Sunday, March 28, 2010


It was Homecoming this weekend at Western. It wasn't my honoured year, but because I work there, I was there for much of the weekend. I really enjoyed it. Frankly, I enjoyed it more than I did two years ago when it was my honoured year.

To start with, I got to see my parents and all of my siblings this weekend with the exception of Walter (who lives in YK) and Randy. (None of us have seen Randy for about 15 years.) That made the weekend special, but that was only the beginning.

Secondly, I got to see a lot of people that I haven't seen for years and years and visit with them. That is the point of Homecoming after all; and it was very nice.

In addition, I had some really good meals. Ruth was at a trade show Sundy morning, and invited me to lunch with her there. It was very nice. I also was able to spend time with my parents and Glenda for a couple of meals.

One of the fund-raisers this weekend was a car wash. I got my car washed outside, and vacuumed inside. That was wonderful!

Finally, my parents stayed with me while they were in town. This is a special pleasure. Not only do I get to appreciate my parents, but my Mom helped me tidy my kitchen and my dad took apart my Roomba (vacuum cleaner robot) and it works again now. Unfortunately, both my mom and my sister Ruth are fighting losing battles with a cold, and I'm afraid they might have shared. We'll see in the next few days.

Now I need to spend the rest of this evening doing some prep work for school tomorrow. I need to prepare a test for my Christian Ethics class and plan for my English class. If I was feeling really saintly, I'd do some marking as well, but I think that will wait for another day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When easier isn't necessarily easier

I'm still doing quite easy pieces in piano. I've moved up from Grade 3 to Grade 4. Last year I was doing Grade 7. However, I'm finding it very challenging. I'm to play the pieces I'm working on with the metronome - exactly with the metronome, and with the correct dynamics. We discussed why louder is always faster (you strike the keys faster to make them louder), which means that you have to have more space between the notes if you're playing louder.

I'm back to working on technical stuff too. I had to stop for a long time because of trouble with my arms, but I seem to have that licked for now. One of the things I'm supposed to work on this week is to take any major scale and play it with the metronome set at mm 100, one quarter note per beat for one octave. OK, that's really easy. Now, without a break, play two octaves of the same scale with two eighth notes per beat. That's fiendishly hard. I'm still struggling with that. I'm also back to working on triads, arpeggios and dominant 7th chords - all with a metronome. Also chord sequences I, IV, I, V7, I - of any of the scales I'm working on.

I like working on the technical stuff - it's very calming; you just get in the groove and go. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find "the groove" for the scale work with the metronome, but am working on that too. I do find that I have to do only a little bit at a time - 10-15 min. max, or my arms start objecting. That's also ok.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How Nice!

I had the transmission replaced on my van. Just picked it back up tonight. Now, instead of praying that I'll actually end up at my destination with a vehicle that still operates, I have a vehicle that runs almost silently! I could get used to this very easily. What a nice change!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Long Day

It was a very long day today. I went to work shortly after 6:30 am. That's because the final marks for report cards had to be in today and I still had a bit of marking and calculating to do - not to mention entering the marks into the program. I was done by a little before 8 am.

I taught all day - in fact, I covered Marlene's class for her right after lunch. (That was interesting; my "let it be a challenge student to you" swore at me.) At 4 pm we had a staff meeting that lasted until after 5 pm. I was home from 5:20 or so until nearly 6 pm, when I went to The Party.

We had 36 kids at The Party tonight! That's a record. We generally average between 18 and 21 - I don't think we've ever had more than about 27. It was pretty busy but things ran very smoothly. That's definitely an answer to prayer because it can be very hectic at times. I always do snack (don't provide it, but serve it). We had enough. It was a bit like loaves and fishes though - we have four rotations and I was cutting the snack in half for the last rotation, but then we had enough for everyone to get two halves. (Oh me of little faith).

The Party ends at 8 pm. I drove some participants home, then went by the library to return some books, picked up some KFC for supper (yeah, at 8:45) and was home shortly after 9 pm. That's a long, long day. I think it's time for bed. Piano practice will have to wait for another day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

OK, Robin - this one's for you!

I had the strangest dream last night. I was in a really big store - had groceries, clothes everything. (That could have been because I checked out the new Super Walmart last night). Anyway I ended up buying three pairs of new shoes because they were such a good price. I bought one black pair, one white pair and one brown pair. They all had high heels though (and I never wear heels). Anyway, it was strange. I never buy shoes unless my existing pair has totally worn out. I never buy heels when I buy shoes and I hate shopping in super large stores. Go figure. So anyone want to interpret this for me? Maybe it means I need to go visit Robin!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The next generation

OK, both my mother and my sister have talked to me because they both have granddaughters attending the youth rally this weekend at Western. Yes, I'll go over, (I need to go to work and do marking anyway) and I'll keep an eye out for them. I'm sure they'll be fine.

It's kind of strange to think of the next generation coming here though. It was strange enough to have nieces and nephews attending, and my own kids; but to have my grand niece old enough to attend? (OK, to be honest, she's only old enough to attend youth rally; she's got several years before she'll be old enough to attend Western yet).

I had a couple of challenging days again this week. Just got off the phone talking to a mother this morning. Still looking for some behaviours to change. The good news is that there's only 3.5 more months of this school year to get through. By the grace of God, we'll get through it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Well, it was worth a try

I just realized this weekend (although, technically I knew quite awhile ago) that it is both Youth Rally this weekend, and Bram's off on two weeks holidays. I thought maybe he could fly down for Youth Rally and fly back a couple of days later. He'd already told me he really wanted to spend his two weeks holidays in YK as he hadn't spent any holidays there but I thought it was worth a try. I'd really like to see him, even if, for Youth Rally he'd be staying in the dorm.

However, he reiterated that he'd really rather stay in YK. I'm disappointed, of course. I likely won't get to see him before the summer - but I did get to see him at Christmas, at least.

I'm still praying that he'll come to school here next year - although that's still uncertain as well.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Well, that was interesting

I babysat for Ryan and Rachel last night. Rachel tried to nurse Emmet before she left, but he wasn't interested. However, for the last hour or so he definitely wasn't happy about life in general. I was able to distract him for awhile by practicing piano (one hand at a time, holding him with the other hand), but when that paled, there was no consolation to be found anywhere. Definitely not with a soother! Emmet has a particularly piercing cry - almost a scream. I recognize it; I remember my brother Robert had the same cry, and I believe my son, Bram did too. It doesn't make it any more pleasant to recognize it.

Thankfully, Rachel did return, and peace was restored.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sometimes when I practice

It seems like I'm going no where - that I'm not improving at all, that I'm continually making the same mistakes and why am I wasting my time. Then other times when I practice, everything seems to fall into place and the music sounds like music. Tonight was one of the latter experiences :) which makes me happy. My hope is that the more I practice, the more I'll have experiences like tonight instead of the frustration. In any case, that's why I stick with it. Maybe I'll go back and do some more practice.

And the news is...

That my application for Grad studies has progressed from "application incomplete" to "decision pending". Hopefully that's good news. It at least means that I've done everything I can.