Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dear Child of Mine

You are beautiful and talented and smart and amazing and funny and kind and the world is better for having you in it.

You are right when you say I think those things because I am your mom.  But it's not because I am blinded by my love or exaggerating your worth because you are mine.

My love means I see you with greater clarity, not less.  I have studied you since before you took your first breath.  I have watched you grow and change, and I remember you before you remember yourself.  I care enough to examine you to a degree of detail unmatched by anyone.  I know you, I see you, and I adore you.

I'm sorry the backlash against using the word "special" in our society has robbed you of the chance to rightly own it.  I'm sorry there have been other parents who somehow labeled their children special while equating it with entitlement, and without tempering it with the idea of humility and respect for others.  They have tainted the word and made it unfairly wrong to use earnestly.

But you are special.  And worthy.  And loved.

If I could have anything on this day, it would be for you to see yourself the way I see you.  Then you would know how right you would be to love yourself too.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Looking Back on the 2016 VSA Convention

Before the past year slips too far from memory I want to take a moment to reflect upon the VSA convention I attended back in November.  It was quite an experience and I'm very glad I got to go.

2016 was a competition year.  The Violin Society of America (VSA) has an annual convention that moves around the country, and every other year they hold a competition for violin making with awards for workmanship and tone.  This year I entered my latest commissioned violin.

Renaissance Hotel, Cleveland
The convention was in Cleveland again.  I drove myself out there, and shared the drive back with my friend Robyn.  I loved having a few days alone in a hotel room where the bed magically got made every day and new towels just appeared.  (There are few things I envy the rich for, but maid service is one of them.)  I also enjoyed Robyn's company the last few days of the convention and sharing a room with someone who didn't need me for anything other than occasional grown-up conversations.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

All the Birthdays

Birthday season is done!  During the two minutes I have between that and trying to assemble everything for Christmas, here is an overstuffed recap:

The first birthday of the season is Quinn's just before Thanksgiving.  I was in Cleveland that week, but I did get to talk to him for a bit on the phone.  We played twenty questions where he had to guess what I was looking at outside my hotel window.  It was giant plastic birds, so it took a while.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

House on the Rock

On the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend we arranged to meet with my brother and his baby at a crazy halfway mark between Milwaukee and LaCrosse.  We decided to explore House on the Rock, which claims to be the most visited tourist attraction in Wisconsin.  You are forgiven if you live outside of Wisconsin and have never heard of it.  And I say "claims to be" because it's hard to trust anything you see or hear there.  Few things are labeled, much is left up to interpretation, and all of it is bizarre.

It's amazing.  And weird.  And amazingly weird.  It's not often that I end up in a space where I am surprised around every corner, but we literally didn't know what to expect as we walked from room to room.  Except for Santas.  For Christmas they had 6000 Santas set up, tucked in every corner and on every shelf.  It was a stunning amount of Santas.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Finishing Touch

I'm suffering the journal paradox at the moment.  I have a lot to write about, but no time to write.  I still need to say something about the violin convention in Cleveland, our trip to House on the Rock over Thanksgiving, and about the election.  But those things take time.

So instead, here is a post about painting my Kitchen Aid!  (Because that's easy, and right now I need something to be easy.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tired of Mean

This isn't a real post.  This is me just needing a moment to vent.  I'm trying to find time to thoughtfully prepare some ideas and sort out some important issues, but I keep getting stuck and overwhelmed, so thoughtful will have to wait.

Tonight I'm just tired of mean.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's Not Just a Rental Instrument

I'm in Cleveland this week for a VSA (Violin Society of America) convention.  It's a competition year, so I brought my latest violin for judging, and it's always nice to spend time with others in the same business.  I've gotten to catch up with people I don't see often, and even made a few new friends and contacts.  I'm enjoying myself a great deal.

This year I also had the opportunity to give a talk!  It went well, although it was on the first day of the convention before some of the people I knew had arrived, and there are talks happening concurrently this year, so some people had to miss mine who wanted to go.

But it was a good talk and I got many good questions afterward.  The best part was to discover other people with shops like my own in different parts of the country; smaller shops where they care more about relationships and music than they do about profit and growth.  I was approached several times in the following days by people who liked what I had to say, and told me they run their businesses with the same philosophy.  They were pleased not to feel alone.

So here, if you are interested, is a slightly edited version of my talk.  The original had more than 60 slides and some graphs and I can't include most of them here, but trust me, they were awesome.  My regular readers may be bored by the more nuts and bolts descriptions of our business, but I wanted to include them for my colleagues who missed the talk.  (There are some things of more general interest if you skim past the contract stuff.)


Korinthia A. Klein
Korinthian Violins, Milwaukee WI
VSA Nov 2016

My name is Korinthia Klein and I run a small violin shop in Milwaukee WI.

I come at this business from many angles: as a player, a teacher, a parent, and a luthier.

I began playing violin in public school in Michigan, switched to viola in high school and majored in that instrument at the Ohio State University, and I still play today with a group called Festival City Symphony.  

I got my diploma in lutherie from the New World School of Violin Making in the year 2000 and then worked for several years doing repair work at Classical Strings in downtown Milwaukee where I learned repair and setup.