Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Swine Flu is Coming, the Swine Flu is Coming

Have you heard about this little thing called Y2K, I mean anthrax, I mean bird flu, I mean the crazy liberal agenda, I mean swine flu?

It's terrifying, isn't it? I think I'd better keep my family home from school and work. Oh, and tape up my windows with plastic and duct tape. And get my shotgun out to protect my food storage from those people who aren't as prepared as we are.

Honestly, I'm tired of fear. I'm sick and tired of people trying to make me afraid. I'm not afraid of the swine flu. ANY flu can kill you. Did you know that? 36,000 people in the US die a year of the normal flu. Did you know that? Josh got the normal flu, remember, and had a fever for 19 days, remember? Believe me, I don't have any fondness for the flu. And while I understand the danger in a flu epidemic, I refuse to live my life in fear.

The natural world can wallop us. But do you know what? We're strong. We're resilient. We're capable of surviving hard things. Even if the worst things happen to us, we can rebound.

But there are two things that really do terrify me: hatred and ignorance. When I consider Rwanda, or the holocaust, or any form of genocide, it seems to me that when we take these two ingredients and mix them together and spark them with (you guessed it) fear, you have a recipe for tragedy on an enormous scale. And really, it's what man does to man that seems to be truly horrific.

You know what combats those two things? Love and education.

And one more thing that scares me. Conservatives.

OH, I AM SO KIDDING. It's really the liberals that scare me. No, it's the inflammatory talk show hosts. No, it's the liberal media. No, it's lion-tamers. They're so unnatural. No, it's people who listen to country music. No, it's romance-novel readers. No, it's vegans. No, it's teenagers.

No. It's hatred and ignorance.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Car, Meet Pole

As one of my goals in life is to help others feel good about themselves, I present to you the pictures of my car accident.

Don't you feel better about your driving ability now?

(And if you look closely, in the second picture, the pole says, "Notice. Park at your own risk." Nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, does it mention that driving is at your own risk, too. Do you think I have grounds to sue?)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Park City Getaway

Yesterday I headed up (By Myself) to Park City to meet Lyndsey, Debi, and Marissa to celebrate Lyndsey's birthday (I won't say which one, but it was a big one...). I drove (By Myself) with no radio on, no one talking, and no noise other than the gentle hum from the road under the tires. I thought big thoughts and small thoughts (By Myself) and didn't get interrupted by anyone, young or old.

We stayed in a lovely condo at the base of Main Street. We had dinner up the street, went to Albertson's to get treats and a movie, had cake and opened presents, talked, and watched a movie until almost 2 in the morning. I didn't have to brush anyone else's teeth, change any diapers, put any small people to bed and then put them back to bed and then back to bed again. I slept until 9 blessed 15 in the morning. Did you read that? 9:15. 9:15. 9:15. Ahhhhh...doesn't it sound lovely?

The others wanted McDonald's for breakfast, and I wanted a run. They dropped me off at Kimball Junction and I ran back to the condo. I took a shower in the empty condo, ate ice cream for breakfast (Cherry Garcia. Yummy.) and drove to the Outlet Mall to meet up with the others. I was BY MYSELF for more than TWO HOURS.

We shopped, we talked, I called David who said, "We're great. Stay longer," we had lunch, and I drove home in a quiet car, watching the windshield wipers move back and forth. Again, no radio, no talking, no noise. Bliss.

When I got home, I was greeted with hugs, kisses, and a clean closet, courtesy of my sweet David. Ben kept his arms around my neck for much of the next hour. And there was yelling, fighting, Ben slamming doors on Kate, people whining about having to work all day long, and various and sundry other complaints. And guess what? Still bliss. Life is supposed to be messy. We don't grow when it's easy. But that doesn't change the joy of a day of ease.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Race

I just checked out my official race pictures from the half marathon on Saturday. You know, the ones the photographers take all along the route, including at the finish line, then post in hopes you'll spend a fortune on multiple poster-size pictures of yourself to hang all over your house? Yeah, those. Let me just say two words:

Truly Terrifying.

If that is how I look when I run, I may never run again. And no, I won't post a link. I am red-faced, white-armed, exhausted, sweaty, and scary. I look like I may just keel over at any moment. Somehow, when I picture myself running, I imagine that I have a lovely long stride, look ever-fresh, athletic, young and beautiful, and my face shows my glee to have the opportunity to enjoy the beauties of nature. The truth is hard to take.

But the race, overall, was a great experience. I love running with Liz, and she is an amazing friend. She stayed with me until I totally bonked and FORCED her to go on at about mile 10. It took much convincing, but she finally listened to her older, wiser (ahem) friend.

