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

23 December 2010

Five for Friday - Merry Christmas

Posting this a day early, as most of us won't find the time tomorrow to visit or listen. I am off for a week, so I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful and happy Christmas, with all of God's blessings. Be well!

My playlist above contains five of my all-time favourite Christmas songs. They are attached to memories that make me tear up with joy, but I also find the music incredibly lovely. I hope you enjoy.

Added to that, I decided to share a few uniquely Canadian songs with my friends here. Something about these bands makes me proud to claim them as ours. Maybe you know some of them, maybe not, but to me they are part of what makes our country great.

Great Big Sea - The Mummers Song

Crash Test Dummies - Jingle Bells (like no other!)

Gordon Lightfoot - Song for a Winter's Night

The Barra MacNeils - Christmas in Killarney

Roch Voisine - Petit Papa Noel

Sarah McLachlin - Mary Mary

and a wonderful version of Canada's oldest Christmas carol (singer unlisted) - Jesous Ahatonhia

Have a beautiful, joyful Christmas. May God visit your homes and grant you peace and happiness throughout the holiday season. Be well.

22 December 2010

The Week-Before-Christmas Spirit ...

My choir performed this week ...
It didn't snow ... again!
All my students are ... excitable ...

And I'm not done my shopping yet!
Merry *******ing Christmas!

20 December 2010

Monday Blues

Where did the weekend go? Shopping, wrapping, cleaning, carolling with the church group, baking, staff Christmas party, play dates for B-man, laundry, endless decorating ... is it any wonder I love Christmas? Only 5 days left to wait! Good thing - I don't think the gifts can stand up to much more shaking by the B-man. Do you remember being seven the week before Christmas?

17 December 2010

Fabulous Five for Friday

I've never had a better reason for posting a Five for Friday ... well, maybe, but this is so exciting.
Yesterday, the B-man (who is 7, if you recall) tested for his red belt in tae kwondo. He executed his forms perfectly, with such grace and precision that I forgot for a moment that this was MY kid smoothly kicking, jabbing and punching in an exquisite dance-like flow of trained physical art. He is now only two belts from becoming one of the provinces youngest black belts, and the careful training and practice is more evident than ever.

After the forms, there was a demonstration of power and agility. It seems strange to say that when you are talking about a group of elementary school children, but I have seen the "impossible" happen in that studio and I am a believer. My little boy broke 4 boards with the side of his little hand yesterday. Watching him, I saw the confidence that his sensei had instilled in him and it brought tears to my eyes. Master L. believes in the B-man and my son trusts his judgement. That's ALL it takes.

After the board-breaking demonstration, Master L. asked the B-man a quiet question in Korean. He nodded vigourously and ran to the far end of the room. I've been to a lot of these test days and I knew that it meant a running kick break. What I wasn't prepared for was seeing two of B's classmates crouch down in front of Master L., tucking in their heads. The B-man came flying across the room, leapt across the bodies of his friends and broke the board with his foot, before landing lightly and running past Master L. Everyone watching gasped and applauded. It was stunning. He broke a provincial record for the youngest person to successfully execute that particular break. The B-man confessed to me later that he was so afraid that he was going to fall on Miranda, he put extra strength into his jump. He also confessed that he had not done the flying kick over people before ... but he trusted Master L.'s judgement.

What does it mean to trust that completely? To my son it means, for that moment in time, he could FLY ... and now, he will always believe that he can.

I am more grateful than I can express.

(I'll load pictures this weekend.)

13 December 2010

Music on Monday


I am exhausted but grinning from ear to ear. Steve and I were invited to a Christmas party on Saturday with a group of friends. 39 in attendance in an old converted barn out in the boonies. There was music and dancing and wonderful, glorious food. We talked almost all night, catching up with old friends and making new ones. And we danced. OMG Steve can DANCE! Just another reason I love this man. It is, without exception, the BEST time I've ever had at a party.

When we thanked our hosts and said good night, it was breaking dawn and we still had so much residual energy that we went for an early-morning walk on the riverfront with the dog and watched the sun rise, all golden and pink. As we listened to the sleeping city, I felt awed at my good fortune. How often does it happen that all the planets align like this?

I feel truly blessed.

10 December 2010

Five for Friday

Yeah, we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.

Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.

Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it.

If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.

If you'd like to join us in the Five for Friday musical fun, the guidelines are basic and simple.

1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.

2. Go to to make your play list of five songs. You may choose a particular theme to share with us, or post random tunes if that's your vibe for the day. You can simply post the play list, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.

2a. Don't feel restricted by the tracks listed on And don't be discouraged if the Embed code won't work. You're welcome to use any type of media to share your Sets.

3. Be sure to sign Mr Linky so everyone can visit your Set.

4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.

09 December 2010

Thursdays Thoughts

My son is in grade two this year. He's seven years old. I think he's wonderful, but hey! I'm his mommy - I'm supposed to think that way.

The B-man adores his teacher this year. She has a way of building up the kids to believe they can do anything, be anything. I like a lot of her ideas. Last week, he brought home a memo. It seems Mrs. Marshall's class has a Christmas tradition called "My Christmas Star". Really, it's a way for the parents to share some of the reasons their kid is special. Each day, two students are the "Star of the Day". They get special treatment. They get to bring in a show-and-tell item that has special meaning for them. But here's where it gets interesting: all the parents have been asked to write a brief letter to their child expressing why their son or daughter is special and to include a photo of the child. The letters are to be read in front of the class and our children don't know what we are writing - it's a big secret!

