Waking Up

Why is it so hard to wake kids up for school each morning? They moan and groan and tell me how tired they are and that they didn’t get enough good sleep during the night. I have one who would rather skip orchestra, another who would rather skip breakfast. It’s a battle as I try to find the right way to gently wake them in the morning so they will be in a good mood and productive in the morning right before school. I gently rub backs and whisper, “Time to wake up.” in my most soothing voice. I turn on the hall light rather than the bedroom light. I talk to them softly to ease them into wakefulness. I remember having lights turned on and blankets abruptly pulled off me to wake me up faster. All that ever did was make me even more grumpy. So on the weekdays, I work hard to help us all have good, grumpy-free mornings. (It doesn’t always work…)

Then Saturday rolls around. The first Saturday in weeks that we don’t have to be anywhere at 8 or 9 am. The first Saturday that I don’t have to set my alarm because we can just wake up whenever we want. The sun isn’t even up yet, and I can hear those little feet, running up and down the stairs. Then I hear voices. At first, the voices are trying to stay quiet, but they are boys, you know. Boys don’t know what the word “quiet” actually means. A boy’s whisper is more like a hoarse shout. I can hear one voice, then two, then three. I hear laughter. I hear screaming (at least it’s happy screaming!). I hear more running, doors slamming (at least he closed the bathroom door, right?), dishes banging.

I look at the clock. 7:15 am. Sigh. I bury myself further into my blankets, knowing that My husband isn’t leaving the house for at least 15 more minutes. Sure enough, he comes into the bedroom just 5 minutes later to kiss me goodbye. I hear the front door close and I the not-so distant sound of his car starting. It’s just me with the wolf pack. 

The kids are apparently hungry and I hear more dishes banging. Suddenly, I hear screaming. This time it’s angry screaming. Crying screaming. Dallin has toasted the last two PopTarts and Parker didn’t want his PopTart toasted. I call them to my room and convince Parker to stick his PopTart in the fridge. Dallin happily eats his breakfast and says, “At least I got myself food, right?” Several minutes later, I’m getting requests to play on the laptop or the Wii.  Someone else is asking for help getting something out of the pantry. Soon I’m going to have to drive the Cub Scout to meet his den (it’s Scouting For Food collection day). We don’t have much required of us today, but it feels like it’s going to be a full day.

8 am and I’m up. That’s all the “sleeping in” I’ll get for today.

Is it nap time yet? 

Wrackspurts

I feel like my head has been invaded by wrackspurts. Everything has turned to fuzz. Maybe it’s this pregnancy. Maybe it’s stress from work and motherhood. Maybe it’s just that time of year. And maybe it really is wrackspurts.

The good news is that marching band is almost over. As much as I love marching band and teaching color guard… HALLELUJAH!!! I have been so busy and it has invaded every part of my life. I don’t feel like I am getting the things done at home that I need to. My kids aren’t getting the attention they need. Aiden is having a great school year overall, but there are some parts just falling behind. I attribute it to the fact that I’m not home most afternoons or evenings to truly oversee homework time. Dallin’s year is getting better, now that he’s been moved to a new class. He still has his moments — at school, church, and home — but overall he seems to be doing well. We’re trying to nip the angry reactions and behavior in the bud… and it mostly works. Again, I feel like if I were home more I could be more on top of things. I also just feel like they are feeling left out so much. They need their mom’s attention and I’m not giving it to them. I do not know how working moms can find the balance of work, motherhood, and home. My house is a complete disaster. Truly a disaster… I don’t mean it like most people when they say “oh my house is such a mess” when really it means they have a couple of papers on the coffee table and a couple of toys scattered on the floor. I mean, this is a true disaster. It’s disgusting. Dishes aren’t getting washed, laundry isn’t even making it into baskets, much less getting done. There are school papers spread everywhere, shoes scattered throughout the house, and actual trash covering the floor. I hate Halloween candy wrappers, by the way. I don’t know the last time the bathrooms have been cleaned, and I hate the fingerprints all over the pantry door, back door, cupboards, bedroom doors, bathroom doors, etc. The banister (which is supposed to be white) looks like I was trying an inking technique to “antique” it, but it didn’t work. The carpets, which were once upon a time a light beige color, are dark brown with black spots all over. I need to get the carpets professionally cleaned. Badly. But who has money for that? The bedrooms have piles of clothes everywhere that we need to go through and get rid of because they don’t fit anyone, toys are scattered everywhere, and Legos have taken over the floor of the Spare Oom so badly I can’t walk in there to put anything away. I am so overwhelmed I don’t even know where to start. I would like it all to burn down so we can start from scratch.

