Thursday, December 20, 2007

the best gifts

I read in a magazine that the gift most popular with teachers is a handwritten thank you note. Well, they didn't poll me when they wrote that article! I personally think gift cards are just fine, though my favorite gifts have been handmade gifts, like that ornament I wrote about before. This year's best gift contender: a dish towel with "Heather's Kitchen" monogrammed on it, from a mother who has a monogramming business. In addition to that gift, the same family gave me some nicely decorated christmas cookies. My student's little brother saw me leaving the house with a box of cookies and said "are those cookies?!" He was not pleased about any more cookies leaving the house than necessary. Somebody give that boy a cookie!

2007 Quick Facts

Birthday: 25th
Piano Lessons Taught: 950
Piano Recitals: 2
Album of the Year: Easy Tiger by Ryan Adams
Runner Up: The Reminder by Feist
Favorite Singer I Discovered: Sean Hayes
Best Song: I Feel it All by Feist
Runner Up: Four Winds by Bright Eyes
Favorite Movie: Superbad
Favorite Movie I will admit to grown-ups: The Lives of Others
Favorite Theatrical Production I saw: Desire Under the Elms
Runner Up: Ragtime
Best Concert I went to: The Decemberists in Millenium Park
Amount I spent to go to that concert: $0.
Best TV Show: 30 Rock
Runner Up/still my favorite: The Office
Favorite TV show I discovered: How I Met Your Mother
Favorite Book: Harry Potter VII
Favorite Book that everyone else hasn't read: Ragtime
Biggest thing I did this year: Bought a Condo
Cubs Games attended: 11
# of those games they won: 9
City I visited: Memphis, TN
Best thing to do there: Graceland, home of the one and only Elvis
Runner Up: Haunted Memphis Walking Tour

This is the first year I've had a full-sized Christmas tree of my own.  Thankfully, my mother and step-mother were nice enough to send me some old family ornaments so that not only would my tree have a decent number of ornaments, but there would be some with sentimental value as well.  I was delighted/horrified to get one ornament that I made in kindergarten, and I know it was that year because, as you can see, the year is posted on the side of my class picture.  Cardboard, tin foil and pipe-cleaners; what an excellent way to use up an hour of school with 5 year olds! 
Two years ago, one of my first students gave me an ornament which he made for me.  This one, unlike my own kindergarten ornament, is hanging on my tree.  I haven't decided, though I have a pretty good feeling that I know, why I would be willing to hang the ornament my student made of me and not mine.  When someone else makes something for you, it is more special.  But beyond that, I know that the ornament I made when I was 5 years old was not something I came up with one my own.  My music note ornament is truly from the heart, and for that reason, I am happy to hang it on my tree next to my grandmother's heirloom ornaments and brand new ones I've picked up myself from the shops in my neighborhood.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Piano vs. Basketball

My last student of this evening was not a happy camper.  Why, you ask, when he has such a wonderful teacher?  It seems he had been asked to a Bulls game at the last minute.  But we have a recital this weekend!  So his mother, thankfully, nixed the b-ball game and said he had to stay home for his last lesson before the recital.  I told him if it had been a Cubs game I would not only have allowed it, but asked to come along.  Sorry basketball, piano is more important!
It has been a day of bursting bubbles.  Literally.  In an earlier lesson, I had to ask a student to spit out his gum.  It is one of my few rules, and every time a student argues with me I go through the whole spiel about how the rhythm of the gum-chewing gets in the way of your playing, it is distracting to you and me, etc. etc.  The real reason I have that rule?  It was always a rule with my piano teachers and it gives me a little power trip when I get to make students spit out their prized gum.  Is that mean?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Holiday gifts/why I love my computer

My holiday checklist is enormous.  This weekend, I baked bread and cookies (and decorated the cookies).  I squeezed in a few piano lessons with students who have been MIA and need some extra practice before our recital next weekend.  I wrote my annual update letter that I send with all of my Christmas cards, and, most importantly, I worked on my Christmas gift I'm making for my grandfather.
I do believe that homemade gifts are the best.  Last year, I made aprons for all of my female family members (sexism? you bet!) This year, I'm basically just doing one homemade gift, for my grandfather.  It's hard to shop for a man who is mostly blind.  But, being the musical genius that I am, and having the awesome computer that I do, I figured out that I can record myself playing piano pieces, then singing them.  So, I'm doing a broadway revue, of sorts, read: excellent songs from old musicals, including some duets with me singing both the male and female parts (very non-sexist, don't you think?)  Too bad I can't put sound clips in my blog (I don't think)!
Time to go spend quality time with Nate, playing scrabble in front of the fire.  Another holiday checklist item.  Quality time, check!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

About Me

Hello, I am Heather, AKA Wicky, and I am a piano teacher (as I'm sure you know from my blog address).  What you may not know is that I can touch my nose with my tongue and make great guacamole.