The B-man is the Christmas Star tomorrow, along with one of his little classmates. I have been brought to tears more than once in my process of writing the letter that I want to share with you here. I'm also including the photo - it's not recent but it epitomizes the spirit of my little boy. He was 22 months old at the time it was taken.

Dear B-man,

The first time we met, you were crawling across a vinyl kitchen floor in pursuit of a red and blue striped squeaky ball. You looked up at me with your deep chocolatey-brown eyes and gave a grin wide enough to display all four of your tiny white teeth.

Your Daddy and I had begun the journey to being your parents a long time before that. We had paperwork to fill out, meetings with the people who had to decide if we would be able to give you a good home and then the long plane ride to finally meet you.

It was Hallowe'en 2003, you were only a few months old and living in a province far from ours. We spent a week getting to know you - the adoption people called it "bonding" - and then we signed the papers that allowed us to bring you home. I'll never forget a moment of that trip: 13 hours and 3 plane changes with a tired baby. It was an amazing experience. Other mommies have to go through labour. I guess that plane ride was my version of it. I didn't mind it one bit, though - you were worth it all, even the atomic diaper change on the final leg of the trip, and that was pretty gross!

You make me proud. You have spirit that never gives up. Whether it's tae kwondo, swimming, reading or spending time with your family and friends, you give 100% of yourself. Master C. at tae kwondo tells me all the time that you are a hard worker and a very good boy. You are respectful and polite. You let people know with your words and behaviour that you appreciate them, and that makes them feel good. You are smart - have I told you how pleased I am at your progress in reading this year? I really love it when you read to me. It's often the highlight of my day. You also have a big heart and you are very loyal and caring to your friends and family. Yesterday, Steve told me that you make him feel happy. That's a very special gift you have, B-man, one that you give to a lot of people. Mrs. L. has said to me that she hopes her children grow up to be like you. I told her that I couldn't imagine a better son than you.

You've made me smile every day; not just because you're funny (even though you often are) but because I'm so amazed at the person you are. Everything from your crazy "Knock-knock" jokes to your excited grin yesterday when you told me you are going to be testing for your red belt in tae kwondo, everything that is YOU makes my days bright and full of joy. You are a wonderful kid, B-man. I love you with all my heart.

Love always,



07 December 2010

I got nothing, so here's a funny or two. Have a smiley day.

Inkblot drawings

A certain gentleman was having some personal problems so he went to see a psychiatrist. After a few sessions the psychiatrist thought it would be helpful to do some tests. He produced some ink blot drawings which he showed the gentleman. He said to him “As I show you these abstract shapes please tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. After the first ink blot drawing, the man said he saw a beautiful woman at the beach. After the second, he said he saw a beautiful woman at the park. One after another, in each drawing he saw a beautiful woman in one place or another. After about a dozen of these, the psychiatrist said “Mr. Smith, you seem quite obsessed with women”. The man said “Me!!! You’re the one with all the pictures!

06 December 2010

Monday Blues

It's snowing in the western part of the province and school is closed for the day ... I live in Southeast NB and what are we getting here? Rain ... again. (grumble grumble)

03 December 2010

Five for Friday

I'm loving the season of Christmas music but to be honest, I don't want to overdo the seasonal music this early in the month so I've decided to redirect. There's a story here though, so you'll have to suffer through it, as I've decided to reminisce.

A pivotal event changed my life during the summer before grade seven, in August of 1976. I was visiting my grandmother's house. Not the cool one either - the one whose house had nothing in it for kids to do except help Gran in the kitchen or watch the Tommy Hunter Show on a long, rain-soaked Sunday afternoon.

Sitting on the stairs watching a spider spin a web, I noticed the bookcase on the landing. I'd seen it before but I'd never - you know - NOTICED it. It was a big one, stuffed right full of about a thousand Readers' Digest magazines, dating back to the mid-1940's. For a bored pre-teen, it was better than nothing, although I now understand the intrinsic historic interest of those old, perfectly-preserved magazines.

Each had been read exactly once, by my grandfather, and placed in chronological order in the landing bookcase for posterity. I had little respect for such meticulous organization and with adolescent carelessness, I pulled one after another out of the shelves and began seeking out the "Laughter is the Best Medicine" pages, stacking each book beside me as I moved on to the next. Occasionally, my attention would be drawn to an article or a picture and I'd skim through but, until I reached one particular issue, it was simply a way of passing the time.

On the front cover of the October 1966 issue, much as they do today, Readers Digest had listed the keynote articles. I registered something about the Beatles, a music group from the Middle Ages that I had vaguely heard of at some point in the past and, with the bored detachment of long-suffering youth, I flipped to the page indicated, thinking that if I'd actually heard of them, they must've been worth the mention, sort of like Beethoven.

There on page 72 was an ink line drawing of three girls watching TV with typical teenage dramatic intensity ... oh, I totally GOT that. Within a few lines, I was giggling. You see, I'd been there, my friends and I, only a few months earlier, except the band that owned our hearts then had been the Bay City Rollers. Now, in my jaded 12-year old maturity, THEY were baby stuff. I was a prime target for the charisma of Beatlemania.

As I read, my excitement grew. THIS, I understood! This was perfect - there were four of them. My three best friends and I had recently made a pact NEVER to like the same boy, so that worked out well. The girls in the article could've been US! The article was 10 years old, so the Beatles were really old now - a major drawback - but all the pictures I had seen of them were from the 60's so the ILLUSION was right. THIS could be the answer to our prayers ...

Finishing the article, I squealed in excitement and did what any teenaged girl would do upon making an important discovery - I ran for the phone to share the WONDERFUL news.

