apjournal

Amateur philosopher, deep but impatient thinker, not much time on my hands, exremely opinionated on certain subjects (America, dog food, pharmaceutical companies, lawyers, math education ....)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Few Minutes Between Students

My 5:00 has rugby practice on Monday nights so I have a few minutes off as he has to leave early to be there on time. Hubby put a nail through his hand today. He called me from the hospital to calmly tell me this news. Sheesh. Well, he's back to work tomorrow, though he had to be stitched and his hand is bandaged up. He'll be just fine.

I am starting to really look forward to the lighter schedule that is due to begin in about three weeks' time. Of course, the income hit will hurt, but the extra sleep and time at my piano that I'll get will more than compensate.

I recently bought Vanilla Oreo cookies. They're sooooo goooood!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Super, High-Powered Weeding

The other day I went out into the yard to weed one of the flowerbeds. This is a major job, not just yanking out a few stray imposters. So I get the big, long-handled sharp-ended spade, gloves, and get to work. After a few shovelfuls, I pushed the spade down along the edge of the bed, and everything moved away from the edge along a nice straight line. I thought, hmmm. So I looked and it turns out there's a board there. So I yanked the board out. Then, the big 2' by 1' by 2" bricks that were laid by the previous owner in a haphazard manner right next to the bed started coming out. One after the other. The owner had also mixed and poured some concrete, right onto the grass, to try and smooth the steps the bricks made, or something... Not sure, it looked dreadful, anyway. I'd been thinking I'd have to get out there with a jackhammer to remove that concrete, but no! I lifted it all by hand! Now we have a small beach front in our yard ... with no lake. So now the gardening plans have been somewhat "inverted". I don't know whether we'll take out the beds in the middle of the yard now and put down sod or maybe just patch up the big hole I made. We'll see. The moral of the story is ... if there's something you want done, just DO IT.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Finally, an Update

Lots to report. Two Pianos Four Hands was spectacular. I haven’t laughed so much in years, honestly. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who’s lucky enough to have it run near their home. Go see it. Especially if you had piano lessons, or any sort of music lessons, as a child (or, like me, are having them now). You will howl. I cried through the whole first half I laughed so hard. The acting and the playing were both of the highest quality. We were Orchestra level, front row, so we were right below the stage, very, very close. In a way it was a tiny bit disappointing because we were actually below the level of the pianos and therefore couldn’t see their hands, but in the end I really didn’t miss that at all. For those of you interested, they played two beautiful Yamaha C3s. (Mine’s a C2.) During one part, they were both goofing around (scripted goofing) and the player I preferred was at the piano right in front of where we were sitting, and they were doing a sort of Medley, playing snatches of all these different tunes, and everybody was laughing pretty hard already, and then when they started to play the theme song for the Young & the Restless, everybody howled even louder. My laughter must have rang out the loudest, and because I was so close to this player, he looked right at me, winked, kept eye contact, winked again, before he looked away – all the while playing. It was really spectacular.

Home Improvement
We spent the long weekend on projects around the house. I recently bought a book on decorating (painting, to be specific), and am working on painting terra cotta plant pots, which took up quite a bit of time this weekend. Mr. P worked on staining the patio door and its frame, which we recently replaced. We had an ugly aluminum door in there, with a torn screen, and now we have a top-of-the-line Loewen triple glaze window in a wood frame. It’s gorgeous. I did help him a bit, but he did most of that, and it looks so nice.

And in the category of no-we-aren’t-really-made-of-money, we have a lady coming out this morning to help us select blinds and window coverings for the main floor windows. This after I dragged Mr. P around from place to place looking for ready-made tab panels, my first experiment with which didn’t go so well. Actually, it’s also because of that beautiful new patio door; we’d like to get rid of the metal blinds that hang there. They’re okay, but now with the wood door, they just don’t match anymore.

Gardening
Not much news here. Though I have big ambitions, as usual, my available time comes nowhere close to matching the ambitions I have. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not get to the bulk of these projects for at least a few weeks – not until after the kids write their exams. I did, however, on the weekend, plant all the little bedding plants I bought in containers, and the patio looks so pretty now (through those pretty patio doors); we also managed to procure a couple of half whiskey barrels over the weekend. Only $10 each! On the internet you can buy them for $80 US (with a liner); we got ours at our local Home Depot. Score! Those get planted this coming weekend, hopefully.

