Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Price of Success

prac·tice [prak-tis] –verb (used with object)
to perform or do repeatedly in order to acquire skill or proficiency: to practice the violin to train or drill (a person, animal, etc.) in something in order to give proficiency

I know you've heard the old adage: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? And the answer: Practice, practice, practice. Well it's true and after years of practice I got there for a second time last month. Well, sort of...

Saying you got to Carnegie Hall implies you performed there and I wasn't the one who actually stood on the stage of that famous auditorium. I didn't tread upon the boards where countless famous musicians have stood and performed. I didn't cast my gaze upon the resplendence of that magnificent theater from the vantage point of a performer. I wasn't the one who actually attended all the rehearsals or spent hours poring over music scores, or practicing scales. I wasn't the one who had to learn: the phonetic pronunciation of foreign languages, the history of numerous composers, or to stand with bent knees so as to prevent fainting.

I was merely a the audience. An extremely proud mom! My 22 year old daughter Cameron, is in her senior year at Southwestern College and about to finish her choral career the way my oldest son, Tyler, began his. At the age of 12, he sang at Carnegie Hall with the Kansas Youth Choir. I feel like I do deserve part of the credit for the accomplishments of both children, however. After all, I was the one who initially thought they had singing talent and encouraged them to audition for the Kansas Youth Choir. I was also the one who chauffeured; chaperoned; and sold (poinsettias, candles, cookie dough, braided bread and heaven knows what else) to help finance the experiences. Credit should also go to their dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents and countless close friends who helped pay for the trips by buying all that stuff. It took a group effort to make those trips happen for both children over the course of ten years. From my vantage point it was money and time well spent to finance two experiences of a lifetime.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not Exactly Longfellow

The Word(s) of the Day: rhinitis and sinusitis


–nounPathology. inflammation of the nose or its mucous membrane


inflammation of a sinus or the sinuses.

Either or both of these conditions could possibly be the cause of my current fatigue. You see,
I've got my own version of Longfellow's, Paul Revere's Ride, going on. You know the saying, "One if by land and two if by sea". Well in my version it's, "One in my ear, and two at my feet!" I'm referring of course, to my one husband who snores, and my two dogs, who insist on waking me (the only one who can be awakened) to go outside and howl at night creatures, the moon, or very possibly their own shadows. So in words rivaling those of Longfellow himself....well maybe not, but at least in his rhyming pattern, I say:

Listen my children and you shall hear

Of the midnight snoring of one I hold dear,

On the eleventh of April, in Twenty-ten;

Hardly a woman can ever begin,

To sleep through the racket, or so I fear.

I’ve said to my friends, "If Scott’s
is stopped up to-night,

and the dogs scratch to go out

to bark in the moonlight--

One in my ear, and two at my feet;

with such a commotion, sleep cannot compete.

So I in the opposite bedroom will be,

hoping to sleep past two or three,

For the good of all who tomorrow I’ll see."

Now to be fair, I've been told I snore too. I suppose it's true, BUT, I rarely, if ever awaken anyone. Maybe it's the mother thing - light sleeping - because I used to be able to sleep through anything. I used to say, "A Kansas tornado could go through my bedroom and I could sleep right through it!", but not anymore. Now, a pin drops, on the carpet, in the far bedroom, in the basement, of my sister's house, and I jerk up and think, "What was that?"

I guess the only solution to our problem, short of hearing loss on my part, or sinus surgery for my husband is:
So he said "Good-night!" and with a slam of the door
jumped in his car and drove to the store,
Just as the moon rose over the hay,
Breathe-Right Strips might save the day
If not curing the problem, at least muffling the roar!
But as for the dogs howling each night
at the moon or whatever else is in sight,
their noise, which each eve is magnified,
no doubt will help to keep me wide-eyed.

Disclaimer: Upon reading this my husband said, "Great writing dear, but I don't snore".

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spreading Like Wildfire

The Word for the day: Panic

pan·ic [pan-ik]–verb (used without object)
to be stricken with panic; become frantic with fear

Normally, I don't panic. When placed in a new or uncomfortable situation, I get nervous just like the next guy, but today was different. I wasn't hysterical and I wasn't out of control but I was panicked.

The afternoon was winding down when Jaime approached me and told me I might have trouble getting home tonight. My first thought was that my new vehicle had been hit in the parking lot. That alone was enough to rattle me but what she said next jarred me even more. It turned out, there was a huge fire roaring out of control near the subdivision where we live. Roads were already blocked and I wasn't sure we could get through.
My first concern was for our pets: Bubby, Bart, and Meow. We leave them outside each day but if a fire approached would they make it out on their own? My next thought was of the irreplaceable things that everyone has in their home: family photos, videos, and heirlooms.

All of that flashed through my head as I grabbed for the telephone and called my husband. With a few terse words, I let him know what I had heard. I knew he could make it home at least ten minutes before I could and I was afraid time was of the essence. I threw my computer into my bag, grabbed my jacket and hurried to my car. As I headed north, I kept scanning the sky for the first signs of smoke. I tried to calm my panic and keep my speed under control as I prayed for the animals. When I was still miles away, I could see the plumes of white and black smoke and the urgency of the situation became more intense. As I neared the turn that I normally take, I could see that it was blocked by a sheriff's patrol car so I kept going, praying that the back road wouldn't be blocked. If it was, we wouldn't be able to get to our home and our pets. Luckily, that road was clear and when I got home my husband was starting to water down our lawn. My first act, after rounding up animals, was to go to the basement and begin packing photo albums, scrapbooks, pictures and home videos into suitcases in case we had to grab and go.

It took several hours and several drives around the subdivision, which only escaped damage by the width of a road, to lessen my fear.

The only casualty I am aware of was a fire truck that exploded when it got stuck in the sand and was overrun by the fire. Luckily, the firefighters were unharmed. On my final trip before dark, I drove around three sides of the fire zone. The land was scorched and smoldering, the air was acrid with the smell of smoke and in some places, trees were still aflame. It is clear to see how easily the fire spread through the rolling sand dunes full of dry natural grasses. One is also aware of how lucky some residents were to have escaped without any damage to their homes, and how fortunate we are to have dedicated public servants to protect us and our property.

Today, I got a lesson about wildfires and panic. Both can spread quickly, both can be fought, and both can be brought under control. Thank heavens for that!