Monday, May 9, 2016

Optimist or Pessimist: Your Choice

There was a time in my life when I was indeed the pessimist.  Not anymore.  That is a tough existence!

This photo is the result of camera settings that were totally wrong.  But, it worked for today's photo prompts around fastener and blue.  Let's just say it ended up being a happy accident!

I had three finals to write tonight and another set to grade.  Even after many years of practice, I am still terrible at multi-tasking so in trying to get my photo of the day done in between all of my school tasks, I failed to check my camera settings before taking this photo.  This is the result.  Its got a character of its own; that character, however, is not what I originally set out to capture!

Four more days of this semester and then I shouldn't have to multi-task like this until August!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Me on Mother's Day

A nice and calm Mother's Day today...Offspring No. 2 and her significant other took me out to lunch after church.  Then we, the mamas of four-legged fur babies went shopping for them.  When I got home I took a few photos, played with the dogs, and wrote a final exam.  It was an OK day.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Another End

Today was the final class day of this semester. By this time next week, final exams will be over and another academic year will have come to an end.  I will have completed year twenty-five in the same teaching position.

The music theory sequence is a minimum of four semesters of paired courses; it can be five if a student comes in needing to make up a deficiency.  Of those five courses, I teach four of them, all but the first (or second).  So by the time I have had the same students for three consecutive semesters in two courses each semester, I know them well, and I have a genuine interest in their lives beyond my classes.  Of those completing the sequence this semester, some have auditioned at four year universities and are excited to take the next step in their education, some are experiencing disappointment because they were not accepted to the school of their choice, and some are questioning whether or not they want to continue on in music or choose another career path.  Whatever the case, it has been my job and my privilege to serve each one of them - to teach them, guide them, and support them along the way as they prepare for whatever their next step may be.

I am grateful that I teach so many courses in this sequence.  Although I am bidding farewell to my class of music theory IV students, I will see those students who have been in Music Theory II and III again next fall.  Knowing that I have a group of returning students makes it a little easier to say goodbye to those who are moving on.

Another consolation is that those students who left last spring have completed their first year in a four year institution.  They are now coming back or sending emails sharing their successes and excitement surrounding their academic achievements.  That students take the time to stop by or write an email sharing with me how they are doing lets me know that they were aware of my genuine care and concern for them while they were in my classes.  In case you are wondering...yes, there are some that I never hear from again once they hand me the final exam.  With a very few, that's OK. I wish them well, but that's it.

I will spend my weekend writing final exams and finalizing grades, enduring the stress that the end of every semester brings.  Next Thursday night I will play for commencement.  And Friday, summer vacation begins.  Just as the semesters seem to fly by, so will the summer.  Before I know it, August will be here and my year twenty-six will begin.  A whole new group of students will come and I will have the opportunity to get to know them, perhaps touch their lives in a meaningful way, and then send them on as well.  The cycle of the academic life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Seven Days of Looking At Nature

Every now and then there is a photo challenge that goes around Facebook that challenges photographers to publish a nature photo a day for seven consecutive days.  In addition to posting a photo, you also nominate someone else to take on the challenge as well.  It is the 21st century incarnation of chain letters, but in the end you get to see lots of beautiful photographs.

I was "nominated" to do this by someone back in February, but failed to accomplish the challenge because I got sick, then busy, then uninspired by nature in winter here in Texas.  That is not an excuse.  It is the reality of where I was at the time.  I figured that being nominated again by someone else was my chance to redeem myself.

Though I thought that I might be overwhelmed by trying to do this, keep up with my Capture Your 365 picture of the day, and real life, I enjoyed the challenge.  It forced me to stop for those seven days and mindfully search for something beautiful in nature.  I was also inspired by following those whom I nominated during my seven day run.

Here are my seven photos.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

The quote by Albert Einstein that I included on the final photo is the perfect summary of my experience over the last week taking each of these photos.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

It's Been Too Long!

It hurts my heart to admit that I have not written a single post here this year.  I have been writing, just not here.  One of the places where I do write almost daily is in my Morning Pages Journal.  This is a discipline that I have had for many years, one that fuels me creatively, intellectually, and spiritually.  Though this writing is not fit for public consumption, it is was inspires me to write in other places.  Over the last bit, I have found myself scrawling over and over how much I miss blogging regularly.  It is not that I think I have something to say that others want or need to read, it is more a discipline that helps me to document my life, a somewhat selfish act.

The other night I went back and read several of my posts from my early days of blogging.  I was so grateful for those words.  They gave power to such small and seemingly insignificant moments in my life, but moments that I wanted to remember nonetheless.  Moments that now are so much more important than I ever believed that they would be.   I am sad that there are now big chunks of time to which I did not dedicate even a few words.  There is nothing that I can do about that now, but I can try to pick up where I am and begin again.  Start where I am.  I need to write regularly.  I want to write regularly.  I will write regularly.

In the midst of being a bit hard on myself,  I do have to remember that although I have been absent here, I have been active creatively in other places.  I have continued to take a photo a day.  2016 is year four.  Here is a video of the 121 daily photos that I have taken so far this year.  The video creator crops the photos square though many of them were not originally square, so they look a bit strange.

I have also continued to write a food and photography blog, Pixels, Plates, and LOLs, with my friend Tracey Gehring.  This is a super fun venture, but it does take a fair amount of time each week.  Here is the link to some great recipes and food photos.  Currently we are documenting our joint weight loss adventure.

And, Weber and I continue to help our furry friend. Blueper B, with his blog.  Again, we have not been as diligent there as we would like, however, we are making a commitment to keep that space current as well.  If you are interested in the adventures of Blueper B, you can read his blog here, or follow him on Facebook.

As I approach the final two weeks of this semester, I know that I am biting off a big chunk here with a public promise to recommit myself to regular posting.  Even with the impending busy-ness of final exams, it feels good to write just this little bit here.  I am doing what I need to do.

Until tomorrow...