Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sarah Marie The Busy Bee: Time Flies

Time passes quickly, and I'm realizing how soon January 6 will be here -- whether I'm ready for it or not. Last week as I was driving home from Gloucester, I realized that almost all the trees have changed into beautiful autumnal colors, and I barely noticed it happening. Over the weekend, I took Cara to the mall to pick up a few things, and most of the stores are already decorated for Christmas. I love Christmas, and seeing the decorations everywhere made me sorely tempted to begin listening to Christmas music way ahead of schedule, but I'm disciplining myself to wait until December.

I feel the passing of time in my own life, and it feels both fast and slow at the same time. The wedding seems both near and far away at once. Life seems fast-paced because of how many different things I've done since graduation, how many changes I've made, and how many things and people have come and gone. I worked as an intern in the Admissions office through May and June, worked as a proofreader in Charlestown for July and August, started getting more and more violin and piano students, picked up two babysitting jobs to occupy my mornings, and began teaching after-school group violin lessons to 4th and 5th graders in Gloucester.

I've subsequently dropped one of the babysitting jobs -- after a month of spending 20 hours a week with 2-year-old Tegan, I knew that it wasn't a good fit for me. Suffice it to say that she was the worst behaved child I have ever encountered... or ever hope to encounter. I even caught some of her wretchedness on video with my digital camera. It's funny to watch the clips. Even the way she says my name belies her brattyness: "SaRAH? SARah! SARAH! Watch Barney NOW!" She was bossy, rude, and generally horrid. Everything was a demand, and nothing was a request. She was used to getting her own way, all the time. Cookies at 9 am? Sure, why not? Watching Barney videos all day? Of course. Smearing her food all over the house? Perfectly acceptable. She had truly never been taught to say "please" or "thank you" before I began sitting for her. When I asked her to say "please" after a request, she would shout it in a shrill, bossy voice: "PLEASE!" By the end of my time with her, I had taught her to "say please -- with a smile!" She was actually showing general improvement. However, I really couldn't work with her and combat all the lack of teaching her parents gave her. When I wasn't there, Tegan would draw on the carpet and walls. Her mother's response? "Good. I've been trying to make my husband buy me new carpet for years." At the end of a six-hour stint of attempting to teach Teagan to not throw toys, to help pick up messes, and to ask for things politely, her brother would come home from school and torment her, taking her toys and holding them just out of her reach. Tegan, of course, would scream, and I would calm her and assure her (with a glare at her brother) that he would return the toy to her as soon as she asked nicely. She would actually do so... but he wouldn't comply. Obviously, it was hard to reinforce good behavior without the help of her family!

Interestingly enough, Tegan's 10-year-old brother is just as horrid, bossy, and obnoxious as she is. Honestly, you'd think parents would learn. Their mother is completely out of control (she makes empty threats to attempt to get her children to behave, such as threatening to throw away all of her son's video games, etc.), and her children sense it and know that they can behave however they want.

So, a month of that was more than enough. I realized that I make enough money teaching, playing gigs, and taking a few more pleasant babysitting jobs to pay my bills and live comfortably, and I decided to stop making myself feel as if I weren't doing enough if I weren't working full-time. I'm very happy to have the extra hours in my week to devote to wedding things, home-improvement things, and practicing my violin again. I'm also a much happier person for FavoriteBoy to come have dinner with at the end of the day, and probably a much better teacher, too; I have more time to devote to planning each student's lesson and thinking about the kind of teacher I want to be. To sum up: I'm a much happier girl right now than I was two weeks ago!

Yesterday I bought ribbon to affix to our invitations, and subsequently spent a good portion of the day tying tiny bows. After more of the same this morning, the end is finally in sight! I should be done by tomorrow. Then, it's just attaching the bows and addressing the envelopes, and I'll have these things in the mail right on schedule!

