Josh Does A Whole Lotta Illinois…
Sorry this is a bit delayed. I wrote it out and never posted it…I fail!
Sunday was a travel day, heading from Boston to Chicago. It also marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I can’t believe the time that has passed since that day. How much has happened! I was flying United and watched as members of the staff raised a flag over gate C-19 where Flight #175 had departed from that day. The mood in the terminal was subdued for the duration of my time waiting for my flight to leave. Other passengers and I sat and watched the memorial services on TV in almost silence. I spent a great deal of that time reliving that day- watching the towers fall as I sat in my social studies class my sophomore year in high school.
A bouquet of flowers resided on the gate of C-19 at Logan Airport in memoriam of Flight 175.
Monday and Tuesday were slightly uneventful. I spoke at my first school of the week on Monday and, still exhausted from the travel the day before, took to bed early. The next day, Tuesday, was the Premier Showcase in Lombard, Illinois where I spent the day meeting fellow performers and talking with school and PTA representatives from all over the state. It was a fun day all around but tiring all the same.
I became concerned for the birds of Illinois when one pooped on my car and it was REALLY green.
This was my table at the Premier Showcase. Not too bad I’d say!
Wednesday was a blast! Getting to sleep in is always my favorite thing during a busy week. I drove into the city (Chicago) and spent the better part of the day at the Shedd Aquarium. Shedd has always been one of my favorite aquariums. It was my visit there in summer 2010 that inspired my volunteering at the New England Aquarium. Best. Decision. Ever! I had a great day talking to educators, checking out the new Jellies exhibit, and catching the dolphin and sea lion show. I could have spent the entire day there if I didn’t have to get some work done.
The brand new Jellies Exhibit was amazing. I could have stayed in there forever!
I didn’t get to catch the dolphin session the first time I visited the Shedd so I was super excited to see it this time. The educator, Rachel, was a lot of fun. I had chatter with her prior to the start of the show.
Thursday and Friday were spent at schools having a great time! I am so thankful for Washington, Lincoln, Parkside and Shepherd schools for making the end of my week so much fun! There was even a fantastic article about how much fun we had!
Corn…that is all.
I managed to grab a couple movies this week which I was excited about because I haven’t seen too many this year. My favorite thing to is go to a theatre and get a ticket to whatever movie starts next. Sometimes this doesn’t end well but this week I grabbed some great films! The first was Contagion which made me paranoid about everything. I needed a shower afterwards. It was funny because a small part of the film takes place in Chicago so I spent a hunk of time thinking to myself “I was just there!” I was giddy when the shot of the Shedd Aquarium popped up.
The next movie I saw this week was Straw Dogs which was…interesting. Turns out that it is a remake of a 1971 film both based on a book. It was a great movie but honestly it made me uncomfortable. I can’t really explain it, you just have to see it. I just felt weird sitting there watching the events of the movie unfold. I would have to say the best way to describe the film is a mix of The Strangers, Last House on the Left, and Varsity Blues (this one’ll make sense when you see it). This isn’t a movie review blog in the slightest but I recommend both films.
All in all I’d say it was a great week and I look forward to the next adventure!
Be kind to one another!
2012- Let’s Get The Party Started!
It wouldn’t be a new year without a brand new adventure! This past week I started my 2012 tour in Illinois and Kansas. However, no week is complete without my Monday at the aquarium. It was a fun-filled day with shenanigans galore! I had a lot of fun hanging out with my amazing co-volunteers and educating visitors. Most people dread Mondays, not me, I love them!
This would be me and my BFF Mr. Bubbles the balloonfish at the New England Aquarium.
Tuesday I found myself at the airport making my first ever trip to St. Louis, Missouri. This, however, was not my destination. After landing I made my way to Carbondale, Illinois where I spent my Wednesday with the freshmen. The 9th graders are reading Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson. Last year I read the book while working with the same school and did a Skype visit with them. This time around, I got to meet them face-to-face and we had a blast! It was a great way to kick off the 2012 year.
After leaving the stage it was road-trip time. Rather than flying to Wichita I decided to trek across Missouri to Junction City, KS. Let me tell you something, not worth it. I usually don’t mind driving long distances but this was a bit dull. There was nothing, and I mean nothing, but flat. It was nice as I’d never really been to Missouri but, never again.
The driving wasn’t the greatest in the world but the scenery was pretty awesome.
Thursday was A BLAST!!! I spent the morning with the students of Junction City High School and their “Take Time to Think” Day. What a good time! The school’s singing group got the party started with “Help!” and “Blackbird” by the Beatles. Next, a quick video made by one of the organizers and then me! From start to finish, it was one of the best programs I have ever delivered! I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. After a quick lunch is was off to the Middle School for even more shenanigans and more fun!
Friday was a travel day and aside from a lot of time on airplanes with people that snore…not a lot to report.
The weekend is where my week was made complete. For Christmas this year my older sister and I had bought tickets to see Reba Mcentire. On top of that we got ourselves a nice hotel for the night which offered a limo to and from Mohegan Sun Casino where the show was taking place. Since we had all day with our Mom we decided to start off the day at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut where we had lunch, checked out some shops and went to visit the Mystic Aquarium.
Since I am a trained expert in the handling of sharks, I taught my mom a thing or two about how to touch them properly. A nice flat hand!
After a great afternoon in Mystic we checked into our hotel and took some time to relax before heading to the casino. After some quick “primping” we jumped in the limo to start our night. Sometime important we discovered about ourselves very quickly- we are horrible gamblers. We tried a few slot machines and after losing some money we decided we’d had enough and made our way to the arena.
The show was amazing. This is my second time seeing Reba with my Mom and she does not fail to entertain. This show was a bit toned-down from her regular tour show (which my Mom and I had seen last time we was at Mohegan) but that did not stop it from being a great time. People are surprised to hear I’m a country fan but I am! My iPod holds such great artists as Reba, Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks and Shania Twain to name a few. I even remember the first time I saw Reba’s video for the song Fancy. I was young and still living in California but I remember watching the video like it was yesterday.
After the show we decided to try our hand at gambling one last time. I found a game of video blackjack which I really enjoyed. I like Blackjack but I’m too afraid to try it at a table so playing against a computer was a lot easier for me. I still lost but it was fun. Keep in mind that when I say “we lost money,” both my sister and I spent $20 total on games.
That all said, I had a great week and I look forward to everything that this year has to offer.
I hope everyone kicked off their 2012 in a great way!
Garden eels at the Shedd Aquarium…
Outside of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago…
Sunrise over Chicago…