Friday, July 13, 2018


There's the joy of starting and the satisfaction of being done.

For most of my life I have been a self starter. I thrive on dreaming up projects. When I turned fifty-ish I turned a corner and looked more to the idea of getting things done. 

I still love starting new things but I've adapted to the discipline of getting finished. And frankly, I am amazed that I can do that without harsh talking to myself.

Knowing I will finish has given me confidence to go back to work I liked but often abandoned. Sewing, for example, was one of those pursuits which started out full of excitement and ended with a bag of fabric undone. 

One other thing that shifted inside of me was the tolerance for slow and repetitive work. What used to drive me crazy is now more meditative labor with a meaningful outcome.

"She can be taught!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Writing Wednesday- Gymnopedie Chapter Two


Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself.
         Erik Satie

Today was a glorious summer day. The weather could not be more perfect. Miguel looked around to make sure the town was empty of people. He glanced up at the west tower, the one he preferred as a starting point. Adjusting his backpack  he took out the wire cutters and cut through the chain across the entrance of the stairway. He was trespassing on city property. Hopefully that was the only law he would break today. He straightened his pole and started the climb up the shallow stairway. The pole had to go up first, it was flexible but it had to be taken up on the outside of the stairway. It was a tight squeeze.
Once he was on the platform he sat and looked around at the view. For more than a year he had wanted to do this walk. These two bell towers were part of the landscape of his life. Highland was a place for the poor and the middle class. From above, all the stores and houses looked magical. The rubbish and dirt was too insignificant to destroy the beauty.

The town of Highland, south of Seattle, was cordoned off from vehicles and pedestrians coming onto Main street. People were lined along the yellow police tape trying to see what was happening.  Stevie Dangerfield, a Seattle Homicide Detective, had to park a block away even though Reggie Watts, her partner, suggested a way around the congestion. The crowd was quiet with solemn looks passing from person to person. Stevie noticed the two bell towers above the heads of the onlookers. There was a policeman standing on the platform of one of the towers. He was looking down at a swinging cable. 
“Excuse us.” Stevie said. “Police coming through!” An older woman reached for Stevie and looked into her eyes. 
“It was horrible. First the excitement then…..” A tear rolled down the deeply creased face. When they arrived at the barrier, Reggie held up the tape while Stevie stepped underneath. He flashed his shield at an officer and together they walked up the street until they were under the towers. A beige tarp covered what looked to be a body.
“What happened here?” Reggie asked.
“It appeared to be an accident at first but the medical examiner is unsure of the cause of death. I believe you are here to investigate?.” The officer looked gravely at the outline of the body on the street.
“Can you tell us who the victim is?”  Stevie asked as she approached the body, gingerly lifting the plastic away.
“Sixteen year old male, by the name of Miguel Ramirez. His friend is over there. He witnessed the whole thing. Even has a video.”
“What whole thing?” Stevie asked.
“The kid was trying to walk a wire cable from one tower to the other. Can you believe it?”
Stevie noticed the officer was shaking a little bit.
“Who is in charge here?” Reggie asked. He was looking around at the investigative team.
“Detective Mullins is over there with the medical examiner.” He pointed with his left hand while his right hand seemed to be clutching his gun. 
“May I go over and talk to his friend?” Stevie asked.
“I think that is fine. He is really scared.”
  While Reggie approached the other men Stevie walked to the tower. She saw an opening with a stairway up to the top. There on the bottom step, huddled in a blanket, sat another teenage boy. 
 “I’m Detective Dangerfield. Can I ask you a few questions?” Stevie crouched down so that she was eye level with the boy.
 He nodded but did not look up. 
“What is your name?” Stevie asked.
“Jorge Gonzales.”
“Are you alright, Jorge? Did they treat you for shock?”
“I don’t know. That doctor over there checked me out.” 
Stevie stood and sat down next to Jorge.
“What do you have in your hands?” She asked.
“Hand warmers. They are helping me stop shaking.” 

“You have probably told this story many times this morning but could you tell me again what happened to your friend?”

This is a work in progress. It may change and evolve as I write more. If you are interested in the story please leave a comment. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Playing With My Word To Make It Visual

Creativity brings an abstract concept into focus and provides a sensory memory of playing with meaning.

This month I am looking around my home and observing all the ways I've used my One Little Word for 2018 in a visual way. 
At the beginning of the year I like to do a painting with the word attached. This year I choose I scene with a cat, looking out over the water. The cat is me thinking back at what has happened in my life and how to be I can be a little better, kinder, more aware. 


