Sep 21, 2008

Happy birthday come and gone

Happy birthday to me! and a lot of other people. September really is a busy month for birthdays.

Thanks to all of you who expressed well wishes for my 'day.' They will be acknowledged, in the form of thank-you notes, very soon.

Now you are wondering what I did to celebrate. Still not big on my own birthday-ing, but I did go out with a few coworkers for drinks the weekend before, and attended a dinner party hosted by some friends a few days later. A fundamentally shy person (still), this was enough celebrations, even given my recent age.

I am now 25. GAH! I tend to freak out to the point of ridiculousness over my age, every single year. But think about it: 25 is the oldest I have ever been (so far). And there are so MANY things I want to pack into what will hopefully be a long and fulfilling life.....

Anyway. I shall keep my philosophical musings about this to myself, I think.

Things in general are pretty swell. The past week-ish at work, I've been training new baristas to make drinks, which is a step on the way to becoming a supervisor. New manager likes me quite a bit, which doesn't hurt anything, either.

A few days after my birthday, I found out I had been hired as an after-school instructor for the Harmony music program at PS 152 near Brooklyn College. Saturday afternoon, a decent-sized crowd of parents and their enthusiastic second and third graders converged in the recital hall of BC to hear more about the program and witness instrument demonstrations by the instructors.

Of the five of us teachers, I think I did the best all-around job of showing the kids some of the many sounds a violin could make. And then I played a Piazzolla tango etude for them, the same one that concluded my recital. They all loved it: Piazzolla is awesome. Those kids never had a chance (afterwards I think about 70% of them swarmed me to be measured for an instrument and to try playing mine).

The next several Fridays, I will be attending development workshops to learn appropriate skills for working with second and third graders, and then the program officially 'begins' on Monday, October 20.

In the meantime, I am working on setting up my private teaching studio for the year. So far I have two new students, and one of the Harmony program parents has already approached me about setting up lessons for her daughter, assuming all goes well this fall.

Last really interesting thing: some of my school friends and I forged a new music ensemble last spring, called dfe. Fate, busy schedules and (my) large quantities of concerts hindered our progress on this, but we've been meeting regularly this fall and are working on putting together our first official show, which is at 8pm on October 25.

We're all really excited about it. My three friends are all composers, so the bulk of the concert will feature some of their recent works; part of the program is devoted to my Solo Violin Project, and the rest will feature other emerging Brooklyn College composers. We are all really excited. Have I mentioned that yet?

If this concert goes well, we hope to present one or two similar concerts later in the school year, as well as possibly presenting a (new) string quartet concert and some vocal works (three- count 'em, THREE- sopranos are on board for the 10/25 show, even though we only have one vocal piece for one vocalist).

That about sums things up for now. It definitely comes as a relief that there is no shortage of things to keep me occuppied despite being out of school .......

Sep 1, 2008

September cometh

Another embarrassingly long time since posting, I see. Ah well, things have been exciting and busy as usual.

Most recent happening: I *finally* finished submitting grades for summer session a few days ago. Eighty exams, plus an accompanying pile of last-minute submissions, is no easy mountain of paper to get through! Anyway, the majority of my students passed and actually did rather well.

Though I am not teaching this fall, I've heard rumored whispers that I'll be reappearing as Professor Geller in spring semester, '09. Something to look forward to.

In the meantime: last weekend I saw most of y'all in Iowa. I was back 4-ish days, which turned out to be almost exactly the right length of time (this time, at least) for a visit. I say this because it was just long enough to get away from New York, but not too long that I started to get anxious over all the work I had waiting for me when I got back. Obviously it would have been nice to see everyone a lot more than I did, but my life is in New York, after all.

As promised, Zadie made french toast for brunch on Sunday, and it was SO. GOOD. This was definitely one of the best parts of the weekend. I also got to see my cousin Jessica, who was back for about a month from being in Russia. Another interesting thing is that I made three lemon meringue pies from scratch, which were much admired by the people who proceeded to eat them!

I had quite a time leaving Des Moines, though- my outgoing flight was delayed several hours, which meant that Northwest had to rebook everyone on the flight. Instead of flying through Detroit and arriving in Brooklyn around 12:30, I flew through Minneapolis, had a 3 hour layover, and arrived in Brooklyn around 3.

The following three pictures depict what I did to pass the time in Minneapolis:

Upon my return, there was much grading, of course. There was also a really good interview (I think) with an after-school teaching program at an elementary school near Brooklyn College. I won't find out if I got the job for another few weeks, though.

I made dinner for my friends one night, and made another lemon meringue pie which was also perfect.

The most interesting thing, though, is the talk I had with my advisor last week. As some of you know, this year will be interesting for me because I'm not in school and not looking for a grown-up job. Instead, I'll be applying for admission to doctoral programs, and with any luck, will begin work on my phd in the fall of 2009. Anyway: my advisor and I were discussing doctoral programs, and she'll be helping me through the application process.

Some schools I'll be looking at:

UC Davis
Wash U
Bowling Green
CUNY Grad Center (backup)

Eeek! This is kind of scary and exciting all at the same time. These are some of the top-notch programs in the country, and my advisor actually thinks I can get in. I hope I get in!

As I rapidly approach the quarter century (only 8 days away), it occurs to me that I have absolutely none of the things in life by which most other people measure happiness and success: a husband, a family, a 'real' job, etc. I do, however, have a master's degree, an ever-growing number of friends, admirers, adoring fans and well-wishers, and a hell of a lot of prospects in my very near future. And happiness.

Happiness is something which is definitely NOT underrated.

Anyway- happy Labor Day to all! It was wonderful to see all of you last weekend, and I look forward to the next time around!