That was my introduction to the Beatles ... despite an admittedly unmusical foundation, my early case of Beatlemania developped into a life-long love and admiration of their music and their history. A few years later, I asked my grandfather for the magazine and he gave it to me. I still have it, along with various other collectibles that I unearthed amongst my older family members. It still amazes me how many people were touched in some way by this group of musicians.

Some childhood things follow us into adulthood - they are meant to be part of our lives. I have recently begun collecting cover versions of Beatles's songs. Some are treasures, some are merely atrocious. This is the theme of my playlist. I offer it to you in the hopes that you are led to remember some way in which the Fab Four has touched your life. Enjoy!

02 December 2010

Thoughts for Thursday

Today, I chose to share a video clip from a film that has had an enormous impact on my personal system of values. It reminds me WHY we celebrate this season, but more importantly HOW we should be towards others, not only at Christmas but all year long.

We don't give because we can, or because we should, or even because it feels like the right thing to do. Sharing our lives is a need that fills and changes us for the better. It makes us happier, more connected, less self-absorbed. It heals not only the recipient, but us as well.
My wish for all is that you find the inner peace and balance that comes with sharing of yourself. Be joyful. Be open-hearted. Be well.

01 December 2010

30 November 2010

Where has the week gone?

I never did get back here in time to post my song list for Friday. It was midterm week, complicated by the expectation that report card marks would be in by 8:30 on Monday morning - and I teach grades 6-12, two classes of each! I spent lots of quality time with my laptop but none of it was much But that's all over now!

Saturday was our town's Santa Claus parade. With seven-year old socialite living in the house, of course we had to go, complete with entourage of his five (!) best friends and their families. To think I used to be a loner ...

So you know, this picture is one I grabbed off Google but it's from last year's parade. Any photos taken this year were likely obliterated by the snow - lovely, white, fluffy flakes drifting down throughout the evening and setting the mood so beautifully! It wasn't cold either - just enough to have snow. It was a perfect evening, capped off by hot chocolate and cookies for everyone at our house following the parade. This was Steve's first Christmas parade in Canada - they don't do one in the UK - and he was thrilled by everything. I have to confess, it was pretty wonderful for me, too.

I know it's early in the season, but there's just something about Christmastime ...

24 November 2010

Dancing Fool

The Dancing show last night was interesting.

Keep in mind that this was the ONLY time I've watched the show all the way through without falling asleep (not a comment on the show - it's a strange effect that watching TV has on me). I don't know what the show's format is supposed to be, or who the previously booted personalities were (except I had this strange feeling of deja vu during some of the interim dances - was that Knightrider? He looks like hell! And Mrs. Brady? If that was her, I suspect a liberal use of cryogenics ...)

Most of the show dragged and was boring to me because, frankly, I didn't know what trials and tribulations the various dancers had undergone through the season so most of the stuff between the performances was irrelevant to me. I was watching this because Trav says the dancing is amazing. He's right.
Two moments last night were of the "breath-taking" genre:

That guy, Kyle ... I missed whatever his first dance was called, but it rocked! He and the blonde chick he was dancing with were so into it and they made it look like so much fun, I wanted to get up and skitter with them. It brought a genuine smile of pleasure to my face - something TV is not generally capable of doing. I totally see why they called him a consummate entertainer. His expressive face was almost as cool to watch as the dance itself. Who is he, anyway?

Baby danced last night and made me cry with the Viennese Waltz. That was truly of a sensual beauty. I have to give her this - she does elegant VERY well. It was a pleasure to watch her dance again after all these years - maturity has a grace and loveliness all its own. (I can say that - she's close to my age!)

I'm not sure Jennifer should've won though - doesn't she have dance in her history? Pretty sure that Kyle guy was starting from ground zero and if she wasn't, the playing field couldn't have been too level ... but that being said, she was clearly the best technical dancer. Still, I wouldn't want to make that decision - they were as different in their style as you can get and I loved watching them both.

Which left me feeling a little sorry for the other girl - Bristol? I loved seeing a big girl make it to the finals, even though her skill wasn't in the same league as the other two. I thought her cha-cha was wonderful - just as good as Baby's although not as fun as Kyle's (Strange how both Jennifer and Bristol wore the same type of outfit for that, eh?), but her other dances were a bit ... wooden? I suspect she's worked her ass off to get to the level she displayed last night but that could likely be said about most of the contestants, so I'm not sure what made her so special to the voters. Maybe there's something else I'm missing? Feel free to enlighten me.

So here's my irreverent and unenlightened take on this bit of Hollywood pop culture - just let them dance. That's what the show is supposed to be about. Put aside all the scandal and drama and just ... dance.

22 November 2010

Five for Friday ... on Monday!

Okay, so my new Five for Friday didn't post when it was supposed to and I never check this thing on weekends, so it's a few days late ... but it's one of my favourite groups-of-five and I didn't want to miss out on sharing it. These songs are supposed to make you feel good all over. Hope it gives you an injection of positive on this cold, snowy November Monday.

17 November 2010

Wordless Wednesday ... (yeah right!)

Only five weeks until Christmas ...

12 November 2010

Five for Friday

Not sure how to link to Trav's Friday meme, so the link is up there somewhere. (I just checked it out and you click the title of my post and it takes you there! How cool is that?!)

My Five was inspired by the mood of remembrance that this time of year engenders. I hope you enjoy the songs and that they move you as they move me, to reflect and to give thanks to those who gave up so much, and continue to give, so that we can live in peace and safety in our world.

