Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If I had a million dollars . . .

I hope that I wouldn’t change too much. I hope I wouldn’t buy too much stuff, just a couple good things I really, really want. Things I’d still appreciate after the money was gone or stored away for a future day.

I probably wouldn’t change the way I do things—I’d still use coupons and have the supermarket match other store’s ads, I’d still add water to my soap when I get down to the bottom to get it all out, I’d still squeeze every bit of toothpaste out of the tube. Because I don’t think that’s about money, but about not wasting. I would still look for the best deal on things because no matter how much money I have, I don’t want to pay more than I need to.

I hope I’d be one of those millionaires who you’d never know was a millionaire just by looking at them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Conducting Debut

Friday, Bianca had her conducting debut. She'd written a song a while back with four parts--violin, viola, cello and piano--called Rain on a Dark Morning. Her orchestra instructor said they could play it for her concert and even offered to let Bianca conduct her song. The 2nd video below is Bianca's song. Okay, since the elementary school orchestra played it, it does sound a little different from how Bianca wrote it (timing was a little off during the piano solo). Still, it turned out great and we're really proud of her accomplishment!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The monster concert

A monster concert sounds like something off Sesame Street. But it's a big concert in which many elementary school orchestras come together and play the same songs in one big orchestra. Yesterday was a very long day for my eight-year-old: Bianca had to go to orchestra practice before school, then school all-day, then I had to get her out fifteen minutes before school was out and drop her off at Copper Hills High school, where all the orchestras rehearsed together, had a short dinner break of pizza, and the concert was at seven. That's a monster day!

The concert was nice. Afterwards, Bianca said her arms ached and rightfully so.

Orchestra is coming to a close for the year. Just one more little concert, on Friday during school but I'm going anyway. They're playing a song Bianca wrote. I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A book mystery to solve

A couple weeks ago, my friend Christie and I went to the main Salt Lake City library for their special grab-a-bag-full-of-books-for-$5 they have twice a year. I'd never been before. Christie and I spent an hour perusing shelves for books that looked interesting. Most of the books were discarded library books, but strangely not all of them were. My guess is that people sometimes donate their personal books/libraries to the public library and instead of putting those books into the library system, the library earns money by selling them (not that they're making much on this deal).

Anyway, I spent most of my bag's capacity filling it with mid-grade level books for Bianca to read. She's always complaining that she's read all the books in her room three times. I let Portia add a couple of her own discoveries to the bag as well. As I was leaving with my bag overflowing, I plucked one last book from a shelf. It was called, "How to Decorate for and with Antiques." I love old houses and furniture, so I thought it was appropriate. This one wasn't a library discard either. A small treasure just for me.


After lunch, as Christie was dropping me off at my car, she wanted to see what treasures I'd found that day. My paper bag tore right in half (I was trying to get the most for my money, of course) when we went through the books. As I showed her the antique book, it fell open to a section in the middle. Used as a bookmark was a professional photograph of a man. He was in a robe so it looked like a graduation photo of sorts--maybe high school but I think college.


It intrigued me. I'm always using random things at my grasp as book marks when I'm reading. Half my books are probably filled with my old keepsakes (mostly trash and receipts) but little reminders of where I was in my life when I was reading that particular book--or at least where I bought gas that week. Anyway, the only clue to who this book belonged to (and how I might return this photo to the family to which it belongs) is an inscription in the front. It reads, "Minnie, Happy Birthday. 2/11/73" So I deduced that Minnie's birthday is probably February 11. I did a search online and it returned nothing. Probably because Minnie was a nickname and not the woman's given name. I also assume that this woman was from Salt Lake City because the photographer--Lignell and Gill-- stamped on the back of the photo was in Salt Lake City.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to return this photo to its rightful owner. I'd like to. I feel bad having this piece of another family's history--a treasure really--in my possession, but I frankly don't know how to go about returning it. Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A little more Chopin. . . Piano Challenge Song #2

When I flew out to St. Louis the month before my dad died, my sister Susannah had been there taking care of my dad during the days while mom was at work. One-month-old Portia, Bianca (pulled out of her last two weeks of kindergarten), and I moved in to the bed & breakfast--mom's current home now--along with Susannah's family. She had been using music as a coping mechanism and had been working on a song on the hundred-year-old Steinway. A hauntingly, beautiful song by Chopin. His posthumous Nocturne Op. 72 No. 1. I tried to play it once while I was there and couldn't get past the first two lines.

I'd been looking for this song so that I could learn it after I returned home. I got it mixed up with the other Chopin I first learned and then had to order a new book of Chopin's Nocturnes to find it. I've been working on this song for quite some time now and think it's about as good as I'm going to get it. My sister played it as prelude music at my father's funeral before the pianist arrived, trying to fill in some of the silence as people were shuffling in to the church. I'm pretty sure she hasn't played the song since.

My dad is somewhere in this song when I play it. Or the sadness of losing him. At the risk of sounding crazy, I'll even mention that once when I was playing it, I had an experience where I felt like I wasn't playing the song, something beyond me was. Strange, I know, but I don't know how to explain it. Not that I think it was Dad, as he didn't know how to play piano himself. Still, I can't play this song without thinking of him.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A faded and tattered memory

My mom was a substitute teacher at my school when I was a kid. I don't remember having her as my substitute teacher very often except for the once, when I was acting up in class, she said, "Jeana Claudine Watters" in her mom-reprimanding voice in front of the entire class. I hung my head mortified as all the kids snickered. To this day, I still hate my middle name.

Another day, my mom was on recess-duty substitute teaching at my school. I had a good friend in first or second grade. She showed up for school that day in a frilly white ruffled, lacey blouse. I rarely got a top or dress that hadn't been worn by both my sisters so having a pretty new blouse was a completely foreign feeling to me. But here she was, all dressed up in her special blouse. And there I was standing in my twice handed-down, faded and tattered top.

At noon recess, I saw my mom standing beside my friend, so I joined them.

My mom gushed, "Oh, Jeana, don't you just love her blouse?"

I looked over at my friend with her ruffles and her happy, feeling-special smile. Then I looked back at my mom who was the source of my faded and tattered unhappiness. Then I replied, "I think it's ugly!" and ran off.

I don't remember much what happened next. I don't remember apologizing, but I'm sure my mom made me. She most certainly hung her head mortified as she and my friend watched me run off. I know I never saw the blouse again. She and I never were very close friends into middle and high school. Maybe that one rude comment was the end of the friendship, probably not. But I still feel regret for the way I acted. I'm sure I did love the blouse she was wearing and wished someone would once-in-my-life tell me they loved my t-shirt. I think this story is part of the reason I'm obsessed with my kids being well-dressed. I don't blame my mom. I know she did the best she could with what she had. But still, I love (and relish) when someone compliments my kids' clothes.