Monday, December 28, 2009

a little laugh

Mom sent this to me awhile ago, and it made me laugh.

Hope it makes you laugh too...

K

video

Sunday, December 27, 2009

pigs

Have you ever noticed the connection between Christian high holy days and pork? I was just thinking about this today, and it occurred to me that the traditional meal for both Christmas and Easter is ham. Christmas ham, Easter ham...just wondering if there is a connection. I'm thinking it must be cultural, because I don't think this was true for the early church, like 2,000 years ago. Did 1st century Christians gather around the family table on Christmas and have a big ham dinner???

Just a thought.
K

Saturday, December 26, 2009

quietude pt. 2

Today is the first day I haven't had to rest after going up the stairs.
Today is the first day I haven't been out of breath in the shower.
Today is the first day I felt like getting out of bed.
Today is the first day I thought about going out of the house.
I've had pneumonia.

Pneumonia is ridiculous. For the past week I've had such a hard time breathing, it almost defies words. When you know you are getting better because your breathing time at the top of the stairs is much less than yesterday, that's pneumonia. When you have to do breathing exercises just to stop coughing and take a breath, that's pneumonia. I have to say, I'm not a big fan.

Last night it occurred to me that I am really grateful for many things, and breathing is on the top of the list. Family is just above breathing. They've been taking care of me for the past few days, and it has been nice to have a little help. I would be lost without family, and am very lucky to have the family I do.

If you can avoid pneumonia, please do. Breathing is important.
K

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

on my recent quietude

I haven't written much lately. You know how it goes: it's a busy time of year, there's lots of stuff to do, blah, blah, blah.

But I DO have 2 things to say.

My 4th, 5th, and 6th graders had a concert last week at school. We got a holiday concert ready, and it was magnificent. They were awesome!!! This is in NO way related to the fact that I am their director - for reals. I am SO proud of them and how they truly rose to the occasion. 6th grade especially, because I assigned them the most complicated piece in the whole thing, and they really pulled together and did a great job. I am continually awed that I can ask for bigger and better things, and they step up to the plate and deliver. Their hard song was Jingle Bells, but the music was to several different tunes from The Nutcracker. These are not easy melodies to sing, and they sang fantastically.
The other reason I am so proud is because all of my kids in the concert sang the Hallelujah chorus from Messiah. When we finished the parents all lept to their feet and my principal had a tear in his eye. Granted, it was several keys lower than the original, and in 2 parts (instead of 5 or 6) but they rocked it. Many adult choirs can't sing this piece well, and my elementary kids stood right up and did me proud. I can't say enough how grateful I am for following me, and for doing a great job of it.

The other I'll have to write about later. I'm still beaming about what a great concert that was.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

smell

Today I was printing out my Christmas letter. You know, the one that says basically that nothing much happened this year...
Anyway, as the pretty green Christmas-y stationary was coming out of the printer, it had a smell. Not a BAD smell, but kind-of a weird smell. Like the mimeograph machines from elementary school. The ones where the ink is purple, and it would often rub off on your hand, and I always had to smell the freshly mimeographed sheets when they were handed out.

I just had a smell memory.

It was kind of odd, but a little comforting at the same time. Made me feel like I was in Mrs. Auble's 1st grade class all over again.

I think it is funny how some things - feelings, smells, songs can instantly transport you back to a much earlier time in your life. How your person holds all these memories inside, from the life you've lived up 'til now, and in one split-second a random smell or song or feel of a blanket can bring this all flooding back. When our brain memory fails us, our senses keep those memories just under the surface.

Just thought you'd have a mimeograph memory in there somewhere too.
K

Friday, December 4, 2009

a goodbye

My friend Beth wrote a beautiful post yesterday. Our Friend passed away late Wednesday night, and she said everything I could say, but so much more elegantly. We'll miss you Michelle.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

snow

I have to honest, I have NOT enjoyed the weather for the past few days. We've had snow. Pretty constant, but not heavy, snow. It's snow that's kind of like powdered sugar. It dusts everything, and makes things much more pretty than they are usually. And, I will admit that this is a HUGE improvement over the "soggy-mashed-potatoes" snow we had a couple weeks ago. That was awful!

I do like the way that the snow covers everything, and makes the mountains look spectacular. It was a stunning drive to work this morning.

But I think that the snow is my least favorite part of the Colorado weather. Maybe if I'd learned to snow ski before I got out of High School I might be a little more enthusiastic. But...not so much.

I guess I will enjoy the parts I can, and wait until we have some more sunny days, and not-so-bitter cold. Did I mention that it was 10 degrees when I drove home this afternoon???

