Tag Archive | band mom

Mother’s Day Recap

This is very belated, but that seems to be the norm for me lately: did all you moms out there have a lovely Mother’s Day on Sunday? I hope so! Mine was quite nice, I have to say. The kids got up early to have breakfast with me (waffles and bacon cooked by the husband, yum!) and we hung out at the table and talked for a while after. It’s funny; when my kids were very little I just wanted alone time for Mother’s Day. Now that they’re older and don’t see me/need me very much, I do want that time with them. And then some alone time, right? Anyway, then we opened gifts (yes, I got yarn, which I’d picked out, but I also got chocolate and some fun colors of ink cartridges for my fountain pens). I even got gifts and cards from both kids! I felt very loved and appreciated and it was the perfect morning.

But the highlight of the day came in the afternoon: the girl’s graduation from high school!!! Everything went well: we got decent seats and I managed to save enough for everybody and I got good photos and I cried a little (I think the husband even teared up a bit). The girl was calm and composed and gorgeous and I’m so proud. And relieved, to be honest. Relieved to be past all the end-of-year concerts and meetings and deadlines and this and that and the other thing and ohyesdon’tforgetthat! Relieved that now we can focus on the exciting going off to college bit.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, I did have knitting time over the weekend, especially while waiting for graduation to start. I finished my Nebraska Roller socks and cast on a new pair of socks immediately. I know I said I was going to do some skimmer socks next but I lied. I cast on for another pair of shorties, this time with a ribbed cuff, and I pulled out some gorgeous little leftover balls that coordinate perfectly. The green is the Madtosh in Sea Glass and the blue/green variegated is Hedgehog Fibres in Medusa. Fingers crossed I have enough Medusa for two sock bodies.

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Finally, I also had a good chunk of time to devote to my Supernatural Kindness shawl. I bound it off last night, sooner than I anticipated…mostly because I ran out of yarn too soon to do the three rows of garter stitch. I thought about having a solid colored edge, since the garter would help prevent curling, but mostly was too lazy to find the right yarn. I was ready to be done! I think blocking will help immensely. With any luck I can get it washed and pinned out tonight, and then I can take pictures to share over the weekend!

Graduation Season

This week has been low on posts, I know, and I’d like to say I’m sorry but really I’m not. As you may remember, the girl is graduating high school this year and this week has been busy with ALL the things. We had the last band concert (I cried a little during the senior video but that was all). These are her BFFs (best flute friends).

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Then we had Baccalaureate…

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Last night we had the choir concert. Choir is second only to band in her life, and I love that music is her passion. She sings beautifully and had a short solo last night, which was a delightful surprise to me. (She swears she told me about it, but I really think I’d remember something like that!) I didn’t really get emotional until right before the senior video, when I looked around and spotted her across the room, and she saw me and we just made a little funny/happy face at each other and it hit me that I won’t have as many of those little moments anymore. And then the video was showing a baby picture and a senior photo of each kid and the photo of my cute little toddler popped up and bam, there went the tears. (This is her choir director. We love him.)

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Anyway, please forgive me for not having the time to blog this week. Today I’ll show the proof that I have definitely been knitting at all of these events, though! I finished my beautiful beautiful Girl Power socks.

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Yarn is Show Me Yarns Bootheel in color Girl Power and I love everything about it. I mean, I haven’t worn them yet because it’s been 85 degrees here for days upon days and I can’t stand the thought of wool socks on my feet but somehow I know that they will wear beautifully too. And I’m almost done with my Nebraska Rollers too!

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Tomorrow is Graduation (EEK!) so I fully expect to get these done by the end of the weekend. These I might actually be able to wear sooner, since they’re shortie socks. Next I want to make these skimmers to try with my flats!

 

Margaritas, music, and more

You guys are so kind. I found some good knitting time to fight the funk but getting kind comments here helped too! That night we went to dinner with the family (mom, the siblings, the niece and nephews) and had Mexican food and margaritas in Dad’s honor, and we had a lovely evening. I was quite popular with the boys that night, at least the ones under the age of 6, so I got a good ego boost from that, haha! One of them even told me he liked my lipstick and allowed me to kiss his cheek.

img_5766I do enjoy being around the little kids, but it was a noisy, rambunctious evening and it wore me out. Thankfully from there we went on to the girl’s District Choir concert, and I got to sit quietly and listen to beautiful music. I’m so glad she’s in choir too; I love the band and orchestra music, but as a former choir kid myself, I have a special fondness for the choir. This weekend I got both! The girl’s school Symphonic Band was selected to play at the All-State Festival this week, and last night they did a preview for those parents who can’t attend.

