Thursday, December 20, 2007


For myself and guests who visit, I found the most comfy cozy mugs ever. They just beg for a generous cup of hot chai, coffee, or a mega cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and whipping cream!

Hand warmer mugs from that warm your hands and are lead free and made in the Pacific Northwest! They are well worth the cost, and have a nice chunky fit in your hand. I couldn’t put mine down this morning, and I just ordered some more. I like them so much I might order some other pottery pieces just to match. I got the brown and turquoise ones. They make great gifts too. I think this is my favorite piece of comfy cozy I have found lately!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Advent Kickoff!

I want my Advent also to be a time of renewal, and also family. I have made preparations during the month of November to get most of the frantic stuff out of the way to pave way for a peaceful family advent. I see it as a time for us to grow as a family and become closer in family prayer. I also want to focus on prayer as an individual and make this season a good one that peaks with the Midnight Mass!!!

Goals for today and this week:

1. Set up advent wreath and candles and set up Jesse Tree
2. locate all advent materials and place them in a small basket or on table in convenient location
3. Start reading my GK Chesterton Advent book
4. Go to Mass to celebrate first Sunday of Advent
5. Start playing Christmas music (locate CDs, piano music)
6. Finish decorating for Christmas (tree part way up, find nativity set and place for it)
7. Plan some Advent family activities (drive around and look at lights, song night, go shopping for the poor)
8. Go to Advent GIFT night at Church on Dec 5 as a family
9. Go to confession next Friday
10. Go to Adoration 1 hour sometime this week
11. Send out the Christmas Cards that I already addressed and have ready to go

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Maybe it was good to take a break!

I sat down and played today and it felt good—Dr. Parnassum is laying nicely on the fingers! I sat down and played through the first two pages of the piece without stopping- a few minor booboos and unevenness here and there, but for having stepped away for a few days, I actually felt I made progress with the way the finger memory was going on certain sections! I am excited!

Also, I have noticed my sight reading ability is coming back nicely to me as well. Sat down and played “Christmas Time is Here” from the Charley Brown special and was actually able to sight read it smoothly, unlike my fake pianist extraordinare husband who can play beautifully with chords alone but can’t sight read worth beans. That was a big big step for me. I really CAN play- I just need to practice and play more!

The healing process has begun!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

100 Ways to Generate Income

1. teach piano
2. teach clarinet
3. write and sell music compositions
4. be a freelance writer
5. open a daycare
6. be an artist and sell creations
7. make and sell soap
8. make and sell candles
9. be a professional public speaker
10. teach your skills
11. open a bookstore
12. become a naturopath
13. sell your posessions
14. clean houses
15. scoop dog poop (in people's yards)
16. yardwork
17. play music at special events
18. grow a pumpkin patch
19. grow a strawberry patch
20. make jewelry
21. make statues and sculptures
22. grow and sell perennials
23. grow and sell seeds
24. be a tour guide
25. build web pages
26. paint advertisements on store windows
27. sell your photography
28. make stationary
29. run a catering business
30. open a bookstore
31. invest your money
32. paint houses
33. be an interior decorator
34. sell cut flowers
35. sell your car
36. make and sell jam
37. be a computer software trainer
38. be an independent researcher
39. be a dog walker
40. publish your own magazine
41. be a calligrapher
42. invest in real estate
43. make birdhouses
44. make yard decorations
45. create hand made journals
46. recycle for cash
47. offer a scrapbooking service
48. be a ski instructor
49. make gift baskets
50. grow and sell your own tea
51. make bath products
52. make your own cleaning products
53. grow and sell houseplants
54. breed fish
55. breed and sell pedigree dogs
56. get a chicken and sell eggs
57. be a consultant for anything
58. sell collectibles
59. make and sell rosaries
60. be a car detailer
61. make and sell chocolate
62. be a stand-up comedian
63. sell your own vegetables
64. learn how to make shoes
65. make homemade playing cards and sell them
66. take on a newspaper delivery job
67. cut hair
68. make Christmas ornaments
69. learn to quilt and sell quilting crafts
70. become a floral arranger
71. have a holiday yard decorating service
72. make your own beer
73. make and sell shortbread
74. clear yard waste
75. get a coaching job
76. sew sheet sets
77. paint signs
78. sew dog toys
79. sew baby burp cloth sets
80. sew bags
81. make bookmarks
82. babysit
83. teach an art class to kids after school
84. give fishing lessons
85. give kayaking lessons
86. teach driver's education
87. make scented sachets
88. cut grass
89. write resumes
90. become a massage therapist
91. drive a bus
92. sell hanging baskets
93. make bird baths
94. be a cartoonist
95. illustrate children's books
96. split wood
97. make candleholders
98. sell your ideas
99. tutor students
100. make soap dishes

Saturday, November 10, 2007

You know you're enjoying it when....

