Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chapter Four [It's a Novel Idea]

Alex.....” I began, looking in the mirror in the staff washroom at the bank. I straightened my purple blouse. “Alex.” I stated with my voice a little lower and more serious. UGH! How was I going to do this. I wasn't good at confrontations. With determination, I tucked my hair back behind my ears, grabbed my bag and marched out of the washroom. It was now or never.
I found him sitting alone at a small round table in the lunch room. There were others in there. Others who I didn't know. It was a big bank with lots of different departments and most didn't socialize with each other. I took a foam cup from the counter and poured myself some coffee. I stood apprehensively. I didn't want witnesses.

Stacey.....you should come sit with me.”

It was Alex. I hadn't gone unnoticed. He patted the chair next to him.

Well, I did.....” I stammered, turning to approach his table. Some of the people were leaving. I was relieved. “I wanted to talk to you about the other night.”

A smile spread across Alex's face. Not exactly the reaction I was looking for. “I had fun didn't you?”

I remembered the morning after and grimaced. “It was fun to go out that's for sure.” I stopped to look at him in the eyes. I plunged ahead. “But I think something I did......or, well, I gave you the wrong impression.”

He dropped the smile. 
 
The thing is.....” I dropped my eyes as he put his sandwich down on his plate. “I like going out but I don't think I'm ready for anything else. I like being friendly and I'd like to just be friends.” That sounded okay didn't it? I wasn't being too harsh? 
 
Geez Stacey. I didn't think I was asking for your hand in marriage.” He got up and tossed his half uneaten sandwich in the garbage can. We were the only two in the room now. “I just thought that we could go out to a movie sometime, maybe dinner, that sort of thing.”

But I don't think of you that way, Alex.” I didn't think of him at all to be honest. But I wasn't going to say that.

You don't even know me.”

True.

He walked back towards me and leaned over the table to look me in the eyes. I didn't want to look, but finally I lifted my head. “What do you say we meet up for a casual outing and see if we hit it off?”

That didn't sound too bad.

And if we did that and it went badly do you think we could still be friends?”

I'm willing to find out.” He smiled.

It would make working together hard don't you think?” I was trying to come up with any excuse I could now. I was putty in his hands. I wasn't putting up the fight I had planned.

Why don't we try it first before you go ahead and plan the whole future?” He relaxed and slumped back into his chair. “How about we just go have a coffee one night? That would be easy. No assumptions.....no expectations?”

I liked coffee. It didn't sound too harmful. 
 
That might be okay.” I agreed.

How about one night this week?” He appraised me. “Thursday is as good a day as any.”

Fine.” I stated. That gave me, what, 4 days to fret over it?

Pleased with himself, Alex got up and sauntered out of the lunch room. Then he turned suddenly to say, “Time to get back to work I guess.” And then he winked at me.

UGH.

That had gone very badly. I spent the rest of the day trying to convince myself it would be alright. It was harmless, right? Just two coworkers going out for a coffee. 
 
Hey Stacey!” It was Emily. She had caught up to me in the parking garage. I had almost made my escape. “What's this I hear about you and Alex?”

It's just an innocent little thing, Emily.” I tried to be flippant. “I tried to go the 'let's be friends' route but he wouldn't have any of it.”

He shouldn't be too hard to go out with.” She paused as I got to my car. “He's easy on the eyes.” Don't tell me she had something for him. “I'd go out with him in a heartbeat.....if he had eyes for me.”

I considered his boyish features, brown hair and brown eyes. I lowered my voice a little. You never know who might be lurking around a parked car. “But shouldn't I worry about his reputation?”

I wouldn't care.” Maybe Emily needed a date more urgently than I did. “What are you going to wear?”

To go out for coffee? “Probably jeans and a t-shirt.....the usual.” 
 
Emily was shaking her head. “Girlfriend that won't do. You need to do some shopping!” 
 
This was getting way out of hand.

Chapter Three [It's a Novel Idea]

The days that followed were not nearly as interesting. It was a blend of sleep and work and quiet evenings. It was the usual pattern only broken up the changes in the weather. The days were warming and the sun was shining more. I was planning on taking a walk after work on the river front.

I had not seen Him since Monday.

