Another day, another couple of bucks. . .

I have nothing exciting to write about today. It was just another day. No PT this morning as we only do it Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so first formation was at 7. After formation and going upstairs to grab our maces, we were outside to practice with those and start discussing our test. We were outside for about 2 hours, and then back in for MIDI, score study, and baton techniques. It felt good to have a baton in my hand again. (Thanks Aunt Carol & Uncle Wayne for my baton!) After lunch was our practice time, mail call (only 1 piece out of 22 students), and then more jazz. We had another performance, this time it was Latin Jazz (salsa). It was pretty good. They talked about the role of each instrument in the ensemble. The last hour of the day was “Research Lab” on the schedule, but it was basically a study hall time so we could work on our jazz reports and presentations that are due tomorrow. I already had my paper done, so I did up my PowerPoint presentation and that was all I had to do. I had even done my MIDI homework during class. Oh, just so you know, here are how the class periods run for us: 0700 Formation, 0720-0810, 0815-0905, 0910-1000, 1005-1055, 1100-1150, Lunch from 1155-1245, Practice period from 1250-1340, 1345-1435, 1440-1530. I pick up the mail after practicing an on my way up to class for 1345. Our classes are all pretty much in the same classroom (except for mace which is outside), so essentially we just get a 5 minute break (but sometimes 10) every hour.

I spent the evening doing my usual stuff – chatting with friends, called Ryan and Robbie, watched TV & stitched.

Overnight low: 41
Today’s high: 53

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Week 2 Begins

We started off the week with PT at 0500. The basic students are doing some new stuff for PT that is basically designed just for Basic Training and AIT students. We had instructional PT on a lot of this new stuff. Toward the end of our course, several of us will be conducting PT with the basic students, so we need to know how it works. We got a pretty good workout despite lots of breaks (our SGL talked through each thing and it was demonstrated before we actually did it).

After a quick shower, change, and breakfast, we had formation at 0700. The rest of the morning was more mace stuff (we’ve pretty much learned everything, now we just need to start applying it to ceremonies and stuff and practice, practice, practice), some Leader Responsibilities, and MIDI. I’m catching on to the Finale stuff pretty quickly, and that’s good. I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it is. After lunch was our practice period and I worked on my solo. Then I stopped for mail and there actually was some!! Thank you Grandma & Grandpa for the wonderful card! Several others in the class got some too, and they were all happy. Then we had jazz history for the rest of the afternoon, but it was fun. We went downstairs to 2nd floor (our classroom is on 3rd floor) to one of the rehearsal rooms to listen to a jazz group play some and also talk a little about what they were playing and stuff. The music was great, and the discussions we got into with the ensemble were good too. They were from various places in the School and one civilian – a couple of instructors from 1st floor (the instrument instructors), our Senior SGL, the school’s Command Sergeant Major, a guy from the Department of Training & Doctrine (they work with all the regs and stuff and make sure they’re up to date), and another staff member from the school.

The afternoon went by fairly quickly, and once we were back up in our classrom there were just a few announcements and then we were done for the day. I stayed in the classroom until about 6:15 working on my homework. I finished my MIDI homework for the day and then started on my jazz report (or planned to just start it). I’m doing my report on jazz trombonist J.J. Johnson. I actually finished it, printed out a draft copy, and gave it to one of my fellow classmates to proofread. I left and he said he’d just stop it by on his way back to his room later on. I got home anticipating calling home and talking to my guys, but when I went to my webcam site, there was Brinni (our babysitter) playing with Robbie. I had forgotten that Monday night is bowling night for Ryan and that’s where he was. I did get to talk to him once he got home, though. And I also got some stitching done and watched CSI: Miami. Off to bed now. . .

Overnight low: 40
Today’s high: 54

Sleep!

