Saturday, October 27, 2007

Oops...forgot something

Someone kindly reminded me that I had not yet shared about the American Idol auditions. As you may have guessed, if they had gone well, I wouldn't have needed reminding! Here are some pictures of the audition area and all of the other people who were with me.

This is the parking lot that we all lined up in. The day that we picked up wristbands, this lot was filled, emptied and filled up again 3 times!!

These are some pics of the first day we were there...picking up wristbands. Basically, wristband pickup starts on Saturday morning. These pictures were taken at about 6:00 am. You can see the humidity in the air...yuck. We waited in the parking lot until about noon. By the time we started moving, the whole process went pretty quick. I was out of there with a wristband by about 1:00.

Wristband pickup lasted through Sunday and auditions began Monday morning.

People started lining up for auditions as early as Sunday night...regardless of the fact that camping out was not allowed. I got there at about 5:30 am and by 9:00 I was in the doors.

Here are two pictures of my company on audition day. There were over 20,000 people...WOW! We filled the Wachovia Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Yep...there's Ryan Seacrest. Even though I didn't make it past this first day, chances are pretty good that you'll catch a glimpse of me during the opening sequence of the season. Philadelphia is the first audition city to be on the air, so keep an eye out (about four rows off the floor) during the opening scene, and look closely when you hear "I Love Rock'n'Roll". Ryan came in to shoot the opening know, the famous " American IDOL...," and hung out for about 30 minutes.

Then it was time for the auditions.

There were 17 of these audition tables spread across the floor of the arena. Each table had 1-2 judges at it, and group of fours auditioned at a time. If you look closely you can see some of the freaks that came out...

Auditions started at about 11:00 at I got out of there around 5:00. So, how did my audition go?

Well, after hearing some of the people they turned away, and seeing some of the people they put through, I was completely prepared to go home with the reasoning "not what we're looking for." HOWEVER, I was not prepared to go home because I had royally flopped my audition. I sang "Broken Wing," by Martina McBride, and started out great. The judge actually gave me this, "now this is refreshing," look. However as soon as I sang the first note, I could tell I was too high and that I wasn't going to pull it off. Sure enough, when I came to the chorus, I was cornered by my own mistake. I was SO frustrated. So, since I can only blame myself...I'm going back next year!

Michael also auditioned, and I honestly don't know how he did. All he has told me is that he thinks the whole process was a joke and that he was incredibly turned off. We haven't really discussed his actual audition. Needless to say, he didn't make it either. You can watch for him in San Diego...singing "California Dreamin'."

So, no American Idol this year, but like I said...I have to be turned down after a good audition in order for me to be satisfied, so I'm heading back next year. Let me know if you want to be part of my entourage! Actually, each person can only bring one we should get a group of people together to audition so that we can show up with a real entourage. OK...there you go. Now I think we're really caught up!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hello hello!

Here I am again and I'm ready to do some more filling in on the happenings of Kristin! So I think I owe you info on the progress of the reunion, work and whatever else you're in the mood to read about.

As far as the reunion goes, planning has taken off and I think we have a GREAT event to look forward to. Two of my classmates have really jumped on board to help, and they are both in Los Alamos still, so that's INCREDIBLY helpful. We have a great weekend planned, but we're kinda holding off on the announcing of everything to add a bit of fanfare to the itinerary. We also have some really neat ideas for stuff that we are going to present throughout the weekend. I'm excited to see everything come together! If you know any '98 graduates, tell them it should be an event to remember and definitely not one to miss!, thought I was out of here near the end of the summer, but once we started getting busy again, I realized that I just need to stay busy to stay happy! Now, busy is a definite understatement and I barely have time to breathe, let alone pick apart the reasons that I'm not totally content. Really, I take comfort in the knowledge that I have put my life and soul into this place over the past 4 years, and in 7 short months that will end. I have been denied opportunities to advance, and that has hurt every time. BUT, I have truly enjoyed my time here, and the growth that I have made as an individual is incredible, so I can only be grateful. It will be hard to leave, but I can't wait to begin my new adventure of teaching!! That is the career that I want to put my life and soul into.

So...what's coming up for me? Some fun stuff!

First of all, for all you Garth Brooks fans out there, I ALMOST won a trip to his sold out concert in Kansas City. I was one of 8 qualifiers, but someone else took it. I did however walk away with a reserved copy of his 6 CD set coming out in November and $100. Can't complain!