This pregnancy is kicking my butt. Seriously. I went to the doctor on Monday and she said, “Have you been nauseous? Because you’ve lost quite a bit of weight since the last time you were here.” Uhhh, yeah!! I know you’re not my regular doctor, but it should be there in the file that I requested medication last time, too. I literally cannot count how many times a day I vomit. I lose count. Nothing is staying in me. Nothing. I eat, and I vomit. I don’t eat, and I vomit. There is not compromise. So a month ago I was put on Zofran (a medication that is given to chemo patients to reduce nausea). Well, the Zofran worked as far as getting rid of the nausea. That was the good news. The bad news was that it made me dizzy and fuzzy and I felt like I was going to pass out constantly. I woke up in the middle of the night one night and my body felt like lead. I literally couldn’t lift my arms. So I quit taking the Zofran, thinking it was better to be sick than to pass out in the car while I was driving to work or something.

I had always heard that having babies in your 20s is completely different than having babies in your 30s. I’m here to testify… that is TOTALLY TRUE. I had the three boys all in my 20s, and while I don’t have the easiest pregnancies, they were all easier than this one is. I am already having Braxton Hicks! I am 12 weeks now, and on Sunday I noticed I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. They don’t hurt at all. They are just kind of intense for this early in the pregnancy, at least from what I’m used to. I have had a few every night. Also, I can’t believe how tired and lacking of energy I am. I mean, the first trimester has always been the hardest for me, and maybe it’s just been long enough that I don’t remember, but this is SO hard. I just want to sleep all day, every day. I have a hard time getting the motivation to do anything. I’m just so out of it all the time. Anyway… enough of the pregnancy complaints.

I so often feel like I’m failing in all my duties and I don’t know where to start in order to get back on track. It’s just easier to blame it all on pregnancy or work-related stress or wrackspurts. Here’s hoping I can get things worked out and get back on track… soon…

This Is How We Do It…

My life has gotten so busy all of a sudden! As of about 3 weeks ago, I am working with two different high school marching bands (the color guard, of course). One is right here, by my house. Yup, I’m working for my husband, again. The other is about half an hour away, in Tempe. I am working for my best friend’s brother, there. I have rehearsals Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. Games on Friday (I flip flop so I can make it to all the home games). Soon, competitions will start, and those will take up my Saturdays. Add in all my other activities (church, cub scouts, Relief Society meetings, book club, volunteering, preschool) and my weeks look like this:

Monday:
Aiden to orchestra by 7:40 am.
Dallin and carpool to school at 8:30.
Parker to preschool at 11:45.
Pick up Parker at 1:45.
Boys are home by 4:15.
Dinner at 5:00
Leave for rehearsal by 5:45
Guard/band rehearsal in Tempe 6:30 to 9:30.
Get home by 10:30, and crash in bed.

Tuesday:
Boys up at 7:30 and drive the carpool at 8:30 am.
Dinner in the crockpot by noon.
Guard rehearsal in Tempe at 3 pm. Leave early at 4.
Dinner at 5.
Guard/band rehearsal here from 6 to 9 pm.
Home by 9:30, crash in bed.

Wednesday:
Aiden to orchestra by 7:40
Dallin and carpool off to school at 8:30
Parker to preschool at 11:45
Volunteer in Aiden’s classroom noon to 1:10.
Pick up Parker at 1:45
Guard rehearsal here 2:45 to 5:30. (Ches takes Parker and meets the boys at home and makes dinner)
Ches back at school at 5:30 for drumline. I take the boys home.
Dinner as soon as I get home.
Aiden to cub scouts at 6 pm.
Pick up Aiden at 7 pm.
Kids in bed at 8/8:30.
Ches home by 9:30. He crashes in bed. I finish up what I didn’t get done all day.

Thursday:
Aiden to orchestra by 7:40.
Dallin and carpool to school at 8:30.
Boys home by 4:15.
Teach flute lesson at 4:30.
Dinner at 5:30 or 6.
Relief Society meeting (once a month) at 6.
Book Club (once a month) at 8:30

Friday:
Kids to school at 8:30.
Parker to preschool at 11:45.
Pick up Parker at 1:45.
Kids home by 4:15.
Football call time about 5 pm.
Game starts at 7.
Home by 10:30
EVERYONE crashes in bed.

