Music: Good for the Soul

Posted by TetonTrekker on September 7, 2018 in Meandering Scribble, Morning Coffee, Nonprofit |

Do you work for a non profit? I volunteer for one, our Old Bills campaign is “Meet a Member”, it was my turn to blog about me. Please read on.

Keep the music alive!

In 2018, you can give beginning August 1st until 5 pm on September 14th

I played the flute from 5th grade until I graduated from High School, then played in the Bishop California Community Band a couple times right out of high school. I moved to Jackson for a summer in 1980 and stayed, life, work, family, children, and Jackson Hole activities filling my life and my flute collecting dust in the closet.

In 2004 I was sitting in the stands at my son’s little league game. One of the other moms, Nancy Ninnemann, who I also know from Boy Scouts, was talking about paying the flute. I told her I played the flute in High School, she immediately said “why aren’t you in the Community Band”. After a bit of arm twisting I agreed to come to a rehearsal.

I had not played with an organized group in almost 25 years and had not played more than a few notes in 20 years. I pulled my flute out of the closet and put it together. The Cork on the head joint was loose but it still worked and I could play a scale from memory. Remembering how to play it was like riding a bicycle, no problem. However remembering how to read music proved to be a bit more challenging, I pulled out my fingering chart and went to rehearsal a couple days later.

When I arrived at rehearsal there were about 30ish musicians there, other than Nancy I only knew one other person, Cecilia Bellinghiere, also from Boy Scouts. Nancy had a chair and stand ready for me, and when I sat down she handed me a folder of music. OMG! What did I get myself into? Lots and lots of lines and black dots, I was completely overwhelmed. I looked at Nancy and said “Middle line is a B, right?”.

One of the pieces we rehearsed that night was The Liberty Bell by John Phillip Sousa… lots of black dots were on the page. I must have had the ‘deer in the headlights’ look on my face, Nancy assured me I would recognize the tune. We began… the Monty Python Theme! And right where the Monty Python Theme stops and spits a raspberry the conductor, Don Cushman, stopped us. If I had only known these people like I do now I would have filled in the empty air with the classic raspberry.

I practiced often that spring, windows open, torturing my husband and neighbors. I remember after a week or so my husband comment that it’s starting to sound like music. YAY, it was coming back. I went to a few more rehearsals, performed in a parade, a concert, then summer break. During the break I sent my flute at a shop for a tune up.

Even though there was a near 25 year break all that knowledge was still there. The marches on little pieces of paper are harder to see than I remember, I have to blow up them to read the notes. Playing pieces I had memorized in high school was a little weird too. I would get to a part I still remembered then lose where I was on the music in front of me. Within a year I purchased a metal piccolo for parades, eventually becoming 2nd piccolo, and roping my husband into pulling the band on a trailer in the local parades. In 2012 we lost our primary piccolo player, Norma Foster, to cancer, I moved to her chair, I think about her often and always try to live up to her example.

It’s 2018, I have two jobs, a weekend ski pass, my husband and I spend most summer weekends in our RV, we fish, bicycle, and I have band. I’m the Librarian, Vice President, the JHCB Website Administrator, and a much better musician than I was in high school. As busy as my life is, I can not imagine my life without music, music is good for the soul. And the friends I have made in Community Band are like an extended family.

Did this make you reminisce about your years in High School or College Band? Do you miss a life with music in it? Why aren’t you in the Jackson Hole Community Band? Rehearsals are 7pm at the Center for the Arts, in the performing arts wing. Dust off your instrument and join us. Don’t live in Jackson Hole? Many towns have a community band, do an internet search and see what’s near you.

Halloween Concert 2017 Flute Section: Sammy Douville, Noah Osnos, Anna Senecal, Nancy Ninnemann , Holly Balogh, Julie Wilson

Keep the music alive!

Please remember us at Old Bills 2018.

In 2018, you can give  beginning August 1st until 5 pm on September 14th. We hope you can join us Saturday, September 8th, for Old Bill’s at the Jackson Town Square!

What is Old Bills?

We cannot thank you enough for your support!

Thank you from all of the Jackson Hole Community Band Members.

2018 – 2019 Season

  • Old Bills Fun Run
  • Oktoberfest
  • Halloween Concert
  • Tuba Christmas
  • Holiday Concert
  • Wyoming Special Olympics – 50 Years!
  • Spring Concert
  • Old West Days Parade
  • Independence Day Parade & Lions Club Breakfast Concert
  • Jackson Lake Lodge Patriotic Concert

Click for Upcoming Events

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#036 Ringie-Dingies: Erupting Telemarketer

Posted by TetonTrekker on August 31, 2018 in Fly By Posting, Ringy-Dingys |

As a general rule of thumb when it comes to telemarketers I do not engage. If they are polite say not thank you or we are not interested and hang up. If it is a recording I just hang up without saying anything. BUT if the person rude or try’s to tell me a bald face lie I get a little more creative.