School project: I am in the process of creating a documentary for a class. It is a lot of hard work, but the subject is one that is really of national relevance. I feel that this documentary could ideally be used nation wide to assist athletic and activity programs fight for survival and hopefully funding. The platform is

“Those students who participate in interscholastic activities are surpassing those who don't when it comes to test scores and GPA. Due to budget adjustments meant to allow for more testing materials and resources at schools that are not meeting AYP, these schools are losing their activity and athletic programs at an alarming rate. As a result, the students who most need these motivators to do well in school, no longer have the opportunity to participate in these activities."

If we gather the data that we expect to throughout this process, I truly feel that we have a good chance at making this national!

November: I am going to be going on a Carribean cruise to Progreso, Merida, and Cazumel the first week of November, and I can't wait! I've done an Alaskan cruise, and it was incredible. I am really excited to "hit the beaches" though!

Thanksgiving at my place! In case I haven't told you, I have become quite the lover of culinary arts...and I'm pretty darn good at it if I may say so. Last year I was lucky enough to have a successful Pampered Chef party that yielded quite a bit of free stuff for me. It also meant that I was given 50% of their professional pan set. My parents and I split the cost as a Christmas gift to me, and I have never had so much fun! I was also lucky enough to get a new stove in May, and I was insistent that my connection be switched from electric to gas. LIFE IS GOOD! Turns out there was a gas line back there all along, it just needed to be turned on. ANYWAY, I am hosting Thanksgiving at my place and I'm excited to have an opportunity to pull out the full size dining room table and my good china. So, if anyone is without a place for Thanksgiving, let me know and you aren't anymore!

December: Besides my 2 week Christmas break (woo hoo), my parents have decided to host Iron Cheff Derr at their house! Michael and I have both enjoyed experimenting with and learning about new and interesting culinary techniques, as well as the marriages of flavors. On December 22nd he and I will be fighting it out Iron Chef style. If you are going to be in town, we are in need of 2 more judges...let me know! We are going to put the whole thing on tape and see if we can be featured on the "How Do You Iron Chef" spot on the Food Network. Should be fun!

My mom and I are looking into travel possibilities to get us to California to assist some of the fire victims over break. After experiencing the Cerro Grande and the resulting devestation, we can truly empathize with these communities. Even more importantly, one of the most memorable aspects of that tragedy was the assistance that came from all over the world - literally. I feel that this is an opportunity to show our appreciation by doing the same for another group of survivors.

OK, I think I have truly caught you up on the saga. Hope you are all doing well, and I really am going to try to stop in weekly or so to say hi. And in order to start how I finished...goodbye goodbye! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 it took me awhile...

but I'm here. I'm not writing where I should be...totally in class right now, but this is the class that I haven't yet discovered the point of, so I don't feel incredibly guilty! I know I have a lot to write about, and to be honest, it's a bit overwelming when I think about it, but here I go.

As I said, my last week of summer school was kinda out of control...but I made it through. And by the end of it, I had a ton of great teaching resources, including lesson plans and unit plans that I created. I think that these resources will really help during my first year in the classroom.
I am now in three classes, all of them "PC" master classes...meaning, I'm not sure any of them are really necessary (at least they haven't yet proved to be), but they look good on my credentials. Let's put it this way...the title of one of my classes is "Social Justice in Education." now come on...what do you think goes on in there besides a bunch of complaining???? HOWEVER, I have met some great people and I have fun during all of my classes...the fun may be nothing related to the class material, but it's fun regardless!
I've been very blessed to be surrounded by people who respect me and my opinions and I really feel like I am where I'm supposed to be. For those of you who haven't struggled with that, after not knowing what you were doing for an extended amount of time, it's a great relief!!! One of my instructors told me last night that she wished her son had a teacher like me. This woman has 2 PhD's, and she's not one to give away compliments, so I was incredibly touched.

Harry Potter Book Fair:
Well, it was almost 3 months ago, but I was the 75th person in the Hastings on Montano to get the 7th and last insallment of Harry Potter. I got it in the middle of my summer classes, so I had to lay it down until classes were over. Then once classes were over, it was time for officials clinic, coaches clinic, and athletic director's meeting. I FINALLY read the first page of the book on August 5th, after driving into Des Moines, Iowa, for my annual summer road trip.
Remember how I said that the necklace I wore to the movie premier was the most dressed up I would ever get? I lied...I took my coworker's 12 year old daughter and when I found out that she was going to be dressing up, I couldn't be left out...

The book was great! And that's all I'm really going to day because it has been awhile and I don't want to make any comments that aren't an key. I am going to reread the series when I'm done school, but for now I am happy to know that the series ends in a way I was happy with.

Carrissa and I took our annual summer road trip from August 4-18. We had a blast as usual and I'll give you a quick breakdown of the trip...

