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

26 June 2008

I found a new band!

i was skimming through Youtube videos looking for something by Van Morrison when i stumbled upon this cross-referenced band, Quoting Napoleon. i think they're really good, so i'm giving them a mention here.

They formed in March 2006, and are an alternative band from Portland, Oregon. The music is acoustic, driven mainly by the lyrics, but i think the sound is great. They aren't signed to a label, but they have a cd entitled "Rise and Fall". If you're interested, you can give it a listen here:

In my humble opinion, it is worth the time to go there and listen - this is the first album i've ever bothered to purchase online, it's that good.

23 June 2008

If I could choose my own birthday song ...

... this would be it.

I'm 44 today, and it feels really good. For the first time in my life, I am truly satisfied with what and who I am, and what I have in my life. For those of you who know me, you've probably already figured out what this is about. But I'm going to say it here anyway, cos it's my blog and I can.
I have a job I enjoy and most of the time, I am happy to get up and go to work. I have a (relatively) supportive family and friends, and an absolutely wonderful young son. My health is improving after a long time being on rocky ground, and the only thing I have still hanging over my head is simply a matter of time before it's fixed. I've come to terms with my hearing loss. I've adapted to my physical limitations. Isn't that what everybody does every single day, anyway?
Finally, and THE reason that I am able to sustain a positive view of things, is my Mac. On the worst of days, He is there for me, holding me in His arms and soothing me with the reminder that all things pass. On the best days, He's right there to celebrate with me. He is constantly building me up and even when I'm a whiny baby, or an insufferable bitch, I know His love is constant.
I may be 44 and beautifully imperfect, but life doesn't get any better than this, I'm sure. I love You, Mac. Thank You for loving me.

20 June 2008


It's report card day, last day for the kids, third-to-last day for teachers, and then I'm FREEEEEEEEEEEE! *brief jig* Nine weeks from the regrettable necessity of re-entering the work force. ?? weeks from my radiation treatment (still don't have a date for that). And three weeks from our first ever vacation with Mac. Dear, darling Mac ... Oh yeah, I'm excited about that. *smiles and sighs* But that isn't what this post is about.

In September, my little boy will be starting school. Kindergarten. And yesterday, he graduated from Pre-school. I look back and wonder where all the time went between the day i first saw his face and this day. I'm not a big believer in all the extra "graduation ceremonies" we have added to our children's school careers, because I believe that it reduces the importance of the real "graduation". But I am a firm supporter of my child and always will be, so yesterday, there I was, front row, poised with my camera along with all the other "mommies", anxiously awaiting my son's big moment.

What can I say about a graduation ceremony for 4 and 5 year olds? It was mercifully short, with little pomp and even less circumstance. Out of roughly 40 children (no way I was gonna accurately count that many over-excited little bodies), only three dissolved into tears, and only one refused outright to cross the "stage". It was controlled chaos and gave me an even deeper reverence of daycare teachers, along with the firm conviction that they are grossly underpaid, given the importance of their job. I would, a million times over, tackle a classroom full of attitude-ridden teens before I could ever do what they do.

My son and his 9 "Best Friends in the Whole World" received their certificate from their pre-school teacher who, I am convinced, is the best pre-school teacher on the planet. Nothing has convinced me more of the importance of a good daycare system than this woman who has nurtured my son since last spring.

Over the course of the past year, she has worked with them on such things as phonics, reading, math skills, french, science, art, music, appropriate classroom behaviour, American Sign Language and disability awareness, personal safety, as well as constantly reinforcing sharing, taking turns, kindness, manners, dealing with emotions, environmentally conscientiousness, volunteerism and lots more. She has taken them on outings at least once a week, alternating between community outreach and educational activities. Cooking classes, library visits, "reading" to seniors at a local home, planting flowers outside city hall, pottery classes at a local art studio, swimming lessons, ringuette tournaments, dog shows, concerts and plays, they've done it all with Donna. My son has been incredibly happy and secure in her class and it is going to be a very difficult thing to leave behind at the end of the summer

She shook each sticky little hand and then, kneeling, hugged them and spoke softly with a personal message for each child. I found myself getting all teared up, and was a bit embarrassed until I noticed that most of the other parents were blinking back tears, too. There is nothing so touching as witnessing a rite of passage of your child and, regardless of how I felt about a pre-school graduation, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

28 May 2008


Sooo ... i shamelessly pilfered this from Turnbaby's fine blog because there's nothing more interesting to me than ... ME! *laughs hysterically* (i really don't expect most of you to get the joke) And this meme is all about what i can and can't do ... i figure i'm going to surprise myself as much as anybody, 'cos my intent is to be brutally and scrupulously honest, and i have no idea what my results will be. Well, here goes nothin'.

