Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Around to It

REPOST from lafamigliad.blog.com

It was kind of like finding out that everybody else has been watching this hilarious/heartwarming/enlightening TV show you've never heard of, all season long. Or at a wedding reception every guest - except you -  moves as one group to the moves of a obviously commonly known dance - and you've never even heard the song.
Scratch that. It was discovering that everyone else has doing the swimming with dolphins thing, gone scuba diving, eaten sushi... What? No. Never had it. I'm doubting that anyone's deathbed regret will be never having tried raw fish in seaweed. 
Mmm, except maybe this sushi.   But anyway...
I guess I had my reasons, like everybody else who hasn't. It's not that painful, the benefits are awesome, but for some reason, you just haven't gotten it done by now. You're fine with things the way they are. You've been busy, living life. You're  great without it, really. There's money involved, for one thing. But suddenly, itdid matter. Financial and professional and personal reasons, and OH MY! Suddenly, discovering people  in my profession who DIDN'T have their Master's degree was like locating the other token girl in your Jr. High homeroom who, like lonely little you, hasn't gotten her ear pierced yet. I got mine pierced in 5th grade, or something. But you know what I mean.
"I don't have mine either, you know. Never went back." Says one colleague or another.
You too? Wow. Do you ever think about going back for it?
Responses I heard: Not in this economy. Not till my husband is done his. Not till I'm teaching a grade level I like better. Not till I have tenure. Not while my kids are little. Not while my kids are busy with activities. Not while my kids are almost in college - that's going to be so expensive! Not while my kids need me to babysit the grandkids. Oh. Dear.
So in my grand tradition of stating things on the interwebs so that I have to do them (WW, the summer goals, and oops, I forgot: ask me about the 30 days of $%&$# exercise sometime) I am hearby making myself go back to school for my Master's degree by saying here that I'm going back to school for my Master's degree. (Please note. Author has been planning this for months now. This has kind of been her quiet little pet project. She just forgot to tell you. And there's still stuff to work out, anyway.) You have full permission to ask me how that's going. Keep me on it.  One school's program is looking amazing right now. I just have to find some unwitting financial institution to lend me the G's in the form of some hefty student loans, I guess. Isn't that how most people do this? Cause I do not have that many G's lying around.
So, wondering if I'm going to get my G's worth:
In your opinion, does a MA make a more desireable, capable teacher? Performer? Dare I ask, and hope the answer is 'yes' because you're more fulfilled and capable at your craft, yadda yadda yadda...Parent?
Hope so. Cause I'm doing it anyway. Assuming I get in. Ooooh, application. That would probably be my next step, huh?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Moving On!


I'll double-post here a few more times, but come visit and change your bookmark:

(pssst! Click above!)

...my side.

Blogger was getting too "too", you know? That, and I had so many quirky tech glitches that even my tech geek hubby couldn't fix.
So we move from this:

On to bigger and better blog platforms...


Stay with me now.
It's going to be a snarky ride.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Inner Game of (not sucking at) Music

