Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Of Professional Images, Birthday Cakes and Mosquitoes: Among Other Things

Due to our renovations and the rather busy-ness of our lives, we have not been able to install our washer and dryer in our utility room. So that means we have to run over to my inlaws and wash laundry there. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate their generosity... but I can't wait to be able to wash our laundry here, at our house. Because we are us, we usually wait until we have worn most of our clothing before we decide to do anything about it and this time was no exception. Yesterday morning I had a towering mountain of dirty clothes and towels and such. It took me awhile to maneuver it into my inlaws' house. Of course, when it was all in, down the stairs and sorted appropriately, you can only wash one load at a time. I had some hours to kill.

Taro, one of my students, turned 17 yesterday. He and his brother and sisters are involved in this year's Dickens' play. Since the play date is coming up straight away, we are having regular rehearsals.... one of them that very night. So, I consulted my mother in law and we decided a cake was in order for the evening. I had run out of eggs so I simply brought everything else over to their house and proceeded to make a French Vanilla cake. (Yes, from a cake mix. No, I'm not ashamed. It's good cake. ;-) :-)) Btw, does anyone know how to make a French Vanilla Cake from scratch? Usually white cake is so bland but this particular cake is really amazing.

When I finally got back home, it was 3:30 and my first students were due to arrive very soon. I rushed around the house cleaning up and was just at the tail-end of it when they appeared on my doorstep. I was still in my comfy paint be-spattered bunny hug and they were a few minutes early so after I greeted them, I went and changed quickly. The shirt I chose is one of my favorites: last year's Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party ladies t-shirt with a really clever logo on the front of it. It's green. My favorite color. :-)

Two students and their mother later, I was greeting two more students and running for the washroom for a little moment. That's when I happened to glance in the mirror. Something was wrong. It took me a moment to figure it out.... then, light bulb. I had my shirt on backwards; the clever logo was etched across my back, mocking me. As my oh-so-professional image went down the drain, I couldn't help bursting out laughing. It is always great to get a slap like that and it be that funny. So, I turned my shirt around and ta-da, clever logo was clever once again. But it still amuses me whenever I see it. I wonder what my students thought... and I especially wonder what my student's mother thought. Haha!!

Last night's rehearsal went quite well indeed. It was supposed to be a semi-dress rehearsal but Doug (director) said it was ok if we interrupted it a bit. I didn't know how we were going to present the cake to the birthday boy but when I started gathering in-tell, Michele had a great idea, as usual. She thought we should spring it on him when we were in a scene together. It appealed to my love of awesome surprises so I went around and whispered the plan to everyone else.

My line goes like this: "Please Mr. Scrooge [insert southern accent], it's Christmas Eve, do you really expect us to go back to those people now and tell them that you are condemning those buildings, that those families are going to have to move, that the neighborhood recreational centre is shutting down and the church is going out of business? I mean... [grabbing Scrooge's wrist and pointing towards Taro] it's his birthday for crying out loud!" Then as everyone came out with the cake we all started singing happy birthday. The look on his face was really surprised. :-) Such fun!

There are certain things I appreciate about winter. One is that it's easier to sit and relax on cold snowy days than to sit and relax on hot sunny days. Because when it's hot and sunny, you feel guilty for wasting it by relaxing. (Of course, I don't think sitting and relaxing is wasting time but sometimes my better, more responsible side gets to me.) Another thing is that snow is so beautiful. There are simply no words for it. :-) And the best thing is that there are no mosquitoes. At least there shouldn't be. So it's not fair that every night before we go to bed, I have to kill at least three mosquitoes. We have no idea where they are coming from. It's cold outside. They should be all dead. Jesse wonders if they were already in the house somehow. Or... my latest theory is that they are coming up from the drains. Regardless, I really wish they would all go back and hibernate... or die. Or something. ::hates mosquitoes::

Well, I have some housework to do and some Christmas decorating to begin. I hope your winter is progressing as well as mine is. I pray for love to reach each heart. Just a little love. I think it would make all the difference in the world. The more I work "in the world" the more I realize that non-acceptance is the most natural, human reaction. People do not love one another. They judge each other. And wow. Did I ever get on that apple box quickly. ;-) I suppose God has been showing me a lot about this lately. Whenever I find someone particularly annoying, my conscience pops up...

