thanks to everyone who responded to yesterdays whine. after i wrote it, i thought, damn..go back and erase that, nobody has to listen to something so pathetic. but it was there for a purpose- first, i got so much sweetness and support from EllJay friends, and even an offer of financial help (which i would have declined...these things work out, somehow...)
second, (thank you Universe/goddess).. a few days ago, i'd responded to an email inquiry about piano lessons. seemed a bit iffy..they couldn't quite remember where they'd gotten my name, etc etc..but i met them, a german family, 2 very sweet and cheerful kids- and they decided to pay me a few months in advance (!) so they wouldn't "forget" later. would i take a check?
so there's half the gas bill. then, my tax refund should be back pretty soon, so i asked my dad to loan me the other half until refund check came back. (yes) SO...i will have a weekend of icy cold showers-- but they will come first thing monday to restore me to water-heater happiness.
and thank you for your well wishes, especially a few of you who are really going through 7 levels of hell right now.
life is good..and friendship is better.
(wishing you the same)
the wonderful fairiegodmother, in a comment written after my post about my dad, said: "Glad you were there to give your dad a listening ear with open heart, and acknowledging what he's already done. Can you write one out for him to carry with him?"
i thought this was a WONDERFUL idea. i encourage him whenever i can, but he's barraged by bullshit at home. so today i stopped by, got on the parents' computer, and wrote the following in 8-pt font- it ended up being about the size of a business card when folded.
For dad- to read if encouragement is needed.
1)you had one job for almost 50 years, and another one for 9
2)you have one marriage that has lasted almost 60 years
3)you raised four daughters who love and respect you
4)you raised one mean old cat who lived to be 18 years old
5)you saved many cars from the junkyard
6)you are courteous and kind to anyone you meet
7)you conducted your business with honor and integrity
8)you're a snappy dresser and a darn good-looking guy
he read it carefully, and said..."is this me? is this the truth?" (i'm not kidding..he IS that humble and sweet.) he said "you know, i always said if i'd had about 10% more intellect, i could have gone farther in my job." (he was a salesman) i said "naaaah dad you weren't cut out to be a Big Boss- you could never fire people and be a jerk." "that's true."
i felt like a million bucks. i want to do this more often--why shouldn't everyone have a reference card to look at that actually spells out some of the wonderful things they've accomplished in this life?
thanks for the inspiration, fairiegodmother!
had an early NYE dinner- lobster canneloni, good bread, bruschetta for an app, white choc mousse for dessert. the yums! now home, mozart on the stereo. life is good, but you know that already. here's my tie-up of the year 2008:
5 things for which i am grateful:
1) spending time with my parents
2) having a wonderful man in my life
3) music in all forms, photography
4) continuing health- 3.5 years cancer-free
5) becoming happier with who i am
5 things i want to continue to grow with:
1) continued good health- moving more, eating well, swimming
2) moving towards "giving back"- thankfulness for 1-5 above
3) expanding a new social circle
4) increasing and refining my love of nature in detail and in its hugeness
5) appreciating the love that people have to give
every day, every hour, is so sweet, so dear.
i thank God for my life, and i thank God that i'm around to celebrate, smile, hug and cry with my friends here and elsewhere!
in whichever way you celebrate, blessed be.
if you don't celebrate, happy retail sales season.
if you are a total curmudgeon, well, nothing's changed, has it? rent a movie.
if you are religious, congrats for suspending cynicism.
if you are a foodie, you're in the best possible season.
if you are alone, call someone you know you should call but are too stubborn to call.
if you are not alone, call someone you know you should call but haven't.
if you are in love, 'pay it forward' to the rest of the year.
if you are not in love, be kind to yourself- it's the best way for love to find you.
if you are an artist, make something beautiful.
if you are not an artist, appreciate beauty someone else has made.
thanks and love to my EllJay friends and family for insights, support, humor and validation.
