Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Week Late...

With all the doom and gloom around me (and stress...sheesh!) I decided I needed to blog about something fun and uplifting. I had a really enjoyable Spring Break visiting my brother Andy and sister-in-law Heather in Maryland one more time before they move to Nashville, so I figured I needed to blog about it, even if it was over a week ago now! I've discovered that student teaching really affects my desire to blog. I get home and the last thing I want to do is sit down and type a bunch of stuff. Never mind the fact that I have to write a weekly lesson review and a weekly overall review for my supervisor. If you'd like to read some of that, click on my profile and then go down to my blog list and click on "Jon's Student Teaching Journal."

Speaking of student teaching, I am about to start my LAST WEEK and I am WAY excited. Before starting this I sent my final lesson plans over to my cooperating teacher. What a great feeling to have those done for the week and have them be my last. I'm really excited for the week, though I have my final evaluation tomorrow during my 7th grade general music class. I just had an evaluation last Wednesday that went as my "midterm" and I did pretty well. I'm always a little nervous going into these things, but I feel confident with the plans I have, plus I won't be teaching the class right before, so I have time to really prepare.

OK on to what I really wanted to blog about! I left directly from school on Saturday April 4th. We had solo & ensemble event at Barberton High School all day, so I made sure when I left to meet at Southeast Middle School that I was already packed. We got back around 4:30 and I went straight to Maryland with just one stop along the way. I got to Andy and Heather's by 9:45, which was a little earlier than I had thought. It was great seeing them again and having the chance to just talk and relax. The first thing I did on Monday was get a haircut and shave!

On the left, before the haircut; on the right, after the haircut, but before the shave!

On the left, I did briefly consider keeping a goatee...briefly; on the right, after I shaved it all off!

Looking at it on the surface, we really didn't "do" much since both Andy and Heather are still working. Despite that, we still had a lot of time to talk and spend together, but I still had a large amount of time to not do anything, which is what I wanted to do. I wanted my break to actually be a break; a time for me to relax and recooperate. Too often I'll go somewhere on vacation and will do so much "stuff" that I come back from my vacation even more tired than before. I had a few sights I wanted to see while I was down there, but nothing much. I got to see most of them and the ones I didn't weren't a big deal. I had originally hoped to get tickets to go up in the Washington Monument and see the rest of the Holocaust Museum, but as the time came up to do it, I lost the motivation to get up super early and go get those tickets. Oh well...instead, I spent much of the day (Friday April 10) walking around Washington, DC in 70 degree weather taking pictures and enjoying the sights. We also had a great time on Monday night coloring Easter eggs and decorating cookies!

Left, Andy and Heather showing some of their creations; Right, me decorating cookies

Left, my best decorated egg...frickin sweet! Right, enjoying the frosting...mmmmmm

I also visited Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Tuesday April 7. I have really grown to love and appreciate the Star-Spangled Banner since I have sung it so many times and in so many places, so I always wanted to visit the place that inspired it. The day I went was a little chilly and windy, but it was a nice trip and I got some great pictures along with an unexpected tour of the inner harbor area of Baltimore after I missed the signs to Ft. McHenry (it's not as clear as the maps indicate!). True to form, while I was confused for a little while, I found my way with no phone calls and no GPS. The only thing disappointing to me was that they were flying a small 50-star flag on the pole over the fort. I was hoping to see a large 15-star, 15-striped flag like the one that inspired the national anthem. I guess it was too windy??

Left, inside Ft. McHenry in Baltimore with the flag pole in the background; Right, at the fort with the Harbor and Francis Scott Key Bridge in the was where the British warships fired from.

Left, looking up the flag pole at Ft. McHenry. The flagpole is on the site of the original; Right, me in front of the fort

As much fun as I had on my little excursions, I have to say my best day was Thursday April 9, which was spent mostly with Heather's family as they celebrated the life of their grandpa Leonard Aamodt at his funeral in Silver Spring, Maryland. He died the morning of April 7th, the same day we found out about the house. Right before I left to go to Maryland I was made aware of his condition, so I knew it was very likely he would pass while I was there. The family was simply waiting for him to go, so they had plenty of time to say their goodbyes. The only plans it really affected were the plans we had made to attend an Orioles-Yankees game on Wednesday April 8 and Heather and I were going to go to the Baltimore Visionary Art Museum that day as well. Instead, Andy and Heather took Heather's brother Robi and their uncle Grant to Harrisonburg, Virginia for the first service there. I could've gone with them, but elected not to since I'd have to sit in the back seat with two other people for 2 hours, plus it gave me an opportunity to have some alone time. I ended up visiting a friend in Arlington, Virginia that night. Anyway, back to the 9th. I hadn't seen any of Heather's family since Andy and Heather's wedding in 2007, but it didn't seem like it had been that long. We talked like we'd just seen each other recently or something. They had no problem with me being there despite the fact that I never formally met Grandpa Aamodt. Even then, after the funeral I kind of felt like I knew him a little after hearing so many wonderful stories and seeing so many pictures. I even got to see the house that he had raised his family in. All in all, it was a great day (and the weather was beautiful). The gravesight in Silver Spring was really wonderful with a cherry tree in full bloom right over the plot. About the only downsides to the day were not having any lunch (though the dinner we had later more than made up for it) and seeing the grounds crew at the cemetery actually start buring Grandpa Aamodt complete with the backhoe pounding the dirt down. I'd never seen the actual burial part I see WHY they tend to not do that while the family is still there. It wasn't like we were there that long, but I guess the grounds crew was in a hurry or something because they tried to get us out in a hurry. It was fun having Heather's sister Kristie in the car with us. She's hillarious, so the car ride to the cemetery and then to the restaurant after the graveside service were a lot of fun. The time with the family at dinner (we at at the Macaroni Grill in Silver Spring...oh it was nice!) was a lot of fun too. I wish the Aamodt's were my in-laws too!! :)

Anyway, right when I was leaving, Andy told me "sorry we weren't more fun" but really, I had a great time. I didn't go down there to be entertained, I went down to get away and to relax and both of those were accomplished. I'm so glad I was down there when we found out about the made dealing with it a lot easier. The only bad thing was I had to leave and come back home, something that was not at all easy for me. But that week was something I needed in more ways than one!!! I am seriously considering moving to Nashville (where Heather and Andy are moving) if the right job is available there. As much as I love being home in Kent, maybe I need to get away for awhile again. The job search will see what happens for sure and where life takes me! Thanks again Andy and Heather for a great week!

Left, my first visit was to the new Nationals Park...I love baseball and the many ballparks it has! Right, one of many pictures I took in front of the Capitol

The weather was fantastic the day I went to DC! On the left is a garden near the White House that had a great view of the Washington Monument; Right, a small garden across Pennsylvania Avenue (the part closed to traffic) from the White House.


Granny J said...

Hi Jon....whew, what a ride you've been having! Good luck to you with all of the changes. Nashville looks like a great place (I follow a woman's blog who just picked up her missionary from there.) Loved the sights from historical USA. I love this country!

Anonymous said...

Um ... are those protesters out in front of the White House!? *gasp* I thought everyone LOVED OOObama!?

hee hee!

Jon said...

Actually yes, there are protesters! They were protesting something about a nuclear free world. They had a small setup with a few signs but no marching or chanting. I saw WAAAY too much Obama gear on sale around the White House though.