Saturday, December 29, 2007

It's a funny thing about heredity: sometimes your kids get these amazing gifts and you have no idea where they came from. Or they have this magnification of some small gift one of the parents had. For example, Daughter #1.

I have a little bit of talent in writing. I can spell everything correctly, and usually put in all the correct forms of grammar, etc. I love listening to stories, and can tell stories, but just basically. Daughter #1 can do all the spelling and grammarring, but when she tells a story, you are CAPTIVATED! Not just by the story, but by the words and phrases she chooses. She can capture a character such that you can see that person in your mind, and you know them! As her stories unfold, you hang on every sentence. So where did THAT come from, I wonder?

I am also pretty social. I can understand what people are saying behind what they are actually saying. I can keep people from getting mad at me. Usually. But Daughter #2 is amazing. She can tell what people WANT to hear, and she'll tell them that (if it's true), or she'll throw the truth in their face in a manner that does not offend them! She has more friends than would fit in a black book, and she went to every dance in high school.

Handsome Husband is very good at math. He can calculate mortage payments in his head!! Small Son looks to be the same way, although he doesn't even know what a mortgage is. We only have to explain a mathematical concept to him one time, and he gets it. He can do multiplication in his head, not even having been taught it at school. It makes me green with envy!! Addition and subtraction are cake. He can figure out story problems without any problem. He is amazing.

I'm still waiting to find out what Daughter #3's talent is.

Genetic recombination is mind-boggling. With just 4 proteins, billions of different people have been created, and billions more are on the way. Same with pipes: with just 9 notes, millions of tunes have been created and more are on tap. I guess cuz it's human brainpower behind the tunes, we haven't gotten to the extreme numbers that tyrosein, cytosein, glycine, and the other one (whose name I've forgotten. Leucine?) have got to.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Another jam-packed day.

Work was, of course, 0330-1400. Then we raced to see our Christmas Day movie (two days late) way down in the south part of the valley at 1510. That lasted until 1730, at which time we raced Handsome Husband to his Youth activity (he's a leader, not a Youth) and then Small Son to his friend's house downtown, then back to pick up HH then home to call the ailing people I'm in charge of tracking, plus 2 that I am not in charge of. Come to find out that my visiting teacher, Irmgard P, spent Christmas in the hospital, ALONE!! and my neighbor knew about it, having taken her to the hospital at oh-dark-hundred Christmas morning and never said anything about it to us (RS Presidency) so we didn't go see her. Also Sandy N had to have more fluid drained off her abdomen and her cancer is back with a Vengance and she's not feeling well at all.

Today I'll be helping my neighbor pack and clean for moving right after work. No Park City today, but probably no practice, either. Crivens. And I just got the "recital" email: It's going to be on 19Jan2008. I'll probably do the group thing, but not a solo. I don't have a solo instructor to tell me what to play. Thank goodness. I don't know if I ever told that story. I'll check back through the entries, and if I haven't, I'll tell it later.I did tell that story. See my entry from 14 September of this year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We didn't box things up to take to the poor or our servants (Ha! Those are now called "children"). Instead, I worked until 1400 then we drove frantically an hour and 7 minutes north to Huntsville, UT, up through a beautiful canyon, through falling snow, and arrived at the Huntsville Stake Center where a friend of Small Son's was getting baptized. This is a tiny girl whose parents are divorced; her father lives in our ward and her mother lives in Huntsville. She is very quiet and I had never heard her say a word until yesterday. I think the divorce really shook her up, and her parents are going to pay for this later; for now, she is just very quiet and withdrawn and sad.

Usually at a baptism, you feel the spirit very strongly. Maybe it was just me, but I did not feel it at all at that baptism. It was probably just me.

It was pretty cold, and we were all dressed in Sunday clothes (i.e. not a lot of insulation, even tho we had sweaters on). After the baptism, I gave our present for Kenya to Small Son and he disappeared with it, then came right back. A few minutes later when I found Kenya, I shook her hand to congratulate her and asked if she remembered me. She nodded, and then she SAID, "Teancum gave me the present." She does have a voice, and she knows how to use it. I shook the bishop's hand and her father's, then we went outside to find Handsome Husband, as he had moved the car and then disappeared to try to find his brother by cell phone. We walked all the way around the building in the crisp snow and cold air and did not find him, but we DID find a flock of wild turkeys (I kid you not!) sauntering down the middle of the street, or eating old berries off the bushes next to the church. We kept walking and watching what the turkeys did. They were not very afraid of us, but still would not let us get very close to them. When one got separated from the flock and we got too near, it took off flying to join its mates!! It was pretty amazing. You don't see wild turkeys very often.

