74 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 4-1-17

  1. Be careful of April Fool jokes today.
    I was going to tell you to ignore the picture, I really look like Burt Lancaster, but by now everyone but Mumsee has me figured.
    Anyhow, Good morning everyone but Jo.
    nite-nite Jo.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not that I am in a hurry or anything, but I actually packed a trunk today with all my gifts for my trip home in June. I have books, pottery, and bilums and it weighs 47 pounds. I am not opening that trunk again as it was hard to get closed. So nice that all of those things are packed and out of the way. I even washed all of the bilums and took pictures of them. They are unique.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Checking in from the Midwest, now that we have the coasts and foreign lands represented. Good morning, everyone. Contest day for my high school piano student. She’s playing in something like half a dozen or more events today, most involving saxophone, but one with her piano solo she’s been working on since last year. The piece she’s playing was one of three pieces she performed two weeks ago in a different musical event. That day went overall quite well, as she scored 98% on her music theory exam, and got the highest scores possible on her two memorized pieces. The one piece she didn’t have to memorize was the hardest, and that is the one she’s playing again today. Last time it went a bit roughly, and she got three points out of five possible. The judge had excellent comments on additional things to work on, as well as encouragement about the aspects of the piece that had gone well. It was a great experience, and she’s forged ahead with much enthusiastic determination as she’s continued working toward mastery on the piece. If she does very well today, and I do think she is capable of that, seeing how much she’s accomplished just in the last two weeks, she could qualify for state. I’m excited about it for her, and she is, too. 🙂

    You all have a great day, wanderers!

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Good Morning Everyone. BG and I had a pleasant evening last night. We went to Bone & Barrel. Recently my friend L was in the hospital for nausea. She had her first chemo treatment almost two weeks ago and couldn’t bounce back. She hadn’t had solid food in over a week, so when she finally felt like she could eat her husband went there and bought B&B burgers for them to have. He posted something on their FB page about how happy the burger made his wife. They responded that they would be happy to deliver another one to her in the hospital if he would tell them her room number. (Un)Fortunately she is better and was released on Thursday.
    Anyway, I REALLY wanted a B&B burgers and went with that intention, but they had a 7 layer lasagna on the specials menu and BG wanted that. Our waitress told us it was a really large portion so we decided to split it. It was delicious. There was a lot of it. BG needed to go to Nana’s to get some more of her things, so I called to make sure Nana was home and ask if she would like our leftovers—So ONE portion of lasagna fed three of us last night.
    What is so important about this story? Well, there was SPINACH in the lasagna. When I saw it I thought, oh here we go she won’t eat any of it now. Instead, BG told me she was just going to pretend the spinach wasn’t there and she ate it anyway. Doesn’t sound like much unless you have dealt with her finicky ways for years.
    And in true Southern fashion, our waitress has been married two years, the owners of the Bone & Barrel hosted her reception there, she is 5 months pregnant and is going to have a little boy. He already weighs a pound. Her mother is a little disappointed because she wanted a granddaughter. 🙂 People have always told me too much.
    Oh and today we are having my friend L’s Grand Hairwell Party. She said the chemo will take her hair, her eyebrows, and her eye lashes. I asked what she wanted me to bring. I am making red beans and rice at her request, so I have to get myself up and to the store and get started.

    Have a GREAT day everyone.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. Good Morning…I’ll go out on a limb a suggest that is a pussy willow up there!! 😛
    The forest is very Narnia like this morning…everything covered in a frosty white glaze…we sure didn’t get the foot they predicted but it is moisture…and it is oh so pretty moisture at that!
    So now the mountain zone has been represented this fine day….I need another cup of coffee…

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  6. Hey, that’s the only reason I included that particular photo. Everyone else (it seems) sends cat photos, and I usually don’t. But that’s four paws of a pussy willow, so that’s my cat photo for the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was thinking I’ll wait until a good conversation gets going, then randomly delete some of the
    comments most pertinent to the discussion. That’ll be my April Fools contribution. 🙂

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  8. AJ & Cheryl- Are those cattails in the picture?
    I am planning our summer vacation. This year we want to go see my parents in Tucson, but we’re not sure if it will be June or August. We’ll go by way of Colorado to see some friends (in a suburb of Denver). We also hope to return by way of Carlsbad, NM. So if any wanderers are near those places and wish to have a meet-up with that crazy Spanish teacher from Missouri, let me know.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Ah yes, the second one is up now. Both of these are from a walk in “our” state park last week. The pussy willows weren’t blooming yet (the blooms are greenish yellow among the white fluff) but were out, the skunk cabbage was out, and I only found one clump of wildflowers in bloom.