Of course I thought it was terrific and it made me really want to drive the three hours each way to see the 30-minute concert…okay, not really. Just a little. If we weren’t going on Saturday to see her play the piccolo in the All-State Orchestra, it would be more tempting. But as it is, I’m super excited to see the orchestra, especially since they’re playing music from West Side Story!

Even with all the concerts, I managed to finish one sock, cast on a new one, and make good progress on two others. I might be able to finish two socks this week, if I’m lucky!img_5771Finally, yesterday was a good day: it was Captain Jack’s birthday! He is now four and is the old man of the pack. img_5769Clearly he’s not a fan of getting older. We had a little chat and he’s feeling better about it now. Or maybe it was the duck jerky treat that perked him up, who knows. In any case, he’s still my favorite pupper (it’s okay, Grace and Duncan know) and I’m awfully glad we adopted him. He’s helped cheer me up many times.*

Happy Monday, friends. Here’s hoping the week treats you well!

*All three of our wonderful dogs have been adopted from shelters. If you’re looking for a new furry friend, please check your local shelters first!

It’s a Flute Party!

Have you ever been to a flute party? No? What, you don’t know what a flute party IS?

Don’t feel bad; I had no idea before yesterday either! But now I know, and it was pretty fun. We decided that we wanted to upgrade the girl’s flute for her graduation present, since we felt like she had outgrown her current flute. She’s going into music education in college, with the possibility of music performance as well, and we want to send her off as well-prepared as possible. And given all the things happening this year that might impact her college admissions and scholarship opportunities (State Band, honor bands, music school auditions) we chose to do it now, rather than at the end of the year.

Now, with other things, it might be simple. You go to a store, pick one out, and buy it. But instruments are different, because each musician is different. The musician has to find the instrument that’s right for her. So her flute teacher arranged for us to attend a flute party hosted by a woodwind dealer/repair specialist. There would be a variety of brands to play, plus we’d have other expert ears to help us decide. We also borrowed a flute from a local music store (so generous of Palen Music. We love them.) and ordered one on trial from Flutistry of Boston.

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We showed up to the hotel and found our way to the room, which was just a hotel suite with two bedrooms. There were two sales reps there, one from Altus and one from Miyazawa, and there were two tables full of beautiful shiny flutes. There were lower end flutes all the way up to an $11,000 gold flute!

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We quickly found ourselves in one of the rooms with several flutes, and it didn’t take long to narrow it down to four. But that’s when the work began. There were six of us listening, and while of course the girl’s opinion was the most important, her flute teacher was also very vocal. The sales reps were great, really only offering opinions when we directly asked them. And they each declined to comment on their own flute, which I thought was very classy.

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And she played the flute. Over and over. Rotating between all four brands, trying to hear differences and preferences. I can’t imagine how it must have felt, to be presented with four beautiful, high-end instruments that all play well, and say, “Here, pick one!” But that was the goal, so we kept playing. Finally we did brackets, and compared two at a time, picking one from each bracket. Then when it was the top two, which happened to be the ones from the reps, they left the room and we brought in the party host to be an objective ear.  Finally, after two pieces played on each flute, we had a unanimous winner, and my daughter finally relaxed enough to be excited about her choice. I think she’s going to do amazing things with this flute, and I feel really grateful that we’re able to do something like this for her.

Oh, my girl

I am so in awe of my daughter. She is so strong, stronger than I ever was at her age. She has this passion for music, this talent for flute, and it has become an intricate part of her life. I can’t think of flute without thinking of her, and I often can’t think of her without thinking of flute. They are intertwined. She has worked hard over the last seven years and grown into a gifted musician, and she’s seen a lot of rewards from that work. She’s earned spots in district bands, state band, honor bands. She’s earned top ratings at competitions and played solos without a hitch.

But with every bright spot, there is a bit of darkness hiding. There is so much competition in this world. She hasn’t succeeded at everything she’s tried; she hasn’t gotten every first chair or solo she’s wanted. And to try so hard, to practice and work so diligently, and not get the results you want, must be incredibly disheartening at times. I can’t say for sure, never having been in anything so competitive. But I imagine, and my heart aches when it happens.

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It happened yesterday. We went to District Band auditions. After an early bout of nerves a couple of weeks ago, she was feeling confident. She was practicing, working new tricks from her flute teacher, and getting good results. She felt good at the first audition, felt good after the callback audition, and we settled in to wait without too much anxiety. But the callbacks ended, and the wait stretched to 45 minutes, an hour, 90 minutes, and the stress built. What could be taking so long? 27 flutes for 13 spots (including the two honorable mention spots), surely it couldn’t be that hard to sort it out?

Each musician is scored during their audition, and the scores are tallied at the end. The drama comes if there are ties, and the judges have to come to an agreement on who gets which chair. Many flute players also play piccolo, and if they earn a chair on both instruments, they’re given the choice. If they turn down piccolo, the judges move to the next piccolo, and so on, until the piccolo spot is filled. So if you’re sitting waiting, and you see other flute/piccolo players getting called back to talk to their director, you know the results are coming soon. We did our best to stay patient and positive.

