Monthly Archives: January 2006

Life Lessons

I am stuck; my brain has taken a vacation and left me here. I hope it is having a good time wherever it is. I am having a hard time coming up with something interesting to write about so for lack of anything brilliant 🙂 this story was spurred by April’s Brilliant post

I closed my eyes in absolute ecstasy as my soul soared with the music, intertwining and becoming one. It was the most glorious instrument I had ever heard.

I clutched my mother’s arm, “Mom! What is that instrument?”

“A French horn.”

“That is the instrument I am going to play when I grow up!”

I was five. The tone, mellow and enticing had captured my heart and no release was eminent. As years passed my mother feared that I had not considered other options and was thus limiting my possibilities. I was introduced to one instrument after another, but none could liberate my heart from its imprisonment. I shook my head stubbornly to each one, “I am going to play the horn.”

In 5th grade we began instruments. “I’ll have you start on the trumpet; it will make the transition to the horn easier.” My instructor tells me.

“No, I will begin with the French horn.”

I think he was too astonished to contend with me and so an instrument was provided and my love affair with the horn began. I listened to everything written for the horn I could and tortured my parents with my horrific practicing. I was living my dream.

My junior year in high school I had slaved and slaved over Richard Strauss’ horn concerto. I was intoxicated by the music and my spirit took flight every time I played. It was the logical choice for my solo ensemble competition piece. I am not fond of performance; I get extremely nervous, but usually fair well none the less. My sophomore year I had gotten rather amazing remarks and was excited to see proof of my progress in writing from the judge.

I really shouldn’t have done it. I knew it, but curiosity got the better of me. Having arrived early to listen to my friend’s horn piece I stayed to listen to the others. The boy just before me was quite incredible, but that didn’t bother me too much, I was happy for him and enjoyed listening. At the close of his piece the judge arose from his seat and approached the front of the room.

“This young man is by far the finest horn player I have heard.” He went on to describe the perfect tone, amazing air support, dynamics, and closed with, “all young musicians should aspire to play like him.”

I was immobile. I had to play after that? My work no longer mattered, how I performed was a mere drop in a vast uncrossable ocean. Shaking from head to toe I took my seat and forgot to breathe. To play a French horn with out air is to sing with your mouth taped shut. To say it was terrible is generous. The judge once again rose from his seat and approached the front of the room.

“Were you nervous?” he asks.
Fuming and willing the tears not to come I nod my head.
“You did not breathe.”
I shook my head again.
“To increase your lung capacity you should go out to a field where no one can hear you and scream until you pass out.”
He then took his leave and returned to his seat.

I numbly stood and began my walk of shame out of the room. I could feel every eye on me. The boy caught my eye. “I’m sorry,” he mouthed and looked as embarrassed as I felt. My band director was furious. My friends were scathed. I learned an important lesson.

To play for someone else is futile. I can but play for love and joy. I revel in it, and hope that someone else will too.


Filed under Memory, Music, Personal History, Philosophy, Writing, Youth


Weekly Anamnesis #9

“Self, why are you hopping around doing a crazy flamingo dance?”
“Huh?” I asked myself back.
“You’re holding your foot doing the most ridiculous boogie I have ever seen!”
I looked down, so I was. What had happened? I fought through the tangled chaos in my brain. I took in the lawn mover stopped at the back of our yard on the edge of the garden.
“I was mowing, wasn’t I?”
“Yes self, you were mowing, and then there was a loud cachunk.”
“A cachunk?”
“You were trying to edge along the garden, you hit a big bump, and there was a loud cachunk.”
“Oh, did I swear?”
”Yup, think you did.”
”Uh-oh, that was bad then,” I told myself looking down at my foot. I cringed taking in the sliced shoe.
“Did I do what I think I did?”
“You’d better check.”
I reached down and lifted the end of my shoe. I recoiled abruptly; clamping my hands forcefully around my foot once more.
“Oh, crud, it’s gone!”
“What’s gone?”
“The end of my toe is gone! What do I do?”
“Umm, self, why don’t you look for it? They always say to find the missing digit.”
I franticly looked around but alas I found no forlorn half toe laying anywhere.
“Can’t find it, now what?”
“Getting help would be good.”
“Help? Yeah help. Umm, I could yell.”
”Mom, won’t hear you, she’s teaching piano and the patio door is shut.”
“I guess I’ll have to hop.”
”Hop? Ahh, you make me laugh. Just don’t kill yourself on the way.”

