Archive for October, 2011

Wow What a Weekend!

by on Monday, October 31st, 2011

Aahh, successful and busy weekend finally over.  Four days of entertaining in a row, and when they left this morning at 9am, I curled up on the couch and took a nap.

The short version of the long crazy weekend went like this:  Thursday I was tour guide of our lovely city to a long time friend for 5 hours.  Friday I busted it cleaning my house for a recital and company arriving for the weekend. That afternoon I got into my pirate costume and practiced for an hour.  The day was busy, but it was a great Halloween recital and my mom and Grandmother arrived in time for the recital and Nana played for my students too.  I was less nervous than I thought I would be playing in front of her, but I also took the advice of my 18 year old and dropped the classical piece I was going to play.  Good decision.   I should be practicing 2-3 hours a day before a recital and with all that has been going on, really barely able to fit an hour in every day.  Played the Adele song well though and was complimented on the duet I played,  but I sort of screwed up on the duet, my partner will attest to that.  We ordered Chinese and the kids were home for dinner too(yes Erika too who hadn’t seen her grandmoms in 2 and a half years).  Saturday I took them shopping and then taught a couple lessons.  Then I hosted a well planned dinner party for my guests and 2 friends who joined us.

Dinner party plan

The meal was all Martha Stewart recipes from her Halloween handbook, and delicious!  Sunday we chilled out, watched a movie and had another excellent meal of salmon and artichokes.  This morning they left and I will sleep well tonight.

Anyway, I can relax for a few days before getting prepared for my big recital at the church.  I think I am not a performer, but at some level I really am.  I do love the recitals, especially the small groups, and I love playing music that I really love.  I love creating a “scene” or setting the stage for something.  Planning the recital is a big deal for me, as big as planning a dinner party.  Both require setting the mood for an event and putting all the pieces in place.  Then, relax and enjoy the ensuing drama.  That is what I love.  It’s a process that is so fun for me, and probably the reason I would enjoy opening a restaurant.  After a while, I might not enjoy it any more, I don’t know though, it might be like having a dinner party every night!

I can dream, can’t I?

Teen Brains

by on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I just read the most interesting article about teenagers’ brain development.  The gist of it is that Teenagers are really programed to piss us off, fight authority, be daring and dangerous and do all the things that really annoy us in order to go out and conquer the world.  Without them our species may have died out centuries ago.  The article is in the October issue of National Geographic.

I enjoy reading stuff like that because I’m morbidly curious with what happened to Dylan with his concussion and the after effects too.  I read one story about a man who began to have seizures later on in life due to a concussion he had as a teenager.  The story was in the book Musicophilia about people with weird disorders that affect how they interpret and/or perceive music.  This particular man was at work one day and he heard a violin playing in his closet clear as day.  He then walked over to the closet and couldn’t find the violin so walked out of his office looking for it.  When he woke up in the hospital he found out that he had a seizure  the moment he began to hear the violin.  From then on, he knew he was going to have a seizure whenever he heard that violin music.

Back to the Nat. Geo article, it helped me to understand something else about Dylan’s recovery.  The article talked about the brain finishing growing and creating permanent synapses.  It doesn’t actually get done in this process till we are about 23-25.  What our doctor told us was that Dylan’s recovery would actually take a back seat to the growth process going on.  One of the reasons it took him so long to recover.

I also enjoyed reading about other parents’ frustration at walking the fine line between allowing their kid to be doing adult things, and treating them as children still.  It is such a foggy arena.  I always felt like I was tiptoeing between restricting his behavior and telling him to go out and have fun.

I really hope to be beyond all that very soon…

Can you say STRESSED?

by on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Feel like I’m not doing anything right.  Uugh.  In the middle of this fucking project and all I want is to be done with it.  Timing is terrible and if I make any mention of the mess or how stressed out I am about it, I get yelled at.  Worse, even when I don’t do anything, it’s my fault that something is missing.