Then we drove off to Liberty, UT to try and find Uncle Jared, but didn't find much of anybody. We even tried to call all the Wheelers in Liberty and Eden (2) but got one busy signal and one no answer. So we took the scenic pass home, stopping to have dinner at Javier's in Ogden and looking at all the Christmas lights they have in Ogden on the way. We got home about 6:00 and I went to bed shortly after. No practice time.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's been a Sad Christmas and a Blazingly Happy Christmas, all rolled together. I"ll give you the Sad first, so as to end on a happy note, hmmm?

My baby sister spent this Christmas in a teensy trailer pretty much alone, having filed divorce papers on her 2nd husband in October. She was very lonely, and although she kept talking about how far she was running every day (8 miles; hello Uncle Iroh), it was heartbreaking to hear her. I listened to her for a long time telling about the antics of her cat and her neighbors.

My friend Sandy N has restarted chemotherapy for her uterine cancer. The doctors predict she will die of it, as did her mother and aunt, but are not sure when. She was exhausted and nauseous for Christmas.

On the happy side, it snowed 6" on Christmas eve, and Small Son and Handsome Husband and I went out in it to shovel the driveway and sidewalks. Robert B's father, whose kidneys have been refusing to work for awhile, had them show up for work again a week ago, so that family was very happy.

My friend Lois and I have been plotting and planning all season around the Christmas of our mutual friend, Connie, who is somewhat of a Grinch and doesn't do trees or lights or festive earrings or sweaters or carols or anything, and who lost her father and a beloved aunt several months ago, within weeks of each other. Wanting to share a little of the love of the season, we got her a personalized needlepoint stocking and filled it with silly things for her 2 black labs, and little things for her. We each contributed one dog present and one Connie-present. My contribution was a squeaky rubber chicken, a chocolate orange, and a copy of Love Actually, a movie about how the people around you are the most precious gifts of Christmas. Lois contributed some chew-bones and . . . um . . . something, I can't remember what she said she gave Connie, and as it was wrapped when I got it . . . Anyway, on Sunday night, the 23rd, about 10pm, Small Son and I snuck over to her house, hung the stuffed stocking on her doorknob, and ding-dong-ditched her. We tried to see when she opened the door to get it, but since we didn't want to be seen, either, we were unsuccessful. HOWEVER, when we got home, the phone rang and it was Connie and she acted very Un-Grinchly and thanked me for my efforts and I babbled because I was so excited to be able to give her something for Christmas. It's my favorite part of Christmas: giving people things they will like. Connie seemed very touched. So that was wonderful fun.

We had enough electric candles for every window visible from the front, and even had 2 left over for Small Son's room in the back so he could have the Christmas Spirit in his room, too, and our house looked beautiful without any Going Outside and Attaching Lights to High and Cold Places. As Daughter #2 says, that made me happy.

The pie crust and dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls ALL came out beautifully!! Yay!!

And the presents I found for people were well-calculated. For Daughter #1, the first season of Dr. Who and a hand-knitted tam to replace the one that was stolen, plus a matching pair of mittens. Wah-hoo!!! For Daughter #2, two jackets and a Minnie Mouse nurse watch and some earrings that will not hurt her ears. Wah-hoo!!! For Daughter #3, a 10" Ang the Avatar action figure that lights up and says Avatar-like things when you press the secret button, plus a How To Draw the Avatar book. Wah-hoo!!!! For Small Son, a small set of bagpipes and some flannel Harry Potter sheets. Wah-hoo!!! For Handsome Husband, a new bedside radio, a balaclava for bicycling, and a mat to watch TV on the floor if he wants. Wah-hoo!!! People were squealing for joy yesterday morning opening those. As for me, I got the much-longed-for ghillie brogues, in LEATHER with rubber soles, in the correct size, plus a DVD of The Court Jester with Danny Kaye and the book Zorro by Isabelle Allende, and a cookie press machine which I have not had the chance to try out yet, and Small Son gave me a pair of kitchen shears so fancy they don't even deserve the title, so I have taken to calling them "zans" after Dr. Seuss' mythical beast--if his creations are mythical--and 2 square brownie-lifters, and I also received an apron that looks like a kilt and vest with a loaded and set mousetrap in the sporran. Wah-HOOOO!!!