The Rules: You highlight the things you can do and you leave in normal type the things you can’t.

1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. (i am unapologetically verbose)

2. Tell if someone is lying. (thought i could, but i am too trusting)

3. Take a photo.

4. Score a baseball game. (i have no idea what this means, so i guess that's a no ...)

5. Name a book that matters.

6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible.

7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill.

8. Not monopolize the conversation. (of course - i'm the quiet, shy sort)

9. Write a letter. (knowing when to stop is my problem)

10. Buy a suit. (hmmm ... doesn't indicate men's or women's ...)

11. Swim three different strokes. (like the proverbial fish)

12. Show respect without being a suck-up. (can also be facetious without my target being aware of it)

13. Throw a punch. (shoulda asked if i could take a punch ...)

14. Chop down a tree.

15. Calculate square footage. (surprisingly, given my limited math skills)

16. Tie a bow tie. (my piano tuner wears a bowtie ... everybody else I know wears a clip-on)

17. Make one drink in large batches, very well. (used to be able to, but haven't for years now)

18. Speak a foreign language. (technically, french isn't a foreign language in Canada, but i speak two languages ...)

19. Approach a man out of her league. (this one time, at bowling ...)

20. Sew a button. (and make my own clothes, too)

21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. (had lots of practice with my friend Francois-Xavier while at university ...)

22. Give a man an orgasm so that he doesn’t have to ask after it. (grins)

23. Be loyal.

24. Know her poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope.

25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it.

26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat.

27. Play gin with an old guy.

28. Play go fish with a kid. (daily ...)

29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. (huh?)

30. Feign interest. (don't have to. you fascinate me - REALLY!)

31. Make a bed. (here's a challenge - make a bunkbed ...)

32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. (does "It came in a box." count?)

33. Hit a jump shot in pool. (somehow thought that was basketball ...)

34. Dress a wound. (usually pass out afterwards, but I'm good when the chips are down)

35. Jump-start a car. Change a flat tire. Change the oil.

36. Make three different bets at a craps table. (Something tells me i'd have to have gambled to do that.)

37. Shuffle a deck of cards. (Eventually ... but it takes time to pick the little buggers up.)

38. Tell a joke. (terrible at it)

39. Know when to split cards in blackjack. (um ... see #36)

40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he will hear. (i can do one better - speak to a teenager so he/she listens)

41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. (yes, actually and get preferential treatment lots, too)

42. Talk to a dog so it will hear. (absolutely)

43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. (not if I want it to work ...)

44. Ask for help. (i have a really hard time with this.)

45. Break a man’s grip on my wrist. (took a self-defense course)

46. Tell a woman’s dress size. (rule of thumb - always underestimate)

47. Recite one poem from memory. (more than one)

48. Remove a stain. (yes, he's gone ...)

49. Say no. (VERY difficult, but important skill to have)

50. Fry an egg sunny-side up.

51. Build a campfire.

52. Step into a job no one wants to do.

53. Sometimes, kick some ass. (verbally, yes. physically, never)

54. Break up a fight.

55. Point to the north at any time. (*points straight down* i'm already there)

56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person. (*grins* yup)

57. Explain what a light-year is.

58. Avoid boredom. (i'm never bored - too much to do)

59. Write a thank-you note.

60. Be brand loyal to at least one product.

61. Cook bacon.

62. Hold a baby. (as often as possible)

63. Deliver a eulogy. (If i knew the person well enough, i would be singing, not talking)

64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch. (prefer to think of him as a product of the times)

65. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap. (throw a ... *dissolves into gales of laughter*)

66. Throw a football with a tight spiral. (*laughs some more*)

67. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably. (see? i knew it was basketball!)

