Alison Kent's Blah Blog: Blah Blog
January 1st, 2015
An Invocation for Beginnings: 2015 Edition

Don’t call it a comb-back; I’ll have hair for years.

I’m scared. I’m scared that my abilities are gone. I’m scared that I’m going to fuck this up. And I’m scared of you.

I don’t want to start, but I will.

This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun, who’s stuck in a terrible place between zero and one.

Let me realize that my past failures at follow-through are no indication of my future performance. They’re just healthy little fires that are going to warm up my ass.

If my FILDI (fuck it let’s do it) is strong, let me keep him in a velvet box until I really, really need him. If my FILDI is weak let me feed him oranges and not let him gorge himself on ego and arrogance.

Let me not hit up my Facebook like it’s a crack pipe Keep the browser closed.

If I catch myself wearing a too-too (too fat, too late, too old) let me shake it off like a donkey would shake off something it doesn’t like.

And when I get that feeling in my stomach — you know the feeling when all of a sudden you get a ball of energy and it shoots down into your legs and up into your arms and tells you to get up and stand up and go to the refrigerator and get a cheese sandwich — that’s my cheese monster talking. And my cheese monster will never be satisfied by cheddar, only the cheese of accomplishment.

Let me think about the people who I care about the most, and how when they fail or disappoint me… I still love them, I still give them chances, and I still see the best in them. Let me extend that generosity to myself.

Let me find and use metaphors to help me understand the world around me and give me the strength to get rid of them when it’s apparent they no longer work.

Let me thank the parts of me that I don’t understand or are outside of my rational control like my creativity and my courage.

And let me remember that my courage is a wild dog. It won’t just come when I call it, I have to chase it down and hold on as tight as I can.

Let me not be so vain to think that I’m the sole author of my victories and a victim of my defeats.

Let me remember that the unintended meaning that people project onto what I do is neither my fault or something I can take credit for.

Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes but he’s a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties.

Let me remember that the impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic, but when the intent is evil, that’s what the block button’s for.

And when I eat my critique, let me be able to separate out the good advice from the bitter herbs.

(There are few people who won’t be disarmed by a genuine smile. A big impact on a few can be worth more than a small impact.)

Let me not think of my work only as a stepping stone to something else, and if it is, let me become fascinated with the shape of the stone.

Let me take the idea that has gotten me this far and put it to bed. What I am about to do will not be that, but it will be something.

There is no need to sharpen my pencils anymore. My pencils are sharp enough. Even the dull ones will make a mark.

Warts and all. Let’s start this shit up.

And god let me enjoy this. Life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.

Stay tuned …

February 14th, 2014
Everything old is new again…

When I was around twelve years old, 1970 or so, a family in our church gave us an upright piano. Their youngest son played, and they were buying a new one for him. I knew how to read music; back in the day, they taught these things in school. Also, we had music lessons at church with one of our song leaders.

I learned early to peck out Eleanor Rigby, This Land Is Mine (from the movie Exodus), Chopsticks, and Heart and Soul (of course), and Baby Elephant Walk (from the movie Hatari). My parents moved from Texas to Oregon when I was 21, and left the piano with me. Until recently, we knew next to nothing about it, but research tells us it’s at least seventy years old. The Bogart Piano Company ceased operation during WWII.

piano from bogart piano company

Over the next 34 years, we moved the piano at least a half dozen times. Here’s a picture I took last July while we were moving (again) to our current home. We talked seriously then about finally getting rid of it.

Piano July 2013

 

My sister had teethed off many of the ivories when she was two.

keys used for teething

There were dead keys on the high-end. The thing was terribly out of tune, the wood terribly scarred, and it was terribly dirty inside. Outside, too, a lot of the time. We’d left it on a dolly in the corner of our living room for years, and the only playing it saw was from the grandkids banging, or the occasional strolling cat.

piano interior

About this same time, my husband saw this post on Reddit, which linked to this post describing the conversion of a similarly old piano to a desk, and this photo below of the completed project. I emailed the women who owned the piano, wanting to find out more about the process, but never heard back.

Still, I was all MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE!

I posted an ad on Craigslist for a woodworker, and had several responses, and got quotes, though none of the responders had ever done such a conversion. I talked with one guy seriously during July before we moved. He showed me some portfolio work, but then I Googled him and found some not so complimentary reviews. About that same time, he fell off the face of the earth, which I now count as a blessing.

Then one day, my husband stopped by a furniture store that does a lot of custom work to look at some sofas donated to my daughter’s dog rescue group. While there, he asked the owner if she knew of anyone who could do such a conversion, and she sent him to The Tinderbox. Which was closed that day.

I pulled up the website and emailed, and the contact there put me in touch with Greenwood Bay. Bob, the owner, and his colleague Jeff came out to see the piano which was now in the garage at our new house. We discussed ideas, and cost, and a couple of weeks later, they sent a truck to pick it up.

Yesterday, they brought it back from the shop.

piano in shop

And this is my new piano desk, worth all the months and all the flails!!!

piano at home

 

Click through for more pics!
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