Saturday:
Competition days are usually an all day thing… up early, home late. Blech.

Sunday:
SLEEP IN.
Church at 1 pm to 3 pm.
Choir 3:15 to 4-ish.

It doesn’t look that bad when I put it all out there like that. It feels a TON worse. Of course, when I have those huge gaps of time where I’m not driving to rehearsal or dropping kids off to preschool, I’m making dinner ahead of time, doing laundry, cleaning the house, reading books (yes, I still make time to read!), and Facebooking (of course!). I feel like al I’m doing right now is running and running. I am so tired. And I’m not sleeping well at night.

I wanted to go to bed at 9 pm last night. Couldn’t get my body to relax. So I watched “Wild Target” on Netflix (loved it, by the way! It had Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, and Rupert Everett in it) and drank some of my Swiss Caotina hot cocoa so I could relax. Went to bed about 11:30 pm. And I tossed and turned until at least 2:30 am. I. Am. Exhausted.

I have to plan my meals very carefully because I just don’t have time to sit every night and think, “What shall I make?” and I certainly don’t have the money to get takeout. Ever. Thankfully I have been introduced to the website Our Best Bites which is the yummiest food… and my kids have liked everything I have made from them so far!! It’s awesome!! Tuesday night is my Crock Pot night… and I’m thinking Wednesday night will either have to be another Crock Pot night or it will be pre-made, frozen dinner night. I haven’t figured out Wednesdays just yet. Friday night is a treat for the boys… I get them concession stand food. They love it.

I don’t have time to hang out at the park with the other moms after school anymore. Right now it’s fine because it’s so blasted hot (seriously, 115 degrees and up… We had 119 last week. MISERABLE!!), but I do miss talking to other adults. My life is all about my kids and high schoolers at the moment. Love them all, but I crave adult friendship. I don’t feel like I have much of that going on, but I’ve felt that the past 3 years, too. It’s just more severe right now.

The funny thing is, as much as I am stressed and busy, I wouldn’t want it different. Aiden loves orchestra and is so excited about playing the double bass. I love color guard and it’s so fun to be back in the game. And I get paid for it! Sweet! Dallin is in a new class and seems to be thriving in it. And Parker adores preschool. Overall, we’re all pretty happy with what we have going on. It’s hard, but we make it work.

We’ll Just Blame It On Stress

I know I haven’t written in a while. Things have gotten really crazy around my house and in my life. I didn’t feel comfortable really talking about all that was going on with us in such a public forum as my blog (even though really, who reads this anymore? My visions of hundreds or even thousands of hits each month are completely gone) and it’s just easier to put up ambiguous statements on Facebook.

I still don’t feel all that comfortable going into much detail about what all had me stressed out because there wasn’t the satisfactory resolution I had hoped for. Instead, I feel like we’re just stuck where we are.

Don’t worry, Ches and I as a couple and a family are fine. More than fine. It’s nothing to do with that.

We’re just stuck and I worry too much and stress out way too easily. My hands started peeling… badly. I honestly thought I had leprosy at one point. My palms were itchy and red and raw. The sides of my fingers were rough and raw. And everything was peeing and it hurt like you wouldn’t believe. After months and months of peeling palms, my hands are mostly back to normal. I have one finger tip that  is rough and peeling a bit, but that’s it now.  Later, I got some inexplicable leg cramps. It felt like I had done some extreme workout, like P90X, without any stretching or warming up. I couldn’t walk up or down the stairs of our house with out pain. Heck, I couldn’t walk at all! And my hips were hurting anytime I tried to actually go out for a walk (although I blame that on being fat). I shouldn’t have hip problems at age 34. And I feel bad complaining at all about it when I know Karen and April have both gone through much worse. The leg cramps and hip pain have left. Next, my skin started to break out like I was 13. It was awful! I felt embarrassed to leave the house. I finally got that under control and I’m back to the normal 17 year old break outs. (Seriously… I’m 34. When will I stop breaking out like a teenager? Not fair) Now, however, my gall bladder seems to be acting up and I am having some weird digestive issues. I can’t eat without pain. I’m fine in the morning, but as the day progresses my stomach feels worse and worse. I have pain in my side from the gall bladder and pain at the top of my stomach from whatever else is going on.

