Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Marching Illini Nostalgia? Splendid!

I'm feeling very nostalgic this week. It's been 10 years since I moved into my dorm at the University of Illinois and 10 years since my first season in the Marching Illini.  I can't help but feel grateful for the amazing experiences I had and people I met through my time in the Marching Illini.

It's been 10 years since I walked in to my dorm and found my roommate Rachel's dad building furniture in the hallway.  Ten years since I peeked into our cigar box of a dorm room and found Rachel's mom asking her , "which drawer do you want your dance clothes in?"  I remember looking at my parents with a hint of concern: she's a dancer? Lord help me.  (LOVE YOU, RACH!)  

It's been 10 years since I walked into the Harding Band Building (where it smells like piss) for my first MI band camp. My section leader John greeted me by name for the memorization test.  I thought it was really nice that he had taken the time to memorize the names of all the freshmen before camp started. I remember seeing our section shirt for the first time and realizing I had found my people. The section shirt that year was the iconic image from Animal House of John Belushi sporting a "COLLEGE" shirt and chugging a bottle of whiskey, except the whiskey was replaced with trumpet.  People who loved marching band AND Animal House?!  I had found my people!

It's been 10 years since I was among 12 people piled into a compact car to get to dinner.  Ten years since I first sang the Alma Mater at the end of dinner.  This, of course, lends itself to silly jokes at every bando wedding we attend (and there have been a lot).  It goes something like this:
*glasses clinking*
Non-bandos: Kiiiiiiissss! Kiiiiiss!
Bandos: *humming the first chord of the Alma Mater*  Hahaha, oh, wait, this isn't band!  Kiiiiiiiiss!  Kiiiiisssss!

It's been 10 years since I met my boyfriend.  We didn't start dating till months later, but he was there from the beginning.  During our first conversation, he told me that his brother and I share a hometown.  How weird is that?

It's been 10 years since my first note of Revised Entrance Number 3. Ten years since my first Three-In-One.  Any Marching Illini Fossil will tell you that both experiences are unforgettable.  The first time you play Revised with the full band in rehearsal is magical, but it doesn't even compare to the first time you play it at the first home game for the fans.

It's been 10 years since I got hopelessly lost on the walk back to my dorm my first night, stopping to discreetly pull out my map under the street lights to try and figure out where I was and how to get home.  It's been 10 years since I followed Stacey and Emily home the second night to avoid a repeat of the first night. It's been 10 years since Stacey and I became friends.  We're entering our 8th year of living together, and none of that would be possible if I hadn't stalked her on the way home from band camp.

It's been 10 years since I met my GL Kyle on the "Whoopasphalt" during freshman basics. Having met his cousin that summer at church camp, she told me to look for "the one with the hair". She was not wrong.  Kyle became one of my dearest friends in college.  We even worked together for a couple of very sassy years.

It's been 10 years since Elder Trumpettes Emily, Lisa, Cheryl, and Katie all recruited me for Sigma Alpha Iota, telling me it was a group of women who liked music (and food!).  I skeptically attended the first informational meeting.  Ten years later, I've held numerous positions throughout my collegiate and alumnae chapters, as well as volunteering as a Province Officer for three years.  Ten years ago, I never would have guessed SAI would be such an important part of my life.

I loved my college experience, and such a large part of that was because of the Marching Illini.  Because of that organization, I found my friends, my chosen family, amazing mentors, and the love of my life.  I owe so much to those people who helped shape who I am as an adult.

I only hope the current members of the Marching Illini enjoy their experience at least half as much as I did.  Umgawa!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sassy Wedding-themed Pinterest Board? Splendid!

Because we're in the thick of instrument rental season at the store, the sales staff is working 6 days a week this month.  I usually finish up my blog posts on Thursdays when I'm home for the day.  Since that won't be the case this month, consider this a condensed post.

Recently two of my very dear friends got engaged.  A few days after Matt proposed to Elizabeth, I received a voicemail that said the following:

"Hi, Matt and I were talking about our wedding, and I promised him there wouldn't be any crafts.  So we thought I should call you and tell you so you can help me stick to this plan.  Also, so you don't start sending me adorable pictures of family photos submerged in mason jars of olive oil that shouldn't take very long but actually take 100 hours.  Because I don't have time for that.  So this is your warning."

Knowing that our friendship is full of sass (stories for another time), I responded to her voicemail with this text message:

"Because I am so full of sass, my response to your voicemail was to immediately start a Pinterest board called EB's Wedding According to Me.  It's going to be full of over the top DIY wedding ideas."

