Thursday, January 29, 2009

education matters

I will never stop learning as long as I live.

I have some good examples before me. I have a friend who is in her 70's and still taking piano lessons. She's a retired missionary to Colombia who homeschooled five children on the field. She continues to play piano for solo/ensemble competitions, as well as take lessons. Her wisdom and humor make piano classes fun.

I had a piano lesson this morning. Well, it ended up being more of a kaffee klatsch, since I find myself with little in the way of spare time to do anything more than sight-play some easy Chopin or Bach. Winnowing a work down to its harmonic structure, and digging the meat out of the melodic line, forget it. Not when I have literally been teaching school until 9 or 10 p.m. nightly.

Anyway. Good piano/klatsch today. Mimi was very encouraging. Or maybe I was just out of the house, no kids to harangue, and talking with an adult about Life, the Universe, and Everything. I can learn something just by sitting at her Steinway B (note that she sits at the Steinway D, thank you very much, plays like chocolate silk and sounds like amber-colored honey...I digress...) and discussing the teaching in my own studio using the literature my students are working in.

Yeah, this late night school thing is really getting me down. As a matter of fact, I kinda was on strike today. Not in a defiant, in-your-face picket line sort of way, but more like Bartleby the scrivener, in that I "preferred not to" teach. Instead I made heart-shaped cutout cookies, covered with Toba Garrett's cookie glaze. It's flood-consistency frosting that dries to a nice sheen. I added some silver dragees and had some fun imagining selling them for $15 per cookie like Toba does. (no, seriously, go see. And no, my cookies didn't look as good as all that.) I allowed S, who is battling some cold/virus thing, to help me with the decor. I figure by now we're all exposed to the germs, so why not? Indeed, A. had it first, and now D has a 99.something fever. S will end up being a baker, that one. Her life involves quite a bit of planning parties, hosting parties, or making party favors and party food. Maybe her life here is too boring.

Meanwhile D wants to educate me on the finer points of playing Godzilla: Unleashed on the Wii. So far I have escaped his clutches on the grounds that if I don't have time to practice the piano because I'm too busy teaching HIM, then he doesn't get Wii time, nor do I (unless, of course, it's Wii Fit...exercise is an acceptable use of time, you know.) This evening, though, since I was on a Bartleby-type of strike, we enjoyed to the fullest: watching a tape of The Doctor(Nine)save Rose Tyler and battle the Daleks--then doing Wii Fit (Super Hula Hoop rocks)--then D.(as Godzilla, naturally) battling Megaguirus and some seahorse-lookin' thing whose name escapes me at the moment, though I know D. has told me several times. (The training of Mom clearly has not stuck). He also did some internet searching on how to unlock a particular monster called Biollante. Just as he completed the necessary steps to unlock Biollante, though, the program did just the converse: it locked up and we had to reboot the system. Lost!

In other education news, A and I have been noodling when best to take a trip to upstate NY to see his dad and then up to Quebec to see his aunt and uncle, who are now in their 80's. We've settled on the weeks that straddle Spring Break. And, Providentially, I have a car waiting for me in Detroit. So the plan is to get one-way flights to Detroit, see the Mom/Grandma and the Brother/Uncle and family - then hop in the car (I have actually ALREADY done the paperwork and tranferred title)- then drive to New York, drive to Canada (passports in process of being renewed - $75 each, such a deal /sarcasm) - then the real fun and education begins when we drive back across the whole flippin' US of A from NYC to SEA. The route will send us from New York City (2 days) to Indianapolis, to Chicago (2 days), to Sioux Falls, to Casper, to Missoula, and then Home. We will learn MUCH on this trip, oh yesss. Even if it is merely in areas of self-control and biting our tongues, or how to count antelope factorially when we are in Wyoming. If you live near any of these cities, be warned that you might just get to see us. Or you might have to come up with excuses not to see us.

The other educational experience that looms in my future is that I get to do my own taxes this year for the first time ever. My dad--in the tax business for 38 years-- retired. He gave me notice over Christmas that he's done. He bought me Turbo Tax and said he'd be available for questioning.

Ugh. Numbers AND the Government. Could anything be less enjoyable?

I wonder if, come April 15, I could simply write, "I prefer not to" at the top of my 1040?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the longest day

I marvel at my children's ability to procrastinate. I can very clearly set forth a well-documented chart of things to do, the order in which they could most efficiently be done, and hold out a "carrot" if the things get done, to reward the kids.

11:21 p.m. Kids not done with school. Kids comatose. Mom frustrated. Dad going to bed.

I don't know about this whole piano teaching gig. I love it, plus we need the money. But school just doesn't happen well on piano days.

So maybe Tuesday and Wednesday will be the kids' weekend, and we school Thursday through Monday.

Oh wait. Where did my weekend go?

I'll think about that tomorrow.

Definitely these kids are mine, though. Masters of procrastination.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ooh, shiny! a blog!

...I wonder how long it's been here, unattended?

Working on a new header. ^That one is ancient and unused. And what is more, I can't seem to link to it from photobucket. They've redone the site and I don't feel like investing time in it to relearn how to post the img.

More important than a new header, though, is CONTENT.

Working on that, too... in between schooling 2 halflings and doing the wife, mom, and piano teacher thing. :)

I'm also playing Lexulous online with Cabcree and Mrs. Blythe. PRIORITIES!