Monthly Archives: February 2017

Second Adulthood Makeover

Blue Satin Nightgown by Karin Crilly

The Blue Satin Nightgown: My French Makeover at Age 78! by Karin Crilly

I have been doing some reading about how women need to reinvent themselves in second adulthood. It’s a very interesting concept that has adults trying to figure out what to do now that they find themselves with a significant amount of time after retiring. Their children are grown and self-sufficient too. A new world of possibilities open up and it is like starting all over again in a new phase of life.

So, when I was approached to review this book for my blog, I thought it would be a nice companion piece to the other material I had been reading for a school project I had been working on.

Karin Crilly had once wished to live in France. She had her honeymoon there so many years ago. Now at the age of 78, and widowed, she decided to return there to live for a year. She didn’t know the language or anyone there, but still set out alone on this new adventure. This memoir tells her story.

The first chapter won a writing contest in 2014 and motivated her to continue the story and complete this book.

Crilly starts off every chapter with a recipe and then fills us in on her adventures in a foreign land. It is interesting to see the cultural differences as well. We see that she navigates this new world quite effectively, even though she still doesn’t have much figured out. It’s a journey of discovery that will help her define who she is in this new age of adulthood.

It’s Karin Crilly’s French Makeover at Age 78. Perhaps she will even find love and get to use the blue satin nightgown referred to in the title. But I won’t give away any spoilers. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

My List of 2017 Reads – with links to every title I read this year

14 Songs for February 14th

DJ Chase March - 14 Songs for February 14th

14 Songs for February 14th (A DJ Chase March Mixtape)

I made this one as a Valentine’s Day present for my beloved Diana. I can’t believe that in just a few short weeks she will become my wife. I am truly a blessed man.

I hope that you will enjoy this mixtape as well. Please feel free to download it, share it, and get in the mood for a Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 Songs (Back Cover)

14 Songs for February 14th – zip album download

The Smart One – Is She Though?

Jenniger Close - The Smart One

The Smart One by Jennifer Close

The title character of this novel was labelled by her parents as “the smart one.” However, she is not feeling very smart at the moment. Her three adult children don’t quite have it together the way she had expected them to. Her oldest, has left the profession of nursing and is working in retail. She knows that she doesn’t have things together, but doesn’t know where to turn. She runs out of money and is forced to move back home to figure things out and catch up financially. The middle child has just called off her engagement and dumped her fiance. And the baby of the family is in college and getting into a pretty heavy relationship.

This is family drama much like you would see in prime-time television. It would actually make a good series. It’s interesting to see how the labels we put on children can ultimately put limits on their potential. The title character rebelled against her label and “married well” whereas her sister, the so-called “pretty one,” wasn’t able to do that.

The situations of each of the characters bring them back to their childhood home and the mother is left to cope with a very busy household once again. She reflects on her life as we get to explore each of the characters lives in detail through the prose.

The Smart One is a well-written novel that I enjoyed right up to the end. I say that because the end seemed to come up out of nowhere. The book ended in midstream. Maybe that is another reason this would make a good television series. It surely could have continued on. That being said, the novel could have had a better ending too. I much prefer to have closure at the end of a story, even though this is the kind of ending  a lot of stories have these days.

My List of 2017 Reads – my not-so-personal reading log for the year

Student Choice in Instrumental Music

It’s difficult to manage student choice in an instrumental music class. There are so many things to consider. The first of which is assigning instruments to your students. It is important to have a good variety of brass and woodwind instruments so that your class can sound like a full concert band.

This is a good set up for a class of 25 students (it is only meant as a guide and you need to be flexible)

  • 4 flute
  • 5 clarinet
  • 5 trumpet
  • 2 French Horn
  • 3 saxophone
  • 2 trombone
  • 2 euphonium
  • 2 Tuba

I normally don’t assign a student to percussion in beginning band classes. At least not right away. I have found that some students don’t have a good sense of timing and if they play poorly on a drum, it can throw the entire band off. It even throws off my timing when I conduct.

Starting everyone off with a brass or woodwind instrument is a good idea. You can always move a student to percussion later.

I used this form to let my students choose the instrument they would play this year. It worked out pretty well. I was able to give most of my students their first choice. Just make sure everyone picks three different instruments.

Some students will mark “saxophone” number one, two, and three. It always seems to be the most popular instrument choice. So by requiring your students to rank their choices in numerical order, you can have flexibility with how you assign them.

Instrument Choice Form

I hope you are finding my series on Teaching Beginning Band Class useful. If you have missed the previous posts, please check click these links and explore what has been working well for me for a few years now.

AMU3O: Instrumental Music – Semester Plan

First Week of a Beginning Instrumental Music Class (Part 1)

First Week of a Beginning Instrumental Music Class (Part 2)

Teaching Tip Tuesday – weekly inspiration from my class to yours

Spider-Woman – Revamped and Styling!

Spider Woman - New Duds

Spider-Woman: New Duds

Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman has quit The Avengers in order to live a normal life, something she has never really known. Her plan to just be an everyday investigator is turned upside down when Ben Ulrich helps her out of a tough spot and motivates the reluctant hero to take on a missing persons case.

I try not to give away much in my written reviews but if you don’t want to know anything more about this book, skip the next paragraph.

Spoiler Alert ahead

I really enjoyed the premise of the first story.  It revolves around a group of women who have come up with a very creative solution to leave behind their husbands, ex-boyfriends, and lovers of the super-villain variety. Even with good intentions though, they might be going about things the wrong way.

Spoiler Free Section below

Spider-Woman gets a new costume and new sidekicks in this collected edition of the on-going series. We all knew that she wouldn’t have been content with a normal life. It’s not in her. She is Spider-Woman after all.

My List of 2017 Reads – a continually updated reading log for the entire year