Sunday, October 31, 2010

Even verse, Mwaaaa-haaaa-haaaaaa!

This was my very first poem about Halloween:

Jack-o'-lanterns, bright and gleaming,
Like a big flashlight beaming.
And always on this spooky night,
Everyone is shaking with fright.

Do you know what night it is?
Halloween! BOO!

No, that wasn't the first draft of yesterday's column for Milton Patch. I wrote that poem in second grade, in Mrs. Goodbow's class at Barnard School in Greece, N.Y.

Mrs. Goodbow had a reputation as a mean teacher, but she and I got along just fine. She copied my poem in big, black lettering on a bright orange construction-paper pumpkin and displayed it in the hallway. I was so proud.

Years later, I shared my poem with a boyfriend in college. He laughed at the literary attempts of a seven-year-old. Laughed! I should have known right then that the relationship wouldn't work out. This was the same boyfriend, incidentally, who used to get angry with me for harmonizing along with songs on the radio or CD player. "Sing what's there!" he'd admonish me.

It feels pretty good, now, to write the occasional poem and get paid for it. And I never discourage my students, kids or friends from singing what isn't there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's not Indian Summer if there hasn't been a frost.

Last weekend I noticed 'twas deep into fall;
My summer clothes weren't that useful at all.
I boxed up my tank tops, my shorts and capris.
Today, in my back yard, it's eighty degrees.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Take a hike

Earl and I took the kids on a little hike in the Blue Hills on Columbus Day. Fall is my favorite time of year, and the day didn't disappoint. Read about our hike in this weekend's family column for the Patriot Ledger.

While I'm here, a brief update: Abby's still in a tough place, although thankfully, the scratching has been kept to a minimum. Timmy and Brian are burning up the piano keyboard; Timmy has just started "Lightly Row," and Brian is putting "Allegretto 1" hands together. Earl has been up on the roof, repointing the chimney before we get our roof replaced (again.) I'm losing and gaining the same 3 pounds over and over, and keeping busy with all my various jobs.

Speaking of which, I've got a week's worth of About Town entries to write. Off I go.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Latest column and aspie update

I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with the library in my town. It's the subject of today's Milton Musings column.

In other news: I'm fighting a cold, and am glad I'm playing for church this weekend instead of singing (piano again.) I'm also fighting the urge to drown my child-rearing sorrows in a giant chocolate milkshake. Abby is in a tough, tough place lately, and battling with her over every single thing gets tiresome. Homework, practicing, getting dressed, brushing teeth, brushing hair, getting ready to leave -- just about everything she has to do in a day, she's totally disinclined to do, and she's vocal about it, and sometimes violent. She's also expanding her dog obsession into cats, and spending a lot of time hissing and scratching. It's no fun.

I am fervently hoping that this tough time means that a growth spurt -- in understanding, in capabilities, in empathy -- is coming. Sometimes things work that way. I'll be looking for the silver lining, and staying out of scratching distance in the meantime.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A nice weekend

It's Columbus Day, the end of it. It's been a good weekend.

I've already written about the new column. The only other thing I'll say about that is that I worked pretty intensely on it for 4 days last week, putting the final touches on this week's entries yesterday. I'm not even thinking about next week's entries right now. Well, no, that's not true. I'm just not actively working on them until Wednesday afternoon.

I subbed for the music director at my church this past weekend, playing piano for four masses. I'm also on deck for this coming weekend. I enjoy it, although I'm a little disappointed with myself that, after making a big push in September to try and get myself ready to play the organ these two weekends, I decided I wasn't ready. I'm only a little disappointed, though, since my practice time was eaten up by the new column. Priorities, and besides, piano worked just fine. I'll keep plugging away as I can on the organ, and will do it, eventually. Better to be fully prepared than to practice in public. Also, I'm not fully convinced that looking in the mirror to see what's going on in the sanctuary (since I'd be backwards in the loft) won't give me vertigo and make me fall over the railing. Better to sit solidly on a piano bench at ground level, for now. Safety first.

