Thursday, July 20, 2017

July. . . She Will Fly

Parade Selfie

Calvin with the Eastview Drum Line on the 4th of July
Cabin is for Family and Friends and Often the Lines Blur

Piano Room Set Up for My First Teacher Training Session

We Said Goodbye to Our Friend Garfield--he went to his new home in New Ulm

A Lovey Lily

My Piano Kids in Colorado

"Baby Sitting" Your Young Friend 
Sam's Graduation

Bill at Home Behind the Grill

Susan and Sam

Janel and Sam


My Fairy Garden

Mary's Fairy Garden

Suzuki Associaion of Minnesota 2017-2918 Board Retreat
Sweet 16 Boy's Birthday

July, she will fly. The words to some old Simon and Garfunkle tune.
The pictures don't lie, it's been a busy time.
I might add--high highs and low lows.

In that age old quest for balance, which I'm sure I've written about every summer, we ping-pong back and forth between having our lives in perfect tidy control, and doing things for other people and making an impact on the world arround us and. . . having a little fun.

Busy May turned to busy June turned to busy July.
We may have lofted the paddle and crushed the ping-pong ball.
We are home this weekend for the first time since Memorial Day.

Lows? Some lows are private--don't we all have that? But I'm happy to try to gain some sympathy for twisting my ankle in late May and having a piece of glass stuck in my foot for the last ten days. This also warranted a tetanus shot which punched me in the arm and knocked me out for an evening. Yesterday the glass was removed and that is a good thing. Saying goodbye to Garfield the cat was much harder than I thought it would be. I thought I would be relieved that we would not return home from a weekend away to find fresh cat pee in fresh places. Instead I felt all kinds of other emotions that weren't so pretty.

Highs? Red Pines Chamber Music Festival (I'll write about that on the studio blog at some point). Other highs? Being at the cabin with friends and family. The cabin is like the other woman. When you are with her, you love her and want to stay with her. When you go home to the house that is your wife you kinda want to fix things up with her too.

More highs, Calvin is having a great time at the Young Artist's World Piano Festival and we got to hear a two hour concert from Ann Schein Monday night. That's two hours that I will never forget. Sam's graduation party in Iowa was super fun. And, tomorrow Mary leaves for Italy with my mom.  Oh, and I did my first teacher training Every Child Can class.

I told you the ball was off the table. Next week is our MacPhail institute.

As I look at the photos and finally have an hour to reflect, I see that it is all good. I wouldn't change a thing. I'm looking forward to the next three weeks of teaching and cabin life. I'm profoundly happy. I'm just also profoundly exhausted. This weekend we are home and only have Calvin's camp recital. A pause between rounds. An evening with my husband.

I follow a devotion called "Action and Contemplation."
I guess I have to stick with the ping-pong metaphor--since we now have ping-pong at the cabin.
August may need a slower volley and not so many slam dunks. A little less action and a little more contemplation. A little instant replay in slow motion.

Blessings to you as you balance your own summer life.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Postcard from Heaven

Return to Swinging Bridge--big enough to go alone

Bill does take a good picture now and then--Lady Slipper postcard

God's Little Stream

I would never take the little pine cones from this fallen tree and put them in a bowl. Nope not me. . . 

Thankful for waterproof hiking boots

This guy is a hero

Her birthday is coming. . . bet you can't guess which one... 

Ba ba goaties, the real ones, not Mary's collection of stuffies. 

Sam's cairn

S'more s'mores. 

Calvin's postcard of Avalanch Lake

Last Day of School Photo Shoot--after school we left for Glacier


Return to the picnic rock at Avalanch Lake

Susan's smile

Trick Falls otherwise known as Twin Falls and Running Eagle Falls--Calvin is a little taller than last time

Postcard from Heaven

A new hike--to Stanton Lake and Stanton Glacier

Don't mind us little meadow buck. 

Make new hikes, and keep the old. . . first trip to Rogers Meadow--whoever Roger is. 
This was my fourth trip to Glacier as an adult. There isn't really a reason to go anywhere else. Except Hawaii in the Spring.

The first trip was on the train to the Izaak Walton Inn with the family. Then we came back with my mom and dad when he was sick in 2009. We came back with my mom in 2010 just because part of my dad was still in Glacier. This time we took Susan and Sam.

It was my dream--to bring everyone and camp in Fish Creek.
I'm looking at the photos almost a month later and reflecting on how the memory of the trip will be different than the actual trip. Isn't that how it goes? There are some moments you just don't take a picture of. (Bad grammar acknowledgemnet). I didn't have my phone out when the sewage from the toilet tank dumped out all over Bill's and my feet when we went to return the trailers and the valve was mixed up. Bill gets the crappy happy camper award.

Camping with seven family members for nine days is what it is, a combination of beautiful lakes and mountains, three showers in nine days, trailers with very little battery life, discoveries of lady slippers and ferns growing out of rocks. May our memories be more grain than chaff.

