Hello. My name is Ms. Kline, and I am a Pandoraholic.
I think it was my study hall that first introduced me to Pandora. Each day, I make them suffer through whatever musical mood I'm in, usually, via my itunes list. About two months ago, they told me about Pandora, explaining that I simply enter a song or artist that I feel like hearing, and the Pandora Gods will create a station that will continue to play music similar to the song or artist I have chosen. In the words my students LOVE hearing me say in my super dorky way...hands in the air..."whaaaat whaaaat??" :) Instantly, I was hooked. As of today, I have created 33 stations. It's magical. I love it.
The first reason I love Pandora is because I'm a child of the 80's, and children of the 80's will forever hold in our hearts a deep and lasting love for the mixtape. There are few joys as simple and satisfying as someone handing you a tape they made just for you. And, the first time you listened to it was always the best....at the end of each song, eagerly anticipating what would be next. I loved that feeling, and that is exactly what Pandora is. Listening to Pandora is like having a friend making you an eternally new and never-ending mixtape.
In addition to the excitement of each new song, I am perpetually amazed at the actual song choices. As I previously mentioned, I currently have 33 stations in my Pandora account. Some of them I have created from songs, some from artists, and some simply from a genre. Regardless of how I made the station, I am constantly floored by the perfection of the songs the Pandora Gods play for me. In fact, sometimes it's downright frightening. I think the Pandora Gods must have somehow hacked my itunes account as well as going through the three huge books of CD's I have hidden under my bed, because it feels like EVERY song that plays is not only one that I love, but usually one that I have a personal connection to in some way. Or I become connected to the new ones. Today's new favorite- Hazy, Rosi Golan---it's amazing. There are days that I believe Pandora may know me better than some of my friends and family.
I also love the variety of music that I can listen to with Pandora. Like the rest of the world, my mood changes daily, sometimes hourly. For most of my life, I have found a connection to some of my emotions through music. Pandora allows me to create stations for each of my moods. When I am feeling angry, I listen to my Seether Radio. When I am reading, either my Boston Baroque Radio or Ron Carter Radio. When I want to feel peaceful and relaxed, I turn on my Jack Johnson Radio. When I have dance parties with my boys, we listen to Va Va Voom Radio. When I'm feeling a little country, Wagon Wheel Radio. When I am sad and I want to stay that way for a while, I listen to Sarah McLachlan Radio. Then, no matter what mood I'm in, I have my default- Ingrid Michaelson Radio...which I love anytime, any day.
I'm sure the novelty of Pandora will wear off eventually, but for now (and I understand and acknowledge that I'm at least a couple years late on this one) I love it.
Your challenge: Show me what I'm missing. What stations should I try? Which ones do you love? Which ones do you hate? Which stations do you use for which moods?
Last night, I did something I haven't done for a very long time. In fact, I very rarely do this at all during the school year. Last night, I read....for my own enjoyment.
All year long, I am busy reading whatever I am teaching, grading, or lesson planning. And most nights, by the time I get my kids in bed and my apartment picked up, it's a struggle to keep my eyes open long enough to get those things done. But, I've decided something recently. I've decided that I need to MAKE time to do the things that I really love...just for fun.
Mrs. Martens gave me a free copy of Fahrenheit 451 yesterday for World Book Night, 2013. This is a very cool, fairly new program. People across the country can apply to give away free books once a year. A list is made of 25 books, both classics and more modern books, fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry, and boxes of books are sent to the chosen applicants. They give the books away to whomever they choose on World Book Night day. Since Fahrenheit is such a classic, and it's truly a crime that, as an English teacher, I have never read it, I thought I would give it a shot.
One page into it and I was in love. It gripped me from the first sentence. "It was a pleasure to burn." The descriptions were amazing. "Her dress was white and it whispered." I loved each sentence better than the one before it. "He saw himself in her eyes, suspended in two shining drops of bright water, himself dark and tiny, in fine detail, the lines about his mouth, everything there, as if her eyes were two miraculous bits of violet amber that might capture and hold him intact." I stayed up way too late reading it...but it was totally worth it.
I've been realizing lately that I tend to pack my life with things to do and I neglect doing the things that really bring me private joy. I love my job and I enjoy what I do at work every day. I love my kids and I enjoy being with them, watching their sporting events, and helping with homework. There are certain things in life, however, that I just love doing for me. Reading is one of those things. Cooking is another one. This last Sunday, I went grocery shopping and made a promise to myself that I am going to cook something every night, just for me, just because I enjoy it. I enjoy making up recipes, so I bought a bunch of great ingredients and I've been creating in my kitchen, just me and my Ingrid Michaelson Pandora...nothing too fancy or elaborate, but I've loved every minute of it.
