never mind about the fact that ~65% of her crotch is missing

Look at her arm!


I know you’ve all probably seen this already. But I have to say, after another round of weird and ridiculous negative self-image crises from Only Daughter (5′, 87 lbs, fit as a fiddle), I really have to wonder what all of this image-manipulation is really doing to us.

And is there actually someone out there THIS bad at photoshop who has an actual JOB for an actual company the size of TARGET; someone who can’t actually see how bad this is? It has to be some kind of a joke. Has anyone seen it in an actual ad?




empathy vs. sympathy; there really is a difference


the email I can’t send, to the student who really needs to read it

Dear ________,

Hello. It’s been a semester since I’ve seen you. I hope you’re well.

I’m writing because I’ve heard through the grapevine that you thought I was a “tough, hard, (maybe even) mean” teacher, and I’m realizing that I did you a disservice by not making my intentions and frustrations clearer last semester. I thought that I should try to make amends for this, so here I am.

Yes, I’m “tough” — I’ve worked really hard to get where I am, and don’t actually believe that a person can “make it” as a professional musician if they’re not talented, disciplined, and willing to work. I guess you could also say that I’m a “tough” teacher because I believe that a great deal of my responsibility is to motivate my students to be disciplined and hard working.

But maybe that’s my first mistake, because, really, if a student isn’t willing to motivate themselves, they should probably be doing something else.

And yes, you’re right, maybe, by the end of the semester, I was a little “mean” to you. And I probably should have explained to you why, although I kind of thought that you would have been able to figure this out for yourself.

You’ll probably recall that at the beginning of the semester I was warm, encouraging, supportive. I was even fairly understanding when you came for your first few lessons and told me about how tough your week was, and how hard it is for you to really figure out what exactly you should be doing in your practice time, and how difficult it is for you to keep your focus. But as this became a regular occurrence — you, not having done really any work at all, but always having your long list of excuses, probably noticed that I became less encouraging and supportive, and more frustrated and perhaps, alas, a bit impatient.

I do regret that you were not prepared for your final, although hopefully you also realize that this was only because you continually neglected to meet with the head of the area and determine what exactly your final requirements were going to be as I had requested.

I also apologize for the fact that I may have actually snorted when you confessed that you wanted to switch into the piano classes because then you wouldn’t “need” to practice. That was very unprofessional of me.

I also noticed that in my student evaluation reports last semester I had positive responses from all students but one. Of course I have no way of knowing if the negative feedback came from you, but everyone else who studied with me last semester is still studying with me, and all seem quite content with my instruction and expectations. It would disappoint me greatly, and remove this circumstance from being a learning opportunity for you altogether, if you saw your failure to progress as only my responsibility.

‘Cuz here’s the thing:

I think it’s really really important for adults to be able to recognize, and take responsibility, for their own failures, rather than to pass them on as someone else’s “fault.” I don’t actually take any offense at all for being known as a “tough” or even a “hard” teacher. I actually kind of sort of always do that on purpose. Because life is hard. Being a musician is hard. Trying to make a living as a musician is really hard. You’re a college student, not a fourth grader. It is time, if not past time, for you to find it within yourself to get motivated, get disciplined, get focused, and if someone who is actually doing this for a living tells you that what they’re asking you to do is important, you should probably believe them.

And you should probably spend at least as much time trying to do something as you do making your list of excuses for why you failed. You might find that increasing the one removes the need for the other.

It might be worth a try.


(Realize as I click on some links at the bottom of this post that I wrote about this before, even more rantingly here. Three years ago even. Some things never change.)


The Ideal Woman

from The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton:

The ideal woman, in his mind, was one devoted to the project of her own enhancement, who was accomplished in the female arts of embroidery, piano-playing, pressing leaves, and the like; who sang sweetly, read quietly, and demurred to all opinion; who was a charming and priceless collectible; who loved, above all things, to be loved.”


Well at least there’s the piano-playing.



part of the problem?

Showed up in my search terms today:

alliteracy among adolescents

Is that ironic?

Looking for this maybe? It was my most-viewed post — almost 5000 hits.

Although “alliteracy among adolescents” does have alliteration. Maybe they were being ironical.



Zen Rock Towers and Olympic Ridiculousness

This is cool.


I’m going to figure out how to do this, and then do it in my back yard after we rebuild our patio.

If anyone wants to come help that would be awesome.


Today I unclogged a drain (ick) and made homemade noodles.

Zen-like in its way I guess.

I miss you guys, but I’m too busy to sustain the time and attention needed to actually write something. I keep having ideas, and starting them, and then getting sidetracked or “called” away (child, dinner, students, practicing, the OLYMPICS) and then by the time I come back to it whatever I was going to write about has lost its lustre, so to speak.


Maybe I could do a quick list of this Olympics’ ridiculousnesses:

  • Super Finals? Just regular old finals aren’t good enough anymore?
  • The guy commentating the Biathlon and sounding like he was going to stroke out. It’s cross country skiing. It’s not that exciting.
  • The US losing at hockey. :-(
  • How many “slope styles” and “half pipes” does any one Olympic competition need? (Hint: Fewer than we had in 2014)
  • Putin clapping politely, hugging a figure skater (commentators ask, “what did he say?”), moments later the figure skater thanking his leader and country for all of their efforts in hosting the Olympics (gee, I wonder). Subtle.
  • The NBC commentator (did anyone catch his name? I missed it) before one of the women’s downhill events commenting on their speed, strength, and prowess, all demonstrated while wearing only their “thin little skiing suits and some makeup.” Condescension, anyone? (And did anyone else notice that NONE of them were wearing ANY makeup at all? It’s a wonder they could ski so well while looking so awful.)

Am I missing anything?

I was quite impressed at what great commentators Tara Lapinski and Johnny Weir were. (That’s funny, spellcheck just tried to change Weir to weird. Maybe it saw his outfits.)


“The Art of Presence”

David Brooks writes about a family’s coping with more than its share of tragedy.

Good advice, beautifully written, for those of us standing on the sidelines, wringing our hands, not knowing what to do.

Reader Appreciation Award

Share This

Share |

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 176 other followers

Follow me on Twitter: sheriji1

Blog Stats

  • 101,733 hits


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 176 other followers