In this case I received a call with no caller ID, the guy asked for Tim (the owner) I asked who was calling and he BELCHED in my ear then did not answer. It wasn’t even a good one, it was girly. I asked again who was calling, he answered “Tim.” Thinking he misunderstood me I asked again, he replied again, “Tim.” I said “This is Tim calling for Tim?” He said yes. I asked what company he was from, then he replied with the name of OUR Company. I said “hold please” and put him on hold until he hung up. Dit ship.

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#101 Cat Herding

Posted by TetonTrekker on August 24, 2018 in Morning Coffee |

Whenever I find something misfiled I just smile and say “Cat Hearing”.

Oh Julie, you can’t herd cats!

A friend said that to me just last night! Cat Herding? Yup, it’s a thing,  it is on my resume, and there was even a cute Superbowl Commercial about cowboys herding cats.

What is cat herding? According to the Wikipedia it’s an idiom denoting a futile attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are inherently uncontrollable – as in the difficulty of attempting to command a large number of cats into a group (herd).

In my experience it is leading a large group of individuals of all ages and professions that are volunteering their precious time when they have better things to do…. and completing a task. Simple? Nope. But since I put it on my resume I better put my money where my mouth is. So here are my tips to cat herding.

Be a cat lover:

The group you are leading are people who have generosity donated their time, and likely people you are friends with. Be respectful of their time, and be sure to thank them purr-fusely. If you have that one cat who shows up and helps for everything, but is terrible at completing tasks, thank them and assign them a partner.

Bring Catnip:

Offer pizza. I almost always delegate this job. Getting organized and giving instructions uses up the time needed to get a count and order pizza. Beer is good too, but only for some groups, be wise.

Have the cat toys ready:

Be as organized as possible before they show up. For example, when I have a music folder stuffing task I have everything laid out and ready to stuff before the volunteers arrive. Sometimes delegating a small task in advance to someone who wants to help but can not make it to the event.

Cats like to play:

Your volunteers are a group of like minded people who will also want to visit with each other. Remember this isn’t their job, it’s their free time they are giving up for your organization. Be part of the fun while gently guiding them towards the goal.

Cats will often ignore you:

There is always that small group, such as the back row in a band, that are busy gabbing and do not hear the details. Be prepared to give instructions several times, I usually make some sort of handout.

Cats will be cats:

They like to do things their own way. This is the hardest one, some volunteers will only do things the way they think it should be done, or not do a task if they think it is not needed. Resort to begging if necessary, try saying “Please do it [this] way, I find it saves me time in the future”, or assign the task to someone else. But in the end, they are volunteers and be happy they arrived to help.

The Stray Cat Strut:

People have various schedules, some will never volunteer. Don’t agonize over finding the perfect day or place. Set the time and place and get to work, work with what you have, and remember to have fun. I have not had a fail yet.

Don’t be a Grumpy Cat:

Cats are not perfect, if you need the job to be done perfectly, or imperfections bother you, either hire someone or do it yourself. And yes, their are certain things I will do myself to make my life easier.

Cats are loyal:

If you are a good herder, the cats will return to play the next time.


Happy Herding =^..^=


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Posted by TetonTrekker on July 25, 2018 in Morning Coffee, Ringy-Dingys |

“Is this the party to whom I am speaking?”

When watching Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In with my parents in the 70’s, Lilly Tomlin’s Ernestine was one of the characters I remember the most. I’m not sure if it was her 1940’s garb and silly demeanor, or just her snort that made me laugh. Who knew I’d spend so much time on the phone as an adult. I even worked as a switchboard operator twice. The first time was in 1980 at the Snow King Resort. It was an old switchboard with wires and plugs just like Ernestine used.

The phone company handles 84 billion calls a year — everything from kings, queens, and presidents to the scum of the earth.
Lilly Tomlin, as Ernestine the Operator
I have 2 office jobs, a home land line, and my husband and I both have a cell phone. I added my home numbers to the ‘no call list’ some time ago, but the problem is it only keeps away legitimate sales calls from people you have never done business with. At home we don’t even answer our land line any more, our friends, family, and other people we want to talk to have our cell phone numbers.

At work, the telemarketer, robocalls, spam, scam, and crank calls out number the legitimate business calls, it’s crazy!  Some of the callers get around the no call list because you have done business with them before or currently do business with them, some are just scams, I even get the occasional crank call. I was wondering if anyone has done a study on how much these calls are costing businesses in man hour dollars. I did a search and found many links on hiring a telemarketer, and many on stopping those telemarketers. (I’m still looking for that study.)

