Winter Blues

Around this time every winter, I start to feel a little sad.  The short, dark days and the cold just make me want to hibernate!  That was my main concern with moving to Vermont – that I would hate the winter.  I’ve been okay up until about a week ago.  I got a sun light to use every morning, I’ve been making sure I exercise outdoors as much as possible, and I’ve been keeping busy with sewing and reading, but it’s not quite enough.  I still can’t shake the desire to curl up with a blanket and watch Friends (which, by the way, I’ve recently discovered is an amazing show) all day.

But I got out of my rut today!  I finally have newfound energy to lesson plan, teach, and live.  I had such a good day, and I’m glad this week will be off to such a positive start.  Here’s what happened:

I went cross country skiing for the first time!

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There’s a town near me called Peru, and they have a place for cross country skiing.  Every year, there’s a fundraiser for people who need help paying for heat.  It’s called “Ski for Heat.”  I was on a team with about 8 people and we were able to raise over $1000!  We spent the last month raising the money, then we skied today along with the other teams.  We all had a great time!  Everyone was of varying levels of ability but it was fun to participate together.

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I received instruction on the basics of cross country, and off we went all afternoon!  There were many different trails of varying levels of difficulty and length.  

I felt clumsy for the first half hour or so, but then I improved quickly!  The most challenging part for me was going uphill, which I learned is called “herringbone.”  You have to angle your skis outward in a kind of duck walk, dig the insides of your skis into the snow, and lean forward to make it up a slope.  But after a few tries it was much easier!  I started off doing only green trails, but I gave a blue trail a shot at the end and loved it!  It’s something I definitely want to do again.  I think I even want to buy my own pair of cross country skis!  It was such a great workout and it was wonderful being outdoors.  The trails were beautiful and the snow was great for gliding.

That was part one of my awesome day.  Part two involves music!

I joined a community group recently.  It’s called the Sage City Orchestra, and we rehearse at Bennington College, which is about a 25 minute drive from me.  It’s a very mature group for only being a non-audition community ensemble.  At our concert next week we’re playing Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony and a C.P.E. Bach Harpsichord Concerto!  Not only is it a pleasure playing with other musicians – I’ve missed it so much since college – but it’s a great way to keep up my playing skills.  With teaching I don’t practice nearly as often as I’d like, but playing with this group keeps me in musical shape.

We worked on the finale of the Beethoven this evening.  The only word I can think of to describe it is epic!  I sit right in front of the French horns, and there was this part they nailed at the end and it gave me goosebumps!  I recently did a little Beethoven unit with my younger students, which they loved.  Just as they were, I’m amazed that Beethoven’s music is just so excellent and timeless to be appreciated today.  What a great thing to be a part of!

So I think I kicked my case of winter blues for now!  I’m sure it will creep back up on me soon, but now I know what works to keep it away.  I think I need to carve out another day to go skiing again!

I can’t believe how quickly time is passing.  It’s almost February!  I am hoping the days continue to pass quickly.  This past week, I was house sitting for a friend.  I looked after her dog and cat and got to stay in her adorable little house!  When I’m ready to buy a house, I want one just like this.  It was nice to switch up my schedule a bit and do something different.

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My sewing projects recently include a t-shirt quilt for a friend (this will be quilt number 4!) and a yoga bag.  When I was in PA over Christmas, Ali came to my house for a few days and she helped me with this little creation for her yoga mat.  (P.S. The reason we look exhausted is because this is right after we both got back from Chicago!  It was an incredible trip but we both needed sleep!)

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I am constantly getting e-mails from strangers asking me to make them t shirt quilts!  I’m not taking on any extra projects until the summer, but it’s nice to know the interest is there!  I could start my own side business.

Other recent news is what I’ve been doing at school.  January has been bucket drumming month!

photo 2 (3)I’ve done it with grades 3-6 at both schools and all classes have responded positively to it!  We’ve been able to learn so much with something so simple.  We’ve worked on rhythm reading, playing in 2 parts, dynamics, and other musical symbols.  It’s something I definitely want to do again, but I think it’s time to move on to some other general music things for now.  My creativity has been running low recently, but hopefully I’ll be able to generate some lessons relating to Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, and other upcoming events.

I’m still taking teaching one week at a time.  Some days are good, some days are tough.  And with my case of winter blues, teaching has been a challenge for me recently.  It is hard getting my energy levels up to be excited and passionate about what I’m teaching but hopefully I’m still doing a good job!  When things are tough, I just keep telling myself, “This will be so much easier next year.”  It’s amazing to think how much I’ve improved and grown just since the beginning of the school year!

I think that’s all I will say now.  Stay tuned on how the rest of my winter turns out!