O Lord please help me to not to go nuts before the weather changes...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

time

I've been thinking a lot about time lately, and how blessed I am to have so much of it right now. For as much as I really love my teaching job and the kids I get to see every day, I equally love that it comes with built-in time off. This Thanksgiving week has been a great vacation. I've spent time with family, decorated the house a little bit, had some friends over, took some time to get over the cold I had for the past 2 weeks, and so many other things.

So, even as I've been thinking about how grateful I am to have some extra time right now, there are some who have run out of time. Today I went down to the hospice in-patient unit to visit with a friend from church who doesn't have much time left. She has been fighting cancer, and fortunately her fight is almost over. Good because she's in a lot of pain, and the amount of medicine she's on makes her pretty out of it. Not good for her husband and her 2 young kids. As I sat there with her and just held her hand and prayed for her and her family, I was thinking about how we all end out time here on earth at some point. I was thinking about Grandma Bev and when she was in Hospice care. Thinking about what it was like to care for her in the last few weeks of her journey. Thinking about how sad I am for the husband and 2 young kids. Thinking about how blessed my time on this earth has been, and if I ended my journey today, that would be OK. Thinking about my sister and how sad she will be when her friend finally passes.

This whole week has been a gift of time, and then at the end of it I got a reminder that our time IS limited. We just don't know how limited it may be. As the thoughts of gratefulness and sadness and mourning and determination to make the most of my time all swirl about in my head, I hope that from now I choose to make my time worth it. Worth something. Worth talking about after I'm gone.

Serving at the Rescue Mission's Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless was a good start. But maybe I should not just focus on others once a year, but find ways to do that kind of thing more often.

Time is so precious.
K

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thankfulness addendum

Wow. First let me say that our High School group at church is great. Yesterday I went with 10 of them and our Youth Pastor down to the Rescue Mission Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless. We went to do whatever needed to be done, and just to serve. This have become a tradition, and I think this was my 4th year taking High Schoolers to serve at this event. They are awesome. They just jump right in there, and so whatever needs to be done. They serve with a beautiful heart, and are willing to hand out meals, or clean up. Some of them painted kid's faces, then helped put away tables and chairs.

That said, wow. I am so thankful for my life. I so often forget what a great life I have. Yesterday I just got a nice remembrance that I am so blessed to have the life that I have.

A couple kids commented that there were a lot of people volunteering, and sometimes they had to look for things to do. My reply was, how often do the homeless have people falling all over themselves trying to serve them? How are they treated most often? I think it is personally my mission to make them feel wanted and special for a day. I just realized that I feel wanted and special most days, and that I have an amazing birthday, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas every year. I have family lunch every Sunday, and get tons of gifts at school each December. I am SO blessed.

So as I think about how blessed I am to be a part of my family, my church, my school, to have my house, my car, etc., I just want to say that it is always humbling to realize that there are people who have none of this.
May I never forget, and always do my best to serve them whenever I have an opportunity. It's what Jesus would have done...
K

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

my attitude of gratitude

On many occasions, I have given advice to people to be thankful. To be thankful in spite of circumstances, to be thankful for gifts you've been given, to be thankful for the good things in life, even if there are bad things too. I have always tried to be thankful no matter what. I believe that it is good mental health to look on the bright side, and to find the good in things.

My friend, Jen, is sometimes negative. I love her, and she's a good friend. But I've given her this "be thankful" advice several times before. I don't feel bad saying this, because if you asked her she would agree. But now, more than ever, I am giving myself this advice.

I think that even though life throws bad situations at us, and even though we might not be exactly where we want to be, it is important to deliberately look around and find things to be thankful for.

Here's my (partial) list:

I'm thankful for my family. I have a great Mom and Dad, a great sister and brother-in-law as well as two great nephews. I took Noah bowling yesterday, and he beat me. But we had a great time, and I love him.

I'm thankful for a great job. It's a lot sometimes, but I really do love my kids, and the hugs I get each week at school.

I'm thankful for a loving church family. I'm thankful for our new senior pastor.

I'm thankful for the kids in High School Group. They keep me young. :)

I'm thankful for a great boss.

I'm thankful for the Chorale and the opportunity to sing in a great group each week.

I'm thankful for good friends like Jen. I'm thankful for other good friends, like Beth.

I'm thankful that I get to spend Thanksgiving with family, 'cause for a lot of years I didn't.

Just wanted to take a moment to be thankful for some of the blessings I have in my life, and the good things that come along with the trials.
K

Saturday, November 14, 2009

determination

I teach piano to a 70 year-old Vietnamese man. I know that sounds like the title of a book, but it's true. I go to his house every Saturday morning, and we do piano together. In fact, it's a little different than any other piano students. Most of my other students are between the ages of 7 and 12, with the exception of a couple teenagers. I really like them all, and enjoy our lessons. But, with them we are working through a piano method book. They play the songs in the books, and as we come upon a new concept, I explain how it works, then they practice that in the next song.

