Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day of the Fire Ants.

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Hello!!!  I am back!!!  Well at least I hope to be.  Things have been crazy, have a new job, but more about that later.  I wanted to post the story of my day.  There have been lots of days that merit a story, but this one is particularly special.  I'm calling it "Fire Ant Fiasco--The Tragedy of the Eaten Shorts".  Yep.  It's as good as it sounds.  You'll have to read to the end to find out about the "Eaten Shorts" part.

So I come home from work, and I'm in my nice new bathroom (a master bath, as I just bought my own house!!  More on that later....).  I feel a bite, look down......don't see anything.  Don't think anything of it.  Come back to my bathroom about 10 minutes later, feel about 3 other bites, still don't really think anything of it because again, don't see anything.  Sometimes my skin stings all of a sudden, usually related to an itch.  Well, I decide I'm going to go to Crossfit, so I'm rumaging through my laundry basket to find a clean shirt I want to wear, feel ANOTHER bite.  I finally look to the side of my basket.....And see this:

Trail of Ants (there are more than you can see)
There are at least 200 more underneith, and even more on the pink cami and shirt shown (which you can't see in the pic)
video

OK......so I can't handle bugs that bite. I'd rather be around bees.  Bees won't attack unless you swat and run at them.  Fire ants will bite you for no reason. Not sugar ants, or other little black ants....huge FIRE ANTS.  I know what you're thinking.....are you sure they are fire ants???  If you live in TX, then you know fire ants when you see them.  They are red with big black butts, and when they bite, it HURTS.  I have about 5 bites on my foot.

So I flip out and call my sister, because with my new job teaching my emotions are already spent, so now apparently I can't handle fire ants by myself.  My sister is awesome.  She comes up with a bug killer pump, fire ant powder for outside, and (get this) BABY POWDER.  Because you know, turns out ants HATE baby powder....go figure.

Live ants under all the clothes. FIRE ANTS. And baby powder.
We start by spraying the trail, then spraying a boundary so when we move the clothes, the fire ants can't go anywhere without dying.  Yep.  We committed lots of murder today.  I have no regrets.

We throw all the clothes that were covered in a brown bag and run it outside.  Then we run my laundry basket out too, because there are ants in it as well.  We finish spraying the ants, then covered them in baby powder.  It slows them down, they try to get away from it, and because they are now covered in spray, the powder sticks them.  Muhaha.

So then we did what any normal person would do when cleaning out fire ants out of all their clothes: beat them on the cement, lay them out, and spray baby powder on them like a crazy person...you know, so the remaining ants will run away. Because they hate baby powder. Muhaha.


We come back to the bathroom.  All the ants are now dead.  Hooray!!  (the bug guys are still coming tomorrow to finish the job around the rest of the house.  Oh, we also put ant powder on the outside of the house to kill the entry point. Did I mention how awesome my sister is?)

Imagine this over about 10 times this much floor.
Ok, so if you are still reading, then now you get to find out what happened to my shorts.  The ones in the pictures.  Well, here are some more pictures.  Look closely, you will see some little dark spots on them.






These are not actually spots.  THEY ARE LITTLE HOLES.  The freaking fire ants ATE holes in my nice workout shorts!!  Not exaggerating.  It'd be funny, if it weren't the fact that these were my really really nice shorts.  They are still wearable, they just have a bunch of tiny holes in them now.
Grr.

Lesson:  Don't leave sweaty workout clothes lying on your bathroom floor where prying ants searching for water happens upon them, because they will eat them.  Funny thing, earlier when I was watching them, I did notice that some were carrying little bits of stuff back to the hole.  I just thought it was stuff on my floor, which needed to be swept again. Yep, they were pieces of my shorts.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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Big news!! I know I haven't posted in a while, I'm going to try to change that!

I play 1st harp with the Dallas Millennial Choirs and Orchestra, and they have made a 2-part documentary of the the program, story and our inaugural Christmas concert from Dec 4th! The documentary airs in 2 parts, tonight and tomorrow night on The Blaze TV at 7pm CT! Or if you miss it, it will be showing the full documentary again Saturday from 6-8pm CT and also Sunday from 4-6pm CT. If you missed the concert, it will be showing on The Blaze TV December 24, 7pm CT. You might even catch a glimpse of me in there playing the harp! The story of this program is completely amazing, the quality is spectacular. I encourage anyone interested to watch it! Or if you just want to listen to the program, it is the perfect thing to do with your family on Christmas Eve!

