the emergency maintnance line to get me a key to get into my apartment.  I started thinking about it and realized, I had an extra apartment key in my car.  My neighbor that I had lived by for a long time, gave me a cell phone she had minutes on to use to get ahold of... somebody.  
After I got into my apartment, I was in shock.  I started searching for phone numbers, I couldn't remember any for the life of me.  I found one friend's guest list from a lia Sophia show I had done for her.  I called her. I get her voicemail.  By now, it's after 1:00am. She's probably asleep.  I start searching for more numbers.  I found my boss's number and reached him.  I just tell him I would miss work the next day and why and hung up.  I finally find an extremely old phone bill that has my parents' phone number on it.  I call and my mom answers.  I inform her to what happened.  I get my sister's cell number from her.  I call my sister a couple times before she answers.  She decides she will drive the one and a half hour drive and pick me up.  I pack and pack up my kitty and wait.
This was my life changing personal disaster.  I have always been a confident single woman with hardly any fears.  I was so trusting in the world.  I had lived in my apartment for over four years.  I had experienced one burglary before during the day.  My door was kicked in and only my purse was stolen.  The rest of my apartment was trashed because the burglars were looking for jewelry or money, which I have none of.  I survived that with only a little bit of mental and emotional damage, but it wasn't enough to make me move out of the apartments.  My neighbor across the hall from me was totally wipe out of most of her possessions.  I just lost a purse with maybe ten dollars in it and all of my ID's and credit cards.  I had gotten over the burglary. 
I worked multiple jobs at the time, two of which required me to come home at all different hours of the night.  I had never feared coming home late at night before.  I had never feared a specific race before.  I was always very open minded about everything.  When two hispanic men, whom I could not see their faces because of they were wearing bandanas over them, attacked me, I made me fear hispanic men of their shape and size.  In fact, just recently, two hispance men walked into the store.  I welcomed them as I always welcome ever customer.  One was about the shape and size of one of my attackers.  He gave me an odd look.  I almost ran to the back of the store and hid in the break room!  After the thought crossed my mind, I reminded myself how ridculous that would be, and kept sitting where I was.  
I know these thoughts are ridiculous.  I'm sure someone else whose been through an attack of any kind would have the same kind of thoughts.  I have since moved to a whole new apartment complex.  Recently, we've been told to be careful due to burglaries that have happened during the daytime.  That is how the whole thing started in the old apartment complex.  I still have nights when I get home after dark, and I can't get out of my car.  I have to call my boyfriend to come out and walk my in.  I have nights when I have to force myself out of my car.  Every car in the neighborhood is suspicious, because I don't recognize them all yet.  I also know that I can't live my life in fear of a specific gender of a race.  The two or three men involved, I think there was a driver also, have still not been caught, as far as I know.  They have hit other apartment complexes in the area.  They could still attack someone my current apartment complex, which is only a few miles away from my old one. 
I just have to continue living.  Everyone has these life changing disasters.  The question is, how does one let it effect and affect his or her life?  I'm thankful for my sister that picked me up at 3:30 in the morning.  I spent a couple weeks on B's couch.  I'm really thankful that he and his roomate let me stay for that long.  After that, I tried to move and and move back home.  Since it was the middle of January, it was hard to go back even during the day time to pack clothes and to check on the kitty.  It made me so nervous.  After a while, the nervousness started to get better.  I also met my boyfriend, which has helped me out a lot.
This is my disaster.  I feel really sad for the people in Japan who have been dealing with the disasters since Friday, and that their disaster just continues with the over heating of the nuclear power plants.  I also feel sorry for the people and children of Haiti who are still suffering from the earthquakes that happened on January 13th last year.  Since this happened the same night as my robbery, it took me a while to realize how catastrophic the situation in Haiti was and is.
You can text JAPAN to 20222 to donate $10 to the Redcross.  Respond yes to the next text to confirm.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How do we meet real friends? The Early Years

Where did you meet your closest friends?  Did you meet them in High School, College, Church, a bar, a social club like the Y?  How did they become your closest friends?  What made you say, "I want to hang out with this person?" 
I can remember in Elementary school having a best friend.  We met when I was four, and we lived in the same neighborhood.  The only year we were in the same class together was third grade.  Our relationship hit some rough patches that year, but we still continued on being friends.  Then, in the fifth grade, my family moved across town, or to the next town I guess.  It became harder to see each other.  Our parents did drive us back and forth some, but a lot of our contact was over the phone.  We would spend hours over the phone talking to each other... or watching tv together in silence.  In that year, I started having a really hard time with friendships in school.  I started developing and was made fun of constantly for it.  But I survived. I had also made a friend in the apartment complex that was a couple years younger than me. She liked to dance, so, I would get my little boom box out and set it on the step, and we would make up dances. After a year in those apartments, we moved again, but we were in the same city.  Nine weeks after the school year started, when I was in sixth grade, we moved again.  That time, I changed schools.  That year, I was probably the most depressed I had ever been.  On top of that, I was probably getting sicker with my health issues and nobody realized it.    