we are having a little-house-on-the-prairie style blizzard- very cold, snowing hard. with the weightless, swirling snow blown horizontally by driving winds, making travel difficult to impossible. in the city, street/car/building lights give visual orientation points, and trees and buildings break the flight of snow. in the Olden Days in the country, these were the times where Pa would get lost trying to walk from the house to the barn and Ma would find his frozen corpse 2 days later, 10 feet from the house.
i always thought that was bullshit until i experienced one. one of my teaching locations is 50 miles from the center of minneapolis. it was once a small town, and in the past 10 years has been annexed into a suburb by the gelatinous urban sprawl of the twin cities. anyhow, one night i left the church where i teach-and realized *i could not see my car* 20 feet from the building. i headed out on to the main road, and realized there was no way i was going to make it home that night, so decided to stay in a motel and keep my life and car intact. inching along, i saw the bright sign for a gas station. i ran in, and said "i know there's a super 8 motel somewhere along this service road, could you give me directions?" the clerk looked at me like i was totally high and said "twenty feet to the right from here." THE SUPER EIGHT WAS THE BUILDING RIGHT NEXT TO THE STATION AND I COULD NOT SEE IT FROM THE STATION'S DOOR.
somehow i made it to the motel, beached my car, ate all the tic-tacs in my purse for dinner, and fell asleep to tv. the next morning, clear sky, sunlight. weirdly, my car was sitting on a dry parking lot. had i hallucinated all that snow 12 hours earlier? luckily, i'd happened to park on the building's south side. as i drove out, i drove around to the exit, and saw the cars on the north side- TOTALLY BURIED IN 6 FEET OF BLOWN/DRIFTED SNOW. my side of the parking lot? dry- building as roadblock. the north side? 6 feet of snow which had been hurled horizontally at the building throughout the night. and here i thought the stories of Ma and Pa escaping out of the house's 2nd floor were exaggerated.
i'd never experienced anything like it, and always had thought that "white-out conditions" were an exaggeration by tv meteorologists. guess not.
tonight was supposed to be a choir concert. i didn't go..and am very happy to be home safe and protected, and my car likewise, in its garage.
*this has been one of my best holidays in my remembrance..everyone healthy, happy, together, and 2 of my sisters very happy with the wonderful men in their lives.
things are heating up between CSG and me. i think next time we get together, the fireworks are going to be amazing.
i can't quite put my finger on WHY i found this sign, outside of a gas station in the suburbs, to be about 34 types of Weird...
ok..here are 3 pictures from this afternoon. 3 guesses what it is. answer at the end of this post.
*first, thanks to everyone who read/responded to the entry about my Ex. i've been feeling about 100 light-pounds (that's the number of pounds light can travel in a year, by greyhound ;-) lighter.
this woman recently lost her husband to a car accident.
she is broken.
today, i had the day off, so john and i wandered out into the country, had lunch, and drove into wisconsin a bit. we ended up in baldwin, WI, where a person can still get an A & W root beer float in a Frosty Mug.
this evening i cleaned out SIX SHOPPING BAGS- about 6 FEET- OF MUSIC. my friend john took 2 bags full. the rest of the stuff i'll take over to the studio and put a "free/please take" sign on them.
the above photo shows 'my' black spruces, rooted in permafrost, hundreds of years old and sporting new mini-tops after their own tops being bashed off by winter snows year after years. i want to be one of these trees. just knock MY head off, if you can- i'll just GROW A NEW ONE
OBOE player: successfully stalked. she will find a bassoonist and the POULENC TRIO will be added to this program of programs. i love french music.
yesterday, my sister lori and i went in search of the Janesville Doll. here's the skinny on it, from the website "strange USA"-
good evening. this has been a long day. it started out with having a throat ultra-sound done- this happens every 6 months for 5 years, i guess. if this one goes well, i will be 2 yrs cancer-free from stage II thyroid cancer. every month that goes by gets me more distant from this fucking disease.