It was crazy, really because I didn't even know who He was. He was just a kind stranger on a desolate Monday morning who had a coffee craving like I did. But those eyes. Blue Eyes. Just the thought of them made me swoon. I don't even know what he wore. Did it matter? I couldn't tear myself away from the eyes anyway.

I shouldn't even think about it anymore. He was obviously not in my social circle. Or dot. Or whatever my social situation was. I probably would never see Him again.

As it turned out, on this Friday evening, there were lot's of people out walking. Many people were eager for the change of season. 

I had parked my car near the Victoria Bridge. Then I trudged along the street and down the steps to the walkway. I stood just under the bridge and leaned against the rail. It was quite the improvement to this area. It was so nice to come here and sit on a bench or wander the path. I could nearly walk all the way to the weir if I really wanted to. I started to walk to my left which would take me somewhere near the Bessborough if I wanted to walk far enough. 

There was still a coolness in the air and I turned the collar of my trench coat up to shield my neck. I wish I had a scarf. But I didn't. I was being a rebel. I hadn't walked very far when I came to a barrier. There was a crowd of people here. There was always things going on in this area so I didn't really think anything of it. Maybe it was a cultural event like Taste of Saskatchewan or something. 

I was about to turn and walk back the way I had come when I heard my name.

“Stacey!” Pause. “Stacey Anders!”

I gazed around trying to see where it had come from. I saw a hand flailing frantically. Gradually I saw the body it was attached to. It was Emily.....from work. She fought her way through the crowd and to her way to me.

Finally standing in front of me she says, “Funny running into you here!”

I shrugged not really knowing how to respond.

She grabbed my arm and led me a short distance away. “Hey listen, a few of us from work are headed out for drinks. Wanna come?”

“Sure.” We all know that I didn't get out very often. “Who else is going?”

Emily pointed around to some other familiar faces. “There's Nate, Alex and Matt.” Looking more serious now, “Frankly, I'm a little worried to be the only female. I'm so glad we ran into you!”

The others were coming forward now. I nodded a hello to them. They were all just customer service people like myself and probably about the same age. “Where's the other girls?” I asked. Obviously, there were other girls at work.....”Madison, Olivia, Julia....” I struggled to remember. I really needed to socialize more. Or take something to improve my memory.

“Everyone had plans.” Emily looked disgusted. “With boyfriends.” She rolled her eyes at the words.

“Ah.” I nodded my understanding. “So where are you off to?”

“6 Twelve.” Nate answered. “It's supposed to be the newest place to go.” He was probably about the trendiest of this little group. He always wore what looked to be expensive and up to the minute clothes. I looked frumpy next to him in my new dress pants, blazer and trench that had been an indulgence.

“Well, we can't get through this way.” Emily looked back to the barricade.

“I have my car.” I volunteered. “But it'll only seat 3 of you.”

“That's alright.” Matt broke in. “I don't know if I'm really up to the Friday night crowd. I'm thinking of heading home. I work tomorrow morning too” Matt was probably the most like me. He was newer to the city after growing up in rural Saskatchewan. He didn't have the expensive city taste like Nate did. He was much more down to earth, but nice just the same. 

“I work tomorrow too, but it's your loss.” Alex piped up. “More hot chicks for us.” He winked at me. Ugh! Alex was rumored to be the ladies man of the bank. I didn't see why myself. He had boyish features and a playboy attitude.

We walked back to my parked civic. Matt had gone his own direction. Everyone crowded into my little two door. It certainly wasn't a family car. Emily sat in the front with me. When I turned on the ignition loud pumping music filtered through the stereo system. It did have an exceptional stereo.

“Sorry!” I apologized reaching quickly to turn down the volume.

“Stacey, you are a mysterious creature.” Nate and Alex joked from the back seat. I glanced in the rear view mirror to see their long legs twisted up like pretzels even though both Emily and I were short and had the seats moved up considerably.

I zipped quickly through the downtown traffic. I found a parking space easily in front of the Sheraton. “So tell me why you guys were walking on the river front when there are much more direct routes from the bank?” 

I unfastened my seat belt and opened the door. Nate and Alex were getting out of Emily's side of the car. They were stretching from feeling the effects of riding in my little sports care.
“Emily heard something about a movie being filmed on the river bank.” Alex answered. I looked over to see Emily's pained expression.....or was it embarrassment? “It turned out to be nothing but a hoard of teenagers.” Alex finished.

