Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Twas a dark and stormy Chicken Eve...

Twas a dark and stormy night. Only lightning illuminated the countryside, void of electricity, robbed by the embattled clouds that hung heavy in the sky...

Alright none of that was the scene on Monday night, but it was dark as I drove to school at 7pm. Why on earth would a band director be driving to campus on a school holiday? Two words.

Chicken Day.

Yes, Chicken Day brought me to my band hall at 7pm after a day of eye infections, broken toilet tanks, new toilets, and the transport of the world's heaviest gas stove across a brand new tile floor. It had been a long afternoon putting my house back together after a weekend of renovations, but a little fatigue was not going to preclude the final Chicken Day preparations. 

My goal was one hour; one hour to complete the chicken tangrams, rehang the decorations that tape had certainly not held to our textured walls, one hour to get my band hall just so to illicit the silliest and most magical responses to a faux holiday honoring the humble foul. By 8:30pm I gave myself 30 more minutes before calling it a night. 

I had one last sheet of pop art chickens to hang - a 5 foot sheet of laminated Warholesque chickens that needed to find a proper home. The doors to the band hall would make a fine place to display this study in chicken coloring. I grabbed my scissors and the sheet of chickens and stepped out of the band hall. I did a little measuring, decided to split the sheet, and held it to the door to inspect. Realizing my tape was in the band hall, I reached for the door.

I froze.

The door, at now 9:00, was locked. 

My keys were in my purse... in the band hall. My cell phone was in my purse... in the band hall. As if the gods were not already laughing, the automatic lights in the band hall on cue turned off. I stood in the darkened hallway, only safety lights providing a soft glow in the cold, silent school.

A million thoughts raced through my head.
How am I going to get my keys? There's no one here. I don't know anyone's phone number! I know my sister's, but she lives in California! Holy cow, I'm going to have to sleep here! I wish I had eaten dinner. How am I going to get home? Is there a phone book? No one's cell phone number is in the phone book! Crap! How do you dial long distance up here? Why did I stop carrying my phone in my butt pocket??? Oh yeah... that time I dropped it in the toilet at Windsor Castle... Crap! F***! THINK!

I aimlessly started down the main hallway, not sure what my intentions were, but walking had to be a start. All plans of escape required the contact of someone, and with all contact information held by a fallible electronic device within my purse, the only emotion I felt was shock at the situation in which I found myself. Locked IN a school.

As I entered the teacher's lounge my heart leapt as I saw the phone! Hooray! Salvation! And then the instant return of my reality that I knew not a single phone number of anyone in the state of Texas quelled the ever brief joy. I paced. Historically, pacing has brought to life the inspiration of many a genius, and so pacing would birth the key to my survival:


Yes, Facebook. A new rush of adrenaline propelled me as I jiggled handles, tried doors, and finally found computer access at an undisclosed location! I turned the computer on and waited an infinite amount of time as it s l o w l y booted up after the long weekend's sleep. I was shaky with delight, nerves, hunger, the actual cold of the school, and just from being tired after such a long day! It prompted me for my password.



Holy *&^(%&}*?&!!!!!

In my tired state, I typed the password wrong 3 dang times! On a fourth try, I was allowed in, but not before being required to change my code... Darn it! I liked my password...

Still trying to boot up, I insisted that the computer open Facebook immediately. I don't know exactly how many separate windows of FB eventually popped up, but finally I was logging in and could see rescue in my immediate future. I opened a box to the one person I could count on to be actively on Facebook at 9:15 on a Monday night: my friend/other band director Jenna.

jenna!!! i'm locked out of the band hall at school... like, at 9:30 monday night! Can you come get me?? my phone is locked in the band hall too!!!!

ShIt. I am home alone and ---- is sleeping


Is John at your house?

can you text john and have him maybe come get me??
he's at his house. I have no idea what his number is....

Yeah, does he need to get my keys?

yes please! what a hot mess!

*&$%…i don't have his number
does he see Facebook messages?

I remembered an old email I had of his with his cell number in the signature... Please don't have deleted it... 

found it in an old email
he might also see an email.

So wait, where are you?

... I'm -- --- -- --- ------- ---------

so your phone and keys are in the band hall and you are in --- ----------?

I know NO ONE'S phone numbers off the top of my head so I had to break into facebook.



I know! it's mildly hilarious
and I would call him but I don't know the dialing code for long distance

after the fact...
he is not responding


ok got him
he's on his way here

this is f'ing retarded...

slash hysterical
or hysterical tomorrow

it's going to make a fabulous story

yes it is
your knight in shining armor is on his way

thank god

At some point in there it occurred to me that John's number was not in fact long distance, so I called him frantically, and he was kind enough to talk about absolute nonsense with me until he reached the school. A big hug when he got there assured me that I would indeed be sleeping at home in a bed on Chicken Eve and not the hard tile floor of a middle school.

Time I reached my car: 10:38pm.
Go Chicken Day. :) 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: A Year in Cell Phone Pictures

Continuing with my blogging tradition, I present a sampling of the past year's silly cell phone shots.

After over-dosing on a plethora of food industry documentaries, 
I went (mostly) vegetarian. This was my first veg dish: eggplant lasagna.

We had our very first Stiles Chicken Day, complete with a visit from the Chick-fil-A cow!

My babies continued being cute.

 I made a few purchases for my upcoming London trip.

And then we went! :) 

I watched good friends make good music.

The 90s came back.

Our band had a good first year.

My rose bush was BEAUTIFUL!... and then I killed it... :(

Scarlet reproved her evil genius by opening 
and then consuming 3/4 a jar of peanut butter.

I was introduced to some dude. :)

We saw Mumford and Sons in Austin! 

I went home and managed to catch the sesquicentennial celebration for my hometown.

We volunteered at a PBS fundraiser.

I visited my sister in San Francisco.

After much practice, I found my balance!

Cedar Park Winds performed at TBA.

We spent an exorbitant amount of time watching the Perseids meteor shower.

This was edited but occurred completely naturally in my front yard.

My dream came true(!) as Rosetta Stone went on sale for $200!

I learned that I can run without dying...

...and then was crazy enough to run my first 5k with some cute guy.

My Passat died. :(

But my new Ford Fusion allowed me to use a specially designed chicken wallpaper!

I pulled up the hell strip and then hardscaped it (strangely enough, no pic of that...).

I learned that a well placed tortilla takes your outfit from day to night.

another early morning on the way to school

I played far too much Animal Crossing,

but I still managed to crank out a mile under 8 minutes! :) 
Yay for old people!

The chicken tradition continued...
...this time with a commemorative shirt.

I attended my first (atypical) Vogt Auction.

This whole year we have been discovering that we are secretly amazing chefs, 
and this braised duck was perhaps our finest moment. :) 

...although the spiced apple and pear pie 
complete with "the official chicken" was pretty dang tasty.

The official chicken also found its way onto a sweater at 
our very first Stiles Big Ugly Chicken Sweater Party. :) 

Justin Timberlake in Houston!!!

Fish stew... Enough said.

I came home one evening to discover my most awesome of neighbors had left a surprise!

With the help of a really cute dude, the kitchen transformation began with the removal of crappy linoleum and the installation of new dark countertops!!!

2013 was actually a pretty great year. My "new" band program grew tremendously, and the future is bright in (or maybe despite) our strange chicken culture. I find myself surrounded by loving supportive people, and that's pretty great. I am lucky enough to have found this silly guy who will draw chickens for my kiddos and backwards wink at me from across the way. All in all, I think the foundation is well laid for a super 2014, and I can't wait to see what ridiculousness the universe has in store! 

Be kind, universe!