Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

31 October 2006

MY HOROSCOPE TODAY - for non-believers

For those of you who don't believe in astrology, here's a very good reason why I keep going back to it. This is my honest-to-goodness horoscope for today - check it on Google if you don't believe it. I've had two months of horoscopes that have been on the mark like this. Freaks me out some, too.

Cancer (June 21 - Jul 22)
Today it's not about what is happening in your external world. You are in touch with a wide range of emotions that have pulled you under the changing tide into a familiar, but deep and lonely, place. You don't need to stay there by yourself. More people are on your side now and will come to your rescue if you need it. Go ahead and reach out. It's much safer than you think.

Just for good measure, here's yesterday's - which has already come to pass ...

Monday, October 30, 2006
Coco, A down-to-earth friend can put you at ease this week. If you're lost, confused or worried, seek out the company of a friend with a calming touch. Instead of crying over your losses, she or he will know how to comfort you with words of wisdom.


29 October 2006


Ok, people, I am unable to find my way out of this labyrinth from hell that my employers have tossed me into in the name of education. So, do I throw up my hands and cry for mercy? Or do I bite the bullet and keep plugging away? I'm too tired and discouraged to make that decision right now. Anybody around willing to throw me a life preserver? I feel like I'm drowning.


Ok, criticism is not my forte, but with all the recent movement in Taylor Hicks' career, I have had some thoughts that will not silence themselves, even though I've waited a week since I first had them. Feel free to agree or disagree with me at will, since this is simply my opinion, and has no influence on anybody anyway. is a great forum for artists who want to get their music out there asap, and I think Taylor is a smart and savvy businessman for keeping himself in the public eye in this way. Whether or not it was his decision, it was a good one. Now, as for what's on there, currently there are three, and I'd just like to jot down my impressions of each. Like I said, you may or may not agree with my opinion. But honestly, who's going to read them here, anyway? A few of my friends, maybe a couple of random people. That's it.

Ok, gonna tackle my favorite of the three first: a cover of a Marvin Gaye classic "What's Going On". Saying this is my favorite is actually a bit misleading, since there's plenty about this clip that I didn't like. At the beginning, there's a bit of joking around between Taylor and the musicians, which actually makes this even better when Taylor really starts to sing, because the velvety tone that comes out in the intro is OUTSTANDING. I literally get chills up my spine every time I listen to it. Those long notes at the beginning, with just a hint of vibrato, showcase the characteristic "Taylor" that captivated so many of us throughout season five of American Idol. That man has incredible pipes, I'm telling you, and this intro is riveting with its stamp of Taylor's musicality! Unfortunately, the remainder of the clip isn't so great. My main complaint is that that once the tempo picks up, Taylor's vocal becomes so fragmented that you lose all sense of both the melody and the lyrics which become, for the most part, unrecognizable. He even loses it for a few notes (right after he says "escalate it"), and is so far off the melody, he's not even in tune with the band. Don't try and tell me this is Taylor's take on the piece, either, because he bails on it a couple measures later until he gets it back together (listen for the little roll of his tongue for the end of that mess). Another unfortunate decision in this arrangement was placing two admittedly excellent solo parts (keyboard, then alto sax) back to back, thus reducing Taylor's vocal part to almost a background role for the remainder of the piece. I thought that a harmonica solo would've been a better fit than the sax solo, anyway, and it would've served to keep the focus where it belonged - on Taylor. Hey, Taylor, don't get me wrong. I think this song has real potential and is a great fit for your voice but I think that, in your attempts at individualizing the song, you have taken it a bit too far and need to bring back the melodic sense and the lyrics as they were meant to be heard.

Now for "Hell Of A Day". Ok, given that Taylor wrote this song, it surprises me that I didn't think it was a better fit for his vocal abilities. The range of notes is too limiting for a man who has as great a voice as Taylor's. He does perform the song well, other than the annoying habit he has developped of cutting off the last word in each phrase by backing away from the microphone but, all in all, I found this clip to be a bit boring and predictable. I think Taylor needs to approach this song in the way he did the Marvin Gaye cover, and look for a fresher way of presenting it.