Really? A movie? There had been a made for tv movie filmed here a while back and a rock group had filmed a video at the university.

Emily spoke next. “Well, I had heard there were some movie stars in the city.”

I joked. “Oh Emily. Are you star struck?” Her face blushed and I immediately felt bad. I wouldn't want to admit to it either.

We all traipsed into the hotel and found a nice blue booth in the lounge. I realized I was starving. I had skipped supper to go to the river front. I had told myself I'd stop and get a salad on my way home. But now I decided I was ravenous.

“Have any of you been here before?” I asked looking at the menu. “What's good?”

No one had been here before. We were all newbies. I looked the menu over. It was pretty expensive for my meager pocket book. I decided to go with an appetizer. Edamame seemed like a good middle of the road choice and maybe a healthy one. I thought back to my gym days. I had lost a few pounds during those painful days, but when I stopped going I quickly put them back on my short frame.

The waitress came and took our drink order. There were terrific names for drinks. It was hard to choose. I ordered a Pomegranate Margarita thinking I'd be able to sip it slowly. After all I was driving and really shouldn't have had a drink at all. I did want to find my way home after this! I remembered one time at Red Lobster ordering the drink of the day only to have it arrive in what was sized like a fish bowl. Ooooh.....the room had spun after that!

The conversation bantered back and forth. I should go out more often. I didn't have to broad all the time did I? I was downright enjoying myself. Maybe even a little too much. I had drained my cocktail.

The waitress brought me another drink.

I protested. “I didn't order this.”

“Oh I know.” She pointed across the lounge. “But there was a man over there who said he needed to repay you the favor.”

I looked past her, but the seat she had motioned to was empty. All eyes around the table were looking at me.

Emily spoke teasingly. “You have a secret admirer!”

“What did he look like?” I asked. I didn't know many people. 

“Let's see.” The waitress was thinking. “He had messy hair and beautiful blue eyes.” She smiled. “Pretty cute if you ask me.”

It was Him. Blue Eyes from Starbucks. I scanned the room trying to see if he'd just simply moved, but no, he was gone now.

That's when the jabbing started from my companions. I was never going to live this down. Emily's earlier embarrassment was nothing compared to this. 

And that's when I decided to down this drink too.....and probably many more that evening. Because the next thing I remembered was blinding light and the pain and throbbing of a migraine the morning after.

I took stock of myself. Yup, I was still dressed in yesterdays clothes. My shoes were off and my blazer was tossed on the floor. I didn't remember how I got home. I didn't remember who I came home with. I wedged myself up onto one elbow and squinted around the room. I appeared to be alone. Then I spied a note on my night stand.

Things got pretty crazy last night so I brought you home and tucked you in. See you at work. Alex.

Thank God. 
 
I thought real hard. I remembered the drink arriving at the table. I remembered lot's of drinks to follow. I remembered something about singing and clutching onto Alex.....or was it Nate? As we walked down the street. No, it was Alex. Why did it have to be him? I groaned. 
 
I squeezed my eyes tight really hard. Maybe if I squeezed them really hard I could erase last nights memory. Giving up, I tumbled off the bed and shrugged out of my rumbled clothes. I found my favorite sweat pants and t-shirt and shoved my feet into my slippers. I padded out to the kitchen to make coffee. I was in no shape for Starbucks today.

What time was it anyhow? I stared at the clock on the microwave. It couldn't me right. It was after 1pm. I had slept most of the day away. But then it was the weekend and I didn't work weekends so what did it matter? In actuality I could go back to bed until tomorrow if I really felt like it.

I had the coffee maker going in no time. It made a loud gurgling sound as the liquid filled the carafe and the air with wonderful awakening aroma. While it perked I grabbed a glass of water and yanked the Advil out of the cupboard and downed two capsules. I wasn't going to spend the day hungover.....what was left of it anyhow.

As I walked around the counter with my coffee mug I saw the light flashing on my answering machine. I pressed the button and winced at the seemingly loud noises it made while it readied the message. Everything was too loud today.

Hi this is Alex.....I'm just phoning to check on you and make sure you are okay.....you had a lot to drink last night.” Laugh. “Anyway I wanted you to know that I had a good time and wondered maybe we can do it again sometime soon.....let me know.....okay I better get back to work.....bye.”

