Music Lessons for Aidan

Even though my son does not like the music class they have at school, he loves his music teacher, Mrs. Sparks. She has a tough job keeping a classroom full of 9 year-olds focused on learning the words to a few songs and also introduce them to musical instruments.

Aidan loves to sing along with songs he finds on YouTube and anything he hears on the radio while we are driving around town on errands. I think he has a good voice, and Mrs. Sparks has suggested that I arrange for private music lessons for Aidan. She thinks he should play the piano and learn to read music, which will help if he decides to do more with his voice.

That is pretty much what I’ve been thinking, too. He should learn how to play an instrument and read music, and although I thought he might like to learn to play the guitar, I had not really considered how important it can be to know how to play the piano or keyboards first.

We don’t have a piano here at the house, but I think I can get a digital keyboard that would be OK for beginner lessons. I’m not sure if I can find a music teacher to come to my house and teach him on the keyboard, or if I will have to take him to the teacher’s house for the lesson and then he can use the keyboard at home for practice.

Thinking About Summer Camp for the Kids?

February is when we have a big Camp Fair for parents thinking about summer camp for their kids. It is sponsored by the free monthly parenting magazine, Nashville Parent. They’ve been hosting this Camp Fair for as long as I can remember living here in Nashville even before I had my own kids!

I was lucky to be able to attend sever different types of summer camps while growing up. New York State has a huge selection of camps, from overnight camps in the mountains to day camps closer into the City.

For my kids I am thinking about going someplace very different from Nashville, such as at the beach in Florida or maybe in the desert. I heard about the Hummingbird Music Camp in Jemez, New Mexico from our school’s music teacher. New Mexico is a long way from Tennessee, which makes it ideal for what I want my kids to experience this summer. And it is a music camp, art camp and chess camp, along with all the traditional overnight summer camp activities like hikes and bonfires.

My thought is to fly into Albuquerque, rent a car, and drive the kids to Hummingbird Music Camp on a Sunday, when camp starts. There is a full day of Sunday Activities for arriving campers and their parents. Then, I will drive back to Albuquerque and stay at a nice resort, do some sightseeing and shopping, and visit a dear friend from college who moved there right after graduation and has lived there ever since.

Denise married her high school sweetheart, who was from New Mexico and his parents moved the family to New York.when he was a senior. After they graduated from college and got married, they moved to Albuquerque where she got a teaching position in the public schools and he took a sales job with a computer company.

They are one of the few couples that got married right after college and are still married today. How cool is that? I would love to spend some time with time and catch up on everything while my kids are having fun at the camp!

My Dear Friend, Richard Fagan, at the Bluebird Cafe

photo Richie at the Bluebird

Finally got a photo of my friend, Richie, at his last show at the Bluebird Cafe. Richie has been fighting cancer for the past couple of years, but he was determined to do a few more shows around town while he is able.

The Bluebird Cafe is famous for it’s small, intimate setting for songwriters. They have a strict policy of no talking while the music is playing, and you must stay seated so you don’t distract attention from the artist performance. I agree with the policy – to talk during someone playing their music is just plain rude to both the artist and the rest of the audience.

Richie has a lot of hits to his credit. He has been writing and playing music for over 50 years! If you are interested in his music, just search on YouTube for Richard Fagan to hear some of his songs in his own voice. There is a lot of information about Richie on Wikipedia, too.

Replacements or All New Flatware?

I bought my flatware set years ago. It’s an Oneida pattern that I fell in love with the moment I saw it on the shelf at Macy’s. The pattern is called Mooncrest, and it is modern, sleek design that goes with just about any contemporary dinnerware pattern. I even like the name, Mooncrest – it brings to mind silver moonbeams shining on my dinner table.

I bought a complete set with 8 place settings and also a 6-piece set of serverware. Over the years, a few pieces ended up missing. So I went to the Oneida web site and ordered a few replacement pieces, but they are expensive when you buy just individual pieces, and you have to buy four at a time. But they fill out the set again so I can set a pretty table when I have family or friends come for dinner. The forks were $4 each and so were tablespoons, so I bought a set of each about 2 years ago, and last year I had to order 4 dinner knives. I wish they sold steak knives in this pattern and I would also love iced tea spoons, but those are almost impossible to find in casual flatware patterns. You have to go up to actual silverware and pay big money for all the fancy extra pieces, and I just don’t want to spend that much money on everyday flatware – especially if pieces are going to go missing.

For some reason, six teaspoons have gone missing. I have searched the entire house and cannot find them. I am angry and frustrated and totally puzzled as to why 6 spoons and no other pieces are suddenly gone. I gave up the search and decided to buy some replacement spoons from the Oneida web site. But darn the luck, it looks like Oneida is discontinuing my pattern and you cannot buy teaspoons any longer.

I searched Amazon and even Alibaba and cannot find teaspoons in the Mooncrest pattern. Finally, I found a site that sells replacements for hundreds of fine flatware and silverware and they do have some teaspoons listed, but they are charging $10 per teaspoon. That is crazy – I would have to buy two sets of four and that would be $80 to replace just teaspoons from that site. I can buy a complete set for 8 place settings for only about $50.

Sp then the question becomes, if you are going to buy a complete set for 8, do I want to stay with this pattern that is being discontinued? Or should I get rid of the Mooncrest pattern and just shop for a totally new pattern?

Laundry and More Laundry

For some reason I always thought that the winter months meant more laundry for me to deal with, but that is not proving true this summer. The days have been so hot – and it is only June! – that we seem to be seating more and playing outside means the kids are getting dirty and needing to change clothes two and three times a day. And since there is not school until August, they are not wearing uniforms most of the day – they are wearing play clothes that get dirty from playing instead of sitting at a desk in class all day.

When my air conditioning went out a couple of weeks ago, we had a very hot house to live in until the repairman could get here to fix it. I have small oscillating fans that we scattered throughout the house and the living room has a big ceiling fan. But the house was so hot, day after day, that we were seating in our sleep. It is difficult to sleep when it is very hot – the sheets feel sticky and the pillowcase gets damp. So I ended up having to strip all three beds every morning and wash all the bed linens. Usually I just keep one pair of sheets per bed and put the clean linens right back on the bed the same day. That way I don’t waste time folding sheets to put in the closet. My washer and dryer were certainly getting a workout that week.

Thankfully, the air conditioning is working again and that is not a problem. But it made me wonder, how often do most people strip the beds and wash the sheets? What about blankets and pillows? For me, unless there is a problem that comes up during the week, I strip the beds on Saturday mornings while the kids are eating breakfast and get the laundry started. Saturdays are always hectic but it is easy to incorporate a couple of loads of laundry if you just plan ahead. The kids are old enough to help me make the beds at night and it doesn’t take very long, even when we are tired from the day’s activities.

Come to think of it, the kids are old enough now to strip the beds themselves and put the sheets in the hamper. I should get them started on that while it is summer and they have time for more chores.