Sunday, October 13, 2013

Seasons

I don't know if it is a side effect from being raised in California, but I cannot go through any season without my heart aching from the transitory beauties of each one.

The ache is a funny thing: mostly a reaction to sheer beauty, but also a feeling of loss that this particular beauty will last only days, and that I can't quite revel in it enough. I can't quite soak it all in. I can't quite pay it justice by noticing it the way it should be noticed.

When I was in college, I did a lot of accompanying. I loved it, especially when I got to prepare recitals with soloists. The bread and butter of a college pianist, though, is playing for voice lessons. I learned a lot of repertoire this way (and also heard a lot of bad belting. If you haven't experienced someone learning how to belt, you should thank your lucky stars.) Some of these songs have stayed with me ever since. One in particular was George Butterworth's setting of Loveliest of Trees from A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad:


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

If I take from my seventy springs, I only have twenty-eight more, and frankly, that is just not enough. I don't like thinking that I will only see the blossoms of spring that many more times, or the golden light at dusk on yellow aspens, or the sparkle of marshmallow snow under bright sun.

I admit, it is a sweet melancholy, a recognition of the gifts that each day can bring me if I just notice. I am feeling a recent shift to accepting the passage of time, which allows me to feel more peaceful about the falling of the leaves, the move into winter. But I think I will try to take Housman's advice tomorrow and the day after and head into my hills to soak in the transitory beauty.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Howdy!

So guess what? I didn't make writing one of my challenges four weeks ago. Oh. You already knew that, since I didn't write once in those four weeks? That's pretty funny, right?

I did miss writing, though. I replaced writing with practicing, as I had a performance on Friday. And guess what funny thing I figured out? I like writing AND I like practicing. And I like performing, too, especially if I don't have to memorize anything. It's a kind of liking that is laced with stomach churning nerves, deep breathing, and forced self-talk of a motivational sort, but a liking nonetheless. We musicians are a strange lot. I think we have a lot in common with base jumpers and lion tamers, except our fear doesn't haven't any actual physical danger to explain it, just the chance of public humiliation.

In these last four weeks, I also had some epiphanies and life changing moments. They were quite lovely and I will try to remember to share them soon.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Writing Instead of Cleaning

If you saw my kitchen right now, you would know that I should be cleaning instead of writing.

There's a lot of things I should be doing instead of writing. Cleaning the kitchen is the most obvious, but there is also the putting away of laundry, the digging out a little of the chaos of the storage room, or the garage, or my closet, the doing of the taxes (help. Seriously help), the planning of the group class tomorrow, the sending of the visiting teaching email report, the sending of the email to the PTA president saying "yes, I will meet with you and talk about helping with Reflections again even though I was the worst Reflections chair in history last year and never even gave the kids any awards or even gave back their essays."

All of those things would be more productive, and I definitely need to be more productive.

But I also definitely need the therapy I get from writing this little blog. Therapy? Yes. It works like therapy for me but is cheaper. I've done therapy, and I think it's helpful with the right person talking with you. It's helpful when someone knows which books to recommend and can say, "No, you're not a terrible person. You probably just have ADD," and you think "Oh! That makes a lot of sense! Yes! The fact that I can't finish a project to save my life might just be biologically hard wired into my brain!" But it's also helpful to go on a long hike with your friend, Tibi, because she says things that are just about as helpful, like "Maybe Ben would be happier if he had more sleep and this is how I go about helping Jake get more sleep," and you think "Yes! She's right! And also I would be happier if I had more sleep."

In this same way, writing is like a helpful conversation with someone a little wiser and more put together than the real me. It clarifies my thoughts and teaches me things I didn't realize I even knew. Sometimes I don't even recognize a truth until I'm typing about it and then, WHAMMO, I get it. I will admit, I might even be a little addicted to those WHAMMO moments. They're just that nice.

Here's the truth. I mostly have been writing because of my challenge. But coming back has made me realize that even though this mommy blog years ago morphed into a Kerri blog, and that used to make me feel a little guilty and a little self-absorbed, there's a reason that it happened. When I read truth from any source, I feel more able to cope with the insanity that I'm living. When someone opens up her heart and says "This is how it is for me," her writing becomes sacred to me. So if sharing truth is a sacred duty, and I kind of think it is, then dang, I guess this is where I'm going to do it. When I start my next challenge group again next week, one of my five goals will still be writing. So I guess that means you'll be seeing me again soon.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Too Much Time (?!?!)

So I have a few hours to myself in the middle of the day now.

It is lovely. I'm not going to lie to you.

But it is also a frustration, because all during those hours, I am asking myself if I'm using my time wisely.

And when you ask yourself if you are using your time wisely, I can guarantee you will start to find fault with the way you are using your time. (Or is that just me?)