I think my body is rebelling from all this stress.

I started having panic attacks more frequently again. That was the nice thing about being on Zoloft all those years ago. Not only is it an anti-depressant, but it’s anti-anxiety. Totally got rid of my panic attacks. I hate having those! I can’t breathe and I’m in pain… it’s hard to describe. I don’t know why I get them. They just come randomly and never at a convenient time.

I’m starting to seriously think of going back on medication.  I’m sure everyone around me is breathing a sigh of relief and thinking, “FINALLY”, but it’s not been an easy decision for me. I hate being dependent on something. And yes, I understand all the reasoning behind why it’s okay to be on medication for my mental issues and anxiety (so no more “If you were a diabetic you would take insulin, right?” lectures. Really… I get it!). I just don’t like being dependent on something that to me is also highly addictive. If I don’t take it, my body goes through major withdrawals and I literally have a crash unless I’m weaned off the stuff. I don’t like that at all. However, I know that I am a better mom, wife, and overall person when I do take it. So… yeah. That’s my dilemma.

School is almost out for the summer, however. In 2 and a half weeks I’ll be on a plane to Switzerland. I can’t even tell you how excited I am! I know that things will turn out fine. I know that we have lots to look forward to and while we feel stuck in our current situation, we have the potential for some really great things to happen. The librarian at the school that I volunteer with suggested I apply for a job as a library aide for next year. It’s only a part time job, but it could be just the thing I’m looking for. There are lots of positives in our future… I just have to remember to look for them.

Back to your regularly scheduled blogging…

Why I Do What I Do: School Volunteering

I am very blessed this year to only have one child at home, and he is in preschool for 2 hours and 15 minutes, twice a week. Those two mornings have opened up a lot of possibilities for me. I jumped at the chance to use that time to volunteer at my older children’s school.

Schools need volunteers. Constantly. Teachers are so busy doing paperwork and grading and preparing lessons and dealing with parents or administration that there is very little time left for them to actually teach their classes. They each need a secretary so they have time to do the job they were trained for and hired to do. Volunteers make the life of teachers so much easier by coming in and making photocopies or gathering supplies for lessons. When Aiden was in first grade I often went in to his class and helped out students as they went through their Center Work. In a class of 25 students, it’s hard for a teacher to be everywhere at once. It was nice for this teacher to have someone else in there who could make sure certain students were understanding something or getting something read. When I was in elementary school I remember each class having a full time teacher’s aide. Those don’t exist anymore, thanks to massive cuts in education. So parent volunteers are able to come in and pick up the slack.

My sons are overall good kids. They are smart, funny, and engaging. However, they are very active and struggle with staying focused and on task. They are also quite emotional. It helps my sons to see me come in and just to know that Mom is there to help out. Usually I can give my son a pointer or two, get him back on task, and then help out other students who need more help than my own do. It’s a win-win situation. I go in to support my own sons. To let them know that Mom cares about what is going on for them in school and Mom is a part of things. It is comforting to my boys and is a huge help in their behavior.

This year I am volunteering regularly in two areas: kindergarten and the school library. In kindergarten I go to school with my kids every Wednesday morning and take charge of a small group (7 kids, including Dallin) for “Project Hallway”. A table is set out in the hallway and I get to read a story that has to do with that week’s theme, then help the kids work on a little art project. It is almost always coloring, cutting, and gluing. It’s been fun to see the progress of these 7 kids throughout the year, and to get to know them and their little personalities, too. Project Hallway is only on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, but the other two moms are easy to trade with when one of us has something come up (such as when Parker has a field trip or another mom has a work meeting). I won’t give up Project Hallway. I have committed myself to this, and I enjoy doing it. I’m never there for longer than 45 minutes. It’s not much, but it’s something.

On Mondays I volunteer in the school library. I started doing that after working at the book fair and talking to the librarians and realizing how much they have on their plates. I like the library because I love being surrounded by books and it’s relatively quiet. This year I have helps sort books, categorize books, label books, and stuff fliers. The librarian teaches a lesson to every single class in the school. She only has one assistant. This is a K through 8 school, so there is a lot of work to do. I know that I am making life a little bit easier by coming in and doing these things for them. I only work for 2 hours, while Parker is in preschool, and I don’t have to go in if I don’t feel like it. There is no strong commitment, but I feel good about going in regularly. I know they appreciate what I do in there. And they are just fun ladies to talk to in between classes.

