Friday, August 21, 2009

Old friends

In a previous life I attended a private girls' school yr 7-9. It was a complete disaster for many reasons, but I kept one friend. We stuck out everything together for about six years, until VCE and a change of address and various other stuff got in the way.

Then facebook intervened. We met up tentatively, wondering if the friendship had died for a reason. Initially motivated by curiosity, we've each rediscovered the similarities that cemented our relationship in the first place, despite very different experiences over the last ten years.

This morning I took a turn driving to the other side of Melbourne. We walked to the local shops and prepared a simple lunch. We talked about her upcoming wedding and I got to share pics of her gown and her bridesmaids' swatches. We're on the same kind of timeline, except she's just about to take her degree into the workforce. Sometimes people change, and that's a good thing. Sometimes they don't change, they just grow.

And I want to live in a house as simple and as uncluttered as hers. Given that we have a collection of Star Wars Lego that makes my students moon around my lounge for hours on end reciting incomprehensible jargon and about two million books that I can't bear to part with, I respect this may be tricky. But also good for me. Time to get rid of the STUFF.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I broke my shoes...

Most Thursdays and the occasional Sunday afternoon Hubs and I go dancing. This subplot of our story began maybe four years ago, when he decided he wanted to learn to dance.

So off we went to a short course at our local tafe. It took him the first four weeks to count to eight with the music. But we did some basic Latin stuff and he liked it enough that we continued classes with a local studio, in between his PhD and all that attached stuff.

Four years on and now we're pretty good about going to a class every week and usually go out social dancing afterward. I should add that this has been a labor of love for my darling husband.

Half my working week is spent dancing in some form or another; he's a dr of computer science, not usually noted for spectacular feats of coordination, unless you can count downloading, coding, conversing online and planning a Magic deck simultaneously as physical activity. Right now, as we drive to dancing, he's singing along to Cake songs.

And I gave him the option tonight; we've both been grappling some pleasant chesty virus a while, but "No, I really want to go! I love dancing with you!".

So, off we go, across the creaky dance floor, triple-stepping and Suzie-Q-ing our hearts out.

For the record, the broken shoes titling this post are being mended. I have multiple pairs good for dancing... Of course.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why I love Wednesdays

If you think this sounds like a primary school essay, you'd be so right. Today is my teaching day at a little state primary school down the bottom of the peninsula. I teach a dozen children there, from a prep-next-year up to grade six.

We kickstart every Wednesday with 8.30 group lesson, then my pre-prepper's lesson. Then I get a little break... Which translates into a brisk trot down the main street to a little Aladdin's cave of treasures (a.k.a. an op-shop).

This is how I feed a ridiculous reading habit and win gratitude from fellow book-gobblers. Alas! Today there was nothing to tempt me... Which meant that as I wandered forlornly back to work a sale rack caught my eye.

An "everything on this rack $40" sign, not in itself tempting until you check the original prices, then a siren song of promises. One grey cardi in particular snagged my interest. The label (100% cashmere) was very happy-making, and the look on the saleswoman's face as she rang up a previously $289 cashmere cardi for $40 to the girl wearing jeans, loafers and a ($5 special) cotton on v-neck... Priceless.

It's been an otherwise standard afternoon, although I've discovered that the photo booth app on my laptop is brilliant at giving students immediate visual and aural feedback on their playing. Suddenly protests of "But my bow WAS on the string!" just fade away... Ah, the serenity of a furiously concentrating child.

Now, if I can just keep this one particular littlie off a real violin until she's three... Only a month to go :s

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Not the most productive of days.

You know those days where you get very little done because you're waiting for something else to happen... All day?

Today has been one of those. This morning: waiting for student (we had a lovely lesson, btw. No running back to give mum a cuddle every five minutes!), then waiting for washing to dry, then attempting to learn this new book 4 piece (argh! Having played a modified version of this in my youth is doing nasty things to my adult brain, which keeps happily exclaiming "Hey! I KNOW thi-ohhhhh, dammit!" Possibly I should just put off learning until I can brainwash myself with the recording.

I did make a really terrific salad for lunch. (clutching skull, moaning "The mundanity! Oh god, the commonplaceness of it all!") beans, tuna, capsicum. Magic. (Yes, I keep magic beans in my cupboard specifically to spice up otherwise boring bean mixes. Bow down before me in awe and wonderment... WONDERMENT, I said!)

But teaching was good fun this afternoon and my kiddies went home happy with hello kitty and origami goodness. Hooray for the hundren yen shop :) and all the blogs out there which have kept me on some kind of conscious track today.

Hey, and today I scored my twentieth follower...(welcome! I'm sorry today's post is so terribly boring! I don't think they're USUALLY this inane, please correct me if this is a horrible misconception) And my fiftieth post.

I would also like to record that compulsively checking my email every fifteen minutes has not encouraged that naughty parent to reply. I am feeling bolstered by your support that this behavior is unacceptable and retaliation (ok, remodelling, I am a SUZUKI teacher) is appropriate. Thank you.

