Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I promise I am going to blog soon about the Wonderful Nerd Conference. It's just that my folder with all my quotes on it is in my car and I'm too lazy/busy to get it out. In good time, my friends, in good time.

But for a quick tide-you-over, let me share this adorable (at least I think so) quote from one of my piano students:

We often do some improv at the end of a lesson to wind down and let the kids' creative juices flow. So at my last lesson with this child, I asked the student if he or she knew what improvising meant. They replied, "Yeah! It's when you're having people over for dinner and you want to serve mashed potatoes but they get ruined so instead you have to serve apples."

Yes. Yes, my child, that is what improvising is. Very good.


Friday, January 22, 2010

I just got back from 2 days of pure choir director bliss. Well, something close to that, anyway. Most of you would probably call it pure music nerd chaos. And that's okay. I will post about it soon, but right now I'm exhausted and still have a voice lesson, rush event, choreography session, and friend date to attend to before I can turn in for the night. But don't worry. There will be a post. And pictures. And quotes.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To Teach is to Change a Life... (Or something cheesy like that.)

I have been blessed with amazing teachers throughout my life. These teachers are probably why I want to be a teacher. So tonight I would like to pay a short tribute to them.

It all started with Mrs. Burr, my kindergarten teacher. (I guess it really started with Skye, my pre-school teacher, but I don't actually remember her. In fact, I don't even know if that's her name.) Mrs. Burr let me stay after school to help blow up the alphabet people. She gave me a talking-to when I believed lightning was going to strike me in the bathtub. She lovingly sent me to the office when a bee stung me in the hallway.

Next was Mrs. Matiea... ok. I couldn't spell her name in 1st grade, I can't spell it now. And Mr. King. They were great. Mr. King gave me my first role on stage, Belle Star. And boy, did I love being Belle Star. He also told me he'd vote for me when I ran for president. Still working on that one.

Then was Mrs. Jensen. Another gem. I really only remember her yelling at me one time for spilling orange juice on purpose, but my parents say she was absolutely fantastic.

I had others in between, but the next ones I really remember are all from 6th grade. Mrs. Landry, Mrs. Meech, and Mrs. Meyers. Math, English, Music. These were the teachers that stuck up for me when I happened to have a habit of being a tattle-tale. Mrs. Meyers was the teacher who taught me about backwash. But also, and more importantly, loved me and showed me my worth when I didn't make the select all-city choir that year.

7th and 8th grades. Two of my most important teachers. Mr. Routt and Mrs. Farnell. History and choir. It would take me a year to explain all of my great memories from these two amazing people. They are the main reason I'm doing what I'm doing.

High school. So many great teachers, but really two (again) stick out. Ms. Owens and Mr. Atman. Choir and Physics. I don't know if I remember very many lessons Mr. Atman taught on physics (and he taught a lot), but I do remember when I came into class the day after tragedy had struck my young, 16-year-old heart and he told me that I was loved by so many people, but most importantly God. At a public school. And Ms. Owens showed me again and again and again what it is to truly make music with a group of people.

If you've stuck with me this long, you should probably find a hobby. Ha. This is mostly just for me to look back on when I'm actually a teacher so I can remember what it's like to change people's lives.

College. So many. This is MUCH more recent so it would be hard to fully explain all of them. Dr. McBride, Dr. Wright, Dr. Thompson, Dr. Adams, Laura, Dr. Shank. I think that will do for now. 4 out of 6 of these teachers have (multiple times) asked to have lunch or coffee with me or me and my friends just to see how we're doing. Somehow I have found a place where people actually care about me and not what my grades are or how well I sing. They care about my relationship with God. They want me to succeed in life more than they want me to succeed in my major. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

I can't imagine what my life would be like if these teachers had not been in it. Super mushy, I know. But I gotta remember these things, somehow.


Monday, January 18, 2010

It Has Come

After all this waiting and planning and stressing, the first Spring Sing practice is finally here. Instead of me telling you all about it though... I thought I'd let an expert tell you how everything is coming.

