Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Other Thoughts

    7 Quick Takes

    January 10, 2014 by Brandy Vencel
    — 1 —

    Want to hear an embarrassing story? Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? Two weeks ago, I went to Costco by myself in my husband’s car, and bought some gas. I should have known this would turn out traumatic as I can count the times I’ve gassed up his car on one hand.

    First mistake: thinking that his gas tank was on the same side as mine. I think, when we first were married, this was the case, but you’d think I’d learn after having my vehicle for, oh, seven years.

    So I get up to the pump and of course this is Costco so it isn’t like I can turn around. So I see some guy pumping gas from the “wrong” side, and I think why not? This is a thought I should not be allowed to have. So I put in my cards, do the transaction stuff, grab the pump, and go for it. As I pull it to the other side, I realize that I’ve tangled myself up in the pump. At this point, I’m flustered. I turn back around. I get gas on my jacket. I drop the gas cap on the ground. I finally put the pump into the tank and start pumping. I find I have to stand there and hold it the entire time because of the awkward angle.

    Second mistake: during this time, I lose track of my Costco card and debit card.

    On Monday, when I try to use my debit card at the grocery store, I discover that it is missing. Visions of dollars flying into some thief’s pocket are dancing in my head. I pay with a check. I snap at the children, even though they don’t know that I’m having a financial panic attack. I think, Si is going to kill me!

    I go home and check our bank account. No action. The card must be somewhere safe! We talk to Costco. They don’t have it. I check the pockets of the jacket I thought I was wearing. No luck. Right before we are about to cancel our cards and order new ones {not something we want to do right before we need to buy Costco pizza for a party}, it dawns on me that I own more than one jacket.

    And there the cards were, safe in the coat closet, in the pocket of my other jacket.

    Sigh. of. relief.

    — 2 —

    This sort of thing happens to me fairly often. There was also an incident with spilling grains at the grocery store which I will not detail except to mention that the customer in line behind me gave us an award for being able to laugh at it because, she assured me, she would have cried.

    I won’t say I didn’t consider it.

    Crying, I mean.


    But anyhow, this sort of thing seems to happen in front of a new friend I have all. the. time., and I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m missing a marble.

    — 3 —

    If you use AmblesideOnline, but don’t follow me on Pinterest, you might be interested in a couple new pinboards I started. I mentioned them in my Circle Time post, and thought I’d mention it again here. I decided to do all of my planning on Pinterest and just use my Kindle to teach composer study this term. My Tchaikovsky board is here. I created a similar board for artist study, so you can access my Manet board here.

    — 4 —

    I drink my morning cup of tea out of a mug specifically labeled “coffee.” I do this because I have a strong sense of irony. Also, I’ve lately suspected a coffee allergy. I actually feel better when I don’t drink coffee, which is very sad because I Love coffee. With a capital L.

    — 5 —

    On Monday at my food co-op pickup, I marveled to someone that we hadn’t been sick yet this winter. I don’t believe in jinxing things, but at the same time I should have whispered because within 36 hours someone Had a Fever. I really can’t complain because she’s already better, but still. I always hesitate to mention good health for this very reason. Happens every time.

    — 6 —

    I was beginning to get concerned about my youngest, who still doesn’t even know all of his letters. He’s five, and while that isn’t terribly old, it is quite old for our family. In a series of a number of answers to prayers and insights from friends, we believe we’ve discovered an eye-tracking problem. We’re doing simple therapy at home, and with wonderful results! Within a week or so of starting the exercises, he began trying to teach himself his numbers, and also doing better with letters — and even copying some sentences on his own!

    — 7 —

    I promise I will stop asking you to take my survey after this post. I’m going to turn it off {meaning it’ll no long accept responses} on Monday {as long as I remember ahem}, so this is your last chance really really. I have loved hearing from you all. Truly. So if you haven’t taken it yet, and you want to, do it soon. As in: now. Please?

    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply lisa-v January 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Re: #3 – have you read the whole biography on the Classic Cat site? Forgive me for taking up space here if you have, but if you haven’t I thought I’d briefly summarize here 🙂

    Tchaikovsky dedicated this symphony to his nephew who was reportedly one of the great loves of his life although it was “apparently unconsummated”. He insisted that there was a program for his symphony but never divulged the program, so there has been speculation as to what the program was.