I used to dread…I mean..absolutely DREAD piano practice time…always getting nagged about it growing up…

Well…I must say I am actually enjoying it right now—I just logged in an hour of practice at once, and seemed I could have sat there awhile longer enjoyably. I am practicing my exercises/scales , Debussy, and started messing around with “America” by Bernstein. I am almost comfortable with playing the first page of Debussy smoothly…next will be working up the speed for that section as I learn the other sections.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Got my practice charts up and running!

Today I printed off some free practice charts from the web so I can keep track of how much time I spend practicing. I put in an hour of time today-divided up- it almost didn’t feel like enough time, as I found just playing scales and exercises most enjoyable for the first 30 minutes. That left poor Debussy the majority of the measly remaining 30 minutes, and about 5 minutes playing “America” from Westside Story (much easier than Debussy!).

Oh well.. I figure if I can keep doing this daily I’ll still see some improvement. With the scales I am up to 90 BPM, so that is exciting. I can feel the strength in my fingers returning!

Got my metronome

Picked up a metronome and have been making progress with it—what a difference a good piano and good metronome make! I have been doing scales and exercises as well and am almost up to 90 bpm. My fingers are getting stronger and that is what counts. I found that with the Debussy I am working on, my 4th and 5th fingers have gotten extremely weak, so doing the exercises is helping with the evenness. My latest challenge is I need to aim to practice at least 1 hour per day. Ideally I would shoot for 3 hours per day, but I am a working mom so not much time during the week to do this. I plan on setting up a practice chart and timing my practice durations to get the most out of preparing to achieve my goal!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Getting better...but still needs work

Still working on the same piece. I realized I can’t find my metronome so this is something I will be purchasing this weekend. I am not nearly as smooth or fast as I’d like to be…yet…but I have successfully trudged through 3 pages of the piece and continue to improve. To get an idea of where I’d like to eventually be, here’s a video of the song. In the meantime, if I can play it nice but slow by Christmas I will be happy! My rusty fingers are still building back evenness and strength, so I need to be realistic!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fall is in the Air!

I have to say fall is my absolute favorite time of year-- the ripening pumpkins, the leaves changing on the trees, and did I mention crock pot cooking of comfort food? I think a pot roast with potatoes and carrots is in order, as well as a nice jaunt down a nature trail is in order! This week I "winterized" my back yard, pulled the rest of the garden up to prepare it for next year, and did some weeding, trimming and cleaning. I have a bag of daffodils I plan to plant, but I don't want to put them in too early-- PNW winters can be unpredictable, and sometimes cause the bulbs to come up a little before its time to.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Dusted off the Cobwebs from my Debussy...

I am working on learning a Debussy piece called “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum.” I am hoping to at least play it well slowly by Christmas then work up speed from then on. Easy key, intense speed and fingerings. Right up my alley, and it sounds as good played slow as it does fast!

Making Progress....

Recently took two courses in GIS Spatial Analytics, so I have improved my understanding, but I’m still not where I want to be with it yet. Need to start really memorizing terms so it sticks- I’m bad about using my reference material as a crutch- why not memorize it so I can better articulate it to others?!? Any ideas out there on neumonic devices please let me know!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

80 days to Christmas?!?

I just saw the Christmas Count Down Clock on and it says 80 days! Better get shopping! This year I plan to have everything done by the 1st so I can have an enjoyable Advent and stay out of the malls! There is nothing worse than last minute Christmas shopping and the sense of guilt that comes with it. Organized Christmas has a wonderful notebook you can print out and start planning to have a relaxed and guilt-free Christmas this year!