I surveyed the yard. We were on a double lot and had a very large yard. I was at the very back and the quickest way to the house was across the lawn and down the rickety stairs that I don’t use even when I have two feet. I’ve had ghastly experiences with those stairs, they are evil. But I took off none the less, flamingoing across the lawn, down the stairs, across the deck and into the house.

“Mom! Mom! I cut off my toe!”

There is silence, a snicker, more silence, and then, *gasp*, “You’re not kidding are you?!”

My mom abandons the poor impressionable 7 year old boy, who will probably never touch a mower again in his life, and races over. She lifts the end of my shoe surveying the situation analytically. My hand is still wrapped unyieldingly around my foot, the constant pressure keeping it from bleeding much.

“I don’t think you got the bone, we’ll take you to the doctor first. Let go and let me wrap this around your foot,” she held out an ACE bandage. The instant I released my foot there was a flood as blood surged over my hands. Mom frantically wrapped the bandage around as tight as she could and my hands snapped back into position around my foot. She called for a sitter for her student and called the student’s mom. I hopped to the car and we sped two minutes to the doctor’s office.

I had to have a tetanus shot. I eyed the nurse, “this is going to hurt, isn’t it?”

The nurse just looked at me like I was nuts. I was baffled, and then I scoffed at my self.

“I guess that was a pretty stupid question!” I laugh and the nurse chuckles, shaking her head.

The doctor comes in, “How did this happen?” I shrug my shoulders.

“I don’t remember,” I say. “The only conclusion I can come to is that I slipped and my foot went under the mower.

He wraps a bandage around my toe, instructing me not to remove it until Wednesday (it was Monday) so it would have a chance to clot and to come back then. He also informs me that he won’t prescribe any pain medicine yet because he doesn’t know how I will react to the pain. I am instructed to take some Tylenol and to call in the morning if the pain is too great.

I leave with a grin! I am super woman, hear me roar! I can cut off my toe and not need any pain meds. I am the bomb! So cool! I was very proud of myself, until . . .

The shock began to wear off about 9:00 in the evening. I would be hit with jabs of pain as though some one was shoving a knife into my foot and twisting it around.

“Okay, maybe I’m not quite so tough,” I tell my self.

All night long I suffered through waves of nausea and intense pain. Finally morning came and my mother brought in my breakfast. I was shaking so bad I couldn’t eat and she promptly called for the pain medication. A wimp after all. Things went well until Wednesday arrived.

“I’m going to soak the bandage off with saline solution, shouldn’t hurt a bit,” the doctor says. He begins the procedure. After about 5 minutes I could tell he wasn’t making much progress. He looks at me pityingly and explains, “I don’t have any choice. The bandage will not soak off, I am going to have to cut and tear. Hang on to the bench and feel free to scream.”

I think I just stared at him my jaw hanging slack. I gripped the bench, knuckles white and held my breath. I closed my eyes and nodded for him to begin. I don’t think I have ever felt anything that painful, and all I could do was sit there and say “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!” and then again, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!” The doctor was amazed, “I would have been screaming bloody murder!”

“Just come a little closer, and you will be,” I think in to myself.

That was the end of my senior year in high school; in fact I had to attend graduation with a cane because I still had trouble with pain when I put full weight on it. It is healed now, I just have stabs of pain from time to time, and if anyone steps on it I am liable to strangle them on grounds of insanity from torture. We never did find the toe; we figure it either became great fertilizer or dog food. Hee hee. I never did remember how it happened; my conclusion was the only explanation we ever came up with.
(I still get this nervous twitch in my toe when ever spring hits and the lawn mowers start up . . . hee hee hee)


Filed under Anamnesis, Goofs, Humor, Personal History, Writing, Youth

Random Friday (I just happen to be a couple days late!)

