Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer Journal Excerpts

This time last week, it was still summer. But I'm a sophomore now. I guess I just feel old. Because this time next year I'll be a junior, which means that the year after that I'll be a senior, which means that the swirling vortex of terror-- aka the future beyond high school-- is looming on the horizon. *gulps*
Enough depressing thoughts. I thought I'd share a few little snippets of my summer. These are a few excerpts from my journal. I've taken one from almost every entry-- they are few, yes, I know. What I've written this summer wouldn't feel a reporter's notepad.
I'm doing this for me just as much as for you. Sometimes you just need to reflect over recent times to think about what you've been doing....

       "I can't believe Monday is the last day of school. It's crazy. Just last week I was trembling at the thought of high school, and now summer is just around the corner. I have so many plans:  learn piano, work on my Latin and Spanish, finish (one of) my novel(s), have a real flower garden, blog every day...."

       "Well, I just almost got hit by a bus.
       I was coming out of church this evening, making a mad dash across the parking lot to the playground. Most everyone had left, so I didn't look before I crossed. I looked up just in time to see the huge Habitat for Humanity bus screeching on the brakes. I leapt across the last few feet and made it. I whipped my head around, watching the bus cruise over the spot I was standing.

       "So... K is engaged now. It was a big surprise to me and the others who weren't in on the secret. K's brother J announced last night that he would have a special surprise for his new bride down on the beach today around four o'clock. I forgot all about it and was in the middle of a vicious game of pool basketball the next afternoon.
       'That's against the rules!' Hannah had shrieked.
       E shrugged and dunked her under. 'There are no rules!'
       'If there are no rules, then there's nothing saying I can't shoot at an imaginary basket and get five-hundred points per shot!' I yelled. I stole the ball and threw it up in the air. 'Five hundred! A thousand! One thousand five hun--'
       'Rebecca's gettin' creative," It was Uncle S, being sarcastic as usual. I sent a wave of water and chlorine over his head.
       A group of cousins went by, all dressed up and with cameras. 'Where are they going? Oh, right. It's four.' I was not about to follow. Not like this-- in an unflattering bathing suit, hair sticking to me, and makeup running down my face. Anyone with a camera was an enemy just then.
       But I could watch from a distance.
       I hoisted myself out of the water and went to the steps that lead over the dunes. The cousins were already specks down the beach.
       "Who is that?" Someone had come to meet them. It was a tall someone, a large someone; probably a man. There were greetings and hugs and camera flashes. The Someone got down on one knee in front of what looked like K. After a moment, he stood and they hugged.
       An aunt came running back down the beach, breathless. We asked what happened. 'A proposed to K. Very romantic, yes, no time to talk-- have to go start dinner.'
       K came back, starry-eyed and beaming, holding the hand of A. A diamond ring glittered on her girlish hand. Thanks to the help of K's brother J, the proposal had been a complete surprise.
       Some of my girly fashionista cousins had nearly given away the surprise.  They had fussed over K like mother hens. 'You need to change out of that bathing suit-- are you going to change out of that bathing suit?' 'No, don't wear that-- not flattering.' 'Mmm, nope. Find something else.' 'Honey, you gonna dry your hair? Let's dry your hair....' 'Girl, you need makeup. Here, let me help.'
       Meanwhile, a frustrated K had rolled her eyes, asking, 'What's the point!? It's about J and his wife!'
       Well, now she knows.

       "S came to VBS tonight.  F, my five-year-old bestie, grabbed me by the hand. 'Who's that, Fwabecca?' she asked. She looked at my visitor with a wary eye, head cocked to the side.
       'She's one of my friends. This is S.'
       'Are you her bestie?'
       'She's one of my good friends, yes,' I said quickly. 'Want to run through the bouncy house?'
       'Yes!' I nearly lost my balance as she leapt forward, jerking me along behind. I threw an apologetic glance over my shoulder at S.

       "Joshua got in trouble for yanking on Levi's ear. S and I could hear Dad downstairs, lecturing.
       'You never pull on someone's ear! They can come off with only seven pounds of pressure!'
      S and I looked at each other, then burst into peals of laughter on the floor. Only a doctor. Only a doctor would say that while scolding his child. 'No, only your dad, Rebecca.' S said, wiping her eyes.

       "I would do anything to get him to notice me except talk to him,  you know?"

       "All I've done this summer is message L. And get into embarrassing situations any time I go out in public. And watch Sherlock. Eh, well... I'm being me and doing what I enjoy, and I guess that's what matters."