And in my spare (lol) time, I continue to play piano and am trying hard to get back into the theory. It isn’t that I don’t like it (I actually like it quite a bit – it being so like math), it’s just that it’s less fun that actually sitting picking out melodies and harmonizing notes. It’s kind of like the difference between making the pie and eating it. One is necessary so the other is possible, unless you buy the pie ready-made, which probably isn’t the best pie you can eat … okay, that analogy is weak, so I’ll stop it there. I’m also yearning to get back to writing. Alice Munro’s stories can do that to you. I’m starting to realize that I’m really working way, way too much; but there’s not much to do be done about that, so I just have to suck it up. I also realize that the only way to keep from feeling burnt out is to spend at least half an hour at the piano every day, and preferrably, when time is limited, to spend that time composing. I feel a lot less grumpy, then.

And on that note, I’ll sign off for now. More soon, hopefully.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sleepy Day Off

Well, not quite. I have a few hours of work today, but not till later on. I have a big, yawning day off ahead of me. Lovely. And yawning is the operative word. I am so sleepy. I may take a little nap. And later do a little gardening. No need to worry about anything not getting done as a three-day weekend starts tonight at 7:30. And tomorrow, we are going to see Two Pianos, Four Hands. I can't wait!

And can I just say pfffttthhhhh!!!! to the Canadian government. I am soooooooo angry over how things have been going and feel deeply betrayed by Belinda Stronach, who defected to the dark side this week, and disgusted with the fact that liberals managed to shake off a non-confidence vote that would have triggered an election.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Miss Manners for Mayor

How's everybody been doing? Thanks to those of you who continue to visit. I will try to be more regular about postings, I promise! We are shocked here in Canada today over the recent federal political developments. I won't go into the details as it's just too stupid to put into words. What's new? Well, my hairdresser woes continue. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that basic manners and consideration seem to have gone out the window. A please. A thank you. An honouring of commitments, promises? An apology when one is warranted? I KNOW we're all busy. Please. Don't give me the busy excuse. It's like Toner's recent entry on a guy eating a little tiny yoghurt in a cup on his way someplace. How sad. Doesn't the guy have a few minutes to eat it at home before leaving? Four minutes? Three? Having gotten back into yoga reminds me that we are woefully unaware our own selves, and most of us are overly eager to fill every single moment with activity, noise and distraction. In the long run this isn't good for our mental health. We need to slow down and stop the noise, the clutter, the doingness and just be, every now and again.

Okay, so anyway, I have (almost had) a new hairdresser. Recommended to me by one of my students. I phoned her. She seemed very nice. I made an appointment for last Thursday at 11:00 am for a color. I arrived at her house very punctually (I admit I am often running a few minutes behind myself with outside appointments; I think this is in part due to the fact that I rarely have to BE anywhere at a certain time anymore, because I work at home, and thus have lost the ability to judge how long it will take me to leave, get there, etc.). Anyway, I arrive at her house, ring the bell, and there is no one home. A dog is barking maniacally at me from the living room window. I ring the bell again. I risk a peek through the frosted glass next to the door (can't see anything anyway). I wait. Then I pull out my cell phone and dial her number. A recording answers and I leave a message, saying, I'm here, where are you? Did I get the day wrong? The time? Hope not. If you get this message phone me back on my cell, etc., etc. That was SIX DAYS AGO. I have not heard from her yet. Apart from being unpardonably unprofessional, it is extremely rude. If she deigns to call me now, I'll have to give her a piece of my mind, if I can manage it. I find it difficult to be "nasty" even when nastiness is called for.

And speaking of nastiness, BellExpressVu got a piece of both Mr. P's and my mind the other day. They sent us a bill. Nothing weird about that you say? Well, we don’t have satellite service … so, we really shouldn’t be getting a bill. We cancelled the service last November-ish, and then they phoned us in March and said, would you like to try us out again, no obligation, no charge, for two months? We thought, well, since there’s no charge, why not. So they hooked us up. We saw three days’ worth of TV and said, yeah, no. Not going back there. (God, TV is crap!). Mr. P phoned to cancel, and they said, hmmm, says here you were disconnected last November. We said (patiently), yes, but then we had this offer, blah, blah. So they said, well, we have no record of it, and so we thought, well, give them a few days to allow their departments to catch up to one another and then we’ll call back. A few days later we tried the dish again, and we had no service, and so we thought, well, that’s that. They’ve obviously figured it out. Then, two days ago, we get a bill. So Mr P calls and says, what’s up with the bill, explains the whole situation to the woman on the other end, who said, it says here that … She was cut off. By Mr. P. who used some fairly strong language. The poor person on the other end hung up, with a thank you very much. So then I called. Poor Mr. P’s patience is at an end with this company. I explained the whole thing and was put in touch with a “manager” who eventually (to make a long story short) said, okay, we’ll cancel your service. I said, we don’t HAVE a service (probably for the fourth or fifth time). Our receiver is in a box in the basement. We haven’t had service in months. Then she asked, may I know why you don’t want the service? And I said, because TV is crap. There’s nothing on. She didn’t miss a beat. Said, so, you don’t have any cable or sattelite provider? I said, well, it’s really none of your business, but no, we don’t. (that one felt good). So I think finally it’s clear to them. We were told to disregard the bill.

