Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In Honor of Baseball Season

My dad was a big sports fan. He loved to watch boxing, horse racing, football, basketball, and baseball on T.V. He also liked to go to high school football and basketball games. My two brothers wrestled in high school (state champions both of them) and my dad always drove the bus on their "away" matches just to be sure he got to watch every one. Sports were playing in our house quite often. So, you'd think that some of that would rub off on me, huh? Nope...not a bit. A couple of my sisters also enjoyed watching with him. They knew who they wanted to win; they knew the team names and the stars of various sports teams. Me? Nada. Zip. Nothing. Zero.

I managed to grow up without following any sports teams at all. I went to high school games to see my friends. Sure, I sat in the cheering section and was even a member of the pep club in my cheesy outfit. But, I rarely knew what was going on out there on the court or the field. I even played basketball with my church girls. I was a pretty good foul shooter, but I still, today, cannot dribble the ball and walk/run at the same time. I played softball with the girls at church, too. I was usually catcher because I could squat indefinitely (cow milker skills) and I could at least throw the ball back to the pitcher fairly accurately. I liked horse back riding, bicycling and swimming.

I finally learned the rules for baseball watching my sons play Little League. I next learned all the rules for football watching all the high school games I attended to watch my sons in the marching band. I've never enjoyed watching sports on T.V. except for the Triple Crown horse races. Which brings me to the purpose for this post.

Many years ago, (early in 1979) when I had but two small children, I appeared on the T.V. game show "Password Plus." It was a hoot! My partners were Betty White and Dick Martin. I won several games, and ultimately won the big prize and got to be the champion for a week. (It was all filmed in a single day.) Recently, CoolGuy found the reruns of several of my shows on YouTube in a Betty White tribute series. I present for you my fabulous tribute to Sports!! (look closely at Dick Martin's face after I utter my clueless remarks...and listen for Alan Ludden to confirm my amazing ignorance.)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hanging With Cool People

What an exciting evening we had in Fabulous Las Vegas! Our son is the sound technician for Future Islands. They had a gig in town last night and we went. They were coming up from L.A. and so, having to drive across the whole city before they could get out of that giant traffic whirl, arrived quite late in town. So, our original plan to meet for dinner was scrapped, and we hooked up around 9:30 downtown.

It had been a short night and a long crazy day for our son. The opening act had lost their bass player due to a family emergency, so that fellow really needed a substitute to help him. Our son is a bass player in his own group, so he was the perfect solution. However, that meant that he'd stayed up quite late to practice, and as they trudged their way through the traffic on their way to Vegas, he'd scrunched up in the back seat of the van practicing on the guitar. Improv! A key to a happy life in the music business is flexibility.

We spent about an hour with him over some Thai noodles, then he went off to perform in the opening act. We watched from just below the stage as he did his first gig with this other group (actually, one other guy on a drum who sometimes sings, sometimes shouts, sometimes shouting/singing).  It was terrific! The audience was there for a good time, and they were having one!

So, there we were, geezers in a crowd of hipsters, surrounded by people mostly younger than our own children. We were having a great time! I mean, here you are, watching your son succeed wildly in his chosen career. He not only can do the job he was hired to do, but also jump right in and perform with another group on a short notice. Here's a couple of photos of the bass playing.