Good memories of the race: Seeing our friend Lesa before the race. Seeing how many thousands of people have worked so hard to accomplish a goal. Loving that the weather FINALLY turned decent. Conversations with Liz. Passing more people than last time. Turning onto 2700 South and seeing our families and friends cheering us on (what a joy). Powering up the hill on State Street and deciding that my hillwork has indeed paid off. Finishing almost 10 minutes faster than my PR. Malisa and Daniel finding us after the race after her very first 5K (which she did pushing her daughter in a stroller. Way to go, Malisa.) Seeing David, Sophie, my nephew Bryan (who finished his first half with multiple 2-inch blisters, but still managed a great time) and his family. Being reminded of what a gorgeous gorgeous valley I live in.

Not as good memories of the race: Really, just having to take a pitstop at 7-11 (yes, 7-11. Don't mock me.), feeling totally crummy for a couple of miles and not being able to make it under 2. Next time maybe I'll figure out how to avoid tummy troubles and I'll bury my PR again. Oh, and although I know Liz really meant it when she said she wanted to stay with me, I wish I'd made her leave a mile earlier, because then she would have made her goal. But she is truly a remarkable friend, and I am so grateful for her. (Oh, and she was even on the news. Maybe she won't talk to me anymore now that she's famous.)

In the middle of the race, I wondered why I do this when it feels so hard. And then I finished and knew I'd do it again. Some kind of crazy, I guess.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kate Grows Up

I have already expressed my discontent about my childrens' propensity for growing up. They just don't seem to stop, which bothers me to no end. This month has been especially emotional for me with Ben turning two (which means he's no longer a baby) and Kate turning six (which means she's no longer a little girl.) You must understand, I love each and every stage my children go through, and I don't REALLY sit, moping, because my children are getting older. But knowing that I'll never again have my four-year-old girl sounding out Dick and Jane with her curly head of hair on my shoulder, that she'll never again mispronounce spaghetti without fixing it, that my five-year-old Kate who learned to read fluently and took piano lessons with the stool for her feet on the highest level is gone to the ages, well that, my friends, is nothing short of tragic.

I don't mind nine turning to ten quite as much, or twelve turning to thirteen (I think, although maybe I'll change my mind in July.) The later stages are more fluid, the changes less dramatic. But to know that my mothering is moving from babyhood to late childhood and youth...that may be the crux of the matter. I never pictured myself in this stage. People with teenagers are OLD, and ESTABLISHED, and should HAVE A CLUE about being a grown-up. I'm not any of these things, am I? (I am? Really? Well, maybe the first two, but having a clue? You've got me confused with someone else. Someone OLDER...)

But oh, this is about Kate, not me and all of my angst.

So here she is, my sweet sweet Kate:

Kate loves to play piano, to read, to play with friends, to snuggle up her Daddy, to play outside. She likes Polly Pockets, dolls, and stuffed animals. She is a kind sister and friend who loves to take care of her Benny. She likes to try new foods, and loves cucumbers, Cafe Rio burritos, peanut sauce and sticky rice, Swedish pancakes, and lettuce. She truly blossomed into an amazing young girl while she was five. I can't wait to see what she does at six...because although I'm torn about it, she's going to keep growing up. Since I can't stop this train, I might as well jump on board and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Introducing Holden

Oh my goodness, I am so excited about my new nephew, Holden L. We drove down to Provo to meet him today, and I think we all fell head over heels in love. He's so tiny (only 5 lbs 5 oz), and has such a perfect little face. It was thrilling to watch Kurt and Ashleigh with him, and to see the miracle of how such a small little body can change things forever for two people. Congratulations, you guys!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I just filed my extension.

How I justified filing an extension:

My recital took a lot of time away from working on them.

I would rather grumble about doing taxes than actually do them.

I was in a car accident yesterday.

Procrastination makes me feel alive.

I don't REALLY want that refund or to pay off the bills that have been waiting for it.

I like to make other people (those of you who finished your taxes long ago) feel virtuous and happy.

(Feeling virtuous and happy now? Good. I've done my duty.)

Easter Weekend Pictures

The neighborhood egg hunt, the Ingham egg hunt, Kate's birthday and busy and so much fun.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Recital Program and Program Notes

(If you've already seen this on Facebook, I'm sorry! I discussed the recital in a little more detail here, if you need something ELSE to read about the recital. Oh, and I'm taking requests...if you have a favorite piece for my next recital, tell me what it is and I'll consider it. No Fur Elise, though.)

It was fantastic and fun and totally worth all the time and energy. Thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers. I appreciate them!