2008 has been a wonderful year.
got a call from the endocrinologist's office today at (yawn) 8:30. results from ultra-sound are back:
THE TWO LYMPH NODES WE SAW LAST TIME ARE NO LONGER IDENTIFIABLE AND THE ONE LYMPH NODE WE WERE WATCHING HAS GROWN SMALLER. can we say YAY? (and the spiral goddess said YAY!) i could tell things were going well- in an ultra-sound, they move a thing that looks like an old-fashioned microphone over your bod, and then the tech clicks clicks clicks on his/her computer keyboard, which means he's found something picture-worthy. this last time, there were VERY few clicks..i kept thinking, all righty, he's not FINDING anything..and evidently i was right! :-D
thank you, THANK you for this life.
can't help posting a disgustingly optimistic photo this eve. deal with it :-D
first, i met Shiny New Soprano tonight. *!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!* she's FANTASTIC! *!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!* she's young- just finished grad school at northwestern, newly moved here. she's the one who commented on my musical-motive dress, which inspired us to get to chatting. she came over to my house tonight and we sang through some things. THIS IS A GUTSY SOPRANO WHO CAN DO _COME SCOGLIO_ BUT HAS THE BOTTOM NOTES TO DO MAHLER AND COPLAND! hello, where have YOU been all my life? i sent her home with mahler ruckert lieder, wagner wesendonck lieder, and copland emily dickinson. i'm going to get on the phone next week and see if i can scare up a concert venue for us for this year.
now for the TRULY spooky coincidence/serendipity/synchronicity? her dad's a doctor. an oncologist. WHO IS NEWLY APPOINTED TO THE ONCOLOGISTS' PRACTICE who saved my venerable bacon, AND he already KNEW about my May 1 concert because he'd already gotten the notice.
amazing. every damn day, amazing.
AND i went SWIMMING tonight, first time in EIGHT WEEKS since my minor surgery in mid-Sept is finally healed. OMH how i have missed that! there's no time when i feel as truly slicksleeksealgraceful as when i'm in the water.
thank you, THANK you for my life.
today was the performance of the brahms german requiem.
what an overwhelming privilege to have taken part in this event.
the church where i sing has an All Saints' Day service on the first sunday in november. they perform a full requiem each year with full orchestra. one of the pastors offers a (blessedly short) prayer, and then the requiem is sung. during the singing, anyone in the audience can take a small candle and put it on the altar to commemorate a loved one who's passed. by the end of the requiem, the entire church is in darkness except for the hundreds of candles on the altar, and everyone departs in silence. it's profound.
i have ALWAYS played a recording of this Brahms when someone i love has died, and cried and sung along with the alto part. this is the first time i've actually been involved in a full performance. this director is fabulous- he hires a pick-up orchestra, and has 1 hour rehearsal with orchestra at 1PM,, one hour choir and orchestra at 2 PM, and performance at 4PM- on the same day. AND IT ACTUALLY GOES.
after the day of singing, i stopped by my parents' house to find that my mom's sister, aged 88, who'd been in the hospital, had been taken off life support but, feisty as always, was still living under her own power, unaided by a respirator. my mom wanted to go to the hospital and say good bye, so i took her there. once again, my mom said good bye to one of her close family, and, as usual, would not cry. that darn "greatest generation"..so difficult to be so strong through so much. tomorrow my mom's 85-year-old remaining sister will fly in, and will be staying at my house for a few days.
"blessed are they who mourn/
they will be comforted."
today, sunny and 65 degrees. tomorrow, 50 MPH winds and a windchill temp in the TEENS. this is the last day of my Golden Autumn. it's been spectacular.
today i met a friend for coffee. i got my drink and a piece of cinnamon coffee cake. i became aware he was watching me tucking into the treat. i stopped eating and looked questioningly. "you're an amazing woman." he said (loosely quoted) "i've never known anyone who totally enjoys every little thing that happens- most people are looking toward the next thing, or are so jaded they don't seem to notice things any more. watching you makes me aware that i need to be more appreciative of the world around me."
i've always been aware of my status of Grand Appreciatrix At Large- and ever since i've been well, i KNOW i don't take things for granted- every piece of coffee cake is the best ever. every time i get out of bed by myself, it's a miracle. every time a random conversation brings me the possibility of a musical friendship, every time there's a good meal, a good talk, a friend's cat, a smile, or a day without pain- i'm blessed and grateful for things small and large.