The yard is covered with our old siding and the kitchen counter has tools all over it.  I have a recital on friday this week and my mom and grandmother are coming to visit for a couple days on that same friday.  Siders are scheduled for Tuesday and Mike is doing everything else himself to save some money.  He is exhausted and overworked (self inflicted) and I can’t even talk to him with out him getting defensive or  over reacting.  And I AM STRESSED!@!!!!

This is fucked up.  I am pissed too for getting blamed for everything and every statement I make he turns it into a something that I’m asking him to do!!!  Don’t even know how to talk to him right now, and besides, he can’t hear me anyway.

Need to vent Vent VENT  %!!!#K

This coming week is fucked up too. Tomorrow is sunday and I’ll be shopping for the week and recital coming up.  Monday my piano tuner is coming and I am working.  Tues, I’ve got an old friend coming into the state, not nearby, that I’d love to see, but…The siders start also and if Mike’s brother comes to help at all, I’ll be babysitting my 3 year old niece, then I work.  Wed. Dylan and I are cleaning his room so mom and Granny can sleep in there.  It will take most of the day, but I also have to bake cupcakes (or not, take that one off your plate dearie) and work.  Thursday I’ll be getting the room set up with  chairs, microphones, etc. and doing a little food prep for a dinner party planned for when guests are here (do I have to???), then work and do I have time to practice?   Friday, practice piano, dress in costume, clean for the recital and company arrives at 2:30, recital starts at 3pm.  That will be over at 4:30, then I’ll order carry out and Erika and Dyl will be here to see their family.  Sleep will come easily that night.  Saturday next I work and host a dinner party of extraordinary proportions.

During the whole time people will be banging on the house working and making a mess.  I want to ask my mom not to come, but I really want to see her too.  I hope she’s not reading this.

So what comes off the list?  Baking…definately not.  Buy pumpkin pie and put spider decorations on it. Don’t know if I have time for the girlfriend…it would free up a whole day.  Practice time will come.  Tomorrow I can give myself a couple hours.  Dylan is going to help tomorrow to get the old siding out of the yard and mow.  I can set chairs up over the week.  My dinner party will be awesome! Take dessert off my list for that too.

Now I just need to have a conversation with my husband.

Who Am I Playing For?

by on Sunday, October 16th, 2011

I love Halloween!

Halloween recital

Getting ready for my Halloween recital in 2 weeks.  The recital is a small group (10-12) who come to my home to play a song.  I call it a monster concert and the kids can dress up in costumes if they want; I do!  I love to make Halloween treats and trick bags for the kids and my house is always decorated on the scary side for the holiday.

As far as recitals go, the Halloween recital is my favorite because Halloween is my favorite holiday!   I prefer performing on my own piano too, but I still get nervous. And, to make this halloween event even scarier, my mom is coming with my grandmother/piano teacher, critic of all critics.  Halloween isn’t scary at all compared to playing piano in front of her!!  I just hope I’m not too terrified.  Appropriate holiday for the occasion though.

I talked to her today though, I’ve asked her to be my “special guest” and play a song too.   That will help to break the ice for me.  This time I’m playing a duet by Anton Diabelli, duets aren’t as nerve wracking; Turning Tables by Adele, my choice because I’m going to be a lounge singer when I grow up, yes I’ll be singing too; and a modern classical piece by Peter De Rose, the piece I’m playing for Nana.

Something I realised when I found out she was coming, I have always been playing for her approval, not playing what I enjoy.  This is  something I noticed about myself  in the last year.  I play music that I think she would want me to play.  What I really enjoy is playing and singing my favorite music; duh.  I have very diverse taste in music I think.  I do enjoy a lot of classical and modern classical, and yes I really love playing them when I can do it well.  I also tend to fall in love with movie and show music…I think because of the story that tugs at my heart strings.  But music that I can sing to is absolutely my favorite because I really would prefer to be singing over playing the piano.  Doing both together is acceptable but is usually a lot of work.  I may have to transpose to my vocal key, and typically rock songs written for piano are pretty lame versions so I have to do a lot of re-writes to get it sounding and feeling like the original.  Maybe that’s what makes it so worth it in the end for me.  And while playing those songs I don’t hear the Nana-voice in my head because I can lose myself in the music more fully.

