Tag Archives: beginnings

the psychic ipod strikes again!

IF my ipod had been in the general vicinity of my computer when I downloaded the piano music from iTunes Friday night, it might make sense. Maybe. But my ipod wasn’t anywhere near the computer. It wasn’t even in the house. It was in the car.

Saturday morning we debated over what to do with the day and settled on a trip to Costco for food. So we jumped in the car and headed into the frenzy that is greater downtown Mall and outlying shopping meccas. While hubby drove I grabbed the pod and tried to figure out what I was in the mood for. Since nothing immediately came to mind, I took a chance and put it on shuffle. I don’t do that very often because, for some reason, the pod likes to play Christmas music in shuffle, and I have LOTS of Christmas music. (Dear Apple ipod Geeks: can you maybe add some options to shuffle, like include/exclude by genre, perhaps?)

First up: Chopin Waltz, A minor, early opus. One I wasn’t familiar with. Then. I’ve gotten familiar with it since then, and it’s the first official entry in my recital program, along with a B minor waltz that I played ages ago. Next, a Borodin string quartet. I used to love string quartets. We had a quartet-in-residence when I was in college, and they were good. They played an outdoor recital at the vineyard owned by my library employer Myra, in July of 1983. I remember that because it was hot, my future sister-in-law came with us, I wore my new engagement ring in public for the first time, and the quartet played Barber’s Adagio for Strings, which is an entirely different work when played by only four instruments.

Last night at church one of the music guys and I were talking about a song I want him to play. He said it was kinda hard, and I told him to just play the chords that follow the bass line and not to listen to the extraneous stuff going on over it. He said that sounded like a good idea, picked at a few chords on his guitar and thought about it, and then said to me, “Do you play any instruments?” I was crouched on the floor in front of him when he said that, and I just dropped the rest of the way down and sat there looking at him. The other music guy said, “Yeah, she’s a pianist.” Music guy number one wanted to know why I hit the floor, and I told him. He said, “Sounds like a God thing to me.” then he announced to everyone that the Christmas party will be at our house so they can sing carols at my piano.

Well, alrighty then.

The tuner is supposed to be here in four hours. The house is a mess, and I need to go buy horse food. I’m not touching the piano until its tuned. It’s hard enough to be rusty and dusty; playing an out-of-tune piano just makes it worse.

I think I’ll go buy horse food, come home and remove the large dust bunnies from the music room and move the several piles of music on the piano and on the floor around the piano out of the way so Mr. Tuner can do his job, and find something to occupy myself with until he leaves. Then I have a date with Frederic.

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Back to school, sort of

Well.

Wubby came home from college for Christmas break and stayed. His first semester of on-campus college was “unsatisfying”. I love that word in that context; stole it from “The Breakfast Club” which is the best high-school movie ever.

Yesterday he and I went to the local community college and registered for the semester. It took a while because we had to go back to his high school and get a transcript and then go back to campus. There’s all this great technology the schools use in NC. NCWISE: every high school student in NC has a NCWISE ID. Their teachers use this site to store grades, etc. Then there’s CFNC, where high school students register and apply online for any college they choose, request that transcripts be sent to those colleges, check on their enrollment status w/ the colleges, etc.

You’d think that in our advanced technological society these 2 systems could somehow communicate such that yesterday, when the community college needed his transcript, they could have gone online somewhere and requested it, then had it certified and delivered electronically.

You’d be wrong.

So, we drove into Winston-Salem, back down here to the high school, back to Winston-Salem, then to another campus 15 miles east where he will have English on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I was uneasy about Wubby and all this college stuff. I wonder what went wrong. Did we not prepare him adequately? Did he goof off? Probably some of both.

So today he started the semester, went to his first class and met up with a friend from middle school that he hadn’t seen in three years or so. Good sign. His second class is a religion class that’s taught by a good friend of ours. She’s told me several times that she’s been impressed by conversations she’s had with the Wub regarding his faith and spirituality. Another good sign. The third class is Western Civ II; seems you can take history survey classes out of order. Anyway, he called when he got out and immediately said “I love my Wester Civ professor!”

Three for three. We’ll see about English tomorrow and hope for a home run.

But I said “we” went to register yesterday.

I’m taking Chemistry. I didn’t take it in college. I may need a job sometime in the next 4 years, and there this Nanotechnology program that looks like my kind of stuff: math, science, physics, with a tiny bit of engineering thrown in.

Really. I took Engineering Calculus at Virginia Tech, in summer school (4 hours of calculus a day, every day), for fun. I wanted to know why the engineering majors were failing it and changing majors. I aced it, and had a blast.

Yes, Virginia, there’s still a geek in here.

