Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Catching Up: The October Edition

Oh, what a month it was.

Powell, weddings, concerts, Halloween. Oh, and that little birthday...

Lake Powell was fantastic. Our favorite parts? Everything. We had a mouse in the boat, a tarantula bit Elle while the kids had their legs buried in the sand, the toilet was broken and the water didn't work, and it was still paradise. Cliff jumping, seeing dinosaur tracks, waterskiing, tubing, surfing, swimming, digging in sand, lizard searching, bonfires, hiking to ruins, laughing and laughing and laughing. I'm so sad David missed it.

Then our sweet niece Marissa got married. We adore Marissa. David lived with her family for a year when he was going to BYU and we have been close to all of them since even before we got married. It was the only cold Saturday in October (of course) and they decided to keep the reception outside. It was gorgeous (and cold) and we had a wonderful time.

My cousin Blake came and stayed with us for a while. We love Blake very very much.

And then do you know what I did? I turned 40. I know. It's shocking, right? I keep thinking I'll be immune from this aging business, but it turns out I'm not!

If you have to turn 40, do it with David. The guy (and my dear dear friends) made it a remarkable, amazing weekend. It started with a surprise party (amazing, fantastic, wonderful) on the Friday night before my birthday. Perfect. Then Saturday morning I ran the Bonneville Shoreline trail from North Salt Lake to City Creek. I've been dying to make that run since the move, and I convinced (pregnant) Liz and Joni to run it with me. It was gorgeous. Seriously. Perfect. I love those women. They are fantastic.

After the run, I went home to find breakfast made by my sweet children (German pancakes and smoothies), and then David told me to clean up and get ready for our outing. Ashleigh came to watch the littles, and we headed down to Utah County. But then we kept going. And David came clean...he was taking me to the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City and we were staying until Monday. Ashleigh stayed with the kids the whole weekend. BLISS. We saw The Winter's Tale, then spent the next day hiking and seeing national parks. After going home Monday, we headed up to Heber for a birthday dinner at his mom's. A good birthday? Oh, yes. A great one. (And how David pulled it all off? I don't know. He's something else, I tell you. I love that man.)

Other events: fall walks, hanging out with neighbors, and Halloween. We were in charge of the church Halloween party (during which we ran out of all food...), Josh had his first high school orchestra concert and Kate played the first movement of the Haydn C Major concerto.

A very good month.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catching Up: The September Edition

September was gone in a BLINK. But what a blink.

Ben started preschool at the most darling neighborhood preschool you've ever seen. Miss Debra is amazing, he has three friends who go with him, and best of all...it's a mile away!!! After spending a year in the car driving to and from the U, his preschool's close proximity is an enormous joy in my life. (Not to mention that Miss Debra is convincing Benno to read...)

We hung out with people we love. Also we ate with people we love. Breakfast at Original Pancake House (twice), GREEK FESTIVAL (yummmmm), and the Green Family Reunion (lots of visiting and laughing fit into an afternoon in Centerville. Simple.)

We also had the sadness of saying goodbye to Tally. But we've covered that on the blog. Moving on...(I saw a Viszla running with her owners by Sugarhouse Park today and it was verrrrry sad.)

Kate had her fall recital.

Sophie turned TWELVE!!!!!!!!!! Beka kidnapped her for breakfast at Kneaders, and I was a good mom (for once) and threw her a party that very day.

But remember how Kate turned eight in April? Well, I finally threw her a party, too (a cooking party. Lots of fun.) Don't judge. Oh, go ahead and judge. It's ridiculous.

Josh played lots of lacrosse and he was very cute. (Don't tell him I said that. He is, though.)

I had a spectacular angel cake fail for dinner with the Fischers.

We spent lots of time with the Youngberg cousins while Eric and Nina had a getaway in CA.

David came home from work one night and said to the girls, "Aren't you sad you're not going to Taylor Swift tonight? Well, maybe we should." He bought 7th row tickets through a friend and off they went. They had a blast.

And last, but DEFINITELY not least, the kids and I went to Lake Powell with three other neighbor families at the end of the month. Gorgeous. Perfect. Fantastic. I will make you suffer through more Powell pictures later.

I am not sure how to wrap up September...it was a fantastic month, but losing Tally was very very sad. So, I guess I'll just leave it at that.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catching Up: The August Edition

Once August rolled around, I felt the pressure. The decree had been passed: Summer 2011 MUST BE FUN! And with only three weeks before the return of school, I had to fit in as much memory-making as possible.



