Booking through Thursday: Resolutions

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Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday asks: Any reading resolutions for the new year? Reading more? (Reading less?) Reading better books? Bigger books? More series? More relaxing books?

Well I wish I could resolve to read more, but unless someone figures out how to fit more than 24 hours in a day that ain’t gonna happen.

The idea of reading “better” books is interesting though. Wonder how you would define better. Prizewinners? Penguin Classics? Books with footnotes? Presumably “better” books are educational in some way, or expand your horizons, or make you a better person for having read them.

Actually I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that wasn’t educational in some way, or expanded my horizons in some direction. I’ve never read a book that didn’t make me think. Even if what you’re thinking is “gee this was a crappy book, and this is why” — well isn’t that educational?

And another thing: I don’t like deciding in advance what I’m going to read. Although the idea of reading challenges is charming, I don’t think I could ever do it. My favorite way of choosing What To Read is to browse the shelves of my local library and pick books that I’ve never heard of, because they have intriguing titles or pretty covers.

I bought a book yesterday. An impulse buy, which is extremely uncharacteristic of me. But I was at the bookstore with my daughter, buying a birthday present for her friend. When this book caught my eye I Could Not Resist. The Trapeze Artist, by Will Davis — a novel written by an actual trapeze artist!! If reading this doesn’t make me a better person I don’t know what would! <grin>

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Classical music in the movies

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Charming post in The Atlantic about classical music that you learned from watching movies. I have one of my own to add — the swimming pool scene from Harold & Maud. I can never hear that piano concerto without thinking of this:

I have always wondered how Harold managed to float so perfectly flat and still on top of the water. I’m a very confident swimmer but I don’t think I could do that.

My mother is extremely dense. Physically, I mean. Her body literally will not float. She is fairly athletic but she was never able to learn to swim. It is pretty hilarious to watch her try. She just sinks straight to the bottom of the pool, every time. And then I say to her, “Mom, you rock.” har har har

Anyone have any other classical music / movie scenes to contribute? I’d love to hear ’em, with or without accompanying random unrelated thoughts.

Thank you Béla Bartók

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Because I am the meanest mom in the world, I force my two younger kids to practice the violin every day. And I mean every day. They never get a day off, unless it is their lesson day or they are actually throwing up. If there is not enough time for both practicing and homework, practicing comes first.

I have absolutely no qualms about this. The kids think it is a normal part of life — they brush their teeth every day, too. Sure they complain sometimes, but they do it, and they are reaping all those awesome benefits of both brain and character development. It is also quite a challenge for me as a parent, since I practice with them. It is very hard sometimes, but soooo worth the effort.

Even so, there are days when “real” practicing just ain’t gonna happen — in other words, when Mama is fried. This is where dear Béla Bartók comes in to save the day. See, he wrote some violin duets. 44 of them, to be precise, written for children. Not only are they amazingly beautiful, but they are also amazingly educational. The separate parts are extremely simple (especially the beginning ones) but putting them together is challenging and gives lots of opportunity to practice chamber music skills. My kiddos have been working on them for a while, the first half dozen or so anyway. Since they each know both parts we can usually fill up a good half hour with them taking turns. It makes a nice change from the usual practice routine and involves no effort from me whatsoever. Yay, Bartók!!!

Post a day? Seriously?

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Oh my goodness, did I really do that? Yes indeed — I just put one of those post-a-day badges in my sidebar. Posting every week day is probably a more realistic goal, actually, but I would like to try this. Incentive: if I post every day for… two… months… I will reward myself by purchasing the custom design upgrade. And once I have the custom design upgrade I will make a few changes around here oh yes I will. Not big changes, mind you. Just a few little typographic tweaks that will allow me to use certain other themes that I have heretofore rejected. I will spare you my litany of pet peeves regarding web fonts, blockquote styling, etc etc. All I will say is the idea of the custom design upgrade is a POWERFUL MOTIVATOR bwahahahahahaha.

I do have some resolutions, of course. Here they are:

Lose 30lbs. Started dieting today (cutting carbs & sugar). Woo hoo.

Get a physical. Probably should do that before I start dieting but oh well. I haven’t seen a doctor in, like, a decade. My “primary care” physician moved her office and I don’t even know where it is. I also should get my hearing checked. I am turning into an old person.

Chop wood, carry water. This is shorthand for a Zen saying which I only learned recently: “Before enlightenment, chop wood & carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood & carry water.” Not saying I am enlightened or anything. But I need to make myself perform the tedious tasks of daily life more routinely, mainly housekeeping & financial. I know that if I do them mindfully they won’t seem so tedious.

Happy New Year, and see ya tomorrow!