Music
I am doing some research into buying or renting a digital recorder and getting a microphone so I can start to record the music I am writing. Hopefully we are only a month or two away from music postings!

Well, that’s all for now. My current plea for the betterment of humanity is a return to basic decency, to manners, and consideration for others.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Demonic Intervals

Okay, this is weird. I'm not Catholic, and yet I find myself respecting this anyhow. Apparently, augmented 4th intervals (eg., f to b-natural) was banned by the Catholic church for many centuries because its sound is considered demonic. When it's put together with chords, it sounds okay, I think, but when you play just the two notes, it does have an off-feel.

I am working on my song called "At the Beach House", working on varying some of the LH accompaniment. It's pretty. Everyone says it has a very soothing sound. My music teacher liked it too!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Snowstorms in May

We are having a snowstorm. Though April is Calgary's snowiest month, and March is second on the list, it is not at all uncommon to have snowstorms any time in May. Last year we had a snowstorm on Mother's Day and I remember several years ago when we were living in the Foothills and my parents were visiting, they were due to leave to go back home sometime in May (they'd come out for Easter) and were prevented from leaving due to a few feet of snow that had fallen overnight.

I took Sam out to the Weaselhead area again this morning after my chiropractic and we braved the snow. It is actually sticking to the grass, rooftops, bushes and trees. hahahahah. Well, what can you do.

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of my beginning formal piano lessons. I can't believe it's been a whole year. On Saturday I wrote a song called "At the Beach House"; there are no lyrics; it's for solo piano. I love it!!!! Ohmigosh, I love composing. Thanks for your kind words about it, K! Mr. P loves it too. Today I get to play it for my piano instructor, F., and see what he thinks. I'm excited but also a little nervous. Now I'm reading books on songwriting, and am beginning to think about lyrics. Time to start journalling again. Yeah. I'll just fit that in between the piano playing, the long walks with the dog, the various appointments, yoga, tutoring, gardening (I have gardening plans that make my husband pale when he hears about them) and oh yes, having a life that includes Mr. P., and of course we must not forget blogging. Speaking of blogging, I have thought of quitting, but I find it enhances my creativity somewhat. I find myself out trying to think up titles to my postings and interesting words present themselves, linked in interesting ways, and sometimes bits of poems (or lyrics??) take shape. So I'll keep it up. Besides, I think I'd miss everyone way too much (that's all you people on my blog list).

Friday, May 06, 2005

Speaking of old friends ...

I had a call a little while ago from an old friend. At least, old for me in this town, in this lifetime. We'd shared some good experiences, experiences that by their very nature brought us closer together. Then we had some that drove us apart. I won't go into details because I'd prefer not to dwell on the negative, but the final wedge was when her daughter was stillborn. I didn't feel that we were close enough to warrant my offering her support and company and so we drifted apart. The last time I saw her was going on two years ago, and the last time we spoke was a little more than a year ago. How time flies. She has a baby now!!!! A little baby boy (well, not so little, it turns out, he's off the scale for his age in both size and weight), but anyway, a little baby boy, born late February, so he's about two months old now. I will harbour no illusions about the possibility of us becoming close again simply because I don't think time will ever permit it (what I mean is, schedules ... how did everybody become so busy?). But it will be nice to reconnect with her and maybe try to rekindle a bit of what we once shared. I credit her with a soul-saving act (my soul) which to this day I am grateful to her for. I have though of her often over the past year or so, so it was very good to hear her voice again. Thanks for calling, K. I've missed you too, and I'm glad we'll be seeing one another soon.

You just can't get good help these days ...