Did I mention, the chemistry class is 100% online?

So, I come in this morning to log on and get started and I can’t log on. Tried everything. Went down their list of potential problems: was my caps lock key on? did I put the userid in correctly? did I enter everything exactly as instructed, including the case-sensitive stuff?

Yep. Yep. Yep.

I changed the settings on my firewall.

I took the firewall down.

I tried IE7 and Mozilla 3.

Nothing.

Wubby gets home and we see if he can log on, since it’s the school site and everyone has an email account there, plus some other junk, even if not taking an online course.

Well, yeah, he can get on just fine.

Must be me.

I called the help desk and, of course, had to leave a message. They haven’t called me back yet.

I hope it’s not a sign.

P.S. I just tried to post this and the post failed. It’s a sign.

endings and beginnings

Sunday was my turn to play again. It was also Graduation Sunday and my baby boy is a graduate, or will be on June 14. He might as well be now, since he just informed me that he doesn’t need to be at school tomorrow until 9:30, and Thursday he gets the day off, which leaves one exam on Friday, one next Monday and the last next Tuesday. Then he’s free until next Friday when he has graduation practice before (finally) the big day next Saturday.

I agreed to play last Sunday because I thought it would keep me from being nervous for my son. It did, and it didn’t. We have two worship services; he had already spoken at the first one. So I had a chance to choke up and swallow the huge lump in my throat when I saw him walk in the sanctuary in his gown. And I got to choke up several more times during the service as I listened to each of the seniors talk about their journey thus far and where they were hoping to go next. And of course to just cry when my baby spoke about open doors and open hearts. When the time to play the prelude came around things felt pretty normal. I began the piece, a very easy one actually, and it was going ok.

Then I looked up and saw my son, along with the other graduates, walking into the sanctuary. And I lost it again, got lost in the notes and just started trying to find a G chord to land on so I could quit playing. I just wanted to end it and get away from the keyboard. What began as a relatively smooth rendition ended close to disaster. Beginning to ending; it was terrible.

But the graduation services, and the luncheon that followed, were wonderful. Our pastor recounted that these students were bed babies when he came to the church eighteen years ago. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been eighteen years, but it has. We’ve known some of these families since before kids. Our children have grown up together in Sunday school and day care and church clubs. During the luncheon our youth minister provided a way for the students and family members to offer blessings to one another. She gave each student a key chain. There were keys on each table. Anyone who wanted to speak a blessing to the students also gave them a key. (a bad description of a very meaningful experience…) We listened as students and parents and friends pronounced blessings upon one another. It was humbling to hear others speak kind words to our son, and to hear him speak kind words to his friends. All in all, a wonderful ending to a wonderful day.

The next two weeks will be filled with endings, and beginnings. My little boy is finishing high school, winding down his childhood and taking some baby steps toward adulthood. Ending and beginning.

We’ve had some ups and downs during his four years of high school. Actually, it’s probably been more downs than ups. High school started out tough for him, personally and academically. But each year he’s gotten better and better, so that now he will be finishing on a high. Rough beginning, super ending.

In August he’ll be going off to college.

A new beginning.

Night Music

She was created for the music. Her earliest memories of childhood revolved around it. She’d sing, dance, play, listen…and it was always the music. Her record player was always spinning around and around, and even when she was just three years old she could conduct Haydn or Mozart, or march to Sousa. Her family introduced her to mountain music, gospel music, and shape-note singing, songs like “This World is Not My Home” or “Angel Band” or “Farther Along”.

There was a piano in her house that whispered to her, called her to its side, begged for her touch, so that, when she answered, there was a sense of coming home. This was a friend that would not fail, would never leave her alone in the dark, would speak kindly to her when there was no one else, and the two of them became one. But there came a day, when she was about seven, when she was forced to introduce her only true friend to a stranger. She played, not knowing that her fingers on the keys were betraying their friendship. A transaction was completed, and the stranger took her soulmate away.

Of course there were others that came into her life over the years, and sometimes left just as abruptly as the first one. But that first betrayal was so painful, so gut-wrenching, that she decided to protect her heart at all costs from ever having to feel such pain and loss again. It was still about the music, but the relationship changed. They were still friends, close friends at that, but her soul had been wounded and refused further exposure. She kept part of herself hidden from the music.

But the music refused to be forgotten. It came to her at night, and again whispered to her, called her to come away, to sing and play and be. And slowly, carefully, guardedly, she began to respond. She had betrayed her first love before she was even old enough to understand what she had done. But now she knew the meaning of betrayal, and her fear was that, in some way, the music that so tenderly called her in dreams would spitefully betray her in the waking world.