Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mother-Daughter time ~ Chicklets

The chicklets gathered on a Sunday afternoon.
It was one of those situations where you're running here & there trying to squeeze everything in but then so glad that you did. It was the calm after the storm. Breana & I zoomed up to the mountains amidst the redwood trees to make time for the Chicklets.Our first project was to make Mother-Daughter flip flops. Breana chose an orange sequin ribbon. I've never had such fancy flip-flops before! (I've also never had tacky glue work so well before!)
For the next project, the girls decorated white t-shirts. Breana drew little black flip-flops on the bottom corner of her t-shirt decorated with the remnants of the orange sequins to resemble her flip-flops. Such concentration was around the table sprinkled with chitter-chatter from the Moms.

Decorating the aprons for us Moms really stumped me. No one skipped a beat while I couldn't think of how I wanted to decorate mine! I couldn't even narrow down what color(s) I'd like to use! I watched each Mom pick their fabric paint colors. I saw swirls & dots. I watched flowers being made with each Chicklet's name on each petal. I saw chicks drawn with various colors - cute, huh? Chicks for the Chicklets! So sweet! But me? Well, I opted to turn my brain off, enjoy the chatter, smile at the creativeness around me and be grateful for moments like this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sitting pretty until 'L' day

During the day when the house is still and the mice are in school, I've been taking advantage of these gloriously sunny days by hanging the laundry outside. I have a system. I put one load into the washer machine first thing in the morning for by the time everyone is out the door, the load is finished and ready to be hung. I attach my retractable line from my detached studio to the farthest fence and lay my basket of wet clothes alongside my bowl of clothespins. I also have with me a basket of hangars because I tend to hang specific items of clothing...sounds strange, I know...but that's the way I am. There are only so many things I get to do 'my way' in this house and so many things I have to compromise or 'give into' due to sharing my living space with others (i.e family) - but the laundry is my domain. (Hey, I'll take what I can get!)

So from here I hang away. Clothes are to be inside out (mine, all mine, remember?), shirts & blouses on hangars (still all mine) and laundry to be checked frequently - no crispy clothing on my watch! When I get into a groove and the sun is working with me, I can get 3 loads up & out on that one long line before I pick the girls up from school.
It is satisfying work. I love seeing clothes hanging from a line.

One of my favorite sights is the clotheslines outside of apartments in San Francisco's Chinatown. One of my favorite paintings is one my brother-in-law did of a sister-in-law's clothesline in Kauai. And one of my favorite chores, please don't let the husband see this, is doing the laundry. Now, get this straight, I don't look forward to doing the laundry nor do I favor going through others' dirty clothing but I get this strange satisfaction in separating the clothes into my 'anal'-specific piles (goes way back to childhood), drying them to perfection (either the natural way or conventional way) so that the integrity of the clothes are maintained (limited wrinkles and no shrinkage) and folding/hanging them.
While the dirty linen is much like the kitchen sink, never empty, just the sight of nearly empty baskets deems a job well done.

I usually have one day that's dedicated to laundry. It's a strategically placed day during the week. Hate to admit it but it revolves around soccer. Which means I have a few more days until it's laundry day!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Shoes, shoes, beautiful shoes!

I love my new shoes - my beautiful Mary Jane crocs!
I fell upon them in Yosemite.
What started off as innocently 'window shopping' turned out to be me giggling over this cute style of crocs!
I tried on the light green and the brown crocs as well!
I asked for my families opinion...
Play it safe with brown?
Me who always gravitates towards black shoes.
Or have fun with color?
Have fun?
Which color?
Oh my, choices!
I am overly thrilled - beyond thrilled - over my new Mary Jane crocs.
Happy Mother's Day! Yeah!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Music to my ears

The Piano Technician came back with the 8 keys that he took to his workshop. My girls had managed to compose songs around those 8 missing keys and asked if the piano could remain open. I agree it was fun watching the reaction of each mechanism as you struck a key, however, the piano looked so unnaturally exposed!

I worked in the opposite side of the house getting ready for our weekend to Yosemite as the Piano Technician worked his magic. I remember the many times our piano was being tuned as a child. The 'bong', 'bongs' of each key until the pitch was in tune until all 88 keys were manipulated and set to satifaction were a familiar sound. My fondest memory was watching a seeing impaired technician tune our piano. His hands moved about the piano with such ease & grace. My sisters & I would watch him in complete awe of his ability to conduct such a task.

This time I gave the piano tuner space. I would stop to watch the tuning process occassionally for I still marvel at the complexitiy of it all and his swiftness of handling such an instrument. However, this time, I could just as easily appreciate his job from afar - my task at hand was to get us packed for camping!

Once the piano was in tune, he tested his job by playing the piano.

I watched & listened off in the corner. For one split second I considered grabbing the video camera but just as quickly, changed my mind. I chalked this one up as a private concert for one. I was so emotionally taken by his graceful playing, by the way the notes lingered in the air and by the way the music flowed from song back to testing certain keys for their correct pitch. I felt so blessed to have front row seats to such a performance.

A total of 3 hours later, the job was done.

Bravo! Bravo!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Deep inside

A treasure in my home is getting
special attention right now.
Deep within its case are its
intricate pieces that make it whole.
I anticipate when the work is complete.
I even watch the clock.
"When are you to be done?" I want to ask
the master.
But patience is requested...nothing but silence
comes from me as He skillfully works away.