So in the last month I've been steadily adding photos to that Pinterest board.  Most of the photos are gorgeous and would make for a great wedding for someone... but not a DIY-free wedding.  The descriptions are full of sass and snark, and Elizabeth has assured me that both she and her family love them.

Today I'm going to share it with you all.  My only concern is that some people don't know how to use Pinterest properly, and they forget to change captions.  So when they repin something from my board in earnest, they keep the sassy remarks about how ridiculous it is to do something like personalize individual cheesecake favors for 200 guests.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reverting Back To Adolescence? Oh, great.

They say you can never go home.  I don't know who "they" are, but that's what "they" say.  They say it's impossible to go back to your childhood home and feel the same way you felt growing up.  That the nostalgia you feel is for something that never quite existed.

Well I call shenanigans.

A friend of mine from college was visiting family and friends in the area recently, and we met for dinner with a mutual friend.  That afternoon the two of them had been hanging out at one of their childhood homes.  My friend told me that she felt the same embarrassment with her mom trying to be the "cool mom" now as she did when we were teenagers.

This post took twice as long to write as it should have because I kept getting distracted by this GIF.
I thought that was kind of interesting, because I've experienced a similar feeling for years!  Don't get me wrong.  I love my parents.  They're hardworking people with good hearts.  They raised my brother and me to be intelligent, independent, creative, and funny.  They provided everything we needed as kids and then some.  They're a good example for relationships (celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary next week!).  I knew this as a teenager, though I scarcely understood how to appreciate it, and I know this now.  I have a great relationship with my parents and talk to them on the phone multiple times per week.  But something strange happens when I'm around them and other people I know at the same time.  Inevitably I revert back to being a pain-in-the-ass 17 year old.  I cringe at every interaction my parents have with anyone I've ever talked to ever.  I'm ridiculous.

For example, last month I was visiting my friend in Chicago and decided to stop in my hometown and have lunch with my mom.  We went to a local cafe and settled on a table near the front.  Just as our orders arrived, a couple entered the cafe.  The husband and wife are both retired teachers from the schools I attended.  They stopped at our table, and I was pleasantly surprised that they remembered me.  We chatter for a couple of minutes, and they went to place their orders.  As they sat down at their own table, I mentioned to my mom that they were two of the best teachers I ever had growing up.  

I had the wife for 6th & 7th grade social studies.  She was a great teacher and a sweet lady whom I loved, despite the fact that she gave me my first and only detention ever.  He was a hard-ass high school math teacher who took the time to reteach me everything I was supposed to learn in 8th grade Algebra I in order to pass his HS Algebra II class.  He was widely known throughout the school to be one of the toughest teachers, but we all knew he had a heart of gold.  He taught for more than 30 years, I think, and he really cared about educating the kids in his class.  As far as husband/wife teacher teams in my hometown go, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a more beloved couple from that time period.

Anyway, as we wrapped up our lunch, my mom went back up to the counter for some reason.   As she made her way back to our table, I watched in horror as she stopped at the couple's table, and said (loud enough for the entire cafe to hear), "My daughter just told me that you guys were two of the best teachers she ever had in this town."  They were very gracious, of course, because I'm sure they've heard that before, and also, who doesn't like to hear nice things about themselves?  I, however, slunk down into my chair like a teenage boy with scoliosis and became even more engrossed with checking Twitter on my phone as my face turned scarlet from embarrassment.

My mother moseyed back to the table with a smile on her face; she was pleased with herself.  As she approached, I hissed at her, "Moooooooooommmmmmm! What were you thinking?!  Why would you do that?!"  

She was confused by my humiliation.  "What?  I thought they would like to hear the nice things you had to say about them."

"I understand that, but why did you have to do it while I was sitting within earshot?!  God, that's so embarrassing!"  I whispered.  Clearly this was a disaster.  Clearly.  

Now, I know that it was not, in fact, a disaster.  And my former teachers probably were touched that I mentioned them to my mom.  But at that moment in time, it was like being transported back to freshman year of high school, and having my mom tell a boy I had a crush on that I liked him.  (That actually never happened in real life, but I can imagine how humiliating it would be.)

Having dinner with my friends last week, and hearing their versions of the same stories about their own mothers, made me feel both better and worse.  Better because I'm not the only one who has such a strong reaction to my parents unwittingly embarrassing me.  Worse, because this is my life?!  A grown-ass woman acting like an obnoxious teenager any time my parents interact with anyone from my past in my presence?  Boo.

I have no resolution to this situation.  I fear I am doomed to behave like a surly adolescent in public with my parents for the rest of my life.  That's not a particularly attractive proposition for me.  So tell me, how do you overcome these feelings?