"Hollywood Nights" ... I've listened to this one fewer times than the others, because it hasn't been up as long, but that just means my impressions are newer. First, this one is where I was the most impressed with the band. Loved the sax intro and the electric guitar solo near the end. Neither is overpowering, as the solos tended to be in the other two selections. Major problem with this clip is that Taylor oversings through most of it, to the point that his voice cracks a couple of times. Hey, Taylor, I want you to have a long and rewarding career, but if you abuse your voice, you're gonna lose it, man, so be careful, ok? I again noticed his annoying habit of cutting off phrases by withdrawing from the mic, too. That's going to be a real teeth-grinder for me, I can tell. Another issue is going to be a bit touchy for some of the people that might read this, but it's one I feel I need to address. Notice on that the clip comes with an "explicit" label? That's from Taylor uttering the F-bomb twice in the song. I'm not arguing his right to self-express, but I don't want to see Taylor's potential audience being reduced by the appearance of "explicit" labels on his cd's. It's ok for live performances, but being as it's not part of the original lyrics anyway, perhaps he should've edited himself when being recorded.

Just my humble opinion, folks.

24 October 2006


Sorry, guys. Family and job have to come first this week. Be back after parent-teacher meetings and report cards. Love y'all.

23 October 2006


Tonight, I took a little time to skim over my entire blog. I've never done that. I rarely go back and read a blog once I'm done writing it, in fact. But tonight, I felt the need to see where I've been, and perhaps to gauge where I'm headed.

It wasn't my blog I ended up dwelling on. Whether my blog was good, bad or just plain ugly, one thing remained consistent: the comments. I found myself reaching for the tissues, time and again, as I read through the words of encouragement, support and love that each of you has sent me, through good times and bad.

I've shared the biggest parts of my life with you. Everything I've offered, you've given back, better than before, through your love and acceptance. No wonder I am writing and composing again. You are like a melody in my soul. Being a part of this amazing group of people has nourished me and allowed my creative side to flourish. I didn't know this could happen. It was so totally unexpected that sometimes I grow breathless.

It's time for me to count my blessings. Each one has a name. Each name is engraved upon my heart for all time. God is listening as I recite them to Him. I can feel that as I have never felt it before. And He is smiling.

God bless you and protect you, my friends. I love you.

22 October 2006


There's that word again. I can't seem to get away from it. But today, I'm sticking a little closer to home. I want to share a little bit about the miracles that I live with every day.

When I was 16 years old, I had an accident. I was practicing shallow dives for my lifeguard's certificate, when my foot slipped in a patch of baby oil where someone had been sunning themselves beside the pool. My dive went a bit too deep, and I struck my head on the bottom of the pool, breaking the spinous process between my 3rd and 4th cervical vertebrae. (see for a really good diagram - I couldn't get it to paste here)

Miracle #1: the lifeguard at the pool was in her 4th year of medical studies, and had just finished coursework in spinal injuries. She was able to immobilize my neck so that the injury did not damage my spinal cord.

Weeks of X-rays, surgery and recovery followed. Five weeks to the day of my accident, I went home, wearing a pretty embarrassing body brace, a horribly butchered haircut and the motherload of scars. But I was lucky. I was able to resume my life, pretty much as it had been. I was back in the pool the very next day. There was one lasting casualty of all those countless X-rays. Due to the radiation, my thyroid became pretty much non-functioning. Because of this, it would be extremely difficult to conceive, and highly unlikely that I would carry a child to term. But hypothyroidism is easily treatable, and I figured it was a reasonable exchange for my life. Years after the fact, I still feel that way.

Knowing the odds, my husband and I still went through all the possible processes of trying to conceive a child. Being an old-fashioned kind of guy, DH wanted a son of his own blood to carry on the family name. Nuh uh. Wasn't happening. So, I went ahead and took the next step.

Adoption is a long, drawn-out process. Miracle #2: Imagine my amazement when, only 6 years after our application went through, we were contacted by social services to proceed with an infant adoption.