Ok, I missed making it to my blog the last couple days and I thought this was a rather fun idea of Sariah’s. I thought I’d tweak it just a bit and write down some of my favorite random quotes and sayings. Feel free to share some of yours with me as well . . .

“If you are hanging on by your fingernails, don’t go waving your arms around” – J.H.Schmidt

“The scientific theory I like best is that the rings around Saturn are entirely composed of lost airling luggage.” – Mark Russel

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or find it not.”

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home” – David O. McKay

“How to be a whole person:
Smile: It’s the Melody of the soul
Work: It’s the service of the spirit
Play: It’s the secret of youthfulness
Read: It’s the source of wisdom
Love: It’s the gift of the heart
Pray: It answers every need ” – ?

“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

“Don’t loose your head to gain a minute, you need your head, your brains are in it” – ?

“Your thoughts are like curlers: they roll around for a while but it’s the setting that gets the most done.” – J.H.Schmidt

“Work will win when wishy washy wishing won’t.” –Thomas S. Monson

“As you get smudges on your window of life, keep your Windex handy” – J.H.Schmidt

“There are tones of voices that mean more than words.” – Robert Frost

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein

“Character is like a tree, and repautation like its shadow. Shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Nothing is so much to be feared as fear” – Thoreau

“Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a big ship.” – ?

“Wrinkles should only indicate where smiles have been.” – Mark Twain

“God would not take the time to make something he didn’t love” – ?

(I could list a million more, but I’ll spare you, these are a few favorites)

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Filed under Philosophy

Business Card

My brother designs web pages and business cards. That is his link in the “Extras” section over there. A few weeks ago he solicited my opinion on some of his cards he was designing and I mentioned that someday when we were more permanent I would have to hire him to design a business card for me for my piano lessons. Well, this is what he came up with, and it was just too funny not to put on my blog:

I just love the leaping cow on there . . . 🙂 Hee Hee

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Filed under Humor

A First

Darkness was still folded around me when my alarm clock wrenched me from my much coveted sleep. I groaned as I stumbled out of bed, 6:00 on a Saturday morning! My hubby and I had 30 minutes to get ready before she would pick us up. I looked at him and asked, “Remind me why I am doing this again?” I felt as though butterflies had sequestered my stomach and would not relinquish it, no matter how I tried to reason my nervousness away. I reminded my self that I had chosen to do this and that I would enjoy myself. But visions of that goofy cartoon, the one where he is trying to learn to ski, just kept invading my brain. I had never strapped on skis in my entire 30 years of life, so why was I subjecting myself to this now? It gave my something to bog about, I reasoned, and it was a chance to do something new; not to mention an entire day free of children is an extreme rarity.

We drove up to Mount Hood, the world gradually turning white as we climbed. It was a long wait when we arrived at the small lodge before we finally obtained our boots and skis. I thought rollerblades were hard to get your feet into! My ankle nearly snapped like a twig just trying to get the boot on. Once booted I awkwardly tramped to the counter for my skis. After I was completely set I began my ungainly stagger up the hill to the training area. I think I was a little unprepared. No one had warned me that the boots were going to kill my feet and my legs, or that the rope tow would likely jerk my arms off. I had this rosy image of myself beautifully skiing at the end of the day . . . well, that is a fib; I actually pictured a giant snowball rolling down the hill with skis stuck out of it! But, I didn’t even get that far. I had forgotten that I have problems with my arches so after an agonizing trip down the training hill I had to give up. I was completely bummed out and felt like a wimp, but my one saving grace is that I will live to try again and this time I will be prepared!

I decided to go tubing instead. Now I would like you to take a moment, close your eyes, and picture . . . oh, wait, I guess you can’t read with your eyes shut, so just picture goofy on an inner tube. It was a blast and very comedic I am sure. I managed to keep my seat rather well, except for . . .