All that said, I am playing one song for her at the recital (before I knew she was coming I had all but given up on practicing that one) and one song for me.  So we can both be happy.  I’m sure I’ll be writing about it again when it gets closer and I get more scared.

One Step Closer

by on Friday, October 14th, 2011

What I want to be when  I grow up is a Lounge singer!!  Really!  Today I made it one step closer by purchasing my very own mini PA system and I’m going to sing Adele’s Turning Tables for my recital!!  I  can’t sing today though since I lost my voice.  But I’m one step closer to my goal!!!


Proud of You Dude!

by on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Dylan’s progress reports are in for the first half of the quarter.  Last year he took a very non-challant approach to his grades, much to my dismay.  He is a very smart kid!  So needless to say, I was a little afraid to look at his grades.  I’m so glad I did though because now I can be proud of him again!  He has mostly A’s and a couple B’s, but those are in  functional statistics and Bio Technology.  Hooray Dylan!

My expectations are too high for him…or maybe not.  His sister is a type A personality who does very well at whatever she tries.  In highschool she was a straight A student with a 4.0 GPA.  I don’t expect that from D, but I do expect him to get at least a 3.5.  He is smart enough for that! But he is the one who even when he was 2 I knew that he would be the one pushing my buttons and challenging me.  He would also be my Karma coming back at me from my highschool days.  I knew this when he was still small.  The challenges  with him did exceed my expectations though.

Let me explain.  Dylan used to play hockey.  He was getting very good at it too!  In high school, freshman year, he didn’t make the team so he played for fun in a league at midget level.  In our state hockey is very popular and a midget level  rec league usually is all the high school kids who didn’t make the team or didn’t want to.  Half of them have beards and look like they weigh about 200 pounds.  It was the end of the season, March, and they were playing a tournament up north.  I was home with Erika and Mike had gone with Dylan for the weekend.  After the saturday night game, I got the call from Mike.  Dylan had been taken from the game in an ambulance to the local hospital.  It was a head injury, he was conscious, but he wasn’t feeling too good.  His coach made the call after Dylan came off the ice and collapsed.

Dylan had been checked hard from behind and headed into the boards by a big kid who took 4 hard strides and railed him.  There was no call on the play, but the kids on the team said Dylan was saying some really funny things after that.  There was a break in the game and they went into the locker room.  So 15 minutes later when he was back out on the ice, no one thought anything about it, he was skating pretty well!  Then he went down again.  This time his feet went out from under him and he landed on his back and head.  He got up, he wasn’t knocked unconscious, and went to the bench.  Thank God his coach was an eye doctor, he took one look at Dylan and called 911.

Funny coincidence. Dylan’s concussion occured on the same day that Liam Neeson’s wife died of an unattended head injury on the ski slopes.

Concussion.  Usually you think concussion, no big deal, you’ll feel better in a couple days.  So the next 2-3 weeks were a learning experience for all of us…including his doctor I think.  He was so dizzy he couldn’t walk, couldn’t focus enough to read and he didn’t sleep.  School was out of the question.  Good thing Spring break was the following week, we thought it would give him time to recover. At the end of 2 weeks, Dylan still wasn’t sleeping.  Riding in the car and walking short distances made him woozy.  He had taken 2 weeks off of TV, movies, computer, reading, drums, games and even visiting with friends.  What was a 15 year old to do!  He could listen to music, and I did let him text his friends.  It began to look like he was probably not going to heal very quickly and we made arrangements with the school for him to be gone for an extended period of time.

