Today, after cleaning my house and feeding my children a dinner of “let’s eat what we find in the fridge or freezer”, I watched Music of the Heart. It was probably on Lifetime or O or some other sappy channel weeks and weeks ago, and I remembered that it had looked interesting and I recorded it.
Described in the opening credits as being ‘inspired by a documentary’, the film opens with Roberta having been deserted by her husband and feeling devastated and almost suicidal. Encouraged by her mother, she attempts to rebuild her life and a friend recommends her to the head teacher of a school in the tough New York area of East Harlem. Despite a degree in music education, she has little experience in actual music teaching, but she’s taken on as a substitute violin teacher. With a combination of toughness and determination, she manages to inspire a group of kids, and their initially very skeptical parents. The program slowly develops and attracts publicity.
As I was watching this movie, I got choked up more than once. Tears were escaping my eyes. But then my children needed me, so I pushed pause and went to go and look after them. When I came back and watched it again, the same thing happened again.
Ten years later, the string program is still running successfully, but suddenly the school budget is cut and Roberta is out of a job. Determined to fight the cuts, she enlists the support of former pupils, parents and teachers and plans a grand fund-raising concert ‘Fiddlefest’, to raise money so that the program can continue. But with a few weeks to go and all participants furiously rehearsing, they lose the venue. Fortunately,the husband of a publicist friend is a violinist in a string quartet, and he enlists the support of other well-known musicians, including Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman. They arrange for the concert to be mounted at Carnegie Hall. Other famous musicians join in the performance, which is a resounding success.
As I watched those kids practice for their upcoming benefit concert, with great obstacles keep coming up, there I go crying again. It’s not like they aren’t going to succeed, for heaven’s sake. The movie is actually quite predictable, but there I am, wiping away my tears. I mean, MERCIFUL HEAVENS– WHAT IF MERYL STREEP DOESN’T RAISE ENOUGH MONEY AND THEY HAVE TO CUT HER PROGRAM? It would be Mr. Holland’s Opus all over again!
There’s obviously something wrong with me. I cry over everything. Really. All they have to do is show a picture of a puppy and play some music and I’ll practically burst into tears! Remember those etoys commercials? The ones where they played IZ’s “Somewhere over the Rainbow”? Those made me cry every time.
Of course, this is the song they played on ER when Dr. Greene died, too, so I almost ALWAYS cry when I hear this song, now.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Minnesota Cuke and the search for the magic hairbrush or something like that. Don’t worry, I’ll have my Kleenex ready.
While braiding JennaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hair this morning, the radio was on, and Donny Osmond did his little Ã¢â‚¬Å“8 track play backÃ¢â‚¬Â. Among other things, he said that the Eagles released their hit Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hotel CaliforniaÃ¢â‚¬Â on this date back in 1970- something. I just had to chuckle, since just this very morning at Curves, I actually asked Chris, the circuit coach, if she could skip that song when it came on. I’ve never asked them to skip over a particular song. Usually I just keep on working out and try to ignore the song if it’s one I don’t like. But something came over me this morning, and I boldly asked if she could skip that song. “What? Hotel California?” She asked, “you don’t like that song?”
No, I don’t really care for that song, ok? Add that one to the list of songs Paige avoids. She actually went in the back and skipped to the next Eagles song. Thank you, Chris!
But then I thought it was really funny that Donny would mention that same song not an hour later. Maybe there is something to that Hotel California that I’m just not appreciating. Probably not.
Last night for Family Home Evening we decided to all go to the library.
Since there is no library in our town, we have to travel about 20 minutes to our old neighborhood to go to the library. It’s not really on the way to anything, and not convenient, so we don’t go very much in the winter. As we were getting ready, I told Megan that she could still give us her “lesson” for FHE, since she was on lesson this week. So, in the car, she gave her super condensed lesson, which was to read 1 Nephi 3:7. Do we all have that one memorized? ‘I will go and do the things which the Lord commanded’, and then we sang the song Nephi’s courage. In the car.
It about drove Ryan crazy (he’s a real big supporter of “quiet in the car”), and after we sang that song, he said, “You know, kids, since we’re in the car, you don’t really need to be extra obnoxious.”
I had to chime in with a comment after that one. “Just the regular amount of obnoxiousness will be fine, thank you.”