OH NO! Now I had Alex making offers. This was a lot more than I had bargained for. The next time I saw him I'd have to set the record straight. I sat down at my kitchen table and rubbed my temples and started to plan the speech I'd have to deliver on Monday.

Chapter Two [It's a Novel Idea]

That evening after I had changed into my favorite pair of pajamas and after I had declared that there was nothing on TV to watch, I curled up on the couch with my book. There had been a lot of talk about Dusk.....mostly by the younger people I knew. I had seen the book everywhere lately. I was always the last to get in on the latest trend. I hadn't even cared about the whole Harry Potter craze. Fads never lasted long anyway. One teen star was easily replaced by another pop culture hero. I liked to march to my own tune.

I had been reading the same line over and over. My mind kept going back over the day. My brain wouldn't relax. I must have had too much caffeine! Something was nagging at me.

Then, 

slowly.....

it dawned on me.

He had asked my name, but I didn't know who He was. I don't know if it really mattered. What were my chances of running into him again? Honestly? Even though he said he'd be getting coffee again. Lot's of people said things like that and then you never see them again. You never hear from them again.

Frustrated, I slammed my book closed. I wasn't reading it anyhow. I let it drop to the floor. Plop.
I decided to make a cup of tea. Grandma had always said that a good cup of tea could cure the days troubles. I wasn't necessarily troubled, but I sure could use some relaxation. I busied myself by getting out the kettle and searching the cupboard for a good variety of tea bags. I like herbal teas the best with just a teaspoon of honey for a sweetener. My tea was steeping when the phone rang.

By the time I got to the phone the ringing had stopped.

I walked a few steps away only to have the ringing start up again. More quickly this time I dashed to the phone. Not many people would call this time of night. “Hello?”

“Could I speak to Mandy please?” the voice said.

“I'm sorry,” I answered. “But you have the wrong number.”

“Oh.....sorry” and then I heard a click on the line.

I headed back to the kitchen counter and to my steeping tea. This time I got a spoon out and nearly had it dipped into the honey when again the phone rang. I dashed off to answer it again.

“Hello?”

“Hi. Is Mandy there?”

“No.” I said. “YOU have the wrong number”

Click.

Angrily, I stomped back to the kitchen. This time I brought the phone with me. It was cordless after all and it was silly to leave it in the charger all the time. But the phone didn't ring very often so I had little reason to leave it elsewhere. I had the spoon all the way into the honey and even had the spoon stirring in my tea when......

I let it ring twice before looking at the caller display.

Unknown name.....Unknown number.

“Hello!” I said a bit angrily now.

“Is Mandy there?”

“No!” I was freaking out a little now. “You've called this number, the wrong number three times now. There is no Mandy here. You have the wrong number!”

Silence.

Dang. I was rude.

“I'm sorry.” The decidedly male voice said quietly and sounding down right depressed. “I guess I was given the wrong number. I apologize for the intrusion.” 

My heart melted.

“Maybe I could help you get the correct number?” I asked. I was feeling bad for reacting so badly. The voice didn't sound so bad. For all I knew maybe it was urgent that they get in touch with this Mandy.

“It's alright. Thanks for trying to help though.” Pause. “You do sound nice. I don't suppose.....no, that's crazy.....”

“What?”

“No it's insane. No one in their right mind would agree.”

Okay, my interest was peaked. I often wasn't in my right mind. “What? It's really no problem.”

“Well.....” They started out slowly.....cautiously. “I don't suppose you'd talk to me for awhile?”
 
Yup, I definitely attracted weirdness.

I gave in. “You really need someone to talk to that badly?”

“I'm just in a very lonely place right now and I would really enjoy a distraction.”

“Okay. You've got me convinced. I won't hang up on you.” This was going to top my list of weird things that's for sure. “But if you expect me to listen you should at least let me know who I'm talking to.”

I could almost feel the relief come in a wave across the phone line. “William.” He confided. “But some people call me Will.”

“Will. What's on your mind?” I sounded like a radio call in show host.

“And what should I call you?” Will asked avoiding my question. 

I thought it over. Should I tell him my real name? All he had was my phone number. That was if he could remember the wrong numbers to call again. By the sound of his voice he didn't sound like the stalker type. But then, what did a stalker sound like? I didn't know. Even though something told me I had nothing to worry about I still thought I should be cautious. I couldn't just go around giving random guys my name.....even though I had already done it once today.