68. Find his way out of the woods if lost. (most of the time, but nobody can say so with 100% certainty)

69. Tie a knot. (i'm from a fishing village)

70. Shake hands.

71. Iron a shirt.

72. Stock an emergency bag for the car. (a necessity in northern climates)

73. Caress a man’s neck. (better ask Mac about this one ...)

74. Know some birds. (know some bees, too)

75. Negotiate a better price.


i know i know ... came back a couple times, saying i was back, and then disappeared again. Sooo, what's with that?

Ever fall out of the habit? Plain and simple, i sit here wondering what to write about, and then i end up not writing, 'cos i don't want to appear lame, right? WRONG!!

Today, i bite the bullet, and write whatever comes to mind, no matter how little significance it might have. i'm not a poet, or a politician, or an activist. My opinions about most things make no sense to anybody but myself, and they are mostly emotionally driven, anyway, so who the hell cares except me and my own?

i don't really care to list all the complaints about the astronomical price of gas these days, or the guy who is planning on breaking the world free-fall record over Saskatchewan this week. Hey, if he's crazy enough to want to reach speeds of 1200 km/hr with his body and perhaps have an arm or a leg torn off in the process, what does it matter to the rest of the world, really? His decision. And if the price of gas hurts so much, why are we still driving big gas-guzzlers and NOT using public transit or car pooling? i counted the number of cars containing only one person crossing the causeway into the city this morning, and the ratio of single passenger vehicles to multi-passenger ones was about 1:20. And what's more, about 40% of the vehicles i met were minivans or SUVs. That isn't counting construction vehicles, pickup trucks and busses, either. There's another 30% for you. Problem is, the busses are nearly empty, unless they are school busses. i travel alone too, but i work 30 km outside the city, opposite direction to just about everybody else, i drive an economy car which still only takes $50 to fill and i get, on average, 10 days out of it. That seemed like a lot of money to me, until i was talking to one of my students and he was complaining that a fillup of the family pickup truck was $160 for the week!! i guess everything is relative.

So what the hell do i care about enough to write on? i don't watch tv, so i have no opinion about the shows that people watch because i have never seen them. i'm not just saying that, either. When i noticed that my son, who is 5, was becoming dependent on tv as a source of entertainment, i had cable disconnected. That was over a year ago. Now we actually do things together like read books, take walks and play games. It wasn't even difficult to make the switch. We check the weather on the computer, and keep up with the news that way, too, so we aren't missing anything. Once a week, on Saturday night, we make pizza and watch a dvd. It has become a special occasion for us, an event that we both enjoy. Without tv, we actually have more time for "us". Unexpected benefit.

i'm going to feature some kind of music on my blog each time i post (now doesn't THAT sound optimistic!) but i won't always post a Youtube video, 'cos they take too damned long to load once you've got a few on your page (take note, all you blogging Youtube addicts out there). Instead, i might try just posting the link to the Youtube video i want you to hear. Click on it to take you there - no muss no fuss. That also takes care of the "embedding disabled" feature (which ticks me off every time i see it - what's with that, anyway?)

Here's today's music - and i should warn you that i have eclectic taste, so you'll never know ... Today's selection is one of my all-time favorites, though, for a multitude of reasons.

As you can see, i still have no ideas for this blog. About what shall i write ...?

30 April 2008


A friend sent this to me and i just had to post it. Too funny!

20 April 2008


At the end of May 2007, i embarked on a journey of self-examination and exploration which is far from over, as i still have much to learn and experience. It has been beautiful and rewarding, and i truly hope this journey never ends. The first chapter has been concluded, with many tears and much heartache, but with many sweet memories that are golden.
So, a new chapter begins. What does the future hold? Only time can tell.

12 March 2008


Hi everybody. This is just a short message to let you know that I've moved my music posts to a new blog, most so that my students can access it in order to prepare for audio tests. If you're interested in visiting, the new blog is found at or you can click on the link on my sidebar.

31 January 2008

WHAT'S OPERA, DOC? part one

You guessed it - my next topic of discussion is opera. I have to present it in a way that makes it palatable to the 15 and 16 year old clientele to whom i serve it. What better way to introduce opera than in the same way I first came to enjoy it?