Mr. Le is different. When he and I do piano, I just go and wait for him to ask questions. He ALWAYS has a question, and he dutifully takes notes. In fact, often he has more questions than we have time for in our half-an-hour lesson. He always serves me tea, and it is a very quiet time. I've really come to enjoy the different approach, and it keeps me on my toes. I never know what is coming, and often I have to distill a college Music Theory concept down to something he can understand, and then put it into simple English.

I was just thinking this morning about how I admire his determination. He often says that he will continue to learn, and become a better pianist until he dies, whenever that will be. Last year we stopped lessons for several months, because he was ill and in the hospital. He had pneumonia and a collapsed lung. Even now he's on oxygen, and seems pretty frail, compared to when I first met him. Nevertheless, we still do piano. He still asks questions, and is very eager to learn. Last week he said when he feels better how would like to do an hour lesson so he can learn more.

Just wanted to point out that the thirst for knowledge can never be satisfied. Make sure you have something you want to learn about, and your spirit will continue to grow vibrant, even as you body winds down its time here.
K

Friday, November 13, 2009

my mom, and the coffee cup

The other day, I was headed out to school in the morning, and hadn't finished my coffee. I know, I know, coffee is not that great for you, and I really should just quit drinking it. BUT, I can't. I like it, and now that I'm addicted to it, I get a headache if I don't have a cup of coffee in the morning. So as a result, I take my extra coffee maker on all trips, and enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning. One of my fellow Youth Group sponsors is also addicted, and is grateful for my extra coffee maker. We sit quietly in the morning, and feed our addiction before the chaos of whatever Youth Group trip we're on starts up for the day.

Anyway, back to my morning coffee. I wasn't finished, so I grabbed my cup, purse, lunchbag, and anything else that was going with me and headed out the door.


As I got into my car, I had a little flashback to when I was young. Maybe 6 or 7, maybe a little older, but not any older than 10, 'cause that's when we moved to another house. Mom and I were getting into the car to go to school, and she had a ceramic mug with her coffee in it. I clearly remember telling her that she shouldn't take that cup of coffee in the car because she was gonna spill it all over her lap and then she would be sorry. (Kinda sounded like a little know-it-all, didn't I?) Well she didn't spill coffee that day, but one day in the not-too-distant future, she dropped a mug of coffee and broke the mug. (And, of course, lost the coffee).


So this was my little flashback last week, as I sat down in the car with my ceramic mug of coffee. I just realized that I am becoming more and more like my Mom every day. Sometimes in class I say things that sound *exactly* like her. Often it takes me by surprise, and I have to stop for a minute. But I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. Because, you see, I have seen how Mom has grown up over the years, and she is not the same person that she was when I was little. (Probably due to the fact that I'm not in the house anymore - she's much more relaxed!) But really, as I think about how much I am like her, I hope that I too will continue to grow, and become a better person, like she has.




Thanks Mom, for all you've taught me. Both when I was little, and even now that I'm getting old.

I Love you .

K

Saturday, November 7, 2009

time in a bottle, time to go, time...

Yesterday I woke up at 5:15. Sheesh...I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't so after about 15 or 20 minutes I just got up and took my shower. As I was doing my hair, I noticed that the clock in the bathroom said "7:00". After walking in to the bedroom to check that it was only 6am, I remember thinking that it was weird that I didn't change that clock to "fall back" an hour, but whatever.
So I changed it back.

Went downstairs, made breakfast, did a couple things around the house, made my lunch, then headed out the door. I had to stop at the bank before school, so I drove up to the drive-through. As I was sitting there, I glanced at the clock in my car, and thought I was having a twilight zone-moment: the clock said 8:20.

I reached for the clock to change THAT one back an hour too, then...

pulled out my cell phone and it said 8:21. OH NOOOOOO.......

I called school (where I was supposed to be almost 45 minutes ago) and when Penny confirmed that it was indeed 8:22, I really didn't know what to say.

Well all's well that ends well, and the rest of the day ended up being fine, but it is so discombobulating to be off by an hour, and not know it, then find out almost by accident, then be behind and have missed several things I should have done in that time.

I just realized that Not only do I have a clock in every room, I am totally dependant on them and am a very scheduled person. Not that I have a full schedule, but when that schedule gets thrown off it turns me upside down.

