My Real Life

October 29, 2009

My Other Baby

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:26 am
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I don’t know if you all realize this, but I do have another baby besides the monkeys.

This baby has seen me through some very rough times.  This baby is always there for me.  This baby takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin.  This baby is 30 years old.

This is my other baby:


My piano.

Sounds silly, I know, but I love this piano.

When I was 8, my Grandma (my mother’s mother) offered to pay for half of a piano.  I had to pay for the rest out of my bank account.  So, I had $300, she paid $300 and I got this baby.

I started taking lessons and it was a love/hate relationship.  It wasn’t actually the piano that I hated.  It was being told to practice.  By anyone.

By seventh grade, my piano teacher finally said to me, “Look Amy…why don’t we just end this now?  It’s obvious you don’t want to be here.”

And she was right.  I used to have some…issues…with authority.  (I know, hard to believe)

So, I stopped taking lessons.  And then I started to really play the piano.

I bought my own music and taught myself beautiful compositions.  I played all the time.  I played instead of doing my homework.  I played instead of watching television.  I was a latchkey kid in high school and was always an only child.  I had a lot of time on my hands, and I filled much of it with the piano.

When I went to college, I originally went to major in music, but switched over part way through.  However, I would go to the music center and if one of the practice rooms was empty, I would grab one with a piano and play. 

I don’t know how to explain what happens when I play the piano.  When I sit down, I have the music in front of me, but partway through, I don’t even remember reading the music.  On the bench, fingers on the keys is where I do my best thinking.  If I have a problem, I can sit and play for a half hour and think my way through it.

When I graduated from college, I came home and moved into a house that I shared with some roommates.  I brought my baby and started teaching lessons.  Now, I was able to combine one of my passions with making some money.  Who doesn’t love that?  And what a wonderful thing to watch a child finally play a full song and the look of joy on their faces when the lesson is over as they yell to their Mom, “Listen!  Listen to what I can play!”

The piano has come with me to every house I’ve lived in ever since.  It moved with me when Real Man and I got married and now it is a source of joy for the monkeys as well.  Baby Monkey can sit for hours just making up songs at the piano.  Not banging, but actually making up songs…playing and singing.  Monkey Girl has had me teach her to play and so she will also sit and play.  It warms a Monkey Mama heart.

I still use the piano to teach lessons, and although it’s harder for me to spend a good amount of time on the piano anymore, as when I sit down, I immediately have between one and three monkeys clamoring to sit on the bench with me, I still play my heart out when I can. 

Yes, I dream of someday owning a grand piano.  Ah…the sound, the quality.  But for now, my baby is doing me proud.  I keep her well tuned, and the tuner actually just said, last month, that he couldn’t believe what great condition she was in for being so old.

I’m not big on material posessions, but this is one that I’d have a tough time leaving behind if the house was burning down.  Lots of memories attached, my own personal therapist, and just a wonderful love to pass on to my kids.

October 27, 2009

Fall Colors

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:26 am
Tags: , ,

I don’t think it’s a secret how much I love autumn.

The nice thing is…I seem to have passed this on to Monkey Girl.

I picked up three new piano students last week, bringing my total to eight.  They are brothers and sisters, so I only have to drive to one location for those three lessons, which is a nice thing.

These lessons start right after Monkey Girl gets off the bus, so she and I hopped in the car and started driving.  The drive only took about five minutes, but she pulled out her book as we got in the car so she could get in as much reading as possible.  (I get it…I’d read while I drove if I could figure out how to do it.)

All of the sudden, I hear this gasp from the back seat.  I slam on the brakes and say, “What?  What?  What is it?”

Monkey Girl is straining forward in her seatbelt, staring out the windshield.

“Look Mom!” she whispered.  “Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”

This is what she was looking at.

drivingfall 002

Really…it was beautiful.  I pulled out my phone to take the picture and she and I just sat for a moment, enjoying the beautiful colors that autumn brings.  There is nothing like fall in the northeast.  Granted, we don’t have a New England fall, but the truth is, looking at this made me forget that it had been snowing a few days earlier and made me want to go home, start a fire in the fireplace, and curl up with a good book.  It was just beautiful.