Have you ever been lost on a road and realized that you are not where you intended to be? That is when the desire to Umkehr comes on strong. Start again, from the beginning and this time choose a different path.

Each time I take the little plastic word and place it in a different setting I take time to reflect on why I love this word and this principle. It is a principle because it requires action, not just a static concept.

"She went back to all that was comfortable and familiar while keeping her gaze looking ahead- to all that would be and could."

Colleen Attara

Click here to see a table of contents of how this word has become a focus in my life this year.


Friday, July 6, 2018


How does one vacate one's normal, everyday life?

The weeks that I take a vacation from my normal life of being a piano teacher, I do things a bit differently.

  • I cook and have dinner at a reasonable time
  • I go out around town during the hours of 3:00pm and 6:30pm
  • My husband can sit down in the living room during the afternoon
  • I don't look for inexpensive rewards at dollar stores
  • I stop vacuuming the living room everyday
  • The piano gets dusty
  • The stacks of music get put away on the piano

By the time my vacation weeks are up I long for the routines I have during the year. I long to greet little faces at my door and I long to hear their music.

  To vacate our routines is healthy and creates a longing for the life of normal, the life of everyday.

Friday, June 29, 2018

If This Then What?

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty. Georgia O'Keeffe

If nature creates the bright colors, the sweet smell, the soft sounds to entice us to pay attention then what else can it do to make us mindful of all that God created?
I find I can't ignore beauty without losing myself to the next new gadget, the next horrifying news story, or the best sale price.

The most beautiful things in life are free and without social status. Get out more. Wander mindfully through your neighborhood. Breathe deeply without restraint. If you do that then you might be able to endure the next horrifying news story and bypass the next big sale. Just thinking.......

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Writing Wednesday- The Beginning Of Gymnopédie

Erik Satie, French composer, born in Honfleur in 1866, died in 1925, described himself as a 'gymnopédiste' instead of a composer.

The music of Satie has captured the heart of a teenage boy who has walked through the privileged door of classical music because his mother was given an old upright piano. Along with his love for music he has a love for acrobatics. The Boys Club in his town received a grant to buy acrobatic equipment and for years he has spent his summers learning to swing on the bars, do cartwheels on the mats, and his favorite, walk the wire. Somehow the music of Satie has become the soundtrack to his feats of daring. One morning he and his friend attempt to do what they have never done before.

Experience is a form of paralysis.
Erik Satie

Miquel, his black hair matted with perspiration, woke up anxious. This morning he would walk the wire. He got up slowly and pulled on his tight sweat pants and sleeveless tee shirt. He made sure his phone and slippers were in his backpack. His hand felt deep inside to check for the pliers, wire-cutters, and snack. He didn’t know how this day would end. Jorge was due with his father’s truck any minute. He let himself out of the back door making sure there was no sound. The only sound came from inside his own head. Down, up, up, the lilting dance rhythm of  Satie’s Gymnopodie No. 1 circled around his conscious mind. After his wire walk today he would describe himself as a Gymnopédist.

Chapter one is here.......


There is still time to read my first novel about a pianist and teacher who finds a Liszt autograph manuscript and ends up dead. Who killed her to get the treasure? The mysterious student who comes from out of town to study with her? The colleague from Hungary who wants the manuscript more than anything? 

My novel Rubato

A story of a woman's longing for beauty and her struggle to keep the beautiful even when it didn't belong to her.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Kein Umkehr- No Re-Entry

Failure is the only opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.
Henry Ford

I was struck by the symbol on the airport sign indicating that you cannot pass this way again if you turn around and leave.
There are pathways you can not re-enter once you leave but there are many that allow for a turn around.
My One Little Word for 2018 is Umkehr and it is a word that allows for great hope.

    Six months into 2017 I was worried that I would get tired of the word 'nurture'. I don't have those same concerns this year simple because I don't need to invent new goals or come up with a new plan, I need only to return to those goals that have worked before. 

What am I most excited about as I go into the next six months?
  *Return to my writing everyday
  *Return to healing mode as I do surgery on the second knee.
  *Return to planning group lessons for piano students in the Fall
  *Return to my weight loss program after surgery
  *Return to the art room and create something new
  *Return to visiting grandkids with my new car. Yay! I don't have to worry about the car dying on me.

"She went back to all that was comfortable and familiar while keeping her gaze looking ahead- to all that would be and could."
Colleen Attara

Click here to see a table of contents of how this word has become a focus in my life this year.