Those of you who have journeyed this way before, tell me: How do I manage this new schedule? I have to exercise during these hours because of my teaching hours. So there goes an hour, plus then I have to get ready, so there goes another half hour. And then I make breakfast and sometime in there I have to eat lunch too. And those are time suckers. And there's scripture study. And laundry. And doing the breakfast dishes (ok, and sometimes the dinner dishes, too.) And taking care of the dog. And then BLAMMO. My day is gone and the kids are home and I'm teaching piano again and then there's dinner and homework and my kids practice time and reading time and family scripture time and trying to figure out how to help this kid with this problem and my calling and AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

I thought I'd get so much done. It's kind of sad. Will I get better at this? Or (as I suspect) worse? What has worked for you? Or if you haven't been there and done that yet and are fighting your daily mothering battles ALL DAY LONG ALL DAY LONG ALL DAY LONG (because I have definitely been there and done that!, are you at all screaming at your computer, "JUST ENJOY YOURSELF, YOU DUMB WOMAN! WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE FOR JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS"? I know. I totally know. I absolutely know.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

You Know You Love My Library Fine Stories

I just got an email from the Salt Lake City Library, letting me know that if I don't pay my (extremely large) fine within a week or so, they'll send me to collections.

A year or so ago I might have just ignored this email, since I haven't used the City Library in four years.

That was before last year when I was (yes, it's true) sent to collections for a Davis County Library fine of $53. I bring the humiliation of sharing this upon myself as a Public Service Announcement:

USE THE LIBRARY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

(Also, believe the library when they say they might send your fine to collections. They're not just blowing sunshine, friends.)

So I called the Salt Lake City library and asked why the push to have me pay a four year old fine. C'mon people...I thought I was free and clear. Four years is an eternity in library fine land!

The lovely librarian was extremely kind, but puzzled. She couldn't understand why I hadn't been sent to collections already (!) but after a little begging, she waived part of my fine. Not all, as I had hoped for, but still, anything is helpful.

Libraries are dangerous places to people like me. And by people like me, I mean book-loving people with book-loving offspring who just can't get organized to save their lives.

Sigh.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Transformation, Part 1

I've been thinking a lot about change, obviously.

Some friends and I watched our wedding videos last night. I don't have a wedding video, so I brought my wedding album.

Some observations:

What was up with those puffy sleeves?
And David's tinted glasses?
Why does every bride now have hair and make up done professionally? How did it morph into that?
And also along these lines, has Pinterest changed our expectations of weddings forever? Does every bride now feel like they have to have a million perfect details (and spend a million dollars) to have a lovely wedding?
And then, of course, no bridesmaids' dresses EVER look good a few years down the road.
And who thought it should be legal to allow two babies to get married? I look like I just walked out of my sophomore year of high school.

I looked at the pictures of the two of us, twenty-two years ago, and decided that this growing up and growing older and changing is just fine. I have more sense of the rightness of the turning of the world, of the cycles that happen without intention, just because it is how it is to live within the constraints of time.

My sweet brother, Kurt, and his exceptional wife, Ashleigh, had a baby yesterday. My heart has been so full of love for them. It is no longer my time to bring sweet, innocent, beautiful babies into this world. I have new roles, new paths, new responsibilities. What a joy it is to watch others step into that place and have those same sometimes (often) overwhelming experiences. They are changed through them. They are deepened, pushed, stretched. Changed.

I want to spend more time thinking about the changes that can happen WITH intention. I've been studying transformation. I've been thinking about who I am now, who I was earlier, and who I would like to become. I've been thinking about transformation within our family, as well. As I come up with more coherent thoughts , I'll probably share some of them here.

Because I still have to write fifteen minutes a day, dontcha know?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

School, Day Four

Summer is, indeed, over.

How do I know? Because today at 8:30, when the littles ran outside to join their carpool, I looked at the clock and realized I had been awake for three hours.

I've been up before six every morning this week.

I'm feeling very sorry for myself. I try to talk myself out of this. I think, "Dairy farmers have to get up earlier than this every day of their lives." Or "Your mother had someone in early morning seminary almost every year for 22 years." Or "Having a new baby is way worse."

But sadly, as always, comparison with those sad cases does not take away the pain of going from late-night-cookie-baking-and-card-games with a reasonable 6-7:30 wake up time the next day to late-night-helping-the-unnamed-student-type-his-summer-homework-essays-the-night-before-they-are-due with an unreasonable 5:40 wake up time the next day. One of these things is not like the other.

So there. I have complained. And here is a little more: I don't like this new schedule super much. I also feel bad for my exhausted monkeys. I also feel really lame because I have been a hands-off parent for a kid who needs a hands-on parent as far as planning schedules, etc.. And also, there is a lot of PRESSURE to get it together, and I, frankly, don't have it together.

But!

Schedules are good. Learning is good. Five hours alone every day has the potential of being very good. I've hiked twice and gone to the temple once. I've also folded four or more hours of laundry. But during the laundry folding? I watched a show that I wanted to watch. I haven't watched TV in the middle of the day since I don't know when. It felt positively decadent. I have time to exercise, to study my scriptures, to organize, to go to lunch with David. It's a wild and crazy thing, this new phase I'm in.

Crazy, I tell you.