Thursday, September 8, 2016

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

First Day of Tenth Grade. My favorite tall kid. 

First Day of Middle School--Sixth Grade. My favorite girl. 

My favorite man doing one of his favorite things. . . fixing cabin screens

That's me. Baking in my spare time. My favorite cookies. 

Gifts for the Studio. . . from my favorite store, Toy Joy. Thank you students. . . 

One of my favorite things. 
Another one of my favorite things?
Getting into the routine.
Sing to the tune of "I Love a Parade."
I love a routine. . .

Give me a sustainable routine and I can change the world.

Tuesday was the first day of school in Minnesota. That means getting to bed earlier and waking up earlier and a lot of driving. And practicing piano. And packing lunches. Mary came home from school so excited! I don't know how these middle school teachers do it. It's like they connect with the students before they even meet them. God bless them. Mary already loves so and so and so and so and so and so. I heard about it for almost six straight hours. I'm thankful that I'm on good speaking terms with my pre-adolescent girl. Really good speaking terms. Actually, I don't do that much of the actual speaking. Mary, I'm going to bed and shutting out the light. You will have to save the rest for tomorrow.

Calvin came home with the prerequisites for obtaining a driver's license in the state of Minnesota. Let's just start the year off with that thought. In order to stomach the putting of your barely out of diapers six foot child behind the wheel of a car and actually trusting that there is any hope at all that they will not hurt themselves or someone else, you have to be so COMPLETELY fed up with driving back and forth to marching band that you throw your hands up in relinquishment. God's perfect plan. Jesus take the wheel, but not before the 30 classroom hours, 6 hours driving with the instructor, 50 hours driving with a parent--15 of which need to be documented as night hours, and your birth certificate or valid passport. Independence day? July 18, 2017.

Last night we started choir with the new interim music director. It feels good to be in the routine.
Today the SAM board met at my house. Feels good to be in the routine.

Next weekend is Stefanie's wedding--where I get to play Stefanie's favorite piano repertoire for her to walk down the aisle. What a blessing to me. Also featured? Her brother Scott playing Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, and sister Katherine on 1000 Years. What more could I ever, ever have asked for then a family to keep piano music in their lives as part of their best moments. Births and deaths and weddings. Music. This is why we are here. It's my favorite thing.

Next Monday the piano kids come back. I'm busy getting my ducks in a row for that. We are going to have recitals, chamber music, accompanying and duets. I'm also on a scale kick--and the theory books are on order. It's all about the routine. The practice routine.  I love a routine.

Help me light the fire of the love of music in the hearts of these kids and parents. Let my love for music and children be contagious. Bless each and every hour we have together in the studio. Let it all be to your glory and delight. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Saving Big Foot Lodge

Big Foot Lodge
Fortunately, it comes without the contents. . . 
1,2,3,4 Moved Pines









Big Foot's Destination
Labor Day Weekend.
Manual labor day weekend.

Our neighbors have gifted us the little structure named "Big Foot Lodge" by the original owners because of the dad's big feet. The actual footprint is twelve feet by sixteen feet. The only problem with this little sleeping cabin, which is the same vintage as our cabin, with the same windows and window hardware and the same fir flooring and the same fir paneling is. . . . drum roll please. . . it's not on our property. It's about 150 yards south of our property line, right where Dan and Mary, the generous neighbors, wish to build their new house.

The little sleeping cabin is SO cute. It could have electricity someday. It will never have plumbing.

So, Big Foot needs to move. We spent the weekend making a new home for it. We cleared a space between our driveway in front of the cabin, and the road. There were a lot of dreams about where Big Foot could go, but in the end the 25 year old guy from the city with the clip board and the measuring tape determined it's final resting zone.

That resting place had about 400 little white pines on it. That's 192 square feet, close to two pines per square foot. This is why our main cabin is named "Little Pines Lodge." Of course, just like Big Foot is a very small cabin, Little Pines Lodge actually has about 100 hundred year old pines surrounding it. This is our humor. It's bad.

Bill and I and Bill's dad dug and dug and dug trees. And dug and dug and dug holes. Then Dan came by with his bob cat tractor and took thirty more seven foot trees in the time it took me to wipe the dirt off my shovel. He went and put them in the bob cat holes he drilled during my coffee break. Life is not always fair. Dan will not have the satisfaction of quite so much dirt under his nails, and probably his wrists and back and shoulders and knees and hips are not yelling at him this morning either. See what Dan the bob cat driver is missing? Yeah.

It took Bill and Bill's dad and I about 37 hours of standing across the driveway with four stakes, determining EXACTLY where Big Foot should rest. Where was city guy with survey equipment then? This is pressure. Not exactly performance anxiety pressure, but the very strange pressure of knowing that a building is going to be here for a very long time and if your four stakes are a little off it's not just a picture hanging on the wall crooked. We ain't gonna be able to shift this guy over. Or twist it a little clockwise. When you get an engineer and a spreadsheet guy and a piano teacher trying to put four stakes in the ground straight with the world, it's gonna take about 37 hours. And coffee will turn to wine. At some point you just give up and come to peace with the fact that it's not gonna look straight from every angle.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Well, we are pretty dull around here. Bill did take the kids out tubing and Calvin did make it up on his birthday skis! Yeah! We also had a very lovely dinner at the Italian Garden over at Grandview Lodge. That was timely because I don't think I could have lifted one more finger to put a meal on the table.

I'm taking about ten more trees home, speak now and I'll pass them on to you.  Most are about 12 inches and I've got two bare-root four foot guys I'm putting in my yard. Every tree is sacred. It's just really, really bad karma to let these little trees die. Once, during the measuring of the stakes, after he had reached mental and physical exhaustion, I caught Bill yanking a little six inch pine out by it's roots and tossing it aside. Like a weed. Hitherto we had a pretty successful marriage. Now scarred by the casual discard of this little, little precious baby pine tree. I searched through the brush, to no avail. It rained last night and if I can find the little guy this morning, I think forgiveness will come.

One last marital hoop to jump through? Getting the trees home in the car. If I shrink wrap them, I'll probably be forgiven as well. This is the dance we do. This is how marriage works sometimes.

School starts tomorrow. We will not be here for the arrival of Big Foot Lodge. Fair thee well on your 150 journey. I asked the house moving guy--what are the odds that the whole thing cracks in half when you lift it? He said zero. He's got dirt under his fingernails so we do trust him.

The grandson of the original owner stopped by a couple months ago, he slept in Big Foot as a child. When he stepped into the Little Pines Lodge, he said the sleeping porch, now the piano porch, smelled the same as it did seventy years ago. He was pretty sentimental.

We are preserving a little bit of Nisswa history. Thanks Dan and Mary, it would have been easier to bulldoze Big Foot. Now it will be a little closer to home.

Hope you get a chance to stop by and see it.