10 November 2010

05 November 2010

Dona Nobis Pacem

My blog post will be short and shamefully inadequate today, if you compare it to the beautiful work done by so many people on the bloggosphere for this event. So I won't compare it. I'll enjoy the moment and pray for peace, along with my little boy who believes, as I do, that the world is still fundamentally a good place filled with caring people. This movement confirms that, doesn't it? And, as I look at the beautiful Peace Globe designed for me by an extraordinary and precious friend (a million thanks and big hugs, Vinny!), my heart softens and I wonder at the people who can look into the eyes of a child and NOT see peace.
Peace be with all people, today and always.

08 September 2010


I have no idea if anyone still reads this blog or not. It seems a bit sad to have poured so much into it over the years only to abandon it, so it remains in my bookmarks and, when the spirit takes me, I may be moved to write a bit.

Last I wrote, Steve was arriving to be with the B-man and myself. So much has changed in the past 3 months that I barely recognize my life at times. For the first time in a very long time, I feel completely cherished. He is everything that the mythological "man" is supposed to be. This morning, I was listening to the radio on my way to work and the dj was talking about the 10 defining characteristics of a "real man". Steve has 9 of the 10 down perfectly ... so tonight we'll just see how he likes rubbing my tired feet and he MAY just score a perfect 10. (chuckles)

He loves Canada. Mostly because of me and the B-man, but he thinks that Canadians are really laidback and he enjoys the relaxed pace of life ... then again, he hasn't been out of the Maritimes yet.

Anyway, things are really good. School just started back yesterday, and Steve started his job yesterday, too. We're all busy but so amazingly happy ... I'm starting to believe that it's here to stay.

14 June 2010

Leap of Faith

I'm lucky.

In the past few years, I've met some amazing, awe-inspiring people who have become my friends. I've escaped a bad relationship, divorced, fallen in love, fallen out of love, discovered the true meaning of love, built up a lifetime of memories, survived the death of a deeply beloved person, seen my son learn to deal with his own set of problems and continue to grow as a strong, happy individual ... the list goes on.

There have been some difficult times and there have been setbacks along the road but I'm still here and I'm a better, stronger and more positive person for all the life experiences that these past years have thrown at me. The way I figure it, you can let things get to you in one of two ways: you can let them kill your spirit and become one of the walking dead, or you can suck it up, learn something from it and move on.

Moving on. That's what this is all about. At my lowest point during my divorce, I spoke to a brilliant person who asked me very simply "Are you living in your past or are you looking toward your future?" That was when I realized that I had to let go of my fear, distrust and resentment, and begin to live the life I wanted, not the one I'd been allowed. As long as I thought about my ex, the things he had done or the way he is (he's never going to change - get used to the idea), I was still under his thumb. So I let him go.

Then, I gave myself permission to really like myself. Oh, I'm far from perfect but I'm the best "me" that I can be. That "me", however, is constantly changing according to circumstances, as it does with everyone. And that brings me to the reason for writing this blog today.

A couple years ago, I met someone and loved him with all of my heart. We only had a short time together but he taught me about myself and my capacity to love. One of the greatest things he showed me was that love is limitless and unending. Loving him allowed me to trust my heart enough to love again.

The fates have smiled on me once again. I've met Steve. He's kind and loving and gentle. He adores me and he adores the B-man. Heck, he even loves the dog. And we adore him. We're ready to make a commitment to each other, to be a family. Knowing full well that there are no guarantees in life, we are ready and eager to take this step together. It starts today. Monday, 14 June 2010, as we meet his plane at the airport and welcome him into our family.

I am so lucky ...

07 June 2010

Hey buddy, can you spare ... the time?

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a bank or exchange that traded in time. Seconds, minutes, hours ... you get the idea. Then we'd never be able to claim that we were too busy, that we didn't have time for something, because we could simply go get the extra we needed.

I'm a high school music teacher. It's not what I do, it's who I am. Anyone who does anything similar to this will understand that statement. You don't shut it down at 4:30 on the clock or on the weekends, because you don't ever truly clock out, not if you're passionate about it.

June is high season. December, too, but June ... that's when everything seems to culminate in a 24/7 lifestyle. I eat, sleep and breathe end-of-year and graduation events. There is barely enough time to wash and change clothes each day before it starts again. The thing is, I love it! It's one of my two favourite months of the year, the other being (if you couldn't guess) December. All the long hours of hard work and careful preparation pays off. At the end of it, I'm exhausted but there's this particularly sweet feeling of satisfaction that I can't compare to anything else. That's what makes the effort and the time spent worthwhile.

The thing is, there are only so many hours in a day and when you take most of them for one thing, something else gets the short end. Or someone. And it's difficult to justify that when the someone is your kid. My kid is amazing, I keep telling everybody that. He's strong-willed and confident and outgoing and responsible and kind-hearted and all that at seven years of age. I hate it that my job steals time from him ... that's not quite right. I have to acknowledge that I've made the choices which take time away from him in December and June. That's when I wish there was simply more time in a day. But my kid is great. He tells me that this is part of my job and I need to do the best I can at it all the time or the rest of the time won't really matter, no matter how hard I work. Damn, I hate it when my own words come back to nip at my heels.

If you had just one more hour in each day, what would you do with it?

And, because I'm in a thoughtful state of mind now, here's an interesting Palindromesque video ... watch it all the way through, it's only 1'44"

01 June 2010

Hmmmmm ...

Random Quote:
We need magic and bliss and power, myth and celebration and religion in our lives, and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it.
~Jerry Garcia~

I don't have much to write ... I don't have anything, actually. Things are moving along. Maybe once I'm out of the end-of-year crunch, I'll be able to think outside the here and now. It's all good. Hope you can say the same.

28 May 2010

Quick Update this week

Hi, short workweek and Monday was a holiday so I missed my post.

