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Mad Organist on the Loose

21 Dec


I participated in a Christmas Choir this year.  We practiced for about 2 months before the concert.  The music was VERY ambitious. Our conductor was so encouraging and so much fun.  The energy he put into every rehearsal and preparing practice materials was astounding.  He wrote 3 of the pieces we performed himself and arranged another.  The music he wrote was absolutely beautiful. We are super lucky to have him living in our little corner of the world.  

  Five weeks before the concert, our conductor mentioned that he was still looking for an organist to accompany the choir for the final number.  None of the usual organists in our area were available.  So being me and wanting to help so much that I forgot my own limitations–why is it that my desire to rescue so far exceeds my ability?  I offered to work on the piece–warning the conductor that I haven’t had very much experience with organ beyond a 1 semester class that I took in college.  

I went through all kinds roller coasters of despair and hope as I practiced.  The piece was really beyond my ability.  But I practiced every day–our church is unlocked every morning for Early Morning Seminary, so I would practice during that time rather than have to pester someone about borrowing a key to the building.

Because I am homeschooling, it was possible to do this.  My 11 and 12 year olds could take care of the babies if they woke up while I was gone practicing.  

I did borrow a key over Thanksgiving break.  Those days I practiced more hours.  Pumpkin Pie practiced with me, pushing the stops and working the crescendo pedal because my feet were both busy with the pedal pedals.  I have to admit that from Thanksgiving up to the concert day, our homeschool routine suffered some (a lot) because this organ piece pulled so much of my mental energy.  I said lots of prayers along the lines of, “please let me make no horrible song stopping mistakes.”  “Please let me play it during the concert the way I just ran through it this last time.”  I did not pray for zero mistakes because I felt like that was asking too much. I know that my performance on piano or organ is never quite as good at the concerts as what I can can do practicing.  Seriously, it’s like I go blind from stress.  Music that I have perfected to auto pilot so that my fingers can just do their thing independently of my brain, that’s what I can do for the performance.  Everything else flies out the window.  Pretty much my mind abandons me under high musical anxiety. This anxiety is always highest when I am accompanying because: 

    A-if I mess up, I could mess up everyone.

     B-I have to keep up with the choir, no wiggle room to slow down if I need to.  No going back to fix a mistake.

     C- The accompaniment is the support, not the star.  If I make too big of a deal out of my part, then I’m hogging the glory that rightfully belongs to the main performer(s). Sadly, reminding myself of my relative unimportance doesn’t lessen my anxiety because I know that good support is important, bad support can be devastating, and I start worrying about worrying too much.  Yeah.  Mad. 

The concert day arrived much too quickly.  My three oldest sang with me.  My sister babysat the babies so that my husband could come enjoy the concert.  

As a choir, we sang the best we had ever sung the music. (That can happen with singing, it can be better than practice because of synergy and energy and sudden unity that hasn’t happened before.)

The final number came and Pumpkin Pie and I scuttled over to the organ.  The singing was strong.  I made many many mistakes, even on bits that were easy, but none of them were awful showstoppers.  The final bars were not as good as I had hoped and much below what I knew was possible.  Someday I hope that all the yoga I’m doing will help me to find a way to calm my mind when I’m under stress so that I don’t freeze up so badly.

All the audience were so kind.  So many people said how good it was and how incredible the organ sounded.

I am full of relief and pleased that everyone sincerely enjoyed the concert and especially commented how awesome my organ work was.

At the same time, I am embarrassed by so much praise of my playing, especially when I made so many mistakes, and especially when I was the accompaniment–that whole supposed to be awesome yet invisible support thing.

And I’m really worried that people have an exaggerated idea of my abilities now– they seem to think I can just sit down and play anything because I could play one piece that I spent weeks and weeks working on.  

I loved the practices.  I loved making more time for myself and music in my life.  I loved preparing for Christmas in a way that kept my joy in what Christ did for me In the forefront of my mind.  

And I am really glad that the concert is done and over with!!

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Karma double-crossed me, kicked me in the face, and stole my lunch money.

1 Mar
English: Vinita Hotel, in Vinita, Oklahoma

English: Vinita Hotel, in Vinita, Oklahoma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So this morning I blissfully headed out the door to do a Mary Kay party.  I left in plenty of time and I had everything ready. 

The party was a bit farther than I usually go, but it was for a sweet little lady who is a great customer so I was happy to go.  I got there just fine and my new iPhone bailed me out when I couldn’t find Pat’s house.  I tried to call her, but I had entered her phone number wrong into my phone.  Never fear, I used my Mary Kay app to log onto my website and find her correct number.

