Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Duet

My father-in-law Dobby is a big classical music fan. As such, he takes violin lessons. As you know, I also take violin lessons. Because of this common interest, he has invited me to learn a duet that we will perform together in several weeks.

Here's what the duet is supposed to sound like:

Advanced, right?

We'll have to see what happens. There's a good chance that we won't sound quite like these two. However, I am hoping that we sound as good as the pair of six year-olds I found playing the piece on YouTube. I told Dobby that although those upstarts might be good at hitting the notes, they probably won't bring the emotional intensity to the piece that we will.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

There's a Party Going On Right Here

The second graders made these dot paintings after studying Yayoi Kusama. They're posted on a bulletin board in an artful arrangement. Under the paintings, there's an artful sign that says "Celebrating Kusama."

Shef stopped in front of the paintings to point his out to me.

"I think this one is mine," he said. "Or maybe it's this one."

To tell the truth, the paintings are remarkably similar.

"Hmm," I said. "Cool."

"Yeah," Shef shrugged. "But, Mom," he said confessionally, "I'm not really celebrating Kusama."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Other Duties As Assigned

We always laughed at this catch-all phrase on our contracts at Camp Foley. Other duties as assigned were as varied as cleaning windows with vinegar solution and running bears out of the parking lot with heavy-duty flashlights.

Today my other duty as assigned was teaching physical education. Basketball, to be specific. In dress pants and pearls. The sixth-grade girls were super nice and even volunteered to do the push-ups that were left off the lesson plan. Sally, the senior P.E. teacher, helped me get the balls out, threw me a bag of pinnies (I forgot how much I love pinnies!), and loaned me a stop watch. The department chair (Shef's P.E. teacher who intrepidly began the second-grade swimming unit last week) approached me warily and said I looked "a little out of my element." Maybe so, but it's true that I do like fitness.

"LAPS! RUN LAPS!" I instructed. Then, I even showed them how to play three-on-three from the three-point line. Basically, it all went fine, but I'm still hoping that when I next draw duty on the sub rotation, it can be in social studies or something.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Goodness

I knew it had been many days since I'd blogged, but I didn't mean for things to go this long.

Without the blog, I feel my life is empty in a vague sort of way. And what kind of excuse do I have?

Only work and February. That's it. It's time for my annual promise to do better. This is a solemn vow I like to make to myself. It's important that the blog continue, despite all of the obstacles.

Here's a story about Shef: He and his carpool kids play a ridiculous game called, "Guess what I'm thinking."

It's starts when someone chooses something and gives a hint like this: "It involves a banana."

Then, you guess and guess. "Is it a monkey eating a banana?"


"Is it a banana in a fruit basket?"


"Is it banana bread?"


"Oh I know!" someone will say. "It's a banana EATING a banana!"



And then the next one has to do with a unicorn. It might be Selena Gomez riding on a unicorn. Whatever it is, you have to just keep guessing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Annual Note to Self

It's February, so it's time for the reminder that I tend to be generally cranky during this month. Also, the students start to act a little crazily. This week, I've noticed 13 year-olds diving onto the floor, roaring like dinosaurs, jumping around and flapping their arms, and wildly throwing pillows and shoes. And that stuff all happened during lessons.

This is just par for the course. After 11 years, I know this. I'm not panicked. I'm taking deep breaths and forging ahead.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Roses and Thorns

Mac and I visited our music store today. It's called House of Note. Isn't that adorable? Anyway, our main impetus for the visit was the fact that my teacher has deemed me ready for Suzuki Violin Book TWO! I've gotten stickers on most of the pieces in Book 1 now, and next week, she's going to assign me something from the next volume.

Of course, I originally played the songs in Book 2 when I was like 8, but never mind. I now approach them with sensitivity and emotional maturity.

We also picked up an adjustable red music stand for Mac and me to share. Mac loves it. Finally, I asked the violin guy for what's called a practice mute. It's a heavy rubber thing that you put over your bridge so as not to bother your family with your musical stylings.

"My husband asked me to get one of these," I explained sheepishly.

"Well," he nodded gravely. "That's telling."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Marley and Reggae

Last night was Poetry Night for the 7th graders, and man was it adorable.

The kids all sat on the stage (the room we were using is a former chapel, so it's not a huge stage, but a rather a little elevated area with benches built in around the walls), and then one at a time they came up to the microphone and read their poems.

They demonstrated a range of skill and intellectual depth, and I loved them all. I even loved the two boys in my F period class who, after reading Of Mice and Men, became obsessed with the phrase "blue balls" and worked it into their poetry just for the occasion.