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Archive for May, 2008

As of my last post, my external hard drive that basically was the repository of all of my data – business, music, jpegs, everything – had crashed and I was rapidly learning that it was going to take *BIG* bucks to recover what was lost. 

Well, the big bucks part hasn’t changed.  This week as I drive to Tennessee for my son’s wedding I will be dropping off the hard drive at a company in Marietta whose sole existence is the recovery of data from scores of crashed computers and computer-related equipment.  Thankfully, the first 24 hours will cost me nothing as they examine my hard drive and figure out what needs to be done.  It’s the *next* 24 hours that will probably shock the pants off of me!

As I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I must now pay out *BIG* bucks to regain what I mistakenly thought was safely stored, I’ve also resigned myself to the fact that I must have a back-up for the back-up.  If all goes according to what I hope will happen, I do plan on having my data transferred over to another hard drive.  Then  I will have to  buy a second external hard drive as a back-up.  Think *super* mega-flash drive.  This one won’t fit in your pocket.

However, in the meantime, back at the ranch, my 17yod, Rebekah, who has often been an assistant in my ABC classes over the years, came to me last Friday night with an amazing statement.

“Mom, you know you can copy all of your music off of your iPod back onto the computer, don’t you?”

Huh? 

What’d you say?

“Yes, you can.  It’s not hard,  I did it when I moved all of my stuff off your iTunes onto my laptop.”

Whoa!  We can recover *ALL* of my music off of the iPod?! 

We’re talking over 12G of music – mostly Kindermusik, VBS music, Children’s Choirs, but also some beloved classics – Southwest DeKalb High School Band 1970 and 1972 – the year we won the Virginia Beach Band Festival – not to mention Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Joshua Radin, Simon & Garfunkel, Kai Winding, and Paul Desmond, just to name a few.  Oh, yeah, there was some of Napoleon Dynamite left on there from Bekah, too. Not to mention all of the purchases I had made through Sonific.com which is now defunct.

Bekah assured me that it could be done, but I was too leery of doing it Friday night before my last classes on Saturday morning.  I decided to wait until the semester was over.  I also decided that I was not going to put it back on our desktop – already slow and slowing.  12G would just about fill this baby up *again* – which is why I bought the dang external hard drive to begin with last year!

Well, last night, with the aid of my extremely knowledgable 17yo, we successfully transferred *ALL* of my music files from my iPod onto a new laptop.  HURRAY! 

I was one *extremely* happy person right then.  When I finally released Bekah from a massive bear-hug dance, she grinned and said, “You have to thank PC Magazine, too, Mom.  That’s where I learned it.”

So, *THANK YOU*, PC Magazine! 

(Now, if I could only recover my stored website information that easily as well!) 🙂

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Today I think I’ve had one of the most absolutely frustrating experiences of my life.  As the daughter of a man who could and did fix anything electronic just for the fun of it, I was raised to be cautious where electronic equipment and electrical storms were concerned.  As a child I remember vividly the experience of a lightning strike on our fence that travelled into our house and literally burned out all of the television sets and radios that we owned plus causing tremendous havoc in the wiring of my parents’ fairly new home of two years. 

I have always been very careful to make sure that my computer, printer, electronic equipment in general were all turned off or even unplugged when a storm comes through.  This spring has been one of the most active in recent years.  Last night as the latest series of storms rolled through, I made sure to turn off my desktop and printer.  I honestly can’t remember if I turned off the external hard drive or not, but I think I did.  (You already see where this is going, don’t you?)

In any case, after the storms were through, I did sit down last night to do some work, some internet surfing, and answering some email.  I spent about 45 minutes going through my Jpeg photos, optimizing them to send some really cute photos of some of my students in class via email to some of my Kindermusik families for them to enjoy. 

I did some work on my lesson plans for this summer as well as my website.  I also used iTunes without any problems and downloaded some cool, free mp3 files that I planned to load onto my iPod this morning.  Everything worked beautifully, including iTunes which resides on my external hard drive due to the massive amounts of music files (mp3’s and mp4a’s) that I have, as a result of my Kindermusik collection and other numerous CD’s that I own.  Everything that I use in my studio is located on this 250GB external hard drive as well as my own personal stuff.  I moved it all over from the desktop last year to free up space for my family’s use.

