10 Years Ago

I started the greatest journey of my life.

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I thank God every day for this man, for the crazy way God orchestrated our meeting, for the adventures since, and for the life we now have. Wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

There is a time and a place for mud.

(This isn’t one of them.)

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Photo Source: Pixabay Public Domain

A short while ago, the Dearliest and Arc were out shopping and included in their purchases some lovely flowers for me (two geraniums and a purple rhododendron, for my gardening friends). Whilst putting them in the back of the van, Arc said he was glad he and the Dearliest got flowers for me, and he was sure I would like them.

An older couple overheard, and the husband chuckled with a comment along the lines of, “Yes! You get her flowers, and no complaining allowed for 24 hours.” The wife rolled her eyes.

The Dearliest, ever my champion, returned with several long sentences. He appreciates very much that I actually try very hard to not complain as I go through life, and he was quick to inform them.

The husband looked surprised. The wife looked guilty.

The Dearliest said they clearly got along well, and they loved each other dearly, but their reaction suggested that it never occurred to them that something they accepted as normal might not, in fact, be in every marriage.

(Side note: I’m not pretending here to be better than her, or anyone. I’m not perfect, and just because I don’t complain doesn’t mean I don’t have other facets that need work. I need lots of work, but fortunately God has a vision for that, and He can help me with my faults and failings. There are a lot. But I digress.)

It was a day or so later that I thought of the above story, then had a flash of my 11 year old self pushing a full cart of horse manure across a muddy, mucky dirt driveway. The stables I worked at had one muddy spot in particular that seemed to collect all the grossness of horses and dirt in one big puddle during the winter months. You had to go through it to get to the manure pile. It was nasty.

“Ew! Do you see what you’re walking through?” a young tag-a-long asked, taking the wide way around.

I simply answered, “If you don’t look at it, you don’t see it.”

“Oh,” she said after a thoughtful pause.

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Photo Source: Pixabay Public Domain

The memory made me laugh out loud, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized it kinda fit. A person is constantly moving forward, usually with goals, a destination, a place in life s/he wants to be.

Sometimes mud puddles pop up underfoot, and it’s so easy to complain about the lack of money, the ancient car you have to drive, beans for dinner 5 days in a row, the leaky pipe in the bathroom, and (especially for busy moms) having no time for yourself. Mud puddles come in all shapes and sizes.

But if you choose to not look at it, then you don’t see it. And if you don’t see it, you have nothing to complain about.

I know there are weeds in the garden, but I focus on the flowers while I spend time washing dishes. I Greatly Dislike the steep stairs to the basement, but I focus on the wonderful working washing machine down there with every careful step down and it’s not so bad. I want to cry sometimes when I need a rest and the two youngest just. Won’t. Quit. Finding. Trouble. But then I remember how quickly this will be gone, and I clean up the baby powder strewn about the room (yes, AGAIN) with more patience.

It’s not easy, and it takes work, but it IS possible to not see the mud puddles.

More Side Notes:

*Extra clarification–I am NOT comparing my marriage to a muck puddle, guys. I’m not talking about marriage here, I’m talking about complaining.

*Further clarification–This post is referring to petty complaints. Naggy things women (and men, but mostly women) tend to dwell on and blame other people for while ignoring the possibility that maybe they can change their attitude and make things better.

*Addendum thought–To successfully do this, it’s essential to be properly equipped. The shoes I wore when I walked through the muck puddle were tall rubber boots. Waterproof. Leg protection. I wasn’t going through it in sandals.

Sometimes I hear animals in music. (Horses and Chickens Edition)

Horses are easy. (YouTube thinks so too.)

William Tell Overture (Rossini)

Light Cavalry Overture (Suppe)

Recently I was listening to a CD of French piano duets and one track gave me pause. “What does this remind me of?” I thought to myself, over and over. Finally, after 3 days of thinking about it and multiple listens, I had it.

A chicken running after bugs.

Jeux D’Enfants, Opus 22, No. 2, La Toupie (translation: Spinning Top) (Bizet)

I now would be very interested in discovering all the chicken pieces of the classical world.