I have a new hairdresser! She sounded very nice on the phone, and my first appointment is next week, so I'm pleased. The massage therapy, yoga and chiropractic are going well, but I still have not found a housekeeper. Well, I haven't been looking that hard. It's weird trying to find someone to clean your house. It's somewhat intimate and a bit of a funny feeling. The only other time I had one I tried so hard to not make her feel subservient. Her name was Leslie, and I wish I could get hold of her because I really liked her but her number appears to be NIS. Anyway, she would apologize to me if we happened to pass in the hallway, like she was getting in my way and ought to have anticipated it. I felt like moaning, noooooo, don't apologize, please ... It's like they're apologizing not for getting in the way so much as their very existence at that moment. It made me feel very uncomfortable.

In Botswana (the setting of my much-revered No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books) it is considered selfish and mean to not employ at least one domestic individual, at least on a part-time basis, because, the theory goes, if you have the money, then you ought to be helping to make someone else's life easier by providing work for someone who needs it. I like this way of looking at it (not that I feel I need justification, though, for wanting to hire someone to clean my house -- I'd hire a near-full-time housekeeper AND a cook if I had that kind of money, with no qualms at all) ...

So, anyway, the search continues. I thought of placing an ad in my local community newsletter, where I place my tutoring ad each month, but I'm worried I'll get a flood of phone calls, so I'll maybe keep that as a last resort.

Oh, and great news! I found my yoga strap! Two years ago I bought a yoga strap which I put away one day and recently was trying to find it. It took two weeks to find, and I found some other things too when I finally located it!

And finally, prayers and good wishes go out to Chandira. Her good friend has suffered an accident and is in a coma. My prayers are with you and Nic both ...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

So Tired

Man am I tired today. So bone-weary, so bleary-eyed, I can barely stay awake to get through the tutoring. I have only two hours tonight. Wednesdays is my light day with only six hours total, decently spaced out, and with an early evening, and no outside commitments. So Wednesdays is my favourite weekday. It even tops Fridays, though Fridays is a near-tie as it's, well, Friday. So tired today that I don't even want to eat. I have no appetite, and I'm not hungry.

Okay, that's all I'll say for now. I had a wonderful, wonderful yoga session on Monday morning. It left me feeling the way I remember yoga leaving me feeling; relaxed, light, loose, fluid, but not wanting to go to sleep the way I feel after massage therapy (that's tomorrow). Feeling much better. The chiropractor said one more week and then I can go down to every two weeks and probably soon to once a month or so. yay. My mastercard is feeling the pinch.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

God, Ontario Voters Are Stupid

I am so steamed. The Liberal government of Canada (apologies to my US readers who don't care too much about this) has wasted, with its corruption and lies, millions of dollars of our money; it has been proven that this is the case; now they are delaying votes and the proper parliamentary process to delay the opposition government calling for a non-confidence vote to bring the government down, instead calling up old, dusty bills before the house that no one cares about and are clogging up the parliamentary process. This is a waste of time and money as there are far more important things they ought to be doing with the money we're paying them to run the country.

A few weeks ago, the conservatives were slightly ahead in the polls, but now it seems in Ontario, where the most seats in the country are located, the liberals are ahead again. Man, that is just stupid, stupid, stupid. I just can't believe that they so easily forget, forgive, resort to apathy, whatever it is they're doing. Us out west here seem to have a much better grasp on reality. Give your head a shake, Ontario!!!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Still Alive

Back to yoga again this morning. Cross your fingers for me that I don't reinjure myself, though I am still not recovered from last week, where I overstretched my right side to the point where I have been limping all week. Sheeeesh. It's always something.

I haven't been blogging much because all my spare time is taken up by chiropractors, massage therapists and yoga practice; I also had a lot of work to do last week on top of my usual tutoring schedule. It leaves time for nothing extra; even piano playing has taken a big hit, though I got in several hours on Saturday and yesterday maybe an hour or so.

Saturday the carpet cleaners were supposed to come but they called and said they wouldn't make it because one of their "technicians" hadn't shown up that day. I had already removed all mats, carpet protectors (those plastic things for where you have rolling chairs) , etc., and so at least all the carpets got a thorough vaccuming. Yay! Now we do it all again in two weeks. It'll probably be better then as in two weeks it'll be warmer and we can leave the doors and windows open to hasten the carpets drying out.

I've been listening to CBC Radio Two every morning. Loving Music & Co. For my U.S. buddies, CBC is our national broadcaster; ridiculed by some, but I think it's quite good given their limited funding. I've taken an interest in Sibelius and have started listening to his CD's; so far I really like what I've heard. More soon, I promise!