Is there a way to be less time-dependant, and still accomplish the things I have to do in life (like get to work on time)? Can somehow I not always need the time-keeping, and be able to go with the other rhythms of life, like the sun and the moon? Can I find a balance between the necessity of getting to work on time, and MAKING time to not be time-bound?

In my own time,
K

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

My friend Beth writes a blog, like a day off, and she was saying how she wanted to learn to live every day like it's a day off. Well, today IS a day off. I got a SNOW DAY!!!! OK, not just me, but several school districts here in Colorado Springs.

I LOVE that unexpected feeling of wonderfulness when you realize that the whole day is free, and you just gained 8 hours that you didn't have before.

I feel totally relaxed, and am definitely going to enjoy my snow day!

Hope you have an unexpected gift sometime soon.
K

Saturday, October 24, 2009

ice hockey

Last night my Dad took me to a hockey game. It really was fun - we went to get some dinner, then saw Colorado College beat Michigan Tech 4-1. I have to admit that I'm not a huge hockey fan, but I like to watch any sport where it is exciting, and there's stuff to watch, so it was a good night all together.

Though, I had a moment and cried a little bit in the restaurant. There was an older couple a couple tables over, and I glanced at them out of the corner of my eye. She was fixing his dinner, and from the way he sat there I assumed that he had previously had a stroke. After she got his dinner ready, she carefully placed the fork in his hand so he could eat. As I was watching this, I started thinking about Grandmas and Grandpas, and it made me a little sad that 5 of them are gone, but would have done this same thing in the same situation. And then I thought that, god forbid, I may have to do this same thing for Mom or Dad one day in the FAR future. But as all these thoughts flashed through my mind in about a second, I had a tear. Then, I couldn't stop them, and had to dig a kleenex out of my purse in the middle of dinner in Pei Wei. Good Heavens. I truly am a mess.

Anyway, Dad and I had a really nice time. We talked about CC hockey, and about other things, and about how much we enjoy my nephews (his grand kids). It was fun.

On the way home I got to thinking about how weird the circle of life it. First, when we are little we spend tons of time with Mom and Dad. Then we get a little older, and more time is with friends, and less time is spent with Mom and Dad. Then we get to be a teenager, and we wouldn't be caught DEAD with Mom and Dad. Then we (I) live across the country for 14 years, and only get to see Mom and Dad once a year. And now, we live 6 miles apart, and week each other every week. Just kinda funny...

K

Sunday, October 18, 2009

power!

I feel totally empowered!

This week I changed the bulb in my car's dome light, changed the wiper blades, got one of the guys at the auto parts store to put in a new headlight bulb, and today I refinished my headlights!!! Usually car-stuff makes me want to have someone else take care of whatever needs to be done, but that time had come, so I stepped up.

Just want to point out that the headlight refinishing involved using my drill, and 3 grades of sandpaper as well as a polishing attachment.

I'm so proud of myself!

Just wanted to share with someone...
K

Saturday, October 10, 2009

tears, death, and some drunk people in a bar

So the opera is over.

I am a little glad, and a little sad at the same time. Let me review: I sang in the chorus for a local production of La Boheme, by Puccini. This particular production was a "semi-staged" version, and that means that there were no costumes, no props, and no scenery. Other than that, it was very much like the last time I sang in the chorus for La Boheme. Sang the same songs, though a different part this time, and got to portray drunk people in a bar, as well as impertinent little kids. It really was a ton of fun.

I do have to say that the last time I did La Boheme, I thought we were IT. I had in my mind that there was no way that this production would match up. Yeah, it could be good, but...wouldn't come close.

Well, I was totally wrong. The principals in this version totally knocked it out of the park. They were SO GOOD! I think a huge selling point for me was that the "semi-staged" version meant that the chorus sat on stage throughout the whole thing. Even though we only sang in Act 2 and part of Act 3, we sat up there for the whole shebang.

Boy, I hardly have words. Mimi, one of the 2 female leads dies at the end of the show, and this Mimi died sitting in a chair. Wearing a formal dress. Singing higher than I could ever sing, dying in a chair or not. One of my piano students came, and her mom told me that she was sobbing at the end of the show. Mimi was THAT good, and THAT moving, and THAT convincing.

Wow.

I had a tear at the end, and I've been in it before, and even seen the whole thing before.

Wow.

I am so impressed by Puccini's ability to take this timeless story of not just Rodolfo and Mimi's love, but their friends, their dealing with life's circumstances, as well as their entire relationship with each other and put it into this amazing and touching lyrical story.
If you've never seen La Boheme, I suggest you watch a good version. Soon.

So it may seem like I am out of Operaville, but this last weekend I tried out to sing in the chorus of Mozart's Magic Flute. We'll see if I make it...