So, for the rest of this school year, even though things are going to get crazy and hectic, I am going to continue making little bits of time just for me, just for fun.
I ask you this....
What do you do for yourself? What do you do that you truly enjoy? It has to be something you do alone. Being with friends and family is wonderful, and we all have to make time for those moments as well. But there is something magically healing about spending time alone, doing something you love. It brings peace. It brings happiness. It brings growth. It helps you....create YOU. :)
All day, I've been asking each of my students to make me lists of ideas I can blog about. I was reprimanded several times today by students because I had not posted anything since last Friday. Even though today was busy for me...approving topic after topic for research papers...the reason that I haven't blogged until now is not because I had so much to do. I haven't written anything until now, because I didn't have anything worthwhile to say.
But, wait for the right moment...and magic happens. Here I am, kids in bed, sitting alone in my living room, nothing on tv...so I turn on what has become one of my favorite movies of all time, Hemingway and Gellhorn. It's a docudrama that HBO aired about six months ago, I believe. It is a fraction of the life of Earnest Hemingway...his marriage to Martha Gellhorn, the only one of his four wives that left him.
As I was watching, I heard a line that I've never noticed before. One of the minor characters says, "maybe we all learn something...each day we acquire an education." So, I asked myself.....what did I learn today??
In this order.....this is what I learned today.....
I learned that my mornings would be a lot easier if I could learn to stop hitting the snooze button. I learned that I firmly believe Maxwell House makes the best K-cups, hands down. I learned that music Fridays in the English hallway have become music Mondays too...and I love that. :) I learned that selecting groups for the mass media project is not as difficult as I thought. I learned that, even though I have personal space issues with my students, sometimes, what someone really needs from me is a hug and a shoulder to cry on...and that is ok...even good. I learned that Papa Vito's makes an amazing pizza. I learned that people can surprise you, in a very good way. I learned that right now, some of my students are very stressed out about their grades, and they just need me to listen to them talk about it. I learned that sometimes, people can be actual monsters. I learned that, even when someone hurts you to the core, it is possible to rise above....and make things in your own life ok. I learned that a crazy, emotional day can be fixed with 20 minutes of good snuggle time with a 2 year old. I learned that if you wait long enough, you will figure out exactly what to write about. :)
So now, I ask you simply this......
What did you learn today????
Blog post number two....we'll see how this goes. :)
There have been a few events, especially in the last couple of days, that have really reminded me how fragile life is. Just yesterday, I sat in traffic for 20 minutes on my way home because of a horrible car accident, and then I spent another 20 minutes later that evening cuddling in the bathroom with my two kids while a possible tornado came through our neighborhood. When I finally sat down to watch my recorded par 3 contest at the Masters, I was saddened to see Arnold Palmer struggle so much to hit the ball, and then even walk the 9 hole course because he has aged so much.
I spend most of my days surrounded by 14-16 year old students and the vibrancy of their youth. Then I go home and soak up the energy and vitality of a 2 year old and a 7 year old. It is easy to forget the delicacy of our own lives and the lives of those around us. We do not wake every morning thinking about the possibility that a death or illness might touch our lives at any moment....and I'm not sure that we should. In fact, I think that could be a detriment to our entire existence and an assurance of sadness and heartache. Yet, the fact remains.
To avoid obvious cliches and epiphanies, I will simply suggest that maybe acknowledgement of this fact might be constructive. I do not believe we should ask ourselves each and every day, "how would I live my life if this was my last day?" I do not think we should treat our relationships with an attitude of, "if this is the very last time I see you..." I think that is letting too much despondence into our lives....and I believe we all deserve to be happier than that.
Maybe, let's not be like Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, living a "life in death," a life of worry and woe, wearing our albatross....instead let's heed his words below. Maybe...let's just make it simple...
"The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions - the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment." -Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Ok kids...I've had some requests, so I'm starting a blog. 6th hour just told me that I'm supposed to blog about my feelings....hehe You all know that's not going to work well. :)
I guess I will say that I enjoyed listening to some of your bell-ringer responses today....about the positive things in your lives. Everyone has first hour to thank for that, since they spent the first two minutes of class this morning complaining about EVERYTHING in their lives....thus the BR topic.
I think we all could do a better job of trying to be positive about life. It's so much easier to moan and groan, isn't it? It takes effort sometimes to either find something positive in difficult situations, or to turn them into positive situations. In fact, I think maybe this should be a challenge we all hold each other accountable for during these last few weeks of school. Inevitably, these days ahead will be challenging for all of us. Let's try to encourage each other to FIND THE POSITIVE as much as we can!
This includes me, by the way.... Even though, I'm sure you will all agree.... Ms. Kline is one of the HAPPIEST and POSITIVE people you know!! ;)
Make good decisions.... MK :)