Band Nerd

Several weeks ago I was talking to a friend whose daughter started school this year. She is absolutely determined that her daughter will play organized sports.
"It doesn't have to be soccer, but she HAS to play a sport.  If she doesn't, I don't know what she'll be ... a band nerd??  I'm not having a band nerd for a daughter."

I smiled and nodded, like I knew where she was coming from, and she went on her merry way.  Then I couldn't stop thinking about it.

First of all, I don't really know where she's coming from.  I haven't played an organized sport (besides church ball - story for another day!) since 2nd grade.  And not only do I not feel bad about it, I don't care if my kids play sports either.  I've attended enough games to know that many people turn into less civilized, more profane versions of themselves in the name of "competition."  I have lost respect for several individuals after seeing their behavior during a heated moment in a game.
Why are we all okay with this? Why do we want our kids to see and do it too?

Second, I am a band nerd.  I played flute in band from 4th grade through 12th, and my memories from school band are some of my most cherished.  That last rehearsal before a concert, when everything comes together - that moment the conductor raises his hands - that terrifying first note of a solo - that twisting knot in the pit of a nervous stomach.  Singing for jazz band, cummerbunds, ice cream celebrations, I still miss it all sometimes.

And the things I learned from music! Show me how playing a sport in school is more beneficial to a person throughout their life than learning an instrument is.  Show me how a person can bless other people by kicking a ball well.  Show me how the vulgarity and oft-degrading environment of athletics is better than the poise and precision of musicianship.

And I will show you how music is good for the soul.  I'll show you the growth I've seen in my own life, in my own piano and voice students as they gained confidence through mastery. I'll show you the overwhelming support of the parents I deal with on a regular basis.  I'll show you the healing that comes from a good practice session, the elation from a well-executed performance.
I'll show you that life doesn't get much better than it is when you're singing.

That's what I want for my kids.



Here's something that happens when you live in the oldest neighborhood in town: ambulances.

There have been at least four times in the past year that we've seen ambulances in front of our immediate neighbors' homes.  We never really know what to do about it .... head on over before the stretcher comes out? Call the RS President?  Ask if we can help?
What do you do?

This morning I was up at 1:30 with a crying (teething) girl when I noticed lights flashing in my kitchen window.  I poked my head out front to see who got pulled over, and instead caught sight of an ambulance and police car parked at Donna's house.  A truck pulled up shortly after.  Donna's a widow and our favorite neighbor; we try to keep an eye on her.

I woke Slice and we watched for a long while, until we saw several people walk out the front door.  Donna was among them.  She was escorted to the truck, climbed in, and everyone drove away.

Aging is risky business.


If you give a Slice a paintbrush

If you give a Slice a paintbrush, he'll want some paint to go with it.
If you get some paint from Ace (20% off, thanks President's Day sale), he'll want to paint the kitchen.

So much beige/tan!
If you start prepping the kitchen for paint, he'll think about replacing the faucet.
If you think about replacing the faucet, he'll want to replace the countertops/backsplash/appliances and you'll have to agree to wait on those, because this project could get WAY out of hand really quickly.
But you will let him replace the faucet, because it's pretty nasty and rusted and yellow.
(Of course that takes three times as long as it should.)
(75-year-old house, remember?)

When he gets the new faucet put in, you can start cleaning everything up.

may need some new decor...

While you're cleaning everything up, you might hear a knock at the door and open it to find this: 

which was a pretty awesome deal from Overstock (refurbished, 17% off, thanks President's Day sale!).  And when you find it, you're going to want to use it, so you'll make these:

Of course Slice will want one.
But if you give Slice a cookie, he might want a paintbrush to go with it.....


It's all relative

Slice and I walked in the door two hours ago after a five-hour drive and a weekend in Cedar and a crazy marathon week.

Monday I decided to be superwoman and make bread (sans mixer) for the first time, plus sugar cookies (also for the first time?), spend two hours at my mom's helping her organize photos on her computer, clean my house, and host a group FHE that was a total blast.  This was all in addition to the normal bathing, dressing, feeding and napping routine around here, which usually looks something like this:

Yep, that's my mascara.

Tuesday I spent the morning recovering.  Superwoman stuff is exhausting, yo.  I don't know how the rest of you do it.  Then after 4:00 I had scouts and HAB and a Relief Society activity which required me to make another batch of cookies, and Slice got home from work late and my oven had a power failure (!!) so I got to the activity just before they started cleaning up.  At least some of them got to taste the goodness of the soft almond sugar cookie.