Hubby read  "The Inner Game of Music" as high school trumpet player, probably at some teacher's request.
As mucic students together, he recommended it to  me.
Like, 10 years ago.
What? I got around to reading it... this summer.
It's based off of the pattern of thinking that is introduced in the 1970's book list hit, "The Inner Game of Tennis". However, this installment in the "Inner Game" franchise is largely written by bass player Barry Green. Which is good,  because I don't know if I can take the advice of somebody who plays tennis. I don't trust anyone who enjoys all that running
Actually I should already make a correction: like the tennis book, the premise is that you'll experience success and enjoyment if you embrace a pattern of NOT thinking.
That's exactly the nasty habbit that the "inner game" books are trying to end in us: Overthinking our performance, in any realm.Ending the critical inner monologe - not replacing it with a namby-pamby, positive dialoge - but rather, just STOP THINKING and DO IT.  No "Oh boy, here comes that hard part again, I'm going to miss it, here goes nothing!"
See, Yoda had it before any of us.
And it works. Not all the time, obviously. Lips and fingers and body can only perform so well, in relation to ability and effort.
In my case? I don't sight read well. Recently, when running through beautifully high-level, jazz pieces with a group of musicians who could play cirlces around me, I got lost in the endless little black dots on the page. But I sure as hell played better when I, for lack of a better term for it, let go and stopped wondering if the guy  next to me heard that disgusting flub on that last high note. BONUS: the experience of letting go of worry increases the opportunity for enjoyment. And that jazzy stuff is FUN. :)
A couple weeks ago, fueled by a glass a wine, two cups of coffee, and the urging of a college friend, I contacted the associate principal horn player of a major metropolitan symphony. Why didn't I ask for a lesson? Um, because he's got better things to do with his time than hear me flub? Because that would be the definition of terrifying? Because I'm not really a horn groupie...yet? I did some
internet stalking research and found his personal email.
I did it, I caught him on a rare weekend he was home in our region and not touring the country, and he was inexplicably willing to listen to me butcher Mozart.
And yes, the Barry Green stuff came in handy. Cause otherwise? Yeah. Hyperventilation and wind instruments don't go hand in hand. I "inner gamed" it, didn't shame my self too badly, and actually left thinking I'd done pretty well and gotten some great advice. Then I had to recap the experience to others, some who knew what a freakin' huge deal this was to me, and some who wondered why the heck I'd drive to north Jersey without getting paid mileage. There was time to recount the whole lovely
 mistake-filled ordeal valuable experience in my head, and suddenly - CANNOT. BELIEVE. I. DID. THAT.
From virtually ignoring volume changes to picking that piece to 'show off' on, to contacting this guy in the first place, I spent about a week over-analyzing every aspect of that day, and not in a positive light. What the Hell was I thinking and who the Hell do I think I am? He probably expected to hear somebody who could actually articulate, oh, I don' t know...accurately?  He probably shook his head after shutting the door and thought "there's a lot of time wasted". Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!  The magic of leaving that inner monologue behind is that, in most people's case, it'll often catch up. Just like wondering if your stand partner thinks it's obviously you who's out of tune.
Is there an "Inner Game of Not Over-Thinking Life in General"?
"Don't Sweat the Fact that You Inevitably Will Do Incredibly Stupid Stuff"?
"The Power of Positive Thinking about People You've Offended in some Minute Way, You Idiot!"?
Ok, I'm not usually this self-conscious and crazy. Usually. I just care about this a lot. I've got grad school auditions on the horizon out there, and I'd rather not suck this early in the process.
I think playing in front of a giant, anonymous audience is so much easier than playing for a friend or (ha ha, let's pretend for a second) colleague in the instrumental world. To sum up what Mr. THE MAN of the horn world said to me:  "You've got game, but you're unrefined, unpracticed, and you're not using much of what game you've got."
I may need to re-read that book before taking  another lesson.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Know Thy Limitations

I can wrangle 100+ little kids, and get them to make music together.
I can give birth without painkillers (I can, not that I'd volunteer for a repeat performance.)
I can tease my hair up so easily that in 30 seconds I could play Ronald McDonald without needing a clown wig.
I can write a couple of damn fine pages on societal satire comparing Jonathan Swift and Matt Groening.
I can, for that matter, kick your ass in "Simpsons" trivia.
I can change a (girl!) diaper in 10 seconds.
I can walk up and talk to almost any stranger, pretty comfortably.
I can play Sur Les Cimes by Eugene Bozza on my horn, on a good day maybe even a little better than this guy. At least the good parts...(Props for standing up to play though, guy. Nice sound.)

I can say, though I'm understandably biased, that my husband and I have one of the best marriages around, period.
I can get most Kindergartners matching pitch in solo vocal performance, in six sessions or so.
I can calm my own kids down, make the mean-mom ballistic routine totally get results, or render my girls mute and hysterical, silently giggling at The Tickle Monster.

Why the egocentric bragging?
Sorry. I can honestly say I needed the shot in the arm.

Because I cannot make a decent grilled cheese sandwich to save my life. 
Multiple tries.
And it bugged the Hell out of me today.

That's all. Thank you. Feeling better. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012


CrapcrapCRAP, it's the middle of July?

