Friday, December 19, 2014

Cracks Me Up.

Or ways in which five year olds are hilarious.

We are watching The Nutcracker this last day before break. We are five. I add commentary while they are watching to help them make sense of it all. At one point Marie (Clara) leaves her sleeping place and appears in the living room perfectly coiffed. I said, "my hair never looks that good right when I get out of bed." Sylvester says "it's probably because she has a bigger room." (Insert confused puppy look here.)

As they leave, Charlotte says "Merry Christmas Mrs. Terry, bring one of your toys to school when we come back." I said, "I'm not sure if Mr. Terry is going to get me any toys." She said "You never know... Maybe he will get you a puppy."

There is a second class of five year olds coming this afternoon. I can't wait.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Looking through a different lens

Do you remember Rusted Root?  Did you love them as much as I do?  Do you dance every you hear the Enterprise commercial?  I say yes to all.

One of the founders of the band, Jim Donovan, gives drumming workshops.  But they aren't your typical "I'm a music teacher, what can you possibly teach me" drumming work shops.

They are for people.  All People.  And he teaches about the power of chanting and vibrations in the body.  And you pause and meditate.  And you learn how to lead a circle of drummers.  And you don't need any musical knowledge.  At all.  And sometimes it even gets in the way.

I went to a workshop this weekend in Mt. Pleasant PA.  It was about 14 psychotherapists of one kind or another. He is all about using entrainment and sound energy and percussion to change the energy of the waves of our psyche.  Our brains latch on to patterns.  Percussion creates patterns for our brain.  If we can adjust the pattern with drumming, our wacky waves can become calm.

As a "music person" I had no fear coming to this workshop.  I've been an average performer always.  I understand that it takes practice to get better.  I learned this weekend that adults have more fear than children when it comes to creating in those spaces.  I've only ever been to music teacher workshops where everyone and their dramas are mostly ready to jump in at a moments notice.  I learned so much about people watching him teach adults how to find the musician inside themselves.  I learned so much about the things music teachers do to stifle these joys in children who turn into adults.

The method and training I have has always embraced student exploration and improvisation and I thought I was really "it."  I'm teaching what they need and giving them chances to create.  After this workshop I realized, not so much.  Or at least certainly not as much as I profess to do so.  When you're always fixing the sound, kids never let go of their fear and just be with the sound.  The urge to strive for perfection has become much less.

I am in my 28th year of teaching.  There aren't very music workshops that I can go to where most of the material and techniques are already known.  This weekend, after the Sound Empowerment workshop, I feel like I got a new toy to play with.

If you ever get a chance to attend a session (click here for linkety), run, don't walk to see him and meet him and know him.  It was AMAZING!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Some thoughts

I was a recluse when I started blogging. I had one good (not husband) friend and the primary basis of that friendship early on was that canceling plans was allowed if there was excess anxiety on either side.

When I started reading blogs I found internet friends who wrote about knit nights and yarn stores.

I thought, hey maybe I could go to a yarn store.

I did. They had knit night. After much trepidation, I went there too.

I found that I could be a part of that tribe and I made friends.

All that practice being and making friends while knitting helped in the real world. For a while I carried my knitting to combat social anxiety and only rarely did I need to resort to it.

Now I can go out into the world without it and have fun, not even needing medication. Of late I've even initiated a few social gatherings and looked forward to them with anticipation rather than dread.

Anyone who suggests that there is not magic in knitting has never heard my story.

Thanks everybody.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Knits of Wisdom

Enchanted by the thrill of larger than life knitting,

 

Two fair isle sleeves at a time

 

Fair isle WVU toboggan
Double knitted fair isle scarf

 


More trickery to follow

Let the simple pleasures of k1p1 malabrigo not be forgotten.

 

 

Friday, August 08, 2014

Who Am I?

HusbandBob's daughter is an effortless food artist. During the first week of vacation she threw together an amazing chicken tortilla soup with a store roasted chicken some tomatoes and some chicken broth and leftovers from a previous meal. She also made a kale salad that was delicious and seemingly effortless.

That combined with the crazy kitchen dictatorship of week two and the last week of freedom has led to some more forays into healthy delicious cooking.

On Monday I tried a sausage/summer vegetable dish. Peppers, onions, red potatoes, zucchini, rosemary, garlic, and chicken apple sausage. Roast the potatoes and fry it all up in the pan. There were some glitches. It took longer for the potatoes than the recipe indicated, it was a little light on the sausage, but it was edible, interesting, and not spaghetti.

HusbandBob ate it but not without trying to turn it into spaghetti or stir fry. This would be good with red sauce. What if we had more peppers, no potatoes and served it over rice or noodles. What if you used ground beef instead of chicken. Oy.

