I think that’s how many days it’s been since I’ve written anything here. In the last 28 days a few things have happened.
1. The Entertainer competed in a piano festival on a Saturday that includes an honors recital on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 for everyone earning a Superior Plus rating. She has never competed at this level before. She had excellent preparation with her teacher. She memorized her pieces in the first week she had them. The lesson before the competition she was playing so fast and well that I got up to look through the window of the room where she has lessons because I thought the teacher was playing; it was indeed the Entertainer.
She earned a Superior. Her one minus had the comment “you could have played more quickly.” Ironically, the Entertainer had purposefully slowed down because she was a little nervous and she was trying to ensure that she played all the right notes. Honestly, I was quite relieved not to have to fit the recital into a Sunday that was already full.
When the music teacher at school heard about the rating earned by the Entertainer, she had the Entertainer play her pieces for the whole fourth grade. I think that might have been better than the honors recital.
2. There are two places where the United States government prints “folding” money. One of them was visited by a fourth grade class that included the Entertainer and her mother. Talk about a cool field trip! The Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Western Currency Facility has a great little movie that tells about the facility followed by a tour where you see the “real” thing and learn even more. If there’s a small FW on your “folding” money, it was printed at the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Western Currency Facility. The hallway is above the work space with lots of windows. Every time someone working on the floor saw faces in the windows they smiled and waved.
The security was incredible. Everyone entering the facility has to ride a “money bus” from the entrance to the main facility. But you can’t get on the bus until you have been scanned in a tube that reminded me of the transporters on Star Trek. One mom had to take off her 4 inch heels and her 3 necklaces, 5 bracelets, 3 rings, and ear rings before she could be cleared.
We also saw a demonstration of the way money used to be printed using a spider press. The guy doing the demonstration was terrific. He gave the information in a way that captivated the fourth graders and all of us learned something about how our money used to be printed.
Later we learned about star dollars. Dollars that are actually reprints, substituted for the original that was not perfect and could not be released. At the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Western Currency Facility, they call them “lone star” dollars. That evening, in my change from something, I received a $10 lone star dollar. We thought that was way cool!
3. In the last 28 days, the SportsQueen has gone back and forth between quitting band and staying in band. She was finished, done. Then the band director handed out music for “Veggie Tales,” “Pink Panther,” and something else I can’t remember right now, so now, she’s in. I think. Registration for classes is due Monday. We’ll see what actually gets turned in.
4. The SportsQueen is beginning softball. Her primary desire was to be on the team with her friend that is already 13. Since she is 13, she had to move up divisions and SportsQueen decided she would “play up” to be with her friend. Turns out the league had problems with numbers of girls registering so the divisions were combined and the girls are both playing on the same team as last year with the same coach. That’s a good thing!
5. Meanwhile, back at the church, there’s a young youth group kid who is doing scary things. Scary enough that I worry about doing a funeral.
6. For my Grief and Bereavement class I have to write reflection papers. I’ve written 6 out of 10. I’m ready to be done with that part, reflection papers aren’t my favorites. I also had to watch Schindler’s List and write a paper about death, loss, and grief based on the movie. I had never seen it before and did not know it was 3 hours until I had the movie in hand. I had planned to watch it while the girls were at their dad’s. Then the girls ended up with me instead. So, my best laid plans weren’t.
In college, I took a theology class on evil. We used the Holocaust as the lens. We watched propaganda produced by Hitler as well as documentaries. We saw pictures. We went to a local synagogue and listened to the stories of survivors and saw their tattoos. I already knew the facts of the movie. I knew about Amon Goeth. The movie had no surprises except the end.
I was profoundly moved by the fact that there are fewer than 4,000 Jews in Poland today while there are over 6,000 descendants of Schindler’s Jews. I was also moved to tears as I heard the survivors tell their stories and realized that their stories are told in the movie. And I now recognize the tradition of leaving a stone.
7. My church hosted an Emmaus event, I went with church folks to Candlelight, and I am on a team that had a team meeting last Saturday. That’s three weekends in a row of Emmaus stuff in the midst of everything else.
I think Emmaus is another tool in the spiritual toolbox that helps folks grow spiritually but I’m glad I don’t have any Emmaus stuff this weekend.
8. However, as I drove to the netherlands for the team meeting, I did make sure I knew where some geocaches were. I picked up several on the way home. I also got one after a conference committee meeting, one before an Order of Elders meeting, more than one after a doctor’s appointment, and several traveling to and from class. I now have found 190 caches either alone or with the girls.
All three of us hid a cache not far from our house. We were in the cul de sac visiting/playing with our neighbors. Our neighbor keeps her nephew during the day and when her sister came to pick him up she ended up joining the conversation. Geocaching came up and the sister figured out that we were the ones that had hidden that particular cache. She told her 4 yr old son that his star eraser came from us. The Entertainer is the one that insisted that we put the small erasers in the cache. So that conversation turned into a connection too. The Entertainer was beaming as the 4 yr old put it all together.
9. Sometime in the last month, the SportsQueen discovered the movie Pride and Prejudice. She loved it. She watched it multiple times. She made her 13 year old friend watch it with her. We’ll own it, I’m sure. We went to HalfPrice Books and bought the book, they didn’t have the movie. The SportsQueen loves to read. I think she has just “discovered” Jane Austen.
10. And my sister is pregnant! She is “due” about the middle of October. My niece is 3 and has not decided that she wants a baby yet. Maybe she will by October.
I talked to my sister yesterday. She had one of those days. And I said, “You probably don’t remember but maternal grandmother was an English teacher and she always said, “Beware the ides of March.”” My sister said, “I always say that. I said that today. I didn’t know that was from maternal grandmother.” Funny, how traditions influence us even without us realizing it. My sister attributed it to studying Julius Caesar. She just didn’t know her susceptibility from the family. “Beware the ides of March.”
11. Both last month when the 15th was on Thursday and this month, the treasurer did payroll a day late. The “normal” day for checks is Friday. So for two months in a row the payroll checks have been a day late. And, today, I’m a dollar short because the ones I have are already designated for something. I’m the only one for whom this check is the primary source of income. Everyone else is part time. I really hate it that money is tight enough that there are times when a day does make a difference. But I won’t say anything to her because I want to save face. And in a little bit, I’ll go get the check that is now ready.
And that’s the short version of the last 28 days.