Musically,
K

Friday, October 2, 2009

drums, a kora and some beats

This link is of an amazing musician from Mali, West Africa and his name is Issa Bagayoyo. I had the privilege of seeing him live this fall, and sometimes I think I could listen to his stuff all the time. Just wanted you to experience Issa too.

Don't be afraid to get up and dance...
K

Issa Bagayogo Live at Colorado College from PPLD TV on Vimeo.

Monday, September 28, 2009

lights out

The other night I came home, and my neighbor was out in the street, waving around a flashlight. So I stopped. While I stopped, I hit the button for my garage-door opener. 'Cause that's what I do when I pull into my street. And my neighbor was very nice.
He said, "That won't work".

Huh.

"Did you say that won't work? (pause for my brain to work for a moment). "Why?"

" 'Cause the power is out. (pause for me to comprehend) We don't have any power."

So I said thanks, and idled there for a minute, totally thrown by the fact that I didn't have any power.

I eventually parked in the driveway, and made my way up to the the door and into my house. It was a little weird, but I made it. Had to use my cell phone to get up the stairs, but I made it. I found a flashlight that I keep on the upstairs landing for this purpose, and found my way around. I lighted one of those "jar candles", and put it on my dresser, so I could see in the bedroom. Then I used that candle, and the flashlight to find my way around and light some other candles, and eventually it looked like I was having a seance with all the candles. It looked like the "talking to the dead" scene in Ghost. I hope I DID NOT look like Whoopie Goldberg, though...

I had a nice time, being quiet, and doing a sudoku, and I turned on my laptop and played games on the computer for a little bit. It was nice.

But it got me to thinking, as I took my candle into the bathroom, to brush my teeth, that this must have been how Laura Ingalls Wilder felt, and how she did everything back in the day. I totally felt like Little House On The Prairie!

It was a good feeling, to be able to do everything I needed to do, but still conquer the lack of electricity. Maybe I am flexible after all...

Turn out your lights once in awhile.
K

Saturday, September 19, 2009

singing

I LOVE to sing. When I was little, I was constantly singing around the house. Usually it was the jingle from a commercial, or the theme song from a TV show. You can ask my Mom - it drove her crazy. We had a rule in the house growing up: no singing at the dinner table. Guess who that rule was made for???

This is a cool video that a friend of mine sent me.
Hope you enjoy it!
K



video

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the Ya-Ya's

I am re-re-re-reading The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I absolutely LOVE this book, and am convinced that I would have fit perfectly in Garnet, Louisiana. If you haven't had the pleasure, it is all about a family in Louisiana with a playwright daughter, outdoorsy father, crazy and out-there mother, and the mother's 3 friends that she grew up with. They called themselves the Ya-Yas.

The entire book is about that family, and even if it is a totally dysfunctional family, it is about all of the things that tie them together. It is about Vivi sending the Ya-Ya-rebelia to Sidda, and learning about her past, and her mother's past, and her mother's friends past. How they were willing to call each other out when they did something wrong, how they took care of each other and their families. How they were family to each other. The Ya-Yas.

I got a call from my sister today. She's out in Oregon for Grandpa Jack's funeral. She just called to see how I was doing, but I have a feeling it was a check in for her too. Sometimes it is nice to talk to someone who understands, even if they are annoying sometimes! (Me, not her.) It is nice to talk to someone who knows how it feels to have lost all the same Grandparents. It was nice to talk to her.

We are like those beautiful quilts that my Mom makes. She takes little bits of fabric, and makes them into beautiful quilts. Her most recent project was to take different pieces of Grandma Bev's and Grandpa Larry's clothes, and make them into a quilt for my cousin Christina's wedding present.

I think that that's a good way to look at family. All of out imperfections are woven into the fabric that is our family, but if you step back and look at the whole thing, it's beautiful. And keeps you warm on a cold night. Family can do that for your soul.

So, I'm off to read about the Ya-Yas. Again. And crawl under a flannel quilt that my Mom made. I think I'll sleep well tonight.

K

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

and the hits just keep on comin'

OK, maybe I'm bring dramatic, but I think you'll agree with me in a minute.

But first, I have to share about my friend Jen. Jen has an unnatural attachment to the Bon Jovi song, "Livin' On a Prayer". I don't often tease her about this, 'cause i don't want her to feel bad, and all. She's not even from New Jersey. But she DOES love this song. So, in honor of her little quirk, I set her ringtone on my new phone to "Livin' On a Prayer". So that's not the good part. The best part was when I told her about it. She laughed so loud and hard that it made me laugh too. That was the best feeling. It made me happy that she was happy.