The party was fine-I sold what I sell on average–even though 2 of the guests refused to try the product because they were not going to remove their makeup.  This always surprises me, though it happens occasionally.  I talked a little bit too much and left a little late, but all was well.  Here’s where things started to go downhill.

Since my trip required getting on the Oklahoma Turnpike, I headed towards the Vinita toll booth.  It wasn’t labeled very well and I wasn’t sure if I should pay toll or take a ticket (and pay later.)  I opted for take a ticket because that is how it had worked when I came from the opposite direction.  As soon as I was through the booth, and past the point of no return, I could see that my ticket was for the wrong direction.  It was for west and I wanted to go east.  Right on the ticket is says something like, “It is unlawful to take this ticket and travel in a different direction than stated.”  I panicked.  I did not want to be unlawful.  FIGHT OR FLIGHT! FIGHT OR FLIGHT!  I went west even though I was already late and even though I knew it was the wrong direction because I didn’t want to be unlawful.  It cost me 20 minutes and $3.25 in toll fees to go down to riggin’ friggin’ Big Cabin and turn around.  I imagined telling the whole thing to my dad and how he would laugh and ask, “What are you such a silly goose for?”  The worst thing is it was all so deja vu, like, I’m pretty sure that I have done this very same thing before.  Next time, Vinita, I’m traveling east no matter what.  Get a better sign.

Now an hour late instead of half an hour late, I continue to the Baby-sitter’s and pick up the girls.  I really hate being late to the babysitter’s.  It makes me feel so flaky and bad mom and unreliable.

I let the DH know that I will be late home and make one last Mary Kay delivery before heading home.  Now I’ve been on the road for more than 2 hours and I’m tired.  Not sleepy tired, just that numb “I can’t believe I’m still in this stupid car when I just want to be home” tired.  So I’m just on auto-pilot, thinking about home and what I’m going to cook for dinner, when suddenly I see those beautiful red & blue flashing lights in my rear view mirror.  Yep, that’s right, I’ve totally missed the 30 MPH sign and since my auto-pilot default is 45, I’m in trouble.

Don’t worry, I did not miss the irony of getting pulled over for speeding when I already ruined my afternoon in an attempt to avoid being “unlawful.”   The thing is I wasn’t trying to speed.  I just wasn’t paying attention because I was so done.

Is it just me, or are police officers getting really young these days?  Mine was wearing a jacket that was too big for him and a mustache that was WAY too big for him.  After he decided to give me a ticket, he went into this schpeal about how my signing it was not an admission of guilt, just and acknowledgement that I had received it.  I asked him if I could just pay it and not go to court, which he said I could.  Then he repeated the whole schpeal about how my signing it was not an admission of guilt, just and acknowledgement that I had received it, and then get this, he said in this very wheedle-whiny unsure voice, “So…will you sign it?”  I’m not sure what he expected me to do instead.  Flip out and scream at him in front of my 4-year-old?  Wake up the baby?  Maybe the way I was just sitting there with my hands in my lap and staring straight ahead all defeated made him think I was about to go psyco.

When I got home, the big kids had done their chores and the DH was washing dishes.  Ah Home, sweet Home.

Then as I unpacked my Mary Kay bags, I discovered I had lost one of the sales slips from the party.  Not only does that mean I don’t have the lady’s information and can’t get paid, it also means her bank card information is where?  Still at Pat’s house?  Blowing down the Oklahoma Turnpike?  There was that bit where my car window got tired of going up and down at toll booths and just stayed stuck down for awhile…..Oh the humiliation of having to call her and tell her I’ve gone and lost her card number who knows where.  How to avoid that in the future?  I bet my iPhone has an app.  Curses for not thinking of that sooner.

Oh I just want to curl up in a ball and eat a bunch of chocolate.  Wait…already did that and am 500 calories over my limit for the day.  Super.

I think the best part about being married is that at the end of a day like today, I can go home and get a good hug and know that somebody still thinks I’m great, even if I’m an idiot.  

And I’ll tell him about that speeding ticket tomorrow, first thing, I swear.  It’s just that when I took a breath to tell him, I felt like I might start crying and so I stopped…

Serendipity

13 Apr

Sometimes If I just click on tabs on the side of blogs, I end up somewhere cool.

This lady did a blog last year-12 crafts til Christmas and shared what she did.

and she made a PDF file of how to make a Pillow Buddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love her forever.

and my children will love her forever once I’ve purchased fabric and created these for all of them.

They’ll love me forever also.

Now, do I make them for Easter, Birthdays or Christmas??? (listed in order of nearness in time. Probably Christmas is the only realistic choice–but not the fun choice.)