Just a few things of note (if anybody besides me cares):

Yesterday was my professional evaluation at work. Basically, they examine the personal and professional development that a teacher has implemented over the course of the school year. Results of mine were good ... no, quite excellent. I've done a LOT of developping this year and kept careful records of it for a change. Usually, I just track the highlights and those are enough for a good report. This year, my adjudicators told me that I had done very well.

Bottom line? I'm getting more money to run my music programs, almost twice my usual budget. More importantly, I'm getting a bunch of discretionary days explore music-based resources, to collaborate with other music teachers in the district and to run a band exchange program for my band students. That is the pay-off I was seeking. It's all well and good to get an award for excellence in teaching but you can't buy new instruments and scores with that, or get a substitute teacher so you can take your band on a road trip. This way, I get everything I want.

Life is good.

Oh, and they gave me a new state-of-the-art Macbook and five music software-loaded Apple computers for my classroom this morning. This is my first post on the Macbook. I like it a lot but I'm still learning how to use it.

Last, and more important than anything else. Last week, I inferred that there was something going on in my life. B-man and I have finally let another man into our lives. His name is Steve and I met him on an internet dating site. Since we met, we have been inseparable. He is the man that I dreamed about but never quite believed was out there and he's the sort of dad that my son always wanted and needed. Even the dog loves him. Two weeks from today, Steve will be moving in with us. He has asked us to marry him. That is still on the back burner but if he is as good to live with as he has been to date, marriage is a distinct possibility, if only to end my mother's comments about "living in sin". LOL

Have a great weekend - will post again on Monday, as usual.

14 May 2010

Little Things

First off, my brother just emailed me to let me know that (listen up, Vinny) we have scored tickets to see Gregg Allman at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in September. The show sold out within minutes of going on sale, so we've got a reason to celebrate. Seats are second row centre, too, so we'll be up-close and personal. Thank you, big brother! I love you!

My oldest friend sent this to me today. She has two daughters and a son, all adopted and the joys of her life. I can relate ... as I can relate to something like this little story with my own little boy ... I'm sure most of you can as well.

The Washcloth:

I was due for an appointment with the gynecologist on Friday. However, early on Tuesday, I received a call from the doctor's office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for that morning at 9:30 am. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45am. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn't have any time to spare.

As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn't going to be able to make the full effort. So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pajamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in that area to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.

I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in.

Knowing the procedure, as I'm sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away. I was a little surprised when the doctor said, "My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven't we?

I didn't respond. After the appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal ... Some shopping, cleaning, cooking.

After school when my 6 year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, "Mommy, where's my washcloth?" I told her to get another one from the cupboard.

She replied, "No, I need the one that was here by the sink, it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it."

Never going back to that doctor. Ever.

I just finished reading the novel "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult.

You know how you'll sometimes read something and the ending just makes no sense and you feel as though there should be a sequel or a continuation of some kind that explains what happens next, but there isn't? Well, this isn't one of those books. It's the kind that you pick up and you read through it and then you don't (or can't) tell anyone what it's about but feel like everybody needs to read it. It's hard to explain.

It's harder to explain why it was such a satisfying experience, fulfilling even. I started reading it almost three weeks ago. It doesn't usually take me very long to read a novel and I usually have three or more books on the go at once ... but not this time. I was insanely busy and sometimes I had to put it down and leave it for a day or two but not once in all that time did I forget about it, get distracted onto another novel, or need to refresh my memory about it. It stayed with me. Now that I've finished it, I suspect that it always will.

Note: I honestly didn't know that this novel was made into a movie. I don't think I want to watch it though. There's no way it could give me the same feeling as the novel.

Each week, our district wellness coordinator sends us a cheerful email with advice on how to cope with stress. He finally found something that is worthy of passing on. Here it is:

Discover the 90/10 Principle. It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations).
What is this principle?

10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. What does this mean?

We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.

How? By your reaction. You cannot control a red light., but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example. You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just what happened. What happens when the next will be determined by how you react.You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over.

She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus. Your spouse must leave immediately for work.

You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit. After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home, When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.

Why? Because of how you reacted in the morning. Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is " D".

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day. Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "It's ok honey, you just need, to be more careful next time". Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having. Notice the difference? Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different.

Why? Because of how you REACTED. You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle. If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off) Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them? WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive? Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job. The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take out your frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse. Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it.

The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle.

The result? Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle. It CAN change your life!!!

On that note, make it a wonderful week. Cheers!

12 May 2010

What's your story?

Quote of the Day:

I always thought he sounded just like Yogi Bear. (on Bob Dylan)

~Mick Ronson~

Folk music tells a story ... and while I was preparing the music list for this week, I got thinking about that. We all have a story to tell. It made me wonder what song I would choose to represent my story.

See, I believe. I'm a believer in a lot of stuff that most people have long ago discarded as myth or even just highly unlikely. I believe in Santa (not the fat guy in the red suit so much as the spirit that moves us to give hope in such a simple way). In the same way, I believe in propogating faith in God, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, Cupid, the Birthday Chicken, and even in the intrinsic good of mankind. Does that make me naive? I don't think so.

Lots of bad things happen in life. Some people tend to let the bad things overshadow the good. When you start doing that, you turn your back on belief in the good things and let the bad things become your driving force. Believing in the unbelievable gives you the strength to move past the bad things without letting them impact you too much. Seeking the positive and turning your back on the negative is a CHOICE we make. That's why I finally (after a lot of thought) chose the song I did. You can hear it in the Youtube clip at the end of the post. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but it feels right and I choose to believe in myself.

So ... what song would you choose?

03 May 2010

... and why not??