I slept in until 10:15 this morning! That sure was nice for a change, after getting up at 4 or 5:30 all week. Of course, it didn’t leave me enough time to get to the chapel service at 10:30, but that’s ok. I had a nice relaxing day today – chatted online and checked my e-mail and stuff. I did laundry (free!!) and when I went to put my clothes in the dryer, there was another guy from my class in there taking his clothes out of the dryer. After he got his out and I put mine in (there are 4 washers but only 2 dryers. why?), we walked over to McDonald’s together for lunch. We had a nice time chatting while we ate. Once we got back, I went and got my clothes out of the dryer, folded them, and brought them back to my room and put them away. I then walked over to the school house to get my mace to practice for a while and I also did some of my research for my jazz report. When I went back to our classroom to put my mace away, there were a few other guys from the class in there. They all wondered where I was heading off to so fast, and I told them to watch my football games. I think they were amazed that I watched football. Oh well. So I went home and turned my games on and also got to chat with Ryan for a while. I got a lot of cross stitching done while I was watching, and I had my first finish of the year. It’s by designer Lizzie*Kate and is called April Flip It. Free Image Hosting at www.picturetrail.com There is one of these for each month, and I’m stitching them all on one piece of fabric to be framed eventually. After I finished this, I got another 3 hours in on one of my other projects. I called Mom & Dad and also got to talk to Rick as they are at his house for the weekend.

Overnight low: 40
Today’s high: 46

Stitching Day!!

Today was a fun day! I drove about 2 1/2 hours north to Charlottesville to A Stitch in Time. That the cross stitch store of choice for my friends Robin and Ashley. They get together there the 3rd Saturday of every month to stitch for a couple of hours. Well, Ash and I were chatting earlier this week, and she and I decided that we would surprise Robin with my presence! Even the shop owner, Terri, knew and it was a lot of fun. They started at 11, but I didn’t get there until about 11:20. Terri was outside waiting for me, and I chatted with her for a bit and then walked in. Robin recognized me right away as I’ve posted plenty of pictures on the cross stitch board we are both members of. She was surprised though! It was great meeting both Robin and Ash, and getting stitch with them and chat and then we went to lunch next door at a little sandwich shop. I had a crab melt sandwich and some potato salad. YUMMY!!!! I couldn’t even eat it all it was so big. The afternoon was over all too soon, and I had to head back “home” before it got too late. As it turned out, I didn’t get back until about 6:30 as I missed the exit I had planned on taking and then when I got to where I knew where I was again, I turned the wrong way. When I saw Ft. Story (a SMALL Army post down here), I knew I had gone the wrong way, so I turned around and finally made it back to Little Creek. I called home and talked to Ryan and Robbie for a while and watched them on the webcam. Then I stitched some more.

Here’s a picture of me, Robin, and Ashley:

Overnight low: 46
Today’s high: 63

Audition Day!!

I got to “sleep in” until 6 this morning as formation wasn’t until 7. We were in our Class B uniform today – Fridays are “dress up” days at the School of Music. It was audition day and that was the only thing we had. As long as we logged in on the sheet in the classroom so our squad leaders knew where we were, we could pretty much go wherever as long as you were on time for your audition and then stuck around after the audition to get your audition sheet from the SGL (Small Group Leader – our instructors). And if you scored below a 2.8 (the standard for graduation from BNCOC), you also received a counseling statement from the SGL (which puts you out of the running for Honor Graduate). My audition wasn’t until 2 in the afternoon, so I spent the morning working on my Finale homework (it was really easy and took me about 5 minutes) and then I started doing the research for my Jazz Report that is due next Wednesday. Don’t worry – it’s only a couple of pages, so not much research is needed. I’m doing my report on J. J. Johnson, one of the best jazz trombonists. I did go to the practice room for a while – to get a good warm up in and I ran all my scales (quarter note = 128 on my metronome – keep this number in mind for later) and my solo. Then I packed my horn up, brought it back up to the classroom, and headed home for a long lunch and relaxation. I went back to the school house around 12:45 or 1 and went back to the classroom for a while. Gavin and I swept the floor so the moppers could mop. Gavin’s audition was right after mine. I checked the mail, but nothing again other than a few packages. But everyone has to pick up their own packages as they have to be signed for. About 1:40 I got my horn out and went to a practice room just to re-warm up a little and I did a couple of spots in my solo just to get the sound in my head again. I did spend my lunch time listening to my recording of Christian Lindberg playing it, so it was pretty good in my head.

