Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Want-to-do List

Last week I was still in school and between the craziness of the holidays, hyped-up kids, and a culminating presentation that included 4th graders cooking, I kept thinking about what I wanted on my list of things to do while on break. I didn't have time or energy to write anything down last week, but I finally did once I was on break. Some of my list items are the boring "catch up with cleaning" and "take the cat to the vet," but others are more fun. Here's a sample:

1. Try to win $10 Hamilton tickets! I have wanted to see the musical Hamilton since it opened in NYC, but the ticket prices combined with living in Chicago pushed that into the future. But now Hamilton has opened in Chicago! Tickets are still hard to get, but they have a daily lottery online -- enter and you might win 2 $10 tickets! The cheapest tickets available for tonight's show are $327 -- compare to $10! A friend of mine won this lottery a couple of weeks ago and his tickets were in the first row!! He got actor saliva on him! I tried today, didn't win, but there are more days in this vacation.

2. Take the Google Level 1 certification test. My school is trying for a "moonshot," to get the whole faculty Google certified. We've had coaching and seminars and I have been studying. On January 6 a group of us is getting together to support each other and take the test. To be followed by a celebration, of course.

3. Investigate Minecraft. This one was a short trip to a roadblock. I wanted to use Minecraft, that enormously popular building game, to create a colonial town as we begin to study 18th century America. I had seen an article on how to do this. However, the first thing I found out when I began looking into Minecraft is that Minecraft and chromebooks are incompatible. Yes, you can use some hacks to get it to work, but these are school chromebooks. Waiting to hear what the tech guys say about any possibilities.

4. Try new recipes. I like to cook, especially when I'm not tired or rushed. So I made four different kinds of cookies, including three new recipes! Today I sent off boxes of cookies to my mother in Minnesota and my daughter in Texas. Delicious! Here's one of my new favorites, Gingerbread Chocolate Chunk Biscotti.

5. Practice. I play French horn in several community groups, so practicing is always important. I have been asked to play in an orchestra that I have not played with before and they're quite a good group. The piece is Beethoven Symphony #9. The part that I am playing is not that difficult, but I want to do a good job, of course. The thing about horn parts in pieces written before about 1850 is that they were written for horns without valves -- valves hadn't been invented. So horn players changed key by putting in different tubing. What this means for modern horn players, who have valves on their horns, is that we have to transpose the parts. My part in Beethoven 9th is written in Bb, Eb, and D, meaning I have transpose the notes on the page down a 5th, down a step, and down a minor 3rd, respectively. Why don't they just publish transposed parts now that we have valves? I could write a whole blog post about that, so for now I'll just say, the reasons are complicated. For now, I need to practice the Bb transposition because I haven't done that one in awhile.

Meanwhile, I'm also playing in a jazz band at my school for our Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. We're playing a challenging piece by Charles Mingus. Talk about a contrast in styles!

6. Eat at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Lao Sze Chuan! Fortunately for us in the northwest suburbs, there are now at least five locations of Lao Sze Chuan, including two that aren't ridiculously far away. Crispy Shrimp with Lemon Sauce, Sole in Black Bean Sauce, Szechuan Green Beans .... mmmm. We're going for dinner tomorrow!!

There's more on my list, things that will give me a feeling of accomplishment, but these are the experiences I have been looking forward to.


  1. Wish you luck with completing everything on your list, especially the Hamilton tickets. I admit I splurged for two premium seat for Kathy ans me so we will be seeing the show in June.

    1. I'm sure you'll enjoy it! We'll buy tickets eventually if we don't win the lottery, or maybe even if we do win the lottery!