I like to go on field trips with my kids. Not all parents do. Not all parents can. I can. I am a stay at home mom, and while no, I can’t always afford to go, I also feel like I can’t afford not to go. My kids appreciate me being there. And I get to see my kids in an different environment and experience new and fun things with them. I also get to meet other parents and get to know them. Makes it easier to make friends and feel comfortable with my kid going to their house after school.

It’s the same thing with class parties. I don’t like to be in charge, but I am more than willing to help out in any way I can. I have to pick and choose now that I have more than one child at school, but I do the best I can and my kids understand that they have to take turns having mom around. Sometimes I don’t do much more than stand around and make sure the kids are able to do their craft, or I make sure they aren’t getting cupcake crumbs all over the floor. It’s not about what I do, however. It’s about my presence. My kids need my presence.

I spend about 3 hours a week in my kids’ school and the occasional class party and field trip. I don’t think that’s too much to ask of me. I can do it. Sometimes life gets a little crazy and I have to rearrange my schedule (because I can’t take Parker in with me on the days I have to trade or anything) and that gets kind of hectic. However, I will not quit volunteering. I feel it’s too important for me, for my kids’ school, and most of all, for my kids.

My Sunday I’s…

1. I am writing from my iPod Touch.
2. I feel so cool, writing from my iPod Touch.
3. I successfully used my new flat iron to do my hair for church today and I don’t think it turned ou half bad.
4. I was stopped by a lady at church today. She said she sees how skinny I am getting and she is so jealous.
5. I responded with “I am so hungry!” That’s the price of weight loss.
6. I absolutely love having the kind of weather in January that I can be outside in short sleeves and watch my kids play in luscious, green grass.
7. I miss wearing sweaters, however.
8. I am currently reading “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card and surprisingly am enjoying a lot.
9. I am lying in bed because I was trying to take a nap, but it just never came, so now I’m doing this instead.
10. I don’t think I have anything to day today that I haven’t already said on Facebook.
11. I think it’s time to lay off Facebook for a while.

Here We Go Again

At the request of Alyson (and all of you who “liked” her FB status), the Chocolate Phoenix is rising again. You knew it was bound to happen.

In October I drove myself and the three boys 17 hours up to Boise, Idaho to attend the wedding of one of my younger brothers. My boys did well on the drive. I am more than pleased with them. It was fun getting to see my siblings and I had a blast hanging out and getting reacquainted with my one brother, Charles. He is awesome. The wedding ceremony was beautiful. Allen (the groom) was handsome and actually cried. Emily (the bride) was radiant.

And that’s all I’m going to talk about the wedding because I’m really upset (still) about driving that far to never actually get to meet my new sister-in-law, for the photographer to not bother to even try to take pictures of Allen’s family, to feel left out of a LOT of the wedding stuff because I’m just a half-sister, or to have not been able to see the cake being cut, the boquet tossed, the garter tossed, or the first dance because I was outside (with ALL of the groom’s siblings and nieces and nephews) decorating the car. It felt like I drove 17 hours to decorate a car. Yes, I’m mad. There’s a lot more detail I could go into, and I know I need to get over it, but since I spent $500 in gas just to go to the wedding and now don’t have the money to buy my kids Christmas presents because we have been in the hole every paycheck since spending that money… yeah, I’m mad and bitter. I’ll get over it eventually.

After the wedding my father, my sister (and her three sons) and my in-laws came to attend the baptism of Aiden. Aiden looked extremely handsome in his suit and was so excited to have two of his grandfathers present to be the witnesses for his baptism. We are so proud of Aiden for the decision he made. And yes, it was his decision to be baptized. It was fun to have so many people visiting. My kids absolutely loved it.

A few weeks after everyone left, my mom came out for a visit. She specifically came to watch the kids so I could attend two marching band competitions with Ches. My boys love to have grandma come visit. She always brings interesting things and tells stories and reads books to them. She pushes them on the swing at the park and takes them on walks. They love Grandma.

I have lately been involved a lot in the church choir. Our new ward choir director is amazing. She is a concert pianist and a professional vocalist. I am learning so many things by being in the choir. I have also been singing in the stake choir, getting ready for a community Christmas concert we’re putting. We are singing a John Rutter piece that is as beautiful as it is hard. If you have ever sung John Rutter, you’ll know what I’m talking about. That piece is going to be accompanied by a string orchestra, which Ches is directing. I am in charge of a flute choir that will be playing, and Ches is also putting together a brass quintet to perform. There will be other soloists and small groups, and I’m excited about this program.