let it snow. i'll be practicing poulenc :-D
are there things better on this earth than a really fine tree?
sure..but right now, in this moment, this is IT.
by the way?
|faure is love|
|brought to you by the isLove Generator|
|godiva chocolate is love|
|brought to you by the isLove Generator|
i was by myself..or kim had disappeared into the other bedroom and gone to sleep. every night i'd go through the day's photos, erase 80% of them (oh the forgiveness of the digital camera) and contemplate what an amazing experience i was having.
this HAS been my golden summer: the return of photography into my life after a long absence; engaging a new relationship with nature by studying the inner workings of flowers through the macro lens; truly getting back into a place where i thought life was worth preserving- both in word and in image; getting to know a lovely man and being both vulnerable and protected at the same time.
i think this is going to be an early fall- the air seems crisp in that octobery fashion that seems to require hot cider and caramel apples, a few trees are already starting to make their leaves' last-ditch effort...ohhhhhhhh LEAF photography! the world is mine!
tomorrow john will help me hang my photos at the studio. i've made the mistake of asking a few people what i should charge for these photos, should anyone care to buy- i've been thinking the cost of materials plus a bit. what's the charge for a memory? not much, unless it's YOUR memory.
this will be the season of gentle loving.
yesterday, i was beyond bored with teaching. i am tired of pretending to be a cheer-leader. i'm not built for that. i need energy GIVEN BACK. i'm not the mother teresa of music, and piano teachers are too often expected to be. so having this week off, and then totally changing everything in my current existence by being in alaska for 2 weeks, will give me what i need to attack, and i repeat ATTACK, this upcoming year with a vengeance unknown to all nan-kind! :-D
i heard back from the director of mnangel.org- they're glad to put my concert on their calendar, provide info for my flyer, and were interested in looking at my photos. life is good.
and there's coffee, and there's the CSG on saturday. i am richly blessed :-D
forward to a year later. i'm recovered, back on my feet, driving, living, thankful for every small favor the Universe has to offer. (i STILL get a little thrill every time i get out of a low chair or out of bed.) i decided that i would NEVER GO THROUGH A DRIVE-THRU again- not only is the food shit, it also represented the months when i could NOT WALK into a restaurant, much less go through the food aisles at a grocery.
i haven't done anything dramatic about my food- just no fast food, and no more sugar soda. these days i WILL walk (thank you) into a subway sandwich store- i figure if you can SEE what they're putting on your sammy, it's all right. and i'm a serious H20 drinker. and i feel great and i think i look healthy.
life is such a miracle. this month i celebrate three years cancer-free.
when i make it to 5, i am going on a cruise.
life is good.
1)this is my Golden Summer. three years cancer-free.
2)this is my Summer of All Flowers
3)this is the Summer of coming back to the Piano
4)this is the summer of BEING who i want to be when i grow up
5)this is the summer to Speak my Mind
6)this is the summer where i can accept that it is my RIGHT to be happy.
many lilies photo'ed today. i think lilies are my favourite flower. they're incredibly tall, incredibly proud, and incredibly comfortable with their sexuality.
i want to be a lily when i grow up.
"what's new with you?"
(knowing he wanted medical deets, not stories about my love life) "Not a DAMN THING!"
he burst into laughter and said "That's music to my ears!"
he then told me that all my blood chemistries were so perfect that it was amazing, and my CA-125 (measurement for OvCa- normal is 0-33) is FOUR POINT THREE.
take THAT, you MF of a disease!
every exam is a milestone.
i also visited richard today. he gently chided me for not practicing more and said "as you know, i'm not a religious person- to me, the only true sin is lack of appreciation for a gift."
i said yeah, i know..although i always consider music more hard work than "gift."
he said, "the gift of YOUR LIFE, nan."
he's right. not making music is wasting the gift of my life. i don't want to do that.