Here is a link to The Blaze Holiday Programming Schedule with info on the 30 day Free Trial:
http://www.theblaze.com/holidayprogramming/


Ways to Watch the Show:

The Blaze can be viewed on The Dish Top 250 channel package, at Channel #212.
It is NOT on Direct TV or any other cable channel that I am aware of.

You can view the program online on the Blaze website. http://www.theblaze.com/tv/
Don't worry, you can sign up for a FREE 30-day trial and then cancel it free of charge if you decide you don't want to keep the subscription (only $10 a month)

And on a Roku internet connection to your TV. Instructions are here: http://www.video.theblaze.com/roku/index.jsp

Here is a brief preview for you to enjoy!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llnu0Jq1Oc8&feature=share

http://www.millennial.org/ (for more info online about the MCO programs)


Monday, September 17, 2012

Lurong Living Paleo Challenge

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Hi!!  For those who do not know, I have joined a workout club called CrossFit.  It has been a new great way for me to stay in shape and I have gotten so much stronger with it.  You do all sorts of things like box jumps, pushups, pullups, rope climbs, kettle bells, squats of various forms, lunges, etc.  and also weight lifting forms and technique.  The Workout of the Day (or WOD) is different every day, although there are certain WODs that are standard.  It has been really awesome and I really enjoy being there every day.

"CrossFit is a core strength camp; conditioning program that delivers a fitness that is by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Elements of track & field, gymnastics, weightlifting, and strongman are combined in short intense daily workouts to maximize results for any individual. CrossFit teaches functional movement patterns, or, movements that you find in real life -pushing, pulling, squatting, jumping, throwing, carrying, and sprinting."

Our gym is participating in a country-wide CrossFit challenge sponsored by Lurong Living, the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge.  It is a 9-week challenge that incorporates a paleolithic diet as well as doing certain benchmark WODs and recording your progress throughout.  You also take pictures and measurements at the beginning and end of the challenge.  There are prizes given to both your gym and individual for participating.  I am really excited about it!  The diet is going to be hard, as you are not allowed to eat any grains, legumes, and dairy....so no milk, cheese, beans, rice, peanut butter or bread!!  Although there are lots of alternatives to making things without using these things that I hear are really good.  But still, no milk and cheese and PB for 2 months will be hard.  But I can do it!!!  And it's not like it's for a year or the rest of my life or something like that lol.

I'd appreciate everyone's support on this!  It's going to be challenging but I'm excited to be in the best shape and health of my life since before high school, and I am excited to be sharing this journey with you!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Music Alive" -- Graduate Harp Recital (plus Live Webcast)

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Ok, friends and family, the time is finally almost upon us, this Saturday!!  My last recital for the completion of my music education!!  I have been very blessed to be able to have so many supportive people to help me along this journey.  I am also blessed that NIU has the amazing technology to stream their concerts live online, so that my friends and family are able to watch, listen and support me from afar.  While I will hope to continue performing in the future, it will be sad to lose such a great tool.  If you have not tuned in before, (or attended if you are able) this will be your last chance via NIU.  I hope you are able, this concert is going to be really good and is my last hurrah of sorts. :)  Here is the announcement I have made about my concert:
 

 

 -MUSIC ALIVE-
Saturday April 7, 5:00pm CENTRAL TIME
Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, NIU
 
Come and enjoy an evening of contemporary harp music! This is my final recital for my music education, and is for the completion of my Performance Certificate, emphasis in contemporary solo and chamber music.

This recital will feature a compilation of contemporary music on the harp written by living composers, most of whom are working and living in the Chicago area. This is a great opportunity to experience new and unique music written for the harp.
In addition to each piece, I will be presenting a brief introduction/lecture about each piece for the audience as well.

This concert will also be streaming live from the NIU Live Webcast page, for those of you who still want to listen or watch but are unable to make it out. (And we will cross our fingers that it will work this time). Also make sure when you watch that you update the latest version of your flash player for optimal viewing.

http://www.niu.edu/music/media/webcasts.shtml

~PROGRAM~

Variations on a Basque Carol-----Adam La Spata (b.1979)


Haboku für Flŏte, Vibrafon und Harfe-----Akemi Kobayashi (b.1965)
--Assisted by Clarice Castilho, vibraphone and Zach Weiss, flute


Racconte: In Memory of Lucile Lawrence-----Gustavo Leone (b.1956)
--Commissioned by Faye Seeman for the 2007 Lucile Lawrence Centennial Celebration


Prelude for Harp and Oud-----Aboud Agha (b.1982)
--Assisted by Aboud Agha, oud


Despedida-----Mischa Zupko (b.1971)


***Meet the composers in a small reception to follow***
**Poster artwork by Aleesha Sramek**


 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Weather updates and other news....