Without writing a book here, which I could easily do, it took him a year to feel normal again.  He had to drop all classes till the end of the year except one, social studies, which he was able to attend  beginning in May(just one class a day was all he could handle of normal life) .  He had to make up a couple core classes over the summer so he could move on to 10th grade with his classmates.  The one thing his brain was having the hardest time with was math.  Processing math problems was giving him major headaches.  We felt like that was probably the area hardest hit by the concussion and he ended up having to take Geometry again.  No big deal there.

My expectations for the kid were dramatically lowered, so I feel like I can be extra super proud of him when he does succeed.  He is a really smart kid, who had to overcome a lot!  The ordeal changed him a lot too.  I think he was going to go to school for music at one point, (oh god not another musician in the family!) but switch his focus to art.  The one thing he was able to do while he was recovering was draw.  So he became really good at at because it occupied lots of his time.

That’s why he will be applying to college for art.  I am still learning about ways the concussion affected him!  And I am so super proud of him for all he has over come.  And, D, way to go on your grades this quarter!

This is a 4' by 4' hardboard painting by Dyl 2011


by on Friday, October 7th, 2011

Lately I have been having dreams about people from my past.  Really interesting.  A few days ago I dreamed about my kids and me and they were little again, Erika was 7 and Dylan was about 4!  They both looked exactly like I remember them at those ages!  The dream was pretty intense though.

I was riding a bicycle and Dylan and Erika were in tow.  I think D was on the back of mine and Erika was on her own bike.  We had some kind of luggage we were carrying.  We were riding through some part of town that was pretty sketchy,  it was a dirt road and there were broken down trailer homes and shacks in the neighborhood.  I had no feelings of dread though, but it seemed we couldn’t get where we were headed to from there.  I guess we head taken a wrong turn.  So we turned around and went back out to the main road which looked like places I had riden my bike when I was growing up, but it became really dark and started pouring down rain.  Dylan got off my bicycle at this point and joined Erika in a wagon behind her bike.  We were soaked with the rain and could hardly see much in front of us.  I was leading the way and the water in the streets began to get deeper.  Riding through knee deep water that was seething with broken plant life and mud, it was filthy and we were soaked to the bone but I kept leading us on. The kids followed with out complaint too!

Later this week I dreamed about my two attendants from our wedding.  I haven’t seem either woman for about 15 years.  I can’t remember the dream as well, but we were talking about things and I had a feeling of regret or guilt.

So I’m hoping that this process of writing is going to help me purge some of the past and make way for a bright new life for me.  I imagine a life of happiness with no regrets and a life deep with intuition and spirituality.  Something morre profound than I have had time for while raising my children.

Funny thing, I had lunch with my nearly 21 year old daughter yeaterday and she has just really begun to become her own person;  an adult with her own life, one that’s clearly not dependant on me any more.  I am feeling sad about it, though I think it would be much harder if she were far away, instead she lives in our home town and goes to college here.  I am thankful for That .  I miss her though, even a few months ago she was calling almost every day and coming over on Sundays for dinner and to do her laundry.  As soon as this semester started, she hasn’t had time for us, not even on sundays.  It’s wonderful to see the woman she is becoming though!  She has strength and smarts that I never had.  She has good friends and is busy with school and training horses.  She is becoming an amazing woman and I love her.

Still in process of becoming empty nester.

Erika and me circa 2006


What I’ve Done

by on Monday, October 3rd, 2011


Does everyone self analyse as much as I do?  I find that when I have a quiet moment to myself, which luckily or unluckily is a daily event, I tend to be mentally critiquing my self and whatever I happen to be up to.  Probably a product of too many “self help” classes. I guess I am glad that I have a certain degree of self imposed criticism, but many times it is probably like that voice in your head that you wish would shut up.  I wish my voice in my head would shut up!!