Yep…that picture was the second most beautiful thing I was looking at that day.

fall 005

September 7, 2009

Real Small Town Fun

So, every Labor Day weekend, our town hosts a “Block Party.”  Years ago, when it began, it was a “Block Dance,” and there was music and free birch beer.  Now it has evolved to a petting zoo, rides for the kids, free birch beer, actual beer you pay for, hot dogs, ice cream, a raffle for gifts from local merchants and a 50-50.  Oh, and REALLY LOUD MUSIC.

The Block Party, this year, was held on Saturday night.  It was a lot of fun.  The kids love the rides and the animals.  The adults get to converse with the other adults in town, because pretty much everyone who lives here goes.  A good time is always had by all.

My monkeys certainly enjoyed themselves.  Baby Monkey wanted to ride this ride that swings back and forth, back and forth, like a big, huge clock pendulum.  Monkey Girl and her cousin, who is also in 3rd grade, were very tolerant of him, because he wanted to ride with them, which meant they couldn’t ride on the top level.  They are really, really good girls.

Monkey in the Middle took some turns with him as well.  Here they are waiting to go on the Whip. 


I’m not sure how kids don’t break their necks on this thing.  Must be the malleability of kids.  If adults went on, I guarantee they’d all be suing.

Monkey Girl wanted to go on everything, and she did.  Multiple times.  She went with her cousins and friends from school.

Monkey in the Middle turned out to be quite the ladies man.  It seemed that every line he got in, he had some other 5 year old girl that he knew from pre-school or kindergarten wanting to hold his hand and ride with him.  On one ride, three of them couldn’t decide who was going to get to ride with him, so they smushed in four to a seat so no one was left out.  It was very cute.

However, in the end, as always, Monkey in the Middle had his eyes trained for his two cousins, who are also in kindergarten.  My sisters-in-law and I were all pregnant at the same time and so the one girl cousin was born in December, the other in January and then he was born in February.  It’s worked out really nicely, although sometimes that number three can be tricky.

Here he is with one of the cousins.  We call these two double trouble. 


Here he is with her again and Monkey Girls first communion. 


You can see it on their faces.  He’s about to do something and she is totally in on the scheme.  When the three of them get to high school, that place won’t know what hit it.

After the rides were starting to shut down, Monkey Girl and Baby Monkey had ice cream cones for $1.00 each.  Vanilla, with sprinkles.  Good deal and made them very happy.


Then, it’s time for the raffle.  Throughout the week prior to the Block Party, local merchants have the raffle tickets in their stores at the checkout counters.  It is free to enter, and almost all of the local merchants donate something.  The prizes range from a free apple pie from the farmers market to a $50 gift card to Stop-n-Shop grocery store to a gift bag from the local jeweler, etc. 

So, they start calling the names.  Two members of my family won, and the prizes were both pretty ironic.  If you’ve been reading the blog regularly, you’ll remember that Monkey in the Middle just spent $30 of his hard earned money on a Thomas the Tank Engine train set addition he’s been wanting at Barnes and Noble.  Guess who won a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble at the Block Party?  You guessed it…Monkey in the Middle.  My good friend, Jean, said that I should tell him that this is good karma.  When you work hard, good things come back to you.  I like that idea.

My neice won a few free piano lessons at a local music store.  The irony?  I teach piano lessons on the weekend.  Obviously, it would have been way more ironic had I  won the piano lessons, but still…she’s in the family.

The night ended with the 50-50 drawing which was won by a boy that I estimate to be about 11.  He won $445.  Talk about good karma!

It was 9:15 when it was all over and done. We came home and put the kids right to bed.  They were zonked. 

Although there can be frustrating aspects to small town life sometimes, evenings like that are definitely one of the best things about living in a small town.  Good clean fun.

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