The first half of the first half of summer is over!

How did this happen??

It's not too late for the "goals" post, right?
The one I do based on the assumption that if I throw a to-do list out there in on the interwebs, I'll have to attempt to stick to it, right?
Stop laughing, damn it. 

Ok, we'll keep it short and vague:

  • Further cultivate and maintain good habits like practice and exercise and pretending the kids' bedtime is not based on my own convenience.
  • Stay on the WW. I hate you, WW. But it's still a good thing - since last summer my husband lost 50 pounds! Me? 20. Not that anybody notices, next to Bob and his carb-incinerating metabolism, but still -  20. (Please note: I eat, drink, make merry, and generally cheat on WW way more often than does my law-abiding husband. I am doing so right now. Wa-ha-ha. I therefore deserve my measly 20. But I still hate you, WW.)

  • Clean whatever messes are bothering me in the house, stuff that I let go to Hell all school year...and leave the rest to, well, go to Hell. Dear coat closet piled high with crap: you are in the latter category, see you next summer. 
  • Recover from last school year; put feet up, sleep late, stop worrying. Because last year was...wow. I should explain: both of us had new positions, loads of extra work to do and new limbs to go waaaaay out on. Having left his old position in February to head to his 5th district in nine years, Bob pretty much got  the "what I wanted to be when I grow up" job. But it was a big decision and a hard move, mid-year. In my district, my old position had been cut, so this past year I was pretty much used as a highly paid long-term substitute for a Band teacher who had been laid off.  It was a very different hat to learn to wear. Then that person was hired back mid-year, so next year I'm being moved back to teaching what I'd taught previously...all well and good on most ends. But the whole hat-switching experience left me, among other things, wondering what I want to be when I grow up. Now that you mention it - 
  • Figure out what I want to be when I grow up - hahahahaha that's a good one but seriously, I don't even have my Masters' yet.. tick-tock, baby. Not gettin' any younger.
Although I could totally pull off this look.
  • Enjoy my girls. OH, so "check". :) 

  • Enjoy family and friends. :) 'Nough said. Now, this next week is a crazy one, but I believe I have six gatherings or celebrations of some sort. Yes, all in the coming week, and I love it. And I love summer.
  • Keep doing lovely stuff like playing horn and reading and staying up late blogging and (check!)

There! Now make me stick to the list, people. Counting on you!

How about you?
Do you go into summer with specific (or conveniently vague) goals? 

Link Love:

Here's hoping the rest of the summer stretches out like an American Idol results show.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy in Quotations

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."
~ Sigmund Freud

"Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development."
~ David Gottesman

"The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." 
~ John Wooden

*I'd like to add: "And have a sense of humor!"

So to my own dear Dad (with all his little girls!)

and awesome father in-law Bob,

 and to the exemplary daddies I know (you know who you are), 

Link love:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I love you, get away from me

*Saturday morning*

"What are you doing? It's not 8:00 yet."
"Ellie is awake and I can hear her."
"What time did I tell you you could get up and come in?"
"It is 7:40 and you've now been in here 3 times. Please: Go. Back. To. Your. Room."
*cue the mournful crying as she walks back slowly.*

AND now I'm officially awake. Grrr. I have Trouble falling back asleep if I'm awakened after several hours of sleep, even if those "several" are really as little as 4. This morning is an exception; I managed to convince my body to rest some more after Miss M ran out of toilet paper at 6:11AM (there was some next to the toilet, oh freakin' helpless child!) and 7:15, when the silk flower bouquet on her dresser 'came apart' (So much angst over flowers? God help you if you ever total a nice car.)  Now it's 7:40, and I'm quite unwillingly awake. I grumble about this to the husband, who grunts in response and will not remember any disturbance this morning whatsoever. Lucky bastard.
Shouldn't my baby be the one getting me up, not the five year-old? Oh that's right, I don't have a baby anymore! I'm done with babies, mainly partially because I LIKE MY SLEEP NOW LEAVE ME THE &#*$% ALONE!

oops, I mean...