FavoriteBoy is playing Shostakovich's 2nd piano concerto with the Gordon orchestra in just a few weeks, and last night was his first rehearsal with the orchestra. It was so exciting to listen to him play -- he's going to be fantastic! Cara's recital is this coming weekend, and next Monday I get to perform some duos with Melissa. I feel blessed to have so much music in my life. When you're in school, surrounded by it all the time, it's easy to take it for granted. Now, as a lot of my friends are in jobs they don't care for -- and I'm very aware that I only just escaped such a fate myself! -- I'm very grateful that I've been blessed with opportunities to teach and play music. I love my students, and they seem to like me. I still get giddy when I hear that the kids talk about me at school, and say they like me. I also get compliments from parents on what a good job I do, and that's so encouraging! Life is peachy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oh Yeah... Rings

Oh yeah, Cara is right: I guess getting rings belongs on the "to do" list. Kind of important.

Speaking of Cara, I get to go jam with her this evening as we prepare some sweet Vivaldi for her senior recital!

I love every opportunity I have to play my violin. Since graduating, I'm grateful for every chamber music experience (even wedding gigs, or Pachelbel Canon recording sessions!), I listen more attentively to Mr. B's every word in orchestra rehearsals, and... I miss playing my violin 5-6 hours a day. Never thought I'd be saying that!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

To-Do List


1. Church
2. Reception hall
3. Officiant
4. Bridal party
5. Invitations
6. Cake
7. Flowers
8. Photographer
9. Bridesmaids' dresses
10. My dress (insert sigh of relief and vast quantities of gratitude to my Mom)

Yet to be done (eek!):

1. Catering (insert scream of terror -- yes, there are only three short months left until the wedding!!!)
2. Music (it's all sort of worked out in our heads and unofficially arranged with friends, but we still need to nail down the specifics, FavoriteBoy still needs to arrange some of our pieces for the ensembles we'll have, and we still need to book a harpist. And figure out what to do for background music for part of the reception.)
3. Slide show? Or something like this to take up time at the reception and entertain guests? Or maybe a slide show is tacky. I can't decide. Eep. Help! (No, I take it back. DON'T help. I'm tired of hearing everyone's ideas, suggestions, and even demands. Whatever happened to "Aw, you're getting married. This is YOUR special day." Yeah, right.)
4. Decorations (Have many, many ideas, but haven't actually done any practice centerpieces yet, called about rental linens, etc.)
5. Tuxedo rentals for the dudes involved.
6. Accessories (shoes, earrings, Grandma's pearl necklace to be restrung, and a veil to be made by my incredible Mother!)
7. Transportation
8. I guess most people actually go somewhere after the wedding... yeah... we haven't really figured that out yet...
9. Accomodations for family and friends... reserve block of hotel rooms, and find free housing from church members for out of town friends if possible.
10. Marriage license!
11. Finalize liturgy/ceremony order
12. Make programs
13. Finish registering
14. Gifts for all involved in wedding
15. Rehearsal dinner


In order to be able to do all these things, I think I need to quit my babysitting job for the bratty two-year-old. But if I do that, I won't have as much money. And right now, I really need money. It's a catch-22.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

High Praise from Fifth Graders

Some of the fifth graders at the elementary school are talking about their new private teacher. The word on the street is: "She rocks!"

Could a higher compliment exist? : )

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

No! More! Barney!

But I don't want to sing the Barney song again.

No, I don't want to make the little Critter do another somersault either.

And I really don't want to do the Barney boogie one more time. I don't even like Barney!

Sometimes I wish two-year-olds didn't know the words "again" or "more" yet.

I spend about 20-23 hours a week with Tegan. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who enforces rules and manners ("Your food can be in one of two places: on your plate, or in your mouth. Okay, or on its way to your mouth. It cannot be smeared on the table, smashed on your chair, mashed in your hair, or mushed on your pants."), but I try not to assume the worst about her parents. Maybe they try as hard as I do, and she's just not interested in compliance. But I can't help noticing that doing things she doesn't want to do or not doing things she does want to do both seem equally foreign to her.

I recently realized that it must be very disillusioning for a young child to learn to talk. Here is Tegan, thinking that as soon as she figures out this strange thing called the English language, she will finally be able to communicate to those around her exactly what she wants and when she wants it. She gets a surprisingly good handle on the whole talking thing by the young age of two, only to realize that just because she can say "No!" or "More! Now!" or "Stop!" doesn't mean she can have any of those things happen according to her whim. It must come as something of a shock.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Musical Enthusiasm

Sarah: "Okay, use my pencil for a minute. You get to trace these braces and bar lines on the grand staff!"

Jared (age 7): "Oh, baby!"