Thanks so much for reading. It makes my heart brim with joy. Come to Carlyle and enjoy the Dickens Festival!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lives Lived

Place: Regina, Saskatchewan
Date: a couple days after September 10th.
Occasion: Honeymoon/after wedding celebration

Naomi had made reservations at a certain Regina Chateau for the night. Newlyweds had spent the day on the road since they had taken the ridiculous detour of going up to Endeavour first (saying goodbye to grandparents who were staying at N's parents' place before heading back to WA), then heading back down to Regina.

After a movie and sushi it was dark and they decided it was time to seek out their night's lodgings. Amusingly enough, they had never seen the hotel in real life. Naomi had just found it on the internet and they thought it sounded nice. They weren't really having a "honeymoon" anyways so they decided it might be nice to splurge and do something out of the ordinary.

Jesse was driving so Naomi was doing the navigating. She read the address from her notes and they proceeded to that section of the city. The closer they got to their destination, the more confused the couple felt. This was a very odd neighborhood for a nice facility like Regina Chateau... at least as it had been advertised as.

When they reached the place the street numbers matched those on her notes, the street lights were few and far between. People moved in the shadows or simply stood and watched them. It was getting rather nerve wracking. Finally Jesse slowed the car.

"1108... 1109... 1110." They stared in disbelief. On either side of 1110 Victoria Avenue were dumpy little houses, the typical 50's and 60's fair. But 1110 Victoria Ave was... an empty lot.

Being the kids at heart that they are, the two couldn't stop laughing for about five minutes. They didn't know if they had been scammed or if Naomi had written down the wrong address but it was hilarious.

Thankfully, Jesse always keeps a Regina phone book in the car so they pulled that out and looked for the Regina Chateau's listing. As it turns out, Naomi had copied down the address but had accidentally made an omission. The Chateau's proper address reads:

1110 Victoria Ave E.

Naomi had missed the E. part of it. Just one small mistake had led the couple completely astray. They haven't stopped laughing about this incident yet. Adventures of this type seem to befall them on all sides... like the first time Jesse and Naomi cooked together (he was courting and she was trying to engage his attention elsewhere than her by making him help her make supper) (it didn't work) and Naomi managed to accidentally pour all of Michelle's garlic powder in the soup and it boiled all over the stove. Or the time Jesse exploded the plate in our new kitchen, making everyone holler. Or the time they started on their trip an hour early so they would be on time for the orthodontist appointment (four hour drive one way) and they got stuck in construction.

Happily, I can tell you that Jesse and Naomi Twietmeyer discovered that The Regina Chateau does actually exist and is a wonderful place to stay. The beds are comfortable... so many pillows! Real sheets and blankets. And the hot water in the showers never runs out. Best of all, the rooms are clean and comfortable. It was the most comfortable hotel they had ever stayed in.

The End. (Until the Twietmeyers have further adventures of course.)

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. -- Soren Kierkegaard

Funny how a certain phrasing of words and the spirit of it uttered will catch my attention. The theory of this quote I agree with. The spirit of Soren Keirkegaard may be one of regret and wishing they could change the actions of the past. Of course, this emotion could merely be an echo of the music I am listening to ("Don't Break the Heart That Loves You" by Connie Francis). ;-)

Yes, the above story really happened. If you knew Jesse and me, you wouldn't have to ask the question. :-) I look back on this incident and can't help but smile. I am so thankful for every adventure, every moment spent together. Sometimes we feel so happy so that it seems it's impossible. I look back on the happiness which has enveloped us the past year and I still don't understand why I have been given this. I feel breathless.

There is so much about my past that I do not understand. The happy times and the not so happy times. The hurt and the agonizing, fierce agony. The times I felt I was leaping ahead and growing and the struggles to take a single step, feeling like it would be easier to die than to try to live. Was some of it really necessary? Though the healing is working in me, sometimes the pain of memories still threatens to overwhelm me. Then I know with every ounce of my being that, had it not been for my past, I would not have the strength or understanding I have today. I try to weigh between the pain of knowledge and the strength of character. Then I realize it doesn't work that way. If I had my choice, I wouldn't choose the pain.

Maybe. I mean, if I had known everything, I would have seen the wonderful closeness of my Creator. That I wouldn't trade, even in the face of great suffering. Perhaps I would have had the wisdom. But this is all speculation with no basis in fact. I am so glad that I cannot see into the future. This is a life being lived in the faith and strength of love because there is no other way of really living.

