I am happy to say that my ability to play "Old Molly Hare" has gotten a lot better since the video I posted yesterday. This does not mean that I have it down, not by a long shot. But at least it sounds a little more like a cohesive song. It's amazing how 1/2 hour of practicing or more a day can really help. The crazy thing is that I really love playing the banjo and don't mind spending 30 minutes playing the same thing over and over and over again. (I even woke up for about an hour last night and instead of worrying about the first day of school I thought about playing "Old Molly Hare" repeatedly, moving my fingers to be more claw-like.) And even more crazy? A musical renaissance has blossomed at our house: Dave is playing his guitar again, Grace has pulled out her mandolin and is plucking out chords, and Sam has picked up the guitar for the first time. The fiddle? Languishing in the closet. Maybe Grace will get interested in it, maybe not. For now, I'm just happy that instead of everyone grousing at the end of the day, tired and short-tempered, we're all trying to create a little music.
I also taught my first day of French at the college today. It's been about 6 years since the last time I taught there. Back then I had a toddler, then I was pregnant, then I had a toddler and a brand-new baby. I have to say, it's a heck of a lot easier planning and giving classes now that they are 11 and 9. Funny how that works. Of course, I still am stressing out, worrying that I'm not going to deliver a good, instructive, entertaining class. I guess there's no point in worrying about that, though. I know the language so I am one up on the kids; they are good kids who have been taking French all year; and I'm just trying to finish out the year for the previous instructor. Next fall it will be all my own, my own text and lots more students.
The kids are on spring break so after my class tomorrow we'll go visit the grannies--73 and almost 95. I just don't know how much longer great-granny will be around. We all cherish every moment we can spend with her. Maybe I'll even take the banjo to show her what I've been up to. She used to love it when Sam played the fiddle for her. Now she can't see at all--sound and shadows are all that are left to her. She won't see me blushing as I make mistakes and because she's grandma she won't be too hard on me, so maybe I will bring it after all.
It's raining, my newly planted hollyhocks and rhubarb from last year are thriving for now. Once the super hot weather hits, who knows. The silly chickens can't stay out of the rain--the desire to stay dry has given way to the temptation to eat every bug and little bit of green that sprouts up or crawls out of the dirt. Grace is worried they'll get moldy overnight. Do chickens get moldy? There's an interesting thought.
And finally, I'm hurrying to get boxes together for the barge which is leaving for Naknek, Alaska at the end of the month. I've finally got my act together enough to gather some things that will make my 6 weeks up there a little easier: 6 pounds of coffee beans (no, this is not overkill--I work 16-20 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 weeks--you'd need that much coffee, too), a "down-alternative" mattress pad for a little pampering in the four hours I get to sleep, Clif Bars (my lunch while working nights, since midnight meal is scary), nuts, dried fruit (same reason as the Clif Bars), a decent pillow, extra sheets, a case of Deschutes beer (after a bazillion years working up there, I have finally graduated to having a refrigerator in my room). I'm sure I'll find a few other things to tuck in before I take it all over to Seattle on Friday. I hate to have to think about Alaska so early in the spring but June will be here before I know it and I'm tired of living on the edge there. I mean, a nice pillow, a mattress pad, and a beer before bed isn't going to really make it any easier, but at least the illusion will be there.
A busy, crazy, good life. And even better, baseball season is back in full swing. The Mariners aren't predicted to do any better this year than last, or the year before that, or the year before that (you get the idea), but I do love listening to baseball on the radio. Hope springs eternal during baseball season.