So that brings us around to today. This evening she called and said it makes her sad that I'm sad. You see, my Grandpa Jack died today. Don't get me wrong - I have some tears. But I'm not really sad for Grandpa Jack. He loved Jesus, possibly more than anyone I've ever known. Grandpa Jack has been sick for awhile now, and he was not doing so hot lately, so I'm actually relieved for him. I'm most sad for Grandma Betty, 'cause she will have to live for awhile without him. Now, I know eventually that they will be together, but for the immediate future, she's going to have a rough go of it.

It just makes me sad for all the missing: I've been missing my other grandparents lately, and now I'm missing Grandpa Jack too. I drove home from rehearsal tonight in tears. I know they will stop eventually, but they kinda hurt right now.

Here's a picture of Grandpa Jack, Grandma Bev, and my Dad when he was really little:



I think this picture was taken around Christmas of 1949. Grandma Bev passed away about 2 and a half years ago - she's beautiful in this picture. Dad's not this cute anymore.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go get a Kleenex.
K

Monday, September 7, 2009

the chain letter



This is my favorite picture of Grandma Annie and Grandpa Glen (my mom's parents). I think it was taken when I was really little, like 3 or 4.

Back when I was in my 20's, and Grandma Annie was still alive, and all of us girls lived in different places in the country, my mom, sister, grandma and I had what we called the chain letter. It wasn't a chain letter, per se, but more like a layered-type letter that we passed around in a circle. I would get the chain letter, take out whatever I wrote last time, add my note for this time, and see if there was anything included for me. Then I would mail it to Grandma, then she would do the same and mail to my sis, then she would do the same and mail it to Mom. And around and around it would go. Sometimes, mom or grandma Annie would make 3 copies of a good recipe and send it out so everyone could have a copy. Sometimes it would have a recipe that was just for me. (That's how I got Grandma Annie's Potato Salad recipe!) But the chain letter kept going around, and about once a month it would arrive in the mail, always with something new and exciting.

Don't get me wrong, there was usually nothing "exciting" in the chain letter. We are not terribly exciting people. But getting a note from everyone was great, and the best ones would be where Gram put something in just for me.

I miss the chain letter.

I think that it's really Gram and Gramp that I miss. But the other day I thought about the chain letter, and the infinite connections that we had with each other. I am sad that they are gone. I'm sad that they can't be here to love on my nephews like I can. And they WOULD, if they were here.

But such is life. I will move on, and live life. I will still have those kind of connections with my other family. But it will never be the same as it was with Grammy and Grumpy Gramp.

I love you both.
K

Friday, September 4, 2009

Opera!

I am totally serious about that title needing a capital and an exclamation point! Now, I realize that I could very well be ticketed by the grammar police for "excessive use of an exclamation point", and "overcapitalization", but this deserves it.

I am singing in an Opera!

A momentous occasion, to be sure. Because, really, how often does one get to be in an actual opera? In my case, the answer is 4, because when I lived halfway across the country, I was lucky enough to sing for the Athens Master Chorale. (Athens, GA, NOT Athens, Greece. I wish...) Anyway, the AMC was the "house chorus" for the Athena Grand Opera Company. While I sang with them, I was able to be in the chorus for 3 operas: La Boheme, The Marriage of Figaro, and Madame Butterfly. These were defining moments in my life, and I LOVED every minute of them. The playing cards backstage, the hideous Boheme "carpet dress", the corset that accompanied the first 2 costumes and the Japanese paper umbrella and wig that accompanied the last one. LOVED them!

Well, now I am singing with the Colorado Springs Chorale. A very fine organization that has over a 50 year history, and has performed some of the greatest choral works of all time. Very well. So, now the CSC is going to be the chorus for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic's performance of La Boheme.

In THREE WEEKS!

I'm kind of wigging out, no Butterfly pun intended...

I think that my age-riddled brain is to fault for this recent panic. We've been rehearsing Boheme for several weeks now, and it's been going well. But, every so often, the wrong words will go flying out of my mouth. Or, I will, at random, start singing the other women's' part. I guess it wouldn't be noticeable, except that they are sitting ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM! The last time I sang Boheme, all the parts had to be memorized, so we could freely move on and off stage in the carpet dress, singing about Musetta, and how she is not very nice. So THAT's the part that keeps coming out of my mouth. Even though it's not my part now.

Here's a picture of the last time I sang in La Boheme:



I guess should get off the computer, and go practice my Italian. And singing the correct lines...

I'll let you know how it goes later.

Opera!
K :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

relationships, and the other crap...

So, I was laughing with my students today, in a class, and I had an epiphany. A moment. A realization. I realized that I really DO love teaching, and I really like spending time with my kids. It's all the other crap that I can live without.

