Sunday, May 29, 2011

Things I've Learned

1.  There IS such a thing as too much rain.

2.  Parenting gets less exhausting but not easier.

3.  Throwing some vinegar in the bottom of my dishwasher with every load gets rid of that white yucky film that was all over my dishes.

4.  Eating a lot of cake doesn't make me skinnier.

5.  Dogs are hard to take care of when they are 15.

6.  I can do hard things.

7.  It's more fun to play the piano when I'm not worried about being perfect.

8.  Running is hard every time I go out.  Easy run, shmeasy run.  No such thing.  There's really just a hard run, a really hard run, and an I want to puke run.  (But it's still worth it.  See #6.)

9.  I feel almost the same at almost 40 as I did at almost 30, except I'm more wrinkled, more flabby, and just a teensy bit more wise.

10. That boy-short haircut I thought was so cute and hip at almost 30?  Looking at a picture of it, I'm thinking maybe not so much.  (Yes, my brothers, you were right.  Is it my fault it took me a decade to believe you?  And admit it?)

Friday, May 20, 2011


Last night, I had a little time to waste.  (OK, I DIDN'T have a little time to waste, but I took it anyway.)  I was working on some piano studio stuff on the computer, and I clicked over to my blog, wondering if the weather was as yucky last year as it has been this year.  (The answer to that is yes, it was terrible.)  I got caught up in looking at my spring pictures-of-the-day, and felt very nostalgic.  It seemed like a long long time ago that Ben turned three, Kate turned seven, we had snow in April, then in May (oh wait, that was this year, too), that I began to find the beauty in my new life and stop trying to live in the past.  My words sounded sweet to me, hopeful, peaceful.

I sat for a while, thinking that the spring of 2010 seemed honey-colored in retrospect, and I yearned for that sweetness, wondering why it felt so far away.

And then I remembered.  I REMEMBERED.  How could I have forgotten???  How could I have forgotten for even those few minutes?  That spring WAS sweet, despite its chill.  It was blessed and holy and sacred.  Only a week into June, our world would shatter into a million pieces, and looking back, I think the Lord was giving all of us a gift of peace before the tragedy.

It's been quite a year, hasn't it?  I have a tendency to try to gather my life into neat little categories, to create stories with beginnings, middle & endings out of the ins and outs of daily happenings.  I'd like to say I understand what God's been doing with us, that I see the end from the beginning, but I don't.  I know less than I did a year ago, but I also know more.  I trust more, but expect things to work out as I expect less.  I feel more fragile, but also stronger.  I have felt immense pain and immense peace.  I have been carefully held in the palm of His hand, and also cast out into the deep water alone.

But mostly, I feel grateful.  We are surrounded by beauty and love and goodness.  We are all capable of doing hard things.  We can hang on through the darkness and wait for the light to shine.  It does shine, eventually.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Goodbye, Rhino the Second, we only knew you for a few days.  So sorry you had to leave us so soon.

Kate wants me to go pick up two new frogs on Friday when the new shipment arrives at Petco.  I think that bringing more frogs into this house may constitute cruel and unusual punishment.  To whom, I'm not sure: maybe Kate AND me AND the new frogs.

(Did I use "whom" appropriately there?  If so, aren't you impressed by my usage of "whom"?  If not, Chris, you don't have to tell me, because I'm sure I'll use it inappropriately again when enough time has passed and I've forgotten the correct grammar rules for "whom".

Five interviews today for piano students.  We moved the Clavinova up to the studio to hang with the Yamaha.  The extra desk will venture up there soon (as soon as we find strong arms to help, that is.)  First lessons taught the first week of June.  Doors shutting, doors opening.  And frogs dying.  It's an adventure around here, friends.  A big adventure.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Just pulled one of the replacement frogs (bought her Friday) out of the tank.  I did everything the pet store dude told me to do to ensure the health of Kenya II and Rhino II...and she was still floating on her back tonight.  And Rhino II doesn't look so healthy, either.

Sigh.  Pets are a lot of work, even if they don't pee all over their blankets (like I found Tally had when I checked on her while taking care of the dead frog.)

And now I will curl up on the couch under a blanket and pretend I am not in charge of any animals for a long while, or at least until Tally starts doing her old lady bark for attention.

And that moratorium?  I guess it's just not happening.  Forget I asked.  It was probably a bad idea, anyway.   I need to be ready to accept whatever the universe has ready for me next, not try to make deals to keep the bad things away.

That said, I'm still crossing my fingers for the continued health and well-being of Rhino the Second.

Friday, May 13, 2011

About That Moratorium...

Maybe it can start today?  Since yesterday Kate's OTHER frog died?


Oh, and on other business entirely, I got my acceptance letter for the U today.

For the masters program.

Oh's better than a rejection letter, right?

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Little More Loss

Kate was super excited to turn eight in April.  Her most exciting decision was to be baptized.  Her second-most exciting decision was to buy African aquatic frogs.  She bought two with money from her Nana and Boppa and named them Rhino and Kenya.  She has talked about them nearly every day, concerned that she's feeding them too little or too much, trying to figure out how to best care for them.

Tonight, she came running out, laughing at the funny thing one of her frogs was doing and begged us all to come take a look.  When we went in, excited to see, we saw that one of the frogs was laying on its back, not moving.  At all.  Not even when we shook the tank.

It was hard to break the news to her.  She sobbed in David's arms, filled with sadness and loss.  As I took care of the little froggie body, I thought about how much I hate death and about painful it is to confront it in nearly any circumstance.  I know it's part of the human experience.  I know it's necessary.  But I still hate it.

Thoughts about death have been skittering around the edge of my mind for a few days.  I've been missing Brent even more because of recent family gatherings, and today marks the 11th-month anniversary of his loss.  I remembered him quietly today, talked to him a little, pictured his smile, but somehow the death of this little tiny frog tonight made death too close again, made remembering Brent even more poignant, more painful.

Every death, even as insignificant as this little frog's, seems to now remind me of the life-bending lessons I learned too terribly eleven months ago: that life is fragile, that we are held here on the earth by just the thinnest of threads, and that those we love can be torn from us without warning.  It's really kind of terrible.

And yet, there's that other lesson I learned,  that, like C.S. Lewis said, "The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before.  That's the deal."  It is the deal.  It's yin and yang.  And I choose to feel happiness now, even knowing that loving deeply also allows me to feel deep pain.  The risk is worth it.

I would, however, like to ask for a moratorium on loss for a while.  A long while, maybe?  Is that a fair request?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Result...

I didn't get in.

They want me to do a second masters degree.  They were still concerned about the number of slips, even though they did have some nice things to say about my playing, too.

I've got a lot to think about and decide.  Thanks, everybody, for all the love and kindness and prayers.  I've been so grateful for the peace that you helped me gain.