 

Today it was Julia Child's eggplant pizza. It had a little higher difficulty level. I have never bought let alone cooked an eggplant. Nor have I ever salted anything to draw out the water. (Daughter did this with the kale so it wasn't completely foreign). This was delicious. I did it! I've got to think that the top shelf (as opposed to Kraft low fat shredded) mozzarella had something to do with it.

 

So, for at least the second time this summer I have to ask, Who Am I?

 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Back To School Letter

Today husbandBob and I participated in our annual tradition of counting grammatical and syntax errors in the back to school letter.  Sadly for both of us, our guess of three underestimated by more half the actual number of errors found.

Fortunately, given the option, I'd much rather work for someone less smart than someone who is mean.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Miss Manners' Tips

Week One of vacation was incredibly spectacular.  Soon there will be a picture heavy post of smiling kids, nightly spontaneous dance parties and a HusbandBob who likely had the happiest night of his life.

Week Two, on the other hand, was a challenge.  In addition to a few family members (who consciously opted not to come when everyone else was there), we had space and invited some friends from home.  Of the four, two were ones likely never to have a chance at such a vacation any time soon due to limited resources.  The other two were a couple and the invitation was a form of repayment (the only kind the husband might take) for all of the around the house handywork that he has done for us.

We may have been naive when considering the guest list for the second week but there are some things you can't anticipate.  Below is a list of things to consider should you be invited to join someone at beachfront property free of charge for a week.

1.  If, once invited, you declare that you would like to be in charge of meals and food for the week, don't come to the hostess (who spent the week prior happily catering to every family members needs) on your second day there and tell her it's "her night to cook."

2.  When your hostess is grudgingly making dinner that second night, it is not appropriate to hover in the 3'x5' kitchen area, looking busy and getting in the way.

3.  Also consider keeping your 2 oz. of pasta per person opinions to yourself.  Back seat cooking is strictly prohibited.  Have you seen these people eat?

4.  It is not appropriate to head to the kitchen any time you hear someone in it. (see #2)

5.  When "the whole gang"  goes out for ice cream and you offer to pay, do not point out your family members to the cashier and say you will only be paying for "these four."

6.  The person who pays gets to decide the thermostat setting.  When someone sets the thermostat at 71 degrees, believe me when I tell you, they will notice it if you move it up to 76 and they will not be the Dude and they will not abide.  There are many blankets available and it is quite warm outside.

7.  When you offer to take care of food for the week, please realize that not everyone is going to want to eat the 20 lbs of chicken you had leftover from church camp for the entire week.

8.  Regarding meals and gratitude.  All religions are respected.  Knowing that your hostess is not of a Christian denomination, it is rude to have prayer before meals that is all Jesus all the time.  Your hostess will not complain because she is classy like that, but by the third time around, she will not hang out to be a forced participant.

9.  The Coffee Conspiracy.  Caffeine manipulation is a heinous crime punishable by torture.  When your hostess comes home, she will realize what you have done and your secret motives behind the nightly coffee prep.   She will no longer hold herself responsible for her less than pleasant demeanor and needing a nap after coffee each morning.

10.  Complicated card games involving mental acuity are not appropriate when ages and I.Q.s range from  30-72 and 100-140.  You might win, but it will be a shallow win.  Also, you might find that the "stupid" person you thought you would beat will kick your ass.

11.  If you come early enough to play some poker with the kids, please realize that we are not out for blood.  Taking money from children is ugly.  The really astute ones will say quite bluntly "I don't like it when you play."

12.  Handing said children $10 as they leave does not repair your reputation nor does it qualify as "taking care of" the kids.

13.  If you are a financially secure relative who was initially supposed to pay for your week of vacation, it is not appropriate to later ask "how much do I owe you."  You looked into the rental, you knew the cost.  Your 25% offering is insulting and does not relieve you of the responsibility of saying thank you.  Even when you call later to make sure everyone got home.

14.  Racist innuendos (while not full blown jokes) are offensive.  Beach or no beach.  Free or not free.  Guest or relative.  You stupid fuck.

On a positive note,

15.  If you are a resourceless guest, you completely earn your keep by telling Chuck Norris and pirate "aargh" jokes for the week.  Really.  You are a treasarghre
What's a pirate's favorite breakfast?  Pop Taarghts
How does the pirate get revenge?  Kaarghma

16.  Multiple references to The Big Lebowski are also welcome.

17.  If you feel you are unable to adequately express your gratitude because you are overwhelmed, we understand and are really glad you could come.  Your hugs and the sparkle in your eyes says it all.

18.  Also your ability to make me laugh loudly and at great length in spite of the annoyances is a gift I can never repay.