Inspired by a Friend’s Facebook Post

Concerts I’ve been to:

1. San Francisco Symphony, numerous times (including featuring Lang Lang)

2. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder/ Del McCoury

This is still my favorite Skaggs.

3. Alison Krauss & Union Station

4. Natalie McMaster

5. Eilene Ivers (original Riverdance violinist)

What do an Alaskan cruise, a Romanian pianist, and this piece have in common? Some day I’ll have to tell you.

6. Dick Dale & His Del-Tones (father of surf guitar, dude, although by the time I saw him he was the grandfather of surf guitar)

7. Joe Satriani (it was the Marshall amp)

8. Victor Borge (yes, he totally counts)

And, because it’s Borge, I have to share my favorite routine.

9. Air Force Band

10. Air Force Jazz Ensemble

11. Many teacher and/ or student concerts between SRCS, SRJC, and SSU

I’m probably forgetting some.

Concerts I’ve been IN (not counting yearly student concerts with my piano/ violin teachers or the countless church concerts).

1. A few (I can’t remember!) seasons with the Discovery orchestra (younger youth orchestra), violin

2. 3 piano concerts with the SRJC, solo + duets

3. 2 seasons with the Cotati Philharmonic (now Sonoma County Philharmonic), piano + percussion

My first concert with them we played in San Fransisco in a great cathedral for the Spanish ambassador! I need to tell that story some day too.

Life, Recently

We’ve been getting outside. A lot. Which is awesome because days were becoming a lot like:

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It feels wonderful, even in the rain and occasional hail (though we don’t do that too terribly often).

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Spring flowers are at the edge of being out, and if I get impatient to see more all I have to do is drive down towards the river, where spring is in much fuller swing.

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The first daffodil.

Pokado loved the first mow. LK may like making dinosaur nests, but Pokado prefers to make grass castles. I wish I’d thought of that when I was younger.

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The Dearliest had an answer to prayer, which led to him coming home one day with this beast.

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Pokado’s comment: “It’s all…rusty. And old looking.” Clearly not impressed. But then came along Arc, who couldn’t quit exclaiming about the fact it was a chipper with a hitch and it was loud and ate trees.

The Dearliest also built his first bench for a customer. LK loved helping him with it.

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LK also really enjoys “Peter and the Wolf.” I have a CD of it, but sometimes I let him watch the video. (No, not Disney.)

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Life carries on, otherwise. We’re doing school, but it’s getting harder to stay focused as the weather warms up more. School gets taken outside sometimes, and sometimes science becomes “here’s a jar, go find me 6 bugs (but no centipedes), and write down 3 things about each bug” LK took this very seriously and brought me worms, a few beetles, slugs, and grubs. And a wasp. I made him take that one back outside.

Pokado is thrilled to have flowers about the yard again. She gives me daily reports, so I knew exactly when the dandelions came up (“You can pick all those you want, Pokado.”), the daffodils, the yellow tulips, the pink and red tulips, the vinca, and oh what an excited chorus sounded the day the bleeding hearts opened up!

I discovered that Squeaky not only loves doing the dishes, she’s actually really good at it. I admit I was surprised. She caught spots on dishes that I missed, and then she explained her method, and I realized she really knows what she’s doing. So I have a washer helper most days now that I don’t have to worry about, and her cheerful attitude really brightens up the kitchen.

Arc is still all boy and all sound effects, but now he’s also all about food. He’s always been so a bit, but recently he’s upped his interest such that we put an alarm on the fridge because I was getting tired of getting up in the morning to find food missing. He’s not starving, honest.

The Princess is turning into a climber. Aside from Squeaky, who did a little bit of it as a toddler, we haven’t really had climbers beyond the usual “I want out of my crib” sort. The Princess…she discovered pulling out drawers to use as stairs. She climbs to the top of the piano (in the space of time it takes me to cross the room to get to her). We went to a party a few days ago, and instead of running around on the grass with the others, she spent 20 minutes climbing up and down the short retaining wall. She will surely keep me on my toes.

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