So it's been way too long since I've posted, I realize. And unfortunately I can't really blame being too busy. Parties, showers, and the like, but I lost two piano students. Well, it doesn't really equal out, but anyway. I've almost completed a crocheted tote bag. Very cute. I just have to finish the other handle and line it with fabric (the hardest part since I procrastinate anything having to do with sewing!). Tamara's baby girl was baptized yesterday and wore the hat I crocheted her. It was beautiful. (I'm going to make one for my baby too, I'm just waiting to find out whether it's a girl or boy). Went to Kristine's graduation party on Saturday. Now that both she and Set are finished with school, it will be easier to schedule things to do with them. That sounds nice. We're going to try to take some kind of trip this summer before the baby. Camping probably. They found one place but it involved hiking 5 miles in and another 5 miles out. I told them I probably wasn't up for that! :) Ben and I have started talking about how to redo the rooms upstairs and clean the basement. I'm not much for fully decorated themed nurseries. So most people will probably think I'm scarring the poor child for life. Oh well. I'm thinking a mural of a city skyline on the wall. Doesn't that sound cool? Black shadow buildings on maybe a medium grey wall? With pictures of cities around the room? I think it sounds very cool. We'll see. I'm not much of a painter.... I planted a bunch of flowers to sit in pots on our back deck. I love to look at them when we sit outside. Ben and I are going to teach a Sunday School class on marriage at our church for eight weeks in May, June and July. We're very excited. Not because we have so much wisdom to impart, but just to get people started talking about marriages. In our culture people will talk about their sex lives but are leery about talking about problems in their marriages. I know, we were one of them. Anyway, we're thinking it will be a great step for our church. Prairie Home Companion is coming to Kansas City!!!! We're so excited to go! It's in June at Starlight, the outdoor theater. Today I finished reading "Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator." Fascinating! I know that I like music and history and when you put them together for me it's a must read. But still. The book was fascinating. I learned so much about the Russian people as a whole and Stalin. (okay, about Shostakovich, too!) It was so interesting to read the banter that Shostakovich and Stalin had. This author seemed to think that Shostakovich was one of the only people that was actually a match for Stalin. Not that he could have really won anything - Stalin would have just had him killed. But several times Shostakovich anticipated Stalin's move and did the thing that kept him just enough in Stalin's favor that he and his family were saved. But I loved reading about how he kind of "got the last word" through his music. Several times he would write a piece that exposed Stalin as a brutal dictator, but managed to hide it enough or pass it off as something else (like being about WW2) that he was praised instead of killed. Very sad, though, to read about the oppression and terror that they constantly lived with under Stalin. A lesser man would have given up. I can't find the quote in the book, but I think it was Khachaturian (a contemporary Russian composer) that said something like this about him, In spite of the controlling regime, Shostakovich managed to compose epic and progressive music; we (the rest of the Russian composers) wrote songs. That is why he is a genius and we are merely talented. I thought that was interesting. okay. Enough for now. Happy Spring!