I really enjoy the relationships that we have. I like when I saw 2 students at WaterWorld this summer, and they stopped to say hello. I like when I walk down an aisle in the grocery store and some little voice yells out, "You're my music teacher!" I really like when someone is heading out to recess, and they turn around to run up and give me a hug. It makes me feel like I make a difference.

So I guess that the other crap doesn't really matter. Like the pencils (which I STILL can't use in class...) or all the meetings, or the performances to prepare for. That's all the things I put up with, to get to spend time with my kids.
I'm just sayin'...

K

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Noah



Well, this is for Noah. My nephew, Noah, is 5 years old now, and he's starting Kindergarten! I am SO proud, and excited that he is starting Big Kid school! When I moved across the country to take this job 5 years ago, the HUGE benefit was that I'd get to be close to family. Noah was 2 months old when I moved. Now he's 5. FIVE! I love him to death, and am so excited for him to start school. What an exciting time in life. How neat to have everything be new. I can't remember a time in my life when I WASN'T in school, and here he is on his first day. EVER! I've so proud of you buddy!

Love you bunches,
Auntie K.

Monday, August 24, 2009

what is wrong with me?

Well, I guess I got a good glimpse into my humanness today. (Humanity? Humaniosity?) Anyway, I cried today at school. Kinda wierd, especially since I don't consider myself a crier. Cry-er. Whatever.

There's this issue with using pencils in my class...really it's a little, trivial, stupid thing that will get sorted out and in a month no one will even remember it. But somehow this morning, it seemed overwhelming. Or maybe it was several other, minor things that it was added to, and THAT made it overwhelming. I don't know. The bottom line was that I thought about it, and all of a sudden the tears started.

And once they started, I could NOT get them to stop.

Well I realized several inportant things through this episode today. One, I am again very grateful for my frends. About half-an-hour after I got back to class and was talking to my students, Penny brought me a Diet Dr. Pepper. No fanfare, no hug, no pitiful look for the person who can't control their emotions. She silently slipped into class and set the Holy Grail of Soda on my desk. It was so sweet. I was moved. But don't worry, there was no more crying. :)

Two, I am so grateful for my family. My sister called tonight and asked what happened today, and then sweetly listened to me while I told her the whole stupid crying story. She even laughed at me, which I really needed. It is such a blessing to have loving family - she's awesome.

Just a little exercise in gratefulness.
Thanks for listening.

Much Love, K

Saturday, August 22, 2009

new beginnings

Wow, I love Saturday mornings! It feels like the whole weekend is spread out on a table in front of me, and I can enjoy the whole thing! Getting up on Saturday morning is one of the most delicious feelings!

I was talking to someone at school this week, and we were talking about getting back into the school schedule. I told him that, even though I'm not Jewish, I am TOTALLY down with Jewish New Year. This time of year is the beginning of so many things - my birthday is coming up soon, school is starting, and I love the idea that starting school means starting over. New year, new teacher, new class, new classroom. I have always loved going back to school. It just FEELS like the start of the new year. It feels like a new beginning.

Besides, January doesn't feel like New Year at all! It's cold, I'm tired, and it feels more like the leftover celebrations from Christmas. And then we start in on the longest stretch of the school year, where it's a slow, hard grind until Spring Break.

So, I think, in my own non-Jewish way, I'm going to start celebrating the new year in the fall. Any ideas to help me celebrate???
Tonight I'm going out to dinner and a movie with 2 girlfriends. That sounds like a good way to start...

Find your new beginning.
Much Love, K

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the moving sidewalk

Well I still don't know what to say about David's sudden passing. I think it is a little more shocking that I might have thought, just because he was exactly my age. I mean people in their mid-30's don't just wake up feeling out of sorts, then pass away suddenly. At least I hope they don't, because if so I'm in trouble. It just makes me think about my life up to this point, and be grateful for every minute I have left.

I've been thinking alot lately about friends, and how they are in our lives for a limited time. Some for a long time, and some for a short time.

I think this started the other day because Barb and I were talking at church about jewelry. I know, the usual church conversation...
Anyway, I thought immediately about my friend Nolia. Nolia is one of the coolest people I've known, and I really liked her. We even went on a missions trip to Mexico together, where we got chased by a turkey and almost fell in the Banyo. But that's for another time...
Nolia and I were friends when I lived in GA. And we haven't talked since I moved. But still, she made a lasting impression on me, and I thought about her fondly the other day.