Kerri Green, piano
7 April 2009
6:00 p.m.
Steinway Hall at Daynes Music

For my parents~

Etude in C minor, Op. 10, No. 12, Revolutionary
Frédèric Chopin

For my children~

For Ben~
Aria from the Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Johann Sebastian Bach
For Sophie~
Prelude in G Major, Op. 32, No. 5
Sergei Rachmaninoff
For Kate~
Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 11, No. 15
Alexander Scriabin
For Josh~
Berceuse, Op. 57 Frédèric Chopin

For my mother-in-law~

Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15, Raindrop
Frédèric Chopin

Just for myself~

Canción y danza No. 5
Federico Mompou

For David~

Sheep May Safely Graze
Johann Sebastian Bach
transcribed by Egon Petri

Widmung, Op. 25, No. 1
Robert Schumann
transcribed by Franz Liszt

Program Notes

This recital began as a thought early this year that I would love to perform music for those I love, dedicated TO those I love. I have had a list of possible repertoire in my mind for a few years, but the time never seemed right. Finally, the spark came, and I began practicing in earnest. It has been a fun few months, and I hope you enjoy this recital, dedicated to all of you, my friends and family that I love so dearly. Thank you for everything you have done for me and for my family over the years. My life is so blessed with all of you in it.

Revolutionary Etude

I began to learn this piece in high school, and my parents (especially my dad) loved it. I never did perform it, although I relearned it for my dad’s 60th birthday, so this is my official Revolutionary Etude debut. I think it represents the big Romantic showpieces for which the piano is so well-known. My parents dedicated so much time, effort, and money for me to become a pianist, and I cannot express enough how thankful I am for their support.

The pieces for my children

When I was pregnant with Josh, I decided to learn a piece especially for him. I had a wonderful time going through repertoire, talking with friends, and listening to music to find just the right piece. When I did, I played it often before and after he was born. This became a tradition with each of my pregnancies, and the results are the four pieces in this group. I played through countless pieces to find the music that best fit my feelings about each pregnancy. I’ve never memorized or performed any of these in public, so it’s been a joy to really make them part of me. My kids have often started to request I practice “their” pieces at bedtime.

Josh’s piece, the Berceuse, is a cradle song, a lullaby. I loved this piece with its gentle rocking accompaniment. Sophie’s piece, the Rachmaninoff prelude, has both simple and complex elements. I was drawn to the simplicity and elegance of Kate’s piece, the Scriabin prelude. The Aria, Ben’s piece, is the theme of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, one of my all-time favorite pieces of music.

Raindrop Prelude

I learned this prelude (with all of Op. 28) for my senior recital. David’s parents bought me my dress for that recital and were as supportive of me and my music then as they have been always. My mother-in-law allowed me to teach in her home in Heber for many years, and even babysat Josh for some of that time. She has been a kind and loving person in my life and I am grateful for her. When I asked David what I should play for his mom, both of us thought of this prelude. She often commented that she loved this piece, and I think of her whenever I hear it.

Canción y danza No. 5

Federico Mompou was a Catalonian-Spanish composer who wrote mainly for the piano. His grandfather was a bell-maker. Mompou spent time in his factory and worked there briefly. You can often hear bell-like qualities in his music. He studied piano and harmony at the Paris Conservatory as a young man, and spent many years in Paris, both before and after WWI. He was especially influenced by Erik Satie, with his simple melodies and evocative harmonies.

Sheep May Safely Graze

David went with the Utah Symphony on their European tour in the spring of 2005. Leon Fleischer toured with them, and each night he performed, he would play this piece as an encore. David fell in love with it and asked me to learn it for him.

Widmung (Dedication)

Robert Schumann wrote Widmung, one of his most well-loved songs, in 1840, the year he finally was able to marry the love of his life, the pianist Clara Wieck.

I have performed this song with many singers, and have always loved it and its text. For our anniversary one year David and I attended a recital given by Van Cliburn. He played this Liszt transcription of the song, and I knew it would be one of “our” pieces.

David has always encouraged me and helped me to succeed. I remember many nights in the music building, after hours and hours of practicing, David would show up with dinner to help me get in just a little bit more time. He has given up a lot of comfort in the last few months to let me practice just that extra hour or two here and there. I am grateful for his sacrifices for me and for our family.

The English translation of the text (by Friederich Rückert) is:

You my soul, you my heart,
You my bliss, you my pain,
You the world in which I live;
You my heaven, in which I float,
O you my grave, into which
I eternally cast my grief.

You are the rest, you are the peace,
You are the heaven upon me bestowed.
That you love me makes me worthy of you;
Your gaze transfigures me;
You raise me lovingly above myself,
My good spirit, my better self.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Obligatory How-Does-Time-Pass-So-Quickly-and-How-Can-I-Make-It-Stop? Post

It was Ben's birthday on Thursday. He turned two.

Yes. Two.

I spent the morning in a blur of emotion because, well, you know, he's two.

He was just born, I swear.

He just turned one, I swear.

So how could he be two?

But the calendar doesn't lie, so although my heart wants to deny it, my mind has to accept it.

