Saturday, November 21, 2015


My house will be certified organic sometime in early December! No, I'm not removing pesticides. I'm getting an organ!

My mom taught me piano, most of the time not formally. I did go to a piano teacher for a couple years when I was 14-15, but I already knew the basics and was playing songs here and there. Then my mom got called to be the organist for our congregation, even though she had no experience (hello Mormonism). She tried to get me to play the organ and I had NO interest. I rolled my eyes AND threw my head back in exasperation.

Then when I was 36, I was called to be the organist in our congregation even though I have had no experience and never wanted any experience (hello, still Mormonism). But God had other plans. And He knew I would like it once I got over not knowing how to play it. I love playing Christmas hymns especially. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" with the chimes, especially especially.

I did take organ lessons for a year as part of an independent study college course and I can't say I'm any great shakes at playing the organ even though I took the class, but at least I'm not afraid of it anymore. I can play for a congregation and not hang my head in shame after the hymn is done. I am used to having my mistakes broadcast to the whole chapel. They sing anyway.

So my mother has an organ. I enjoyed using hers to practice, and she enjoyed sharing new songs she learned by playing the for me. But mother is getting old and has recently been released from playing for her congregation.

As much as I am happy about getting her organ, I am sad that she won't be playing it. She used to practice hymns and her husband (my stepdad) enjoyed it too. When he got really sick near the end of his life, he would shout out hymn requests from his sickbed for her to play.

As much as I am sad about Mom giving up something she enjoyed, I am happy that I will get to have an instrument to practice on in my own home. Also, Katie will be able to practice at my house instead of having to go to the church building. I can watch Jackson while she plays. And that will be the best part. More Jackson.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Still crazy after all these years

I don't get poetry or most song lyrics. I try to deconstruct them, but what I infer from each individual line or thought in lyrics doesn't seem to ever coalesce into one theme. (Except for the song "I Wanna Hold your Hand." I think I've got that one figured out)

Take my post title. I was casting about for a good line to use as a header for a post about being married a while, and this line "Still crazy after all these years" popped into my head. (don't judge. Paul Simon was a major contributor to my early teenage years. Hello, "One Trick Pony" and "Slip Sliding Away," which was my first introduction to music other than what my mom had in her record collection and never played--fodder for another post).

So I thought I would look up the lyrics for this song to see if it applied. Hmmm, not so much (look them up yourself). The individual line applies, ya know, still crazy (for each other, in love, googly-eyes, etc) after all these years, but otherwise, No on the meeting old lovers, drinking beer, watching cars go by and not being convicted for possibly doing something rash. I have no idea what ol' Paulie Simon was talking about. He misses his old lover but is too lazy/crazy to do anything about it? He doesn't like her and is still crazy? He's an introvert that occasionally goes outside to wander the streets? I CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT!!

(This was supposed to be a post on being married happily for 27 years, but I got sidetracked by Paul Simon) (Happy anniversay to my only squeeze!) (I love you!) (I wanna hold your hand!)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

And the band played on

The second to last high school indoor marching band concert that we will attend as band parents was November 9. Our lone public school attendee, Matt, was decked out in his marching band finest (new uniforms this year!) for the show.

 First, some perspective:Matt got his trombone just six years ago, in 2009.


Nope, try again.

He can't figure out how to hold it.

This is foreshadowing. Seriously, most of the pictures I take of Matt playing his trombone end up looking like this.
And now, the pictures from his recent band concert:
We were close enough to him that he saw me wave at him and was instantly ashamed. Then he put on his stony face and refused to acknowledge my presence at the concert. Ingrate!

L A....K E....RS.....Lakers, Lakers, we are the LAKERS! chant

Bell face. See? No matter where I sit or stand, he has that trombone bell and his music in between my camera lens and his face. It's almost like he does it on purpose.

Can you see him in the top row for the yearbook picture? Hint: He's the Shorty McShortshort trombonist. 

One more thing, this was one of those concerts that I knew was coming but wasn't sure of the date. So Monday morning, on the 9th, Matt said, "Oh yeah, I have a band concert tonight." Sigh. I was trying so hard to be on top of band concerts, but I guess we're off to a bad start. At least Jim and I were free that evening.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

There is one spider I don't mind

Mom read Charlotte's Web to Jenni and me when we were little. Even though I could read, I enjoyed the nights Jenni and I got to crawl into bed with Mom, and be read to. Mom is a good out-loud reader. She didn't do voices, necessarily, but she did do emotion. It's an experience that I am sad to say I did not carry on. I don't know why. I did try to read to my children--the Harry Potter books--but my kids never really got into it like I thought they should. Or maybe I didn't make it special enough. Or maybe HP was too long. I don't know.