And then John, behind us in the middle seat, pipes up with, “To the Library!”
They LOVE going to the library. You’d think I was taking them to a water park or something. Maybe for spring break, I’ll say, “We can’t afford to go to Disneyland like your friends are doing, but……..we get to go….to the LIBRARY! WOO-HOO!” Or maybe not.
They all enjoyed picking out books at the library. For Ryan, they had free Wi-Fi. Wow. So he wasn’t grumpy. I even splurged and got a few movies. As I was looking for movies, I wanted to find Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s been years since I’ve seen that movie and I realized my kids haven’t seen it at all. Can you believe it? My kids have NOT yet seen Raiders. What an unfit mother I am. (Wow, it says on Amazon that they have used copies for one cent! But VHS. Who watches VHS these days. Do any of you have this movie and you’re tired of it and just want to mail it to me? Anyone?) Well, they didn’t have that at the library, and we had to get this one instead. It’s not quite gonna do it for me, but the kids will enjoy it.
For dinner on Sunday I made this Chicken curry with sweet potatoes and coconut rice. There’s pictures on that link, and the whole recipe. It was SO GOOD! My husband even said it was “restaurant quality”. The rice was yummy, the sweet potatoes delicious and the chicken not too currylicious. With the kids it was hit and miss, with some of them liking it and some of them not. But it’s impossible to please everyone around here. Natalie said she might like it if there weren’t so many flavors. Too many FLAVORS, huh? Well, excuse me. The only problem with this recipe was the smells that it left on my hands. Garlic, onion and curry…before church? Not such a good idea. All through church I’m smelling my hands and hoping the nobody else can smell what I just threw in the crockpot for dinner. Hand washing–doesn’t help. Lotion–not really covering it up. And my house still smells like curry. I guess that’s what you get.
And one of my new favorites is this Greek Pasta Dish
12 ounces penne (whole wheat)
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
2 tablespoons pine nuts
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, chopped, thawed and drained
4 large plum tomatoes, chopped
Ã‚Â½ cup fat free cottage cheese
4 ounces feta cheese
Jar of calamata olives
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain and set aside. Cover and keep warm.
To serve, place the warm pasta in a bowl. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Toss until well coated.
Add the spinach mixture and toss.
Finally add the feta cheese mixture.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Top with a handful olives.
I didn’t have pine nuts or those olives, and I added some bacon bits, but it’s delicious! And it saves well, too, so it’s good for a nice lunch the next day. Again, some of the kids don’t like it, but they can just eat the noodles plain, instead of with all that “stuff” on it, right?
Oh, and I made that cheesecake again, but with Splenda instead of sugar. It has kind of a weird taste, darn it. So, there you have it. Some ideas for dinner this week. Let me know if you try them.
Yesterday was a hard day. We were overscheduled already, and then we had to cram parent teacher conferences for Cole in there. Since I let Cole go down to Arizona to visit his cousins and he missed school on Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I knew that his grades would not be the best. I didn’t know they would be as bad as they were. Two D’s and an F, to say the least. I had asked Ryan if HE could go to this parent teacher conference, but he ended up sick all day. So, I hauled Cole and John to the dentist at 3:00, go to the Parent Teacher Conference by 4:30, and was pummeled with bad news for almost two hours. My favorite was his English teacher, who was so sweet and nice in saying, “Now I know you didn’t forget to do all these assignments, did you? And you are surely working on your research paper that’s due on Monday, right?” I think my eyes may have bugged out of my face a little bit and I’m very lucky my entire head didn’t explode. Research paper? I got home just in time to meet a friend to go to our book club, thank goodness. Book Club. My night to forget about the kids and their homework issues. And it was indeed fun. I’m so glad I have my girlfriends, who swap stories on everything from divorce proceedings to our church callings. And yes, eventually we even talk about the book!
I don’t really enjoy the dentist to start with. I mean, who does? My husband actually does, that’s who. He says it’s relaxing. Relaxing? I don’t think so!
But I scheduled an appointment all by myself, so I wouldn’t have to wait a long time to get all of us in there. Have I mentioned before that I hate waiting at the dentist and I’ve actually threatened to go elsewhere if I am kept waiting a long time again? Well, I am. So, while John was at preschool, I used my valuable “no children time” to go in for my 6 month check-up. I forgot to mention to them NOT to take x-rays, since our insurance only covers them once a year, and I guess we all got x-rays last time. But when I take the boys tomorrow, I’ll remember that small detail.