You won't be disappointed.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Going on 12 Hours

Of Spring Sing prep. We have officially made one whole dress today. By ourselves!! (Meaning with very minimal help from my mom.) We chose not to be discouraged by my mom's face when she saw the finished project. We also chose not to compare it to the one my mom made. Let's face it. We just can't be as good as someone who has been sewing dresses for 30+ years. But who will notice a too-low gathering seam from the audience? I mean, really. Now on to 3-part harmony out the wazoo. We've already called for reinforcements.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Nothing to Report

End of the first week back to school. Spring Sing practice starts on Monday. Mon. Day. As in 3 days from now. I know what I'll be doing this weekend! But first, I have a concert to go to.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Math Update

I forgot to tell you who my teacher is. Like in Harry Potter world. I was going to say a mix between Lockhart/Quirrel. However after today I have decided that he is not anyone in HP, but rather Robin Williams. Yep. I am being taught Trig by Robin Williams.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:14-17

What a bold statement the Holy Spirit makes through James!! I was so convicted tonight as Jeff spoke in class about faith without deeds. I am so guilty of this and it makes me cringe. He gave many good ideas about things we can do and standing around after class talking with people, many more came up. This world is crying for action. Screaming for it. I want to get out there and do something.

"Can such faith save him?"


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Magical Math

Something crazy (and by crazy I mean slightly more interesting than to-do lists) did happen in Trig today! All you loyal readers must have been sending your thoughts out to help my hopeless blogging.

First of all, you need to know something about me and college math courses. I secretly love them. I also might suffer from a slight superiority complex when it comes to math. Just being honest. So anytime I walk into a math class, I always sit in the front row (well, reasonably. I won't sit 3 rows in front of the entire rest of the class if the real "front row" starts on the 3rd row. So when that happens, like today, I sit on whatever is the front row at the time) and take out my notebook and calculator without looking at anyone else. (I once got asked out on a calculator... we'll save that story for another day.)

Today I felt like Hermione. If Hermione did Trigonometry instead of Arithmancy.

I was so ready for that math class. The teacher walks in and lets us all know that he wears hearing aids  so we must sit in the 1st three rows at all times. So much for front row. You know the dilemma. I can't move from my 3rd row spot because it has been deemed acceptable by the teacher so if I moved I would look WAY too eager to learn but if I don't move, I'm not in the front row. I decided to remain where I was for this class, but just get there early next time so as to secure front row privileges once more.

Wow. Enough about rows.

The teacher proceeds to talk about himself (as is normal for the first day) and the class. However, the talking about himself part lasted almost 30 minutes and included him asking almost every male in the class what his favorite team was in any particular sport. (For those of you who are less mathematically inclined... this is NOT normal for a math class.) Finally he starts to tell us about the class and actually starts teaching.

That was when I noticed it.

Not only was I Hermione, almost every person in the class could be well-compared to a Hogwarts character. Seriously. The annoying blond boy in the front row was, of course, Malfoy. But as class went on I decided he was really more of Ernie Macmillan. Still annoying, but not entirely evil. The boy sitting 2 chairs down from him was Viktor Krum. The girl across the aisle from them was either Fleur or Pansy. I know, I know. Those two are pretty different. But the semester is too young to make a definite conclusion. The boy one row up from Flansy was Neville. The girl one row up from him was Cho. But more like the AVPM Cho, then the book Cho. The young man sitting in front of me was Cedric.

It was perfect.

And a much better way to spend a class period then learning about triangles. Again.

See the resemblance???


Third Times a Charm

Well it looks like I might have stayed up too late again. One of these days I will go to bed at a decent hour. I will.

The problem with exciting/funny/entertaining blogging is that you have to have something to blog about. I don't have kids. I'm not planning a wedding. And I don't do anything interesting for a living. Pretty run of the mill around here. So for now I'm just blogging so that I can look back on this a few years from now and know what I was up to. Why I will want to do that... I have no idea. But here I go anyway.

Not having classes on Monday is FANTASTIC. Ok. Technically I have 2 classes (chorale and symposium) but those do not count in my book.

Well. Now that I've been sitting staring at the computer screen for 5 minutes with nothing to write, I think I'll call it a night. Maybe something crazy will happen in Trig tomorrow. Maybe.


Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year's Resolutions???? Let's just postpone them for a day.

So I may have stayed up WAY later than I planned. So I may be going to bed in a room that's not completely clean. So I may have eaten a few too many animal crackers in my desperate search for something edible. So I may be technically blogging on Jan. 11 instead of Jan. 10. 

But hey. I did the dishes (one bowl). And I postponed all the rest of it for something much, much more worth it. Wonderful friends. Sometimes (most of the time) I wish that people lived at school over the break. Or that they could sign up for it. Like at Hogwarts. Then I wouldn't have to read 5 Harry Potter books over break. Then I wouldn't have to break resolutions because I'm so excited to see them. 

Oh well. Tomorrow starts a new semester. Now I can have New Semester's Resolutions. Perfect. 


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Done today:

  • Made one Christmas present for my friend, almost completing friend Christmas presents
  • Started on Christmas presents for the roommates
  • Choreographed 2 Spring Sing songs
  • Cut 1 Spring Sing song completely
  • Finished all Spring Sing formations
  • Finalized Spring Sing music
  • Bought fabric for a REALLY cute skirt
To do tomorrow:
  • Practice piano
  • Email piano students
  • Bake desserts and find raffle prizes for LTC meeting
  • Go to LTC meeting
  • Finish all Christmas presents
  • Pack to move back to the APT 
  • Move back to the APT 
  • Attend Pi officers' meeting
  • Decide on more exciting blog posts so that I don't have to bore you anymore with to-do lists
Tomorrow's the day, folks! Karissa Explains It All becomes Karissa's Kacophony officially. See you there!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Dumb Dog

About two and a half years ago, my parents promised to get my sister a dog to help with the move. Now, when she was little, she was absolutely precious:

And we got along quite well:

 (She's the black thing that looks like a stuffed animal on the right.) I taught her everything she knew. Ok. Well I potty-trained her, at least. And played with her and loved her. It was great.

Fast-forward 2.5 years. We don't always get along. In fact, sometimes we rarely get along. She likes to wake me up in the morning by licking my face. She'll bark at me until I somehow understand what in the world she wants. She has now developed the habit (since the snow storm) of asking to go out every 10 minutes or so in order to lick the ice in the backyard.

But tonight we had some quality time together so I thought we should document it:

Pepper, I guess I won't try to sell you while no one's looking. Even though everyone in the family just yelled at you for eating the cats' food.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Grocery Store Paradise

Growing up (for the most part) in Arlington had its perks. Six Flags was a huge deal in the junior high stage of development. And of course Hurricane Harbor, the Rangers, Dallas, and Fort Worth. But one of my favorite parts about living in Arlington was this little bit of bliss.

Central Market. Just 15-20 minutes away. I've spent several New Year's Eve dinners here and I think my senior homecoming. I could go on and on and on about this place. They have a cheese aisle. More like a cheese room. And this is not your ordinary Wal-Mart cheese aisle. Oooooohhhh no. They make tortillas fresh every day. Well they make all their breads fresh every day. And then they have this really cool cafe place where you can buy food to eat there. In the summer/fall they have live music every weekend. Oh man oh man oh man. I love this place.

So here in lovely Edmond, there's not really anything that comes close to this. I mean, Homeland and Crest are alright, but not like this. Not at all like this. My family and I frequently talk about how much we miss Central Market. Frequently.

So imagine my delight when I find out that this summer I will be working 10 minutes from this:

Yes, sir! Central Market Houston. Excited might be a bit of an understatement. I can taste the quesadilla wraps now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

100th Post!!!

Yup. 100 posts. It only took me a year and a half. So for my 100th post, I'm going to tell you 100 reasons why I...

Just kidding! I wouldn't put any of you through 100 reasons of anything. At least not on the blog.

Today is all about prep. Prep for piano. Prep for Music History. Prep for Spring Sing.