This next part is going to be very difficult for me to write. My apologies if I state things too bluntly, but it is the only way I can do this. Upon contact, we were asked to come to the social workers office for a meeting. At that meeting, we were informed that the child in question would be special needs, possibly severely affected by his birth mother's use of crack cocaine and alcohol during pregnancy. At that very moment, the child was going through withdrawal symptoms, and it was not certain he would survive those. We were told it was a certainty that he would suffer developmental delays due to his beginnings, at the very least. Worst case scenario, he would need fulltime care for the entirety of his natural life.

DH walked out of the meeting at this point. He was not interested in adopting "a retarded kid". I stayed and found out about miracle #3: the baby was full-term, and his APGAR was 9/9. This little guy, it seemed, was a fighter. I expressed my continued interest in adopting the child, but was told the adoptive father would need to be in agreement, too. So I went home and went to work on DH, and finally convinced him to withhold final judgement until we knew more. We went ahead with the paperwork.

Miracle #4: the baby survived his withdrawal, and was placed with an incredible, loving foster family until we were given the green light to travel to meet him. His foster mom would phone me with reports of his progress every few days, and let me "talk" to him over the phone. I was so in love with MY child, I never noticed that DH was only going through the motions.

When we travelled across the country to meet and sign the transfer of custody papers, it was October. Here, the leaves had changed colour, but were clinging tenaciously to the trees. When we arrived at our destination, snow covered the ground and it was bitter cold. I barely noticed.

October 31, 2003 at 5:31 pm was the first time I laid eyes on my son. He was crawling across the kitchen floor dressed in a Tigger costume, ready to go out trick or treating for his very first time. He had a big grin with 6 teeth, and he was chasing a red and green ball the size of his head. He was bright and alert and the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

Fast forward 3 years: my son is a bright, articulate 3 1/2 year old. He has had the usual childhood ailments: colds, chicken pox, a nasty bout with a virus last year that was making the rounds in the daycare. He was recently tested for school-entry readiness and, despite the direst predictions at his birth, he was recommended for an accelerated program due to his progress. There is no evidence whatsoever of damage to his health or his mental capacities. No FAS/FAE. No ADHD (although I am keeping a sharp eye out for this for the next few years, as it doesn't always show up this early). No asthma. Nothing. But that's not the extent of the miracle. As far as I'm concerned, the true miracle lies in his personality.

So, Miracle #5 is the friendly, joyful, helpful little boy that I live with. When I volunteer at the soup kitchen, he goes along. He refills the bread baskets and the utensil holders. He folds napkins. He socializes, happily greeting everyone who enters, most of them by name. When we go to the SPCA, he plays with the puppies and the kittens. He helps me fill and distribute the dog dishes. He even helps the regular staffers file paperwork! At church, he rocks the babies or helps put out craft supplies and, of course, he sings in the junior choir. I receive compliments every single day on his pleasant disposition, his polite manners and his willingness to assist. It's worth every bit of time and effort I spend doing those extra things with him. Whether it's at his daycare, at the grocery store or one of the places mentioned earlier, my son is building his reputation, one smile at a time.

When Taylor Hicks first sang his coronation song, it was my son whose face floated in front of my tear-filled eyes. Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but I think my kid is the greatest. He's not perfect, and I'm certain that things will not always be as wonderful as they are right now, but one thing I have learned in all my years as a teacher is that a solid foundation early on will give him something to build upon in the future. His future's so bright ... (oh, I've always wanted to say this) ... we're gonna need shades!

21 October 2006


I had to look up this song, as it seems so meaningful to me today.
If I was a real poet, this is what I'd like to say.
But words sometimes choke me, leaving me feeling inadequate.
So I will let the music speak for me as I play.

You all know me to be a proud Canadian.
This man is one more reason to take pride.
Highly respected in his field,
Highly successful in his day.
He writes the words I need to say.