It was a very full Christmas, and I am very grateful.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Last week Thursday we had a discussion about whether or not to have a lesson this week, so close to Christmas. Everybody agreed that we would all be there. So despite the heavily falling snow and other issues, I loaded Angus into the car and headed south last night.
Sande was there, and Drew showed up late. That was it. We had some guys from Sean's beginner class join us and we watched a DVD from 2007 World's and talked about birls and how to do them correctly and quickly. It rained the whole competition, so they all looked miserable. It was a subdued lesson. At the end we did get out pipes and play through our medley. It went beautifully. We played the jig so fast it felt like going down the mountain on a motorcycle where you know if you apply brakes you'll just start skidding sideways. I almost panicked, it was so fast. So I had to stop thinking aboutit, and just do it. I suspect that we sounded so good due to the fact that Garth and Lee were not there; they're still learning, and tend to mess up the tunes. Lee doesn't watch the pipe major and plays at his own tempo, which is not conducive to a good sound.

It's still snowing this morning and looks beautiful but probably is deadly. Daughter #1 did not go to her midnight screening of National Treasure: Book of Secrets last night due to weather. Her friend Emily is stuck up on the mountain, snowed in. Bummer. But the world looks beautiful this morning, crystalline blue and clean. Maybe I won't have to go to Park City this afternoon because of the snow. There's always hope.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Everybody has a disability; some people's are more evident that others.

Mine is not so evident, but just as much a disability. I have epilepsy. Which means if I don't get enough sleep and take anti-convulsants every day, I go unconscious and have seizures. Sometimes even if I do take my meds and get enough sleep, I still am "shaky".

Yesterday and the day before I was shaky for no apparent reason. And I needed to go out and get some last minute things for Christmas and didn't dare drive: A CD holder for Daughter #3, and a DVD for my dear friend Connie, etc. so Daughter #1 said she would drive, and we took Small Son and went and got those things. I guess it hasn't gotten harried yet, because it was pretty calm at the stores we were at.

No, I didn't practice. Because of the shakiness. Can't focus on notes in a sequence. I stop in the middle and forget where I was.

The most exciting part about Christmas is knowing that somebody near-and-dear has a present coming and it's Really Good and they are Really Going To Like It and you Can't Tell Them What It Is!!!! It's been like that for at least a week.

Five More Days!!!! Ugh!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

They say if you need something done, ask a busy person.

I've been busier lately than at just about any time in my life, what with calling to check on people who are ill or picking up tableclothes and dropping them off and finishing Christmas presents and then wrapping them and the usual cleaning and washing and driving and shopping and cooking . . .

But despite doing all that yesterday, I did practice, both PC and pipes. On the list of tunes we have to know for the concert, I got about 4 done. I'll hopefully start at 5 today.

Daughter #1's best friend is home from Maine and will be staying with us. We are delighted to have her. Daughter #2 is bringing her . . . um . . . boyfriend? particular friend? Not sure exactly what their relationship is called right now . . . over lots, He's a very nice young man, so we are glad to see him whenever he shows up.

Handsome Husband and I got to go to the temple yesterday. I brought a disc with my grampa's info on it, so we could do baptisms and endowments for him and his parents, but the disc wasn't unzipped and they said they couldn't unzip it, so we did work for someone else. When I got to the Family History Center last night, it was closed for the holidays. Pooh. So Grampa is still waiting. Sorry, Grampa. I'm working on it.

Daughter #2 is also "working" on getting the work done for our old egg man from Minnesota, Henry Tlustosh, born and raised and married and died in Glencoe, MN. She has a photo of the tombstone where he and his wife Emma are buried, but she won't give me the info so I can get it done. Guess I'll just have to start bugging her. Henry's been waiting for 8 years!! He has no children, and no other living relatives, and I feel like we owe it to him cuz he was so good to us.

Small Son was so cute. This morning I found a note on my chair, next to his PC, that said "my reed needs more hemp". So I showed him where the hemp and wax is kept and how to put it on. He played his PC yesterday for school for something.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

NO I DID **NOT** PRACTICE, so stop asking me!!!

Welll, I worked on the 2 newest tunes on PC.

No excuses. Lesson tonight. I'm gonna be terrible if I don't practice. But I have to take Small Son to get a present for his Dad right after school, then dinner, then . . . lesson. It doesn't look good.

Also, Small Son's Christmas present was supposedly delivered yesterday, and I still haven't seen the box. Gonna have to go look next door when it gets light out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What with one thing and nother, 5 days passed . . .

Family was here for Baptisms and sealings, Christmas programs happened (including dinners) that required my musical participation on an instrument I don't play much anymore, Scouts started up again, and did I tell you I have a new calling? Yesterday I realized that I was given an new tune to learn on Thursday and I haven't even looked at it. So I got it down on PC while Small Son was working on his homework yesterday.

