I moved to Japan 27 years ago to teach English with a B.S. in Int'l Mkg, discovered Taiko, turned 180 degrees from my path, and have never looked back. I teach the first taiko group in MI at Kalamazoo College, MI Hiryu Daiko (the 3rd MI group) in Kalamazoo, workshops all over the Midwest, after leaving my legacy of 19 years, Fushicho Daiko, in Phoenix, AZ. I study and perform in Japan almost every year. I love to share.
I look forward to winter! Not for the snow, but because I know it is Competitive Cheer season. This year will be my tenth season as an MHSAA Competitive Cheer Official. I "geeked" cheerleading long before that though! My mom also geeks the sport and coached my team in middle school! I cheered in high school and college and coached for four years prior to becoming an official. Not only do I have the best seat in the gymnasium to watch competitions, but I also get to be a part of educational athletics.
Competitive cheer has one of the highest participation rates for female sports in the state. The enthusiasm, dedication and athleticism we see each year are amazing. I have been selected as a State Finals Panel Judge three years in a row!! I also serve on the Michigan Cheer Judges Association board where I manage our mentoring program for new officials and facilitate trainings in the state. Check out the MHSAA website to learn more about giving back as a registered official to the high school sport you once loved!
I know, it's super girly, but I geek sewing. It is so neat to be able to take a simple piece of fabric and make it into a dress or shirt that is totally unique, and fits you perfectly in size and style. I love to turn on an audiobook or CD from the library and sit down to sew as a way to unwind from a long day at work. And then when you finish something and put it on for the first time it is so exciting! (At this point I usually have a little fashion show for my lazy cat Buster who likes to sit by me and beg to have his belly rubbed while I sew.) I have found that the more I sew, the better become at it. The better I become, the more successful my projects are. The more successful my projects are, the more I geek it! It's a vicious (but wonderful) circle!!
I did not grow up talking Shakespeare at the dinner table. Everything I learned was at the library, by myself. It was my great equalizer. I feasted with the greatest thinkers. I am enlarged.
From the time I was in elementary school and started attending high school productions in Kalamazoo, I have been a huge fan of musical theatre. Whether it's old favorites like Fiddler on the Roof or a recent Broadway production like Next to Normal, I appreciate having the opportunity to come to the library to check out the soundtracks and musical scores.
I actually started playing keyboards/piano back in early high school. Then I moved on to drums (something I originally picked up on through the videogame Rock Band). But, coming from a family of guitar players (and a home infested with multiple guitars of differing shapes and sizes) it was perhaps unavoidable that I would one-day learn to play (my love affair with multiple rock and blues guitar gods also played an influential role).
I like that the library has frequent musical concerts/shows throughout the year. Music is a big part of my life and it’s awesome that KPL highlights a lot of local talent for the rest of us to enjoy!
Last summer, we went to the Upper Peninsula to do some camping and relaxing. Little did I know we'd find the most amazing hidden gem: Oswald's Bear Ranch. Mr. Oswald has acres and acres of space to house black bears of all ages and sizes. He rescues cubs from all over the United States. I was lucky enough to have one eat Fruit Loops and Puppy Chow out of my hand and kiss my ear!
I began playing at the age of 17. Upon moving to Kalamazoo, I was impressed with the number and quality of courses in the area. The first time I visited the Kalamazoo Public Library was at the Oshtemo Branch Library following a game at the Oshtemo Township Park. I have always thought that the cooperative relationship between the park and the KPL is one of the most unique things about our library system, and I have been watching the recent development project closely.
I decided to try my hand at knitting when my first grandchild was born. My mother crocheted a baby blanket for each of our sons—I wanted to do the same. So far, I've created one blanket and one shawl. Since then, three more grandchildren have joined our family. ;-) While I discovered I really enjoy knitting, I don't have as much time to give to it as I would like. I especially love looking at all the beautiful books the library offers—the colors, styles, patterns—and dreaming about new projects. I recently joined a knitting group at a local shop to set aside time to devote to knitting—making time to do what a dream about!