In those apartments, there were a bunch of kids. Now, my father had lost his job at the time, so, these apartments were based upon income.  A lot of these kids had broken homes with parents that had minimal to no education.  It also seemed that they had no discipline in the home.  Therefore, they thought that it was ok to treat other people with disrespect.  The worse part about living in these apartments and dealing with these kids was getting on the bus every morning.  That was enough to make me not want to go to school.  The bus driver had no control over the sitation what so ever.  I was constantly teased and made fun of.  After a while, a few self preservation things kicked in.  At first, I would try to use a Walkman and wear headphones on the bus to ignore every one around me.  But that stopped working when a kid decided the next thing to do was to start pulling on my head phones and break them.  I remember his name was Elmer.  He constantly picked on me and tortured me.  After the head phone situation, I got off the buss and came home bawling.  After that, my dad started walking me to the bus stop, which didn't really help the situation, because all of the bad stuff happened on the bus. So, my next act of self preservation was, not going to school.  I started missing at least one day a week of school.  This was getting to the point where teachers would say, "She's not here, must be Tuesday!"  I finally decided I would start going to school more consistantly when I got an ear infection.  Well, my parents decided I shouldn't go to school with an ear infection and didn't wake me up in the morning.  They called my in sick.  That day, the principal called and talked to my father.  I have no idea what the conversation was, but I'm pretty sure it was about my absences. 
This is the first school I experienced what being "Popular" and "Unpopular" really meant.  I did finally meet a real friend at this school.  She would invite me over to hang out at her house after school and for sleepovers on the weekends. We would talk about things like, how does the "Popular" girl never where the same outfit twice?!  She seriously never did!  We also both enjoyed music and were in choir together.  I sadly had lost touch with her soon after sixth grade when I moved back to the school I started middle school in. 
I had tried to keep a few friends that I had met while I was going to school at the first middle school.  One girl, whom I had known since fifth grade, still invited me to do things all the way through sixth grade.  So, when I moved back to the school, I thought I would be able to hang out with her.  I sat with her at her lunch table the first week, and learned some interesting things.  She had a table hierarchy.  It sounds crazy, but only certain people could sit right next to her.  We had classes together where, we would sit next to each other.  Then, she started some minor teasing.  I would just blow it off.  She's my friend.  She doesn't mean any harm.  I started making friends with other people in her circle, the ones I had things in common. I stayed friends with her until close to the end of eighth grade and middle school.  By the end of the eighth grade, I realized that friendship had run it's course, and we were becoming two completely different individuals.
My freshman year of high school was like starting over completely with all of my relationships.  You get to high school and you have all sorts of decisions that have to be made.  What kinds of classes will you take?  What kinds of clubs do you join?   Will you participate in any sports?  When I was a freshman, I wanted to do it all!  I was in freshman choir.  I was on dance team.  I was in Orchestra.  I was in drama club.   I went to early morning seminary.  I was active in the church youth group.  I went with my elementary school best friend to her church group.  I was in gymnastics.  I'm sure there was more that I participated in, but this gives you the idea of how busy I made my life. Within this time, I had kept a couple friends from middle school and still hung out with my best friend from elementary school.
As a freshman, my friend that I had kept from middle school was in marching band.  Now, marching band season is insanely busy, which is the first two or three months of the school year.  I felt like I didn't get to see her very often.  They actually went to state contest that year and did pretty well!  So, I started over with making new friends. I met some people in the drama deparment.  I started hanging out with them on a regular basis.
During my sophomore year, I got a job at a local pizza restaruant where my best friend from elementary school worked. I worked there all the way through high school.  Her mother and boyfriend worked there also.  During my sophomore year, I hung out with the elementary school best friend and the drama friends I had met the year before.  I still hung out with the marching band friend also.  We had a pretty good circle of friends that year.  Towards the end of the year, I met a guy that I ended up dating until I graduated from high school and through the summer right before college.  
I still talk to a lot of the closer high school friends to this day. 
Making friends in college is a whole different story. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Audition Game

Here's another one of my secrets: I suck at auditioning.  I'm being completely honest.  I used to audition for things all the time in college.  I would show up for every musical with a song ready to sing, and then not get picked.  In fact, for most of the musicals in college, theater majors were picked.  That's because the theater department ran most of the musicals on campus.  I never auditioned in high school for the musicals because I was involved in the Theater Department.  The theater department and vocal department were two serperate things in high school.  It was the same in college, except the theater department controlled all of the musicals.
I remember auditioning for a part in a church musical when I was about twelve, maybe a little older.  They had held two weekends of auditions.  I went on the second weekend.  Well, my audition was interrupted by call backs!  I'm serious. People were showing up for call backs before the first set of auditions were even completed. I was pretty upset by this.  I think my mother complained about it to the director, and he just told her, "We had to change our schedule!"  Then, about a month later, so many people had quit, they called and asked me to be in the chorus.  Their way to entice me was, "You'll get a free dress made for you!"  Really?! I politely turned them down! 