Then last night when I came in to read to him (Silver on the Tree, by Susan Cooper) he said [whispering], "Mom! Shut the door!" So I did, and then he said, "I want to get Dad a Christmas present because he always takes me places and helps me on the computer." This is the first time he has ever thought about anything but his own presents for Christmas, so I was thrilled. I said, "The only thing on Dad's list right now is 'warm socks', so we could go get him a couple of pairs of those at the Army/Navy store where they are cheap AND warm." He thought that was good. Then he asked, "Do I have to pay for them?" I told him the secret: that the thing that makes it fun is actually putting out for something for somebody and giving it to them and watching their reaction when they open the present.

Then I read to him. And then I went out and told his father to put some more things on his list besides warm socks that his kids could get him.

We'll have to work on Creative Packaging for Socks this afternoon, too.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Nothing much happened, except we got a new tune and I can't remember what it is, but it is an aire (slower) and has some tricky parts. We played through it cold which, thinking back, I could never have done when I first started. Then it took me weeks to get to the point where I could play a tune. Now I get it in the first couple minutes, and it takes me weeks to memorize it.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My nephew Cuin has a birthday every year at the end of December. He's funny that way.

At some point in time, I made an apple pie for his family and he fell in love with it. Now for his birthday every year he wants me to make him a Birthday Apple Pie and forget the present. OK. I can handle that.

Yesterday, instead of resting on breaks from work, (or practicing or sleeping) I made an apple pie for Cuin. It 's the best crust I ever made. Now I just have to keep the family and dogs off it until Daughter #2 can take it home to him.

Oh, and did you also hear that I have been called as 2nd counselor in the Relief Society of our Ward? That would be Education Counselor. We had our first meeting last night. I'm very glad the president is a crazy lady, and that the meeting was full of laughter, but we did get things done. We have already have a funeral dinner to arrange for Saturday, which I had to beg off from, seeing as that is the day of the Two Baptisms and A Sealing that have been in the works for a month. At least only 32 people are expected, instead of 100 or so. And we had to tell some things about ourselves, as a sort of get-to-know-you thing and I mentioned that I played bagpipes. They were ecstatic! And very supportive of me getting to practice on Tuesday nights, and mostly Lessons on Thursday. The two organizations seem to both want me to participate in the other, so this may work.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Just so it's out of the way right off, and you aren't wondering about it for the whole entry, I DID practice yesterday, nearly 45 minutes, and tunes that we were asked to play at band practice last night.

Handson Husband's dear family has arrived en masse at our house for 2 baptisms and a sealing on Saturday. I love them dearly, but they are pretty intimidating, even singly, and there are 7 of them, so I am trying to be invisible and am letting HH handle things that involve schedule, food, sleeping arrangements and entertainment. So far it has been easy as they have been out Doing Things. However, now that Sister-in-law #2 has arrived with her 4 kids (did I mention that I love them dearly?), I don't know that it will be so easy, as Phoebe and Small Son are thick as thieves when together, so they may be hanging around and playing a lot this afternoon. I don't know for sure, as I'm not involved in Scheduling. Maybe they will Go Out and Do Something after school. This evening they are going to Provo to a BYU football game (at least some of them) and I have a RS meeting so I won't be seeing them much.

But anyway, band practice. Our house has 6 beds and 3 Spaces on Couches for Sleeping Bodies. That leaves 3 people without a place to sleep. Luckily, 4 of them are kids that don't mind sleeping on floors in sleeping bags, and they brought their own sleeping bags . . .

What? Oh, band practice. Well, we had to play through the medley lots of times, and somebody was not keeping time with everybody else and Pipey got pretty angry that we were less good at the jig than we were last week . . . Also, we have seats in the kitchen for 9 people, and there are 12 total, so again that leaves 3 people without a place to eat . . .

So what did we do? To what? Oh, band practice!!! The medley. Well, we went over and over the jig and Pipey threatened to pull it and change it for another one. I don't like the jig, anyway, but I don't want to learn another tune and now we have a whole month to practice before the next band practice. I did vacuum but the dogs constantly are losing hair, even in the dead of winter, so there's always hair everywhere and I'm hoping nobody's asthma gets set off . . .

What? Distracted? You're talking to me? Distracted from what? Oh yeah, band practice . . . Yeah, it could have been me who was not focusing. I was pretty much all the time counting beds and chairs instead of 4/4 time. I'll try and get in more practice time on pipes this month. After the family leaves.