Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bits and Bobs

Am feeling a little under the weather today. Have a sore throat, which is no good, especially considering the TCS concert is next sunday and we have a rehearsal tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to sing.

Just had an email from a friend who was asking if there was a prince on the horizon. She has recently gotten married and is having a baby in September. No prince, just me. Can't say I'm loving my single life as sometimes I don't feel like I have much of a single life. Recovering from my injury took me out of the loop for 4 long months, and I still am not back to being completely normal. I need to start dating again, but am at a loss of how to do it. I tried the internet thing and had very little luck. Most of my friends are married or in serious relationships and don't really have anyone to set me up with anyway.

Unless a major miracle happens, I won't be going to Poland with the Royals. Which is really too bad, as I was hoping to jump start a little Euro visit to see some of the accross the pond people. Am wondering if I should go anyway, or if it is too much $$.

I have been thinking about my sabbatical and using it to start my PHD thesis. or travel the world for a year. don't know yet. I have been thinking about a teacher exchange, but not sure when I want to do it. Possibly the year after next 2007-08.

My couch and entertainment unit were delivered today! Yay, I now have somewhere for guests to sleep. The unit was a PITA to put up! It came mostly assembled, but in the end required a drill to put the final piece up.

Went to see Hair last night at the Canadian Stage. Pretty good! The musical is obviously dated, but it was interesting to see history come to life. Plus the songs are catchy. The full frontal nudity wasn't as shocking as it would have been in 1968.

Off to make some breaky...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Long time no blog

It has been a while, but in a nutshell, here's what's happening.

I went to Connecticut for the easter weekend. It was nice, but 10 hours each way is too much time to spend in a car for 2 days of being there.

I finished day 3 of my FSL course, it's hard, but it's going to be ok I think. It will mean that I will teach some sort of french for the rest of my teaching career but it will also mean that I will most likely always have a job.

I have started my 4 over 5 which means I will be on sabbatical for the school year 2010-2011. It seems strange to write those numbers down.

My couch and entertainment unit is being delivered in less than a week! I'm so excited to be able to stretch out while watching tv.

Doing a recording with the Royals. They've hired Doriann though, so although my name will be on the recording, you won't hear me.

So have two books for review today.

Bodies - Overcoming the Tyranny of Perfection
Barry Glassner

Good read at the beginning, but towards the end, his theories just seemed a bit to convenient for me. I enjoyed the socialogical studies and the painting of different people and the way they feel about their bodies. The good thing about this book is that it definitely leaves you with a sense that comparing yourself to an unattainable ideal is fruitless and that you should learn to love yourself for who you are, but like every self help book on the planet, doesn't actually tell you how to do so. For me, it's just a constant struggle. When I catch myself comparing, I give myself a mental swat upside the head, but not before the thought has lingered in my brain for a moment. No matter how many times you tell yourself that the people in the media are made up, the very nature of advertising is to make you want what is being sold. It's all fine and dandy to say, "I"m bigger than this, I'm a better person, because I don't buy into that garbage" but if you don't believe it, or can't make yourself believe it all or some of the time, you're left feeling inadequate. Just once though, I wonder what it would be like to have the shoe on the other foot, with curvy and heavier people being the ideal, and all those skin and bones people with no boobs or hips feeling inadequate. Except for the skin and bones people who have them implanted! Ha ha! Anyway, interesting read, if only to kickstart your own introspective.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Ann Brashares

Aside from the silly American spelling, this was a great read. I had wanted to read it because it seemed every second girl in my classes was reading it, and I always am interested in what tickles their fancy. Kids are pretty fickle these days, what with all the options available to them in their free time, so when they latch onto something, it's usually popular or really good. The book is about 4 15 year old friends a pair of magical pants (jeans) that fit and look great on everyone. This is the first summer that they are spending apart and they decide to pass the jeans around and record their adventures. Great book for 15 year olds and up, but not something I think my 12/13 year old students should be reading. Only because one of the characters has sex before she is ready and it really messes with her head. On the one hand, hopefully it will consider asking more questions before jumping headlong into something they may not be ready for, but on the other hand, will it give them ideas that would have ordinarily not been planted? I don't know. Anyway, looking forward to seeing the movie and reading the other two books in the series.

Off to dinner with Syd.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Teacher Reading about Teachers

The Blackboard Jungle
Evan Hunter

Really great novel! Once I got over the 50s hetero sexist male dominant ideals, I really enjoyed it. I got to the end and wanted it to go on. I love it when that happens! It's definitely embellished fiction, but not so far off the mark because I know of many teacher stories that people wouldn't believe it if they head them. I just checked IMDB and the movie looks really interesting. Shot in 1955, so here comes that 50s mentality that offends my somewhat feministic sensabilities, but stars Sidney Poitier as Gregory Miller, so definitely something to see. Tune in for the review! Dadier is an interesting character but I was most intrigued by the depiction of the hopeless school as a dumping ground for the trash of society. I completely felt Dadier's elation when he got through to that one class with the dragon story. I know what it's like to have a lesson bomb, and also what it's like to breakthrough to your students. This book is really good entertainment, and I would recommend it as a good story for anyone who enjoys scintilating fiction and not just for teachers. It's not so much a teacher novel, just a excellent story that happens have a teacher as its protagonist.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

First Flute Lesson

Really good! I can't believe how many mistakes I am making, and all ones that I have been aware of but just not fixing. I learned all sorts of things to make my life easier.

Holding the flute at a 45 degree angle from my left shoulder then turning my head so I can see my right hand. This also helps with finger placement as I am still having trouble with the 3rd finger of my left hand.

Blowing more air downward into the flute while keeping my chin level (not down) and throat open.

Checking positioning in a mirror while playing long tones. Subtle ambouchure adjustments for each pitch.

Support - flexing the tummy muscles to keep a steady stream of air (to achieve a better core sound) and taking in deep diapramatic breaths.

I think the most frustrating thing is that I do a lot of this stuff already with singing and can easily apply it to my flute playing, but am not doing it.

I also recognize what years of psychological bullying has done to my flute self esteem. I have no confidence and am depressed when I play in certain situations and it is coming out my flute! Not good.

So I am doing this for me, because I know I have stuff locked inside me that can come out the other end of my flute to be proud of. Anne is great, and I am looking forward to more lessons. I have a lot of practising to do before our next lesson, which won't be for a while as I don't think it's beneficial to see her every week and we both have busy schedules. I am so glad I have done something proactive about my flute frustrations.