I started to write for NaNoWriMo again. I stopped. Just couldn’t do it again this year.

I stood in line all day and saved seats and met cool people and wore a Gryffindor shirt and scarf and got to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” at the midnight showing on opening night. So worth it!!! Ches and I have been saving for that and waiting for that. I will do it again for Part 2 on July 15th. And hey, anyone else see the preview for “Cowboys Vs. Aliens”? We could NOT stop laughing.

I have had some personal issues going on, however, that has kept me from my blog. I apologize for that. I’m trying to sort things out and get back into the game. I haven’t been myself, and I’m not proud of what I have turned into. I’m working on it, and it will get better. It has to. I can’t get worse. I can’t let it. I can’t talk about it here because it scars the crap out of me to let any of it actually be out there for just anyone to read, you know? I mean, I know I don’t have a ton of readers, but this is not something I just want floating around. Many of you already know what’s going on, and if you don’t, well, ask. I might just email you and let you know. Might.

So… that’s what’s been going on! Now you know. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

Library Policy

I spent a good part of Saturday morning looking up books that I wanted to check out at the library, only to find most of them were checked out. So I placed them all on hold. Then Ches and I rounded up the kids and headed off to the library to just get whatever other books we could find (and return the ones that were due, of course). Two hours later, we returned home with our “book box” overflowing, as usual. Not even 10 minutes later, the library called to say one of the books I had placed on hold was now at the library and could be picked up within the next five days. Grrrrr. I wasn’t planning on going back to the library for a couple of weeks, actually. Luckily, my friend Kim spends a lot of time going by the library, so she took my library card and picked up the book for me last night.

Ches and I were gone last night (sold another item off Craigslist! YAY! So we were delivering it to a disabled guy that bought it) and I forgot to take my cell phone. Which is too bad because Kim needed my library pin number to check out the book. So she went to the front desk and said, “I can’t remember my pin number and I have been calling home to get it, but there’s no answer!” The librarian kindly said, “Oh, I can pull that up for you right here!” She wrote it down on a card for Kim (who was pretending to be me), and the book got checked out (yay! Now I get to finally read “Inkheart”!).

Then Kim said, “Oh, and you know what, my first name is spelled wrong in the system. Can we get that fixed?” You see, even though I had signed the card and filled out the forms correctly, someone had typed my name into the system as SHRIAH. It’s funny because whenever I get an automated call from the library they pronounce it just like that. It sounds like the first couple of years I was married and couldn’t say my whole name because my new last name starts with that “SH” sound. For some reason I always managed to say, “My name is Shariah Sh–” and sound completely drunk. Why is it that the good little Mormon girl is the one who always sounds drunk or looks high in pictures?? I’m NOT! Anyway…

So Kim points out to the librarian that the name should be spelled SARIAH instead of SHRIAH and the librarian says, “Oh, we can’t change that without picture ID. Sorry.”

So Kim and I spent a good portion of our walk last night laughing over the fact that the library has no problem just handing out pin numbers to people with library cards, but they can’t change the name in the system (even if it’s clearly written correctly on the back of the card) without picture ID. It’s really funny, although I can’t help but be a little worried about security there now.

School Bashing

I got an interesting email tonight. I thought it was from my kids’ school PTO because it had the name of the school (we’ll call it “School” for now) in the title: “School Parents”. The email included a link to a blog that has been started for the parents of this particular school to use as a forum. The “about” section says “Use this site to share your concerns, thoughts about the quality of education, and ideas for how to improve.”

There are not many posts yet. I’m concerned, however, that these posts are more about bashing this school and this school district. The blog poster asks a lot of “Why”, but doesn’t try to give any suggestions on solutions. I don’t know. I have a really uncomfortable feeling about this. They have made it so everyone can comment anonymously (which really I’m fine with) so people don’t have to “worry” about administration or faculty reading it and getting some kind of retribution.

Nothing positive is really being posted. If someone comments, “I think the school is great! I love the teachers.” the commenter is attacked for not talking about the students. It seems to me the creator of the blog just wants a place to complain and let others complain.

The other thing that bothers me is how this person got my email. I don’t know how they got my email. All I can figure is that they actually work with the PTO and have taken advantage of the email list. It just feels ethically icky. Yes, I just said icky. I don’t know for sure that there is anything wrong with it because I didn’t sign anything saying “do not pass out my email address”, but you would think that is a given. I’m pretty upset about it.