Anyway, I have fond enough memories of Charlotte's Web that when I saw that Prior Lake Players was going to present it for their fall play, I toyed with the idea that I should audition. But then I decided not to because the auditions were going to be held while I was taking Hayley out to Utah.

So one afternoon, I went to pick up Katie and Jackson, and we stopped for a sublime pastry at Edelweiss (drool). As we were leaving, Katie saw an old acquaintance, Kay D. We decided to say hello. Turns out Kay is directing Charlotte's Web, and she offered to hold a special audition for me since I was going to be out of town.

And that's how I got involved. I'm playing Mrs. Arable. I told Katie that since I auditioned, she should. So she went on a regular audition night. And she wound up with the part of Wilbur. And she is fabulous at it.

I don't have a huge amount of lines, but I have enough to enjoy being onstage. I am not offended by Kay's typecasting me as the mother part, they didn't have too many motherly types to choose from for Mrs. Arable. Kay said originally they were going to cast Katie as Charlotte, but "her bubbliness started to come out during the casting process" and she was much better suited as Wilbur.  Katie and I didn't care what parts we got, we just wanted to participate.

The play closes this Saturday night. It's been fun getting to know other actors and being a part of a group. I might try out for other PLP productions (and not wait 8 years like I did between Sound of Music--nun--and Charlotte's Web).

Building the set. The barn is a nice piece of work

most rehearsals were at a local church

I did the lettering. Katie and Jim helped me paint it.

Mirror magic

from off stage

Lurvy sees "Some Pig" in the web

Christian helps me get NOT in character before the play starts

Wilbur gets pinked cheeks

From offstage. We stand behind the scenes and watch, especially when "Uncle" is on stage.

Charlotte and Wilbur rehearse lines

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Can babies BE 17?

I really do like my teenagers. I enjoy laughing with them, getting them to do things without them whining about it, not driving them places because they have their licenses to drive, etc. I do however protest that the baby of the family is getting so dang old.

Matt 10 years ago
Matt recently turned 17. How can that be? He's the only one left in public education. He's the only one left in seminary. He's the only one who be around full time for a little while longer.

So, his birthday. The last two years, he has requested a Doctor Who cake. This year, he went a for a slightly different alien angle. The X-Files.

wearing his birthday hat

the X-Files cake

Weird face and Seal of Rassilon cupcake (he couldn't quite NOT have anything Doctor Who related for his birthday)

 Anyway, happy birthday, Matt. You can vote in the next presidential election.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lunar trekking

I wanted to record more of the trip to Utah/Idaho on the ol' shoebox castle wall, even though it's been a few weeks since we got back. (college child update: she's enjoying it)

Jim and I decided to drive through Craters of the Moon in Idaho in between seeing his mother and sister, and arriving in Rexburg to see Jimmy (who I found out goes by JAMES at his jobs. Kinda weird, because he's still JIMMY. Or Other Jim, here at the castle).

I'd never heard of Craters of the Moon park before Jim mentioned it in regards to this trip. It sounded interesting, though.

And I will have to go back someday! It was great! It's a small park, in the middle of nowhere, Idaho. It's mostly hardened LAVA. It is kind of otherworldly. My pictures do not do it justice. But I'm going to post some anyway. If you find yourself in the middle of Idaho for a day and don't know what to do, spend the day at Craters of the Moon park.

The grass ends abruptly at the volcanic rock edge. It's weird to walk on.

There's a little 1.3 mile hike through the volcanic rock bed.

The landscape is strange enough so that an asphalt path through it looks thoroughly out of place.

I love the waves of hardened lava

Lava breaks in great chunks

remnants of the cone

more choppy volcanic rock

looking up a cinder hill. Because of the uniformness and lack of any tree or boulders, it is very hard to judge the scale of this hill. It is quite steep in places and kinda scary to climb.

And even scarier to go back down. We didn't go all the way up the hill, although I would have liked to had we more time.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Little cougar

We are here in Utah with Hayley, just about ready to start the process of getting her settled into college life. Today's to-do list:
1. Bank account
2. Check in to apartment
3. Get student ID
4. Buy books
5. Die from little child going to college syndrome

We'll see how much of that gets done. We also have to eat.

The trip out was many funs! Devil's Tower, Independence Rock, saddle seats, and general goofiness. Jim's best one liner was "I-80 is my least favorite interstate." Who has a list of favorite interstates? Hayley noticed a sign for a place called "Extra Space Storage." She thought that was redundant, but I suggested maybe it's the place where people store their extra space. (I don't have any extra space, so I'm only guessing)

Anyway, it was a nice trip. I'm not going to upload any photos right now because I am hungry, so I want to go bug Jim and Hayley to get going so I can eat something.