Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I am excited/horrified at the number of commitments I have made for my extra-curricular activities. Thrilled to be singing, learning repertoire, and getting ready to perform as I may be, I mourn the long-ago days of college when waking up to practice was about all I had to do. Back then there were no worries of ESOL, grading papers, or mortgage payments. Oh well, at least with the end of The Oliver Adventure I have a little more time to wiggle. I really wish I could be a 50% person, but I find that I throw myself into everything and expect the most , not satisfied when my performance doesn't reach the 100% of my expectations. I feel that way about my teaching too, though age and exhaustion (and maybe a little wisdom) have granted me the permission to exhale and assess the situation before I berate myself too badly. I can only do the most I can do with the conditions dealt to me. Anything more than that would require superpowers, and my cape never came in the mail. Funny... another teacher I know (like maybe, the BEST teacher I ever knew) must not have realized that they give us books, not capes. Yet somehow she can fly, and take the kids along with her, and still not miss a beat as a supermom back at home. Like me, I guess, feeling that 100% sometimes isn't enough.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Little Boxes

Technically, I am in a state of mourning, but today I found a lot to smile about. I guess I'm getting better at compartmentalizing my feelings. Usually I feel them all at once, which gives the bad endless opportunities to trump the good. I've been working on postponing my worrying to a designated worry time, and allowing happy to flow freely. There are certainly worries and bad things to fear: death, financial ruin, employment uncertainty, and the perils of raising a teenage daughter, to name a few. Today, though, the weather is warmer, I enjoyed a week of teaching some awesome kids, I have new music to learn, and I have a whole weekend full of family, music, theater, walking/running and friendship ahead of me. The apocalypse can wait.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

And then there were none

A long day without a moment to think. Out of the house at 6:45 AM and home at 11 PM, I am thankful that the sun rises earlier now, and I am home for a tiny bit of daylight. Not much light shining for the family today though, with the passing today of my final grandparent. Though the grandma I knew had been gone for many years, her mind some other place and her body still here with us, her passing marks the passing of a generation. I keep thinking about the photos she shared with such pride. She and her sisters, real "lookers" in their not-at-all revealing swimsuits on the Long Island beaches between the wars. Meeting my Grandpa, a honeymoon and shipping out, and my dad, a wartime baby whose picture was carried in the pocket of my Grandpa serving in the Pacific. He was nearly 3 when they finally met face-to-face. My grandpa, a war veteran, but a man who said little of war or anything else. That's okay, because Grandma said it all for both of them. She was a woman on a mission for as long as I remember. Whether it was getting the city to cut down trees, fighting for grocery bargains, or some function at "The Center" her elder years were active. Our long trips from New York to Virginia were met with pot roasts and recycled family jokes. The house full of pictures and random family treasures, the matriarch on my father's side, and another piece of my childhood now lives only in my heart and in my memory.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Doing my Duty (Thanks for the picture, MJ)

I missed a day of blogging yesterday, but that's okay. I've been busy doing my duty. Whether it's turning a 3 day weekend into a 1 day weekend to travel and pick up some consulting work, or finishing out an ill-fated theatre project, staying at school until 5:30 to grade projects, or counting the 'tweens as they head off to their bus ride home (pictured) , I've been doing my duty. A bit too much duty lately, though, and neglecting of myself. Blogging, practicing, running, that's for me, and I have a duty to myself to indulge.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Travel Buddy

For some, this is a 3 day weekend with an extra day of relaxation. For me, it's a pair of flights to Lawton, Oklahoma, a 6 hour writing workshop, and a return Monday night sometime around midnight, with a couple of hours before back-to-work. And, for kicks, my travel buddy: the FTCE Middle Grades Integrated Curriculum Exam Study Guide. Memorization of atomic mass and the dates of various Civil War battles equals Good times. Job security trumps recreation these days, and that great novel or light romantic comedy film that might've helped me outlast the miles will have to wait.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

8 down 4 to go

Tired backstage, and really ready for this run to end. 4 weekends of this production - it's starting to feel like a job. What I dread is my time onstage. Working hard to muster enthusiasm for a script that was chopped up, a production that was ill conceived. Backstage, I love chatting with some lovely people with whom I'd love to work again. Somewhere else. Doing something else.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Okay, It's not that cold in Florida

A mid-February visit to 15 degree Chicago has cured me of my why-is-it-so-darned-cold-I-thought-this-was-Florida blues. Granted, moving to Florida I had visions of winter beach swimming and year-round flip-flops. We've had more than our share of cold this winter, maybe not record-breaking lows, but endless weeks of chill. Worse yet, I don't recall a year with so many overcast days. It's been looking like the gloomy Northeast. Bring back the heat and humidity.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Long Day

Teach, Fly, Drive. Long day but a short post. I'm here in one piece, but I'm pooped! Time to put on something light and silly on the hotel room TV, to ignore the unfamiliar noises and empty spaces in the bed beside me, and to get some sleep!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not our Wednesday Routine

Our Wednesday night tap class was cancelled so we found ourselves with an almost-free evening. After school I grabbed the girl and we met up with Daddy for a trip to Costco and a stop at Mochi. We've really come to love that place for a sweet and tart yogurty treat. We all dig the Taro flavor, which I guess is some kind of a root flavoring. Sadly, tonight they had run out of our favorite topping, the green tea mochi. Before this place opened we'd never had it, but it's become number one for us. It's some kind of a soft, sweetened rice cube, and it makes for a delicious counterpoint to the smooth and cool yogurt. We made due with some mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and of course plenty of laughter. Being together makes everything sweet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ready to Breathe