    But low to the ground was this bright green, and I was excited to see it. “A butterfly chrysalis!” I told my husband. He said, “I think that’s just a leaf.” So I pointed out the silk strands holding it to the branch. That means it’s a swallowtail chrysalis. It’s probably a pipevine swallowtail; they make some brown and some green, and had this one been brown I would never have seen it. But bright green in a landscape that hadn’t yet greened up caught my attention, and I finally got a photo of a butterfly chrysalis.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. At least I know not to believe anything I see on this thread today.
    I went back to see the car and didn’t see nothing. .

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  11. Well if Peter ventures to Colorado the summer, Paul and I would love to take you to dinner or lunch or something! And if you are driving down 25 you could just hop off of Palmer Divide, visit our forest and have lunch here!! 🙂

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  12. Peter, have you been to Carlsbad Caverns? You’re in for a treat. We went once, when I was about 12, and it’s quite an impressive place.

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  13. A leaf disguised as an insect 😉 Good photo for the day.

    In French, those who are fooled by jokes on this day are poisson d’avril, fish of April.
    I miss not being home on April 1st. My siblings would play pranks; perhaps the most understated and cleverest one was youngest sibling bringing in the free newspaper in its plastic sleeve which came every Friday. I picked it up and started reading – in the days before internet we children read everything that came to the house – and started thinking that I’d read this story before. She had brought in an old newspaper that she’d put in a plastic sleeve. We older siblings played our share of pranks. One April 1st, it was the day we walked up to our piano teacher’s for our lessons, all four of us at that time. On the way home, we told youngest sibling that we were going to play an April Fool’s joke at one of the houses we passed by all going ‘moo’ very loudly. When we got to the house, eldest sibling whispered, “One, two, three” and youngest sibling started to say “Moo”, while we three just stood there. She stopped herself when she realized we weren’t doing it, but we still had a good laugh. Then, in the evening, we would listen to the program ‘As It Happens’ on the radio, which interviewed diverse people with diverse stories from around the world. Every April 1st, they could be relied on to interview someone who had a ridiculous story to tell – one year, it was a representative from the RCMP saying the force was being sold to Disney. The next night, they would play clips from listeners who called in to respond to the story – the one about the RCMP and Disney got a lot of outraged callers – and then they would confess it was an April fool’s joke.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. You could get to all those places by driving just a little ways over to California and then down–I’m not far (well, one hour) west of I-80. 🙂

    And Donna’s not far from 101 400 miles south of me. 🙂 (I’m only five miles west of 101).

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  15. Make that east . . . it’s frustrating how even if you’re correcting while the wheel turns, you still come off looking like a fool! 🙂

    Or not, depending on the day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Real Estate Pal stopped by, suggested maybe we try another plumber to clear the rest of the sewer drain, maybe using different size blades — trying to avoid tearing up more of the concrete on the driveway if at all possible, of course.

    Makes sense to me, sort of like getting a 2nd opinion before plunging into major surgery. He said he’d talk to Dog Park Jerry about it. No workers today, looks like everyone’s taking a breather, which is fine. I may take a nap this afternoon myself. Heading over now to visit my cousin who was hit by the car and is recuperating at home.

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  17. My student is taking her piano solo to state!! 🙂

    What a day. She was convinced after the performance that she had done badly, and after talking to the judge, who I could see smiling throughout the whole performance, but whose expressions my student couldn’t see while she was playing, my student left the room in tears. I wondered what the judge had told her (the judge was speaking so quietly, I couldn’t tell).

    Anyway, student wasn’t consistent in her tempo (she had started out a fair amount quicker than usual, which often happens when one is nervous), but, overall, she gave a very exciting and musical performance, though a couple places got a little out of control because of the poured-on speed. I tried telling her about all the great things she did, but she was really upset that she felt like it had gone so poorly.

