Friday, May 29, 2009

My sweet boys

Brian and Timmy on the dock in Canada this past weekend.

Appreciation from a 3-year-old

The other morning, Timmy was just finishing up his breakfast. He called me over, and pointed at the table, where I saw that he had spilled the last of his orange juice.

"That's okay, buddy," I said. "I'll clean it up."

And as I wiped up the OJ puddle, Timmy said, "Mom, you're a good sport about cleaning up all my messes."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Speed bump

I refuse to say writers' block. That's not what it is.

But I will say it's been harder to bang out the words lately. Inspiration is somewhat lacking, and other areas of my life have been taking priority.

It all comes down to the pie. When some of the plate is taken up by IEP meetings, and travel, and practicing with Abby, and keeping up with the house, and making exercising a top priority, other things, like writing every day just to keep in practice and make the times when I have to write a little easier -- well, they tend to slip.

This does me no favors.

Everything can't be the top priority, and the simple fact is that when deadlines come up, they get my attention. But most of the rest of the time, there are too many other priorities to focus on the writing as I'd like to.

And so that's why, although I'm not really feeling blocked, I am feeling rather sluggish.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lessons learned

I've been brooding for days over this unfortunate misunderstanding with some members of Abby's school team, but I really don't know what else to do about it. I've apologized verbally and in writing, and did my best to clarify what I wrote in the fateful email. I still feel awful and fear that I've irreparably damaged what was a very positive working relationship.

The end of the school year is coming, and I hope that things will simmer down during the summer. If not, then at least I've learned a couple of important lessons:
  1. Never assume that a flippant or humorous attitude will come across in an email to someone who doesn't know me well. Stick to business and save the colorful writing for my freelancing career.
  2. Never put anything in writing that I wouldn't be comfortable with the whole world seeing, in the event that the communication finds its way to an audience besides that for which it was intended.
  3. Never, ever, assume that things will work out. Better to be prepared, even if it means working the same situation on two parallel tracks.

Knowledge is power, and I've gained some important knowledge from this whole unpleasant experience.

I still feel lousy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Abby's recital debut!

Somehow I managed to upload Abby's recital debut video via Dropshots, but I can't add a title or text. The video is in the previous post (below). Thanks to Auntie Chris for coming to the recital and shooting it.

I'm so proud of my little violinist! And she's proud of herself, too.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Recital anticipation

I just finished the programs for my two studio recitals tomorrow, and I'm very excited about them. My students have made such progress this year, and it's a joy to be part of that and give them the opportunity to perform for one another and their families.

I'm especially excited because Abby will be playing her violin, making her recital debut. She's not my student, but she's my daughter, and I think my students' families will be understanding about my including her on the program. She's been practicing "Song of the Wind" very hard, and sounds great. I'm so proud of her and can't wait for tomorrow!

A big day today, though: the long-awaited open house at the DPW yard is today. Brian and Timmy cannot wait to climb all over the trucks again. They had a blast last year.

Marriage Labs article

My feature on Marriage Labs, a Canton-based educational program for married and engaged couples, ran in today's Patriot Ledger.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cross this one off the calendar ASAP

What a crummy week this has been. I knew it would be a humdinger just from looking at the calendar: Brian's annual IEP team meeting on Tuesday; Abby's on Thursday (we had actually met with her team a couple of weeks ago but we called another meeting to work out some points); and my studio recitals, coming up this Sunday. I also had scheduled a dentist appointment and an interview with a subject for an upcoming magazine assignment. Plus teaching and all the normal stuff that goes on -- all in all, a busy week.

And then I got sick. Not the swine flu, but just a general, stupid, annoying, miserable head cold that somehow is also making me cough, simultaneously. (Usually it's the sniffles for a week, and then the coughing for a week, and then I'm all done.) So I'm not at my best.

Tuesday's meeting with Brian's team actually was actually very good. For the first time, in our 5 year history of developing IEPs for our children, there was no pre-written IEP (draft or otherwise) by the school district. The entire IEP, from start to finish, was a collaborative effort. It was great, and in such an atmosphere of respect, it was much easier, for example, to voice an opinion and then ask specialists for theirs. We knew that no matter what they said -- whether they agreed or disagreed -- that we would be able to take the information at hand and, as a team, work out something that would be appropriate for Brian and that we could all be comfortable with.