In college, I would get so nervous, show up with my prepared 16-20 measures, sing my song, read my lines, and then feel completely horrible afterwards.  I wouldn't even get called back most of the time.  I would see all of the theater majors, the ones that didn't even really sing, get called back and then get the parts.  I love musical theater. I have always loved it, yet, I haven't really done much of it in my life.  I mean, a little part here and there, but that's it. 
I finally made it into the chorus of the "Mikado" which was actually done by the vocal department.  Most of the female lead rolls went to Theater majors again.  Most of the chorus was vocal majors.  The men were mostly vocal majors, except they had a few from the theater department. I really enjoyed performing in this light opera. We also performed this in full kabuki make-up.  I now see that as kind of wierd. I kind of remember a guy who started our as our director, who had made the decission about the make-up. He then dissappeared and wasn't our director anymore.  Then, a person from the vocal department and a person from the music department took over directing.  This part is a bit of a blur in my mind. 
After the "Mikado," I kept myself busy with other things.  Since I was a member of the school's Music Industry Association and Sigma Alpha Iota, I found a lot of other things to do.  One of the biggest things was MIA held a Battle of the Bands every semester.  I worked my way up that ladder with being the band liason  at first.  Then, after a few semesters of that, I was in charge of the whole event.  I learned a lot more working with the Battle of the Bands events then I probably would have doing roles in musicals.
When I moved back to Indianapolis I met back up with some friends that I knew from college.  They were all doing community theater shows around the area.  So, I thought I would start auditioning for things again.  My first local auditioning experience was with a theater on the south east side.  The director kept telling me, "Come on out! Audtion for my show!"  I went out and bought the CD for the show so I would know what the music sounded like and what type of show it was.  It was type of show that was slit your wrist depressing.  I got there.  I was prepared.  I had rehearsed my 20 measures of song repeatedly until I thought it was close to perfect.  Well, about 100 other people were there auditioning.  I was a bit dumbfounded.  On top of that, we had to audition in front of everybody and wait for every body else to sing before we could read the lines.  And that was the first night of auditions.  Well, that's about five hours of my life I will never get back.  Obviously, I didn't get any role.  Afterward, the director's friend just kept telling me, "Sometimes, everybody just wants to do the same  show!"
The next audition I did was for "Little Shop of Horrors" at Civic theater on the west side of town.  I just auditioned because my friends encouraged me to.  I came with "Part of Your World"  all ready to go.  Well, there weren't that many female roles, so, I wasn't expecting to get a part and I didn't. 
A little later that year I auditioned for the "Wizard of Oz."  Now, I did this on the eve of my 30th birthday.  I walk in, get my number and picture taken.  I couldn't think of what to sing, so, I just took the LDS children's hymnal with me.  I would just sing part of "A Child's Prayer." Well, while I was sitting in the wings with other people, the audition monitor was chatting us all up.  She comes to me and says, "What part are you auditioning for?"  I told her, "I would love to be Glenda, but I'm here to audition for the chorus."  She then proceeds to tell me that I look like I would be the perfect Auntie Em.  That I have the face for that role... Now, being that I wasn't even thirty yet, I looked at her in disbelief and said, "I turn 30 tomorrow!"  She tried to apologize, but it wasn't believable.  I was just in shock!  Most people tell me, I look like I'm a teenager!   She tried to explain to me that I had the "type of face" that it would be easy to make up as an older person.  Insert foot in her mouth.
After that, I moved on to another theater, Footlite.  All of my theater friends were auditioning for "Miss Saigon."  I really like this show.  They all went to the first audition, which was on a Sunday afternoon while I was in church.  I went to the Monday night audition.   We were all ushered in to fill out forms, get our picture taken, and get a number.  Then, we were sent downstairs.  First, we were all held in this little dressing room. Then, we were called out one by one to audition.  I went in to the room were the panel sat.  I waved at someone I knew, which I guess could be seen as unprofessional, but it's community theater.  Then, I started to sing my song.  Well, to my surprise, the piano was downtuned at least two keys, and maybe almost three keys flat!  Well, again, I had taken "Part of Your World."  I didn't expect to have to sing it in bass range.  On top of that, the accompanist was an awful sight reader!  It was pretty awful!  I then learned all of the people that auditioned on Sunday got to audition on the main stage with a piano that was actually close to in tune.  They also had call backs then and there.  I also learned that a friend that hadn't even auditioned got called in because, "Not enough high sopranos had auditioned."  Well, I would have sounded more like a Soprano if the piano hadn't sucked!
After that, I haven't really auditioned for anything.  That's one of the reasons I started my own group.  I'm sick of the local politics.  I promise to give every one a fair chance in my show choir!  If somebody loves to sing and perform, I want them to come join us!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Show Choir: The Later Years

I started working for my company with an internship in 2004.  My company is a very large national/international sheet music company.  They've been around since 1876.  My company also supports a very large show choir camp that happens twice every summer.  That's kind of when the love of show choir started all over for me.  My suburbs boss asked me if I would be interested in going even though, the Indiana branch takes care of the whole thing. I said, yes! 
