Friday, April 29, 2011

One Week From Germany

I'll be meeting up with my new grandson, Ian, soon. He is making his debut in Germany, the country of my birth. His long-suffering mother, the MamaDaughter, is impatient to bring him into the world. I will be going to a little town in the woods of the Rhine-Land.
How typical is this shot with the church steeple and red roofs.
 I hear that the down town is walking distance from the apartment so I'll be taking the little munchkins on walks to town.
I haven't seen this little sprite for a whole year. She has grown up so much.
And this little guy was just 9 months old the last time I gave him a squeeze.
I don't look forward to the traveling part but I do want to visit and get to know where the family is living. I have been to Germany once before in 1998. I visited with my aunt, who I had never seen, my cousin, and had many overwhelming experiences. It will take a few hours to get into the German language but I think I will do all right, thanks to my immigrant parents who talked German to me growing up. My mother and father would be amazed that a great-grandson is being born in the Father Land. Life is funny like that.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Fruits of Easter

I am so pleased to have family close by to celebrate. I planned ahead a bit to make Easter look pretty.
Here is the table..
and the centerpiece.
And these are the guests who came with great anticipation.
M. who spoke highly of the roasted vegatables and S. who liked the ham the best.
A. who only has only one vegetable in fashion at a time,
Is there enough cheese here so that we can do away with the whine?
And here is the grazer who came and went and had permission to try the cupcakes.
Speaking of cupcakes, I liked the color coordination going on here. All you artistic bloggers are rubbing off on me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, GrandTwins

When the Mama Daughter got married she became step-mother to twin boys who were eleven years old. Today is their birthday,
This was a while ago, but there you are A.and M.
I remember biking together with you guys, and playing board games. It is terrible to be beat everytime.  I just want to win once  at Othello.
These rock formations were at Veedawoo, right? Or was it Wedavoo?
Remember the day you were sealed together in Seattle? That was a special day for me. I was honored to be there.
I hope you have a great day even though you are in different places.

And thank-you M. for watching over the family while your Dad is away. See you soon,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice

For the longest time I misspelled practice. I used a "s" in stead of the "c". That is typical of practice, it is easy to do it all wrong.
All around my community I imagine pianos playing non-stop from morning till night. Next week is recital week.All my students are feeling the need to work out those mistakes and mental brain freezes for :"showtime".
I thought you might like to know what it is like for the teacher.
Relax, that is not my style. But my hair is standing on end a bit and I have a constant ear worm playing every one's music.We practice at the recital venue the week before. The grand piano there needs some getting used to. The room is big and when the young uns' pound it does sound overwhelming. so we talk about playing musically, sensitively, and with feeling. The piano there gives back beautiful sound to the student who listens and adjusts. For some students these recitals instill within them a desire for a new level of playing.
At the end of the week I start the creative process of choosing the order in which the students play. There are many considerations. Who should go first? It must be someone who is confident and will set the right tone. Tension is contagious and stumbling at the beginning can de-rail the whole evening.
I also consider the style of the pieces and how they will sound together. I do mix up students of different levels. Mostly because my teacher had us play according to ability. I knew if I ever was asked to play last that I had arrived at the position of "top dog" in her studio. This caused unnecessary comparisons which happens, but I wish it did not. Everyone playing started at a different time, at a different age, and everyone has different ability. We bring to the occasion the best we have to offer at that moment which includes me because I have always played something at the end. This is humbling for me and helps me remember the feeling associated with performing.
So here I am on that special night. What, you don't buy it? Okay, this is more likely what I will look like.
I'll be the lady in the corner, close to her students, sweating bullets and praying that all the practice will pay off and that on this day they will "rock"!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday SpiderBoy

SpiderBoy J. is three years old today.
He is a boy to reckon with. When he is not moving I like to play with his wiry-curly hair. We went to celebrate on Sunday.
The birthday cupcakes were delicious. Oreo bottoms, peanut butter cups mixed into cream cheese next, then topped with chocolate mousse. All frozen before serving. Our gift was a hit.( ha, ha)
Opa thought he needed to have a T-Ball set to prepare him for his future in sports. Spider-Boy missed a few pieces in setting up the ball.
Could he be playing T-Golf?
He is aiming for that ball!
Oh no, a little high. He liked to knock the whole stand over because surely, you get more points for that.
There was no way to guess that three years ago he would be the super-hero is is today. As all good super-heroes are, he is a bit obsessive, but he is never boring and always a joy to squeeze.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Super Saturday Summation

The Stake Relief Society event,which I wrote about was really terrific. 
The diversity in our stake is remarkable and I took time to look at faces I did not know. The classes which were offered covered the topics of health, fitness, cooking, relationships, gardening, and finding activities around town. Evryone seemed pleased to learn and participate.
My yoga class blew me away. I imagined a small class, circling around with the yoga mats I brought.
 In reality there were close to 50 sisters willing to hear and learn about yoga. Our class was held on a carpeted rectangle behind accordion doors and adjacent to the gym. I had envisioned doing sun salutations with chairs but there were no solid walls so I had everyonr partner up and one person held the chair in place while the other learned a simple flow series. I was humbled by the eagerness in the women's faces. There were elderly to young women and each seemed to desire to work with their body. 
This experience has taught me how little I do know. I realize that a good teacher learns anatomy, breathing, meditation, as well as asanas, and if I were to become a teacher I would have a great responsibility to be careful and respectful of everyone's abilities.
The best part of my class was the guided breathing. As we finished coming back to our breath and into relaxation, I opened my eyes to see peaceful, smiling faces and thought how wonderful it is to be connected to our bodies. It is sacred space.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Do You Love Your Body?