    I saw when her piano score got posted, and when I told her, “Go look at your score,” at first she didn’t want to. (Someone who had played earlier before that same judge, who I don’t think my student heard, had gotten an extremely low score, and I think she was worried that judge was very picky.) I finally convinced her to go take a look, and she was so relieved to see it, her tears stopped immediately. 🙂 (She wasn’t still crying from the piano performance, but from her sax solo, which she’d also felt hadn’t gone well, though she played with beautiful tone.)

    Lots of emotion all around for a number of the young people (she wasn’t the only one I saw in tears, and one girl nearly passed out after her performance), but my student is very happy now, and said, “Well, that’s a weight off my shoulders!”

    Another good learning experience, and one more piano performance coming up for her in five weeks. State, here we come! 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  18. Thanks, Cheryl. I’m excited, too, and am really pumped now to play her some new pieces next week from which she can pick her solos for next spring’s musical events! In senior year! 🙂

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  19. Sorry, Michelle, but I don’t think California is on the way to where we’re going.

    But yes, NancyJill. We’ll be going down I-25 from the Denver area on a Monday or Tuesday morning. I don’t think we’d be there late enough for lunch. We’ll see.

    And rkessler, it would be great to meet you and your husband. Looking at the map it seems like we could go through Roswell instead of going through Hobbs. We hope to be at Carlsbad in the evening to see the bats leave the cave. We were there 15 years ago but left before lunch since we were trying to get to Phoenix for the night. I think we’ll spend the night in Carlsbad or Roswell before heading home. So I’ll keep your email handy for when we make the final plans.

    I haven’t been to Tucson for 10 years, so this is getting me excited. I already have the travel bug!

    Liked by 5 people

  20. Heidi sneaked upstairs last night, as Little Guy had left the two doors open, & took a piece of bad chicken out of Nightingale’s trash, then sneaked it downstairs. She didn’t eat it right away, though, but I saw her eating it in the middle of the night, when I got up to go to the bathroom. (I didn’t realize what it was at first, & then it was gone.) None of us had seen her bring it down, so we didn’t know it was around, or we would have disposed of it.

    I could tell it hadn’t settled well in her tummy because she didn’t eat her breakfast today. Sometime in the afternoon, I heard her gagging, as if she was gonna throw up, but she didn’t (I’ve looked all over for evidence, & found none). Surprised she didn’t.

    She was ready to eat her dinner tonight, so it must have passed through her system by now.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Animals.

    I noticed a strange black cat slinking around in our backyard late this afternoon — I’ve seen the same cat, I’m sure, in front of our house. All my animals were inside and didn’t see him which was a very good thing (Annie doesn’t particularly like other cats and the dogs would have given chase). None of them would like having a strange cat in their backyard territory.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. DJ, 6:26, thank you. 🙂 But she did most of the work. 🙂

    This is the movement of the Haydn Sonata she played. The pianist in this video plays it faster than she did, but her faster-than-usual tempo today came pretty close to this, and her playing was more expressive than this, if I dare say so. (Though it may be the difference between hearing it live versus recorded. On the other hand, I watched another performance of the same piece on YouTube before this one, and that one was played more expressively than this one. I didn’t link it, though, because it went so insanely fast, and this one was overall more like how my student played it, except she didn’t play the repeats.)

    Liked by 2 people

  23. 6 Arrows, I played that movement for my grade 9 piano exam. I didn’t play it like that; my speed I can’t remember, but my expression was much different, as I heard the notes differently than that performer plays them. It was one of four concert pieces, one each from the baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century eras of music – the Haydn was the classical, of course – that I had to play, in addition to two contrasting studies from any era. The concert pieces had to be memorized. I also had to be able to play a number of scales, arpeggios, and chord progressions, as well as identify certain intervals by ear. I passed that exam, though not with the honours that I got for my grade 8 exam. It was my grade 10 piano that I failed. It may have had something to do with the fact that I had had chicken pox (at age 18) two weeks previously and was still recovering; but then again, I only just passed my grade 10 violin exam. Performance always makes me nervous, and my playing tends to disintegrate under pressure. While working on my Grade 10 piano exam, I first worked on another Haydn sonata, but my teacher had me switch to a Mozart sonata for the exam. I really enjoyed the Haydn – though I have come to like the Mozart too – and have always wondered whether I would have done better if I had stayed with the Haydn.

