Showing posts from June, 2010


Today, I taught my first-ever voice lesson.  The student is a girl from my home church, whom I've known since she was five.  Her goals are modest; to be able to better sing the hymns at church, to be able to sing along with the radio.  She's only just 15.  This should have been a piece of cake.

But I've never taught before.

Oh, I was a nervous wreck!  She was a bit late arriving (but called ahead to let me know; it wasn't her fault) and I spent the extra time just stewing.  I'd never taught before.  I know how to sing myself, of course -- but how on earth to convey that knowledge to a rank beginner?  I was sure it would be a flop.

Well, we both survived ;-)  And actually I think it went fairly well, once I relaxed a little.  My student is bright, intelligent, and wants to learn.  She can also match pitch.  So we talked about breathing and proper placement and tone, and discussed confidence issues, and sang a little, and I did my warm-up sirens and lip trills that m…

Strange Weather

We have had the most interesting weather lately -- beginning with last Friday when the oppressive mid-90-degree heat was interrupted by intense thunderstorms which caused our power to go down.  They didn't break the heat, though; I think I can safely say I have never missed having my ceiling fan working as much as I did that night!  Fortunately it was on again by mid-afternoon on Saturday.  In the meantime we lit the house with candles and a couple of oil lamps, and I felt pleasantly old-fashioned (though unpleasantly sweaty.)

This week has alternated between days of intense heat and high humidity -- only somewhat mitigated by the occasional lovely breeze -- and days (usually evenings) of fierce storms, high winds, and sheeting rain.  We are fortunate that the power has not been out again!  And yesterday, not only did we have severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, but apparently our area felt the side-shocks of an earthquake in Ontario.  My brother noticed it, but I feel somewh…

"Gardening with Gillian"

I've been quite busy lately, with little to show for it; but it's been a good week anyway.

This past week I was asked to clear out and plant the garden of a family with five children, the youngest of whom (2 years old, I think) they just brought home from Korea.  The mother is (of course) swamped, and wanted someone with more time and knowledge to tidy up the garden; could I do it?  Well, I thought, I did work at a sort of garden nursery last year, I suppose I can handle that.

The catch was, her six-year-old daughter is very interested in gardening and she asked if I could work along with her and teach her as I went.  I was skeptical; I love kids, and I love gardening, but I wasn't sure if I'd be any good at teaching a six-year-old how to garden.  But I said yes, a little warily.

Well, it has been just the most fun!  The family is delightful, and the little girls - I've ended up having the nine-year-old as well - are too precious.  They're intelligent, sweet, w…

Inappropriate for the Weather

This week I finished up an afghan which I began knitting probably 7 or 8 years ago.  I think I purchased the yarn, a wool/acrylic blend, using some birthday money.  I promptly knit half the afghan, and then - perhaps I started another project, or perhaps I just lost interest.  Whatever the cause, this poor blanket has sat half-finished in its basket for many years.

So I finished it.  Just in time for the arrival of summer, with the hottest, muggiest weather we've had so far.  I have such good timing.

In another display of impeccable timing, I also finished up knitting the (wool) hot water bottle cover, which I began a good 11 years ago, before we moved to Michigan.  (Are you noticing a trend yet?)  

I can't believe I put this off for so long - to knit the second half of it was the work of an evening, and the crochet border which holds it together took maybe 15 minutes.  The colour is no longer one I would choose for myself, but even so I think it's cute!

A friend from church g…

Garden, part 1, and the "Kumo" Sweater

When it began to pour rain this morning shortly after my morning run with Kate, I have to admit I was dismayed.  I'd wanted to photograph David's new sweater; I'd wanted to weed my woefully neglected garden and dig it over and (maybe) get things planted.  I thought the weather would ruin all those plans.
Fortunately, by the time I got back from my appointment at the dentist and from running a few errands, the rain had more or less cleared up, so I went out to dig anyway.  I was probably out there for 5 hours.  I was unbelievably hot, sweaty, filthy, and exhausted by the end of that time.  But I got the vegetable garden cleared!
So here's a "before and after" - weeds on the left, cleared and turned over on the right.

Tomorrow I hope to spread it with compost, turn that over, and then plant!  I've got three sorts of tomatoes, sweet red peppers, hot peppers, and zucchini, and I'll make it pretty -- since this bed is in the front of the house, I like to try …


I made it through the 5K - coached my little sister through it in fact - in nothing like record time, but with considerably less difficulty than I had anticipated.  I thank everyone for praying!

We had a lovely Memorial Day with a family of some of our best friends from the area.  I made Ree Drummond's chocolate sheet cake recipe (she's also known as The Pioneer Woman, and I love both her recipes and her writing style!) but unfortunately I forgot to take a photo.  It got rave reviews, though, so I recommend it!  It made enough for both our families -- 12 people, and 5 of them were teen-age/early 20s boys -- so this is great for parties, picnics, or someplace where you won't have to eat half the cake yourself. Not that this would be unpleasant -- but it might give you a heart attack!

I also finished a sweater I've been knitting for my brother for the last three years.  I'm so relieved to have it finished!  I'll try to get him to stand still long enough to be pho…