Day 1: Drive to Denver and have dinner with Rissa's dad and step mom...yummy...Nancy made us cherry pie! Then we watched a snow-mobiling video with Bob...that was fun!
Day 2: Drive to Des Moines. Bob and Nancy allowed is to borrow their radios so that Riss and I, could communicate with Laura and Annie in the other car. I was banned from the radio after a while because I'm told I talk about pointless things...why do we have radios if we're not going to use them? THEN...the same people who told me I was talking on the radio too much came on the radio and dared me to swallow a gobstopper whole...OK...done, now what? They didn't believe me, so they dared me to do it again while they drove by and watched. Never a dull moment!!! We packed food so that we didn't have to spend money on the way and had 2 nice breaks for food throughout the day. We got into Des Moines and relaxed at the hotel for the rest of the night.
Day 3: Riss and I started at the mall and then joined the family for a meal. This day was nice and easy...
Day 4: Amana baby! If you ever go to Iowa, you need to make it a point to travel to the Amana Colonies. Amana is a cluster of old German colonies that still function as small communities. There is a great wool mill, family dining, and a cellar winery ever 100 feet. It's great fun! on our way back, I decided that I knew the way to go, and although I was wrong...the locals in the car didn't feel like telling me so. So, not only did we go off the beaten path (which was actually a blast), but we were running out of gas at an alarming rate. We barely made it to a gas station in time, but we did, and the experience was totally memorable!
Day 5: State Fair day 1. The Iowa State Fair really is the greatest state fair in the country. I was so bummed that my ankle kept me from covering as much of the fair as I normally do, but it was still great to be at the fair. Every year the "butter lady" carves a lifesize cow out of butter as well as something that is relevant to the pop culture of the year. So of course, I saw a lifesized Harry Potter, his broom, chest, and the fat lady, all carved out of butter. Check out the preying mantis that jumped onto the car when we got back to the hotel...she's HUGE!

Day 6: The Fair again. I didn't spend much time at the Fair this day due to the heat and my ankle. Strangely enough, during the hour that I was there, I was spotted!
After getting back to the hotel that night, I hopped onto myspace and saw that I had a message. Gina had emailed me saying..."You have a twin and I saw her at the Iowa State Fair today. The resemblance was so strong I almost ran over and said hi." I couldn't believe it! I emailed her back and told her that I didn't have a twin and that I had been at the Fair that day.
Day 7: Gina called me early and we laughed about the strange circumstances of the day before. I told her that if she didn't mind me packing while we talked, she should bring Cassie to the hotel so that we could catch up. We ate breakfast together and enjoyed about an hour of catch up time before Riss and I had to get on the road.

Riss and I drove to the St. Louis (stopping for Dutch Letters in Pella on the way) and stayed at her family's for the evening.
Day 8: I met Rissa's grandfather this day, who is truly a one of a kind man. He is an expert on big band music and has an incredible library of music in his self made recording studio. He is 92 years old ( if I remember correctly) and needs a magnifying computer system to see anything. It was an honor and a special memory to meet him and I can't wait for the CD that he has promised to make me!!
Day 9: Riss and I added a leg to Pennsylvania to our trip this year and we decided to take a train out that direction. We had a connection in Chicago and then got on our train that would travel throughout the night. We had splurged for a sleeper car, were able to get a great upgrade, and were treated like queens for the evening. I had lamb for dinner! Yummy!
Day 10: Pennsylvania here we come! My uncle was over an hour late picking us up at the train station...not incredibly surprised...and then we made it to my grandparent's house. We enjoyed the evening with them and went to bed!
Day 11: We drove around the towns that I grew up in and around and visited some old friends. I tried to show Riss as much as I could, but by this time we were getting pretty tired of travelling and we were missing our animals A LOT!!!
I couldn't introduce Riss to my family without a game of Pit, so we played cards for a couple hours before going to bed.
Day 12: We visited a coal mine and went on a tour into the mine. My uncle and cousin joined us and it was a fun time. Riss and I then drove to Hershey and went through the free Hershey's chocolate tour. We were told that we were the millionth customers to park at the museum, but later found out that the parking attendants were just bored! No complaints...good story and free parking!

At this point we met up with my uncle and drove to the train station to get back on the tracks

We were SO ready to get off the train and get back home!
Day 13:
We arrived back in the St. Louis area and stayed this evening with Rissa's family again. I made the family individual cobblers to go with dinner and I think I'm golden with them forever!
Day 14:
We drove all the way home this day, stopping only for necessities and to do about a 30 minute shopping spree at Ulta...Love that place!
OK...DONE with the travelling.
I think I'll end this post here and write another one to include details about work, the reunion and my upcoming fun later! Thanks for bearing with me.
PS Shannon...see what you get when you ask for a post!!!