Random Quote of the Day:
Led Zeppelin is just a bunch of stupid idiots who wrote cool riffs.
~Chris Cornell~

Why do people say rude things based on their own exalted opinions? Do they always have to be right, no matter how dull or under-informed they may (or may not) be? Does intellect or knowledge make it okay to be rude?

Take that quote that I pulled today as an example. Who is Chris Cornell? What qualifies him to judge a classic band like Led Zeppelin? I'm not saying he's wrong or right in his opinion, but what exactly gave him the right to say anything at all, especially if it's a matter of public record (as it obviously is, since I found the quote on Famous Music Quotes Online)? What was his point anyway? Did he intend to denigrate the members of that particular band, or did he wish mere to state that their music was "cool"? If it was the former, what's so noteworthy about that? If the latter, could he not have found a more positive way to say it?

What kind of world would it be if people judged less and accepted more? If we instinctively saw the best in people rather than expecting the worst? What if it was globally expected that we should be kind and tolerant, and speak the truth in gentler, more thoughtful ways? Why CAN'T we be friends?

27 April 2010

No time ...

Remember the things I listed in last week's post? well, I'm in the midst of everything and no time for anything else. Will get back to this next week or soon as I can - I've been doing better than I expected, although my Facebook is still a joke ... Take care and see you all on the flipside.

19 April 2010

Too Tired

I've said that playing the blues
is like having to be black twice.
Stevie Ray Vaughan missed on both counts,
but I never noticed.
~B.B. King~

I thought this story was appropriate, especially as I don't have time for an original post this week. Midterm exams, report cards, another tae kwondo test day, my band exchange and upcoming special company for two weeks wins out on my time right now. Hey, at least I'm posting ...

There was a story about a man named Charlie who was quite a selfish and inconsiderate husband. Even though both he and his wife worked, he never helped at home with the cleaning, cooking or with the children. He expected supper on the table promptly every evening and watched television all evening long while his wife keep the entire home in order.
One day while Charlie was in the doctor’s waiting room, he read an article in a magazine that said - If women were not so tired in the evening, they would be more romantic with their husbands. Well the next day when Charlie’s wife got home, she had quite a surprise. She found supper cooked and warming on the stove. She found the dinning table set with the good china, napkins and candles. Charlie had also done 2 sets of laundry and a third load was in the dryer. The house was also swept and the carpets vacuumed.
The following morning Charlie’s wife was telling her friends at work about the article and everything that Charlie did. She continued “After dinner Charlie did all the dishes, helped the children with their homework and even gave them a bath and put them to bed. I had a wonderful evening!”
Her friends were impressed but wanted to know about the romantic part of the evening after the kids were in bed. “Oh" she said,"That part didn’t work out very well…. Charlie was too tired!”


14 April 2010

Blank Page ...

That's my mind today. No energy and no ideas.

B-man is home with grandparents today, even though it's anti-bullying day in schools across Canada and we had to go buy him a pink shirt for the occasion. He's also supposed to be performing in the music festival today. And there's the spelling test ...

What are you going to do when the kid has a temp and can't keep down his breakfast?

Me, I'm just tired. The band exchange is in a week and my keyboard player dropped out on me a week ago. I found a fill-in but it's touch-and-go because the pieces aren't easy. Rehearsals are rough - the kids are troopers though. I'm just tired.

I'm dating again. Steve is a darling but I'm still waiting for that "zing" to happen. Am I expecting too much? At my age, shouldn't a comfortable relationship be enough? Maybe it's just my state of mind this week. I feel dull.

Biggest joke of the century to date was me joining Facebook. I have no idea why I did that. Only thing I've done with it so far is play a game with the B-man. We've done that lots. For anybody I connected with there, I apologize for not posting on your wall yet. I haven't figured out how to do it but that's not the entire reason. I'm just not very energetic this week. Maybe someday ...

Anyway, I hope everybody else is feeling good and smiling at someone special right now. Well maybe not right now, but soon ...

I'm feeling pretty random right now.

Here's a blast from the past for my American Idol friends.

12 April 2010

Some days are like diamonds, while others seem more like dinosaur poo

Quote of the Day:

Even Bach comes down to the basic suck, blow, suck, blow.
~Larry Adler~

The quote of the day sums up how I'm feeling right now. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of everything positive in my life. It's been a rough couple of days. I've been using the computer to escape from my responsibilities all weekend and now it's time to pay the piper. Let me see if there's anyway to put a positive spin on things. I don't know who wrote this, but they must've felt like this at some point. They get the creative credit, not me. I'm just not that bright today.

















04 April 2010

For the Love of Music

Quote of the Day:

Get up from that piano. You hurtin' its feelings.

~Jelly Roll Morton~

I am a music teacher. It's more than what I do. It's my identity, my heart and soul. I am celebrating my 20th year doing what I love and it STILL gives me a rush to come to work most days.

I have always felt that music teachers are a breed apart. Whereas most teachers require a quiet and orderly classroom in which to teach their respective subjects, music teachers must thrive in an atmosphere of controlled chaos. They need to dig deep at times to compliment a child who has produced their first tortured note on a musical instrument. They need to turn a deaf ear to sonar emanations that would bring a lesser being to their knees. They need to develop appreciation for the musical experience, rather than for the music itself. And they need to display tolerance regarding the disparaging comments of their colleagues, who don't hear with the same set of aural skills or understanding as the music teacher.

In return, students enter the classroom with a sense of anticipation and a wide smile on their faces. Classroom management takes care of itself in an active music class. The kids want to be there and, for some, it's the highlight of their academic week. Students spend extra time at noon and after school in the places where they feel most connected and accepted. It is no surprise to me that the music room is one of the most popular hangouts at so many schools.

