Monday, July 28, 2014

He Loves It

Dear Margaret,

Of all the treasures you decided couldn't go with you when you downsized from house to apartment, I'm going to guess that this was the one that hurt the most. You were a music teacher; you had played for most of your 80-some years. Your daughter is my friend, and she has told me of how when she was a child you would play Clair de Lune after all your children were in bed--it was your way to wind down, a settling of the day's dust. 

You may not have played much in more recent years. I know arthritis had settled into your knuckles and the pain in my own 20-plus-years-younger-than-yours knobbly fingers reminds me that my piano days are not unlimited. But I can't imagine that you ever walked by this beautiful instrument without thinking how much pleasure it had brought you.

We were the ones bidding on that piano during your auction Saturday. Boy#3 is a music teacher now, and he has both wanted and needed a piano. For a musician a piano is as necessary as a Bible is for a preacher--it's the basic instrument you rely on to do your work, as well as being a source of joy and restoration.

And this is such a beautiful piano. I sat down at the auction to try it out, and I hadn't played three chords before I knew how easily I could fall in love with it. The action was perfect, not too stiff or too loose. The cabinetry was immaculate.

This piano has been loved.

But I want you to know that it has passed to someone who will also loves it, and will appreciate it. This was not purchased for a kid starting out in music who might not persevere through the years between learning Heart and Soul and learning, well, Clair de Lune. Those years can be tough; it's hard to train fingers and brain to work together and your piano might have taken some frustration abuse in the form of hands slammed on the keyboard, or stomps on the pedals.Three recognizes the gift of having a really fine instrument and he will treat it with the respect it deserves.

I'm glad you weren't at the auction Saturday. My mother-in-law never forgot how difficult it was at her downsizing auction to see how little the buyers appreciated her wonderful antiques. But know that your piano has gone to a good home.

Your piano went to my son, and he will love it.

All my best,

Friday, July 25, 2014

Out Of Here

Once again it's Friday, and once again no one has brought me any popcorn. I would be terribly sad and probably a little miffed if not for the fact that I just looked up and saw the horrification that is in the photo above.

Oh my gosh!

We have seen these bugs in our office before. We call them feather bugs because of their many, many feathery legs which propel them across the floor at the speed of sound which is a good thing because the sound in my office when I saw that bug was not one even a bug would want to hear.The previous bugs have been on the floor, within easy reach of a size 9 1/2 clodhopper. I would have had to be a karate black belt for my shoe to reach this one.

Then I saw this:
That position put the bug six inches closer to my actual face, almost within jumping-upon-and-eating-my-eyeballs distance. We have no actual evidence of eyeball appetites in the feather bugs, but doesn't this look like an eyeball-eating creature?

And then I saw this:
Which is even closer, being the bulletin board immediately behind my monitor where I keep important stuff (such as contact information for our postal representative, a daunting list of deadlines, and my pink styrofoam birthday crown).

So I'm sorry that this picture is out of focus. I was a little distracted as I shoved back my chair and headed for the HR office to quit my job.

Feather bugs. Shudder.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not Fit for YouTube

There are two things that God in His infinite wisdom intended for young people to wrangle. The first, of course, is toddlers. Who has the patience for marker experimentation on white walls, or endless repetitions of "why?" Not us old geezers, with our lawns off of which young'uns must get.

The second thing reserved for youngsters is low-slung cars. When we're young, we women assume that we look like the lovely Marion Cotillard as we slide lithely out of the back seat. We don't have those legs or that hair or those shoes and our purse is a quilted diaper bag instead of a black clutch, but we have that grace! That poise!

Or at least we have the panache of the guy getting out of this car:

This week Pearl is having some cosmetic surgery done. (A hailstorm did a number on her roof some time ago so it's being lovingly ironed and painted.) I'm driving Boy#1's car which we've been car-sitting while he and Lovely Girl are living in the nation's capital. The grandcar is much lower slung than Pearl and I remember now why I wanted an Escape rather than a Taurus when we were downsizing from the Suburban.

When I exit One's car, I look like this:

I apologize, people who have been seen me arrive at work this week. Please don't film it for YouTube--some things are just not fit to be seen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Not Ansel Adams

I am not a good photographer. I am a pretty good judge of photographs and I can usually tell you why a picture works or does not work (for the record, "move in closer" covers a multitude of sins) so my general policy is to hire good photographers and leave my camera in my purse.

There is something about nature, though, that makes me think I am Ansel Adams and my trusty point-and-shoot's memory card now includes several dozen shots taken during our twilight tram ride through the nature park.

Oooh! It's a waterfall! Oooh! It's a school of trout! Oooh! It's a covered bridge!

And those highly photogenic sites were spotted before we even got to the most interesting subjects, which were the animals. Dogwood Canyon has herds of elk, buffalo, and longhorns. All of these herds are so accustomed to the trams riding through their domain that they pretty much pose like starlets on the red carpet as the paparazzi glide by. I compulsively clicked off shot after shot, although I did not go so far as to shoot video, which the girl in the next seat was doing. (Why? Who wants to watch that?)