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It took almost two hours after callbacks ended for her to get her result: second chair in the district band. That’s an awesome result. It really is, to get second chair out of all the flutists in the area who auditioned. And given how long it took to get results, it must have been an extremely tight competition, coming down to the smallest of details.

But. Last year, she had first chair. And when you’ve had that, and you think you’ve earned that again, second chair is bittersweet. I understand it, even as I know how wonderful second chair is. Like I said, it’s a competitive world. She’s been competing against the same musicians for the last couple of years, so it feels a little personal. You don’t just miss out on the spot, you see your competition in that spot. I can imagine how sharp and sour that must feel in your chest.

Plus her experience as first chair last year wasn’t all she wanted it to be. First chair typically comes with a certain spot in the band; the first chair flute is next to the edge, right beside the piccolo. And the first chair flute is given any flute solos in the band’s music. But last year, the district band director decided to switch things up, and he flipped the seating so that she was in the middle of the band, and had the entire flute section play all the solos. So while she knew she was first chair, she didn’t get to experience the perks that usually come with it.

So this year she was, is, disappointed. Sad, frustrated. She knew she’d done the work. She knew she’d improved. So why didn’t her spot show it? It’s hard to remember that even as you’re growing and improving, you’re not doing it in a bubble. The others are doing the same thing. You have to remember that there is some subjectivity to each audition, and something like first and second chair can come down to very small differences. It reminds me of Michelle Kwan when she won silver at the Olympics when everyone expected her to win gold. They’d ask her, “How does it feel to know you lost the gold?” And her answer was, “I didn’t lose gold. I won silver.”

That’s what my girl did yesterday. She earned that second chair. And she’s learning that you have to take each setback and use it as an opportunity for growth, without getting distracted by what everyone else is doing. She still gets to audition for All-State Band, and I think it’s likely that this will motivate her to work even harder to perform as well as she can.

And that’s why I’m in awe of her. Every time this happens, she finds the strength to rally. She sits back and feels the disappointment, and then she stands up, puts it behind her, and goes on to the next great thing.

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I am immensely proud of her results yesterday, as I am every time she auditions. I can’t wait to see how it goes at State. But the greatest thing for me yesterday was watching her interact with the middle school musicians. She works with the 7th and 8th grade bands at the middle school, and she’s built lovely relationships with these kids who admire her and look up to her, and she found so much joy in encouraging them. She called them her “babies” and kept notes of who got what results, and she hugged them and cheered them on, and it was so sweet. She is going to be a wonderful teacher. I love that not only will she create beautiful music herself, but she will also help create future musicians. To have such a gift and be able to share it with others, that must be the most wonderful feeling of all. And how lucky I am that I get a front row seat.

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P.S. There was a LOT of knitting happening yesterday, what with over eight hours in one building. That post will be coming soon!

Gloves and Flowers

As expected, I finished the blue and gray fingerless gloves yesterday during our drive to the band competition. With an hour and a half, I even had time to weave in all the ends, so they’re ready to go to their new owner today. The base pattern is the 75 Yard Malabrigo Mitts, but I added the design element of the Twinkly Lights Cowl.

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It was a good thing I finished them before I got there, too, because once we got there, I didn’t really want to be distracted. The girl is a senior, you see, and this was her last marching band competition. She was a featured soloist in their show, a siren standing atop a pirate ship, and I’m always amazed and proud of her, but last night the finality hit me a little hard. Of course I’m so excited for the next part of her journey, but I can’t help but be sad that this part is almost over. I wasn’t a band geek in high school; I was a theatre geek. They’re actually pretty similar crowds, and I love the collaboration and camaraderie and commitment that I’ve seen in her bands. They’re good kids. She’s a good kid. Plus, I’ve discovered I love band music. I love watching marching band shows. Thank goodness I still have three years to watch the boy in marching band! Anyway, it was a lovely, emotional night, and the band did well, winning lots of awards, including Grand Champions in the field show category.

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With the gloves done, I wanted to finish up another small project before returning to my bigger WIPs. The knitting group at work makes bouquets of flowers for friends who have lost loved ones, and we had a couple to make recently. They’re a beautiful variety of flowers: some people make felt flowers, some ribbon flowers. I chose my favorite crochet flower pattern, added a green pipe cleaner, wrapped the stems with floral tape, and finished each one off with a pretty button. I think they’ll make a nice addition to the bouquet.

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Now that I’ve finished two projects for others, I think I’m justified in going back to some selfish knitting today. I was clever and did the grocery shopping yesterday, so today I can relax with my tea and yarn. Happy Sunday, friends!