2009 wasn't a generous host to our lives last year. Near-fatal injuries, job losses, piles of uncertainty... just a few of the highlights of a pivotal year. Moving into '10 we're still sheltering from the fallout of a few '09 fiascoes. On the medical scene, the good doctor who handles the other half of my brain (the one that lives in my husband's skull) has determined no need for a re inspection until we flip the calendar to snake eyes. My joblessness is still job-maybeness though, and the precarious game of wait and see is exhausting. At least a little exhale happened today. With the S-Corporation of Me, Myself, and I taking such a nosedive last year, we had to stop our monthly federal estimated taxes. Instead we squirreled away this and that in anticipation of a sucker punch at year end. Somehow, miraculously, the number at the bottom of the page was in our favor. This news was greeted with the spouse's hoots and hollers. I guess I could be overjoyed if the reality wasn't the fact that we don't owe because 2009 was 75% less profitable for our household than was 2008. And 2010 could be even less, depending on the whims of school boards, legislatures, and who knows what else. Still holding our breath here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

One litte maid from school am I...

Getting so swept up in the day-to-day of teaching and school life, it dawned on me sometime today that I'm really going to be relying on this gig. During my morning run on October 15 when I received a chance call from a middle school principal, I had thought I had a skeletal consulting calendar to carry us through the school year. Enough work was going to be a nice departure from my previous state of too much work, and the additional time home would be welcomed. Since taking the teaching position several of the "enough" dates have disappeared and none have come to fill the gaps. This is all good and well for this school year, but beyond mid-June it could get interesting. Returning to the school? I can't count those chickens. It depends on a series of varied factors including the passage of the Federal budget and the fertility of the young teachers in the building. Right now, I'm doing all I can to do my "day job" well, and focusing a good deal of energy on my avocation. I'd rather spend my energy singing and tap dancing than worrying about things that are way beyond my control. And with that, it is off to an evening of Gilbert and Sullivan I go.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

While I was sleeping

Two kitties decided they'd take residence, snuggling in the blankets tangled about my feet. This is a rare treat, Hansel is a frequent snoozer, but Gretel is usually busy "working" in the morning. She stands vigil before the sliding doors, taking count of the birds and neighborhood cats who dare to enter our yard. Maybe it's because I slept in a bit, or maybe it's the chill in the air, but she joined the snooze party. Luckily I had my camera within arm's reach so I could capture the moment without disturbing it. Too bad the reverie had to end. The day has chores, lesson planning, and a bit of comfort food cooking in store.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Open Windows and Antibiotics

Letting the germs fly out the window, and chasing them with a good dose of amoxycillin. Thanks to my main man for scrubbing and scouring the house. I'm ready to reboot.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Actually, I'm not feeling much better.

Symptoms.... check, check, check, check.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


The delightful sensation that has made me feel like my chest is on fire, and has caused alternating internal infernos and icebergs now has a name. I have been diagnosed and medicated, but I still feel like a bus hit me, then backed over me a few times. Worse still, my girl is suffering the same malaise. Nevertheless, life must march on. I'll drag my sorry heiney into school tomorrow, even if I did get winded walking to the bathroom today. I'm sure the sixth graders will have pity on me. Tomorrow night's Oliver may or may not happen. Without me, the show still goes on (and on, and on). Saturday's vocal competition is unlikely. My reduced breathing capacity makes those delightful lines in the Donaudy aria seem insurmountable. I've had it with the kvetching and self pity. I want to work, sing, and run, but this infected bag of bones has other priorities.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Like Daughter Like Mother

2 hours in the doctor's office today. Flu was negative but they sent her for a mono test. We waited over an hour at the lab - results will be in Friday. In the meantime, my temperature reading was 101. Family discounts? Terrible timing. I'm new at my job, and taking time off before it's earned is pushing it. I already miss days for my remaining consulting days. I want desperately to sing at the NATS vocal competition on Saturday. We have 2 shows this weekend. Ah, the frail and flawed instrument that is the human body.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On the mend

My girl is still feverish, but we're chasing the number down with a steady tylen0l/advil regimen. Cough medicine, antibiotic, fluids, rest, the regular regimen is underway. Still, though, the fever lingers, and she's not a sickly kid. We're back to the doctor tomorrow, and that means I'll be taking a sick day tomorrow, my first in the new job. Daddy was home with her today, so I'm up at bat. It's weird, but I'm actually a little sad I'll miss a great lesson we've planned for tomorrow. Thank goodness for the block scheduling. I should be back for the second round of it with Thursday's kids. The real trick will be for me to spend the day with Little Miss Hack-and-Wheeze and not end up in the sick bay myself!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy/Sad Day

Sad Happy
My girl spiked a fever at school and her grandma had to go pick her up. She stayed there with Grandma and Grandpa until I finished my voice lesson, and we both finished a Chorale rehearsal. Happy to have Grandma and Grandpa here, and I know that they are happy to see out girl, but sad that she's feverish and blue.

Happy Sad
Teaching is hitting a rhythm and I'm managing the workload. I've even found time to practice, and I prepared three pieces for vocal juries on Saturday. My first lesson on the repertoire went pretty well. I was proud of my work, but again sad for the path not taken.

Sometimes I think I can handle only one emotion at a time, and today I had simultaneous opposite feelings. Time to lose myself in someone else's story for a few pages, and put myself to bed.