 Yes, I'm hobbling around in a cast still, so I found a pile of crates right under the stage and I built myself a little seat, right there beside/behind him.
Then, they set up for the main attraction. I was chatting with a woman who'd been staring at me over and over, but finally came over to let me know she wasn't mean. As she approached, I asked, "Do we know one another?"  She confessed that her husband often told her that she stared too long at people...and yes, she was busted. She asked me if I was related to the lead singer of the main group. She pointed out our resemblance of dimples and round cheeks. I agreed with her, but demurred as I said my son was the bass player from the previous group, and worked as the sound tech for the group she had come to see. Then, we chatted about a number of fun topics---they were from Boston and just come out to Vegas for a little vacation specifically because this was the week this band was going to be here (!). They both had small businesses and could set their own schedules. It was a good week to be in Nevada--our weather is awesome---Boston got more snow.
So then I received a text from our son that there was room at the back of the venue to sit and watch the show. He had a little platform with his mixer board, and there was a table/bench for me. It was great! We could hear and see everything well and I could watch and admire him as he did his thing.
This band he works with is very energetic and has been playing together for ten years. They're good, they know what they're doing and they're tight. Our son has known them for at least five years and they recorded some of their earlier work in his studio. It's exciting that he can be part of this tour because they appreciate his skill and trust him to do well.
Then, about half-way through their program, the lead singer called out: "We're going to dedicate this next song to Mom and Pop [CoolGuy] who live here in Vegas and are hanging with their son, our own [Super Awesome Sound Dude] and they pointed back to us and waved. Everyone turned around and gave us a cheer. (Obviously we were the people qualified to be known as "Mom and Pop" back where they were pointing.)  So awesome! No one has dedicated a song to me at a live concert before, so that was pretty fun!
We'd chatted briefly with the lead singer before the show, out on the sidewalk, before we went in to see the first act. I'd recognized him from his videos, and I stepped up to introduce us as Sound Tech's mom and dad  He was every bit the polite young man from North Carolina, and said how much they liked working with our son. I told him that we'd heard the same thing about him --- what a good time our son was having working with him. So, it was really nice when he acknowledged us at the show.  
The audience insisted on three encores, and then everyone finally left so the crew could pack up the gear. We stood around talking to people, then their van arrived to put up all their stuff---they were headed off to Southern Cali for another show on Thursday night--Friday night off, and then back on stage at the Coachella Music Festival. They have eight more states and eleven more shows till they get home. Then, after a weekend off, they're being flown out to L.A. to appear on Jimmy Kimmel on Monday, May 5th.
Whew!  It's a challenging life---day after day in new place, doing exactly the same program night after night. But that's what a band tour is all about and the reason they're succeeding is that they have the talent and the passion to do it. And they're just all being professionals, which is what our son likes about it so much.
We dropped him off at their hotel, we drove home and flopped into bed at 3:30 A.M. Good thing I'm on vacation! But, I'd have done that even if it were a school night. It's pretty great to be the honored parents of a valued member of a great gig. We met up again this morning for a late breakfast before they took off again, and did our hugs and "love you's" and I can't believe I don't have any photos except the ones from the shows! Here's a little video of him in action.  (The sound is not optimal in this video because it's from a go look up Future Islands on YouTube and hear how good they are.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are We Not All Beggars?

Today, I listened to a speaker in church, express something that had just happened to me a few minutes before. He said, "Have you ever been reading in the scriptures, and stopped and thought to yourself: Wow! did they change that since the last time I read that...and underlined it in red?" I felt startled. I had just experienced the same feeling a few minutes earlier while reading a familiar and beloved passage. This time it seemed to speak a different message to me.

Mosiah 4:16-23 has always spoken very vividly to me. It so strongly tells us that we are not to judge one another, but to simply help one another. But today, another thought crossed my mind as I reread this chapter. Perhaps there is more than just physical succor being referenced here.

In verse 16 it says, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

 What if the petition is for kindness, or forgiveness? What if it isn't simply food or shelter?

It goes on: perhaps thou shalt say: this man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just---

Maybe the person who is petitioning you doesn't need something like food, but they need your spiritual power, your faith? Maybe they have "brought upon" themselves their misery, but now they need you to forgive and to invite them into the shelter of your testimony and your knowledge of the love of God for all mankind?

In verse 19, it goes on: for behold are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

What could make our lives richer than our knowledge of our divine heritage? What is more sustaining than the witness of the Holy Ghost that the scriptures are the word of God, that His power is ours to use through our covenants, if we live righteously? 

Verse 20:  And behold, even at this time ye have been calling on his name and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you...

Should we deny those who need our forgiveness, our love and friendship, and our guidance?

Verse 21: Now if God, who...doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, oh then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

My "substance" is not just the physical things of this world that make my life more comfortable. I'm not denying the literal interpretation of these scriptures to give to the poor and the needy. But today, I read something entirely new that I needed to know. My testimony, my faith and my knowledge of the plan of salvation and God's reality is actually my most valuable possession. I need to give freely of my forgiveness, my faith, and my love as well.

Verse 26 concludes: And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you--that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God--I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor ....both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

I'm a beggar, I know. But I'm rich in some ways. I know now what alms I can--and should---give freely from my abundance.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

He was Right

CoolGuy, I mean. I went to school yesterday because it was the last day before Spring Break, and there was a fun event known as the Bike Rodeo. The students bring bicycles or scooters, and then each class gets to ride on a course painted on our playground. It includes popsicles and lemonade and a safety talk by firefighters. So, I really wanted to be there.

By noon, I was so tired. And all I'd done so far was teach two groups of 4th graders. We hadn't even gone outside yet since our grade's turn was at 2:00. Whew...I'd been to school before using the little cart instead of the crutches. But, as pointed out by my Nurse, not just two days after the surgery. So, luckily, the rest of the day flew by and we had a fun time outdoors, and I went home and collapsed on the couch. Literally...I was so tired. And my Nurse didn't even say, "I told you so" even though he'd been extremely skeptical about my decision to go to school Friday. I slept for 12 hours.