       "The trumpet section leader was marching up and down his row, and could be heard bellowing over the rest of the chaos: 'IF I SEE ANYONE MARCHING BACKWARD NOT ON THEIR TOES, I WILL TAKE OUT THAT PERSON'S ACCHILES TENDON. IS THAT CLEAR?'
       I can assure you that everyone marched backwards on their toes. That time, anyway.

       " Since there was nowhere else for us to go, we marched with tiny steps in the stretch of parking lot behind the band room. The stupid athletic teams were hogging our field. Again. This time it was the soccer players. The football players were tackling each other in the grass by the shed. Now that they had an audience, they started to show off.
       'I hate football players,' said a clarinet player behind me. She had echoed my thoughts.
       'Why?' asked a freshman flutist, cheeks flushing red.
       'They're so cocky, and with no reason to be.' I agreed. Yet when we started marching, I tripped over an air pocket when one of them smiled in my direction. A coincidence, I'm sure.

       "Tomorrow is the first day of school. If I don't have at least one class with L or J, I think I'm going to cry."

       "Is it wrong that I'm terrified of freshmen?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Surviving Band Camp

(Written August 3)

I spent almost all of last week at marching band camp. People told me it was a ton of hard work and commitment and that I didn't know what I was getting into. They were right. But I loved it!

My favorite part of marching band are the two band directors. They are both lovely Christian ladies with a vast knowledge of music and an amazing sense of humor. One is all sunshine and rainbows; the other is lively and very dynamic. It's been a joy to know them both.

One of them in particular gives amazing advice and encouragement. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her:

"The word can't is illegal in this band room."

"Don't lie to me. You know where liars go-- that's right, straight to Washington D.C."

"What have I said about crying over a boy, dear? Don't waste your tears over one-- they make more of them every day."

My school's marching band is a little different from most. Like most bands, we're a family. (New "family trees" are actually drawn up every year.) But from what I've seen we're given a loser reign than most bands because our directors know that a little trust goes a long way. We also do things a little differently.

When someone messes up, instead of being scolded, everyone in the room drops what they're doing and applauds that person. The poor soul is usually so embarrassed that they never make the same mistake twice.

"Story Time": This is the directors' unique way of making announcements during band camp. At the end of practice, the head director yells "Story Time! Gather round!" The entire band huddles around the drum major's platform. Some sit cross-legged. Some stand. Some lean on others. We all look up at the head director with bright eyes. It went something like this:

"Once upon a time there lived a beautiful band director. She had an evil stepsister named Mrs. B--" The other band director rolled her eyes. "And the beautiful band director had a dream-- She dreamed that the entire band would practice Karn Evil 9 tonight and memorize it so we could run through the drill tomorrow." (Groans from the band.) "She also dreamed that magical elves from a faraway land would bring her band popsicles--" (Cheers from the band) "--and that the band would all meet back here at ten till eleven. Seniors, you can go ahead."

Well this post had a point to it, but I can't even remember what it was... Oh, yes. So here's some tips on surviving if you're going to band camp any time soon. :D

1. Water. I don't care if you're not thirsty yet. Drink it. All of it. Whenever you can. You'll thank me later.

2. Mark your music. No one is going to remember all the positions for the field show the first time you're set on the field. Make note of it in your flip folder. Be sure to write down where you're standing, for how long, who is next to you, and where you move to next. Don't forget to write in the holds, either.

3. Sunscreen. Wear it. You don't burn? You will. The sun's harmful rays damage your skin before it turns red or tans. Sunburn just means it's too late. It's not worth the risk. You're going to be on the field for 4+ hours at a time.

4. Aloe vera. Oh, you didn't take my advice when I told you to wear sunscreen? Most people didn't. :) Just put something with aloe in it on the burned places overnight. It helps.

5.  PLEASE wear tennis shoes. No one wants to trip over your lost flipflop while marching. We're not allowed to look down when we're at attention! And marching backwards in open-toed shoes?
Impossible. Or boots? You'll die of heat stroke.

6. How to get turf out of your shoes aside from lighting them on fire:
  • You can't.
  • It's never coming out.
  • It's not humanly possible.
  • It's there forever.
  • End of story.
7. Understand that when a section leader yells that he will take out the Achilles tendon of anyone not marching backward on their toes, he is (probably) joking. I still wouldn't take any chances, if I were you. Marching on your toes it is!

8. Know when Senior Prank Day is. Every high school band camp has one. Watch out for it. I would avoid wearing white clothing, or bringing anything that is important to you to camp that day.

9. The seniors are never to be trusted. They're like little kids during band camp:  full of mischief and pranks. Lowerclassmen, watch out!

10. And most importantly: "One more time" never actually means "one more time". One more time actually means "We gonna keep doin' this until all y'all get this perfect", which can take anywhere from five more times to fifteen. Just a heads up. :)