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Piano lessons

September 29th, 2008 | Posted by Brinestone in Piano Teaching - (5 Comments)

When I was about five, I thought I wanted to be a librarian or a piano teacher. A librarian because I loved to read and a piano teacher because it seemed logical considering I was learning to play the piano.

I reconsidered teaching piano when I got mine in March 2007, but I didn’t feel ready yet, and I didn’t know how to start. Then an absolutely lovely 90-year-old lady in our last ward offered to teach me what she called the best method for teaching piano out there. She said she’d taught for fifty years on the standard method she’d learned at Juilliard, but her students always had the same problems: poor sightreading skills, better control of the right hand than the left, and difficulty with any key other than C, G, and F. She then went on to say that she’s been using this new method for the past twenty years (you do the math) with consistent results. Of course I accepted the offer.

The books she uses are ugly, and the songs for the first two or three levels are nowhere near as fun to play as what you get in the more standard methods. I started teaching with them in August, though, and already I’m seeing the difference. One of my students had taken a year of lessons or so, and he came to his first lesson ready to play a song for me. I was impressed at first—it seemed like a pretty advanced song for someone who’d only played for a year. After another lesson or two, though, I realized that he couldn’t really read music at all, and he was thrown for a loop by any note out of his comfort zone of C position, G position, and F position. So I did a crash course on the stuff he’d missed from level A of the books I’m using, and already I can tell that he’s figuring out notes, thinking things through, instead of winging it. And my other student, who is starting from the beginning, is playing all over the piano without thinking twice about it. It’s so awesome.

I really need to call that lady and thank her. I love teaching piano, and I love seeing my students learn so quickly and so well.

The story of the egg

September 18th, 2008 | Posted by Brinestone in Kids - (1 Comments)

Scene 1:

BRINESTONE brings in groceries from Costco. LEGO sees 18 pack of eggs and calls them “funny eggs.”

LEGO: I want an egg for lunch.

BRINESTONE: Okay. [Begins washing pot for boiling the egg. Leaves egg carton on table.]

LEGO: Can I crack this egg?

BRINESTONE: No! No. Put it back. Put the egg back right now. [Continues washing pot.]

LEGO starts “cracking” the egg on the table. BRINESTONE catches him just in time, before egg guts start spilling out all over but after the egg is totally smashed. BRINESTONE takes egg and puts it in a mixing bowl because she doesn’t want to waste it and maybe she’ll make cookies or something with it after lunch. LEGO has a TIME OUT.

Scene 2:

While clearing up after dinner, BRINESTONE notices that she never actually made those cookies and that the egg is still in the mixing bowl. The egg has been beaten with a wire whisk, which is now on the counter. Scrambled egg is also on the counter. BRINESTONE puts whisk in sink, washes counter, and places mixing bowl beside sink to wash tomorrow.

Scene 3:

BRINESTONE and LEGO are washing dishes. LEGO sees large, blue bowl.

LEGO: Should we wash this?

BRINESTONE: Not yet.

LEGO grabs large, blue bowl anyway and tries to put it in the sink, knocking mixing bowl containing day-old scrambled raw egg off countertop. Day-old scrambled, raw egg splashes all over rug, floor, and chair.

BRINESTONE cleans up mess and washes any remaining egg down the sink, which she should have done in the first place.

BRINESTONE: I know you just want to help. But you are just a little boy, and even though Mommy lets you help sometimes, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to do everything without Mommy. So don’t try to cook or do dishes or clean up without Mommy helping you, okay?

EXEUNT.

(He also “helped” with dinner, which meant he poured a can of tomatoes in when the onions were supposed to be frying and also poured about a tablespoon of thyme in, when only a teaspoon was called for. It’s lovely how he manages to do these things when I’m not looking.)

(Also, yes, my dishes situation was as bad yesterday as it sounds. I’ve been sick over the weekend, and then I’ve been very busy with errands, laundry, catchup, and piano lessons since, plus Duplo has been going to bed at midnight. The dishes have suffered. I’ve almost gotten them finished now, though.)

We’ve got gas!

September 10th, 2008 | Posted by Brinestone in Random Musings - (1 Comments)

Sorry for the bad title; I couldn’t help myself.

When our new neighbors moved in, they went to the city office to get all the utilities transferred to their name. Somehow gas fell through the cracks. I don’t know enough to know what happened, but when the previous tenants’ last day of the gas being in their name was up, the gas company just turned off the gas to our house. Now, we’re in the basement, so we pay some of the cost of the utilities in our rent, but we do not have an account with any utility companies besides phone and internet. So when the gas was off, it was off for both the upstairs and downstairs.

Of course, the gas company didn’t inform us they were turning off the gas. They turned it off sometime on Friday. Jon Boy noticed a slightly colder shower Saturday morning, but just assumed the upstairs neighbors had used a lot of hot water before he got in and thought nothing of it. Saturday night, I went to take a shower and noticed that there wasn’t any hot water. We checked the water heaters and found both pilot lights out, as well as the pilot light on the furnace. By now it was about 11:00 at night, so we decided to just deal with it in the morning.

Sunday morning, I called the gas company. They told me what had happened and told me that the new tenants would have to come in on Monday morning to get it turned back on. I told them that, and they assured me that they would do it first thing.

Monday morning, the new neighbors went in as they promised. The gas company told them they’d have the gas back on within two days. The neighbors told them that was unacceptable. Finally, the gas company said they’d get it on by 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Keep in mind that we’ve had no hot water since Saturday morning. No hot water means no showers and no doing dishes. Thank heavens this didn’t happen in January or we would probably have had to live somewhere else for a few days until the heat got turned back on. As it was, we had to boil water to wash our hair, and we went to Jon Boy’s sister’s Monday night to shower and bathe the boys. (Thanks, Steph!)

The gas company did unlock the gas meter yesterday at around 12:30 p.m. The upstairs tenant’s grandpa came and turned it on and relit all our pilot lights. Last night I finally did dishes. I’ve never been so excited to do dishes in my life. I ran the dishwasher, emptied it, filled it, and ran it again. I still need to wash pots this morning because I didn’t have time for everything.

Upstairs tenant’s grandpa said that the gas company should have informed us they were turning off the gas. Also, apparently, they legally can’t turn off the gas if we refuse to let them, especially because we are not the homeowners and we have young children. Good to know for next time. He also said that in all his years working as a plumber, he’s realized that the gas company is evil. He’s sued them before and told me he’s not afraid to do it again if we have any more trouble.

Hopefully I’ll never have to hold him to that.

The new neighbors

September 10th, 2008 | Posted by Brinestone in Random Musings - (1 Comments)

are extremely nice and approachable, and they have two young boys. They are also helping us weed and take care of the yard, which looks like no one has cared for it in years. They put their kids to bed at normal times, and they apologize for when they’re loud. Also, our landlord fixed the squeak.