Oops! Cards to Avoid Late Payments

There has been a wonderful discussion at the Faber’s Piano Teacher’s Forum about helping parents remember to pay at the beginning of the month. One of the teachers made up some Oops! cards. If a student doesn’t give her a tuition check, she will send them out to their parent after the lesson with a card in hand.  She uses a “friendly” font, and prints the cards on bright green paper. I loved this idea, and made up some Oops! cards of my own.  They will open in an MS Word document, so you can change them to fit your needs.






“Baby, Take a Bow!” Part 2

(To read Part 1, click here)

Now, for the second part of our exciting “Baby Take a Bow” group lesson…

After practicing our bad vs. good bows, it was time to practice our pieces for the upcoming performance at the local mall. I explained to the students that there are always distractions while we play. Babies cry, people sneeze and cough, someone might forget to turn off their cell phone, and on and on. These distractions would be even more prevalent at the mall where we were performing.

We discussed how important it is to stay focused on the music we were playing. No matter what happenens, we must not react to it. That can sometimes be a hard thing, so we took the opportunity to practice. I had a student come to the piano. Another student was assigned as the “distractor.” Their job was to do anything they could to get the performer to loose their concentration. The only rule was they could not invade the performers personal space or touch them in any way.

DistractionsOh my, did the kids have fun with that one! They slammed doors, dropped books, jumped up and down, stared at the performer, and anything else they could come up with. My teenage group was a bit more hesitant to make such annoying distractions, so the whole group played “distractors” during each performance. They soon warmed up, and were jangling keys, playing hand-clapping games, and were much more distracting that my elementary group.

Every single student performed admirably with all of the distractions. No one lost their concentration, even with all the revelry going on around them. After we had all taken our turns, I praised them for their focus when performing. I told them that it would never (I hope!) be that bad in an actual performance. There would always be distractions, though, and now they knew that they were capable of a polished performance no matter what was going on around them.

The lesson was a great success, and when the annoying security alarm kept going off at the mall, my students kept going with their focused, polished performances!

Look What I Did!

On Saturday, Feb. 23 I was at the local high school for a piano rehearsal.  On the way to the car I stepped wrong off a curb, twisted my knee, heard a loud crack, and was down on the pavement.  Seeing as how my leg was at an unnatural angle, and it hurt something fierce when I tried to move, we ended up calling 911 for help.  Three very wonderful firemen splinted my leg, and helped me to my van and a friend drove me to the emergency room.  They gave me some lovely painkillers, took lots of x-rays, told me I broke my leg just above the ankle, and set my leg.  That hurt.  A lot.  Then I went home with a prescription for more pain medication and instructions to see an orthopedic surgeon on Monday.  Here’s a picture of one of the x-rays they took:  I broke the fibula bone (the one pointed weird there in the x-ray), broke a chunk off the bottom of the tibia bone, dislocated the ankle, and who knows what all else. 

broken ankle 1

Monday I went to see the orthopedic surgeon, who took one look at me and sent me to the emergency room.  I kept telling him I was just fine.  Yeah, so I was shivering uncontrollably and showing signs of shock, but really, I just needed to go home and rest.  For some odd reason, he didn’t agree with me, and so off to the ER I went.  After a long 10 hour wait, I was finally taken back and looked at.  They did an ultrasound on the leg to check for blood clots, and lots more x-rays.  I knew I was in trouble when the nurse said that the second set of x-rays were much worse than the first set taken 2 days before.  Somehow in my trips to the bathroom I had managed to dislocate even more bones.  So, they set my leg again.  That was the worst pain I have ever had in my entire life.  I thought they were done, and they started adjusting things again.  Then they stopped and started a couple more times while tellig me to relax.  It was excruciating. 

I was then admitted to the hospital.  I kept telling them I was fine to go home, but again, nobody believed me.  On Wednesday, the swelling had gone down enough that the doctor was able to perform surgery.  It was supposed to last for 90 minutes, but lasted for almost 2 1/2 hours.  I did a lot more damage than the x-rays showed.  I now have a metal plate and 12 pins holding me together.  They aren’t pins, though.  They are screws.  They just say pins to make it sound better.  Here are a couple of pictures of my leg.  My husband says it looks like a hardware shop gone wrong.  

ankle 3ankle 2

Thursday evening I was able to go home.  I was in a soft cast and mostly bed-ridden for 2 weeks, and just graduated to a hard cast that I will have for another 6 weeks.  It feels like forever.  I can’t put any weight on it at all.  Makes being a mom of my children ages 4, 5, 5, and 8 rather difficult.  After that, I get a Darth Vader-looking boot for a month, and get to learn to walk again.  I am looking forward to that physical therapy, painful as they say it will be.  I just want to be able to walk again!  The doctor said it will be 6 months until I am back to normal.

I had all these grand thoughts about all of the things I could do during my convalescence.  I planned on working on things for the website, MTNA certification portfolio, and all sorts of stuff.  Unfortunately, the programs I use to make all of my games and such are on the desktop computer and not my sweet but not-too-powerful laptop, and sitting at the computer hurts because there is no good place to elevate my leg.  I have also discovered that painkillers make it difficult to do much anyway.  I am so grateful I had them when I needed them, though!

I don’t like being so helpless, and not being able to get about.  My parents borrowed a wheelchair from some friends for me since I’m not stable enough on my feet to use crutches.  I have a walker as well, but I am so sore from using that!  I never realized how wonderful it is to walk to the mailbox, or bend down to pick something off the floor.  I miss not being able to sweep, vacuum, and take out the trash. 

I have been greatly blessed, though.  My husband is wonderful.  He has been such a comfort and pillar of strength for me.  He even gives me those awful shots in my stomach every night that I have to have since I just can’t do them myself.  My children have been just wonderful.  Piano parents have been so understanding with the weeks of missed lessons.  People from church and the local music teachers group have been graciously bringing in dinners and coming to help get lunch for my daughter and me in the afternoon.  My mom has come in the evenings to dish up dinner for the children, and get laundry done.  My sister-in-law has been coming in the evenings to do the dishes and sweep the floors for me.  One of my piano moms has come every week to mop the hardwood floors we have throughout our house.  It isn’t easy for me, though.  I have decided it’s much easier to serve others than to be the recipient of service.

So, if there aren’t many updates, or if it takes me awhile to respond to comments or e-mails, you’ll know why.  I suppose God is using this as one of those great learning moments for me.  I am just grateful he is doing it with a broken left leg, so I still have use of my pedal foot!  🙂