Well, this morning when I was awakened by my husband as he was preparing to leave for work, he mentioned that “that little box-thing you’ve got sitting next to the computer is making funny noises. It’s flashing off and on.  You might want to check it.”

My eyes flew open at that announcement, and I rapidly got dressed and headed for the computer.  I didn’t need my usual chocolate macadamia-nut coffee fix to get out of the bed this morning.  My heart was already sinking, saying, “Please, no.  Please, no” while my head (and mouth) was saying, “Oh, crap!”  (Yes, Kindermusik teachers do swear from time to time. We just don’t usually admit it.)

After working with it, disconnecting all cords, using the compressed air, reassembling and powering up again, I got —- nothing.  Not even a blip.

At first, I was still hopeful that it might be a short in the power adapter as I could tell juice was flowing from the power strip *to* the adapter.  I just couldn’t see any evidence of juice flowing through the adapter *to* the unit itself.  So, after “chatting online” with some idiot named “Ray” who ostensibly is there to “help” the Iomega customer but only wanted to sell me on the idea of buying a *new* IOmega external hard drive,  I learned that I could find a new adapter at their webstore where they’d be glad to sell me one and send it from California.  Depending on my shipping choice, I could probably have it in 3-5 business days.

Instead, I turned around and called my local Staples store where I bought the hard drive last year, asking if they carried any such thing as a 6-pin, 12-volt power adapter for said hard drive.  The very nice guy there first apologized for not carrying what I needed and then advised me to call Radio Shack.

At this point, I decided to just put the entire thing, power cords, USB cord, *everything* into a bag and headed for my trusty, local Radio Shack where the very nice saleslady winced when she heard my story and told me she had never even *seen* or *heard* of such a thing as a universal power adapter like I needed.

At this point, I began to realize that I really and truly might have a *very* serious problem on my hands.  Where the idea came from, I don’t know – possibly an online pop-up ad or a television ad I’d seen one of the few times I watched television, but I remembered that Best Buy had the Geek Squad and turned my van toward Turner Hill Road and Best Buy.

Upon consultation with the Geek Squad guy, I gave the go-ahead for him to try a new housing unit for my hard drive to see if it actually *was* the power adapter that was the problem.  He first tried their universal adapter to find that it would not work in my case.  After paying $40 for the labor and $60 for a new housing unit, I waited there at the counter while he took my unit apart and moved the hard drive itself into the new housing.  With a *LOT* of prayers on my part, GS guy powered it up and plugged it into his computer.  We both waited and watched his screen to see if the G: drive would appear.

Nope, nothing. 

GS guy picked up the new housing, put it to his ear, and pronounced, “You’ve got a bad hard drive.  It’s just clicking once in a while.”

The next words were “data recovery.”  I’m not sure how much of that information I actually retained.  Suffice to say, Best Buy could send my hard drive off to Kentucky to recover my information, but it would probably take 2 weeks or more and cost anywhere from $250 to $1200. 

“Don’t you have anyone local who can do this?” I asked.

“No, I’ve got a friend who had this happen to his computer, and he found someone local who could do it in about a week, but I don’t know who it was.”

Despite repeated appeals to this GS guy and another GS individual working in the same area, I was unable to obtain any recommendations.

I’m not asking for blanket emails or comments, but if any reader with experience in data recovery, either from a perspective of client or provider, comes across this post and can provide some *good* advice, please contact me in the comments section.  I would prefer dealing with someone in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, if at all possible.  Four years of hard work, a collection of photos of all of my Kindermusik classes, and a lifetime accumulation of music is not something I’m willing to just let go.

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As a Kindermusik educator, I am blessed with the ability to come in contact with educators from literally around the world.  At my very first Kindermusik convention in July, 2005, in Nashville, Tennessee, I made a very good friend from Malaysia.  We have corresponded frequently since then and I hope to see her in person again one day at another convention.

I have also met, via our online group at Yahoogroups, Sarah Peel Li, a Kindermusik educator in Beijing, China.  We have participated together in continuing education webinars hosted and sponsored by Kindermusik International.  I greatly enjoy her expertise as an educator as well as her humor.

This morning, as I skimmed through the group’s posts, I read a new one from Sarah that put the China earthquake into a much more personal perspective.  I am reproducing it here.  If you feel led to participate, please do so.  The need is incredible. 

From Sarah Peel Li, Beijing, China:

As most of you are probably already aware there was a massive earthquake in the Sichuan region of China on Monday. It is a tragedy and many thousands of people have lost their lives. Those that survived in the hardest hit areas often have nothing, and the conditions are extremely difficult.