    No church for me today – my digestive system is being unpredictable.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I couldn’t remember the key and number of the Haydn sonata, and I don’t have that particular sheet music with me, so I had to do a little digging. Here it is, his Sonata No.47 in B minor:

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  25. By contrast, here is the Mozart sonata I ended up playing for the exam. It is beautiful, but I didn’t have the musical maturity then to bring out all the colour I hear when I play it now:

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  26. DJ, was the cat rather large? Maybe it was a mountain lion. Since you folks are so intent on drawing in the coyotes, perhaps the mountain lions are seeing easy prey in the coyotes. Of course, if it was really black and not just the way the light was shining, it may have been a black panther or jaguar. That makes sense.

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  27. The black cat was big, now that you mention it.

    In all seriousness, we had a spate of mountain lion sightings a while back around the peninsula area where there is still large open areas with canyons (but a couple sightings in one of our own bluff-top parks, too). But the reports went cold quite suddenly after about 2 years of off-and-on sightings. The mystery was never resolved. (pretty credible witnesses, actually, including an engineer who lived in the canyon areas, a school principal and teachers.)

    It was our best running Big Foot story for a while.

    Until the alligator turned up in the city park down the street …

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I went to be relatively early for me (10 p.m.). Feeling a little refreshed, at long last.

    Driveway guy comes today but he said I don’t have to be here and I don’t think he’s doing much actual work, just wants to poke around in the pit some more.

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  29. Did I mention that, along with the open sewer pit in my driveway, I have a huge blue bin filled with cement chunks parked along the curb outside my house? Right in front of the dead LA city tree (which they are supposed to come collect and — hopefully — replace one of these days).

    I’m waiting to see it all the object of discussion on the local NextDoor neighborhood app one of these days.

    Several years ago a co-worker, whose house was in dire need of lots of work at the time — she’s since taken care of it all — attended a Neighbohood Watch meeting only to hear someone openly suggest her house (they didn’t know the owner was there) might be selling crack cocaine. She anonymously slinked out of the meeting after that, deciding it was probably time to spruce up the property a bit. (It actually belonged to her mom who had relocated to Arizona where she ran a small business; they decided they needed to get some cash out and go to work, which they did, but it took them almost a year and I think somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 to turn the house, inside and out, around.)

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  30. We’re in the pleasant 60s right now, blue skies, gorgeous days … But rain maybe expected next Saturday again.

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  31. Once someone on NextDoor posted a photo of a dilapidated house & asked if there were “other” houses slated as tear-downs in our neighborhood.

    Someone responded “I hope I don’t see a picture of my house posted!”

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  32. DJ, that’s hilarious, about the suspected crack house. Humans get a kick out of picking the worst case scenario. Incidentally, the drug dealers next to us had nicer cars, nicer outbuildings, and a generally better property than we did. Dilapidation might indicate a crack addict, rather than a dealer 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  33. There actually was drug dealing going on across the street from my friend’s house where cars were frantically coming and going at all hours. 🙂

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  34. Oh. Wait. someone else was probably counting on getting that …

    Another good, convicting sermon today — we’ve been 4 years in Romans, now in Chapter 14. So grateful for our church and the meaty, 40-minute sermons that go deep.

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  35. We have a miniature panther in our house who likes to pick on our older kitty. But he’s very affectionate with us, so we let him stay. 🙂

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  36. Re: crack houses-

    We rented a small house for the two years I was getting my teaching certificate. After we moved we went back to visit friends in that city, and stayed with one who was a police detective. He told me he had been in our old house recently. There was a meth lab in the basement. The owner lived in it at the time and had been in prison for drug related charges while we were in the house (his father managed it for him).

    A year later we went to visit again, and on the way into the city I turned on the radio. The local news was on and reported a meth lab – in the same house! Two meth labs in two years at the same house. I think the second one was the owners girl friend.