Let's start with piano:

I've been playing piano since I was 6 or 7. The only times during that time that I haven't taken lessons were my mid-Freshmen to mid-Senior years in high school when I had a slight breakdown one Tuesday and begged my mom to let me quit. All you mothers out there: Let your children quit. I wouldn't be playing today if I hadn't. Okay. Back to the story. A year from now, I will be preparing to have my "junior" recital in Piano. This means I should be practicing, at the very least, an hour a day at this point. Am I? No. (Dr. Thompson, if you read this, don't worry I'm about to get back on track.) Starting today, I will dive into that Chopin Nocturne like nobody's business.

Next would be Music History:

Why, yes, those are 3 famous music sites in Europe. Thanks for asking. Unfortunately, though, my very brief, limited excursions into the world of European-music-sight-seeing does not exclude me from taking the dreaded courses known as Music Histories I, II, and III. Now I have MH II under my belt (with an "A" I might add), but that does not mean it didn't give me a run for my money. That course was the reason I pulled so many near-all-nighters. (Apparently, I'm incapable of an actual all-nighter.) The reason I had numerous meltdowns in the presence of friends and family. But also the reason I am more proud of my grade in that course than any other grade I've received (except maybe Bible Science). So my plan over the break was to read ahead for next semester. Is it going to happen? Probably not. But I can still dream.

And onto Spring Sing:
This is last year's Spring Sing and the bottom one is Freshmen Spring Sing. Please notice my expressions in both of them. Jubilant. Ecstatic. Joyful. Freshmen year all I had to do was remember the dances and lyrics I had worked so hard to learn. And not mess up while in the front row. Last year was a breeze. I wasn't even in my club's Spring Sing show so all I had to remember was the music to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" since I was in the back-up choir. Cinch. Sway in time with the music. Hang out backstage with the band. No problem. This year is a completely different story. When idiots decide to run for Spring Sing director, someone should really take them aside and explain to them everything they are going to be in charge of and see if they still want to run. (Of course, my parents probably would have done just that which is why I didn't tell them I was running until I had been elected. Oops.) But we have made a lot of progress. The budget is just about done. All of the known expenses are on there and have been approved by our treasurer. The studio is booked. The lyrics are written. Although, I'm not entirely satisfied with a lot of them because of my stupid type-A thing. The lyrics will probably be rewritten soon. Choreography is done for 2 songs. One costume is made with plans for more. Music is almost taken care of. So you see? Progress, my friends. Progress. Now I just need to not think about the rest of it so that I can actually go to sleep one of these nights. I was complaining to my dad about how the show is 2 months away and I'm already tossing and turning thinking about it. His reply: "You know who you are? Your mom." Bingo! I am exactly my mom. But I can't think of many, if any, women I would want to be like more.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Karissa's Kacophony

Hello faithful readers!

As always after my month-long hiatuses, there's probably only 2 or 3 of you still reading the blog. And that's ok. As you can see, I've made some changes. In a few days, the site name (or whatever it's called) will change, too. So everybody change your sites from www.karissaexplainsitall.blogspot.com to www.karissaskacophony.blogspot.com. I'd been feeling the need for the change for awhile now, just because of some life changes and to get rid of my feeling of monotony.

So welcome to Karissa's Kacophony! And why did you change to this name, you might ask. Well. As most of you know; I love music. I study music. I play and perform music. But sometimes my life itself is far from melodious. It's a cacophony of stress, harsh words, poor sleep, lots of homework, friends, and numerous other things. But God chooses to make my life a symphony in his own time. For completely unfathomable reasons, he chooses to refine me and love me, eventually smoothing out the edges and making me his. And I wanted this blog to reflect that.

I should warn you that from now til March, most of my posts will be about Spring Sing. As uninteresting as this might seem, some day I want to be able to look back on the chaos that will be the next 2 months and laugh. Or cry. Depending on the outcome. Ha.

So keep stopping by and in 2 or 3 days, stop by my new site. And leave comments. Hope you all have a great week!


As should be obvious by the unfinished look of this blog, I am in the process of remodeling. And I can't for the life of me figure out how to add text and pictures to my header. If anyone knows, help would be GREATLY appreciated. I'm also soon changing the name (you might already be able to see it, I don't know) and location of my blog so stay tuned for that. Oh yes, and blogging. That will happen soon, too. As for now, it's lunchtime.