What About Now? (Robbie Robertson, The Band)

There's gonna be a change of season
Indian summer look around and it's gone
Why you wanna save the best for last
We grow up so slowly and grow old so fast

We don't talk about forever
We just catch it while we can
And if I grab on to the moment
Don't let it slip away out of my hand

What about now
Forget about tomorrow
It's too far away
What about now

Close your eyes
Don't talk of yesterday
It's too far away, too far away
What about now

I'm coming out of the shadows
I'm getting off of this one way street
Blue memories they just gather dust
Leave them in the rain they turn into rust

Did you see the march to freedom
Did you ever see Savannah moon
All the people walking in a line
Said to the man, is it my time?

In the walk of a lifetime
When you know it's the right time
I can't wait until the ship comes in
I can't wait to start all over again

The errors of a wise man
Make the rules for a fool

And in closing, my title refers to a song as well,
but more to the helplessness I feel when faced with a friend's despair.
I'm so sorry I couldn't help.

20 October 2006


For those of you who were disturbed by my poetry, I thank you for your concern. There was, however, no need. I am much stronger than I seem, and simply needed an outlet for some negative thoughts running through my mind. I considered changing this post, or deleting it altogether, but decided against it, as my blog is a record of my journey, be it a good day or bad.

Sometimes it runs through my brain
And the strains fill up my mind.
Though the thought fills me with dread,
The idea seems not unkind.

The music fills me with joy.
The words lock me in place.
Just don't look too close
At the smile on my face.

Seems too simple to hope
That the memories will fade
When my soul is so full
With the friends I have made

The scars on my heart
Flow as deep as the sea.
I will never be whole
But I'll always be me.

- Corinna, 20 October 2006

The spirit is strong,
Or so I thought,
But it proved its own frailty.

Where was the power?
Where was the promise?

I was riding high
On the ideals
Of my convictions and pure rage.

But I faltered
And I failed.

Death would be sweet
At a moment like this.

- Corinna 20 October 2006

18 October 2006


Yesterday, I was visited by a spectre from my past. With your indulgence, I will tell the story from the beginning.

I began teaching at my current school 7 years ago. When I arrived, they had been without a music teacher for 2 years, and the previous music teacher had long since given up actually TEACHING anything resembling music, it seemed.

So, when I arrived, I was faced with a group of children who believed that music class was a period for completing word searches and watching movies and, as long as they behaved appropriately, they would be given a passing grade. Imagine my shock and dismay when I gave my grade 10 classes a music placement test, based on the grade 1 curriculum, and only 4 students were able to identify a quarter note. The majority of students left the test completely blank.

The first month was rough. All the school had at the time was a class set of old, beat-up keyboards. The students were resistant to the idea that they would actually be accountable for learning how to play a musical instrument and read music in my course. But gradually, they learned that the hard work was a reward in itself, and the majority of them learned to play the piano ...

One of these grade 10 students was named Justin. Justin played basketball. He looked like a fullback for a pro football team. Justin had hands the size of Thanksgiving turkeys. And he struggled daily with the mere task of getting his meaty fingers to fit onto one piano key at a time. After a couple of months, in despair, I picked up a guitar at a flea market for $10.00 and gave it to him. Justin dwarfed the poor, battered thing, but he learned to play. Finally, success!

Justin was a student of mine for 4 long years. There were moments I felt like throwing my hands up and giving up. There were days I'm sure he felt the same way. But Justin had something special going for him. Justin NEVER gave up. Every year, he would appear in my classroom, lugging that poor, forsaken guitar. I think I was as proud at his graduation as he was. Justin received a basketball scholarship to college, and eventually earned a diploma in computer programming. He was hired directly out of college by a reputable local firm, and his future looked bright. With his first pay cheque, he bought himself a new guitar.

Justin is one of those former students who visits me regularly 2 or 3 times a year and stays in touch otherwise through frequent emails. Since our earliest associations, we have developped a relationship of mutual liking and respect. So, it wasn't a surprise to look up from my desk yesterday to see him step through the door. However, I was immediately aware that something was different.

Justin had a fresh haircut, and was neatly dressed in shirt and tie. But it wasn't that. There was something else. He had come to tell me goodbye. Justin joined the Armed Services yesterday. He had come directly from signing his contract. He leaves for training in Alberta next week. He wanted to reassure me that he would be back to visit me when he could, and that he would stay in touch through email.