Darling husband would like to note that the clicking of my thumbs as I type this post on my iPod is reminiscent of morse code. Yes. I'm taking paricular care to semaphore my frantic desire for sleep as I blog. Excellent. Onwards to the weekend. (yes, I know today has been Tuesday, but I'm feeling peachy keen.)

Monday, August 17, 2009


It's been a day. Quite a day. A day which has just culminated in me writing a very nice nasty email to a parent basically saying "My house is MY HOUSE! Have some respect!"
Let me clarify: students come to my home.
Their families often come too. I respect that bladders do not always operate to schedule.
But please, instigate a "Have a try" before you leave the house rule.
Your house.
And don't let sibling and friend run amok through my house.
Or my backyard.
Break limbs at your own house.

To the violin parents reading this blog after loving my adventures in Japan, I know you are sympathetically nodding. Let me restate, I CHOOSE to teach from home. But it's still my home. Today my lounge was covered in washing. Not all my knickers are white cotton and that's fine, because they're hung over a clotheshorse in my private home.

My husband should feel free to saunter through the house in a towel (although he'd have to be crazy or courting hypothermia to do so) and nothing else because he LIVES HERE. And unless you want to teach your children that it's ok to wander through people's houses unsupervised, start with the good old foundation of "Sweetheart? Just wait a minute and check that's ok."

Odds on I will say "Sure! Mum will go with you so you don't get lost." or "Yep, I'll just make sure there's a light on up there." (And that my vicious pug won't lick you to death when you get to the top of the stairs.) But just ASK. (Should note that for under-fives, toileting is almost expected; over-tens should CERTAINLY need to know when they need to go)

Running through the music room, friend in tow, disappearing through the door that connects studio to house WITHOUT SAYING A WORD TO ME is not the way to win my respect. Or anything else. Maybe I'll instigate Association fee scheduling for people who want to treat my house like a school. I'm sure they'd love paying the extra $8 per lesson for what amounts to unlimited toilet privileges. Hmmmmm....... Maybe I should install thumbtacks in nasty places.

Actually, I must add that my last two students took advantage of my absence to begin fifty-day practice challenges. Now on Day 18, their attitudes were great, their playing was great, they'd progressed past the goals we'd discussed two weeks ago... and they and their mom were excited by what they achieved today in their lesson because there was very real and discernible progress.

I would like to add that, as siblings, they were both present in my studio for an hour (half lesson, half while other child played) and that in their downtime they read or played quietly with puzzle blocks. Neither seemed in need of toileting. So some people totally get it. Sigh.

Well, my day just got better with this magical clip of a Coldplay song; it's chalk-on-pavement stop motion and whimsical and beautiful and not a bad way to end a post hoping for a better day tomorrow...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The lazy day

I love it when things work out.
First piece of bliss: Sleeping till noon.
Second: breakfast complete with hash browns.
And then, happy well-timed screening of Coraline, a PG adaptation of Neil Gaiman's book. The music was DIVINE. The animation was beautiful, and I would love to know if my psychological reading-into was a reflection on my own relationship with my mother or really was conscious on the part of the author.

Maltesers may have fuelled this piece of introspection, thank you darling husband. I really didn't need to eat them, but they were there, begging to be melted-in-mouth and then collapsed into a delicious malty pellet of goodness.... Oh, the happiness.

The unhappiness is that tomorrow is Monday. Boo, hiss. And I'm sitting in bed surrounded by insurmountable, Mt Kilimanjaro-sized piles of washing. Upon my return from Japan, I promptly sorted out my suitcase contents into appropriate piles (bought, washed, need to wash) and then turned to the overflowing laundry receptacle in our bedroom. Hmm. Every garment (I kid you not) that got washed in the subsequent load belonged to my darling and beloved husband.

Me: Hey, I've never seen you wear white socks before!
Him: Yeah, I found my cupboard.
Me: You mean you didn't do any washing while I was away.
Him: It rained the whole time you were away!
Me: Oh, yeah, that clotheshorse thing we have is TOTALLY useless for drying clothes inside.
Him: Ummm... (turns palms helplessly up to the sky and shrugs in an endearing fashion)

In my darling husband's defense, he has a THING about drying clothes outside.
I do too. I view it as a complete waste of time (especially in the fickle Melburnian climate where sunny mornings can disintegrate into drizzly days in 0.5 seconds) to PEG washing out on the line where it must then be unpegged, brought inside, hung up AND put away.

I have a nasty tendency to forget it's out there in the first place, neatly negating all subsequent stages while contributing to a state of nothing-to-wearness (the cause of the white socks). Instead, I'll hang it up (on coathangers where appropriate) and hang on the clotheshorse. MUCH more practical. SO, what am I whingeing about? I'll just wash and hang allllllll day tomorrow. Terrific.