In this moment of angry-tired, I question the practicality of our "no TV in their bedrooms" rule. (Would she be bothering me right now, or would she be watching morning PBS Kids?). Then I marvel at my child's apparent inability to be by herself in her room. There are toys, books, and a fantastic selection of art supplies for my doodle-loving child, all right there. So again: LEAVE ME ALONE. Er, I mean, "please go entertain yourself sweetie." Psst! And then leave me alone.

But rarely can she be alone, this one. While E is at the stage where she will sit and "read" in her room, M must have contact with you. Hands up, who's got this kid? Most of the time she will sit by you like a loyal golden retriever, rather than go play alone. It's just her thing. (My parents find this hilarious, because she is supposedly just taking after her momma here. I am sorry, Mom and Dad.) Like her doggie persona, she will hoist her solid little self into your lap and elbow your groin, right after you've said "I have to sit down and get this ______ done." Bob says he needs a protective cup top play with Miss M safely. 
She whines about playing by herself in her beautiful playground of a backyard. It's a paradise out there!  We have a trampoline - no, I'm sorry, we have TWO. (We have to deliciously spoiled kids, too.) Our swingset came with a small one, and the other I talked hubby into, citing the fact that it's basically a giant zip-up playpen of bouncy wonderfulness. In my mind's eye, I pictured the girls blissfully bouncing while Bob and I sipped coffee on the deck. HA.
I know one day I'll perpetually be missing my daughter's company. It's karma. After spending a decade seeking attention, I locked myself in my bedroom for years. 
But right now? Pre-8:00 AM on Saturday? See above, in all caps.
Go play by yourself!!!

This is the face we get.
Awww, don't feel bad, little guy. 
According to Miss M, nobody will play with her, either.

"I'm bored." 
"Will you play with me NOW?" 
"You never play with me."

Like many kids her age, she quite frankly sucks at this 'by-yourself' thing.
There's a concern that kids today aren't able to entertain themselves - and why should they? I can't. Constant access to communication and entertainment via technology (I loooove you, my new Droid Razr)  has rendered me unable to go to the bathroom without reading feeds on Google Reader or check my text messages. So in this bleary-eyed moment of unwilling wakefulness my daughter has caused, why am I angry?  It's the weekend, family time. And she's five. Why should I be banning her to her bedroom in tears when we all know I'm not going back to sleep? Why not go spend quality time together? Um, because I told her to stay in her room until her play clock set to 8:00 matched the real one on her wall, that's why. Mamma ain't doin' this every Saturday.

The night before, we had family friends over for dinner. After the party moved inside the total of four children proceeded to pester (I could say "request", but it's early and I'm grouchy) us big people to play with them. No, surprise, we did not want to. We were having grown-up conversation, thankyouverymuch. Doesn't help that it's May and we interact with various ages of kids all freakin' day... Go play in the giant playroom that ate our basement, by yourselves!!!
Yes, we're mean.  Being mean doesn't work. They come right back in cute costumes. Didn't there some secretive joy in playing with a group of children, when it was 'kids only, no grown-ups allowed!'?

Sorry, kids. At some point the parental need not be needed overpowers your cuteness.

So...why, when I can't be left alone without music blaring, Hulu playing in the background, or my 4G LTE-loveliness lighting up, should I expect a young child to? Why can't I just throw on the TV/Computer/multiple educational phone apps, and give up the dream of her reading a book or coloring a picture? We've been preaching that it's high time to embrace hand-held, instant-gratification technology in education; should we just suck it up and welcome it into our lives as a new way to hit the snooze button?

And just accept the fact that they're all going to be wearing Google Glasses in 10 years anyway...

You look ridiculous.

Actually, the night before, the four kids under the age of 8 did ok, considering they had played and bounced and played some more until 10 PM...

So back to the situation at hand: Up. Too. Early. Go. Away.
Wait a minute? The kid was up past 10:00 last night???
Miss M, my child, why oh why are you not sleeping till noon? Isn't that the deal? If we let you stay up to irresponsible hours that infringe on grown-ups only conversation, you sleep the heck in?

Needless to say, she stayed banished, without electronic devices.

And I left hubby asleep.
And got up and blogged.

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