New Exercise Program

10 Mar

This is Cutie Pie. She dressed herself. Who says you can’t mix different stripes? Who needs pants when you have super awesome tights like these?

In other news, the Man of the House and I started a new exercise program. His goal: be in shape to max out his Army Physical Fitness Test in 8 weeks.

My Goal: lose 20 pounds so I can be healthy. I am at my heaviest weight ever, 175 lbs. I know you are all shocked because you picture me as skinny, gorgeous, and multi-talented. Hah! I have recently begun to suspect that the reason we have no new baby-pie’s entering our family could be related to my weight. Not Cool.

Well I am getting up at 5 (okay 5:30) AM every morning and exercising. I’m also almost dieting. Which means I try to make healthy choices but I still eat cookies sometimes.

The Exercise plan that we are following recommends taking before and after pictures so you can see how super you did while following their plan. Seems easy enough, right? Except why would I want to take a picture of myself right now? The whole point is that I don’t like how I look. But laying that aside with the self-assurance that it is a goodbye to the old GlowWorm picture, there is still the problem of the picture. See, all the examples in the book are Men in swim trunks and women in bikini’s/sports bra and shorts. Now while I do actually own a sports bra and shorts, I would never ever ever wear them without a t-shirt over it all. Nor would I ever leave my house in that ensemble for any reason, except perhaps if a random fire started in the middle of my exercise routine.

So why would I take a picture of me like that? I would never show it to ANYONE. I would never post it even here for you my loving fans. Even if I make a miraculous transformation and the P90X people invent a $5000 prize for the best set of before & after shots, I wouldn’t submit my picture.

A certain person really thought that I should bare my stomach for my before picture. Just the thought makes me feel slightly nauseous. No one needs a picture. I’m sure you all know what bread dough looks like after you let it rise once and then punch it in the middle. That’s what my stomach looks like. The following are the compromise before pictures that I took. A certain person is concerned that I won’t be able to see my progress without the bare tummy picture. I am quite certain that the fact that my jeans fit or possibly my skinny jeans or possibly new jeans (please bless it to be true!) will be all the proof I need.

The pictures don’t look as bad as in real life—somehow the fat rolls that are clearly visible when I wear that shirt sort of faded into the shadows. Not sure how that happened.

Cutie Pie felt no qualms about baring her belly.

The New Template finally worked!!

13 Jan

Blogger’s new templates finally worked for me! I’m so happy about having a 3 column blog! Finally. I might weep a little for joy.

Thanks, Blogger. I don’t know what you did, but it worked.

**happiness**

Hair 911!

3 May

Okay, I need advice. Hair advice. My hair is making me crazy right now. It is a horrible cut. I have to spend 30-40 minutes with a curling iron and mousse to beat it into reasonable submission. I don’t have that kind of time on a daily basis.

I want to chop it all off like this:

or this

See, I need something that can be cute fast. I have 5 kids, a house to clean, meals to cook, 10 piano students to teach and a Mary Kay business to look after. I loved this cut. All my girlfriends loved it to and I got tons of compliments each day.

However, there is one person who didn’t love it.

You guessed it, my DH. He is wishing for something like this:

This is 4 years ago and was an exceptionally good hair day for me.

The thing is. I’m probably 6-12 months away from that kind of length–if I start remembering to take my vitamins. What do I do between now and then?

Plus, with all the effort, will the DH dole out compliments generously to compensate for said effort? Probably not.

The other day he remarked that I looked “nice”. Now, just to clarify, that remark made me much happy. Also, remarks of that nature happen about twice a month these days, sometimes weekly–which is a much higher frequency than the first 10 years of our marriage.

So I’m happy and, you know, grateful for the improvement in positive feedback.

And yet, can you picture me as I spent an hour on my hair that morning? before dashing off to deliver Mary Kay, grocery shop, and knock out my visiting teaching. Do you suppose I was thinking, “I sure hope my husband thinks I look ‘nice’ today.”

“Nice” just doesn’t quite make up for the near anxiety attack that I have every time I walk out the door, stressing out about my hair.

I realize that it is a little crazy that I am freaking out about my hair. But here’s the thing. I have control over my hair. I can do stuff to it. I often do things to my hair when other things that are bothering me are beyond my control. –hence the fact that I always cut my hair about 2 weeks before I give birth. There is stuff going on in my life right now that I have no control over and it sucks. So instead of worrying over it, I am obsessing over my hair.

So what do you think? Cut it? Not cut it? Mousse it? Dye it? Perm it? To hell with it?

I obsessively await your ideas. Don’t worry. I’m only checking the computer every 5 minutes. The rest of the time I am distracting myself with chocolate and avocados.