Friday, January 30, 2009

I'll Take Them

And a big thank-you goes out to Evan at Cornerstone Home Loans,
who sent me heartfelt greetings for my birthday.
Along with a refrigerator magnet.

I like the cards from the real estate lady too.

And the ones our church secretary slides under our pastor's hand to have him sign.

They all count.

I know, it's dumb.
But I like them.



Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Do I "Do"?

Last night, band rehearsal until late.
Up early this morning to go to the high school.
Rehearsed with solo students from 7:45-1pm.
Pick up children at 3.
Give lesson from 3:15-3:45.
Drive into town for hair cut at 4.
Home by 5:30, get supper ready.
Leave by 6:30 for church band rehearsal.

Spending tomorrow rehearsing some of the 28 pieces of music
that I will play on Saturday.
Arrive at the event an hour away by 7:30.
Dash from room to room, accompanying choir students,
straight through until 5.

Come home and start preparing some bass music.
Students on Monday and Tuesday,
bass gig on Wednesday.
Back to the school to rehearse the band students for their festival.
Another event next Saturday.

Some people ask me what I do, " that the children are all in school?"
I always have a hard time saying and it bugs me.

I do laundry.
I plan and cook meals and grocery shop.
I pick up after everybody.
I prepare musically for students, for church, for bands, for the school.
I write music, play my bass, and the piano when I need to.
I put my head down until my brain clears.
I field phone calls and plan birthday parties.
I take children to lessons and supervise their practice.
I read aloud to them.
I try to listen to their stories, keep them from fighting,
and give them creative things to do.

But since I can't nail down exactly what I do without bending someone's ear for 5 minutes,
I usually just mumble, "Well...I practice my bass, and um...laundry."

One of these days I'm going to come up with a really cool name for whatever it is that I do.
Until then....

there's a pile of "whites" in the basement calling my name...



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Check It Out

Ahhh, a friend borrowed this from the library.
For me.

It is something special, when another will look closely enough,
beyond the facade,
the mask,
the trying oh-so-hard to live up to others' expectations,
to see you how you really are,
and to say,

"you are something good."

Thanks to my friend.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I sat on my couch, all wrapped up in the big red blanket,
watching history,
just a few minutes ago.

I watched a black man become President of the United States.

I listened to the music, and to the words, and watched the faces of the crowd.

I saw our flag waving above it all.

I am not a politician,
not an activist.
Not a Republican,
not a Democrat.

Some people say that I am naive.
A dreamer.
It's probably true.

But sometimes good things happen,
sometimes dreams come true.

I wish it weren't such a moment of history,
a black man becoming president.
It shouldn't mean anything at all.

But there was a day
when a day like today,
would have been an impossible dream.

It is a good sign for all of us everywhere,
that that day is no more.


Saturday, January 17, 2009


I was getting groceries and picked up some cute little bangle bracelets for the girls.
Normally $5...but 75% off, I LOVE 75% off!

In fact, I'm a sucker for 75% off. I have bought WAY too much junk over the years, just for the thrill of doing that math in my head and coming up with the final sum.

It's close to the heady rush I get from Free Food, but not quite.
And that's another post.

So at the register, imagine my dismay when the price came up as $2.50.
Ummm.....according to my lightning-quick math skills, that would be 50% off,
and not acceptable, oh no.

So I politely alerted the cashier.

She looked like someone who had, seconds earlier,
been pulling the pin-curls out of her hair in her own home,
when suddenly and without warning, her body had materialized
at this very register, and now a woman was moving her mouth in front of her,
but only making unintelligible sounds.

I wanted to wave my hand in front of her face to make her blink.

Instead, I repeated myself patiently,

"This is supposed to be 75% off, but it's ringing up at $2.50."

Again, the look of total incomprehension.

I tried a new tact,

"Well, 75% off of $5 would make it $1.25."

Ah, this time she responded, pecking numbers into the machine.

I watched the screen carefully,



Now another person could let that go.

I opened my mouth though,

"ummmm, actually, it should be a dollar twenty-five."

She looked at me doubtfully and now I was alarmed.
Did she think I was putting one over on her?
I grabbed my cool spiral notebook and flipped the page over.

"See," I say, scrawling numbers down,
"75% of five dollars is $3.75",
(blank look)
"and see," I say, angling the paper toward her,
"you subtract that from five dollars, and you're left with a dollar twenty-five."

She looked up from my calculations and shrugged,

"Whatever you say."

I think my mouth was hanging open at that point.
I really wanted to go over this with her again, but the line behind me was lengthening.

I wanted to teach her.
I wanted her to understand.

I went home and did math facts with twin girl instead.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Can't Leave Her Alone For A Minute

It seems to me that when left alone too long,
I tend to conjure up my own disasters.