That doesn't mean fear and pain don't come to call but their visits are less frequent. I can't explain to you how happy I am. I can't explain the depth of my gratitude to God for bringing Jesse and me together. I am praying for many years together... for the grace to make each passing day better and more filled with love than the last.

Life is not without it's ups and downs. I know this. But when you are with your soul mate, your partner who excepts and loves you unconditionally... the bad times are much more bearable and the good times are better.

I love you, Jesse.

Thanks, God. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Boring-ness That Makes Me Really Happy

Several times I have tried to sit down and write a post but something has always gotten in the way. But! Victory! Today, a student of mine had to reschedule her lesson to another day so I had an hour and a half before theatre. Perfect time to scratch out some emails and a much needed update for Treasuries. :-)

Major happenings? Not many of those. Just every day, beautiful life. :-) I think I prefer it that way.

 Lessons. 13 students. Progress. Happiness. I honestly cannot imagine anything more fulfilling than teaching music. It's like you're changing lives with every lesson. If I can keep these times full and interesting, fun and entertaining, hope-filled and progressive... well, these wonderful young people will go places. Not necessarily the stage but when you play  music, you are fulfilled. You can entertain and fulfill needs and desires... both yours and others. Each student is different... different home life, mind set, values, struggles and victories. But they are all important to me and music is becoming part of them.

Last night (15th) we went to a house concert in Forget and listened to Woody Holler and His Orchestra. It was such a treat. Daniel Koulack (he played at our wedding) plays bass in this band so it was another reason I really wanted to go. :-) They were amazing. It's a Western Swing band but they play all kinds of music. Some of it was old country (Woody sang in Spanish...), some of it was old cowboy (Don't Fence Me In, etc) and other stuff was very jazzy (Honeysuckle Rose). What a treat for the ear! Jesse video taped the second half of the show for them and in payment for his services, they gave us a cd. We got it signed by all the guys and promptly forgot it at Michelle's house. Lol! Thankfully we see M. often due to theatre practice so she get it to us sooner than later.

Speaking of theatre, it is going well. We have several of my students involved. Actually we have about five people who haven't been in our theatre group before so it has been interesting to try and find a place for everyone. But it is coming along great. The story is the usual A Christmas Carol but it has been Remixed. :-) Jesse is Scrooge this year. It's funny watching him be so nasty to everyone because he's usually so decent. Haha!

And then there's work. Two of the girls are leaving... one because of maternity and the other because... well, just because that's who she is. :-) I will miss her. Good news is that I *love* the floor manager (and she's staying!). She is an amazing human being who has problems like the rest of us but rises above them and treats everyone equally. She's gold.

They finished insulating the porch and tore down the door and wall the separated the kitchen from the porch. The house seems so much bigger. I love it. They plan to finish it when spring/summer rolls around again. I am  looking forward to the day when it is all finished and we have a brand new kitchen with all of our wedding gifts in it. Right now, most of them are upstairs sitting on one of the beds, waiting for their own little space.

Stuff keeps us busy: parties, Remembrance Day, picking up paintings from Jesse's Grandma's place, learning to live with the cold weather, trying to keep healthy.

I got the flu again a week or so ago. 11 days was how long the first one took... thankfully, the second bout didn't last as long. I actually started to write a blog post when I was down with it but decided not to. When I'm not feeling 100% I tend to complain about the fact. There is simply enough complaining in the world without me adding to it. (So say I bravely today!)

Those are some of the highlights of the life of Naomi. What has been happening in your life? Is the flu going down where you're at as well? What music has inspired you lately? Have you made a dish that you have been very pleased with?

Well, the evening is upon me so I should close this up. Cheers my dears! :-)

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Funny how you can know a person so well and find out something about them you didn't know.

Setting: Jesse and Naomi in grocery store carrying basket half filled with groceries. Jesse reads things off of list in hand while Naomi grabs them off shelves.

"Cream of wheat..." Jesse reads.
"It's my favorite hot cereal," Naomi replies.
"Yeah, it's my favorite too," Jesse says.
"No way!"

As it turns out, we prefer it above oatmeal, cracked wheat, corn meal mush or just about any other hot cereal. Life is good. :-)