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Wow spring has come early here in Illinois!!  Well, probably has come early everywhere else too, but I don't live everywhere else and IL is usually still coldish outside until around May lol.  But it's the middle of March, and already it has been in the 70s ALL WEEK!!!  And it's not supposed to get back cold any time soon, at least not forecasted right now.  You always know when it's a good weather day, because I can sleep with my window open and not be cold lol.  Those are the BEST.  And keep my window open all day too lol.

A lot's been happening.  My final graduate recital is 3 weeks away from today.  Even more scary is that I will be done with school once my recital is over.  Well, maybe have a few lessons but other than that, no school.  I can even take a break from practicing if I want, which I will probably do.  Not indefinitely, but at least a couple weeks.

Make a note on your calendars....my recital is on Saturday April 7, 5pm central time.  And before you ask, YES:  IT WILL BE WEBCAST (see link on the side of my blog page under "important links."  If you happen to live in the Chicago area or close by, you should come out in person!!  If not, then at least try to tune in online.  It's going to be a really really cool concert.  It is called Music Alive because all of my music is contemporary music by living composers, most in the Chicago area.  So I guess there is a chance that you may not like the music...it is definitely different than music I have done in the past.  You won't necessarily walk away from it with a tune in your head, but if you take the time to let your imaginations wander and think about what the music is saying to you, emotionally, then you should be able to walk away from it pleased.  The music I play is less melodic and more intellectual....it has more to do with playing around with the different sounds on the harp, and the different effects it can produce.  Really really cool stuff though, I promise!!

Another really cool aspect of my recital is the poster that will go along with it.  This year some of the music students are collaborating with the graphic arts department to make our posters into pieces of art.  We each paired off with an art student, play for them, talk about ideas, and for all intents and purposes, commission this person to create a poster announcing our recital.  The finished products will be mounted and hung in the art gallery wall that is just outside the Recital Hall in the music building.  Some of the ideas that my artist has come up with are really cool so far, and I'm excited to show you the finished product.  I'll post it up here for y'all to see when it's done.

So that's about it.  I think I'm going to go enjoy the good weather, roll up my sleeves and get some sun while reading...I have to soak in as much vitamin D as I can while it lasts lol....Ever since I found out that I am vitamin D deficient, I feel I must take every opportunity to soak in the sun, like I'm solar powered or something, recharge lol.   After I clean my room of course, that needs to be done first.  All for now!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

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I really hate it when I let myself get my hopes up.  Doesn't even matter what it is....I try not to let it happen because it always turns out badly.  Am I bad person for that? Am I a hypocrite because I tell people they should take risks when maybe I'm too scared to make them myself?  I hope not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'M BACK IN ACTION!!!

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Hello there!  (again)  I am back.  I have been busy and kinda forgot that I had a blog, but I'm going to do my best to keep it up now.  Being out here so far away and doing music, with so many 'fans' of my harp playing (thank you very much to all my family for supporting me in my endeavors), I know many people like to keep up to date with what is going on with me all the way out here in the heart of the midwest, branching out of the comfort zone and conformity of the place called BYU, where ALL my family has gone before and after.

Don't get me wrong...I love it that everyone is out west (or in TX of course).  Gives me places to visit, as soon as my busy schedule will allow of course.  I wholeheartedly support you and BYU!!!!  It just wasn't the place for me.  At least not then.  Who knows, anything is possible I guess.  Anyways....

Well, for those who need catching up, I am unofficially finished with my Masters degree in Music, and am now in my final semester (I hope) of pursuing a Performance Certificate from Northern Illinois University.  Basically, I practice lots of music and perform recitals for a year.  It's pretty intense, but I like the program at NIU because they give you a lot of freedom with how you want to go about it.  This year I am focusing on contemporary music, both solo and chamber ensembles.  It has been a lot of work, and I'm no where near finished, but I will update you with how things go.  Just be warned, there may not be much to report since all I'm doing is practicing.  Well, at least for school.  I am pursuing a couple other projects as well, which I will tell you about as they hopefully get up and running soon.

