Thursday, August 04, 2016

Back in schedule

* Had my first "fall" piano lesson today and paid for the next set of 10. This makes me happy because it's a commitment, and because I like and need the schedule of that. And it's one of the relatively few things I do JUST for me, where I have to put aside time to do it because.

And I like my teacher. I think I'm her only student right now but that's fine - she has another career that she doesn't get off for the day until 5:30, so I'm guessing unless she has other people on other days, I'm the only one. I like her because she's tolerant of me when I derp up; she understands that I work as hard as I can at it and some weeks I may not have as much time as I'd like to practice, or that some weeks I'm just a little tired and mess up on things, or that some days my hands aren't their best.

I am grateful for this because I read a snippet somewhere (or maybe heard it on Sirius XM?) that Chopin, when he had students, would fly into a rage and throw *furniture* at them when they hit a wrong note. That's....setting the bar way too high. I rarely can play anything perfectly through. I suppose he was taking insult that they were messing up his compositions, but jeepers.

Having a teacher who got mad at me for imperfections in my playing would take all the fun out of it for me and make me want to give it up. (Come to think of it: that's why I gave up the clarinet back around 1985 or so). I'm still enough of a perfectionist that I beat myself up for not being able to do things as well as I would like to; I don't need someone else doing it. (See also: why I tend to have problems accepting criticism graciously)

* Still working away on the chapters. I find I just hit a wall at a certain point and can't do any more. I'm 2/3 the way through the next one (due in another week or so) and want to finish it either tomorrow or Saturday....and next week will start the one due the end of the month, to buy myself a little time to be ready for the start of the semester. It is pretty exhausting work (and will get more so deeper into the book; right now it's things like estimating necessary sample size, which isn't that hard to calculate but it kind of is when you're working through 30 problems on it to make sure the answer key is correct.)

* But I do find I do better when I have a set schedule, when I know, for example, "This is Tuesday so I have an 8 am lecture and an 11 am lecture and then piano lesson in the evening and in between I have this grading and this prepwork to do...." I find if I ONLY have long-term goals (e.g., writing a manuscript) I don't work as efficiently on them as if I have some short-term goals, some medium-term goals, and some long-term goals. Short-term goals are good because I feel like I'm getting stuff done but they need to be balanced with bigger, longer-term stuff.

* I do have to mow the lawn and am trying to decide on doing it tomorrow morning EARLY or tomorrow night right before the sun goes the heat of the day, not so good, because I don't do well in heat. (I also need to edge, so maybe I mow in the morning and edge in the evening).

* Also, I am beginning to see that shift in the's not any cooler out but the color of the light is changing and I can almost begin to believe fall is on the way. (Unlike many, who dread fall and winter and who maybe see it as a metaphor for mortality, I love fall and winter. It's when I really come alive and I can welcome back my warmer clothes for a change).

* Am thinking ahead to NEXT weekend (right before classes start) and thinking of some kind of "fun thing" to do before classes. Maybe see if there's a museum that might be interesting to go to? I think there's even one up in Caddo, which is only like 15 minutes away. Or I make the effort to FINALLY go to the Chickasaw Cultural Center, which everyone tells me is absolutely wonderful and fascinating and a fun place to go....and that also has the virtue of my not having to go south on 69/75 to get there. (69/75 is the main interstate and the region south of town is ALL MESSED UP with construction to the point where it's one-lane most of the way, so if there's an accident, traffic backs up for hours)

* Some nearby schools have started; it seems too early (In my youth, we started after Labor Day, and we liked it that way). One of them, the claim is, "This is to save money so we can do a four-day week." Not sure how that works, to be open MORE weeks but only four days in them and that saves money? Especially right now when they have to have the air conditioning cranked up high.

It seems a little different to start a COLLEGE early: the students are essentially adults and it allows for a mid-fall break and perhaps a *slightly* more generous Thanksgiving and Christmas break (though I would sacrifice a few days of Christmas break to add them on to Thanksgiving - once again, I am having to take a "personal day" to make the travel worth it. And I'm not NOT traveling as it's the only chance to see my brother, sister-in-law, and niece easily).

But for schoolkids, not so much. The idea of a June-to-August summer is cemented in my mind and yes, I know: I had a privileged childhood in that my mother stayed home and so she was available to watch us (and to facilitate things like trips to the library) when we were out of school. And yeah, summer vacation is a vestige of an agrarian economy we no longer really have, but those old ideas die hard.

Also, in the era before air conditioned buildings, there would have been times in the summer (even in Ohio, where I grew up) that it would have been truly miserable to have been sitting in a hot, sticky classroom with only fans to move the air. And people don't learn when they're too hot - I know this from the times that the a/c went out here, or when they turned the heat on too early and too strongly. I usually just wound up giving an extra at-home assignment and dismissing class.....

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