Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 56 – {the thing with feathers}

birdcageroundgfairy004bHope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

Sorry about the delay in answering the question of the last post. We were out of town for this joyous occasion. . .


Remember my bookend baby brother? He returned last year from his mission to the Czech Republic. Last Saturday he was married to beautiful Lori in the Snowflake Arizona Temple. It was so awesome to be there.

075See sweet Rosebud there in her special wedding attire? :)


Okay, no more fun pictures. Down to the serious business of baring my soul to you.

So yes, why then an A&P textbook in the household of musicians?

Many of you know that DC has a doctorate in violin performance. We spent the first 8 years of our marriage with him a full-time student. Our move to Arkansas came before he was done with the doctorate. We took the symphony job here because we were desperate for an income--he just needed to finish writing the treatise (like a dissertation) and then he could get a good job. Plus it would be great professional experience.

He became Dr. Baker in December 2005, and immediately began applying for teaching jobs nationwide. With a break here and there while we put our lives back together (read: 11/2007 to about 5/2009) he has continually applied to whatever came over the radar. And as the economy tanked, less and less has come over the radar.

We have been grateful for the symphony work, but it does come at a significant cost for a family like ours. He is gone many evenings and weekends, including Sundays. The pay was not stellar when we took the job, and later we had a recessional cut of 10% that still has not been reinstated. We live 17 hours from my parents and 24 hours from his. What we longed for--what we went to all the trouble for him to get a doctorate for--was to have him teach at a college or university and be home in the evenings, possibly even to live closer to our family, and of course, more money would be pretty sweet, too.

While he was still at Florida State, he had 2 different interviews for teaching positions where the universities paid his travel to come interview because he was one of their top candidates. He didn’t get either one but we thought for sure that later, with finishing the doctorate AND having professional symphony and quartet experience, he would be able to land something.

But many fields of employment are having rough times now, and professional music is hardly recession-proof. (Even the top orchestras in the country are having trouble.) We feel greatly blessed that we have taken only a 10%, where Phoenix Symphony took a 25% and many others have had worse or folded altogether. The academic scene is possibly worse if anything. One year there were fewer than 10 openings nationwide, and you can bet there are tons of amazing, talented, doctorate-holding violinists vying for those.

DC and I began to discuss other options. He could teach in the public schools, although he would need to get certified. He could  . . . gulp. . . . go into another field altogether. He applied for a job with Memphis City Schools that would pay half-again as much as the symphony salary. And he started combing through the Church’s job site, hoping to find something, anything, that could work out better for our family.

One night in early July, he stayed up well past midnight on the computer, which is very unusual for him. The next day was Fast Sunday, and before he left for his early meetings, he told me he had discovered something very interesting on the LDS Jobs site, and he wanted to tell me about it, but to just know that he was fasting about it and we could talk about it later. I fasted that whatever he was fasted about, we would both be in tune with the Spirit enough to know what was right.

Later we talked, and he told me that the night before he had kept seeing openings for “Occupational Therapists” and started wondering what the heck an occupational therapist even is. As he researched and read about the work OTs do and the type of job market they have, he started to feel very strongly that this was what he is meant to do.

We talked for hours and hours, staying up past midnight several nights in a row (and we are not night owls! :). At first I was excited because he was excited. It was the happiest I had seen him in ages. Then as reality began to settle in and I saw we were in for 2-3 years of more school for him I became—sorry to admit it—angry.  I had been hoping to go back to school myself part-time this fall. We still haven’t paid off the student loans from last time, for Pete’s sake.

I couldn’t understand why Heavenly Father would let us spend all those years and all that money for him to get a doctorate, only to turn around and have him change careers. We gave it our all for so long because we believed he could do it—that it was possible for him to provide for our family using his particular gifts and what he loved. It just seemed like such a waste to turn our backs on that. Plus, 3 years means Exacto will be a senior when DC finishes school for the second time! I could hardly bear it.

It took weeks, maybe even a couple of months, for me to get to the point that I feel mostly acceptance about this (still working on that last little bit of stubborn). It has taken many anguished prayers and some special heavenly promptings. I feel like Doctrine & Covenants 25 is my motto for the next three years, especially as it pertains to my role as DC’s wife.

Yet even with all the emotional roller-coastering, there has been a decided undercurrent of peace in my heart about it all from the time he first told me about this new idea.

And so, he has returned to student-hood.

He is still with the symphony full-time and teaching part-time this year, but taking his pre-requisites at a community college, getting ready to take the GRE, and is already applying to OT schools around the country. (I have taken on the job of choosing the places where we are applying. :) And next fall he will again be a full-time student. Where, we don’t know!

That’s a long answer to the big question. I wanted you to see inside our hearts, to see why on earth we would ever make such a drastic change. The decision has not been made lightly, by any stretch of the imagination.

100 days of gratitude tagBut we are grateful for the hope that has been set aloft again. 


P.S. I told DC through tears one night, “But what about my blog? I don’t want to change the name AGAIN! I thought that was one thing that wouldn’t change ever! Boohoohoo!” And he said, “I’m still a fiddler. I will still play. But it will be FOR FUN.” :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Times they are a-changin’

I know that the writing on my last few posts has been a bit spartan, and I apologize! I miss writing soooo much – I will get back to it! Yes, I will! Life is grand, it’s just really really busy right now. Big changes are underway (hint at the end) and I want to share with you how they began.

But for now, and for the sake of my beloved distant family, a few humble photos. :)


We haven’t been visiting the cemetery nearly as much as we used to, but I always love to be there, especially with the family. (Rosebud is wearing her cousin Brooklyn’s dress from Aunt Joy’s wedding 6 years ago.)

Life is busy but good.

Exacto’s favorite parts of the day are seminary and band. He’s playing the mellophone for marching band (the marching edition of a French horn).



. . . .And here’s the fam at the high school’s recent open house. . . .

(I love DC’s fancy ‘hat’, don’t you? :)




Rosebud is our potty-training rockstar. It only took her a couple of days! I can hardly believe that we’re done with diapers. Those I will not miss. (The crib, on the other hand, is still set up in her room. . . .)




And he wonders why it takes so long to do the dishes? :)



We bought a jogging stroller. I have big plans to run a 5K in under 30 minutes. (I am a slow runner – this is a tough goal for me!) Any favorite running/workout songs? Do please share! The Mozart violin sonata this morning was not cutting it!



Fluffy had a campout this weekend with the 11-year-old Scouts at Lake DeGray. DC went with him for part of the time. It rained 2 inches that night. Yep. Fluffy’s Scout leader is in the National Guard reserves, and brought some MREs for them.


Hummer is doing great; there just aren’t any great photos of him recently. He is reading like there is no tomorrow, having missed the walker group three times now after school due to distraction. Also has left his homework home, but NEVER his Harry Potter book. :)


And this, my friends, is an Anatomy & Physiology textbook.


It had a hideous photo on the cover that had been bugging us, so for part of a datenight DC and I made a beautiful new cover for it, courtesy of Leonardo da Vinci. :)

Why would a professional musician be toting around an A&P textbook? Good question, good question. . . .