I won’t put the link up right now because I’m not comfortable with that blog. I don’t want to promote more traffic, and I don’t want them linking to me.

I do like the school. Yes, there are problems, but what school doesn’t have problems? Yes, this district has major problems. My husband works for the district and I see a lot more than most people just living here see (don’t get me started on what the high school administration is doing to him right now…). However, there are some good people working here and volunteering and trying to change things and make a real difference. You want things to improve? You go in and made a difference. You don’t start a blog under the guise of a forum and just complain and attack those who have something positive to say. maybe that’s just me, though.

I still have more thinking to do on the whole issue.

Piano FAIL

I was not a piano major. I was not a piano minor. I went to college with very little knowledge about the piano (I had figured out on my own how to play a couple of hymns, but that was it). As a music major, one of the requirements for graduation is to pass a piano proficiency. When you walk in to the music building, one of the first things they do is determine where you belong in your piano skills. I was put into group piano lessons. I took two semesters and passed my proficiency. I still had to use the piano in many of my studies, but you can get by with little piano skill. I got by.

Fast forward about 15 years.

I was singing in the choir for a special stake conference at church on Sunday. We had to get there early for a sound check and to do a little bit of a warm-up. The pianist (who is amazing) was busy setting up mics to properly get the sound broadcast into the other church buildings (in our last stake conference I attended in another building and the sound was awful. The mic basically picked up one alto… and she wasn’t that great. They didn’t want that to happen again). So the pianist looked around and asked, “Does anyone play piano? Just some simple piano? Anyone?” No one was responding, so I said, “Well, I can do one handed.” He asked if I could do some five finger scales for warm ups and I said that yes, I could absolutely do that.

I sat at the piano… and started to shake a little. Now, if you remember, I taught 6th grade choir many years ago. I wasn’t a great choir director, but I did do the warm ups and I played the piano for that just fine. So I should have been fine. Something didn’t click in my brain on Sunday and I kept missing the notes. Grrr. And I realized later that I should have been going up the piano in half steps, but I only played scales starting on all the white keys. D’oh.

Next the choir director said, “We’re going to warm up by singing Come Follow Me. Can you play that one?” If you do not know this hymn (I’m pretty sure it’s a strictly LDS one), I can tell you that this is one of the easiest hymns in the book. I can play this one. I practice this one all the time. So I said, “Sure!” I was still quite nervous because in addition to the choir sitting there, all sorts of people were already sitting in the chapel so they could get good seat for conference. I looked at the choir and said, “Is there anyone else who plays better than I? Anyone? Because really, this isn’t going to be great.” People shook their heads or just didn’t respond. Apparently I was the only one who could play right then.

I tried to do the introduction. FAIL. So we just started. My hands were shaking and my eyes kind of blurred. The keys on that piano are a LOT heavier than on my piano. The pedal felt really funny (maybe because I was wearing shoes and I don’t when I’m at home??) I couldn’t read the music, I couldn’t hit half the notes, and I just butchered that poor hymn.

Ches was sitting in the chapel with our boys. All sorts of people I know where sitting there. I felt like everyone was staring at me and thinking about what an awful pianist I am and cringing at the thought that we were going to be performing a piece for the conference. More than likely none of that is true, but at the time it felt like a giant spotlight was on me. I wanted to melt into the floor, never to be seen again.

Ches told me later that yes, he heard a couple of problems in the scales, but the hymn was just fine. (I think one of the boys must have hit him pretty hard in the head.)

After I was done playing, I went to my seat. The choir director wanted to run through the piece, but our pianist was still busy, so another woman got up and went to the piano. My jaw dropped. “Where were you ten minutes ago???” I asked. I didn’t get a reply. I’m still kind of upset about that.

The good thing? I think I have just guaranteed that as long as we live here I will not be asked to play the piano. Ever. I’m fine with that. I’ll keep waving my arm like I do now. 🙂

My apologies to my piano teachers at Ricks, especially Sis. Wilcox. You tried so hard to teach me and give me the skills I would need in case of Sunday mornings like this. It just didn’t work that day.

Oh, and I”ll have you know that last night for Family Home Evening the boys asked to sing Come Follow Me, and I played it perfectly. Over and over and over again, I played it perfectly.