My first time going, I was in awe.  Why didn't I get involved in something like this in High School?  I went to dance camp every year for dance team.  Why didn't I know about show choir camp?  Of course, I would have had to earn the money to go on my own, which is what I did to make money for dance camp. 
I didn't go until mid-week.  There's a concert every night at camp.  That year was an anniversary.  All of the performers in the Wednesday night concert were composers, arrangers, singers, dancers, basically professionals.  The week went on.  It was a lot of fun.
I've gone with my company to Camp every year since then, except one year when I only went for a day of set up.  That was sad... and kind of a waste of my time. 
When I moved to Indianapolis, I reconnected with a friend from high school that loves show choir.  When show choir season started, he called me and asked me to meet him out at the Ben Davis Invitational.  I was mesmerized by how far show choir had come along in 6 or 7 years.  That was in 2006, and we haven't missed a Ben Davis Invitational since.  Well, D. created a monster, I not only went with him on the Saturdays he could go, but I started attending the invitationals by myself.  One, I had gone to every year by myself until this year, I missed it because I was exhausted. 
Every invitational D. and I would go to, we would talk about starting our own group of Adults who love to dance and sing.  One summer, we had gone to lunch together and were talking about creating our own group again.  That day, we sat down, named our group and created an email address.  Well, then, we had to cover the next hurdle.  Where do we rehearse?  Where is there a space we could use that has a piano and a place to dance. 
The answer came from a dinner out with some friends.  We were enjoying our pizza when my friend, B. brought up with all of these musical theater people, I was trying to start a show choir.  I mentioned, yes, but we had no place to rehearse.  Another friend mentioned, we might be able to use his church.  He is the pastor, and he would just have to check the schedule with his secretary.  I told him, that would be awesome!!! 
We started rehearsing at that friend's church in January.  We had about 20 people show up for that first night just to see what we were.  We had some problems in the beginning getting consistant attendees.  In fact, we went until about May, then, we decided to take a break for Summer.  Then, we posted flyers all over the place and got a few new people to show up for Auditions.  After the auditions, we decided to regroup to get more people.  We had a few more weeks of people coming once and then, not coming back again.  Then, D. started having some family issues and had to stop coming.  All the sudden, I had a consitant core group.  We made it!  We did a little Christmas show.  It worked out!  I started, directed, and choreographed a little Show Choir! 
We are still meeting once a week and getting prepared for our Spring Show! 
I get to continue my little obsession with show choir, for now!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Stage Fright Sets In

Acording to Wikipedia.com:
Stage Fright or performance anxiety is the anxiety, fear, or persistent phobia which may be aroused in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience, whether actually or potentially (for example, when performing before a camera). In the context of public speaking, this fear is termed glossophobia, one of the most common of phobias. Such anxiety may precede or accompany participation in any activity involving public self-presentation. In some cases stage fright may be a part of a larger pattern of social phobia or social anxiety disorder, but many people experience stage fright without any wider problems. Quite often, stage fright arises in a mere anticipation of a performance, often a long time ahead. It has numerous manifestations: fluttering or pounding heart, tremor in the hands and legs, diarrhea, facial nerve tics, dry mouth, erectile dysfunction.
(Information gotten from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_Fright )

Acording to Webster.com:

stage fright
noun Definition of STAGE FRIGHT: nervousness felt at appearing before an audience

When I was younger, even up to my teen years, I didn't have many major issues with stage fright. In fact, standing in front of people and singing was something I loved to do!  Even my first couple years of college,  I managed with out any major stage fright issues.  Now, you might say, "Everyone gets a little bit of stage fright!"  And maybe they do.  Mine has turned into some major issues!
It all started in college.  I remember towards the end of my freshman year, I had to sing in a studio recital.  Now, a studio recital is when each person that is a student under a certain professor prepares a piece and sings it in front of his/her peers and other people.  I was going to sing the classic Italian aria "Caro Mio Ben."  I had  practiced this piece non-stop.  I had also heard numerous other students perform it and practically had it memorized before I even started to learn it.  So, I was well rehearsed.  I started getting all of the symptons of stage fright.  I had dry mouth to the point that I couldn't swallow.  I couldn't get my dress to look right no matter what I did, so, I kept figitting with it.  My stomach had butterflies, millions of them, flying around, trying to get my attention.
I had gotten nervous before, but this was real stage fright!  The semester before, I survived my vocal juries by learning and memorizing all of my pieces two weeks before.  That really pissed my voice professor off!  I hardly had any nerves at all from that.  But now that I was picking my own pieces, my nerves were out of control. 
