Archive for September, 2011

Recital Season

by on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Angst In The Night

Aah, here we go, recital season again.  I just sent out the announcement of my fall recital dates to everyone.  I have 2 recitals, a big one with about 20 students which is held at a local church (because they have an old Steinway concert grand) and because it’s fall, I have a Halloween recital/Monster Concert at my home.  The second is a small group, which I always offer  to students who are younger and perhaps as fearful of playing in front of people as I am.

I love the preparation that goes into planning the events and have fun entertaining.  I am eternally a hostess.  That’s my favorite “job” in the world.  I don’t even mind a little bit of pre-recital jitters, but I am not a performer…not a piano performer anyway.  Halloween is my favorite holiday though, and I usually have my Halloween decorations up by Oct. 1st.  Not so sure this year with all the projects going on, I have to wait for the siding to go before putting lights on the house.

But back to recital time.  I have been practicing quite a bit, but am not sure yet if I’ll be able to play the piece I’ve been working on since this summer, Autumn Serenade by Peter De Rose.  It’s a modern classical piece and a tonal challenge with very little melody.

Because of work and life, and now add blogging to the list, I really don’t practice enough to do big pieces.  Could it be another method of sabotage to my success? Probably, for that level, ( upper intermediate) and 6 pages memorized  I should be working 2 hours a day minimum.  My heart isn’t in it I guess.  I love to play, and I love to play tough pieces.  But I don’t love performing piano.

I have major anxiety when I do perform, my hands shake and my focus goes away.  I practice breathing before a performance, but sometimes that doesn’t help either.  Just thinking about it makes my heart race!  Once a doctor prescribed beta blockers for me to take before recitals, I think they worked reasonably well, but then I found out beta blockers are actually high blood pressure medication.  When we tried to change health insurance companies no one would even look at us because they think I have high blood pressure!  So I’m back to natural remedies, minimal coffee on the day, lots of relaxation tea.  And deep breathing.  Lots of deep breathing.

It all goes back to playing recitals as a child.  My teacher/grandmother held a recital every month and you were required to play from memory.  Awesome preparation for some of the would be performers.  At the end of 6 months you played all six pieces from memory.  There was a little more than the normal amount of pressure on me, the granddaughter, the talented one.  I think she had bigger expectations for me than the others and I wasn’t able to live up to it.   I had no support from home either.  I honestly cannot remember either of my parents attending any recitals.  I think they may have…but I do remember being dropped off and helping clean up afterwards.  So nerves became a normal part of the recital.

I think I am pretty good at getting my students up on that stage though.  Even though I think some of them sense my anxiety and get a little worried themselves, I’m pretty sure they get over it once they are up there.  We talk about breathing and joke that no one will boo them off stage if they make a mistake, and I never tell them how nervous it makes me.   I held the largest recital of my career-to-date last May. Twenty eight students played classical selections from all of the historical eras and it took almost an hour.  They all played beautifully  and I received many compliments afterward.  I played in several duets with students and didn’t perform my big piece, the Beethoven Sonata no.8 “The Pathetique” at the church.  I did play the first two movements from “The Pathetique” at my small group at home and did a pretty good job.  I was actually quite proud of myself until I performed it a week later for a group of piano teachers and nerves took over again.

So you see, I’m working on it.  I have been attending a performers support group and using relaxation techniques.  I’ve actually come a long way since beginning teaching.  Perhaps I have realized some of my limitations too and don’t put myself in situations that are anxiety producing, like playing a 20 minute sonata in front of 100 people.  All these thoughts I carry with me through this “season” as I prepare, and help my students prepare for their performances.   I really hope to be past it all some day.



Ablation Angst

by on Friday, September 23rd, 2011

So to add to my feeling older (than I actually am) I had an elective surgery this summer to kill my monthly friend permanently.  She had become such a nuisance that she hung around for 9 days usually and for at least 3 days she wouldn’t let me out of the house.  Work had become a nightmare, after sitting for a half hour with a student I would have to stand up and excuse myself to the bathroom or bleed all over my pants. Every half hour.  Night time was just as bad, I would wake up for 3 nights in a row about 4-5 times and rush to the bathroom while all that had pooled inside me ran down my legs.  Fun.