“Anonymous.” I answered. “I mean, how am I to know you are who you say you are? How am I to know that you aren't some kind of deranged stalker waiting around the corner?”

“Fair enough. I deserve that.” Will said. “Miss Anonymous it is.....I assume it is Miss?”

“Yes. There is no doubt that I am a Miss.” Yikes, that sounded a bit desperate. “I mean.....er, just that there is no Mister about the place.”

I detected a little laughter on the line. “It sounds like I'm not the only lonely one.”

“I'll have you know that I lead a perfectly happy life.” Why did I feel the need to justify my life to this unknown? “Besides, this is supposed to be about you not me, remember? What is it you really need help with?”

“I'm having relationship issues.”

“Don't you think you should discuss this with the person you're in the relationship with?”

“That's the thing.” Big sigh. “I'm not in a relationship. It's complicated. It's not that I wouldn't like to be in a relationship. I can't seem to find the right girl. And yet, in my current situation I'm not even sure I could handle having someone in my life.”

“And what is your current situation?”

“Like I said its complicated. It has to do with my line of work.” I heard such grief in his voice. A yearning for something that just wasn't possible. “I'm busy. I have all kinds of commitments and I don't think any sane person would understand.”

I was becoming a softy. “What do you do, Will?” It sounded a lot more important than my little bank job that's for sure.

“I don't know if I should tell you.” He answered.

“Oh, c'mon.” I pleaded. “Who am I going to tell? I don't even know you!”

“Well, I can't tell you exactly what I do.” He waited to hear my response. When I didn't say anything he continued. “Let's just say I find myself in the public eye a lot.”

“Sounds like you lead an interesting life” 

Will avoided the question. “It makes it difficult to get out.”

“Well, that's sounds a heck of a lot more interesting than my career.....or lack of. Sounds down right awesome if you ask me. I work in a bank.....not much glory in banking. You shouldn't have any problem finding a willing recipient of your affections.”

“But that's precisely the problem. Everyone seems to want something from me. I don't get much peace and not much time to myself. Who would want to be around that all the time? I have enough trouble coping with it myself, never mind bringing someone else into this world.”

“Maybe you just need to open yourself up a little.” I paused to consider what he'd confided. “If you found the right person none of it should matter. They wouldn't care about any of it. They'd just care about you.”

“But how can I find THAT person when everyone is just out for their own gain?” There was a shuffling sound on the phone then and a clanking noise. “I can't even go out in public without causing mass panic.”

I was distracted. “What's that sound? What are you doing?” Did I have the right to probe?
“Huh? Oh, I'm making a cup of tea.”

I had forgotten about my tea sitting on the cupboard and probably considered more of an iced tea by now. “I like tea too.” I replied. “In fact, you caught me making it too. I'm having Candy Cane Lane tonight.” I laughed. That sounded ridiculous.....having a Christmas blend when it was so close to Easter.

“I'm an Earl Grey man myself.” 

“There's nothing like a spot o' tea to take the troubles away.”

“You can say that again.” Will gulped, presumably sipping his tea. “I'm feeling better already.”
“There's a tea and coffee shop down on Broadway.” I volunteered. “I've only been there once but they had every variety out there.....it was a bit overwhelming for someone who is used to supermarket brands.”

“I'll have to look into that.”

“Oh, so you are in the city then?” I asked. “My caller display said unknown so.....”

“Um.” Sounding rather guarded. “....yes, but as I've told you, I have trouble getting out.”

I giggled. “Maybe you need a fedora and big sunglasses like Michael Jackson.” Did I really just say that? Like that's a good disguise anyway. But then again, Lois Lane never suspected Superman behind his dorky glasses did she?

“You have made me feel better.” Will was laughing too. “I need more humor in my life.”

“Well, stick around.....I'm a barrel of laughs.”

“I might just do that.” I could hear that Will's mood had totally changed. “You have made me feel better, Anonymous.” 

“I'm glad to be of help.”

“If I'm feeling just as pathetic again, could you.....I mean, would you mind if I called again?” Will asked. “It's nice to have someone just listen.”

“I don't see what it could hurt.”

“Thanks Anonymous. Actually I think I'm going to call you Ann. Yup. Ann it is.”