This first is a famous parody on the overture of the great Rossini's piece de resistance "Il Barbiere di Siviglia". Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The beloved aria "Largo al Factotum" from Rossini's Barber of Seville:

... and a version of the same which gripped me in a sort of horrid fascination ...

Italian opera in the first half of the 19th century is synonymous with the name of Giocchino Rossini. The most revered and successful operatic composer of his day, Rossini wrote 40 operas in the span of 20 years. His final opera, Guillaume Tell, was the longest (6 hours!) and most elaborate, depicting the 14th-century legend of the Swiss folk hero who led the fight for independence from the Austrian Hapsburgs. The Overture is actually a four-section tone poem: a depiction of dawn in the mountains opens the piece, followed by raindrops, wind and a violent storm. The English horn and flute provide the calm which follows; the tune is based on a Swiss cowherd's cattle call. The bucolic pastoral scene is interrupted with the approach of the Swiss army, heralded by the trumpet's now-famous Lone Ranger theme song.

... and just for fun ...

23 January 2008


I am going to ask that all of Coco’s and my friends rally in support of Coco at a very trying time. For the past several months, Coco has been dealing with a health issue. I am not speaking of her over-sized, pre-cancerous ovarian cyst, the surgery and post-operative complications of last autumn. Rather, Coco has lost all hearing in her right ear. She has become profoundly deaf in that ear, which for a musician and music teacher is devastating. The hearing loss has been gradual, but was not addressed due to more pressing health concerns at the time, even though she made her doctor aware of a hearing problem two years ago. For various reasons, she and I chose not to let anyone know until further test results were available. Those results are now in, and she and I decided that I should be the one to let everyone know the results.

Coco had an MRI performed on Monday, 21 January 2008, and was told the results Tuesday, 22 January 2008. Apparently, she has what is known as an Acoustic Neuroma. In short, she has a tumor that began growing inside the auditory nerve of her right ear. The tumor is benign, but has grown to over 15mm x 25 mm in size, large enough to be pressing on the brain. Left untreated, this tumor, though benign, will kill her. She must have surgery. Unfortunately, removal of the tumor is not easy, and will not reverse the hearing loss; it is permanent. And the surgery will most likely have short- and intermediate-term side-effects such as having to learn to walk again, relearn certain hand-eye movements, among others.

The tumor is large enough to put her in an emergency situation, and the surgery will be scheduled sometime within the next four months. She will have the surgery as soon as it is scheduled, but will first have to visit with specialists in towns distant from her own. And the surgery can not be performed locally, requiring her to go to a distant location for surgery and recovery. Minimum recovery time is 4 months, during which she will not be allowed to be alone at any time, nor will she be permitted to drive. She may not even be able to get online to be with us. The surgery is, after all, considered brain surgery. As you can easily imagine, she was somewhat despondent after it was explained to her fully.

Coco has been through a lot this past year with regards to her health. She has missed work and lost income. And she stands to do so again. While having bent, however, she has not broken. Quite simply, I am in awe of this woman. She remains a strong force. She remains the same gentle, caring, nurturing soul. Her online friends have been and remain a major source of emotional support for her, more so than she likes to let on. Coco never lets on what her internet community and acceptance within it has meant to her. Now, however, she is going to need her friends more than ever. I humbly ask all of you to regularly send emails, leave comments on her blog, leave offlines, get-well e-cards, etc., in show of your support. Feel free to copy this post and place it on your own blog, or make it an RSS feed if you wish. Just get the word out to all her friends. Let her know you care. I am not asking for, nor would she accept, sympathy. I simply ask a showing of love and support. Trust me, doing so will boost her spirits immeasurably. I will keep everyone informed as events unfold.

Thank you,


09 January 2008

WELCOME TO MY WORLD - the Baroque Era of Music

Here we go again. This time it's all about Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and so on. Much more familiar to the common man. Hope you enjoy ...

JS Bach - "Little" Fugue in G minor - J. S. Bach's "Little" Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, with a scrolling bar-graph score. The instrument here is a Post fortepiano; the pedal part is doubled an octave down. Rendition by Stephen Malinowski (smalin) using the conductor program.

Claudio Monteverdi - Orfeo

Antonio Vivaldi - Four Seasons "Winter, mvt. 1"

GF Handel - The Messiah "Hallelujah Chorus"

GF Handel - The Messiah "Every Valley"