I went into the room for the audition – just a small office. SSG McTaggert (trombone instructor) and SFC High (Brass Branch Chief) conducted the audition. I did get to cut my solo to make it shorter, but I didn’t cut out my hardest spot even though I could have. I wanted to try for my high C# which I kind of hit. I was really confident while playing my solo and that was a good way to start out. I thought my scales were ok, but my audition sheet told me otherwise when I got it. I was asked D Major (144), Eb natural minor (152), F# harmonic minor (146), and C melodic minor (138). The numbers in () were the tempos that I played them at. Now, I have no idea where those tempos came from – I’ve never played my scales that fast. Oh well! It’s not a bad thing. The sight reading was definitely my weakest part of the audition, but I still did alright on it. I had to read 2 concert piece excerpts, 2 marches (parts of), and a jazz/swing piece. That last one was my worst, but I managed to get through it. Then I had to go back to the classroom to wait for my score. Finally about an hour and fifteen minutes later (the scores didn’t get sent upstairs until all 3 of us trombonists had gone), I was called into the hallway by SSG Miller, our SGL. He gave me my sheet, and I got a 2.8!!!!! That’s good enough to graduate, and to keep me in the running for Honor Grad! Now, I can take that score and be done with it and not worry about the final audition near the end of the course, or I can take lessons and practice more and work to improve my score on the final audition (which is what I’m most likely going to do). Of course, I also have the option to just practice and do the audition without taking lessons as well. But I think I will take them if SSG McTaggert has time in his schedule. It’s just a relief to have all that out of the way and now I can concentrate on the rest of my coursework (and of course the next audition).

Once I got home, I got out of uniform in some comfy clothes and chatted with some friends and then when Ryan and Robbie got home, I chatted with Ryan for a while and then called so I could talk to Robbie, too. When it was Robbie’s bedtime we hung up and I went and got my stitching out and watched some TV. I’m having a snack of some popcorn right now and I’m actually going to go to bed early tonight!

Overnight low: 41
Today’s high: 64 – Is this REALLY winter??

LONG day

My alarm went off at 0400 (as it will every day we have PT) for our PT test at 5. It was 34 degrees out. BRRR. I did 49 pushups (99%), 70 situps (87%), and ran my 2 miles in 18:38 (75%). My total score was 261. It was the 4th highest score in the class (22 people I think). After breakfast (oatmeal) and shower and changing, we spent the rest of the morning doing score study, MIDI, and more on mace movements. In case you’re wondering, a mace is the “big stick” that Army Band drum majors use to give the bands commands. I’ll get a picture of me with my mace eventually.

After lunch, my 50 minute practice period went much better than yesterday, and if I play that well tomorrow at my audition, I should be fine. At any rate, I’m going to give it my best, and if my best tomorrow isn’t 2.8, then I’ve still got 7 weeks to practice and get ready for another audition. After practice time, I stopped by the mail room to get the mail for our class, but nothing again. There’s about 4 or 5 of us that are expecting stuff, so hopefully tomorrow it starts coming in. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing more jazz history. It was pretty dry and all of us were fighting to stay awake through it. After we cleaned up our classroom, I headed home and took a nice long hot shower and then went to McDonald’s for supper. I wanted something other than something I could cook in the microwave.

When I got home, I called Ryan and Robbie – Ryan puts his phone on speaker phone so Robbie could hear too. I got to watch them on the webcam as well. Robbie really misses me, but Ryan said he’s starting to do a little better and not be as fussy. He said Robbie still wakes up at night going Mamamamamamama. After we had talked for a while, it was almost Robbie’s bedtime, so we hung up and I went and got my stitching out. I watched Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and 2 CSIs. I’m off to bed now – I’m TIRED.

Overnight low: 34
Today’s high: 56 (it was BEAUTIFUL out this afternoon!)

Wind & Rain

When I got up this morning, it was WINDY and raining. We held our formation inside instead of out in the rain. Then we started the morning off with Jazz History and then more with the mace. We went to the gym for our mace training this morning since it was still raining out. After lunch, we have a 50 minute block for practicing, and I went through all my scales and my solo a little bit. I’ve been designated as our mail clerk (for both my class and the Advanced class), so I stopped by the mailroom to check the mail. Nothing except 2 things for people who are no longer here. I’ll be getting a list of everyone from our Platoon Sergeant tomorrow so I know who to be looking for and who to “throw back”. The afternoon was spent starting to learn Finale (a music notation program) and then had a discussion on Leader Responsibilities. It was pretty interesting as everyone had different things to add. Once we were done cleaning up our classroom and had gotten our instructions for tomorrow, we were done for the day. I headed back to the practice room for about another 45 minutes before I went home. Once in my room, I got changed and had a nice long chat with Ryan. I got to see Robbie playing a little bit, too. It’s always nice to see him on the cam – I sure miss both of my guys. I had some Ramen for supper and then to my crocheting and tv for the evening.

Today’s low: 38 (current temp)
Today’s high: 67 (shortly after I got up this morning)