Kara Waddell, a Kindermusik parent here in Beijing, leads the NGO Operation Blessing here in China. She is now in Chengdu to coordinate relief efforts, and I hope our community of families and schools will be able to support the work she and her team are doing to assist children in the quake affected areas. Operation Blessing is partners with the China Charity Federation and China Foundation for collecting funds legally in China and for coordinating disaster relief activities. Collection of needed goods is also normal for this type of disaster, and Operation Blessing will be making arrangements for this type of aid to be sent in the coming days from partners here in Beijing.

As Kara put it in an e-mail I received, relief experts are right – give to whoever you trust, but cash in response scenarios really, really helps. If you would like to give, I know that supporting Operation Blessing’s work will make sure your funds reach those who need it most. They are extremely professional and have experience working with community partners in the hardest hit areas of Sichuan.  They are coordinating their work with the Red Cross and the China Social Work Association.

They are focused on relief for children and families, including an effort to reach and assist orphanages in the area. Their work is currently focused on: Mianyang City – where 3000 are being reported dead, 18,000 buried in rubble which could greatly increase the death toll; and  Dujiangyan City – they have a 2-year old friendship with the Red Cross from a district in this city. We are making local purchases of relief supplies and will help distribute with the Red Cross.
ONLINE DONATIONS:
Domestic and international credit cards can be used. 100% of funds dedicated for use in China although funds collected in the U.S. All funds received this week online we’ll dedicate to this earthquake relief, recovery and development efforts. Thank you for reading this message, and your generous support of an organization that is making a real difference in the face of incredible suffering.
Sarah Peel Li
Beijing, China

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I knew that I wanted to post something for Mother’s Day, but I hadn’t yet decided quite what to do when I received a lovely email from my friend, Patti, who also teaches the preschool choir for me at our church.  I thought it was so cute that I wanted to share. 

I’m always careful to try and find authors and sources in order to correctly attribute what I post, but Patti didn’t know where it came from, other than a “Fwd” from another friend.  This was one of those ubiquitous “Fwd” we all find in our inboxes and spam folders, and most frequently just delete. 

I still wanted to share it here.  I don’t know who the author/creator is, but I did note a reference on one panel to 123greetings.com.  I’ve searched their files, but this must be something from a previous year.  In any case, I want to share this with all moms everywhere, whether by blood, marriage, adoption, or just plain friend.  Happy Mother’s Day to you all!  🙂

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Many times I am asked by parents for suggestions of supplementary music for their children other than Kindermusik.  There is a lot of stuff out there – a lot of it simply noise, in my opinion.  And while there is some good recorded music available for children, many of it doesn’t interest the adults in the family.  It’s seen as strictly something for the kids. 

I have been fortunate in the past few years to find some artists that cross over and entertain not only the kiddos, but also adults – not only parents, but aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents, you name it! 

One of the first was Elizabeth Mitchell – still probably my absolute favorite child’s recording artist, an acoustical genius.  I own all of her albums and frequently have them on in my classroom while setting up for class. 

Then there was Chris Karabas and the Kids Table Band as well as Suzi Shelton, both enjoyable, although geared strongly toward the listening audience of children. 

Barenaked Ladies

Imagine my surprise recently when I learned that an alternative rock group I’ve enjoyed listening to over the years, Barenaked Ladies, or BNL for short, was releasing their first children’s album.  They were asking for listeners who would be interested in receiving an advance copy for review.  I was curious enough to submit my name. 

Why a children’s album?  Well, I’m sure that the collective number of eleven children within the group’s members had something to do with it.  Either that or many nights of walking the floor with a cranky baby, singing it back to sleep!  Sleep deprivation can do crazy things to the psyche!

Here’s the answer straight from the BNL website:

“Our collective kids now outnumber the band more than 2 to 1,” explains vocalist/guitarist Ed Robertson. “We set out to make a record that would be entertaining for them…not strictly a children’s record, but a record that children would really enjoy. Our kids are in to all kinds of music. They love the They Might Be Giants kids records, but they also love The Beatles, Fountains of Wayne, Randy Newman, Black Eyed Peas and Green Day. Making the focus about what our kids like was a truly liberating process and fun for the whole band.”

