Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hip-hip-hooray for Christamas Vacation

Welcome to the final post of the semester. Today is Day 3 of Christmas Break, though I've been on break since about 10:40 or so on Thursday.

Monday: All I had that day was an assessment for Preparing for Professional Life, otherwise I was free! And I couldn't have been happier. I liked all my classes, but having three of 'em in one day was way too much, and every faculty and staff member to whom I mentioned it--from Drew to Nancy (the registrar)--agreed that three classes was too much in one day.

My assessment went very well. Trudy said that she really noticed how far I'd come: in the beginning, she was concerned about me and my writing. But by the end, she was really happy with how much I'd improved.

After that, I had absolutely no plans, nowhere I needed to be, nothing I had to do--SO WHAT DO I DO NOW??? This always happens at the end of term: I'm so used to working with a deadline, and needing to have things done by a certain date that when that mindset is no longer needed, I become rather bored. I realize just how mentally tense I've become, and I have to unclench my brain.

I eventually went to the local public library and checked out some movies. I also did some Christmas shopping and cleaned out my drawer in the studio.

Tuesday: That day I did the last of my homework: putting my independent-study project in a portfolio. And once again I tried to fill in the time that would usually be taken up with homework.

In the afternoon, I went to the registrar's office and got my schedule for next semester--NO MORE THREE-CLASS DAYS!!!! I also signed up for the elective: I chose Imagery: Sources and Development.

I somehow managed to lose my keys (mailbox, residence, room and food-locker) that evening. I thoroughly searched my room, but had to give up. I asked the hall proctor, Aaron, about replacing them. Doing so meant a trip to the UNB campus, which I'm never thrilled about. I like UNB, it's a great university, but all my time is spent in the opposite direction, in downtown F'ton, and I only go up the hill when I need to.

Wednesday: Because Drew teaches three of the second-year classes, he lumped all three into one assessment. One of the great things about assessments is that they're a time when you can talk with your teacher one-on-one about any issues that you may be having. For me that means that next semester Drew is going to show me some more about how the slave mechanism in the Speedatrons works. NBCCD has a few cords that can be plugged into the power-pack to make slaving less finicky, which makes me very happy. As I said to him, I want to learn how to use those flashes: I don't want to be limited to just one system.

Next semester, one of my courses will be Photography Seminar: Research and Techniques, which will be two-week independent-study projects, and Drew suggested that I use the course to figure out what I want to do as a career (he asked me what I'm thinking of doing after graduation--I'm still trying to figure that out).

That evening, one of the first-year Photogs had a potluck/end-of-term party/Christmas party/housewarming party (she just moved into a new apartment a couple weeks ago). I went, and had an awesome time, talking and eating with some of her/our friends. As I wrote in a Facebook status update, I "felt not unlike an overstuffed couch by the time [I] left."

Thursday: Before my assessment I numbered all the .PSD files of the photos from my dance project.

The assessment itself was an interesting one: it was probably Peter's toughest critique of my work and his toughest discussion of my next independent study project (a two-day weekend course package for Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre).

Afterward, I hung around, waiting for Mom, who was picking me up that day. In the meantime, I played around on one of the school computers and helped one of the first-year Photogs, who was having some issues with preparing photos that he wanted to print. When Mom finally arrived, I jumped out of my chair, skipped over to her, gave her a huge hug, and wished her a happy birthday. I then grabbed my stuff, and almost emptied my locker (there are still a few things in there).

We drove over to my dorm and grabbed my things there before heading home through the snowstorm that had started during my walk to school (meaning around nine that morning--eight EST). I drove part-way.

That night, I watched about half of Home Alone. I finished it Friday night.

Friday: That afternoon, I had an appointment to get my hair cut. Afterward, I did the last of my Christmas shopping in St. Stephen and Calais, including going to both the SuperStore and Sobeys in search of Swiss Knight gruyere (I found it at Sobeys). It just isn't Christmas without that cheese.

When I got back, Mom and I hauled the tree into the sunroom and put it up. We always need to secure the tree with lots of string, but this year's tree is definitely the stringiest: we had to use about double the usual amount of string.

Saturday: I spent the afternoon decorating the tree and listening to opera (Madama Butterfly, live at the Met Opera House). Getting the topper (a star) on was tricky, and made even trickier by my fear of heights. I eventually got it on. As usual, I was in charge of most of the decorating, though Mom pitched in in the evening. Mom is usually in charge of the lights, but this year it was my job.

Before the opera, I called Sunbury Shores and asked the director (Jamie Steel) what I would need to include in a course proposal, and what the Centre would need to know. I took notes and stuck them in the front pocket of my planner.

I watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation that evening.

Sunday: Today has been amazingly unproductive. In fact, the only thing that I've done that could qualify as "productive" is finalizing my Christmas Eve radio list (see below). Oh, and listening to CBC Radio 2's broadcast of the European Broadcasting Union's (EBU) Joy to the World Christmas music special.

Some point in the next few days, I plan to take photos of the tree, and also begin the process of documenting my collection of violin Christmas tree ornaments. I'm going to create a database with photos, descriptions and dates for each ornament. Yesterday, Mom gave me a box to put my collection in, instead of putting it in the usual boxes and bags. She also gave me an ornament that she'd commissioned for me and my collection.

My Christmas Eve plans: radio, radio and more radio! 89.7 is the local NPR station in Calais, Maine, and 101.5 is the local CBC Radio 2 station in Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick. All times are in Atlantic Time.

One last treat before I end this post: here's the ad for the Bangor Symphony/Robinson Ballet production of The Nutcracker. Talk about thrilling! They're performing the ballet as I write this, and I'm listening to the Royal Philharmonic's 1992 recording of the complete ballet right now. Oh, the things the BSO makes me do (I've been listening to the ballet or playing the violin part at the same time as the BSO for several years)--especially you guys over there in the violin section!

See you back here around January seventh or fourteenth!


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