Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank you for your service

Randall McGlaun
September 19, 1923- March 14, 1999

W. L. "Dub" Allen
December 16, 1919-June 13, 2008

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Tooth Story

I had dental surgery three days ago. Here's the backstory.  

Growing up I had no dental problems at all, except that a couple of teeth were "cosmetically misaligned", or crooked. And my permanent molars did not form enamel all the way into the crowns, leaving deep pits. These days kids get sealant and finish the enamel process without cavities.  I got fillings.  So, that was the end of the story. My wisdom teeth were so impacted that they never moved. Until 1974 when I noticed some swelling and pain. But, in a church service during that time a pastor had a word of knowledge, a supernatural source of information, that someone in the audience had a "problem in the jaw that God was healing".  I felt something moving in my lower jaws and had no further symptoms from the wisdom teeth. Future x-rays revealed that I had no upper wisdom teeth at all and that the lower ones were totally impacted and not going anywhere. 

Until late 2009.  I began to feel an odd sensation in the molar adjacent to the right lower wisdom tooth. Felt like a little sharp pain every 2-3 days.  My dentist check it, thought it had all the symptoms of a crack and felt that the old filling had caused the crack. Before Christmas he replaced the filling, but found no crack and no other evidence of a problem. After Christmas I began to notice some swelling in the gum area--no pain.  Then more swelling and a little pain.  Then it stopped. At my last dental check up a wisdom tooth had partially surfaced.  I saw a surgeon May 13 and the news was stunning:  Wisdom tooth had moved toward the molar, causing a cyst, molar damage, bone damage and loss, and possible infection. Surgery was scheduled for May 21 to remove both teeth and do a biopsy.  

I drove to Muffin's apartment Thursday evening and ate "my last meal"--at Fuddruckers, my choice. I began the rinsing routine earlier in the week to fight infection and filled a prescription of penicillin. Friday morning, after some intense prayer for my condition went down on Wednesday morning at Bible study, I asked for one more x-ray, fully expecting a miracle healing.  No change was obvious. I tried to not be disappointed. Surgery commenced. 

I have a low tolerance to pain meds and to anesthesia. I vaguely remember being told again and again to take deep breaths. I heard them tell Muffin that it surely didn't take much to accomplish what they intended. He also got the report that there was very little sign of infection (Yea, God!) and that the site of the biopsy would be the trickiest part to take care of. Back to his apartment for some recovery with ice packs and pain meds.  Best part of that was the soaking music on my ipod that I pre-loaded for such an occasion. Cool water-no straw-Gatorade-no straw-water with antioxidants added-no straw-lots of gauze-tea bags to bite. Finally at 1:00 I woke enough to say 'Take me home' and we started back to our house, 3 hours away. I don't remember anything until Muffin helped me out of the driveway. I tried to sit up and look around, but I was zapped. 

Yesterday was better. I was awake more and managed a few hours on half doses of pain meds. One of our daughters' dear friends was in town with her new baby, named for her grandmother who was one of my best friends and who went to heaven long before her girls graduated from high school.  I wanted to see this darling baby so badly.  The Open House for them was from 4-6 pm. At 3:30 I took half a pain pill and promptly went to sleep. At 5:30 Muffin woke me and I dressed more presentably and we went down the street for the last 30 minutes.  It was so totally worth it. 

Last night was the worst of the pain and today I feel more normal, although the swelling is at its peak. I ate some Kashi soaked in soy milk with mashed blueberries.  Yum!  So much better than pureed chicken soup.  Back to the apartment tonight. Check up at 7 a.m. tomorrow, then I get to drive the car home, recover some more, and hopefully transition to Tylenol.  

Bottom line is that I know the Holy Spirit did His own surgery in my mouth and jaws. I've been asked who removed my upper wisdom teeth, so there must be evidence of "surgery" there.  God did it! And the expectation for the site on Friday morning was grim--more infection, more bone loss, etc. I'm looking forward to the visit in the morning for a full report.  God is the best surgeon there is, although I really appreciate Dr. Dugan and his wonderful staff.

Pslm 81:10  I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Violin Teacher Perks

I am many things to many people: even a blue and red petaled flower!

Mozart and Bach hang out with me in my studio, poised to practice and compose on their pianos.

Many gifts from special people find their way to my Grandmommy's antique oak shelves on the wall of the studio.  Each of these represents a dear student, friend, or family member at a special moment in time. 

More special memories.

I ring these bells as reminders of specific techniques, or as a breach of technique.  It's like a game, however, not a punishment.  The various thumb operated characters are also technique illustrators. The lamb on the left and the tiger can take a bow, bending their heads down,  and curve their tails, like a curved pinky finger on the bow hand. The butterfly can soften and collapse, like a soft bow hand, and the sheep on the right winds up and hops--I use it as a timer for specific repetitions of technique.  

