Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snow Day #3

We have survived four snow days in the past five work days.

This may not sound very impressive, but when you work as an essential staff member on inclement weather days, 4/5 of a week where schedules are different from the norm is quite a strain.

All of us are loopy. The kids are not enjoying the "fun" schedule anymore, and the staff are tired of the same schedule! We heard that there may be snow day #5 tomorrow. We are not amused.

Yesterday, I had no good ideas for what to do in my music therapy sessions.

I woke up (because I slept at work to avoid having to drive in the snow storm), and thought, "Cripes! What am I going to do with the kids today?" I started folding up my blankets from my sleepover, and inspiration struck!

Snow Day Fort!

I put all of the blankets on a circle of chairs, using clothespins to keep it all together. We crawled in and played "rain" instruments.

Can you believe it? My students couldn't!

The reactions of my students were interesting. One young gentleman sat down on it (I think he thought it was a hammock. It wasn't!!). He laughed when he fell down taking one side of the fort along with him. Some kids refused to enter, which was fine. Others couldn't stay away from it and had to be dragged from the fort when their time was over. We played the instruments, hoping for warmer weather and rain to wash the snow away from here! 

That rain chant didn't work its magic yet, but we are keeping our fingers crossed. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Funny Things That Happen Sometimes

Last week, my facility had two snow days, and I worked both days. The first day, I put my watch on my wrist during my drive to work, but when I got to the music room, I discovered a bare wrist - no watch. I first thought that I had forgotten to put it on, but when I went back to the car, the watch was gone. I was confused by this, but figured that I had lost it for good.

Tonight, I am getting ready for the next snow day by spending the night here in the music room. I was watching the guys use the snow plow to move the existing snow farther away from the parking lot to make room for the 9-24 inches (the actual number will probably fall between those two numbers, but the meteorologists haven't been able to agree on a total yet), and I happened to look at the bottom of one of the snow piles.

Lo and behold, there was my watch!

I went outside to get it and found that it had frozen at 6:07 - the time that I had arrived at the facility last Thursday. I guess I caught the edge on something and disconnected the band from the watch face.

It is amazing how such a little thing like finding my watch at the bottom of a six foot snow drift can change an outlook on life. What a joy!

Now, my current challenge is to figure out what to do to entertain 48 bored children and adolescents tomorrow for snow day #3. Sigh.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Here We Go Again...

Ugh. The weather forecast states that there will be about 4-7 inches of new snow coming into our area starting this evening. I am predicting that there will be another series of snow days in my school district in the next two days. Can I just say, again, "Ugh?"

So, now it is time to get creative. What could I possibly do with 48 kids who have already gone through the "fun" stuff at the back of the cabinet? I guess I will start to do more traditional things with my clients. Maybe we'll go Snow Day Caroling...

Anyway, on a lighter note, I am going to host my postponed webinar about games tonight. I have really enjoyed starting these experiences and sharing them with other music therapists and music therapy students. There is something so much fun about being in a community of therapists, sharing ideas, and interacting from our own homes. I always feel absolutely exhausted but also invigorated when webinars conclude.

I am trying to figure out some new ideas for webinars. I think we will start to talk about the therapeutic application of music for specific client responses. Can anyone say, "CMTE series??" I can, and I will as soon as I get my CBMT Pre-approved Provider Status! (In the works right now!! Keep your fingers crossed, folks!)

Okay, now I am starting to think about snow again, so it is time to sign off. Here's another picture from the snowy wasteland that I know right now...
Be glad that you are where you are and not here!

See you all soon!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Dawn breaks outside the music room at my facility
I am at home after spending the night at my workplace due to BLIZZARD 2013!!! Can you hear the dramatic music swelling? Actually, the storm did cause lots of accidents, made the governor declare a state of emergency, and dumped between 10-14 inches of snow in 6 short hours. When I heard that the storm was coming, I brought food and clothing in addition to the winter weather kit that I keep in my car during these unpredictable weather months. It was a good thing that I did since I slept on the music room floor on Thursday evening.

When I am at work on snow days, I complete a modified schedule where I see every resident for a half-hour of group music therapy. I try to have Therapeutic Music Experiences (TMEs) that are unique and unusual for my students. Thursday's plans included using all of the manipulatives that I keep tucked away and watching Peter and the Wolf by Disney. By Friday, I decided it was time to be more active in making music. We did a large instrument Round Robin, playing the Cloudy Day Blues, a great song composed by Blythe Lagasse when she was a practicum student at my facility 16 years ago. I color-coded all the large instruments - the keyboards, drum set, and guitars. Everyone took turns playing the instruments, keeping up with the chord changes. It was a good day, but exhausting!