I was not going to wait 10 more years till it was over.  I scheduled a Novasure Ablation.  A process that electronically microwaves the lining of the uterus and kills it permanently without the invasive  painful recovery of a full hysterectomy.  All the research that I did lead to a 98% success rate with this particular procedure.  I started talking to friends about it and everyone I spoke with, about 10 that I knew of and add their friends and people who knew people etc. etc., everyone I knew of had success with this procedure!  Sign me up!!

I was just about to start my period again the day of the surgery and let the doctor know that going into it.  No problem.  Surgery went great according to the Doc. After the surgery I was told to expect watery/bloody discharge for about 6 weeks.  Everything I read about the post procedure healing said watery light discharge for about 6 weeks.  The people who wrote those pamphlets had never met my uterus.  Trust me, my post-op discharge was anything but watery, and it went like my normal period for about 3 1/2 weeks.  I assumed I was having my period, after all, it was about to start anyway.  I called and spoke to the nurse about it, and was told that was pretty normal.  At my post-op appointment the doctor told me I  probably would have one more period then they would be virtually gone.  She said my uterus was small.

My next period was pretty much like all the other periods I’ve had for the past 10 years.  Heavy and horrible with more unexpectedly painful cramping than I have ever had normally.   Ok, so I cried and called the nurse again because this was not what any of the info predicted.  Feeling really stupid on the phone, “hi, I’m calling because I’m having a period”.  But I spoke with her for about 45 minutes and she had never heard of this happening after a Novasure Ablation.  There is, of course a 2% chance of it not working.  Great, so I’m the f—ing 2%???  How sad!  I was so sad that day.

I have since  learned that for some women the healing process is longer, like 6 months or more and I am still holding out hope for that.  I just had a 3rd cycle since the procedure and it didn’t go well either, however it is different than my previously “normal” time.  This month it started out light for almost 2 days (it used to just begin with a bang) but then when it got heavy, it was very heavy for a solid 24 hours.  I have never before been up every hour all night long changing pads.  I’m sure I went through a whole package (48?) pads that day.  But today, on day 6, I think it’s over.

So if my monthly friend has had her life expectancy cut in half, I guess I can live with that.  However I suppose the changing hormones over the course of the next 10 years will make it last longer too.  I have no idea what to expect since everything that I read did not fit into my personal experience.  Even the doctor has said I should come back in and talk about a different procedure.  Really?  I am not getting a hysterectomy.  Was it worth the expense to  my HSA and Insurance company?  I don’t know and the jury is still out on that decision.  I am determined to wait and see.

I am curious how it went for a friend who had her ablation the same week as I did.  I guess I’m not as old as I thought I was, my uterus is certainly not ready to die.

Someone Else’s Pants

by on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

A strange thing crossed my mind yesterday.  Now I am not a hermit type, but believe me I know many people who prefer to spend hours alone with their computers and avoid hanging out with friends.  I am known in my family as “The Fun Director” because I do like to go out with friends and get out and play. So this thought that I had was as strange to me as putting on someone else’s pants.

I am craving adult conversation and am feeling a bit lonely.  Mike has been very busy with the remodel and I have been busy with work, we aren’t exactly spending evenings together since he is tired and wants to get his reading in.  And my days are filled with conversing with 6-15 year olds.  My best friend quit piano lessons, which was a bright half hour in my workday that I now realize I looked forward to with eager anticipation because it was adult conversation.

On top of days filled with talking to children, I don’t know anyone my age who is on the verge of empty nestness!  Most people my age (in their forties) who I would like to hang out with still have children in grade school!  The other empty nesters that I do know are 10 years + older than myself and I find I don’t have as much in common with them.  You are probably saying to yourself “she needs to get out and meet more people!”  Well, to add even more difficulty to my situation, any weekly social event planned for adults is impossible for me to attend since  I am working every evening till 8pm.

What is a girl to do?  My entire social life consists of friday nights with my husband.  I’m not going to try to meet people on line,  so this seems like another cog in the wheel for me changing carreers so that I can have a social life.