Later I was bragging about my photographic prowess to Husband when I noticed something. That picture of the elk+longhorn above? This is what the longhorn actually is doing:

Okay, so it has its tongue up its nose. I got a good picture of the elk herd....
Except that...
Am I sensing a theme here?
Why, yes. Yes, I am.
I'm not sure whether the animals are judging our not-from-Where-Eagles-Dare tram or commenting on my photographic abilities. In either case, wash your eyes out with this fuzzy shot of a buffalo calf born earlier that morning.
Ooooh, fuzzy buffalo calf. The mama was too tired to even stick her tongue out, and sister, I've been there. As someone who does not understand delivery room photography AT ALL and would have smashed any cameras that might have appeared before I had my make-up back on post-birthing, I apologize.

On your behalf, I'm sticking my tongue out at myself.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Here's the thing about the four-day vacation Husband and I just had: We really didn't do anything that we couldn't do at home.

The billboards leading into town reminded us that you practically can't turn around in this place without knocking over some world-class entertainer (and if you were one of the world-class entertainers I knocked over, whoops! Sorry!) and if you wanted to spend your children's inheritance you can see two shows a day and applaud until your palms calloused. But we don't lack for entertainment at home. There are concerts a'plenty within walking distance of the House on the Corner, and most of those are free.

There were nice places to relax in the fresh air. Our cabin had a little sitting area outside the door that was just right for drinking morning coffee or listening to the frogs at night and the main building had rocking chairs on the porch that overlooked the lake. But we have a nice deck with comfortable chairs that the feral cats keep warm for us. We even have rocking chairs in our living room.

There were books to read and paths to explore. We also have books and paths in Small Town.

The difference with being on vacation is that when you are on vacation, you don't just have these things, you do these things. We saw a show, and took a tram ride through a gorgeous canyon. (When we signed up for this event Husband was envisioning the tram in Where Eagles Dare and he was a little disappointed the tram wasn't one of these:

but our pickup-pulling-a-trailer tram was probably a better vantage point for seeing the newborn buffalo calf than an aerial car filled with Nazis would have been.)

We slept late, ate our breakfast on the patio and dawdled over coffee, then strolled over to the main building to sit on the porch and read our books. I finished two (this and this). Then we walked around for a while, and I forced Husband to pose for a selfie with me.

At home there are concerts and fresh air and books, but there are also windows to paint and floors to scrub and closets to clean out and while I'm not usually doing those things (because Netflix and knitting) I know I should be .

We didn't do anything we couldn't do at home, but on the best vacations we do these things we love, and this vacation was perfection.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How the Other Half Lives

This is the view that greeted me when I opened my eyes this morning, before I even put on my glasses. There is so much win in this photo that I don't even know where to begin.

Should I begin with the time, the glorious 9:06 that normally would follow an hour of sweating on the exercise bike and elliptical, and an hour of showering/grooming/breakfast/Sudoku, and an hour of dealing with e-mails and phone calls at work?

Or should I begin with the little green light at the back, where the folks who laid out this place  strategically placed a coffeemaker that produces the best-smelling brew since Juan Valdez?

Or should I point out the brown paper envelope that contains two gingersnaps, treats the cookie lady left on my pillow last night while we were still out? Or the fireplace with the kindling already laid and ready to be lit?

I've mentioned before that Husband is a CPA. What I have neglected to mention is that he is a darned good CPA and he works with some of the nicest people in the world. This year those two facts had a fortuitous alignment, and in gratitude for his good work two of the very nicest of these clients insisted we should get away for the weekend at one of their favorite places. (Don't worry--because he's a darned good CPA and also scrupulously honest, this will be reported as income on our taxes next year.)

We arrived yesterday to find a place so very different from our usual $50-limit-on-Priceline accommodations that we barely knew how to react. We're just assuming that all of this--the view, the sounds of birds in the day and frogs at night, the 74-degree predicted high in the middle of July--has been arranged just for us.

But how did they know the perfect spot to put the coffeemaker so that I could flip it on before I even crawled out from between the glorious  eight million thread count sheets? Obviously before we even arrived THEY KNEW WHICH SIDE OF THE BED I SLEEP ON.

We are not people who routinely stay in places like this (see also: four children/braces/college/cars/expensive yarn habit) but I could get used to it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Food Blogger

One of my smart-alecky sons told me a few weeks ago that I no longer eat food, I eat blog fodder. He had noticed that the progression for our food these days is to cook it (or order it), then bless it, then photograph it, then consume it, so he's not entirely wrong.

But, people! Don't you want to know what I'm eating these days? Especially when it is a caprese pizza? So delicious! Made with tomatoes and basil from my own little plants in my own little backyard, crispy whole wheat crust, and oozy mozarella?

Well, maybe you'd rather hear about the Super Spud that was my lunch following the blueberry picking excursion a few weeks ago. That baked potato was the size of a newborn's head, and almost equally delicious. (Not that I've ever actually eaten a newborn's head, but they smell sooooo good...)

Don't believe me? I have photographic proof:

Can't you imagine that with eyes and a nose and a precious little knitted cap? No? Huh. This may have just taken a turn for the creepy.

But that's why I document my food--so you can share both my delicious meals and my weird thoughts. Now that the Boys are no longer around, Husband needs you-all to witness the weird or no one would believe him.