Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Chicago was beautiful, with unseasonable warm (for Chicago) spring weather and tulips blooming everywhere! The group of students I accompanied came from Clinton, Missouri. They and their band director were very nice.

We visited the Hancock Building, Navy Pier, Field Museum, Shedd's Aquarium, Magnificent Mile, took the Untouchables Gangster Tour, saw the Blue Man Show, and ate at Ed Debevic's and Eduardo's Pizza. All this in THREE days, whew! Each night the kids got back to the hotel and swam in the pool until 11PM. They never ran out of energy.

Needless to say, it was a great week for being a tour guide!

After the tour, I went to Mark's sister Bonnie's house and visited the family for two days. Bonnie is a librarian in an elementary school and I went to work with her both days. Because it is so quiet there, I fought sleep the whole time. Still we enjoyed visiting. Clay's birthday was on Monday and we all went out for Mexican food to celebrate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Season of Tourists

Spring break week varies from county to county, with gives the opportunity for student groups to take a fun trip. I am a tour guide to mMarching bands and performing choirs from high schools across the United States that come to Florida for warm weather and theme parks, and perhaps a performance, parade, or competition. It is my job to make sure that the itinerary is adhered to, they get where they need to be on time, and everybody is happy. Sounds so much simpler than reality.

I cannot count the times I have been to Universal Studios this season. I have been to Disney a couple of times and Sea World a few times. Once you have seen the theme parks, you have seen them! Maybe if you spaced a year or two between visits it would be more enjoyable. I sound like an old kill-joy, but during down times when I have to just wait, a quiet spot to read or knit suits me just fine.

Last week I spent a few days with a group of about 100 at Cocoa Beach. A lonely hotel room, late nights, early mornings, and lots to do! They started with a day at Kennedy Space Center, beach and pool time, followed by an oceanfront hamburger cookout. This was all in one day! Next day was a cool Eco-Tour, complete with an informative hike in the woods, an airboat ride down the St. Johns River to view alligators in the wild, and a meal at a fish camp, complete with alligator tail, fried catfish, all kinds of goodies. For the boring people they offered hot dogs and chicken strips. After we returned to the beach, they all went shopping at Ron Jon's Surf Shop, did some beach time, and finally ended the day with a catered barbeque buffet. They ate a lot! The next morning was early, as I was up at 5 AM, drove my car to Orlando to a high school for Dynamic Music Festivals, owned by my friend Cathy. Performances, critiqued by a judge/adjudicator, and then a fun day at Universal Studios, ending with a Mardi Gras parade and then an awards ceremony. What fun they had! I really enjoyed the having a group at the beach for a change. it's hard to believe I get paid for this until you are me, alone and wide awake in a hotel room at 1AM, knowing that 5AM will be there before you can snap a finger.

Tomorrow morning I will fly to Chicago on an 8AM flight. That means I have to leave the house at 6AM. Ewww. It's a small Minnesota band, and this is a quick overview of their itinerary:
April 23rd/THURSDAY - meet group, go to Ed Debevic's dinner, FRIDAY -Field Museum (with performance), Navy Pier, Blue Man Group, SATURDAY - Untouchables Gangster Tour, Magnificent Mile (For only an hour - give me a break! Why go?), Shedd Aquarium, Edwardo's Pizzeria, Hancock Observatory, SUNDAY - check out of hotel. From here, I will take train and taxi to Cary, IL to spend a couple of days downtime with Mark's sister Bonnie and her family. I fly home on Tuesday, April 28th. You can google each of the attractions to learn more about what my week will be about. it's all so fast and furious, which is exhausting, but doesn't offer ANY time for the students to get bored and in trouble.

I'll pop back sometime soon with an update. From what I've heard, May is a busy month. I may lay low if this is true.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Early Birthday Gift

My friend Leena in Finland sent me this wonderful wall hanging. It will be put on the wall in my sewing area. Thank you Leena, I love it!