So, for example:  I am currently reading a Wiccan book called “Dedicant”.  It is a sort of “self help” book in that it helps the reader become a more dedicated witch.  In doing that there are introspections and rituals to perform that have to do with awakening and becoming more aware of one’s self.  The rituals have to do with planetary cycles and the introspection uses Tree of Life guidelines along with knowledge and awareness of chakras and personal energy.  None of this is new to me of course, having learned and practiced much of it since my early 20’s.

The problem starts when I begin worrying about what I do daily that may interfere with my process of self awareness, and my goals.  More specifically, my little wine habit.  I have become really aware of it to the point of obsessing about how much I drink, which is not that much, I don’t think.  So, I tend to drink more on weekends, 3-4 on a Friday, and less during the week, 1 glass on a Wed. night and 2 on Sunday with dinner.  I am brainwashed into thinking that any continuous habit is a problem (more on that at some future date) and my glass of wine is definately a habit.  And then I beat myself up for it mentally, and I worry that I have a problem.

Problem seems simple enough to fix, stop drinking wine with dinner.  So, I’m going to go all week without just because I am obsessing! There, I said it.  But I like Chardonnay…and I’m going to get over it so I can stop obsessing.

I know myself though, and since I am uncomfortable with me, (I am not ok! is the continual voice in my head) I will find some other thing to pick on about me.  Maybe it’s my coffee drinking, or maybe it’s that I haven’t given all I can as a parent and mother.  Or worse, when I’m not picking on me I’ll tear Mike apart mentally and then really hate myself.  He is not the problem.

I just want to be ok with me.  I want to be ok with who I am and “What I’ve Done”.  So in a step to get there, this summer I got a tattoo on my ankle, like an anklet, but big enough to be a shackle.  A permanent reminder and way to get out of my head about “What I’ve Done” .  It is actually the musical line from a favorite Linkin Park song called “What I’ve Done” and the song is about forgiving {myself} and starting over.  The tattoo then reminds me to forgive myself every day.  sometimes I get stuck on the line “What I’ve done” and beat myself up some more, then I remember and begin to forgive.

Now you must be thinking, what has she done?  My worst offense is some speeding tickets.  Once I wished someone would die, I was really pissed off, and years later they did.  And I let my son smoke pot.  He will be damaged for life, I am sure because of “What I’ve Done” and I will always beat myself up for that, but I think every parent has some regret somewhere along the line.

So my point today is that I am on the path of forgiving myself for who I am and so if not having a glass of wine w/ dinner this week will help that be reality, then I should go for it.  But, and this is to the little voice that won’t leave me alone, stop picking on me!  I am not a bad person!  I deserve to be loved by me most of all!

I tried downloading all three pic’s of my tattoo onto the post but Wp is stupid…so if you want to view them, they are under the Photos page and they are out of order because Wp is stupid.

“What I’ve Done”

In this farewell
There’s no blood
There’s no alibi
‘Cause I’ve drawn regret
From the truth
Of a thousand lies

So let mercy come
And wash away
What I’ve done

I’ll face myself
To cross out what i’ve become
Erase myself
And let go of what i’ve done

Put to rest
What you thought of me
While I clean this slate
With the hands of uncertainty



For what I’ve done
I start again
And whatever pain may come
Today this ends
I’m forgiving what I’ve done!!!


What I’ve done
Forgiving what I’ve done

Day of Rest?

by on Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Don’t have much time to dedicate to writing today and am bummed out by that.  It is finally warm here in the northern midwest and we have loads to do outside today.  After a couple of very windy days a willow tree in our yard has deposited a layer of sticks, branches and leaves underneath it and I think we will be burning in the firepit.

I also need to stand by my husband while he cleans out the rest of the garage so that we can be ready for drywall and  insulation, not in that order.  He’ll have to go through his piles of tools (yes piles- he is not very organized) and decide what he is keeping or throwing away.  He can’t do this project with out my support and enthusiasm and has told me so.

So I’ll be spending the day outside hauling raking burning and sweeping.  I hope it gets up into the 60’s at least.

Will post more interesting content tomorrow.

Roof and windows in!