At my school, I've developped a middle school music program which allows students to explore more than one musical instrument. I have divided the school calendar into four units and the students may choose to switch to a new instrument at the beginning of each new unit. They may also choose to remain with an instrument for more than one unit, if they enjoy what they are doing and, by grade 8, they are expected to have chosen their principal instrument of study for the intensive music program offered in grades 9 - 10. It's a bit of a juggling act for me, but the appreciation and elevated interest in music here makes it worth every effort. A full 10% of this year's graduating class, whose interest was founded in their middle school experiences, have made concrete plans to continue their music studies at post-secondary institutions.

This week, my middle school classes did their turn-around. Many chose to remain with the same instrument but this year, there has been a surge in popularity of brass and woodwind instruments. Two girls in my class yesterday decided to take a session with the alto sax. For those of you who don't know, the sultry tones of the saxophone are the result of a great deal of time (maturity) and practice (experience), and in the hands of a beginner sounds more like a garbage truck at 4 am than a musical instrument. Much to my delight, the two girls picked up on the basic skills right away and soon were wending their shaky, squawking way through "Hot Cross Buns" and "Au Clair de la Lune". Oh my, they were loud. (heh) No one else in the music room could hear themselves and, accustomed to the situation, the rest of the students just sat back to ride out the storm. There was a lot of good-humoured joking about sound quality but an equal amount of positive feedback. Their songs were actually recognizable! But loud. Quite painfully so, in fact. And most people can only listen to "Hot Cross Buns" a dozen times or so before reaching their mental limits. It helps to have a sense of humour at moments like that.

Eventually, my budding sax players felt secure enough to be closeted in a "sound-proof" practice room while the rest of the class went about their business. The saxes were still clearly audible, though muffled. There were 5 trumpet players in the larger session room and 2 trombone players in the cubicle, none of which could be heard. In the main room, I had guitarists and keyboardists and in the adjoining room, there were 4 vocalists working on warm-ups and the pronunciation for an Italian folksong "Santa Lucia". It was lovely, productive and a happy time for everyone.

At the end of the class, after the students had left, the art teacher dropped by and, with a good-natured chuckle, she jokingly asked me what we had hacked to death during the early part of class. As she stepped out into the hall, she glanced over her shoulder and beckoned me over. As I approached the door, I could hear the shrill voice of a colleague complaining to another about the noise coming from my classroom and wondering loudly why, given how easy it is to teach music, I wasn't better at keeping my class under control, with all my years of teaching experience.

No matter what other people may say about me or my methods, I am confident of the results coming out of my classroom and of the contentment level of my students. Innocently, I strolled down the hall and joined the pair. Smile firmly in place, I invited that teacher to visit my classroom the following day during her preparation period to observe my discipline methods and to enjoy an "easy" afternoon of teaching. She hemmed and hawed but, as she had an audience, she grudgingly accepted.

This afternoon, she entered my lively classroom and was surrounded by the controlled chaos of the musical world in which I live. In class, I never stop circulating, pausing here and there to correct posture, hand position, comment, praise, listen or assist. There was peer-teaching, collaboration, earnest discussion and debate, theoretic exercises, technical discovery, fine and gross motor particip-action, reading, movement, listening and music of varying levels happening all at once. Every single student was positively engaged in a music-related task. At the end of class, there was a sharing session. There was no "quiet learning environment" but there were smiles, laughter, concentration, feedback and positive criticism flowing between the kids. Special needs students flourish in my classroom under the tutelage of their peers without the need of a teaching assistant. In any class of 25 students, there are 25 different levels of ability but in music, the course is tailor-made to each one and geared completely toward the success of the individual.

We teachers sometimes speak of the "sound of learning". For many, that may be the library-like hush of a quiet classroom but for me, the call of "Ms. M, listen to this!" followed by the jarring honk of an overblown horn defines active, positive learning unlike anything else. We want our students to be "lifelong learners" but whatever the subject, they need to connect to it in order to pursue it beyond our sphere of influence. We can teach, but students only learn what they are convinced will matter in their own personal lives. Everything else is trivial.

Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul. ~Anonymous~

29 March 2010

Sleeping in on the Weekend

Quote of the Day
I know I'm no glamour girl, and it's not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people
It used to bother me a lot, but now I've got it figured out
that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing.
~Ella Fitzgerald~


With a 7-year old boy and his dog in the house, there's rarely sleep-in time on the weekends, because he has a no-fail internal alarm that gets him out of bed at 7 am, no matter what. The scenario on Saturday morning rarely varies.

"Mommy?" whispers from the doorway. "Mommmmmmy??" Mommy plays possum in the hopes that he'll go back to bed. Fat chance of that ...

"Mommy, I'm awake." closer and a little louder. Mommy shifts marginally under the covers and mumbles something indistinct.

"Mommy? I can hear you breeeeeeathing." singsongs from uncomfortably close range, just before his fingers drag my left eyelid up over my eyebrow. Mommy flinches back, blinded by a harsh shot of nasty morning light and mumbles "Morning sweetheart" before burying face into pillow, clinging desperately to the illusion that this is all a bad dream.

Tormentor climbs onto the bed, bouncing hard enough to elevate mommy's entire body and slam it back down then lifts the covers, watching with interest as mommy's exposed flesh erupts in goosebumps before crawling under and snuggling close to melt the icicles off his toes.

A moment later, dramatically, breath hot on my ear "Mommy I'm staaaaarrrving. When's breakfast?"

"Cereal's in the cupboard ..." Mommy's voice trails off as things get comfortable again, momentarily.

