Well…

I learned over the past three days that school takes up a lot of space. My mind is consumed with thoughts of the children, my colleagues, music, music, music, and all the intentions that I had to stay fresh with things outside the usual realms get pushed aside by attempting to stay on top of my job within my life within my job….

So, for Monday, I learned that I do indeed love my job. It was great to get back with the children and wassail our way into the new year.

Tuesday, I learned I can quiet a room of chatty children by singing something and having them join in.

Today, I discovered that I really did appreciate the extra effort it takes to make the bed, clear the sink, and do a bedtime pickup. It makes such a difference – and that those seemingly insignificant little details sort of set up how a morning is going to go. Also, that I sleep too long if the shades are drawn. I respond better to sun than an alarm clock.

I’ll be better. Back to Italian tomorrow….

Traveling

I went to San Jose last night with my friend John.  We enjoyed a lovely day rehearsing with the tenors, and celebrated our hard work with a movie (“Silver Linings Playbook”) preceded by a long cup of tea at Peet’s.  John and I were sitting on a bench, close together in the cold and rain, clearly in deep conversation

After about a half hour we were joined on the patio by a couple.  The gentleman made a very big deal of not turning his back to us, and we said, of course, oh, no problem, we understand you want to have a private conversation, so no worries!  He went on to explain that he was from Iran, and that it is considered very rude to sit with your back to someone.  The fun part was that after we got through all of that, the four of us had a very nice discussion for about a half an hour.  I am not used to those kinds of things going so easily – it was another sparkle in a delightful day away from the usual routine.  And, now I know to check out body language in other cultures before I travel.

Thanks, John!

Recapitulation

Today I went back to work – no children, and lots of preparation.

I learned that I do truly love my job.  I have to re-learn this from time to time, especially after an intense period before a substantial break.  I realized I actually feel rested and refreshed, and ready to dive in to the next few months of music making with all those children!

But that’s not really the intent of my resolve to learn something new every day.  I just finished the second Italian lesson; tonight was about greetings, formal and informal.  I’m not sure about this program; I’ll keep at it for a few more days before I decide if it’s the ONE.

Also, I learned it takes a lot less time to bake a potato at sea level compared to 7,000 feet.   I think we’ll be eating more of them….yum!

I want to figure out how to insist on something without getting obnoxious.  I don’t even know how to tag that.

My friend Allison told me to put on the Pandora Yoga channel to help me mellow out.  I might just do that!

That’s all for now – it’s been sort of a B-flat day.

Day 3

Ocean

The kids and I were walking back from brunch at Jane, (excellent!) and they were asking about what I was going to post tonight.  They have been fascinated about my resolve, to learn something new each day, and I explained that I noticed that sometimes it was just a matter of paying attention to the normal course of conversation that would result in a deeper investigation into an issue at hand, following through, and noticing it as something new in our consciousness(es).

I cannot even remember how it came up – something that started from wondering what the difference between sea and ocean – sometimes my friends from Germany talk about going ‘to the sea’ when they refer to the Pacific; I am always captivated and enchanted by that reference, but never use it myself, and have wondered why.  Here is one explanation:

Bay Vs Stream Vs Lake Vs Gulf Vs River Vs Sea Vs Ocean

“Bay is a water body surrounded by land while gulf is a larger bay which originates from a sea or ocean. Stream is a narrow fast flowing water body while river is relatively deeper and wide. Lake is a water body usually surrounded by mountains and fed by streams. Sea is a salted water body connected with oceans and these oceans are the main salted waters which are part of the hydrosphere.”

I’ll take that.

I also learned today that I LOVE manhattans as opposed to martinis; and that the Top of the Mark is a place that I have forgotten about.  I met a friend there for a manhattan tonight and was completely appreciative of the beauty and ambience of the place as well as the deliciousness of the drink!

Also started my Italian lessons courtesy of Italianpod101.com and had a wonderful time with that!

It’s working.