Wednesday I went to Angie's house and helped make tamales.  It was my mom's Valentine's present to my dad (surprise!), so Mom, Angie and I spent almost 6 hours mixing and spreading and rolling and steaming tamales.  I'm no expert, but if you need help making your own, you know who to call.

Then I had piano lessons all afternoon and into the evening, and after the kids were in bed Slice and I watched Netflix while we folded laundry. Phew.

Thursday we packed and ran errands and, much later than we planned, left for Cedar City.  Slice wanted to help his dad with the house and I wanted to leave Roosevelt.  Cedar seemed like a good solution.
He worked for two days while I sat around, fretting about the noises that could wake up my sleeping babes.

Last night we skipped down to St. George for dinner and a little shopping, like the naive Basinites we are.  President's Day weekend in St. George?  NIGHTMARE.  We couldn't get anywhere, and when we did, there was an hour-long wait for a table.  I sat next to a white-haired lady who told me (as she shivered in her coat) that the weather was colder than she and her husband had expected.  I tried not to roll my eyes ... the temperature was in the 40s and we had been so warm we rolled down our car windows.  When you're used to negative and single digits, 40 degrees feels like heaven.  But it's all relative.

This afternoon we began the long drive back and, as I always do on long drives, I got to thinking.  We passed through all the little towns down the center of Utah - some quaint, some not so quaint. Every little town on that interstate has a history, and people that live and work and die there, people with their own histories.  Do they love their home?  Are they proud of their heritage?  Or are they ashamed?  I wonder.

I started thinking about the Big Move that took my family from the Wasatch Front to little Roosevelt, and how that move changed my life.   I feel a kinship with the people in all those small towns, because I am one of them.  And I like it.

I like living five minutes from my church, my grocery store, my library, my mom. (And five Redboxes.)  I like not shopping my life away.  I like knowing the people behind the counter at the pharmacy.  I like sitting on a pool project committee with my doctor, my brother-in-law, my piano students' dad, my former boss, an old hometeacher .... I like being with people who love living here, too.

I've been in big cities and loved them.  I get excited to go for shopping trips/restaurants/concerts.  But at the end of the day, I am always glad to return to my smaller, simpler life. And my homemade bread.



Just got home from another pool project committee meeting where we talked in circles around each other.


The committee has been working for several months trying to come up with something that will meet our community's needs - that it can also PAY for - and a few individuals keep putting the brakes on the project.  We can't fundraise in earnest until we have a real plan; they won't agree to a set plan until we have better funding in place.  I understand where everyone is coming from, but still, it's getting ridiculous.

One person in particular is disregarding everything I've done to find out what people (his constituents!) want. I get the impression that he thinks he knows what's best for them regardless of what they say, regardless of any evidence to the contrary.  For the first time I'm witnessing an influential person who is literally out of touch, and it's unnerving.

But what really gets me - more than this standstill we've been forced into - is the actual dialogue during meetings.  All the hemming and hawing!  I'm an efficient person, a concise writer and a straightforward speaker.  I truly believe that if you can say something in five words instead of twenty, you should.  These meetings take me back to former work situations where I sat listening coworkers thinking, I could convey the same message in less than half the time....

This is what I get for venturing into politics.


It Pays to Listen

Since Slice spends most of his workday in a truck out in the middle of nowhere, he listens to a lot of radio.  Talk radio, mostly.
Do you know how much stuff you can win on the radio?  Slice does. He calls in during contests, etc. and wins free Papa Murphy's pizzas, free Taco Bell meals, fire extinguishers, $150 at the local jeweler (redeemed for this) ...

He also started listening to Dave Ramsey a few weeks ago, and as a result, we are financially planning ourselves out of debt and into great wealth. (Ha.)

I joke about it but I'm almost as excited as he is.  I'm naturally more of a penny-pincher than Slice anyway.  We've been following Richard Paul Evans' advice for over a year, but for some reason, Slice is all fired up about Dave Ramsey's steps.  The plan is to pay off all our non-mortgage debt within a few months (we refinanced to a 15-year mortgage loan last year) and start saving a lot more.  We're blessed to have an income that exceeds our living expenses - plus a yearly bonus and tax return coming up! - but we know all too well how the world can come crashing down in a matter of minutes.  I don't want to go through that ever again.

At the same time, and as a complementary effort, we plan to beef up our food storage and start making more from scratch.  I've been feeling like we should do this for a while now.  I have my eye on a couple things that will make it much easier, and since I'm looking, does anyone have advice about buying Kitchenaid mixers and/or large crock pots?