The tuber came down and handed me his tube, upon inspection I noticed it was a bit misshapen. As my turn came I handed it to the rope tow operator, sat on my tube and was slowly hauled up the hill. There is no elegant and graceful way to climb off an inner tube in motion. I finally resulted to flinging my self gawkily in the snow and having a good laugh experimenting with different methods of gracelessness. On this particular tube run there were a couple of little jumps that you could get some pretty good air, if done right. I am a tummy slider, better for aerodynamics and speed. As my time arrived I stood holding my tube in front and hurled my body forward, slamming into my tube on the track for the maximum speed possible. The first time it had worked like a charm (other than sailing over the embankment at the end and taking down three teenagers, hee hee), the second time . . . well, we’ll blame it on the misshapen tube. I hit the jump and sailed through the air. Landing on the bulge I was jarred to the side and my body was completely off the tube. I had stoically kept my grip however and was now being dragged unceremoniously down the track. I finally managed to stop and, righting myself, took off at break neck pace once again. Upon hitting the second jump I once again took to the air. My landing was not as lucky. For the second time I landed on that bulge and my tube flipped sending me sailing solo down the track leaving my hat and goggles embedded in the snow. Nothing like a good wipe out. 🙂

I met up with my hubby (I had sent him off to enjoy skiing for a while) and we head to the car for some lunch. The snow had begun to fall more heavily, waltzing elusively around us as they drifted to the earth. The wind came unexpectedly, launching them into a frenzied boogie and then slackening just enough to let them flow into a romantic tango.

Paul went to do a few more ski runs and I headed again to the tubing. Some time had passed and the track had become more slick and icy and the jump had been worn down more. I prepared for my departure and unleashed myself with fervor. I hit that jumped and sailed into the air landing on the upper ridge of the track. I continued to slide on the ridge for a good 5 plus feet before sliding down the embankment of the track. I struggled through the snow and slid the rest of the way down. I guess they frown upon people sailing off the track because they moved the starting point further down to eliminate the jump. 🙂

It was a fun adventure and I know I haven’t seen the last of skis or of the mountain. Bring it on!


Filed under Goofs, Humor, Love and Marriage


Signs were posted all over the halls for the school musical, “Oklahoma!” Many of my friends had auditioned and found parts in the musical; I preferred to remain behind the scenes and stayed in the pit orchestra. We worked long and hard, rehearsing parts, building props, and practicing. The night of performances arrived. We were so nervous and excited, but we knew it was good. Two weeks, 5 nights, of performances. The final night was the best, it always is. Some one put a “dino-roar” in the butter churn and it was roaring every time Aunt Eller pushed down. I can’t even remember half of the jokes we played. That was 13 years ago; I was a junior in high school.

I sighed into my chair this evening, finally having battle the last child to sleep and finding poor little Jacob had fallen asleep in his highchair while munching on the last of his cheerios. Needing some time to vegetate I turned on the television. Nothing looked even remotely interesting so I began to hop channels.

You expect to find a number of things on TV, but I never expected to find this. There right in front of my eyes on some obscure channel was my best friend dancing across the stage! It was as if she’d never left high school. Wait! She was in high school! For some odd reason someone was airing our high school musical, “Oklahoma!”

“Were we really that out of tune?” I ask myself, laughing and cringing as the French horn blares off key. I evaporate into laughter, transported back into time. The camera job is out of focus in places, the acting is anything but great, and the singers never would have made it onto “American Idol”, but I find myself enjoying it more and more, submersed in memories, watching friends I had almost forgotten. A sort of comedy of errors, I enjoy every out of tune note.


Filed under Memory, Music, Personal History, Youth

Dancing in the Kitchen

I finished teaching my last piano lesson at 6:30. Definitely a mac & cheese night I headed into the kitchen to see how Paul was coming with dinner. As happens frequently he grabbed my hand spinning me around on the linoleum and we danced across the kitchen floor. I love to dance. We would love to take a class together some day, but for now we practice in the kitchen. Our favorite is the swing. We even will sing our own music if there isn’t any on at the time. The kids scamper in and sit at the counter with big silly grins on their faces watching us dance.