We didn't really do anything remarkable this weekend. The boys had soccer on Saturday and Abby had her musical theatre class. Oh, I did take the kids to see Casper the Friendly Ghost at the library on Friday, which was fun. Earl and I rented a movie -- The Last Station -- on Saturday, and enjoyed it immensely. I really thought I would hate it, but I didn't, and I've been thinking about it, off and on, since we watched it. It wasn't a typical, snowy, depressing Russian movie. Much to think about and to enjoy, including some fantastic performances by Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer.

The weather was glorious all weekend, and we spent some time outside, too, most notably this afternoon, when we took a short hike in the Blue Hills. We really should do that more often. It's so wonderful to get out and enjoy the golden leaves and light.

I declared yesterday a diet holiday, and also rolled my way into a diet holiday extension today. Back on it tomorrow, though. I also blew off going to the gym in favor or changing over the kids' wardrobes from summer to winter. So it wasn't the healthiest weekend ever, but it's okay. The clothing changeover needed to be done, and the hike probably burned a couple hundred calories, anyway.

Back to school tomorrow, for everyone. Back to healthy eating, too, which would be easier if I didn't like Oreos so much.

New column premieres today!

This is it! The new job opportunity I blogged about is being launched today!

I'm writing a new column for Milton Patch called "About Town." This daily (M-F) column is essentially a hyperlocal blog about news and events in Milton. The plan is to update it twice daily, around 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The first installment is up on the site now.

I was a little worried about whether I'd be able to find enough information for the column, especially in the beginning. I've been reaching out to local people and organizations and asking to be put on their press release distribution list. I also spent a lot of time during this past week combing local websites. Happily, there's a lot going on and it was pretty easy to write a week's worth of entries. (Let's hope that continues!)

"About Town" is different from my other two columns ("Milton Musings," also for Milton Patch, and "Just a Minute," for the Patriot Ledger.) I didn't ever see myself as a local reporter, but what can I say? God works in mysterious ways. And I'm making it my personal challenge to make the 35-or-so blurbs a week interesting, fun reading -- hopefully more than just conveying information.

"About Town" has a very narrow focus, and for that reason, I won't be posting here every time it updates. I hope that local readers will check in on the site frequently to stay abreast of what's happening in town.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family column: iPod love

The iPod is the greatest invention in the history of the world. Well, maybe the wheel, then the iPod. It's certainly working miracles in my family.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Milton Musings column

It's Milton Musings weekend! I found Paradise, just a couple of miles from my house. Read all about it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

On time management and unexpected blessings (which shouldn't be all that unexpected, really)

Last year, when Earl and I went on a Marriage Encounter weekend (which I highly recommend) we did a personality profile. Not surprisingly, I was found to be an "organizer" that weekend. Having kept a daily calendar and to-do list for the past 20+ years, that came as no surprise. I'm happiest when I'm efficiently busy.

Based on that statement, I should be delirious with joy, and in many ways, I am. This fall has brought me to a new level of busy-ness, and now that I'm settling into my new teaching job, I'm feeling very pleased with it all. I love the teaching, and also love that it's part time. I'm thrilled to be back to my regular private teaching schedule. I enjoy singing my masses (although there's one fewer to sing each week, with the recent closing of Star of the Sea Chapel) and, of course, there's a column to write every week (one for The Patriot Ledger and the other for Milton Patch.) We've had a couple of evenings where the amount and/or intensity of Abby's homework have posed some timing challenges, but overall, I'm cheerfully busy.


I can't say too much about it just yet, but I've been offered another part time job. It sounds like it will fit perfectly into my schedule and interests, and it can be done on my time and at home. I've decided to take it, and am just waiting for the details to be worked out. I'm nearly levitating with excitement.

The best part is that it came to me. I wasn't looking for the opportunity; someone approached me with it (and no, it's not one of those "make 6 gazillion dollars a week working at home" ads one sees along highway exit ramps.)

The other best part is that our family can really, really use the income right now. I have been praying, and praying hard, about our financial situation, for months. God is good. Suddenly, I'm teaching school, and then just as suddenly, I'm presented with an additional opportunity. I felt so blessed that I actually started singing a psalm after discussing this new job on the phone today.

More info on my new endeavor as we get closer to my start date. For now: if you need something, pray, pray, and keep praying. You may be surprised at what happens.