The stage fright issues just got continually worse from there.  No matter how much I practiced and rehearsed a piece, I would freak out when it came to performing it. I remember getting ready to sing Carmen's "Habenera" and not being able to memorize it! I was almost in tears before my jury.  Then, it didn't get picked anyway! 
I survived a Junior and a Senior recital with out dying from stage fright.  After college, most of my singing performances were of the karaoke type.  One time, my company was having Mark Hayes as a clinician.  He had just put out a couple vocal books.  One was a Christmas book, one was a contemporary hymn settings,  and one was a book of older hymns and spirituals.  Well, I was asked to sing a couple pieces.  One had to be from the New Contemporary Hymns and one from the Christmas book.  I chose "O' Holy Night"  and "Silent Night" from the Christmas book, and from the other book, I can't even remember what title I chose.  Well, I survived both Christmas pieces in my rehearsal with Mark.  Those were carols I had been singing my entire life!  When it came to the new contemporary hymn, I could barely get through it!  I had rehearsed it on my own for weeks, yet, I couldn't sing it for the composer/arranger!  I was getting upset, and I think he could tell.  He decided that we would just do the Christmas carols, and we would skip the new contemporary hymn.  I felt like a failure.  I don't know why I was having so many problems!  I even had the books in front of me on a music stand! 
The stage fright just grew from there!  I even get nervous at karaoke, especially if I'm not comfortable with the crowd.  I love to karaoke, but sometimes I put that first song in and sit and shake.  I like to go to karaoke places where I know the people and feel comfortable singing in front of them.  The less people, the better! 
I still sing in churches.  My sorority volunteers for a church service at a nursing home.  February was my month to provide the music.  I started getting nervous the night before.  I took a Mark Hayes song, "There is a Balm in Gallead."  I also took, "He Sent His Son" from the LDS children's Hymnal.  I had picked the two songs out a couple days before.  I knew the LDS song in and out.  The Mark Hayes arrangement, I had just learned a couple days before.  Well, I went in a rehearsed with the accompanist an hour before the service.  He is AMAZING! We sang through them.  I survived "There is a Balm in Gillead."  I started getting nervous in the rehearsal when we started singing "He Sent His Son." It went a little bit too fast. I told the accompanist, and he agreed to slow it down.  That way, I could get the words out.  The nervousness started to get worse.  The service started, and I sang the Mark Hayes piece.  It went just fine.  I sat down and listened to the sermon.  I stopped thinking about singing and really listened.  Then, it felt like, all the sudden, it was time to sing again.  I got up to sing again.  I started shaking and my mouth dried up.  I sang the piece shakey and what Randy and Paula would say, it was "pitchy!"  Why was I so nervous all the sudden?  This is a piece of music I've sang for years!
Even though I wasn't extremely happy with the performance, I got a lot of compliments.  I aslo was complimented on song choice, and how they happened to match the Reverend's topic of his sermon.
The world didn't end though.  How do I start managing my nerves?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Show Choir vs. College

I moved on to college to study music.  Here's my secret, well, maybe only a secret to a couple people.  I only auditioned for one college.  I only applied to one college.  I got into that one college for music.  I also received a scholarship to attend that college through my high school in education.  I went for a double major in Music Education/ Vocal Performance when I started. Now, most kids audition a few different places before they make a decision. I, on the other hand, had already made my decision.  Why audition a bunch of different places, when I had already chosen the one I would attend? I look back now and think, that was probably a bit risky.
When I got to the college, there wasn't a show choir. In fact, there wasn't even a thought of a show choir.  I had a friend that really enjoyed dancing and singing and inquired within the department why there wasn't a show choir.  She was told, there wasn't enough interest. She replied, there was enough interest.  So, a certain director told her to go and find out how many people were interested, and then, he would decide if there was going to be a show choir.  So, my friend JS did. JS asked everyone she knew in the music department who sang if they would be interested in a show choir.  She received a resounding yes.  She turned it into a petition and turned it into the director. 
Lo and behold, the next school year, there were auditions for a mixed show choir.  So, of course, we all auditioned for it!  Well, I didn't get in.  In fact, JS, the one who had done ALL of the research of whether or not there was interest for a show choir at the University, didn't get in it.  And that's when all of the choral selection drama started.  Why would the director insist that she should do all the leg work for him, and then, not put her in the choir?!  We were all shocked! 
That choir lasted as a mixed show choir for maybe a school year.  Then, all of the sudden, it was a womens choir.  I auditioned for choirs the next year and was put in that choir.  The thing about this womens choir was, it wasn't just show choir, it had concert choir music mixed in too.  It turned into a very strange combination of literature. 
I continued on in this choir.  The director was really nice and fun to work with.  We did our combination of literature and survived the year.  I was in the choir for a second year.  By the second year, the womens choir dropped the show choir aspect and became completely concert choir oriented.  I continued on in this choir for a while. 
I auditioned again the next year, and I had made that choir again.  The director told me she wanted me to continue on in the choir because I was a strong alto anchor.  She had the feeling that I was going to quit.  I can't remember how many years I stayed in that choir, but I only remember dancing for one sememster.  After that, there wasn't a show choir at my college any more.  One of the strangest things about that was, the college held a huge show choir camp every summer! 