Funny thing though, I probably wouldn’t plan many outings, so what would I actually do with that time?  Who knows?  I do know if I had more friends, I would defininatly get out more often.

Feeling lonely and uncomfortable in my skin today.

Positive Thing

by on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Amazing what happens to my mood (and I imaging anyone’s) when I receive not one but 2 very nice compliments  on my work.  Yesterday I spoke with 2 parents of  piano students who told me what a great job I was doing.  One parent, a mother of 2 daughters that I teach gushed over how much one daughter loves it and the other daughter  who may not love piano as much, has such an improved mood after she comes to see me that her mom will keep her in piano lessons till she’s 25 due to the therapeutic effect.  I was touched.

Mike and I have frequently discussed different reasons besides the obvious one  that people have for staying in piano lessons.  I have several students whom I suspect come here just for a little one on one attention from an adult.  I am happy to provide whatever kind of therapy I can!  Since I love what I’m doing it doesn’t matter to me if it’s piano, music or emotional therapy.

Nice to know it sometimes comes back to me too.  The compliments I received filtered through my whole day and the positive mood carried on into my teaching and how I interacted with my husband and son.  I think even though I got very little sleep last night that the effect is even with me today!  Let’s see how long I can make it last!

Even better, let’s see if I can spread a little joy today and give 2 others comments that will make them feel good too!

Me Day

by on Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The project today

Old deck and garage

Aaaaaah.  I get to take a personal me day today.  No work, no expectations of me from anyone.  Aaaaaah.  I slept late and am feeling mentally groggy this morning, just going to relax today.

Been a busy week.  Hubby is working on the subtraction/addition to our house, we’re putting a three season room over the garage where there was a 24×24 deck on top of a flat roof.  Flat roofs don’t work in this northern state and it has been raining in our garage since we moved here a year and a half ago.  The room will have a roof that ties into our existing structure and a deck  beside that.  I am so excited to have the room, which will be huge, and have a fireplace and a swinging bed. Not to mention the perks of a solid ceiling and a roof that doesn’t leak.  The other big part of this project is that our rotten cedar siding will also get replaced and we’ll have new doors as well.   Hooray!

Yes, you could say we bought a “fixer-upper”.  It was what we could afford after the crash.  We had been living in a beautiful new 4500 sq. ft. home that Mike built but we really could not afford it.  In fact we were hemorrhaging money so badly that we ended up dumping the house for less than it was worth.  A common story I know due to the f-ed up economy over the last few years.  We are one of the statistical casualties of that financial disaster.  But today we are rebuilding.

I got to babysit my 3 year old niece for 3 days this week too.  Her dad is helping Mike with our project so he has to bring her along sometimes.  We had fun!  I had forgotten what a fun age that is!  Seriously!  She is so curious about everything and talking about it all!  We went shopping for watercolor paints and I bought her a big coloring book and paint pens.  She loves walking in the woods by our house and teasing my dog.  I can’t believe how much energy she has.  She was also my piano teaching assistant for a little while one day.  It was pretty cute.

I think that’s why I slept till after 8 this morning!  And why I am so looking forward to a “me” day.  Thinking long bubble bath, reading and finishing up on my paint project.  Then I’m making jalepeno poppers from scratch later with roasted chicken and spanish rice.

So now you are wondering “where is the depth promised by this individual” ?  Today’s post is really not more than a lengthy FB posting.  Perhaps she’s taking a personal vacation from thought as well?  Well that’s ok too.  And since I never had the chance to celebrate me last week, I’m doing it today.  I’m going to light candles and sing praises to the goddess and howl at the moon.  Loving life today,  jumping into the abyss.

Blog vs.FB

by on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I’m currently reading a book that talks about taking responsibility for who you are.  I have always believed in that.  I believe I have a pretty good idea of who I am and what I show the world.  I do not bring anything foney to the table (I dont’ think) I am not a liar and I find myself incapable of leading people on to a false expectation of anything.  Isn’t it funny though that when an idea enters your head (even if it is commonly known to you) the universe opens up in ways to expand your knowledge?