Bounce, bounce, thud. Footsteps receding down the hall as mommy snuggles deep under the duvet again, honestly believing that she has won a little ground.

"Squeak squeak squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak ..." mournfully intones just before a very large, cold, wet, snuffly nose jars mommy's head completely off the pillow. Daisy is the family pet, a 13-year old, 90-lb husky who has never been able to bark or whine like a normal dog. The piercing sounds that emanate from her can be enough to shatter glass when she feels she is being ignored or otherwise abused by neglect.

"Sweetie, can you let the dog out?" Mommy's feeble groan from under the covers.

Footsteps pound down the hallway. "What?!?" Sadistic son's damnably cheerful treble voice shrills into my face as he leaps onto the bed. Mommy curls into a fetal position, twitching from the sharp knee embedded in my lady bits, wheezing breathily "Let the dog out ..."

"Okay, Mmmmommy!" Off he bounds, tireless energy personified, hollering over his shoulder something that sounds like "I spilled the milk ..."

Moaning in defeat, mommy decides this might be something that needs investigating. Pushing back the covers and simultaneously reaching for the fleece robe hanging neatly on the floor, I haul myself off the bed and immediately shriek in agony, clawing at the sole of my foot to extract the shard-like Lego blocks which have somehow escaped from my son's bedroom during the night and made their way into mine, with obvious evil intent.

"Mommy ..." intones a reproachful voice from their co-conspirator "You broke my robot blaster!"

"Get me the vacuum cleaner, kid." Mommy gasps as the waves of red-tinged agony begin to recede. "Someone has booby-trapped my bedroom and I need to clean it up before my blood stains the floorboards.

Giggling maniacally, the resident terrorist scurries to remove the evidence before it can be confiscated by the mommy-police. Still blurry from exhaustion, mommy scans the floor for any lurking torture devices. All clear, and mommy lurches down the hall to check the state of the kitchen. Daisy, mooch extraordinaire, is stretched out on the floor, furry forearms floating in milk. She lifts her cereal-box-embedded head and squeaks in welcome ...

No matter how I paint this scenario, my son's unfailing cheerfulness and positive attitude makes me smile. He just turned 7, has been through a life-altering health change last summer and fall, and his spirit has never flagged. Life in my house may not be perfect, but it's happy most of the time. What a change from only a few years ago.

25 March 2010

Random stuff because it's a random kind of a day ...

Quote of the Day:
Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you'll suck forever.
~Brian Wilson~


I'm on a horoscope kick so I'm tossing it in here. Wonder if I should pay attention to any of it? I'll do pretty much as I want anyway, but maybe they're onto something. Maybe I should ask the voices ...

Although you may think that this is a good day to come out of your shell, it may not actually be as easy as you think. You could find yourself trying to cut through a thick emotional blanket that descends over you. It's even more difficult if you are so sensitive to someone else's feelings that you worry about what you might say. However, it's less important to monitor your words than to maintain your boundaries so you don't mix up other people's fears with your own.


Welcome home, Donna! This is an amazing story that is only beginning to unfold.

From the local newspaper: Donna O'Rielly, who disappeared without so much as a trace almost a month ago, should be in the arms of her family this morning after her dramatic escape yesterday from the basement apartment of a 62-year-old Moncton man who police arrested shortly after the missing woman got away from her alleged captor.

This all took place only blocks from my home. In a quiet city like this, such things are nearly unimaginable. Fervent prayers of thanks are going up all over the province for her return to her family. We cannot imagine the circumstances of her month in captivity, but the story will be told and retold, if for no other reason than to serve as a caution for those who believe "it doesn't happen here".


This week, in all their wisdom, the D of E scheduled middle school report card marks and parent teacher meetings on the same day. AND moved it to the middle of the week. So teachers have two more days to teach, exhausted, after two 12-15 hour days. Somewhere, somehow, it made sense to someone. Either that, or we have one sadistic, teacher-hating sonuva-b running things in our picturesque capital city. Thoughts, anyone?

The B-man is testing for his blue belt in Tae Kwondo this afternoon. Since he started learning this martial art last October, he has averaged a test every 9 weeks. Apparently, that's something special. All I know is the kid lives and breathes it. He comes home from his classes and goes to the basement to practice his forms. Last month at the Canadian Junior Nationals, three of the top five competitors in the sport were from the B-man's studio under the same master, who tells me that my son is exceptional. Master L's wife has said to me on numerous occasions that she wants her sons to be like the B-man in their attitude and character. Am I proud? I am humbled. My son brings tears to my eyes at times: of pride, of laughter, of anger, of frustration ... he's just a normal 7-year old kid, after all.
In exactly one month, my school band will be exchanging places with another school band for two days. It's a huge event in our band's annual calendar and the kids are very excited. But are they working hard enough on their scores? I wonder sometimes. Will they be ready? Ready or not, the exchange takes place on April 22-23. Until then, I'm going to be a little tense.
This year, 10% of the graduating class from my school have applied and auditioned to enter various university music schools to pursue a life career in such music fields as performance, musical theatre, recording technology, composition and education. In some cases, following the heart in this matter is a battle on several fronts, as music is still considered a risky endeavor for employment and financial independence. I have attended every audition to support these young women and men as they step into their futures. To say I am proud of them is a gross understatement. And, if I am completely honest, there is a certain personal satisfaction in my own accomplishments as their teacher, knowing that I was able to nurture a lasting love that does not need to be expressed in words. My heart is full of wonder and anticipation for their futures.
In tribute, I chose a song that remains close to the hearts of my band members as the turning point ... I do what I do for kids like them.