You are not dealing with just anyone’s fool. I am a high-school graduate. – Lilly Tomlin, as Ernestine the Operator

Over the years the telemarketers have com up with some pretty ingenious angles to suck you in. I’ve given up on getting rid of all the calls, unfortunately it’s part of life these days. I stay on the phone long enough to make sure it’s not a legitimate business call, then hang up. Some are very good at sounding legitimate, but most are easy to figure out. My favorite? A computer yelling at you “DON’T HANG UP!”. But guess what, I hang up.

Why would anyone want to buy anything from these unscrupulous people? Why would anyone want to do business with a company that tries to trick you on the get-go?

Here are a few basic tips:

  • General rule of thumb: Don’t engage – just hang up.
  • If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Nothing is free, you are either a customer or a commodity. If someone is offering you something for free, you and your contact info are the commodity.
  • Once you take a survey you have done business with that company and they can now legally spam call you.
  • If you are entering a contest that requires all your contact info read the fine print. Many times you are authorizing them to sell your info to their associates, which could be telemarketers.
  • Google is not calling you (unless you asked them to).
  • Don’t say “Yes” if a caller asks you “Is this [your business name]?” after you just answered the phone introducing your business. Scammers record it and use the recording to authorize whatever they are selling.
  • Educate your employees. Among other things, scammers call and ask your employees for info on your copier to send an “updated manual”, then send one with a big bill.
  • Never give out or confirm your banking or credit card info to someone who called you.

How may I, in all humble servitude, be of assistance? – Lilly Tomlin, as Ernestine the Operator

It’s frustrating weeding out the calls but sometimes it can be dealt with on a more humorous level if you get a real person. No sense on getting stressed out or angry over something you have little control over. But remember, that real person trying to sell you something is likely just a person like you or me with a really crappy job. I only mess with real people who are rude and/or obviously trying to scam me. I started a blog series, “Ringy-Dingys” to share some of the more memorable calls in my career.

Please follow my blog and feel free share your unusual telemarketer stories long the way.

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#019 The Quest for the Holy Grail of Staplers

Posted by TetonTrekker on May 3, 2018 in Morning Coffee |

I can make a computer bend to my will, I can make MS Excel obey my every command, I speak in several computer languages, BUT, my kingdom for a stapler that works every time! Staplers are my office nemesis, invented in 1866 by a man, for the sole purpose to taunt me. Interestingly enough the staple remover was not invented until 1930’s, patented by a man, but I’m sure a woman had something to do with it.

It’s now 2018 and staplers come in all sizes and shapes, but not much has changed. From the little pocket size staplers to industrial monsters, from looks that have not changed in 100 years to stiletto shaped staplers, still, they taunt me.

For a short time I thought  I found the Holy Grail. A stapler I liked. It was one of those ones that stand on their nose, gray in color, nothing extra. It worked almost every time and we had a good relationship. But in the end, it to, taunted me.


The Stapler of Caerbannog

One day it stopped working so I opened it to see that it only had a three or four staple stack left in it. When I went to dump them out and give it a refill the stack would not just fall out of the device, so I put my fingernail under it to loosen it up. As soon as I touched the stack it flipped on it’s side and dropped into the firing chamber.

Just like that! It became the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered stapler you ever set eyes on! The Stapler of Caerbannog. The little stack of staples jammed sideways in the firing chamber, I could not shake them loose, pry them loose, or curse them loose. I closed the stapler to try to push it a bit, hoping to even out how it was laying in the chamber. When I tried to open it, the beast was jammed shut. I hit it a few times on the desk then tried again. Still no luck. I gave it a strong pull, and in an instant, like a stubborn bag of potato chips, the stapler opened and all the innards flew out into the air! For one brief moment, I saw all the springs and fasteners silhouetted against the lights of the office window, and then they were gone. I swear I heard the stapler say “Your Mother was a Hamster, and your Father smelt of Elderberries! Now go away or I will taunt you a second time.”

I gathered all the pieces-parts from the desk, floor, and my lap and put it aside for the day.

Oh, oh I see. Running away, eh?! You yellow bastard! Come back here and take what’s coming to you! I’ll bite your legs off!!”

The next day I tried to put it back together but all the kings horses and all the kings men could not put that little sucker back together again, so I tossed it into the garbage. I heard a small voice come from the can “All right, we’ll call it a draw.”

This heavy duty model has a face only a Kaiju could love. It taunts me too.

I have used several different staplers since then, all of them taunt me. The stapler currently on my desk is a Swingline made of heavy pot metal (pictured in the head of this post).  It works well, rarely jamming, and I can use it as a weapon if needed.

I’m still searching for the perfect stapler. If you hear a woman’s voice at you local office supply shop asking “What is the airspeed velocity of an broken stapler?”  That’s just me, on my Quest for the Holy Grail of Staplers.


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