I feel that, this made the college look very hypocritical.  Why hold a huge show choir camp every year, a camp I'm sure was used to generate advertising for the university, if there wasn't even a show choir to get into!? 
There was also a madrigal singers choir.  It was a very selective choir.  Ever year this choir had a huge madrigal dinner around Christmas.  I auditioned every year for that choir and still never got into it.  There were rumors one year that, the director wanted me in that choir, but the director that was the head of the choral department, the one that made JS do all of the leg work for the show choir,  didn't want me to be in it for some reason.  I didn't realize that I was worth fighting over. 
By my third senior year, remember, I had a lot of them, I auditioned for choirs.  There was a new head of the choral department who had already been working at the school for a year.  I had already been in his top concert choir with him for a year.  In fact, I had been in that choir since my first year at the college.  I was planning on doing my internship the second semester, so, I was only going to be in the choir first semester.  Well, he wasn't letting people he knew where graduating/ leaving mid-year be in the choir first semester. There were taking a big trip second semester, and he wanted everyone to be in first semester that were going on the trip second semester.  I knew that there were other people in the choir that were leaving second semester.  Were they just special, or were they lying? 
Said Director stuck me in the community choir.  I didn't want to be in the community choir, so, I turned around and joined Steel Drum.  My only requirement was, I had to be in a music ensemble every semester I was in school.  I learned that Steel Drum counted when my friend JS didn't make the concert choir a couple years before.  Steel Drum was a lot of fun and a huge learning experience.
Said director didn't realize I wasn't even attending his choir. About a month into the school year, he came up to me and said, "I'm so glad I get to see you on Monday nights!"  I just looked at him in disbelief and said, "Uhuh, ya... whatever."  It took him a while to realize, I wasn't even in the choir! 
Why must politics be involved when it comes to singing and being in a group?  Why can't it be the one who has the best voice and the best attitude?  I still think about these things to this day!   

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do you like Show Choir? Why yes, I do. The Early Years

When I was little, I loved to dance and sing.  All the time.  I'm sure my relatives could tell you stories.  But I'm going to fast forward a little bit, starting with middle school.  I had a very strange sixth grade year, where I moved after the first nine weeks to a new school.  At the new school, the music/choir teacher was awesome!  That's actually where I started coming out of my shell.  She gave me my first solo.  It was the second verse of the song, "The Greatest Love of All."  This other little girl was singing "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid.  I decided after I heard that little girl sing it, I was obsessed with that song and movie.  It's still my favorite Disney movie to this day!  I walked in to Mrs. V. and said, "I want to sing 'Part of Your World.'" She said, "Ok."  Then, she said, "I actually like you better on this song!"  Wow, what a boost to a sixth grader's little ego!  So, for the last day of the year, the other little girl had already picked out a different solo, so, I got to sing "Part of Your World."
Then, the week before school started, my parents found a new house to rent, back in the first school's boundaries.  The first two weeks of school, they drove me back and forth.  Then, we moved.  In seventh and eighth grade, I learned the pollitics of teachers having favorites.  It sounds crazy at that age, but it was true.  We sang and danced in these grades for all of our shows.  This is also the first time I would meet the choreographer that also choreographed for the high school choirs. He also choreographed for a season for the dance team I was on in High School.  But I digress. 
My seventh grade year, I felt liked.  I felt almost like a favorite.  Then, I realized, I wasn't getting any of the big solos.  My eighth grade year, the whole grade new that the seventh graders were the favorites for the middle school. 
Other things were still going on with me personally.  I was very sick in the seventh grade with constant kidney infections.  This is when the figured out, the first surgury that was supposed to fix the problem didn't work.  I remember being in the cafeteria during the Christmas Show in seventh grade, and sitting with my head on the table.  A parent said, "Are you OK?"  I just answered, "I don't feel well."  I was really sick after that.  I had a repeat of the very same surgury I had when I was eleven, when between 7th and 8th grade.  Then, I started feeling better.
I started high school feeling like, this is my chance!  A new start!  Well, sure, ok.  The freshman girls choir sang and danced.  All freshman girls were shoved into the same choir, whatever the girl's singing abillity was.  That was an interesting year.  I was also on the Dance Team starting in my freshman year of high school all the way through my senior year.  My freshman year was the first time I was exposed to what real show choir was. I went to what was called a "Preview Night."  I was enthrawled from that moment on.  There were other choirs that existed that also danced.  There was a Women's choir and a Mixed Choir.  So, there were three choirs that sang and danced and there was a concert choir.  Well, the audition process started.  We were told to prepare a song.  We were also given a sheet to rank the choirs in order of which ones we wanted to be in. Well, I put the top mixed choir and the the concert choir in second, with the women's choir in third.  Well, I auditioned.  The big day came where the lists where posted.  We all ran down to the music hallway as soon as the last bell of the day rang! Some people were excited and running out of the hallway with huge smiles on their faces.  Some people were mad.  Some people were running out of the hallway sobbing.  So, I walked down the hallway slowly.  What did my future have in store for me?  I slowly start to look for my name on the list.  There are about 400 people who had audtioned for the choir spots. It took me a few minutes to find my name on the massive list.  There was my name.  Ok, what choir was linked to it?  The Women's Choir.  OK, I could deal with that.  I was going to sing and dance.  It wasn't what I had my heart set on, but I could deal. 