Snack Time by Barenaked Ladies

 Snacktime is one of those albums that will definitely entertain the kids while grabbing the parents’ attention as well.  Stylistically, there is a variety of music included – some that will definitely get your toes tapping.  There is enough silliness to satisfy any child with enough broad humor…..wink, wink….. to make mom and dad laugh as well. 

This album reminds me very strongly of the early “Muppet Shows” (by genius Jim Henson) back in the early ’80’s that we watched every Saturday night with our firstborn, ostensibly for *his* enjoyment, but also because my husband and I both enjoyed the wackiness and adult humor there that went completely over the kids’ heads.  We recently watched it again on DVD and had the same reaction.  Snacktime will be one of those classics as well- enjoyed by children and adults alike.

I really have a hard time picking just one or two favorites on this album.  They’re all good and you can tell that these guys write from personal experience of being real  parents of real children.  It’s refreshing and very enjoyable. 

Pushed to name which ones I listened to more than others, the first one I’d nominate is 7 8 9. (Click the arrow below to download and listen.)

Once your child gets the point of this song, you’ll be hearing, “7… 8…9, get it, Mom?  Get it, Dad? 7…8….9!”   I admit I’ve caught myself singing it as well. 

A Word For That (Album Version) will make you laugh, and, if you’ve got a child with severe allergies like we do, Allergies (Album Version) states very clearly how you feel, trying to cope with all that entails.  My 17yo daughter, Bekah, grinned and shouted “YES!” right out loud when she first heard this track.  Coldplay and The Fray, step aside; Bekah’s discovered BNL. 

Crazy ABC’s will catch your attention, then make you laugh out loud.  How they found all those words is beyond me!  And, yes, I think they *did* have too much time on their hands at that point. 

Raisins (Album Version) and Eraser (Album Version) (reminiscent of Veggie Tales) are both a lot of fun.  And anyone who’s ever worn a hand-me-down will relish My Big Sister (Album Version).  

For those of you who have had one of those days, or who has had a child with one of those days and in desperate need of a pity party, listen to Bad Day (Album Version).”  😀

Tracks include:

  1. 7 8 9
  2. The Ninjas
  3. Pollywog In a Bog
  4. Raisins
  5. Eraser
  6. I Can Sing
  7. Louis Loon
  8. Food Party
  9. The Canadian Snacktime Trilogy :Snacktime
  10. Popcorn
  11. Vegetable Town
  12. Drawing
  13. Humongous Tree
  14. My Big Sister
  15. Allergies
  16. I Don’t Like
  17. What a Wild Tune
  18. Bad Day
  19. Things
  20. Curious
  21. A Word for That
  22. Wishing
  23. Crazy ABCs
  24. Here Comes the Geese

Wondering how you will explain some of the humor in these songs to your kids?  Look no further than Youtube for an animated version of 7 8 9.  It’s a western version that explains why 6 is afraid of 7. 😉

Check Snacktime out for the kids, buy it for yourself!

 

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Summer_of_Music_ed

 

Join us this summer as we celebrate all kinds of fun in our Kindermusik classes!  With multiple offerings of different days and times, you can have your music and your summer, too!  There’s something for everyone this summer!

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Village – ages newborn to 18 months

Busy Days!

Set your baby’s day to classical music. With a little more Tchaikovsky in your “Twinkle, Twinkle” repertoire, you’ll discover new ways your baby benefits from the classics as you both develop an appreciation for the world’s most respected music. Each lesson features new activities and songs you can sing for all the places you go together-the store, the playground, the doctor, and more.  Each weekly class lasts 45 minutes.  Home Materials include: Book, CD, Village Cage Bell, and Poster.

Busy_Days_AHmats

For class schedules and registration, please visit our website here.

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Our Time – ages 1.5 years to 3.5 years

Zoo Train!

Your toddler and the train make a natural match—always on the move. Tag along this summer with a traveling zoo train. Bring your own stuffed animals for the petting zoo. Wear long white socks on your hands for polar bear paws and learn about real animals in the zoo. Sing songs for clapping time, and use music to help toddlers regulate emotions. Each weekly class lasts 45 minutes.  Home Materials include: Book, CD, Animal Shaker, and Poster.

ZooHomeMats

For class schedules and registration, please visit our website here.

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Imagine That! – ages 3.5 – 5 years

Drums, Drums, Drums!