I smiled now too. Along with everything else, I was going to have to deal with an alternate ego. 

“Have a goodnight Will.”

“Goodnight Ann.”

Piano Lesson #4 ~ Alphabets ~

**Sorry for the bizarre formatting on this one.** 

I am on summer holidays so I think these lessons should come with a bonus of some sort.

No?

Meh.
Today we're reviewing the Treble Clef and learning some more new notes.  You remember C - D - E - F - G, right?!  Well guess what?  If you press the next key after the G you will have Alligator Al!  Or "A" as he likes to be called for short.

 
I know what you're thinking.  You only have 5 fingers and now I've shown you 6 notes.  Well for now you can just do the "pinky hop", but at some point in the future you will have to learn to play using something called "fingering".    As you progress you will develop the dexterity to be able to handle the fingering for higher notes.  Today, we'll hop.  Hippity hippity hop.
 
You are now ready to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Did you know that Mozart composed Twinkle Twinkle when he was only 5 years old?

Did you also know that Twinkle Twinkle is also the same tune for the Alphabet Song?

I bet you're singing the Alphabet Song to see if I'm right.  Aren't you?!

Well, since we're talking about the alphabet, I may as well tell you that the next note higher than A.....is "B" for Bert.  And if you go one more higher, you'd be at "high C".  Cool!
 

In music, we have something called The Musical Alphabet.  It's really cool because there aren't nearly as many letters to remember!  The Musical Alphabet only goes to G and then starts over!
ABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFG
There is never "H".  Never.

Even though the following pictures include notes that I haven't really showed you yet, the pictures are an excellent reference.  You may find that you will come back and look at it often. 


 
Please note:  I much prefer the saying Elvis' Guitar Broke Down Friday.  But that's just me.  You might find that making up your own saying is easier.

Assignment:
1.  Play Twinkle Twinkle RH only
2.  Review old songs HT
3.  Memorize the new notes & sayings.
4.  HAVE FUN

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chapter One [It's a Novel Idea]

Coffee.

That was my sole waking thought that morning when I opened my eyes. The sunlight was streaming in through the faded purple curtains which were parted just enough to let the glare in. I was happy to see the sun. It had been a long cold winter. I welcomed the warmth of the rays and let it burn my eyelids as I squinted to see. But even as joyful as I was to see the sun, I wanted caffeine more.

I wanted it so bad I could almost taste it.....smell its enticing aroma.

Starbucks.

Nothing would do but an Americano. Which was exactly why I threw on the first available clothing, quickly combing my messy curly brown bob and hopped into my Honda to go get caffeinated.

I stood impatiently in line.

Obviously, lot's of other people had the same idea I did. I had my bag loosely slung over my shoulder which held pretty much everything I needed to get through my day. My wallet, some lip gloss, paper, pens, keys and about a million other things including an emergency white tank top to change into when I slopped something on my shirt. Which always happened. It was inevitable.
It sure was crowded in the 2nd Avenue Starbucks today. Unusually crowded.....maybe mobbed was the word....for just any Saskatoon Monday morning. I might have seen a flashbulb from a camera. It was much too early for tourist season. 

From behind me I got shoved.....rather my bag got shoved. It tumbled to the floor with its contents embarrassingly flying out and scattering across the floor.

Great.

Immediately, I was down and scrambling and crawling around to pick it all up. But so was someone else.

“I'm so sorry.” He mumbled, crawling around with me gathering things up. I looked over to see where the voice came from. He wasn't clean shaven, had messy hair much like my own and the most incredible blue eyes I've ever seen. Then He stood, holding onto my white lace tank top.
I grimaced and grabbed it from Him. “er, thanks.” I shoved everything back into my bag. He handed me my new copy of Dusk grinning a lopsided grin.

“Good book.” He said. 

“I wouldn't know.” I responded taking the book from Him a little gentler than I had grabbed my tank top. I shoved it into my bag too. “I'm only on the first page.”

“Oh.....well keep reading.” He gestured toward the counter. “I think they're waiting to take your order.”

While the whole exchange had gone on the line had moved ahead and now I was at the counter and the barista was looking at me annoyed. I guess I was holding things up. Did it really matter? It was so busy and it seemed like the other barista's had their hands full making drinks that were lined up and down the counter.