It was an interesting first semester to say the least.  The director for the choir went on maternity leave, and her sister directed us for the first semester of the school year.  The dresses that she picked out for us were tragic.  She also decided to go with the straight line method.  That's when all of the dresses make a straight line on stage. That also means since I was the shortest person in the choir, my dress was the shortest.  The tallest person's dress was the longest.  They were blue with white fringe that was zig-zagged.  I still have mine.  It leaves blue sequence every where I put it.  We survived the semester that included singing "We Are Santa's Elves."  Yes, a little bit traumatic.  The second semester started, and our teacher was back.  Some how, she managed to pick songs that made the dresses work.  Songs like "Romeo," "And All That Jazz" and a "Dream Girls" Medley were our competition songs for that season.  We went to Kings Island to compete with our follow students in the mixed choir.  We won.  We even got Grand Champion for the entire competition... which pissed off the other director of the mixed choir royally.  The two choirs were not even supposed to be competing against each other, but for some reason, the events got combined.  The women's choir was elated!
Then, auditions rolled around again.  Well, I learned my lesson from the year before. When I went in to audition, I had my little order of what choirs I wanted to be in written down.  I put the concert choir, the top mixed show choir, and then, the choir I was in before, the women's choir.  I knew, after being in the women's choir that had the same director as the concert choir, I had a very good chance that I would get into the concert choir.  That director was also really big on having a grasp on general theory and the abillity to sight read.  Well, I had really worked on those things, and also being a violinist helped with the theory.  Well, the audition happened, and I made the concert choir. 
Well, this choir was mostly known for singing, not for dancing.  We still had to learn some choreography for things like the opener for the Christmas show and Spring show. Also, we did a medley from a musical for our Spring show.  Well, the choice that year was "Phantom of the Opera." We had this stage that had a gigantic staircase down the center of it.  Well, each stair was about a thrid of my heighth.  From the beginning, I felt like I was going to trip and fall down the stairs.  So, I couldn't really enjoy singing the music due to fear of dying. I survived that year. 
Then, auditions rolled around again.  I used "Part of Your World" as my auditon piece.  I really wanted to be in that top mixed show choir!  The director told me he thought I sounded good.  He invited me to come to call backs. There were a lot of girls at call backs!  I tried my best.  I went down the day the list was posted.  I braced myself.  Next to my name, the Concert Choir. That was it.  No show choir! 
The next year, my senior year, continued on.  I still enjoyed every moment of that year.  We sang some amazing contest pieces. A few of them are still favorite pieces of mine to this day.  For the spring show, we sang a medley from "Rent."  It was such a fun medley!  The concert choir also closed the show that year, which was unheard of!  The top mixed show choir always closed the show.  I had a lot of fun that year. 
The thing that most of us figured out about the top mixed choir was, every girl was a size 2 except for one.  I had to say to myself: was the reason I wasn't picked for this choir my body type?  Here's the thing: I wasn't that big, I was just slightly over weight.  I was dancing and training with the dance team at least 8 to 10 hours a week.  I had a large trampoline in my back yard I was jumping on for a couple hours a week.  Why was I having so many issues with weight? I really beat myself up over this for years and still think about it to this day.  If I was a size 2, would I have been in that choir?  Also, my mother kept repeating something to me that she had heard the director say once. Each member that I pick for this choir music be able to be a star!  Was I not a star?  I knew I could sing, but did I not have star potential?  What kind of star quality were people looking for that I needed to create and cultivate within me?  I needed to find out, because I was moving on to get a bachelors in vocal performance in college.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Start of the Karaoke Monster

My parents gave me my first cassette tape karaoke machine when I was about twelve or thirteen.  They were trying really hard to support me in my music.  That little machine got a lot of use over the years!
In college, I started working for the Crazy Asian. (I'm serious. That's what people called him.) He owned the local Karaoke company.  He also owned a little diner down town that had karaoke on the weekends.  I had sung with his company prior to the diner.  But then, the diner became a more permanent weekend focus for a friend and me.  The C.A. started asking J. and I to start K.J.'ing the karaoke.  So, we did.  Then, he started paying us in diner gift certificates.  Well, J. and I quickly realized, this wasn't legal, and he said, "Oh, this is your training! After you learn how to K.J. here, I give you real jobs!"  That turned into one real gig for me and because J. wasn't 21 at the time, she got nothing.  The "real" gig turned into one of the worse nights of Karaoke ever.  You know, one of those nights when only four people sign up to sing repeatedly, and I was one of them!  So, the K.J.'ing didn't ever go anywhere.  After that dive closed, C.A.  bought/rented another space and made it 21 and over.  Friends and I would go to that one.  When his K.J. didn't show up, he'd look at me and say, "You K.J. or no karaoke."  I couple times I did.  One night, we all just got up and left after the third or fourth time.  He wasn't paying me.  He'd be like, "I'll give you free drinks!"  Ya, because my Diet Coke was that expensive.  The Crazy Asian did a lot things that weren't exactly legal. 