We swam and swam and swam. Swimming lessons for the littles, swim team for Soph. She wasn't sure how she felt about it, but I talked her into going and she ended up loving it.

Mom and Dad came up to visit. We hiked to Cecret Lake with them and Eric and Christina. Gorgeous night. Many mosquitos.

Neighbor time was fantastic. The kids were with their friends all the time: Late nights, Orange Leaf, swimming, running from one house to another. Super fun.

David bought his dream garden tractor. He revisited his childhood by giving the neighbor kids rides in the tractor.

We had to fit in lots of time with the Chos before they left Utah for their new life in Texas. Gloria is one of those people that I loved the minute I met...these kinds of friendships are so remarkable. And so fun!

Bri and Mike came to visit. Celia was darling. Bri announced they're expecting again! So exciting! We wish they lived in Utah...(hint, hint.)

And then school started...Sad. I wasn't ready. I finally had one of those summers that didn't leave me dying to send the kids back to school. I missed them terribly when they left. It didn't help that it was HOT. HOT!!!! The kids complained about the heat (NO AIR CONDITIONING) and I ignored them until I went to Back to School Night and it was over NINETY DEGREES IN THE SCHOOL. Come on, people. Either install air conditioning or let the kids start school after Labor Day. Honestly...stick the school board in one of those schools for a week and see how fast the schools get air conditioning.

Rant over.

My darling cousin Chapin married beautiful Whitney, so we got to see Nana and Boppa again, along with almost all of my extended Paullin family. They make me happy.

And finally, we ended the month by painting Kate's room. We bought the pink and white paint when we moved in. Two years ago. It's been slate blue for two years, and every once in a while, she asked, "When do you think we could paint my room?" And we'd say, "Hmmm...maybe soon." And she'd say, "OK." No fits, no grumpiness...and how is she rewarded? She got to wait two years for her room to be painted. Poor thing. But it's pink and white now and makes us all very happy.

August? Other than school starting (boo!), it was a very good month.

(I kind of like doing these updates a couple of months late. I've forgotten all the bad! The pictures make life look really rosy! I think this is how I should remember all of life!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Catching Up: The July Edition

July was busy.

We went to David's brother Paul's cabin on the St. Joe River by Coeur d'Alene for the Fourth of July. It is one of my favorite places on earth. That it remains one of my favorite places, even though the stomach flu went through most of the 12 of us with a vengeance (in a one bathroom cabin) speaks to its remarkable qualities. We spent most of every day playing on the water in kayaks, on the longboard, on the boat, or on the dock.

We swam at the tennis club up the street from our house.

We spent time hiking and in the canyons with friends.

David spent a lot of time at work (the Deer Valley Music Festival begins in July and runs usually until right before school starts.) Sometimes we even got to join him.

We had our 20th anniversary. Yes, indeed, we did, and it was wonderful.

Josh spent a week at the Lyceum Music Festival, held in Midway. He had a wonderful time. David's mom was his host, cook, and chauffeur. We joined him for his 15th birthday, sneaking along his favorite cousin, Ally, who came down from Idaho to surprise him.

Our fantastic friends, the Sharps, came to visit from Florida the same week. We hiked, played, talked, and went to Josh's final concert together. Our friend, David Cho, was the guest conductor, so we had fun with him and his wonderful wife, Gloria.

So pretty much what I'm saying is that July was a good month.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Piano Lessons

I'm back at the piano again, (maybe) in earnest this time, and having an enormously good time reading and reading and reading. I think I'll have an enormously good time once I settle down on repertoire, too, but it's kind of the difference between dating and getting engaged...when you're dating a piece, you can be all superficial, love the big picture and ignore the problem spots. Once you're engaged/married, you see every little quirky detail and recognize that it's now your responsibility to overcome every challenge. It's great, that kind of hard work, totally great, but sometimes it's nice to go back to the crush stage.

So I'm crushing on some Prokofiev (I'd like to commit to the 7th Sonata, but my goal right now is to stay with smaller pieces, so I'm sticking with The Montagues and the Capulets), the Haydn Fantasie, and I can't decide which of the 20 Scarlatti sonatas I've gone through is really going to hold my fancy. I think I will revisit the 4th Ballade because it deserves to get to the next level.

I'm also planning some fun collaborative work for the near future, and am so excited to play gorgeous music with some wonderful musicians.