Tears come to my eyes as I relay this information. Currently, I have 7 former students serving in Afghanistan. Each one is forever engraved in my heart. Justin is there, too. I am proud, so proud of the strong, principled young man who stood in my classroom yesterday, but I am afraid for him, too. He has become one more name to listen for when the news from overseas is not good, one more prayer at night.

I know Justin will work hard and become the best that he can be. He has never done less than his best. As we embraced fondly yesterday, we both shed some tears. The next time I see Justin, he will be in uniform. He will have completed his officer's training. He will be forever changed by his experiences. I will miss the old Justin with all my heart, but I will embrace the new with all the joy and affection that he has come to expect from me.

11 October 2006


What would you do?
A gang of grown men surround you and your 3 year old child after you've put in a shift at the mobile soup kitchen. They proceed to hurl insults and garbage at you and your child ... all courtesy of the rat bastard husband you've finally gotten out of your life.
What would you do?
I don't know.

Who would you turn to for comfort?
No one.

06 October 2006


Guys, this isn't something I do on a regular basis, but I feel the circumstances warrant us doing everything we can. We know there's strength in numbers, and one of our own needs us right now. Please take a few minutes and say a prayer for our dear friend and his family tonight. They have all ready been through so much in recent months, and the hardships just keep coming.

05 October 2006


Why does it matter?

they need a person in their lives
who listens
to what they have to say
with an unjudgemental ear,
even if they aren't really saying anything at all.

the loneliness of the human condition
is more
than they can assimilate
and they need to know
that someone cares about them and that they aren't really alone.

But really,
why does it matter?

the only person who smiles at them all day
is the one
who greets them each morning
and encourages them to strive for and achieve things
that they didn't think they were capable of doing.

they need to know that being firm
doesn't mean
being physically agressive
or verbally offensive, or abusive in any way,`
and that they can feel safe even when an adult is angry.

Honestly though,
why does what you do matter?

they need to know that someone sees them
as they are
and accepts them anyway,
regardless of their behaviour or their attitude
and will treat them equally and without prejudice.

And sometimes,
they need someone who will make them accountable
for their actions and deeds,
who will teach them things they can't learn in books,
who will guide them to become a responsible adult.

Why does what I do matter?
Because I am a teacher.
It's not just a job, it's who I am.

- Corinna Masson, B. Mus., B. Ed., M.Mus.
le 5 octobre 2006 (14h05 pm)

Today is important to me. It justifies who I consider myself to be. There are few jobs on the planet that can be as rewarding as this, or as frustrating. My rewards are not financial. They are the little things that you don't even notice at the time. And they mean more than mere dollars and cents ever could.

During my noon, which I frequently take at my desk so I can keep the music room open for kids to come in and play music or chat or study, I will always have visitors who just want to chat. You don't always need to give advice. You don't even always need to respond. They just like to make a connection.

Yesterday, my neuralgia came out of remission. It is a rather painful malady, and I was unable to hide my discomfort from the children. But today was an extraordinary day. I noticed that my classes were somewhat subdued. What I totally missed was the reason for it. During the course of noon hour, it was brought to my attention that my students, being concerned for my welfare, had spread it about the school to be careful of my health, and not cause me any stress.

Two girls, that I don't even teach any more, made fudge as a treat for me. Some grade nine boys (!) made me a card. And my crazy, frustrating, marvelous grade 10 reading class wrote me letters in their journals telling me what a difference I was making in their lives. I never realized they felt that way. I didn't know for sure that I was reaching them. If you read my blog regularly, you know I was questioning the validity of what I do. I think I can safely say that my students have put my mind at ease. And I don't think anyone else could have done it so well.