Great, what’s next?

Multi-tasking

I’m considering learning some Italian.  Since we’re going to Italy for a few days on our summer trip with Mom, it might come in handy.  I found a website, then immediately got distracted by the goings-on of the day, which leads me to what I did learn today.

As I was driving over to the Smart dealership to finish, finally, transacting on the old car, I was listening to an audio book, called 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman.  I’ve been admittedly multi-tasking while trying to read this book, or listen to it…it goes on when I’m going to sleep (not much sticks then) or I try to play it while driving, and I notice that sometimes I miss things, from either spacing out, or focusing on the driving.

His point that stuck with me today is that we don’t truly multi-task.  He calls it switch-tasking, where nothing really gets done completely, and things take longer to accomplish because we keep bouncing around.  He proposes instead, to set shorter deadlines and focus.  I tried it tonight – I was unpacking my suitcase while watching TV.  Neither is brainiac activity, but I did notice my attention waning from the TV and the unpacking going oh, so slowly.  Midway through, I focused entirely on the unpacking and it was done in a jiffy.  We did eat dinner around the table by candlelight instead of doing other things with our plates nearby, and that was pleasant.  Recently, I was admonished by a new acquaintance that it was upsetting to him to know that I was scrubbing the bathroom while carrying on a phone conversation.  We all deserve full attention – particularly children, my own, and the many that I teach.  It requires better planning and organizing, which I already know need improvement, and this seems like a way in.

What did I learn today?  That focus is efficient, and juggling results in dropped balls.  Bregman also has some things to say about perfectionism and “good enough” which I will investigate very soon!

OK!  What’s next?

A Knew Beginning

Ocean Beach

My son just stopped by and asked if I’m going to use the play on words every time.  Probably not…and this time, it is for a reason.

I’m starting this today in the spirit of reinvigorating my enthusiasm for discovery, which I was reminded this past week that I had once, but not for a long time in recent memory.  I remember being absolutely giddy in college, looking at the kaleidoscope of available courses – it was such a vast selection, so many possibilities.

One of my favorite books of all time is called “The Art of Possibility”, by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander.  I felt possibility when I was younger.  I still feel it, and mostly for others; my children, my students, my family, for the organizations with which I’m associated, but not specifically for myself.  Over the past couple of decades, aside from becoming a teacher, the universe of possibility seemed to slowly close up and become limited, mostly due to my own attitudes and thinking.  So…with the beginning of 2013, which is an auspicious year for me as I will turn 55 next December, I decided I not only need to feel, but explore possibility for myself, and set about really doing something about it this time.

I want to learn something new every day.  There are many things I’m curious about, and I’ve let the inertia of being worn out wear me down.  It’s time to build up, and of course, wanting to learn something new on a daily basis is only one of several goals.  In six months, I want to learn what my body can do when it weighs less and is in better shape.  I’ll check in on that specifically as that transformation gets underway!

Today’s new thing to learn was why and how to start blogging.

I’ve been curious about blogs since I first heard about them, whenever that was.  I’d read a few, subscribed to none (I get depressed trying to keep up).

When I saw Julie and Julia, and again last week when I received a beautiful calendar with an image of Pike’s Peak each month, (the “Pikes Peak Guy” took a photo every day for a year….) the idea of tracking something, anything, for a fixed period of  time, particularly in regard to accomplishment of a goal, was giddily appealing – and I’ve been trying to come up with an idea that would work for me.

I read up on the tutorial on WordPress, and consulted my son Trevor, my live-in expert on all things internet and more, and here we are.  I’m thinking of different categories to explore, just to keep some kind of rhythm and form to this idea.  Some ideas are current events, technology (macs), music, education, jokes, cooking, San Francisco history, vocabulary, and on and on and on (reminds me of a joke…”There’s this club for people who can’t stop talking, called and on and on and on and on…”

Onward.  Blogs to subscribe to, and 364 more things to find out about!