When I was living in the Chicago Suburb, the group of people that I started hanging out with from work liked to karaoke also.  We started going to this little restaurant that had karaoke on Sunday nights.  The K.J.'s there followed the "rules of karaoke" which I really appreciated, and they had some rules of their own that not all karoake places follow. 
Rule #1.  There's an order to the singers.  All singers and K.J.'s will follow this order.  All new singers will be added to the end of the round.  K.J.'s shouldn't be letting their friends sing just as much as they want because they feel like it.
Rule #2.  Be kind to all singers, no matter how good or bad.  As H. would say, "It's the spirit of Karaoke!" 
Rule #3.  Watch your language.  Keep it appropriate even if the song doesn't.  (Not all places follow this rule.  Sometimes I don't even follow this rule!) 
Rule #4. Do not use a fake name so you can sing more.  (I'm serious. People do this.)
Rule #5 Do not bring your drink up with you! Sound equipment is very expensive!
I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting, but I'll leave it at those for now.
We had a really good time going as a group to this little restaurant and singing.  Then, I bought my own karaoke machine with it's own little screen.  We started having our own karaoke parties that included some DDR too.  Those are definitely some great memories!
Then, I moved to Indiana and started hanging out with my sister more. My sister and I started to go to Karaoke at a little bar inside the motel, The Econo Lodge. We actually probably started going there way before when I was in college or visiting from the suburbs.  We had been frequenting this little place for years.  Then, one day we showed up, and they were having a private party.  We also found out they were under new management.  We tried to follow the couple that ran the karaoke to their new places.  But they got creepier and seedier, so, we started going to a couple other places.  At first, we were going to Uncle E's, (I think that's what it was called.) which was a Lesbian bar.  But we always got to sing a ton there, the K.J. was really nice, and I didn't mind not being hit on by old men.  We also started going to The Office Lounge, which is a haunt for the locals.  The Office Lounge was always busy.  People were usually kind and supportive of all the the singers.  They also have a good dinner menu.  When we started going there, it was usually fun.  The only nights I didn't like were when the college kids would come.  They were usually loud and obnoxious.  It was always somebody's twenty-first birthday!
Karaoke became a relatively cheap and easy outlet to sing.  I started trying to find places in Indianapolis that I felt comfortable karaokeing with.  I also re-connected with some college friends who like to sing also.  So, they would go along with me and my karaoke obsession.  I think my sister actually came up with going to Nippers to sing.  Her friends used to go there and thought it was a great place.  This place was always busy.  I also didn't always feel comfortable singing.  I know that doesn't make since, but it was something about the crowd or atmosphere. 
My group of friends and I started trying Olly's.  It was a gay bar/ diner down town.  There were always a ton of singers. It was always extremely smokey.  I'm not much for crowded and smokey.  We tried that for a while.  They also had karaoke on weird nights for people with jobs, Wednesdays and Sundays. 
Then, we heard of this place really close to where I lived.  My friend B. and I went to check out this place called Buckets.  They had a great crowd, and Dr. Phil was the K.J. He is a very nice man and really enjoys what he does.   You could tell that while he was doing his job!  Dr. Phil's wife also assisted him sometimes.  He created are real group of people that really just enjoyed karaoke.  He had karoake at the bowling ally bar Wednesdays and Fridays, and then, he was at Buckets on Saturdays.  B. and I would go to one of Dr. Phil's shows at least once a week. We did this for almost a year, taking little breaks here and there.  Then, the bowling ally bar stopped having him, so, we stopped going there.  We continued to go to Buckets for a while. 
One day, I got a text from Dr. Phil's wife that said, "We learned as of 2pm today that Buckets will be closing for business after tonight."  B. and I had gone the week before and the air conditioner wasn't working.  It was very strange.  Our server, the one who had become a friend, kept apologizing to us for the inconvienence.  The night Buckets was closing it's doors forever, I went with some friends.  The second I walked in the door, the server ran up to me and said, "We are closing down karaoke after these singers.  Do you still want your drinks?"  I was shocked!  It was only 10:30pm at the latest!  We said "No", and we left. 
Since then, I may have gone to karaoke a couple times with my sister to The Office Lounge.  I didn't really find it enjoyable though.  They have new young K.J.'s that bring in new young customers.  The kind of customers that drive me away. 
I'll just stay home and karaoke for now.