Unfortunately, the meeting on Thursday with Abby's team wasn't as comfortable of a process.
I just wrote about 500 words, detailing why this meeting was so uncomfortable, and decided to delete them. Given that one of the reasons the meeting was so uncomfortable was a misunderstanding about something I had written in an email for another audience, I think it's best to hold this story close, for now.

What is most important here is Abby's IEP, and I am hopeful that we are close to having the whole thing completed and settled. I just want to get the thing, sign it, and put it to bed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Musical theatre review

My review of Curtain Call Theatre's production of Urinetown: The Musical ran in yesterday's Patriot Ledger. The show runs tonight through Saturday. The musical itself wasn't my cup of tea, but it was a top-notch production.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just a little blurb

I've been feeling like I want to write a lot but only have time for a little. I always think I'm going to get all these things (including writing) done once the kids are in bed, but by that time, I'm ready for bed myself, and just don't have the energy to conquer the world.

Briefly: I had a nice Mothers' Day. Earl made yummy blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and the kids were full of hugs, kisses and school-made presents all day. Very sweet. We all went to church together for the 12:00 mass, when I cantor, and that was a lovely Mothers' Day gift, seeing them all together in church.

I practiced with Abby, who is sounding very good on "Song of the Wind," and Brian, who is doing very nice wrist rolls on Twinkle Variation B. He also plays a mean C major scale.

I helped Abby with her first communion thank-yous, and blasted through much of the ironing. Then another mass (just me this time) and steak on the grill for dinner, followed by all sorts of sinful yummies for dessert. A nice day, all around.

There are a few anxiety-producing things coming up over the next week or so -- not one but two team meetings for the kids, and a couple of writing deadlines looming, too. My studio recitals are in a week, and I'm not really nervous about the recitals themselves; just the busy-ness of getting ready for them and fitting them both in between my two masses without anyone feeling rushed or cutting it too close. I'm always toast by the end of recital day.

I'm feeling rather toast-like right now, so I'll mosey off to blanket land, as Dad always said.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Today's family column

Here is today's "Just a Minute." I read it aloud to the kids, who were very excited to be in the newspaper. Of course, they'd be even more excited to have a furry pet, but as Ursula in The Little Mermaid famously said, life's full of tough choices.

Friday, May 8, 2009

For Milton readers

Want to know how much your property taxes will increase if the override passes on June 8th? Click here to go to the Invest in Milton website, which features a simple calculation tool based on your property's assessed value.

Keep in mind that taxes will increase with Proposition 2.5, anyway; this calculator will show the amount over that increase if the override passes.

I was pleasantly surprised. Check it out.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Zip! There goes another week

It's Thursday night already, and it's been a week since I blogged. I've been writing, specifically a column and a feature, and I've had lots of things to blog about, like Abby's first communion, a renewed closeness with my sister, and Earl's adventures in Town Meeting, not to mention the funny things the kids say to me all the time (like tonight, when Timmy tearfully informed me that not only was he sad, but his Hoodsie Cup was sad that he had to go to bed without eating it.) I just haven't had the time to organize my thoughts well enough to write anything here.

So, since I'm not capable of writing a well-organized blog post at this moment, a couple of lists will have to suffice:

Good stuff
  • A glorious first communion for Abby, from start to finish
  • A great visit with my mom, here for Abby's special day
  • People who gave of themselves without reservation to help make Abby's communion day as glorious as it was
  • Talking with my sister daily again
  • Being asked to be my nephew Eli's godmother
  • Being proud of Earl for his eloquent speaking at Town Meeting, and enjoying seeing him so happy to be involved and relishing his new role
  • Sweet children who are excited for Mothers' Day
  • Hearing students who are well-prepared for upcoming performances
  • Exercising three days in a row, and then taking a day off because I really needed it
  • Looking forward to opening up la petite maison in a couple of weeks

Not-so-good stuff

  • Learning that someone with whom I work closely will not be in her role for much longer
  • Being unpleasantly surprised by certain sections of Abby's IEP
  • Hearing students who have a lot of work to do before they will be well-prepared for upcoming performances
  • Missing writers' group the other night because Earl was at Town Meeting
  • Feeling overwhelmed with the amount of spring cleaning necessary to make my house even remotely "spring clean"
  • Being worried about swine flu, although that was more of a last-week thing than a this-week thing

One more good thing: having a quiet house, with children in bed and Earl at (wait for it...) Town Meeting, and thinking, I could actually go to bed somewhat early. Good night.