We drove down the bumpy dirt road to find the bridge where we took the picture of my dad in 2009, but it was getting dark and the road was very bad and we had to turn around. I was okay with that. I guess I didn't really want to see that bridge without him on it. On the way back to Fish Creek, I was teary. I turned around and looked out the back window. It was amazing. That sunset surely looked like the gates of heaven. We pulled over and I took that picture, which I fancied was Daddy's postcard from heaven.

We got home and hit the ground running--summer doesn't stand still around here. Thank goodness for the photographs, where time stands still and smiles and beauty are captured for an early morning blog entry. In time we will laugh at the crap chaff.

Thank you Lord, for sisters and cousins and grandmas and rushing mountain rivers and the myriad ferns and moss and pinecones. Thank you for the postcards from heaven. Amen.

They will grow up and cross the bridge alone

Thankful for this moment captured

This might require an explanation. Daddy used to carry me and his pack and we recreated that moment with Mary. Smile. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Merry Old Month of May

A Moment. A very short moment, but a moment. 

All Works of Love are Works of Peace--our choral service

Early Spring View

A Low Moment of Dishwasher Failure

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Sweet Woodruff Sneaking into the Lily of the Valley

Mr. Highum reading the Poem Mary wrote about him. . sniff, sniff

If you don't clear the pines needles. . . the flowers grow anyway

Pink Lily of the Valley

The Prayer Tree for Cousin Stacey and Kris's Mom survived another winter. 
The Merry Old Month of May
I'm wishing for the bottomless pot of decaf coffee and an afternoon to write to my hearts content. Alas, the days go by, filled to the brim, without an hour to write.

One daytime student asked me, as they were leaving--what do you DO all day when you are not teaching?

Dear one, I sit around and eat little chocolates and paint my toenails and make sure there are no smudges on the chrome kitchen faucet.

It's called triage. May is the month of making sure we all stay alive, people first, then pets then plants. This requires food and water and deer spray. And gas in the car.

It's final SAM and SPTG meetings and marching band kick-off (bring your checkbook, please). It's circus shows and recitals and entertaining and good-bye parties and your niece's graduation recital and some straggling choir commitments. Band concerts for everyone. It's the Wirth Center Gala and SAT subject tests. It's Nickelodeon Universe field trips which require lunch bags and cash for treats. It's trying to let Calvin drive as much as possible without a Valium prescription. For me, not him.

It's the dishwasher breaking down and leaking all into the bedroom below. It's the fountain pump getting all hooked up and then not actually pumping any water. It's the credit card getting hacked, AGAIN. It's the una corda squeaking in a way that really can't go more than a day without the technician, thank you Mark for making emergency calls.

One mom said, you must love sitting out on your lovely screen porch in the mornings. Should I be honest and tell her this moment is the first moment we have sat down on the porch instead of scrubbing it and washing the cushions and cleaning the bird feeders and fixing the hinges on the doors?

Mary gave me one of those fill in the blank what I love about you books for Mother's Day. I'm gonna read this every morning for the rest of my life. Here are a few highlights:

5. I'm humbled by. . . your beautiful choir playing (she doesn't know about the full blown anxiety attack I had at the choral service)
7. I'm thankful I got your. . . sense of humor. (not my dark sarcastic side?)
8. I love that you still. . . song songs for me.
9. I hope to be as. . .sure footed as you (I guess I am dependable in her eyes)
11. I love how you never. . . let weeds grow in the garden (all I see is weeds)
35. If you want to, you could easily. . . teach 100 students (I am obviously super woman)
42. I love to play. . . the Three Footed Giant piano duet with you (Thanks Annette for this duet that will NEVER go away now. . . )
45. I love how you have such strong. . . ideas (here I spend so much time working out, just to have strong ideas. . . )
47. It makes me smile when. . . you smile at me.
48. I love to. . put your earrings in. . . for you. (I can't do this yet. . . she's taking care of me)
49. Nobody else can play. . . expressively like you. (Pretty sure this isn't true. . . but I'll take it.)

What we are feeling inside is very rarely the full reality.

May brings out the perfectionist in me. And the sarcasm. So little to do and so much time to do it. Weeds. Wrong notes. Kids scrambling to get ready for recitals. Residual hives. And Calvin is always hungry. Everybody wants something.

May in her eyes is a little different. I'm a little different in her eyes.

So. . . if we didn't have recitals and parties we would never sit on the porch. Extra practice brings huge growth. Children bring life to the backyard, not the fountain running. A warped kitchen floor where I stand cutting cantaloupes and making coffee is a home well used and well loved. Balancing the detail with the big picture is part of the dance. Work hard right up to the last moment and then enjoy the show.

Lastly, here is a shout out to my mother and all the mothers for mother's day:

This is the true joy of life--
being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one;
being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap;
being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances.
George Bernard Shaw. 

Here's to giving life our best shot. I'm gonna throw myself on the scrap heap June 4.