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  37. That new header photo should put to rest any idea that small birds are meek and gentle. (If I recall correctly, the junco coming in with claws extended was able to oust the one already on the suet feeder. I’d move if someone came at my face like that!

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  38. Peter, I would’ve though that the house would’ve been condemned after the first meth lab. They need special equipment to clean those places up due to the toxic nature of meth ingredients. We have problems with houses being bought by marijuana dealers for grow-ops, where the marijuana is grown hydroponically under lights. There is such a high level of moisture and heat in the houses, that mold often grows in the walls, leading to the building being condemned. Marijuana is supposed to be legalized in the near future, and its advocates claim that bringing it out into the open will put the growers and dealers out of business, but the dealers have upped the anti by producing a refined version of the drug with extremely high THC levels: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/shatter-drug-winnipeg-court-case-1.3941331. The producers are good business men and know how to work the market; they aren’t about to pack up and go away. Law enforcement and healthcare are getting a bit frustrated with the government for not putting more regulations in place.

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  39. Roscuro, I wasn’t familiar with the Haydn or Mozart you posted. Both very nice pieces.

    [And now I went and checked my music library, knowing that I have some of Haydn’s and Mozart’s sonatas, but not all of them, and discovered that I own the Haydn one you posted. I shall have to play that one some time!] 🙂

    Your exams you describe are similar to the district event my student was in two weeks ago. She didn’t go state track, but District 3, or D3 (reminds me of Peter L 😉 ). The 3 is because she was required to play three contrasting pieces, and including different eras, with two of them memorized, and take a theory exam which includes an aural component. State track, which she wants to enter next year, requires all three pieces to be memorized, and there are minimum theory level requirements based on her grade in school. There are, however, no scales, arpeggios and chord progressions playing requirements like your exams, or any sightreading.

    Yesterday’s event, sponsored by a different organization, requires only one piece to be played (or two shorter pieces by one composer, and sometimes three movements of say, a Bach French Suite). Memorization is not required, nor any of the above requirements like playing scales, etc. I like the event that includes playing from a variety of musical eras, and doing a musicianship test. It provides a much better picture of the students’ overall strengths and weaknesses musically, and, unlike the other event, doesn’t rely on a single piece, played on one day for one judge, with scores posted for everyone to see. (With the event requiring multiple pieces and the theory exam, the students’ teachers are given the completed judge’s forms and the student’s test paper, and can quietly go over the results at the students’ next lesson.)

    I can relate to the nervousness you describe at performing, though I had little trouble with that when playing in recitals in high school and even college, where the “competition” was tougher. My nervousness has only manifested in recent years, when I went back to performing about five years ago. I don’t know why that is when it was never a problem before. But I’ve found ways to deal with it, and even though my technique is a little shakier playing for an audience than simply playing at home, I’ve found a slight bit of nervousness makes my playing more expressive. That little edge gives it something more. So I don’t dread having a little anxiety going into a performance. It helps me feel really good after the performance is done.

    (And that reminds me of something I heard on a sitcom one time. The character said he liked banging his head against a wall because it felt so good when he was done!) LOL. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  40. The second “feeder photo” now up: Birds don’t wait in line for the feeder because someone got there first (unless that someone is bigger than they are). If the other bird is the same size, they come in as shown with the juncos, hoping to intimidate the one already on it. If the bird coming in is larger than the one already there, it will just come to the feeder as though it is unoccupied, expecting the current diner to be out of the way by the time it arrives. This photo doesn’t make clear the size difference between the two birds, but the one below (which is leaving quickly) is an American tree sparrow, a small sparrow with a long tail. The one coming in is a red-bellied woodpecker, a large woodpecker; the incoming bird is one of the largest birds that comes to our feeders regularly, probably the largest except the flicker (which comes only rarely). So the red-bellied is quite accustomed to simply flying toward the suet feeder whether or not it is occupied. In this instance, I knew I’d probably get both birds in flight at the same time if I timed things right, so I focused on the suet feeder but watched the tree. The moment the woodpecker left the tree, I pushed the button, and sure enough I got both birds in flight, neither totally in focus but with an artistic effect from the blur. The photo was horizontal but I cropped it vertical since everything important in the photo is in this space. That also ends up magnifying it larger than its clarity justifies, but oh well.