This session your child will experience the concept of fractions through hearing and playing quarter and eighth notes. In class we’ll do “call and response” activities to the rhythmic sounds of African music. Meanwhile, your child will sharpen listening and attention skills, as well as fine tune you’re her ear to finding patterns. Play together the activities in your Home Kit, and you’ll help your preschooler develop a strong foundation in math, rhythm and coordination, and critical listening.  Each weekly class lasts 45 minutes with the parent joining class in the final 10 minutes.  The “Drums, Drums, Drums” Home Kit includes Home CD and Magazine-style Family Guide, a 15″ mini-djembe (student instrument) and Book, Drum Circle.

Drums, Drums, Drums    

For class schedules and registration, please visit our website here.

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Young Child – ages 5 – 7 years

Around the World!

Take an imaginary trip—exploring the exotic cultures of Germany, Japan, Africa, England, and Mexico. Play the native instruments. Drape sheets over cardboard boxes and sing over the German mountain tops. Toss peanuts on the floor and bring good luck to one’s home in this Japanese custom. Send messages in Nigeria with “talking drums.” Each weekly class lasts 90 minutes with the parent joining class in the final 15 minutes.  Home Materials include: CD, Arts and Craft materials,Picture Folder set, and Travel Bag.

ATW-AHmats

For class schedules and registration, please visit our website here.

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Family Time  – ages newborn – 7 years

Zoo Train!

Your toddler and the train make a natural match—always on the move. Tag along this summer with a traveling zoo train. Bring your own stuffed animals for the petting zoo. Wear long white socks on your hands for polar bear paws and learn about real animals in the zoo. Sing songs for clapping time, and use music to help toddlers regulate emotions. Each weekly class lasts 45 minutes.  Home Materials include: Book, CD, Animal Shaker, and Poster. Each sibling will receive their own individual animal shaker.

ZooHomeMats

For class schedules and registration, please visit our website here.

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Sign and  Sing! – ages 6 months – 2 years

Session A

Playtime and everyday items around the house—such as a ball, bubbles, and family members—are learning themes in this introduction to American Sign Language for a child and caregiver. Experienced signers will benefit from the session’s four, research-proven strategies shown to speed language development in hearing children, developed by the child development and sign language experts Signing Smart™. With the DVD’s visual dictionary showing parents and children making over 60 signs, plus a pocket-sized set of flashcards of the pictures and the words of the signs, you’ll easily incorporate sign language into your daily routines, favorite nursery rhymes, and stories.

Sign and Sing Home Materials

Home materials include:

  • one Family Activity Guide
  • one DVD glossary showing 60 signs
  • one set of clip-on flashcards that feature both children and adults using family-friendly >American Sign Language signs.
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    1, 2, 3…….Read with Me!

    Ages newborn to 5 years

    Create your own Kindermusik Adventure Camp with our weekly 45-minute musical story-times, offered each Wednesday morning at 10AM.  Choosing from eight different themes, you can pick which 5 weeks you attend and which you don’t!  Want to attend more than five?  Choose 6, 7, or 8 and receive a break on the price!

    June 4thBugs, Birds & Critters – all the fun and excitement of our outside summer friends!

    June 11thAnimals All ‘Round the World – including Po the Panda from “Kung Fu Panda”!

    June 25thBeach Bash –  Surf’s up! We’re heading for the beach!

    July 2Gizmos and Gadgets – celebrating robots and “WALL-E”!

    July 9 Down on the Farm – We’ll be going on a hay-ride as we travel to the farm and visit the animals!

    July 16Rumble in the Jungle – Come join us as we dance the “Animal Hokey Pokey”with our jungle friends!

    July 23Blast Off! – Journey through the stars with the “Space Chimps” and enjoy the fun of space travel!

    July 30Marvelous Me! – Watch as your child discovers the wonder of who he is and how marvelously his body works!

    To register for 1, 2, 3……Read with Me, please visit our website here.

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    This summer at Masterworks Studio we really and truly do offer something for everyone! If your vacation falls on one of our class days, you can switch to another class of the same age curricula and make it up at another time in another week with no additional charges!  Beat the high cost of gas and travel this summer by taking an adventure with us in Kindermusik!

    mom_and_sonSC-Darcie-Xander

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    After my surgery, one of my daughters sent this to me to cheer me up.  I still enjoy it and hope it gives you 55 seconds of healthy, blood-pressure lowering laughter, too!  Enjoy!

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