Spending so many hours a day working with students or at the piano itself is a little exhilarating. I'm so lucky that this is my life.

I love this Billy Collins poem. So much of his poetry wraps the mundane in the cloth of art. It makes me look more carefully at the details of my life.

It's so much fun to admit that (once again) "even when I am not playing, I think about the piano."

Piano Lessons
By Billy Collins
My teacher lies on the floor with a bad back
off to the side of the piano.
I sit up straight on the stool.
He begins by telling me that every key
is like a different room
and I am a blind man who must learn
to walk through all twelve of them
without hitting the furniture.
I feel myself reach for the first doorknob.
He tells me that every scale has a shape
and I have to learn how to hold
each one in my hands.
At home I practice with my eyes closed.
C is an open book.
D is a vase with two handles.
G flat is a black boot.
E has the legs of a bird.
He says the scale is the mother of the chords.
I can see her pacing the bedroom floor
waiting for her children to come home.
They are out at nightclubs shading and lighting
all the songs while couples dance slowly
or stare at one another across tables.
This is the way it must be. After all,
just the right chord can bring you to tears
but no one listens to the scales,
no one listens to their mother.
I am doing my scales,
the familiar anthems of childhood.
My fingers climb the ladder of notes
and come back down without turning around.
Anyone walking under this open window
would picture a girl of about ten
sitting at the keyboard with perfect posture,
not me slumped over in my bathrobe, disheveled,
like a white Horace Silver.
I am learning to play
“It Might As Well Be Spring”
but my left hand would rather be jingling
the change in the darkness of my pocket
or taking a nap on an armrest.
I have to drag him in to the music
like a difficult and neglected child.
This is the revenge of the one who never gets
to hold the pen or wave good-bye,
and now, who never gets to play the melody.
Even when I am not playing, I think about the piano.
It is the largest, heaviest,
and most beautiful object in this house.
I pause in the doorway just to take it all in.
And late at night I picture it downstairs,
this hallucination standing on three legs,
this curious beast with its enormous moonlit smile.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All About Me...

October...where did you go? I just took a look back at my blogging history and found that since the beginning of The Greenhouse, I have never before gone an entire month without posting. And there it went. Poof. October 2011 will never be seen again.

And what a month it was...the month of my 40th birthday.

In honor of me, because I'm always all about me, I'm going to do one of those lists we used to see float around blogdom. I kind of liked the junior high-ness of the tagging. It was fun to be popular enough to be tagged! Loved it! So maybe I'll bring us all back to the good old days of blogging (2007 style, woot!), and tag some of you to do the same thing on your blog. No, you're not lucky enough to be 40 (most of you), but you do have 100 interesting things to say about yourself. You know you do, and you've just been looking for an excuse to tell us all. Now you have it! And if I don't tag you, you can pretend I did (since I would if I knew you wanted me to.) I'm tagging Sarah, Danielle, Malisa, Christina, Ash, Bri, Ananda, Sarah, Amber, Megan. And like I said, whoever else.

Which brings me to #1:

1. I have a nearly pathological fear of leaving people out of anything.
2. I'm eating cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds right now. And they're pretty good, for pumpkin seeds. Since they're sugar coated and all that.
3. I still think my old neighborhood is close to perfection.
4. I love my new neighborhood now, too, and think it's filled with fantastic people,
5. but I wish it was more walkable (schools, shops, parks, etc.)
6. I don't read as many books as I used to.
7. Approaching 40 was worse than actually turning 40.
8. I put away my scale for a couple of months because my sister-in-law told me I was crazy to weigh myself every day. I stepped on it again yesterday and I was 3 pounds heavier than I was two months ago. Guess that didn't work.
9. I'm still amazed that my kids have grown up so quickly. It wouldn't be so shocking if I didn't remember being 15 quite so vividly.
10. I wonder sometimes if I should like music that is more appropriate for my age. Does it bother Vampire Weekend that I like to dance in the kitchen to Run while I make meatloaf? It probably should.
11. Along those lines, Sophie is pretty sure my only job in life is to embarrass her. It may not bother Vampire Weekend that I like to dance in the kitchen to Run, but it certainly mortifies my daughter. As does my kissing her father, singing, laughing loudly, or anything that isn't quiet and calm. (Love you, darling! Smmmoooooch.)
12. I love the Book of Mormon very very much. Also the New Testament. And I'm learning a lot from the Old Testament, too, but I haven't fallen in love with it as much as the other two. D&C and PofGP, I like you too.
13. I absolutely believe in personal revelation.
14. I love my church and the people (imperfect though we all are) who make up my church family. I have had times that my faith has been challenged, but I have never left my church home, and I find that my faith returns when I spend enough time communing with my Heavenly Father.
15. I'm sad that I didn't get into the DMA program, but glad I didn't get into the DMA program. I'm a wee bit conflicted and pretty sure I don't see the whole picture yet, but trying to trust the plan.
16. I've got more issues with my performance nerves now than I did a year ago. I don't wonder why.
17. I've learned that even the strongest pain scabs over eventually unless you continue to poke at the wound. Sometimes it's OK to poke at the wound, but most of the time it's OK to allow it to continue to heal.
18. I think adulterers suck.
19. I know I should hate the sin and love the sinner, but I still think adulterers suck. I'm working on that. And maybe I should qualify that to say adulterers who have no remorse suck.
20. Being married for 20 years teaches you a lot.
21. And yes, marriage is worth the risk, the pain, the vulnerability, the sacrifice. (And no, for the record, David is completely loyal. Totally and fully. I spoke of other husbands.)
22. For my 40th birthday, David threw me a surprise party. Then he stole me away the next day for a surprise weekend in Cedar City (Shakespeare Festival! Fall colors! National parks! No children!) David is pretty amazing. He really pulled out all the stops, and now I'm feeling nervous for his 50th (most of a decade away, mind you) because he set the decade birthday standard ridiculously high.
23. I am losing my motivation to run. I think I need to sign up for a race. But I'm not motivated. So I don't. So I'm less motivated.
24. I still love running trails.
25. I miss Tally sometimes. But I don't ever miss cleaning up after Tally. That sometimes makes me feel guilty. And sometimes it makes me feel relieved.
26. Sometimes I don't dream anymore because I worry that my dreams will be dashed.
27. That's not healthy, so I decided I'm going to start a bucket list, even though I think "Bucket List" is a cheesy term to use.
28. I love fall. Also spring. Also summer. Also winter. This year I think I liked summer the best. But maybe the fall has come in a super close second. In fact, maybe it won.
29. I have a hard time making decisions.
30. I spend an inordinate amount of time choosing what to order at restaurants, but I'm almost always totally happy with my decision.
31. It's hard for me when people are easily offended. I would like to think most people are doing their best most of the time and so we should give them the benefit of the doubt. That needs to apply to the way I feel about people who are easily offended, too, so I'd better work at that.
32. I'm good at some things (accompanying, being interested in people, giving church lessons.)
33. I'm bad at some things (packing, staying on task, keeping my house organized.)
34. I'm average at most things (can't list everything else, now can I?)
35. I have a temper, but I've learned to control it most of the time. When I don't, it's ugly.
36. I love to eat.
37. I love healthy food.
38. I also love unhealthy food.
39. Finding 100 things to say about myself is taking a long time.
40. That's how old I am now.
41. I know everyone says it as they get older, but I really don't feel 40. I look it, and that shocks me every time I look in the mirror. I assume I will feel this way at every age milestone. My grandma says it still surprises her, so I suppose it's just human nature.
42. I love writing, but it's not something I'm great at. I used to want to write a book, but I'm not sure I'll ever spend the time working on writing enough to be good at it. I think I'd rather practice.
43. I feel the same about photography, but not even as much as writing. I used to dream about being a really good photographer, but again, I'd rather practice.
44. I feel guilty when I practice and something else should be done.
45. Something else should always be done, so I feel guilty whenever I practice.
46. Also, I feel guilty when I don't practice.
47. Pretty much I have a problem with guilt. And time management.
48. I'm a night person.
49. I'm teaching lessons at 6:15 in the morning, so I have to pretend I'm not a night person.