I got to wondering about how people come in and out of our lives, and I remembered what another friend of mine said: that our journey thru life is like a moving sidewalk. You know, those ones at the airport. Like the one in Denver that I almost fell face first on 'cause I wasn't paying attention while I got on.
But she said that friends step on the moving sidewalk, and ride with you for a part of your journey. Then they get off, and you continue on. Some friends are on for the long haul, and some friends only ride with you for a short trip. But you keep going, and eventually there will be another friend to take part of that trip with you.

So, I guess it makes it easier to understand when people come in and out of our lives if we can see the fantastic friends that have come on the journey up to this point. I have been SO lucky, and SO blessed to have had such wonderful friends in my life, even if they stepped off my moving sidewalk awhile ago.

Look around at the friends you've had in your life, and be thankful for the good they brought out in you. Even if it was for a short time.

Much Love, K

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

stunned and crushed

I don't know what to say. I just, a few minutes ago, found out that a good friend of mine passed away today. He was the husband of a good friend of mine, father to 2 great kids, and almost exactly my age.
David was a great person, and totally just got ripped out of this world. I am so crushed for his wife, and stunned that he woke up not feeling so good, then just passed away.

And 2 minutes later I found out that some good friends from church had a baby this afternoon. She is beautiful, and their famiy is tremendously happy. I am so happy for them.

I feel like I'm being ripped in half.

How could this happen? I have so many questions, and can't stop thinking about the times I spent with David and his family.

And then I looked at pictures of my friends new baby, and couldn't stop smiling.

And then I cried.

I think this is too much to take right now - more later.
K

sang along with this at the top of my lungs

Sunday, August 16, 2009

sadness












So I've been a little sad over the past few weeks. You see, the Georgia Theatre burned down. Burned to the ground. And the owner says that he was underinsured, and probably won't have enough money to rebuild, at least not right away.


I've seen so many shows and concerts at the Georgia Theatre, I don't think I could start to count them. I have some very warm, happy memories there, and now it's gone.

I think the reason for the sadness, though, is that this puts a period on that time in my life. Things have changed. I live halfway across the country now, and hardly ever go to shows now. I used to go downtown at least 3 nights a week, and now the only reason I'm downtown is for my Wednesday night Chorale rehearsal. I'm going to propose that Chorale rehearse in my living room from now on so I don't even have to go out for that.


I feel like I'm not the same person I uesd to be. In some ways that's good. (Change is good; become a better person and all that crap) But I think I am going to have to be pulled along kicking and screaming from now on. I don't want to start eating dinner at 4:30, like my Grandparents (God rest their souls) or exclaiming that anything farther than 2 miles away is "all the way at the other end of town!" like my mom. I don't want to get old.


How can I stop the inevitable progression of getting old?


I am making a point from now on to go out of my usual routine, and go downtown. I am going to seek out a new restaurant I have never tried, and go there. I am going to pick a show that I want to see and buy tickets (right now!) I am going to go for a drive, and see the sights without planning the trip first. I'm going to find a park I've never visited, and swing on the swings.

I'm serious about this - ask me what I've done lately to break out of my rut.


Are you going to let oldness creep in and take over? What are you going to do to stay young?
Let me know...
K

Saturday, August 15, 2009

the race, the prize, the finish

OK, just want to say first off that I totally stole this URL (and changed it just a little) from a radio station morning show. Just had to get that off my chest.

But, I thought that randomness was a good way to describe my life. It seems that life comes at me (all of us?) in a random sort of way. This may be due to my healthy love of movies, and desire to see everything work in a "scripted" way and have a happy ending. But, as we all know, life just doesn't work that way.

I feel like life works in cycles. My current cycle is now on the upswing. You see, I am a teacher. So this time of year always feels like the beginning of a marathon. You've seen them on TV: there's 15,000 people in one place, all clumped up at the start of the marathon, and most of them are trim and dressed in appropriate athletic attire. Then the air horn goes off, (LOVE that sound) and everyone surges ahead in great anticipation of the next couple hours, with their eye firmly on the finish line.

Though I am neither trim, nor appropriately dressed in athletic clothes, I feel like the air horn just went off. The school year is about to begin, and I'm surging forward along with everyone else feeling quite a bit overwhelmed. To make a point, yesterday I cried in the supermarket. Because there was a MINOR problem in checking out. What is wrong with me?????? My brain knows that was irrational, but somehow my emotions didn't get the message, and let loose.

Anyway, can I just tell you that I cannot even conceive of the finish line right now, much less have my eye on the prize? I actually have my eye on the Valium...

But I have hope. Hope that this school year will be good. Hope that this school year will eventually be over. Hope that this school year will be better than last! Hope that I will be able to sleep soon, without waking up in the middle of the night thinking about lesson plans.

The summer was great, and I have hope that the rest of the year will be also. Many thanks to you friends and co-workers that will make it that way.

Much love, K