Made with love...and laughter

I really wanted to make a special bracelet for my friend. I wanted it to symbolize the 6 years we dedicated to this Violin Program and mark the end of our relationship as Violin Teacher & Piano Accompanist. Days would go by without a single bead out of its case as we got closer & closer to the day I should give it to her. You know how it goes, the creative desire has to be in your blood. The chosing of beads and materials have to come naturally, not forced. I had to get into that space in my head where the creative juices were flowing...
It wasn't until the night before, of course.
Breana's G & A string needed to be changed on her violin. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to changing violin strings; everything needs to be pointing in the same direction, the strings need to be wound so that it's spiraling around the peg not overlapping each other,'s a meticulous task but not only helps the notes ring perfectly but makes the violin look, you got it, pretty.
So I'm changing the strings when it occurs to should make bracelets out of the string! I chose the A string because of the two it's smaller so I thought it would be easier to string beads on. The first bracelet was quick & easy. I let the color of the Dominant A String be part of the bracelet and I went from there - quite simple. For the second bracelet I attempted to use the rest of the A string but hit a few snags of unraveling string which didn't leave me enough to for a second bracelet. So I frantically started looking for the other string.
"Breana! Where's the G string? I can't find the G string!" is what Dan walked into.
His look was priceless. I didn't know he could raise his eyebrow!
"In your dresser drawer?" he cautiously but facetiously answered. :)
The second bracelet made with the VIOLIN G string (mind you) was made using letters simulating old typewriter keys from Michael's to spell out "Violin". It fit so nicely I was tempted to keep it! It's that same old thing with me - I wanna keep everything I make.

When I gave the bracelets to Lisa I shared the "G String" story with her. We had a grand laugh. Funny, we never ever thought of that string in that way and never will I ever ever be able to go to the music store and say "I'd like to buy a G string, please" without a little smirk! ;)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We spent the afternoon at Cayuga Vault so that the kids could record the song that they wrote with singer Keith Greeninger for their classroom play last year.

We were surrounded by pieces of soothing & mesmerizing art by artist Erica Steiner

while the kids sang & thoroughly enjoyed themselves on stage!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Time to rejuvenate

Spent the day in San Francisco Chinatown with my girls and their class. It was a gloriously bright sunny day. We drove through the city to soak in the clear day. From Twin Peaks we saw all the way through the Golden Gate Bridge to the headlands...
...down Chinatown to well past the Bay Bridge.

It was a day to stop, enjoy my surroundings and appreciate what you find when you turn down into an alley to make a stop at the fortune cookie factory.

Grateful for:

~ having a chance to learn about the history of the San Francisco Chinatown.

~ being in San Francisco during such a beautiful day.

~ the lunch shared with Breana, 6 students & a friend.

~ the group around the table sharing the pangs of hunger and diving in all together.

~ seeing a part of the world with 10 - 12 year olds.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Meandering about

I spent yesterday meandering about by myself. I drove over-the-hill with Dan, dropped him off at work and set out with my yahoo maps directions to various places. I went to the big stores first; Bed, Bath & Beyond and the Container Store to pick up the little necessities. I found myself putting things in my cart to turn around 15 mins later to return them. "Necessity or Impulse" I'd ask myself. Yes, it's nice to have another frame holder for books & pictures but a towel rack & shelf for our outdoor solar shower is what's needed. As much as these stores are fun to visit from time to time, they give me a headache. I was in need of a different speed. So off to a thrift store!
Last few times (years ago mind you) my friend & I would stay for a long time and walk out with glorious finds. This time? Where was my friend?! There was huge potential for breaking out in hysterics, slapstick one-liners and raised eyebrows! Since I couldn't do that all alone without being seen as being mental and escorted out, I left empty-handed and quite squashed.
For a pick-me-up I headed over to Commknitty (their website doesn't do them justice, but peek anyway). It was like coming home to those that understand your 'needling way'. It's tranquil, clean (sigh, my poor house) & welcoming. It's open & spacious yet filled with beautiful skeins in tantalizing colors & textures. As I proceed to walk to the end of the store I was stopped by the sight of all the books - and I was invited to sit at the table or lounge on the couches - to read or knit! Oh my! Even though I was a good girl and didn't purchase a thing, I walked away rejuvenated and motivated.
"Down the street is a used book store that you have to go to!" my dear friend says...ok, twist my arm. Ohmigoodness! Stacks & stacks of piles & piles of books 2 rows deep on each shelf in a small store. I walked down each aisle running my fingers on the books stopping occassionally to pick one up and flip through the pages and smile at the prices! Oh my! I did walk around with a few books with the intentions of taking them home, but I changed my mind. Like the yarn store, I stuck to my guns that I have manymany unread books at home. This place was saved in my memory archives (another, 'oh my') for that one day when the yarn supply is down and the words of all those unread books have been savored.
After a few more big stores that I don't have in my beach town, I finally went to the whole reason why I came over-the-hill - to accompany 5 violin students (post & pics to come after this weekend!)
A late dinner with Dan, picked up the girls at my parents' and 'home again, home again, jiggidy-jig'.