    This is from the site: “One such program, suggested by Tchaikovsky scholar and biographer Alexander Poznansky, is that the composer intended “to retell in music the story of his life and his soul…so that his beloved nephew would be able to share and appreciate all that he himself had gone through”.[13] The symphony, Poznansky adds, embodies “the anguish of unrequited love, a conflict between platonic passion and the desires of the flesh” which was a “perennial spiritual delemma reformulated by the Romantics … the secret and proud struggle with one’s own sensual appetites for the sake of the beautiful and the good”.

    There was also speculation that it was somewhat of a suicide note before he drank unboiled water after the first performance of this symphony, with the hope of catching cholera, because of his deep love for his nephew ,which could never be consummated, and that he felt deeply was wrong. As Tchaikovsky died nine days after the premiere of this symphony, this theory began immediately after his death. Oi! Some rather deep themes there!

    Are you planning to just edit that section out? If not, how will you adjust it so that the children get a sense of the melancholy and sadness that is behind the piece, without divulging all the “sordid” details maybe best left for an older audience?

    By the way I LOVE your pinterest boards!!! So. Very. Helpful!! 😀 I will be using them with my kindle as well 🙂 We’ve just listened to the first 2 or 3 movements this past week and it’s been very fun, but I just have one selection (the one that AO lists on Youtube) which is awesome, but it’ll be nice to add some variety in! I wasn’t able to fit in composer or artist study last term, so I’m super excited to have these available!! Will you be creating a board for the folk song? Pretty, pretty please… 😉

    Lisa V in BC

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 13, 2014 at 12:57 am

      Thank you for your summary, Lisa. 🙂 I love that you did that!

      I am of the opinion that, with some artists and composers, it is more worth our while to focus on their technique and style than their biography. Tchaikovsky would be one of those! There is a sense in which all of these links are for ME because I read them all {haven’t read them all yet, but I will in the near future} and then I distill the most important or pertinent parts in my short introductory talks. I will not be reading much of this aloud!

      I wasn’t planning to create a pinboard for the folks songs because we usually just sing them. What would you propose to include in a pinboard? I’m not saying I won’t do it, but I wonder what you think would be good for that…

  • Reply sara January 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    I, for one, feel better knowing that you’re at least a fraction as klutzy as I am.

    My six-year-old knows all of his letter sounds and is beginning to decode fairly well, but still doesn’t know all the names of the letters. Not sure what to do about that.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 10, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Klutz runs in my family. The women are genetically prone to embarrassment. You might fit right in! 🙂

      Some people teach letter sounds first and I don’t know if that really is a bad thing. My 5-year-old won’t really pay attention to *that* either. Sigh. It will come in time, and I’m trying not to be impatient with him.

  • Reply Catie January 10, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I’m glad you asked about the survey again! I’ve been forgetting to take it!

    Sorry to hear about your Costco mishap. Although I did giggle a little. ;o)

    What sort of reaction were you having to coffee?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 10, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      I’m glad you’re going to take it! Thank you!

      And I forgive you for laughing at me. 😉

      As far as the coffee goes, it was a really strange reaction. I almost felt like I was coming down with a bad cold. The first time it happened, that was what I thought was going on. When I felt fine the next morning, until right after I had my coffee, I thought that maybe there was something going on. So the next day I skipped my morning cup, and behold! I felt just fine. I can turn it off an on with coffee. My husband treats allergies, so I really should get this taken care of, but I’d have to drive over to his clinic, so for now I’m just skipping coffee and having tea. It’s not so bad. 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous January 10, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Can you share details of the eye therapy at home?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      You know what I did? I looked up “eye therapy” and “eye tracking therapy” and “eye convergence therapy” on YouTube and watched a bunch of videos, and then adapted those into little 5 minute sessions that we do throughout the day. Most of what we do seems soooo simple, that it is hard to imagine it is helpful, and yet I can see remarkable improvement in such a short time.

  • Reply Trisha January 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    #6–How wonderful, Brandy! I love reading these kinds of posts, btw. 🙂

  • Leave a Reply