I remember grinning like that when I watched my parents together. It was the grin that I knew my parents were hopelessly in love with each other. It brings me joy to see that grin on my girls faces. I grin back before Paul whisks me into another spin. He flings me out and rolls me back in throwing me into a dip and I nearly topple to the floor. (He’s dropped me before, but mainly because I am being too goofy) We dissolve into laughter. The kids are laughing too, but they don’t know why, they just feel the joy we feel.

Paul and I continue to dance and talk in the kitchen while the kids eat their dinner at the counter, because it is late and bed time is around the corner. As we dance Paul gives me a kiss. Dorothy wants to be sure we are listening to something she has to say. “Daddy, quit kissing mom and listen!”

At least they know we love each other, which is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.


Filed under Children, Dot, Family, Love and Marriage, Memory, Parenting, Things Kids Say


Weekly Anamnesis #8

I swung myself on my crutches kicking my foot forward waiting for the connection. I planted it firmly into his back side. He turned, both of our French horns hanging at his sides, “You better watch it, I might let you carry it with your teeth!” He teased.
“What? What do you mean? I just have a spastic twitch in my leg!”

“Just like your arm right?”

“Hey, can I help it if you don’t watch where your going and keep walking into my fist? Come on, give a girl a break!”

We had become good friends due to his knowing my roommate 3 years before and being in the French Horn section together. We hadn’t even realized how much time we were starting to spend together. It started when he gave me a ride home after an evening sectional. He came in to hang with my roommates and while I was upstairs he asked which cupboard was mine. I was trying really hard not to ask my parents for extra money and had hit the end of my budget. All that was left was a couple boxes of “Yellow Death” (mac & cheese) and about 5 potatoes (the Idaho staple). He was mortified, but new I’d never except help out right so he got sneaky.

A week later he invited me to eat at the school restaurant, The Viking. But, don’t get the wrong idea here. It was not a date. Never a date. 🙂 He used the excuse that he had too much money on the college food card his parents had purchased him and that he needed to use it up. So we went out and had spaghetti. We ended up talking for over 2 hours. Finding yet another connection. His dad was a native of Oregon and his aunt had a cabin at my favorite beach. We talked for ages about our favorite coastal haunts.

By the time I finally arrived back home to my apartment my roommates were really worried. It was after 9:30 and I never got home later than 6:30 on Tuesday nights. Boy did I get ribbed when they found out who I was with the entire time. They teased and teased.

“Are you kidding? This was not a date! It’d be like dating my brother!” (he and my brother have the same name)

They nodded and I heard some mumbled “yeah rights” among them and big cheesy grins on all their faces. Funny thing was, I had a big cheesy grin on my face too. “You guys are all nuts! I’m going to bed now.” And they busted up laughing. They knew.

Over the next few month we had a number of “non” dates and we started spending a lot of time in the fishbowl (the lobby in the music building). I had figured out what times he was usually there and I would just “happen” to show up. Oh how we laughed when we found out later that he had found out when I was usually there and would just “happen” to show up as well. Neither of us knew we were purposely arranging to see each other. The teasing from my roommates increased with my denials of liking him.

Well as fate would have it his parents came to our last concert and we went out to “JB’s” afterwards. We never thought we flirted. We just teased . . . a lot. We were flinging water and stuffing icecubes down each other’s backs and his parents were laughing and I thought silently thinking, “This girl is completely nuts!” Turns out his parents liked me. His dad was in his room talking with him when he noticed some scantily clad bikini girls on his roommate’s wall.

“Those a distraction son?”

“Nope, don’t even look at them.”

“Well, I know someone who is.”

“She’s dating some one dad.” (I really wasn’t, he just thought I was)

“Tell her to dump him and go for you.”

He did (he was too chicken to do it before his dad told him too). I did. We were married two years later after I returned from my mission in Chile.