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  41. Good thinking, pushing the button as soon as the woodpecker left the tree. All great shots with the header photos this weekend, Cheryl! And we get a lot of red-bellies here, too, and they act the same way — get out of the way, it’s mine. 🙂

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  42. The panther obviously has had success at using the cat door and is back for more. Be careful who and what you let into your house. It is California after all.

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  43. 6, the exams also include sightreading, typically at a couple grades lower than the exam. For the Grade 10 exam, I had to know all the scales in every key, four octaves, hands together, as well as the matching arpeggios and chords. The scales are supposed to be played at a certain speed; something like 100 beats per minute – my memory is fuzzy on the exact number – on the quarter, and the scales are played in sixteenths. I could never get them quite up to speed. The ear component included, besides identifying intervals, identifying chord cadences (i.e. IV-I or V-I), singing or playing back a short piece, and clapping a rhythm that was played. In addition, in order to get a Grade certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) from Grade 8 on we had to complete an ever increasing list of music (or keyboard) harmony exams and music history exams. For Grade 10, I had a 3 hour written exam in Music History: Middle Ages to Classical era with essay and short answer questions, as well as an Intermediate Harmony exam in which I had to write harmony for given melodies, and an exam in Counterpoint, which involved writing simple fugues. As I was working to take my Grad 10 violin, which I completed after I stopped taking piano and while I was taking French and Spanish in night courses, I also was working on the Grade 11 (the final grade in the program) theory requirements, which were three exams of Music History:19th century to Present, Advanced Harmony, and music Analysis. I completed them all. I always did well in my Music History, but a composer I am not, though studying how to write music has stood me in very good stead since. I have arranged quite a few pieces for church performance and, when I was in West Africa, I was able to note down a couple of the songs, which hadn’t been written before.

    We also have purely competitive performance test, run by a different organization than RCM, which can go to the provincial and national levels. My dear friend and her brother both went to the provincials for piano and won awards. I always felt somewhat in their shadow when it came to piano, they were so good. However, their father made them practice for hours each day and they came to hate it, and neither does anything with their music now, though the brother is unusually gifted in his ability to play any instrument well and dear friend got her degree and played in several local concert performances.

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  44. I had a surprise miniature panther in my backyard yesterday as well.

    He glared at me with yellow eyes then slunk off in the direction of the loved-to-death catnip. Perhaps it is sprouting?

    I forgot to buy a new plant yesterday.

    No sign of him today. No birds either, now that I think about it . .

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  45. I had a wonderfully long nap this afternoon.

    Now I’m trying to find that traffic ticket I received and can’t — the paperwork I got in the mail had a date in May (for a due date), but I need to get signed up for a traffic school. Argh. It’s here somewhere …

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  46. I had to move to a nearby city to find teachers who could teach me violin and music theory at that level – there were plenty of piano teachers around the nearest town to my parents, but the only violin teacher moved, so that is how I ended up taking the language courses at the community college. I stayed with my aunt and uncle, the ones who later passed away – I was there when my aunt’s cancer resurfaced and she started taking chemo. I would spend most of the week with them – my uncle very kindly drove me to my lessons, which were out of reach of the bus routes – come home for a day or two, and then, many weekends, go with second and youngest sibling to work as a waitress at a Christian resort centre. I had to pack and unpack an average of six times a week for two years, but I never regretted it. Once I got my Grade 10 (and a certificate in French proficiency), it seemed time to come home for a year, though I did play in a community orchestra, and took a university level history course. Then, I ended up in nursing school. My aunt died shortly before I graduated from nursing school, and then my uncle became ill and needed my help just after I got my license. After he died, my asthma became very bad, and I spent about a month recuperating. Then, I applied and got into an operating room course, ended up in another city, and joined a certain blog community. The rest, you know.

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  47. I recently learned (through Nightingale, who had recently had lunch with SIL & Niece) that my brother used to make meth. Wow! I knew he’d had a drug problem, but didn’t know he’d been that involved in that part of it.

    As for marijuana, I have read that states that have at least allowed it for medical purposes have seen deaths from opioid overdoses go down significantly.

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