Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Going For the Tree

With my children all young adults, (almost oxymoronic, eh?) and the usual concert time crunch in the beginning of December, I made the suggestion that we get an artificial tree. This is the second year I’ve suggested it.

Frank was not amused. In fact, his reaction bordered on indignant. How DARE I consider a faux fir??

Sean was backing the idea of a plastic pine. He even suggested that we could all build a fire in the back yard, trudge out into the cold to the shed, shuffle around inside and come out with “the perfect tree”! Funny boy.

It so happened that yesterday, Sean had brought home a truck and everything fell into place for us to get our tree, kinda. We had originally thought we might go (yikes!!) cut down a tree at a tree farm, but the messy weather didn’t really allow for that, so we piled into the truck and crept through the messy slushy streets to a local roadside tree vendor. Frank, Jr, Sean, Shawnda and I sloshed through the slushy pavement, pulling out trees, shaking them off and spinning them to see if there were holes, or crooked trunks. We were the only silly ones there.

Sean hates the cold and wanted everything to be done fairly quickly. (But that’s just Sean most of the time) It didn’t help that he was hungry and really hadn’t eaten all day. He and Shawnda stood to one side and looked less than comfy. Frank and Jr were ready for the hunt, talking of how they were gonna ‘sawzall’ the poor thing when they got it home. I swear I could see the tree quivering. (that also could have been the person holding the tree simply shivering; it was 28 degrees outside)

After searching the “cheap side” of the lot, we went for the firs. For years we had gotten soft wispy scotch pines so the needles wouldn’t hurt the kids feet, but now that we are all those oxymorons, we can stand the tougher needles of the firs. Just means that MOMMY gets to decorate the thing ’cause now the needles poke their HANDS!

With our prize in Frank’s hands we loaded the tree into the trunk and I quietly thanked Frank for being so indignant for another year.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Cat stalking Danish

Yesterday was dress rehearsal for one campus’ concert. It’s a long day, but it went very well. I was given an authentic home made danish that was purchased by one of the families for me at the Danish Festival. She found out that part of my heritage is Danish, like herself, and generously thought of me! What a kind thing for her to do. Actually, many of the families in this group are kind, and I’ve been blessed to be a part of their children’s world.

You all may remember my likening my job to a cat herder? Yesterday, I watched something so that confirms that thought for me.

 It’s great to watch Da Boss at work. She’s very focused and intense on getting the music “just right”, but she’s always playful and kind with the children. Certainly dedicated to providing the best she can at any performance, she needs to coax and convey to her living instrument the sound she wants to produce. I recently read a book by Neil Peart, the drummer for the band “Rush”, that talked about how he gets into ‘the zone’ before a performance and his drive to make each performance the best he can. I know Da Boss has a similar mindset, but while Neil only has to use his body and his drum set, Da Boss has over 130 individual instruments she has to work with. It’s always awesome.

But I digress, although not by too far, because unless you understand this about Da Boss, you might not get why this whole scenario was interesting to me.

During rehearsal, we have the children on risers and most of them are all wearing the same color to indicate their group. One of the other members was conducting a piece and while the kids were singing, I see Da Boss go into prowl mode. Just like a cat that hears something scratching, her ear was attuned to something she wanted to ‘catch’. She hunched down and listened, creeping toward the group. With the children standing there, they reminded me of blades of grass and she was the cat on the hunt. Doubled over, she slipped in between the kids (she’s a tiny thing) and almost disappeared behind a row. On went the singing and soon, you could see her slowly stalking the row, looking for her prey. Like a cat  in the grass she continued to weave her way through rows until suddenly, she emerged from the group with a look that said she found what she was looking for.

This simply illustrates how serious she is about making sure the performance is the best it can be. Not simply for herself, but for the proper education of the singers and the enjoyment of the audience.

Today, we’ll see how it works out!