50. My mom is one of my heroes.
51. I love my mother-in-law. She is amazing and she loves me.
52. The more I get to know most people, the more I love them.
53. MOST people.
54. I get all riled up about politics, but I mostly don't know why we can't all get along. I have strong feelings, but I can be mostly rational and kind. Why can't everyone? I don't think you're stupid if you disagree with me. I just think that you disagree with me because you have a different opinion than me. And I'm not stupid, just because I voted for our current president. In fact, I can show you my ACT score if you wonder.
55. I got a pretty high ACT score.
56. I love running before dawn and watching the light touch the top of the mountains, slowly illuminating the sky.
57. Running when it's pitch dark and no light ever touches the top of the mountains just makes me feel like I'm up too darned early.
58. I'm up too darned early almost every day.
59. My ideal schedule would be to go to sleep around 12 and to get up around 7:30. That sounds heavenly. I won't be doing that until after my youngest is done with high school. So 14 more years. Oh well.
60. Choosing what to make for dinner is hard for me.
61. One of my worst traits is that I have a hard time following through with things.
62. If I could be better at following through with things, I'd love to figure out how to make a big difference in the world.
63. Among the other things I feel guilty about is not doing more with my time or resources in order to make a big difference in the world.
64. I have no idea why you've made it this far reading about me.
65. I love lots of music, but I really love early 20th century piano music. I'm not a freak about 12-tone or super atonal stuff. I can tolerate it and enjoy it, but I love love love Barber, Prokofiev, Ginastera, Ravel, Mompou, de Falla and later stuff like Rzewski.
66. I also love Bach and Scarlatti.
67. I also love Chopin, but he's less of a crush and more like someone I'm married to...a beautiful, safe part of the fabric of my music world.
68. It's pretty safe to say that my very favorite piece of all time is the 2nd movement of the Ravel G Major Piano Concerto. I'd link to it, but none of the YouTube performances are phenomenal.
69. Another favorite is Bach's Goldberg Variations.
70. I haven't performed either.
71. I don't know why. Oh, except there aren't a lot of orchestras lying around waiting for me to play Ravel with them. If you find one, let me know. I'll be all over it.
72. Haven't been to Europe yet and I'm sad about it.
73. I know that quote about children being a mother's travel, her gems, her riches, etc, and that doesn't even make me feel bad. I want to go to Europe AND be a mother.
74. My kids do a pretty darned good job at being kids.
75. Sometimes I expect my kids to do a perfect job at being kids. That's about as fair as expecting myself to do a perfect job at being a mother.
76. I like vacations.
77. I don't like coming home after vacations.
78. I love long conversations.
79. I love feeling the Spirit.
80. I have some amazing, true friends.
81. That saying, "You can do anything you want; you just can't do everything you want"? It makes me mad. It's mostly true, of course, (except that I never could have been an Olympic basketball player) but I want to be able to do everything I want.
82. I think I'll make my blog private one day.
83. I think I'll go back to taking a picture a day as our family history. If I feel like it, I'll make another blog for them. I think it's a great, quick way of keeping track of what happened in our lives.
84. I've lived in Utah longer than I lived in California.
85. I have a wonderful extended family.
86. I can let things sit in a pile longer than I should. Exhibit A: laundry room.
87. David has become very patient with my weaknesses. Exhibit B: mudroom.
88. Marriage is best when we are very patient with the other's weaknesses.
89. Marriage is also best when you go on dates and weekend getaways.
90. I really really do love that Ravel. I've been listening to different versions of it ever since I wrote #68. The best one on YouTube isn't a video and you have to turn it up high, but it's Martha Argerich and I love her. Listen to it if you want to hear pure gorgeousness and feel a little melancholy all at the same time. It always makes me feel like weeping a little, in a good way. (A recording of Krystian Zimerman is on YouTube, too, and is also lovely.)
91. I love alone time. I also love people time. Sometimes I don't love children time. Children are not always rational human beings.
92. But I love my children deeply. They are fascinating people. They are so individual, so distinct, and so interesting to be around. So even though I sometimes want to send them to their rooms for an entire day, I'm still always glad they're my kids.
93. Except when they fight for two weeks straight at the beginning of summer. Then I wonder what I was thinking, having four children.
94. I wish I were like some people who always seem to enjoy parenting. I always love my children, but I don't always love parenting.
95. Being a mother, though? It's exactly what I want to be, even if it's hard hard work. There are precious, beautiful moments scattered through every day that remind me of its eternal significance. And there's not much better than watching a child recognize truth, or reach some of her potential, or touch another person's life through his kindness.
96. The hard things are why we're here. The beautiful things are why we're here. If we try to skip the hard and think we only deserve the fun and the beautiful, we miss out on what we're really supposed to be learning. Muscles grow by being broken. So do we.
97. I've been broken.
98. I've been made strong.
99. I assume this cycle will occur over and over for the rest of my life.
100. The rest of my life will be however old I am when I die minus 40. That might be 50. It might not. Whatever it is, it will be an adventure.