My latest gift from students.  Even my garden has "violin" music!  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

McGirls just wanna have fun

Our four lovely daughters ran away to New York, NY for a sister weekend. They celebrated--lunch, brunch, coffee, musicals, parks, art, and CB's 35th birthday.  I was very excited to be there for her original birthday at Mather AFB, CA. 

Now she's grown up, but still playing dolls with Em and Roo.  I feel certain there was giggling with the sisters in NY.  Some days I really miss all that noise. (Sigh)
Love you, McGirls!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reconnecting with Jonah and Gracie

My ideal scenario for my extended family is that we would all live close enough to meet at our house for hamburgers or pasta or brisket on Friday nights or Sundays after church service.  Real life isn't like that yet, however. We raised our daughters to go where God calls them, and that's what they did. 
Boo and Michael live way out west. Last week Muffin had a helicopter conference in Phoenix, which just happened to be ideal for a visit with their family.  Since we don't see them often, it takes time to warm up the connections and understand each other.  The iphone is a fabulous tool for shortening the re-connecting time.  Muffin has all sorts of mechanical games that Jonah loves to play. Gracie loves to do what Jonah does, so he helps to draw her into the circle.

We collect gifts throughout the year and rather than mailing all of them we take some with us on a visit. Jonah loves logo clothing! And Gracie and Jonah both love books.  Devotions for the Children's Hour, Museum 1 2 3, and Have You Filled A Bucket Today? a guide to daily happiness for kids,  made the trip with us. 

A walk to the neighborhood park is always a hit.  Gracie loves to run and to slide. Jonah likes to ride his Big Wheel all over the basketball court.  

Eating lunch on Mother's Day after church. Going to church with my kids is such a blessing.  I love to meet their friends, read their bulletin, visit with their pastors and staff, get an idea of the spiritual atmosphere.  It's important for families to be in church together.   Jonah loves to sit by Grandpa.

Day 3: Grandpa and Jonah go ladybug hunting and found Bingo III. 

Gracie, in a pile of lego blocks and other toys, discovers that Marmee also has an iphone!

Day 4: While Grandpa was at the helicopter show Boo and I took Jonah and Gracie to CMoP, Children's Museum of Phoenix.  This is one of many, many MANY fast trips Jonah made through the "car wash".  Endlessly fascinating and entertaining, CMoP is perfect for a day of learning and fun.  We stayed for four hours!

Gracie and I in the Noodle Forrest at CMoP.  She had no fear, and ran into it with all the much older kids. Stayed on her feet all the way through and showed no signs of disorientation either.  FYI: this is many square feet of hanging swimming pool noodles.  They are in a huge open room and you must go through the "forrest" to find the bean bag chairs, stuffed spiders, and books at the other end.  
Love it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to the Moms in our Family

Nannie--The Matriarch.

Nana--with four year old Joybear and Baby Kathleen--25 years ago!

Our first born, CB with Em and Roo a year ago.

Boo and Gracie. 

Beckiboo and Jonah, the first to call me Marmee. 

Love you all the mostest!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In My Garden

Honeysuckle.  Wish you could smell it!

Evening Primrose

Wisteria. perfume

White, old-fashioned vining roses

Wisteria and honeysuckle smell wonderful in my house, too.  

Last Week--Last of the Season

Our final symphony concert was last week. We have a season of 8 concerts--five are classical and three are pops. This was the eighth concert, a very special concert planned more than two years in advance. 

Our guest performing artist was a soprano, a professor from a local university. She performed four of Aaron Copland's Songs, based on traditional American tunes.  

The orchestra performed several collections from Broadway musicals.

The BIG piece on the program was a collaboration with Dave and Chris Brubeck.  Seven symphony orchestras in the USA commissioned them to write a piece in connection with an Ansel Adams photographic exhibit. Chris Brubeck attended our event and the opening of the exhibit took place one night before our concert.  After the concert a "Take Five" exhibit at one of our local galleries celebrated with a jazz band, great food, and wonderful art as the public was invited, which of course, included the orchestra and the audience.  It was an exhausting week with lots of stress, lots of practice, lots of pain from tendonitis in the hands, and lots of relief afterward. But, as always, I enjoyed the music and found myself smiling when we pulled West Side Story from the folder.  It has long been a favorite to hear,  play or watch on DVD.  

Then yesterday the doorbell rang and these were delivered to me.  I was and am thrilled!  
Aren't these nice girls, guys, and grands?  

Love them. Love the flowers. Love the note. Love the thoughtfulness.  Somebody must have raised those girls right!  I'll bet it was their Daddy.