04 October 2006


Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), also known as Tic Douloureux, is considered by many to be the "most terrible pain known to man." The electric shock-like pain generally is on one side of the face and is spasmodic, coming in short bursts lasting a few seconds. Several attacks can follow each other within minutes. There are often trigger points, places on the face which, if touched, trigger an attack.. Eating, shaving, applying makeup and talking can be triggers. There can be periods of remission when pain is completely absent. These periods of remission, which can last days, weeks, months, even years, are unpredictable and without medical treatment, the pain usually returns.
TN is a very rare condition. Statistics vary, but TN occurs in approximately 150 per million people per year. Medical literature notes this condition is rare for anyone under age 50 but in reality, TN is known to exist in many younger individuals including children.


I often forget about it ... until it comes back. It's an embarrassing affliction to have. I won't die from it, although I may wish to sometimes. No one seems to know exactly what causes it. There is no cure, but apparently sometimes it just goes away. There are no warning signs.

Mine is just below my right eye. My doctor suggests that stress is a trigger for me. It started out as just a little twitch, barely noticeable, really. But it got worse each time, until the day when it literally dropped me in my tracks. It felt like someone was pulling my entire face out through my eyesocket.

When I was diagnosed this summer, the doctor told me it might never get too bad but, if it did, it could be controlled with meds. So, the day the pain made me pass out, I started my meds. Now I only get attacks when the stress in my life is extreme.

I'm one of the lucky ones, apparently. I went into remission quickly and easily, and I know my trigger. Now, can someone please tell me how to avoid stress?

02 October 2006


Please disregard this. I am inundated with misery today, and I need somewhere to put all these negative thoughts before I explode with them. Why do bad things happen in bunches, when so often we have so long to wait for the good things?

This weekend, my good friend Erica, who is the art teacher at my school, was away visiting with friends. Some disgruntled students decided it would be fun to break into her studio apartment and trash the place. They broke down the front door, entered her private home, and proceeded to tear the place apart. In the process, they destroyed 7+ years of her creative life, including works in progress and thousands of dollars of art supplies. To add insult to injury, they then decided to eat her food and drink her liquor, having themselves a little party before decamping. Erica is new to the area and, although this is not her first teaching assignment, it is her first year in this particular community. She was in the midst of setting up a showing for the end of October, a principal source of income for her. This, boys and girls, is one of the downsides of teaching. I cannot begin to express my grief for this talented young artist, nor my disbelief and disenchantment at the identities of the young offenders.

Last night, my darling dog, Mandy, my guardian angel, passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was my protector and my comfort for so long, I cannot imagine what the past 11 years would have been like without her. She was my very best friend, and right now, I am feeling a bit lost and bewildered. Now, at the end of a long and ugly day, I must go home and find words of comfort for my son and my other dog when I truly feel, maybe for the first time in my life, that there is no comfort to be given. Perhaps we can never hope for better than what we live, day to day, and maybe survival is what it's all about. I don't know any more.


Every day, each of us is faced with a million little details which require decision-making skills. From the moment we get up in the morning, when we have to decide what's for breakfast, what to wear, whether or not we have time for one more cup of coffee, the route to take to get to work, the list of decisions we are called upon to make is endless.

Sometimes, we make the right decision, and sometimes, we don't. Sometimes, the decision we make is incidental and unimportant, but sometimes ... it can make all the difference in the world. We can sometimes predict the end result, but often, we just have to go along for the ride and find out. Sometimes, we even make what we think is the right decision, only to find that it wasn't. Those are the worst, because being caught offguard always makes us question our judgement.

I am not what one could call a good decision-maker. I have an impulsive streak a mile wide, and I tend to rely on my instincts far too often. I've always been the kind of person who leads with my heart instead of my head. And, as you could probably guess, I haven't always come through unscathed. Very recently, I made a decision that caused great sadness not only for myself, but another person as well. I rarely have regrets, but this is one for which I cannot forgive my impulsive nature, however inadvertent the outcome may have been.

This week, I have two very important decisions to make. They will alter my life in ways I cannot even begin to explain. Suffice it to say, one is a matter of business, the other is an affair of the heart. I must not permit myself to be distracted from carefully weighing the pros and the cons of each matter. I would appreciate your prayers while I take some time to consider what must be done. Pray that something leads me to make the right decisions, because right now, I have little confidence in my own judgement.