Saturday, June 26, 2010

July 12, 1921-June 26, 2010.


Grandma and waves.

Grandma and Kay showing off the new bikes, Clinton, IA, 1942.

Resting her tired dogs.


Jackie O.



Hob and Grandma.

My grandma.

My grandma died peacefully, at home, with family, after just a few weeks of home hospice care.

"Tomorrow is a special day," she inexplicably told her youngest daughter yesterday. And she was right.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

June is busting out all over.

I could start any number of places, but let me start with this:

As you may remember, I have reviewed handmade deodorant before. I should probably have followed up that review with another that said "plus also, this deodorant lasts for a year," which is true. Unfortunately, in that year, the proprietor of that shop closed up for good. I ordered two other hippie deodorants from another shop, Familiar Lover, and really didn't like them--too gritty, way too heavily scented and synthetic-y smelling, to the point that I couldn't even use one of them. Uh, but if anyone wants to try a pristine jasmine cream deo, I'll totally send it to you.

Instructables has a tutorial on making your own deodorant at home, which I'm sure I will try someday, but between my jobs and commutes this spring, crafting anything including my own dinner was not happening. I've bought shaving soap from Urban Eden before and it's great, so I took a chance on the Lemon Myrtle deo pictured above.

While wearing it, I have biked, jogged, gardened, and generally been an adult human, without any adult human stank. It smells like a lemon dream, and doesn't have any baking soda in it, which I like. (I am a huge fan of baking soda in general, but I find that in deodorants it creates its own unsavory stank, particularly when you are wearing a polyester shirt from the 70s. Just saying.) It does, however, use beeswax, so it isn't vegan. If that doesn't bother you and you've been wanting hippie deodorant of your very own, I highly recommend it.

All right, so product reviews are out of the way. Tonight I start opera rehearsals for this project, which, by the way, still needs your kind donations if you are so inclined. Or you can "like" the project on Facebook. I'm glad to be doing a show after a 5 year opera hiatus, but dude. Rehearsals are 7-10 every weeknight after a full day of work, so let me just moan for a minute about how I'm going to miss my summer, and how the rehearsal venue is right by work which is actually going to make for some logistical complications (if I bike to work, and I want to, do I come home after work to be home for an hour and get my car, or do I just stay there and then get the Brit to pick me up after rehearsal, etc?), and how we just got the full score like a week ago and my character is onstage for most of the show, which means: lots of music to learn and memorize very quickly.

Okay, I'm done moaning. I still have Tuesdays off from my jobby-job. They're going to fill up quickly with teaching, but for today I can relax a bit (now, on the deck, in the garden, with the cat), attend to some house projects, set up my new/old digital piano (a total living-in-the-flow transaction effected by my general Facebook query about digital pianos last week), and practice, and that will be good. For as much time as I spent in a music studio and at a piano over the last 4 months, I didn't practice singing very much.

About the end of my teaching job: it feels like it's been a million years already, even though I've only been home a week and a half and still have a couple of end-of-semester wrap-ups to write about students. It was a stellar experience for me, as you may have gleaned. I think teaching, particularly at that level, brings out my best self, at least now while I am not that cynical about higher education. I am patient! I am enthusiastic! I plan ahead! I am kind and sympathetic! I find things to love about people who might otherwise irritate me! I am inventive! I lay the smack down in such a way that the student can still have a productive lesson instead of being demoralized! I make dry material dynamic and interesting! So it did occur to me that I could and should import more of this stuff into my daily life--though teaching is clearly different from relating to friends, family, and partner because there is a distinct power structure in teaching (however collaborative and egalitarian) and I am being paid to dispense information, advice, mentorship, etc in a way that my peers probably wouldn't appreciate. Still: the tolerant, the non-judgey, the taking people as they are? I could do more of that in real life.

Anyway. What became so, so, so very obvious over the semester is that I need to get a big girl job in my field, stat. It's also obvious that the job market is abysmal, particularly in academia, particularly for applied music teachers who want to do better than adjunct. Sadly for me, I really, really want to work in academia instead of trying to scrape together a private studio where the hours are necessarily evenings and weekends. I don't have any answers; I just need to keep plugging away and keep cultivating gratitude for the job I have, even though it has nothing to do with me.

I've now dallied an hour on the deck and watched Ace take about 5 dirtbaths, so I think it's time to go in and get cracking.