Monday, September 9, 2013

What should children play?

I chose a deliberately ambiguous title for the post: I'm thinking right now of musical instruments, specifically, but it occurs to me that the title can be interpreted in in so many ways.

Boo has the opportunity this year, as a fifth grader, of joining the band.  This is, of course, something that is unknown to us, having grown up in the UK, where the orchestra was for years 8 or so up (not that we called it that then there).  Her teacher strongly suggested the oboe as an instrument for her, though Boo had been saying for days that she wanted to play clarinet.  I'd have been fine with the oboe, as a purer instrument, though I think that the clarinet is a far more versatile instrument: and one who plays clarinet can participate in far more styles of music.
The kicker, though, was the price.  Oboes seem to go for four digits for cheap versions.  Clarinets, decent ones, it seems, can be had for a little less.  Or is that a lot less?  Yes, a lot less!  I didn't order the cheapest model, but went for one with great reviews from (self-proclaimed) professionals.  Hopefully, I won't regret the decision.

Yours, planning more on other interpretations of "what should children play" later,

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Somehow, I've let a few days go by without blogging (or faking it by putting up blogs a day or so late, and faking the timestamp --- yes, I do do that sometimes....)
Such is life.  Fortunately, there are only the three of you reading ( "hi there!").

I'm hooked currently on the series Silks, the latest Masterpiece Mystery series on PBS --- from Britain, of course, as are most of their MM series --- but I was delighted, thrilled, almost enough to squeal, to discover that next week the MM spot will be another episode of Foyle --- but not Foyle's war!  They've continued the series after the end of the war!

Yours, thrilled!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Topaz it may be.  For now, it's a working name for him.
Our kitten is getting a little bigger --- he's up to about a half a pound now: that's two stick of butter here in the US.  Still very sweet, except when he's peeing on my clothes.   I'm looking forward to the day --- coming very soon --- when he doesn't need to be fed with a bottle, but can lap up kitty-formula, or softened dry food.  At the same time,  I love taking care of such a tiny, vulnerable creature.  It's like having babies all over again.

Yours, melting,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I've signed up for a community rowing event --- I've been a little nervous about it: after all, it has been thrumpty-sevix years since I was fit enough to do something like that.  Fortunately, I gather that the race is only 500 meters, which makes it realistic: plus I went to a training session this evening for all of the other other rowers (or as many of them as could make the time): and I think that I'm on a par with most of them, and perhaps more prepared than some.
Now, since our first race is at 9:45 or so, and the final is not until about 3, there's a definite incentive to come in second in the heat!

Yours, planning on trying harder than second,

Monday, September 2, 2013

Another Labor Day

Another day in the classroom at 8am.
As much as I love teaching, I do think that a day off here or there for a Federal Holiday would be nice.

Yours, laboring away,

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Combinatorial fun!

Thanks to my cousin, Mike, a week or two back, I heard about the game Dobble, which over here in the US is marketed as Spot It.  He gave it such high praise that I immediately ordered a set.  It arrived well over a week ago, but the past ten days have been so hectic with the start of school, the start of classes for me, Skibo's testing, etc, that today was the first chance we'd had to play it.
Skibo was away on a sleepover, so it was just the three of us playing: and it was fun! And after seven or eight rounds, Boo was just not ready to put it away.  It almost led to an argument, she was so determined to keep playing.  Tomorrow we need to play again, with Skibo involved as well.

Yours, loving that a game can have so much deep mathematics hidden behind it (even if the manufacturers only put out 55 cards, instead of the 57 they could have made!)