Yesterday, it was my last living Tupperware dish.
I put the frozen bread inside to thaw,
with a quick look around the kitchen,
decided that the oven was the best place to keep it
until I needed to roll it out for pizza dough.

I said to myself, aloud, "Don't turn that oven on."
A little friendly reminder.
Totally unnecessary of course.

Within the hour, folks, I had decided to warm up the
rest of last night's supper,
and turned that sucker on to, "Low Broil."

Not low enough, apparently.

The bread was saved.
The lid to the dish, not.

Today it is the laundry.
While filling the washer with dark clothes,
I carefully poured bleach into the fabric softener dispenser.
Shrieking, I started pulling out all of the dark clothes
and throwing them into the laundry tub.
The spasmodic flinging of clothing jostled the dispenser
and bleach droplets flew everywhere making it way worse.
I filled the tub with cold water and rinsed rinsed rinsed.
My daughter's new skinny jeans were in peril.
I took off my own jeans and threw them into the water as well.
(That bleach went everywhere).

Still acting without thinking,
I looked at the bleachy water inside the washer
and decided to run a small load of whites in order
to help dispel all the bleach. In they went.

Only I didn't think about the fact that the darks were all
in the laundry tub that the washer drains into,
and if I turned that washer on, it would most surely overflow the tub
and flood the basement.
One load of completely soggy clothing would have to be moved.

I was left standing in my underwear, staring at the mess
that I had created in less than 3 minutes total,
afraid to touch anything else.

All by myself, folks.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Doesn't Fall Far

Red marks all over the math papers last week.
This is twin girl's cross to bear.
There was one wrong answer that caught my eye though.

It was a story problem:

If there are 3 red marbles and 2 blue marbles in a bag,
what is the probability that you will
pick out a red one with your eyes shut?

Her answer, scrawled in serious, round, 4th grade handwriting

"a good one."

I'm sure creating a ratio was the last thing on her mind.
Instead, she was wondering about the marbles themselves,
and why anyone would want to reach into a bag of them with their eyes shut.
Why not just choose the one that you want with your eyes open?
And why are there no purple marbles?
And why would someone only pick out ONE marble,
when they could grab a whole handful?

I can just see her sighing over the complete irrelevance of the question,
and then carefully printing what she supposed must be,(generally speaking)
the answer.

That's my girl.


Friday, January 09, 2009


Taking a pause from an especially painful writing project,
he asks me,

"Do you think it would be rude to write,
'to be continued' at the end of an essay?"

I said it might send the wrong message.

He sighs and returns to the work at hand.


Thursday, January 08, 2009


My New Year's resolution is to clean out the bedroom.
Everything: closet, bathroom, under the bed, things stacked in corners.

I want to get rid of the seven pair of jeans that I own
that I wish still fit me.
I want to get rid of the leather jacket that was brand new
six years ago when I ripped it.
(I've been meaning to get that repaired.)
I want to get rid of the itchy sweater that looks nice
but feels terrible.
And the mint green suit that was in style for about 3 seconds
back in 2002. It was expensive and rarely worn.
It needs to be set free.

I have boxes labeled "Ebay" and "Donate" and huge garbage bags at the ready.
I will toss brand new lipsticks (I have never worn lipstick),
and extra links to the wristband of a watch that I never wear.
(I guess I kept them in wrist grew?)

I will throw away pins.
The kind that you place decoratively on the yoke of your denim jumper.
I never have, and never will, own a denim jumper.
A gingerbread man pin. A fancy "K". A tiny grand piano.
Why do I own these?

I will take the curtain rod out from under my bed.
I will make a decision about it. Will I hang a curtain on it?
Or is it worth the safety I feel, knowing it is under there,
in case I should have to club an intruder with it?

I will get rid of various and sundry items in the bedroom,
and feel a little lighter every day because of it.

It will take me a year.

Wish me luck.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Winter Walking

I took twin girl for a walk in the woods because she was ornery.
Not enough sleep, not enough fruits and vegetables, not enough chores.
Too many presents, too much chocolate, too many video games.

So we walked, and she whined.
Until I told her that she should not talk like that in the forest.
She should stay quiet and just use her eyes to find some beauty.

And she did.

Red berries, on leafless winter trees.
Glistening dew-ice, on creekside rushes.
Swirling patterns of frozen flooding,
layered like ribbon jello beneath our feet.


Slender, bulbous and dripping icicles
in clusters between the fallen tree bridge
and the water.

They are glistening, crystal ice people-sicles,
hair caught on branches above,
feet stirring eddies in the water below.

If you focus on them carefully,
it seems as though the creek is the thing that is still,
and the glassy ice people are the ones moving.

Slender pixies,
as they stand bravely,
feetless and
losing ankles to the tide and the sun,

water skiing anyway.