But, when I rolled onto the playground to pick up my class in the morning, I was greeted with cheers and my little students made me cards and I knew they'd be so happy that I returned. It was probably worth it. And I'm really glad it's Spring Break and I have nothing more pressing to do than lie on the couch and rest for a few days.

Three of our grandchildren dropped by on their way back home from their Spring Break visit to LEGOLAND. (oooh...weird....the computer makes that into an all caps word on its own...) (creepy.) A good time had been enjoyed by all and they were totally ready to sleep in their own beds and be at their own house again. It's so nice to be grandma. They're coming back this summer to hang out and go swimming for a fun few days.

Now, I will obey my Nurse, as best as I am able. I will lie around and prop up my foot and try to not whine about how boring it is. Seriously, I forget how boring it is to do nothing. It's fine for a few hours, but several days?? Not so much. I think that is probably a personality defect of mine. Sigh.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fourth Time's The Charm?

Guess what I'm doing this week? Lying on the couch with my foot propped up on pillows with an icepack on it! It seems to be that time of year again! Foot surgery! Yes, well, we're trying yet another attempt to relieve the pain in the right foot. The continual pain that has not ceased since the initial surgery four years ago to fix the torn tendon that started all this foolishness.

So, here I sit--again--with my cast and my cart. Which we wisely just put up in the storage locker instead of selling on eBay. I only have stitches, no bone cutting this time. But the stitches are in my heel, making it very, very tender to step on, so I'm using the cart for a week or so. And it is sooooo much better than crutches. I'm going back to school tomorrow, Friday, just because it is our last day before Spring Break, and it is a fun day. Then, next week, for my vacation, I'll lie down, prop up and ice the leg.
Except for Wednesday, when CoolGuy and I are going to go out to a club and see the band for which our son is the sound mixer. They're on tour and are coming to Sin City on Wednesday, in between gigs at the Coachella Music Festival...pretty cool. But mostly, I'm looking forward to seeing our son and having a meal with him.
We're having summer start a little soon here. It was 90 degrees today! But...that means that the pool will be ready to use by the time I get these stitches out! Yeah! I love pool season, and it can't get here soon enough. This is the fourth spring in a row, however, that I have timed my swimming start to the removal of stitches...That is getting old. I'm ready to get healed.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Keep On Trying

As I took this photo, I put up a sheet of white paper to obscure the name of the student who made this object. I don't want to ridicule her. Nor do I post this to make fun of her work. She worked hard to create this and it is posted on a bulletin board in the hallway. It is part of a board to celebrate reading, and each of the students who contributed made a 3-D or some kind of functional object to go on the collection. This little sweetheart is instructing you to "Open Me." Yeah...but, as you can see, she has one of those brains that mixes things up from what she intends. She isn't going to get better. However, she is a kind, hard-working, friendly, cheerful person. We work and work and work with her. She gets all kinds of special services. Her parents do their best, too. But, between language barriers and culture and the scrambled circuits in her head, we end up with this sort of thing and I don't know what else to do. (Although...ahem...if she were in my room, I'd have checked her spelling before I let her go on to the final product.) (She's in another grade now.) Being a teacher is hard work for a lot of reasons. It is very satisfying and rewarding, too. But one of the hardest parts is, that despite all of our efforts, some people are doing all that they can's not going to get better.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Day of His Birth

Happy birthday to our son! He's on tour with a band for whom he is the sound person during live performances. It's pretty fun for him, because he recorded them at his studio when they weren't so acclaimed, and now they're quite The Thing. We get to see him in a couple of weeks, when the tour brings them through Sin City. Very exciting!

He's toured before with another group and we went to watch in L.A. It was fun to watch him do his job because he's got skills.

Here he is at the "board" in the club in L.A. where we watched him during the performance.
He was born in the living room on a lovely sunny morning in Southern California, while his two sisters played out in the yard. His older Kindergarten brother had debated whether or not he should go to school that day. But, there was a field trip, and that was pretty compelling. So, he went to school; after all the baby would still be there when he got home. (P.S. the living room was a planned event...we had a midwife.)
He was a charming little fellow who joined right in to all the family fun. He's been a free-thinker and used his gifted brain to set himself apart for all of his life. Here are a few photo memories in honor of this great day!
Dinosaur lover

Camping with Dad and brothers

Cub Scout Dude---he'd won the Pack Pinewood Derby and we were at a bigger event.

Posing on the Salt River Pass in Wyoming

Halloween G.I. Joe

Karate pose

pretty good baseball player

Baltimore--his home

With Leroy, his assistant in the studio

That's him in the white shirt playing the bass guitar with Roomrunner.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

No, Not April Fools

Look what you can buy!  I don't know anyone who'd love it,
but I wish I did, just so I could give it to them.

Lord of the Rings Pez awesome.