Sunday, January 31, 2016

Someone Send in the Clowns, please

I started playing the piano when I was about 4. My dad had wanted me to play because his mom, my Grandma Fengel, had played. He and my mom bought a player piano, which I thought was THE coolest thing ever (and still do), and I started lessons. Every year, I had a spring recital, and even though I was only 5 by that time, I remember my first one. It was at the YWCA in Canton in the big rec room upstairs. I wore a light blue, ruffled, 1970s, long dress which I remember begging my dad to buy several months before. My dad didn’t get to see that recital because he died at work right before it happened, but my story isn’t about that. My story is about my recital 8 or 10 years later, when I was about Mattie’s or Owen’s age.
By then, I was playing for Mrs. Tarr, and our recital was scheduled to happen in the tiny studio at the back of her house. Every year, Mrs. Tarr, had us spend months on end preparing and memorizing and perfecting. I had at least two solos to perform that year and probably at least one duet with Krista or Jane. There had been endless individual lessons and plenty of large group session with other piano students to practice our pieces.
I remember that the room was packed on that day with moms, dads, grandparents, and siblings. As a parent now myself, I realize that all those adults in the room wanted to see each of us kids do well. I think I probably knew that at the time, but I was still nervous and terrified. I was always nervous when I performed. I can bring down the house when I play by myself, but there’s just something that prevents me from doing that in front of an audience. Regardless, it was finally my turn to perform. I walked up to the piano, sat down, and started to play my piece, Sondheim’s Send in the Clowns. If you’ve never heard the piece, it’s a hauntingly beautiful tale about things that are beyond our control and how sometimes the worst things that happen to us actually turn out to be the best things to happen to us. As a 12- or 14-year-old, I had put no thought into the meaning behind the song.
I started out fine, but as I continued I started to panic a little, and, then it happened. I goofed. Big. Time. So big that I couldn’t easily recover. My hands were shaking, and I was on the verge of tears. I remember stopping and thinking to myself, “Now what?”. I sighed audibly, and I did the only thing I knew to do. I started over. From the beginning. And, this time I finished. I stood up and nodded at my audience, which Mrs. Tarr had taught us to do – no bowing for her students. I went back to my seat with the other students, and I cried out of embarrassment and relief. After the recital, one of the moms came up to my mom and I and complimented my poise and said that her child would have never been able to do what I had done – just start over and finish. I didn’t feel particularly proud of my accomplishment at that moment.
Over the last few months and years, that memory has come back to me time and again. Every time I think about it I cringe and, undoubtedly, blush. However, I’m a huge believer in “signs” and I think, for a long time, someone has been putting that memory in my mind to remind me of something. Sometimes in life you have to do exactly what my teenage self instinctively knew to do. You keep your eyes on the finish line and you do what it takes to get there. That’s just the way life works. None of it’s fair. Really awful things happen to really decent and good people. Sometimes, in life, you goof. Big. Time. But, the mistake isn’t what’s important. It’s not even important if it stops you dead in your tracks or causes you to freeze. What is important is what you do to recover from it. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to take a deep breath and start over.  Reinvent yourself and finish. There’s always time later on to cry.

Friday, November 16, 2012

3 new templates and a little Thanksgiving turkey!

Can you believe that November is already halfway over? Time sure is flying by, and in the busyness of life it's so easy to get distracted and forget to be thankful for the "little" everyday blessings. What are you thankful for today?

First up are 3 great template packs from Scrappy Creations by Melanie. Skitta-la-doo is available this week at Brownie Scraps.

Isn't that terrific? Here's how I used it...

Next are 2 new releases over at ScrapMatters where Melanie is guesting this month. The first pack, Once Upon a Freebie, is made up of a couple of templates that were former Facebook freebies, so be sure to check your stash before purchasing them.

Here's what I did with this little bit of awesomeness!

And, last but not least is Puppy Dog Tails.

Don't you just love those big photo templates? I know I do! I'll show you my layout with Puppy Dog Tails in just a minute, but first, I have to tell you about October Dawn Designs latest release! Oh, and before I forget, both of Melanie's templates at ScrapMatters are 30% off through Sunday.

New this week from October Dawn Designs is a versatile kit inspired by the Liberty Tree Tavern located in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Did you know that you can eat Thanksgiving dinner every day of the year there? But, don't worry, for those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving or have never eaten at the Liberty Tree Tavern, it can be used for so much more! With all of the Colonial Americana and Thanksgiving themed elements you can easily scrap any fall feast, your fall photos, trips to Colonial American historic sites such as Monticello, and even photos of you eating your pumpkin or apple pies!


A Colonial Thanksgiving comes in at over 200MB and includes 2 full alphas (uppercase, lowercase, numbers and some punctuation), nearly 100 elements and 22 papers (7 solids, 15 patterned). The combination of fall colors along with the traditional Americana color scheme make for an warm and inviting feeling. We hope you'll love this new kit as much as we do!

And at long last, here's the page I made using A Colonial Thanksgiving.

And, that's it for me today! If you are in the states, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. If not, just have a happy day! :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ahoy, Mateys! 3 templates, a kit, and a freebie!

Scrappy Creations by Melanie has 3 NEW incredible template packs available this week! First up is Grateful Heart at ScrapMatters.

I love those chevrons! It was just perfect for scrapping my daughter's last trip to the Pirates League.

Next up is the Sweetly Falling Bundle at ScrapMatters. It sure is sweet!

Here's how I used it.

The bad news is I think my husband may kill me when he sees that layout! The good news is that you can grab these template packs this weekend at 30% off! That's a great deal.

And, last but not least is the Blimey Limey bundle at Brownie Scraps.

These build-your-own type templates are so much fun! It's great to mix and match because you can come up with a million combinations! You'll have to read about October's awesome kit before I show you my layout.

New this week from October Dawn Designs is an adorable pirate-themed kit. Argh! is perfect to scrap all of your pirate memories. Just like October's other kits, it's jam-packed with goodness and comes in at over 200MB. It includes 2 full alphas, over 100 elements and 35 papers (10 solids and 25 patterns). You can also pick up some great add-ons to fill in the few blanks. And, to make things even better, October has 3 adorable matching freebies available on her blog today. Argh! along with all of the add-ons are on sale for 25% off through Monday in the store.

And, if you can't decide which parts to buy, you can pick it ALL up in a bundle for even more savings! Right now you can snag it for only $5.40!

At long last, here's the page I made using October Dawn Design's Argh! and that fun build-your-own bundle of Melanie's called Blimey Limey.

And, I even made you this fun freebie. If you download please say "hello." I always love to hear from my blog guests!

Just click on the picture to download the freebie. Until next time, my friends!