“Grande Americano with a shot of sugar free caramel syrup.”

“Make that 2.” He said, slapping down an American five dollar bill. Who was this guy anyway? “I feel bad for knocking your bag down.”

The barista fumbled around with the foreign money and needed to consult with someone else about the current exchange rate. They were befuddled.

By this time I had found my wallet in my now very unsorted bag and had pulled out a Canadian fiver. “Here.....take this instead.” I said handing them my money. They looked relieved and handed me back the American five. I tried to hand it to Him but He waved it away. We walked over to the red dangle-y lights to wait for our drinks.

“What is there to do in this city?” He asked me.

How could I tell Him this was it? This is what we did for excitement here? When winter lasted for what felt like 10 months and the summers seemed like little blips on a heart rate monitor. Of course when it was summer it was beautiful here. But this is Saskatchewan we're talking about.....and its was only April. Nothing was growing yet and the snow had just melted leaving behind dust and mud. Not exactly the best impression for a newcomer. I was going to be honest.

“I don't know what other people do.” I answered. “But I hang out in coffee shops, go to the occasional football game and shop.” Oh yes, I liked to shop.

“I see.” He looked disappointed. He was planning His escape.

Just then the barista placed our drinks in front of us shouting “Grande Americano.” I grabbed mine eagerly. I had waited a long time for this.

“Thanks for the drink.” He said laughing a little. I detected a little embarrassment over the money thing. He turned, smiling, and smiling with His piercing blue eyes. “I'll see you around.”
Then He was gone. The crowd seemed to dissipate in His absence. I was still holding onto His crumpled up five dollar bill. I tossed it into my bag. Interesting, I thought, you sure do meet some weird people sometimes. But then I attracted weirdness. I thought back to some strange predicaments I had found myself in before. Then I shuddered.....I shouldn't go there. 

I looked at my watch. It was time I get a move on and get to work.

It wasn't a long journey. I worked at a bank right across the street. I was just a teller.....or rather a customer service representative, as they were called these days. It wasn't a glorious job, but I had endured various jobs in retail and this was much better. The hours were reliable and the workplace was friendly. I don't know if there was a future here, but it provided a nice steady paycheck which put Kraft Dinner on my TV table seven days a week. I liked the regular work hours I had a the bank. It would allow me to have a social life.

Only if I did have a social life.

UGH.

I had tried to make friends and settle into life here in the Big City. But it was hard. I had even joined a gym in hopes of meeting people. That had been a mistake. It only left me sore and detesting the gym. I knew a few people from work and we occasionally went out for drinks, but I definitely did not have a clique like other 20 somethings did. I was no Jennifer Aniston and no one would be bursting into my shabby little apartment unannounced.

I was brought out of my pathetic reverie at my counter as I realized a new customer was standing before me.

“You again.” He stated. His eyes were even more incredible under the florescent lights of the bank.

I was befuddled.

Then He smiled the same crooked smile that I had seen briefly at Starbucks and my heart might have stopped. I know my breath was taken away. I gasped.

He ignored me. “I thought since I'm going to be in Canada for awhile I should exchange some of my money.” Smiling more now.....my pulse quickening.....and now I was sure that I did have a pulse. “So I can buy coffee on my own tomorrow morning.”

I smiled now too. Was he flirting?

“Well, I think I can make that little exchange for you.”

He placed a stack of colorless bills on the counter. I had to look up the current exchange rate and quickly made the necessary calculations. I remembered how the barista from the morning couldn't complete the simple task. I shouldn't be so hard on her. Not everyone was good at meaningless mathematical equations.

I replaced the bills with a rainbow stack. “You'll probably need something smaller than fives.....too.” I removed a ten and found the necessary change in Toonies and Loonies. “They're heavier to carry around but very convenient.”

Who was this suddenly professional persona I was channeling?

He took the bills folding them into his leather wallet and placing it in his back pocket like most men do. Then He took the gold and silver change and slid it around in his hand. It made a happy clinking sound.

“What's your name?” He asked.

“I'm not sure I should tell you.” I teased.

“Well if I see you again, I'd like to be able to say 'hi Pam or Karen or Matilda' or whatever.” He grinned.

“Matilda?” I pouted. “I look like a Matilda?”

“That depends.....is Matilda your name?”

“No!” I blurted. I could feel my cheeks redden.