I don’t know where the nice young hygienist that I usually get was. Instead I got grandma scraper from hell. She got right in there and started stabbing, scraping and poking, all the while chatting on about American Idol, even though I told her I haven’t been watching it this season. I lay there in the chair, trying to relax (by the way–wouldn’t it be GREAT if they gave manicures or pedicures at the dentist? In keeping with my great ideas to combine businesses, I think this one would be good! You could have someone there making your feet all soft and your toes all pretty, and when you were done with the torture of the dentist, you would have beautiful feet! I should have suggested it.) and listening to the radio. And if it weren’t bad enough to have Mrs. Pain there with her hands in my mouth, one of my most hated songs of all time came on the radio.
“Must we?” I thought, “Do we REALLLY have to play that song, My99.5?”
What song? Tainted Love by Soft Cell. And I love you all too much to include a link to the music or the lyrics. If you don’t know that song, just count your blessings and forget about it, and be thankful.
“Will the torture never end?” I felt like shouting. Well, the song ended, but she just kept scraping and digging and poking. Then came the polishing. Usually I don’t mind the polishing, except for when polish or water gets flinged onto my face. But this master of all discomfort made even the polishing uncomfortable. She was really PUSHING that polisher to make sure my pearly whites were actually pearly and white.
Somehow I managed to keep from screaming, but I did notice that my hands were clenched together like nobody’s business.
Eventually I got out of that hated establishment, with an all clear from the dentist, by the way. Even though I don’t like to floss, I’m an excellent brusher and I haven’t had a cavity in years.
Two hours and three tylenol later, and my mouth is still in pain. PAIN, my friends.
But at least I won’t have to go back there for another 6 months. Well, except to take my boys. That would be tomorrow. And the girls next week. But after that, I’m DONE with that place for SIX WHOLE MONTHS. Take that, Madame Pokey-instrument!
Today must be just one of those emotional days for me. Chalk it up to hormones, lack of sleep, I don’t know. As I was driving home from Robert’s Crafts today, John Michael Montgomery’s song “The Little Girl” came on. Yes, on the country station. Want to make something of it? Well, I’ve heard this song before, but this time it got to me. Even before the end, I was crying. I guess I knew how it ended, and it made me cry. Here’s the whole song if you haven’t heard it, or it you would like to hear it again. Maybe it will make you cry, too.
Later I choked up when I was watching last week’s episode of the Biggest Loser, and Trent (my favorite member of the blue team) volunteered to be sent home. Crying. I’m oh so glad that none of my kids were watching me bawl about some guy who has to leave the biggest loser ranch. Ok, Paige, get a grip!
On the other end of the spectrum, we have laughter. Saturday night, my friend Tess invited a few of her fun girlfriends (me being one of them) out for a girl’s night out. We all went to see Rockapella in concert. You may remember them from their days on PBS, singing “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.”
It was a fun concert, and we enjoyed the music. There’s something about men singing a’ccapella that is just beautiful. A few of the women in our group especially liked their bass, a tall good looking black man. -Whew- Anyway, during the concert, Tess whispered something to her friend, Michelle, and the both of them just started laughing. When the concert was over, she shared her little “joke.” “Can you imagine,” she said, “if someone were to throw some panties up on stage during that one song?! That would be hysterical.” We all laughed about that one, and I said, “Oh yes, I always keep some extras in my purse for just such an occasion!” We laughed and laughed and commented on how HARD it would be to actually get your underwear off (if you were wearing it) in order to toss it up on the stage. And as Mormons, that would make things just a little bit more interesting, right?
Tess could not get over the hilarity of that image in her mind. We went to dinner at Los Hermanos, and about half way through dinner, she started cracking up again for no reason. What’s so funny? We asked. She could barely speak, she was laughing so hard. “I just keep thinking about throwing the underwear up on stage!” We all laughed again. And yes, it’s still making me chuckle. I’m not sure if she told her husband that one, or not, but I could always send him a link to this blog post, right?
So emotions are funny things. Sometimes they creep up on you unexpected like. They give our lives depth and color, don’t they. Sometimes annoying, but I’d rather be emotional than not.