This Sunday in Relief Society, a women's organization I belong to, I brought up the topic of body image. We were talking about our health code called "The Word of Wisdom". I wanted to share my feelings about the negative talk I give myself about this body in which I live.
What? Me, not love my body?  It is true.  My body has always been bigger than I imagined it was in my head. But, it is time for me to let go of society's perceived notion that I must look a certain way to be valued. I live in a culture where the word perfection is tossed around with little understanding of the real definition. In the Bible the word perfect comes from a Greek word which has the meaning, complete, finished, fully developed. When Jesus says,"Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect", he is not commanding us to perform, he is inviting us to allow him to finish or complete us with his mercy and grace. Society judged Jesus as uncomely, unremarkable, so outward appearance did not bring him love and loyalty from his disciples. 
Knowing this, is one thing, but feeling it's truth is another. My pathway to coming to know my body is through mindfulness. I am trying to pay attention to what it tells me. The more I listen and honor it's messages the more I hear the voice of the Spirit. How does that work? The body gives messages dealing with right now, the present. It does not futurize, or rehash the past. So a message to rest is something that is needed now. If I choose to listen, I also choose to be present in the "now" realm. That is the perfect place for my spirit to be if I want to hear the word of the Lord. Now he can get my attention because my mind is not cooking up what is going to happen or harboring thoughts of the past.
Another example might be my body telling me that I am full. If I choose to pay attention and quit eating I invite the feeling of satisfaction to be present. And then the door is open for the spirit to testify that I have all I need. I am whole in the present. I am blessed right now. Gratitude can flood my body as I allow my mind to grasp that I am loved and God is giving me all I need. That is the feeling of perfection and it has nothing to do with how I look, but everything to do with what I am.
Another example, right now my body feels anxious when I think about Saturday morning. If I listen, my body is telling me it needs to slow my breathing and relax. As my breathing deepens I let the thoughts about Saturday parade before my mind. I am not performing a piano piece, or giving a lecture. I am leading a group of women who I don't know in a beginning yoga practice. My gut is clenching. Breathe..... I am not pretending to be a yoga teacher. I am not pretending to be a physical example of yoga training, but I am encouraging these ladies to consider yoga as a pathway to connecting to the body. I can do that because I believe it is true. So, relax. I will do fine. a scripture pops into my head.
D&C 93:33 "For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple."

The spirit is teaching me to honor and make sacred this body. It will carry me through this life and will be mine again in the glorified form I choose.
So is it good enough? It is just right for me now and can be better if I listen to it's teachings.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Three Trips For The Price of One

Most of us get three trips for the price of one. There is the trip you plan. the actual trip. and the trip you remember, which is often the best of the three.
In the planning trip I wanted to visit a store called Smeeks. The recommendation on the Internet looked so inviting. I had the idea that it was a vast store filled with novelty toys never seen anywhere else.
In the actual trip it ended up pretty small with a cute layout but only half as exciting.
My grandkids did like the toys and goodies for a whole 15 minutes. 
One surprise was the beautiful gardens I saw. There is a rose garden two blocks from Teacher Son which looks and smells incredible.
I can still smell them.
Each color smelled different.
We all wanted to touch.
The best part of remembering was playing with E. She has these great stuffed veggies and fruits. E. unpacked them and I put them back in their baskets, differently each time.
I can still feel E's softness and see her sunny face.
Don't grow up without me. The remembering trip is such an important part.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lazy Daze in Sun City

      In Phoenix City many very wealthy homes are blocks away from more modest neighborhoods. E. and I set out with the stroller to see the people of Palmcourt wake up. The gardeners were starting up their mowers and the housekeepers were arriving to start their weekly cleaning as we wandered through the streets. I picked out a little winter home that my husband and I could buy if someone waved a magic wand over us
.I imagine how nice it would be to wake up to the birds chirping and the warm sun coming through white, billowing curtains. In case the magic wand doesn't materialize
I have enjoyed coming to stay with the Teacher Dad son of mine.
Last night the wind came up and we had some showers. Teacher Dad got so excited. "This is so different than day after day of sun and no clouds." The earth smelled fresh and the rain sputtered on the tin porch roof.

Today E. and I sat outside and did some weeding. The flowers were lovely and needed to be freed from the choke of the grasses.
Teacher Dad, Teacher Mom, and E. made me feel loved and at home
 I shall return in the Fall.
Tomorrow I fly back to the cloudy with a chance of sun world I came from.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

From Phoenix

       Yesterday we drove about two hours to visit an old mining town built in a hill.
 It was once known as the Wickedest City in the West but is now known as the Largest Ghost Town in America. There are about 500 residents and they put up with thousands of tourists. Artisans are plentiful and if you have a bit of cash you can drop a few thousand on art here. We visited a glass blower who works alone, very unusual, and who loves to talk and explain everything he is doing. He let us know why blown glass is so expensive. He also talked about Seattle being the glass blowers capital in the US. Well, I know that is true.
We had a terrific lunch at Grapes.
My salad, the Tuscan Berry, was remarkable.
We walked from shop to shop.

My favorite gallery was pretty expensive. It was called Pura Vida.
. It had beautiful textiles, jewelry, and pottery.
 I am storing extra sun in my cells to share with you at home.