So part of that “taking responsibility for who I am” is seeing how others percieve who I am.  Well it was in my face on Monday anyway.  In trying to figure out where I’d like this blog to go I opened up the discussion to my best friend.  The answer to my question about the blog came in the form of a criticism of blogs and facebook in general.  (This person does not have a FB page)  The comment went something like this, “blogs  are about as interesting as facebook.  They have become so common and overused that no one will want to read about your life.  Why don’t you just post your insignificant shit on FB?  It would be much less work and everyone would read it.”

First of all I was shocked to find out that this friend had no better opinion of me than to think everything I have to offer is only as good as a FB comment.  They went on to tell me that no one wants to read about my life because it just isn’t interesting enough.  I spent the better part of the day yesterday processing this information.  The person went on to compliment aspects of my life that are worthy of discussion (like what I do at work).  But I am not here to share with you any of that.  I was hoping to open the discussion to deeper thoughts on life, and lessons that I learn along the way.  Secondly, I’m not writing for anyone but me anyway.  If someone happens to read and learn or enjoy the content,  then I have done good work.

I am not a huge fan of FB.  I don’t feel like there is real depth of content there.   I am even less a fan of Twitter, it’s so shallow.  Perhaps that is all people want these days though.  I tiny bit of recognition for less effort than typing a sentance.  Acknowledgment  for their lives.  The knowledge that someone is listening?  Perhaps that is why I wanted to put my meanderings on  the web, for some kind of acknowledgement.  To see if anyone has similar experiences or views.

I require more depth to my friendships (probably why I don’t have many good friends).  I believe we are individuals who are fathoms deep.  And I dare to go there.    I don’t want this to be just another “empty nest blog” sharing the things I do in my spare time.  People don’t have enough spare time to read about  what all the empty nesters are doing anyway.  Or maybe they do.  There is so much more to living than recipes and making crafts though.  Have we become that impersonal?

I want to connect at a deeper level.  That is the contribution I want to make.  So if what I write seems like a bunch of stupid facebook comments then please let me know so I can make the effort to go to the next level.  Maybe it will be something we should all think about.

Parenting Choices

by on Monday, September 12th, 2011

Ha Ha!  My mom read my blog this weekend.  I’m not sure why I’m laughing!  Her reaction was exactly what I expected it to be.  (I love you mom!)  She reacted to the post about my son’s drinking ticket.  And she can’t believe I’m so “angst” ridden.  Oh mother.

Every thing I learned about parenting was what I learned not to do from my mother’s experience and behavior.  Mom, I know you know that about me, so if you read this, it will not be news to you (I hope).  She had no help at all in the parenting department either though.  Have you seen the movie “The Help”??  It is about my mom and her sister…not actually, but their lives could be plugged in to the characters in the movie and the movie would be the same, almost.  Their mother wasn’t much of a parent.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandmother and I know with all my heart she loves her family and does everything she can for them.  She is, however, from a much different era.  She came from a family that was not affected by the great depression.  A family with servants and vacation homes, and an airplane.  They spent long vacations traveling Europe and Asia.  Parenting wasn’t really on her “to do” list.  So you can see that my own mother was probably a little clueless.

So times change though, my mom married right out of college and got pregnant right away.  She stayed at home with me and pretty soon my brother too.  She was pretty unhappy though and my dad wasn’t much help either.  They divorced by the time I was 7.  In the 70’s women were career minded and so mom started a business and got busy with that while my brother and I floated between our parents houses.  I will have to admit here that I was not the easiest child on the block.  I was a little hellian.  I was probably trying to get attention from either parent, mom who was working and dad who was drunk most of the time.

So when I had children I wanted things to be different.  And greatfully, in the post 80’s world people started to realize how important it was to the children to have someone stay home with them.  And my circumstances happened to provide that benefit to my kids.  I really think they are both better off due to that one small thing.   Even now  in our society though, it is so hard for parents to do that.  I feel lucky that I was able to be there for mine.  I feel lucky that I was able to provide a stable environment for my children and a home and place of love for them.  Maybe it seems like such a ridiculously small thing to many people, but to me it is a huge accomplishment.  Since I didn’t have those things growing up, it became really important to my children and to future generations of my family as well.  I want them to  have that feeling of home, a place where they can always come and let themselves down, cry if they need to, be safe and be well cared for.