Filed under Anamnesis, Humor, Love and Marriage, Writing, Youth

Crocodile Hunters

By J.H. Schmidt

We are crocodile hunters
My sisters and I
We’ll hunt those crocs
Till the day we die

We try to find them
Big and green
And sometimes when we find em
They’re real mean

Em is the smallest and
Easy to disguise
But she can be distinguished
By the gleam in her eyes

But don’t be fooled
By her sweet appearance
She can catch that croc
With no interference

Up she sneaks
With a laugh and a giggle
She’ll catch him right
Around The middle

He’s no match for her
Shear delight
And before you know it he’s
Given up the fight.

Dot is next
She’s sittin’ in the middle
But she’ll have that croc
Frying on the griddle

She’s not too short
And she’s not too tall
She’ll catch that croc comin
Down the hall

She’ll stare him down with her
Dark brown eyes
There is no need for the
Element of surprise

Before you know it
And faster than you think
She’ll snag that croc
As quick as a wink

She’ll flip him around
With a great big tickle
And gobble him down
Like a huge green pickle.

I’m the oldest and the
Bravest of the team
And to catch a big croc
Is my fondest dream

I won’t sneak
Or stare with a frown
I’ll give a yell
And wrestle him down

With a tickle and a poke
A screech and bellow
That green croc
Will turn a pale yellow

I’ll find that tummy
And give it a gobble
And away that old
Croc will slowly hobble

We’ll sound our war cry
And shout hooray!
We’ll return home
The victors of the day

But don’t you worry
The game is not done
I’m sure will come a day
When the croc will have won.
-J.H. Schmidt

I wrote this last year as a tribute to my dad. Crocodile was a favorite game of ours to play with him and I play it with my kids and I am sure they will play it with theirs. Paul also plays it frequently with the children. The rules of the game are as follows:

1. Only the ‘adult’ or on some cases the teenager (I’d play it with the kids I babysat in highschool) can be the crododile.
2. The crocodile has to remain on his stomach at all times, he can not stand or crawl, he can turn in circles though.
3. The croc tries to capture the kids and gobble up their tummies, if he succeeds the child is out until the next round begins.
4. It’s about team work, if one child gets caught the rest should try to free him.
5. The object of the game for the kids is to flip the croc far enough onto his back that they can gobble up his tummy (usually only achieved through team effort…and a little help from the croc,heh).

Give it a try, and have some fun, be prepared for lots of squeals and giggles in this little mild wrestling game. 🙂


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Family, Lizy, Memory, Poetry, Writing

Random Musings

Sorry guys, it must be in the air . . .

I had a friend one time who could never be serious. She was constantly telling one joke after another and always laughing. Most of the time it was great, but sometimes it was hard to handle. I finally asked her why she never had a serious conversation and felt like she had to laugh about everything. “Because,” she told me, “I’m afraid of being laughed at. If I am laughing too then it is not as bad, but if I am trying to be serious and they are laughing at me it hurts to much.”

I found her response interesting and a little sad but over the years I have thought a lot about it. And I have come to see some of that in myself. I’m working on it, letting my more serious and emotional side out a bit more. Not that we shouldn’t be fun loving and tell humorous stories and jokes, or be able to laugh at ourselves, but I believe that there should be a balance, in all things. We miss out on so many things because of fears we have. I have a fear of sharing my inner self with people and letting my emotions (other than happiness) show. That is one reason I love to play the piano so much, I can share it with out my feelings being on the surface.

Anyway, I am trying to confront my fears and overcome “psychological bogeymen” (as my big sis. would call them, hee hee). So, I am letting go a bit, and I want to thank you for not laughing. See, I was terrified to start a blog, for fear of being laughed at I suppose. Which is rather silly because I love it and I love writing and after all, isn’t that what matters?

(ok, I’m done rambling and will return to goofy J self come morning . . . oh, and did any of that even make sense to anyone but me? Well, even if not I understood and musing does seem to clear the cobwebs and bring new resolve and understanding . . .)


Filed under Music, Opinion, Philosophy