“Well then you should tell me what your real name is.....I believe its a common courtesy to greet someone by their name.” He was trying to persuade me and he was doing a good job. His eyes twinkled and he flashed the lopsided grin once more.

Before I could help myself.....“Stacey.” I heard myself say.

“Well, Stacey, I'll see you.....for coffee.” But before I could say anything else He had turned and was exiting the bank.

Morning coffee would never be the same.

Piano Lesson #3 ~ 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + ~

I promised that I could teach you to play the piano in 3 lessons and actually I did it in 2 lessons.  [See Piano Lesson #1 through 2.5].  The only thing left to tell you is about counting.  Once you can play Hands Together you have to become conscious of rhythm and counting.
 
The two numbers found at the beginning of a piece of music is called the TIME SIGNATURE.   The top number tells you that between the bar lines there will be 4 counts or beats.  The bottom number tells us what kind of note receives 1 beat/count.  In this example there will be 4 beats per measure and a 1/4 or quarter note receives one beat.


 
This is Big Bird.  Big Bird didn't really have any friends.  It was summer vacation and everyone had gone away so he was all alone.  He decided to go for a walk in the woods.  He was walking along when he found an egg!  



Inside the egg was 4 little birdies!  [Count to 4]  Big Bird decided that he should stay and protect the egg.  So he made a nest and sat on it and kept it safe and warm.
 

Big Bird sitting on the egg.  There are 2 of them so you count to 2.

Then something started to happen!  The egg started to shake and roll around and then.....there was a cracking sound.....  Big Bird got very excited....  Then.....the egg broke and a little birdie hopped out! 


                                                      
        

Big Bird, the egg and a little birdie!  There are 3  of them so this note is worth 3. 

Pretty soon all 4 of the baby birdies jumped out of the cracked egg and were flapping around excitedly.  Big Bird was very happy!  But then something sad happened.  The little birdies learned how to fly.  And they took off and flew away from Big Bird!  Big Bird became very very sad.  And Big Bird started to cry.  He cried and cried and cried and cried.  And Big Bird cried so much he cried a great big puddle!




This is Big Bird standing in a puddle.  He is all alone.  And when you are all alone how many of you is there?  Yup.  One.

But don't worry.  I'm sure all the little birdies came back to visit Big Bird!

 
These are the only note values that you would need to know in your first 6 to 8 weeks of lessons.  Now your assignment would be to play your songs Hands Together while counting the rhythm Out Loud.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Piano Lesson #2.5 ~ Hands Together ~

 
I am only going to show you how to put your Right Hand and Left Hand together because you are advanced students.  If you were 7 you may not even be able to play 3 note chords.  Or maybe you haven't practised.  Or maybe you didn't learn the notes very well.  There are a number of factors that might hold this part of the lesson up.  BUT as I said you are exceptional.

In the classroom I'd have you play the songs you were assigned with your Right Hand.  I'd correct any mistakes.  Then I'd have you review the C Chord and G7 Chord and we'd practise switching them back and forth.  Then I'd have you play them in the songs.

If you can do both of those things without mistakes you are ready to play Hands Together.

The most important thing to know and always remember is NOTES THAT ARE WRITTEN ON TOP OF EACH OTHER ARE PLAYED TOGETHER.

Place both hands on the piano in their correct places and with nice curved fingers.  In Mary Had A Little Lamb the first RH note is E and the first chord is C.  You press these down at the same time.....but then you have to hold your LH chord down while your RH finishes the notes in that measure or bar.  Then you switch chords and do it again!

 
This type of music notation is called Lead Line.  Usually in the first 8 weeks of lessons we don't worry about reading individual Bass Clef notes.  We want you to get playing and learning quickly.

 

<-----  This is a bar line.  They divide the music and make it pleasant to look at. 






 
Notes written between bar lines is called a measure or bar.

 



This is a Double Bar Line.  It is found at the end of a song.
 It means STOP!  The song is over...done....kapput!

ASSIGNMENT
1.  If I had a Hands Together [HT] version of Hot Cross Buns you'd be assigned to practise it HT.
2.  Practise finding and switching C & G7 Chords.
3.  Play Mary Had a Little Lamb HT
4.  I'd also likely give you a new song to work on....or a picture of Donnie the Dog to colour.