And Ben at two? Oh my. Charming. Kissable. Mischievous. Darling. Darling. Darling. I want to bottle him up. I'd make a fortune (well, except people might ask for their money back when he tears into their funeral cakes or draws on their piano keys.)

Ben loves RC cars, singing, counting to 12, pizza, spaghetti, most forms of sugar, reading, dancing, his bro-bro and sissies, his daddy and mommy, Little Einsteins, Clifford, his cousins and friends, being outside, being silly, sticking out his chin when he smiles, chewing on his fingers or his coat or his collar, waffles, chocolate milk, trucks, GeoTrax, babies, and hide-and-seek. He makes us happy. He's growing up too fast. STOP IT ALREADY.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wish Me Luck

Actually, many of you already have, and I appreciate you!

I just got back from practicing at the hall. It went well-ish, and I'm excited. Nervous, a little, but excited. It will be nice to share these fantastic pieces with so many of you that I love.

The dress thing finally worked out, after much adventure.

I memorized one piece yesterday that I felt like needed to be added. (Scary? Yes.)

My sweet mother has been here helping watch the kids (and do dishes and read books and do puzzles) so I could practice.

My sweet sister has been doing Kate's hair and helping her choose an outfit.

My husband loves me and has been thrilled about this whole endeavor.

I love the gift of music and what depth it has brought into my life. Setting this goal, excavating this part of's been a great journey. I'm thrilled that I get to keep moving forward and to find out what I'm supposed to do next.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seriously? Seriously.

So Josh has a fever for the 14th day in a row.


And David got it yesterday.

For real. The knock-you-down, throw-you-into-bed influenza. He suffered through work yesterday somehow, but last night he was so miserable that he didn't sleep more than half the night. And he has literally slept six or seven hours so far today.

Then Ben woke up at 6:30 with the hacking cough that means we're about to enjoy the croup! Huzzah! Does that explain the non-stop runny nose he's had since Monday? The kind that is like a slow faucet, never stopping, never releasing me from the insanity of nose slime? Oh well, at least it's not the flu...yet...but even if it's not the flu, it's making him cranky, needy, and clingy. All good things, right?

And all the dresses I ordered for my recital don't fit.

And I had to miss helping in kindergarten and couldn't find anyone to sub for me. I hate leaving the teacher in the lurch like that.

And I couldn't go to the viewing or funeral of a man in our ward, due to all the sickies at my house, and that made me sad. I wanted to be there to support his family. But my family came first, I decided, and tried not to feel guilty.

So I worked on making a cake for his funeral. I thought I'd do something a little nicer than normal and made a pumpkin cake. While it cooled, I went downstairs to work on the evite for my recital. Until I heard some suspicious noises from upstairs. (Will I NEVER LEARN?) And found Ben had pushed a chair over to the oven and gone to town on the cake with a spatula and his little snotty fingers.

Yeah. I was excited.

And then Ben colored on my piano keys with a pencil.

And then I made another cake, realizing that the chances were slim of getting it to the church by the time the family was back from the cemetery, but I had volunteered a cake, and I was going to deliver that darned cake. And I did, but frosting a warm cake (even with my delicious chocolate frosting) is a disaster waiting to happen. And the cake wasn't pretty. And I had wanted it to be pretty. And I was feeling really sad about my sad cake and its sad frosting.

And then I delivered it and one of the older ladies in the ward said, "I told the others earlier that you always bring a hot cake and the frosting for us to put on later."

Seriously? Seriously. I mean, you say that? Honestly. I told myself that I didn't need to be offended (and if that has happened before with the DOZENS of cakes I've made for our funerals (we have an old ward), it has maybe been ONE TIME. Once. And Really? You'd bring that up?) So much for my whole "I never get offended" thing. I got sad. And maybe even cried a little on the way home, because it has just been one of those days.

And then I came home, and Liz called me from across the street, and I couldn't hide my stupid red eyes (because when I cry, it's not really something I can hide), and she was offering me SOUP. HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP. Because she's just that awesome, that's why, and she didn't even know I was sad. That's what I call a friend, girl. Amazing. And she let me blubber, and I didn't name names (which is so Christlike of me). And she didn't ask for names (which is so Christlike of her.)

And then I went into the house and woke up David from his sick sleep and cried some more and said, "I just need to go on a run" and he said "Go for it" and I did it, and it wasn't feeling great, but I did it anyway, and when I came home, I felt much much better.

And then I realized it was April Fool's Day, so I decided to play a prank. I posted this picture:

(remember it from Halloween?) as my profile picture in Facebook, changed my religion to Fundamentalist and let the fun begin. One girl who doesn't know me well kind of believed it for a minute, I'm afraid. So that was a bright spot.

And now I'm feeling better almost all the way around.

Except (and I'm NOT lying) Kate just came downstairs telling me that Ben is coloring on my piano again.