So, I love you mom, I made choices you could never make. And I love you because I wouldn’t be me without you!!

Celebrating me today!

by on Saturday, September 10th, 2011

So this is my path.  As I see it, my feelings and thoughts and the winding roads my mind takes.  According to one of my friends, it’s not the same as most people.  But who on this planet has had the same path?  Noone of course!  If mine had been easier, I wouldn’t be who I am.  If I hadn’t been as strong I would not be who I am.  If I were any different I wouldn’t enjoy the things I do, etc.etc. etc. My path made me who I am today.

I like who I am today, but I still want to do important things.  Whatever that important thing might be, it probably isn’t what I think it will look like.  It might sneak up on my as part of my daily life.  So whatever comes, I am ready for the challenge. I am not sure I want to be a piano teacher for the rest of my life, on the other hand, I am good at what I do.  And I love working with children.

God and Goddess I wish there were more hours in each day!  I want to learn guitar and bass.  I want to sing.  I want to study.  I  want to write books!  I want to draw again and create from the depths of my soul.

Since I dont’ have time for all that today I am simply going to celebrate me today.  Yes I am. It’s something we should all do once in a while.  (no it’s not my birthday)  No I don’t think it is vain or arrogant, I am just acknowledging who I am and who I have become and celebrating the obstacles I have overcome and the personal victories I have won.  Yes I am : )


New age Psychosis

by on Thursday, September 8th, 2011

During my young adulthood in the early 80’s,  my mother moved to Boulder Co to join the New Age movement.  When I dropped out of college a couple years later due to my major in Partying I also moved there and joined the movement.  It was a little insane at first taking responsibility for who I was.  Can you believe I’m a graduate of the Tony Robbins Firewalk Experience!  Some of the initial classes I took did (I think) permanent damage to my psyche.  Now I take responsibility for everything to the point of blaming myself for things that really are out of my control.  I probably had it in me to be that hard on myself anyway, so I can’t really blame the new age gurus who brought me there.  I just can’t help it!  I should go back and apply more of that T.R. self  love.

I’m an enabler and a much more submissive type, if something goes wrong I probably caused it. While on the other hand I’m also a type A personality, if I come up with a job that needs doing, I will get it done and do your job for you too.  Go figure.  The 2 sided me is also a Gemini (yes I believe in astrology), so in my mind, that explains it! 

My mother went on to become a new age instructor herself (well into my adulthood) so I used to hear all about what I was doing wrong and what I should be doing instead.  Especially in regards to parenting.  On top of that the matriarch of the family has always been very opinionated about everyone’s lives and we heard loads of criticism from her as well.  She never had any issues with submissive behavior, quite the contrary she is narcissistic to the max!  So sometimes I can’t tell who’s voice is in my head.  My mom’s, my grandmother’s or my own critical voice.  Seems like one should be enough.  This would be a good time to tell me to get over it and Grow Up!  Yes I am an adult and I think it is far time enough that  I became my own boss. I believe it’s way past time for me to listen to my own heart.  I am not doing anything wrong, This is who I am and I should be proud of me!

I am proud of me. . . . .

Ok, I’ll work on it.



Loving my work today

by on Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Feeling very Career minded today.   Loving my job and signing new students up.  I’m connected on line w/ website and  Linked-in and feel pretty successful for what I do.  I am  known in my community and people share my name.  It feels good.

I was thinking today about the hundreds of thousands who don’t have jobs and it makes me feel lucky that I have become so successful at what I do.  I do feel bad about my whining yesterday.  I am really happy to be able to be at a job that I love.  I happen to live in a community where many people have disposable incomes and they are spending that on their children.  They want the extracurricular activities for their children.   And I do enjoy working with children and playing music.  I think if I ever figured out what I really want to do I might still teach piano on the side.