I am also currently working at the Kishwaukee YMCA as the Masters league swim coach.  It has been a good growing experience for me as a swim coach.  I am also trying to get into helping out doing some coaching with the age group team...my real love is working with kids, as everyone who knows me really well already knows.  I am also still teaching private harp through the NIU Community School for the Arts.  I am excited to get back to teaching soon.

Well, that's it for now.  Congratulations, if you've read this far.  I won't be a stranger if you won't!  Feel free to comment on any of my posts (link at bottom or under post title) or Follow by blog.  It's nice to know if anyone actually reads it, makes me feel more connected to the outside world.  If not, that's fine too...either way, it'll be good for me. ;)  TATA!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

To all my beloved friends and family......

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Who would have thought such profound wisdom would come from someone so small . . . :)

"There is something you must always remember; you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you."

~Winnie the Pooh

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NIU Philharmonic Concerto Concert -- tonight at 8pm CT via webcast

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Hey....don't have long but wanted to remind a couple of you that tonight is the first NIU Philharmonic Concert of the spring.  It starts at 8pm central time and will be on LIVE WEBCAST.  You should know the drill by now.  The link for the webcast is on the right side column of my blog, michelleheuer.blogspot.com.

It is going to be a good concert, as it is the winners of the concerto contest.  Nope, no harp.  My friend did audition with the Ginastera harp concerto, and in my opinion it should have been one of the winners....it sounds way cooler than some of the concertos on the concert.  But enough about the stupid politics of NIU.

I only play on one concerto....the very last piece on the concert.  It is a piano concerto by Ravel, and everything by Ravel is really good.  His Introduction and Allegro was the piece that I did to win the Undergraduate Concerto Competition at Ball State.
I'm not sure what time I'll be playing, since I'm last, so to watch me you'll have to stay tuned.  I'm going to guess at least 9pm, but like I said, I'm not sure how long the concert will be.  However, I do have a solo section in it, so you should definitely be able to hear me.  :)

Forward this post to anyone who you think would want to watch.  See y'all tonight!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happenings.....

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Hi!!!  I know it's been WAY too long.  Well, let me catch you up real quick.

This semester has been really super uber busy.  Short story version:  I needed 3 classes to graduate in May.  They were all only offered in the Fall.  So I had to take Music History Review II, Performance Awareness through Movement, and a theory elective, plus a chamber ensemble credit, plus lessons.  So I had 11 credits, which by the way is a TON  for a music grad student.  My theory elective ended up being Music Theory Pedagogy, a class where we talk about different teaching strategies for theory.  There was a ton of reading, writing papers, assignments, and article/book reviews.  Plus planning a 14 lesson syllabus and a final paper about my theory teaching philosophy.  Yuck.  I really like the class, but it was soooo much more work than what I bargained for.  As many ppl know, I am not very scholarly and hate writing papers.  I also had to write papers for my other 2 classes.  Also, my chamber piece took up the whole first half of my semester....the Caplet Masque of the Red Death.  It was an amazing experience, but there was a ton of rehearsing to do since it is a very hard piece.  So between rehearsing for the Caplet, and doing all my other class's assignments, I hardly had any time to practice this semester...which is bad because my recital is coming up in April, two of the pieces for which I am also doing a competition in June.  Plus, I am auditioning for the Chicago Civic Orchestra in March and that is going to take a lot of time as well.  Crossing my fingers that I get it, that would be awesome!!!

So there it is....my semester in a nutshell.  The only good thing about this semester is that I am officially DONE WITH CLASSES!!!!  That's right....all I will have to do is my big recital.  No more papers, no more reading, no more tests....just practicing all day long.   Woohooo!!!!!  I am really excited for that part.
Well, besides being so incredibly busy and often stressed out this semester, it is finally finals week and I will be driving home with my harp next week.  Provided it doesn't snow and close down the roads.  Then I have to wait.  But hopefully the roads will be clear enough to drive without problems.  I am a seasoned winter driver now, being up here in the midwest for so long, so I don't think it will be too bad getting home.  Again, fingers crossed!!

Sorry for neglecting my blog.  I know everyone likes to get updates on how I'm doing....I've just been going through a lot with school and such that I just haven't really had time, or really thought about it for that matter.  But for now on I am going to do better!!  Promise.  Love to all!!!!