So, now it is time to hibernate. I think the bears have the right idea of spending lots of time sleeping during the cold winter months. I wish I could do the same, but, alas, I am not a bear. I am human, and humans do not have the ability to hibernate. Sigh.
My hibernation patterns often include working on the computer, reading books, making things for my music therapy sessions, and baking. Today, I plan on staying in my pajamas while working on a webinar, finishing up a pre-approved provider application packet for CBMT, and taking a nap at some time. The luxury of a day when I do not have to go anywhere or see anyone is valuable, and I mean to enjoy it!

Here's to snow days and snowed-in days! I'm off to hibernate! See you soon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weather or Not?

The snow is coming. It is no secret that the plains states are expected to see LOTS of snow in the next couple of days. I am getting ready for a couple of snow days at work (I am essential staff for our residents, so will report to work during inclement weather). I am packing my overnight stuff just in case I don't feel like traveling back to my town just in order to turn around and slog through the storm again for snow day #2.

I like snow days at my facility. Our day students stay at home, many of our staff members also stay home, and we have a day that has a relaxed pace. I do 30-minute sessions with all seven classes that are present at the facility. I keep some special Therapeutic Music Experiences (TMEs) just for snow days. We play Music Baseball, we sing campfire songs, and we relax.

There is something different about the world when it is covered in snow. Have you ever noticed that the world sounds different? The silence of snow is remarkable and is different from every other kind of weather.

I am looking forward to the next couple of days. Being snowed in at work may sound like something difficult, but it is not as bad as it sounds. Kids do very well on the first day of being snowbound. The change in routine is new and exciting. Day two is where the restlessness starts, and heaven help us when we have to go into snow day three! A relaxed schedule is a good thing every once in a while, but it is not a good habit to get into!

Gotta go to work and get my snow day plans ready! Here comes the snow!!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yipes! It's Been A While...Let's Catch Up!

So, what's been going on in your life lately?

Mine has been busy and full of mundane activities as I have been getting through these changeable winter months. I hope yours has been busy and happy. 

Recently, my guitar stand broke. Here it is, in pieces, on the music room floor. It amazes me how such a simple tool assisted and supported me in so many sessions over the years. I did some calculating and found that, since my Dad gave me the stand on Christmas Day, 1988 (yep, I am THAT old!), it has been with me through 24 years of sessions, travels, has moved over 3000 miles around the country, and has been to camp, to practicum sessions, to my internship, and to all of my professional jobs. When it broke, I felt like some of my history shattered as well.

Nonetheless, I have to have a guitar stand, so I asked my Dad if he would get me one for my birthday gift. He agreed and my new stand arrived several days later. (I figured that he did such a good job finding the first one that he could find me one that would last another 24 years of heavy-duty use! I think he found a winner!!)

Here is the new one! It feels a bit lighter than my old one, but it functions exactly the same way! Now, one thing that is definitely an improvement over the last one is the neck leash. My guitars have a tendency to leap off the stands at the most inopportune times (usually when no one is around them, and quite out of the blue). This tendency to fall off the stand and break their necks has led to the demise of at least 4 of my guitars in the past 24 years. Isn't it amazing that the stand lasted so much longer than any of my instruments? My new stand has made my life a bit easier in that it fits my instrument storage space and provides me with a tool that can help me keep my guitars more safe from my own haphazard use.

It is amazing how a simple change can help make a difference in how you approach your life, both personal and professional. Now, I'm not saying that a new guitar stand will fix everything that is going wrong in my life, but it has fixed some things. I guess the trick is to find a little thing that will fix one of the major challenges that you face on a day-to-day basis. For me, right now, a new guitar stand helped me eliminate a challenge. (Thanks again, Dad!)

Off to face the challenge of organization, AGAIN! This time, it's my clothes closets. I am trying to be ruthless in what I am donating this time around. Sweaters from college (that I can still fit somehow) that I haven't worn in a couple of years are going to Planet Aid. I love the memories that are associated, but I really need to clear out! Ruthless!! That's me (we'll see how much I decide to keep just because...). Another simple change that is going to lead to better things (and more space for more stuff - ugh!).

I hope there are some simple changes that you can make that will make your life easier. Have a great week!