Saturday, December 31, 2022

Back To Bed

"Back to bed" is a phrase I think evokes the idea of giving up. That things are going so wrong there is no point in going on with the day and simply going back to bed would make more sense so one could reset and start over later. There's been a lot during pandemic days where time and purpose became battered to the point of feeling like we should all just go "back to bed."

But I never hear it that way. For me, there are few pleasures in life greater than getting to go back to bed.

When you think you have to get up, or you need do something very early, but then it turns out there's time to crawl back under the covers and steal a little more sleep before your day must begin. I love that.

I have trouble sleeping many nights, and it's usually not until morning that I find it easier to rest, which never seems fair when I have to get up to keep to some kind of schedule. An alarm going off and interrupting real sleep is an unpleasant way to start the day.

But between my children growing up, and the pandemic shutting everything down, I don't think I've set my alarm for the morning more than a couple of times in the past three years. Quinn doesn't need me before school unless her bus doesn't show. The pool where I swim only recently re-opened, but as long as I'm in it by 9:00 I can make it to work on time after swimming. (That's one of the perks of running your own business: Setting the hours. My parents' art gallery didn't open until 11:00 because they were not early-risers either, so my 10:30 start time almost seems ambitious.)

I am not wired to be up before 8:00. I can do it. I did it for decades while raising children and I kept my alarm set for hours that are always still dark, but it's painful. For me, it physically hurts to wake up too early. During the kids' elementary school years I wanted a snow day as much as they ever did. Because sometimes that meant going back to bed!

Back to bed is the best.

One of the things I really love about our new dog, Domino, is that she also likes to go back to bed. The first week we had her, I was concerned because she needed to get up very early for a walk, and then wanted to play in the living room when we got inside again. I started resigning myself to returning to a phase similar to when my kids were small and I would have to be someone who would get up and stay up, but no. After the dog was settled into her new home, she started sleeping in, and then when given the option after her first walk of crawling back under the covers? She jumps at it. Domino has a lot of energy, and when she's wound up she wants to bounce and prance and play, but almost any time that I can crawl back in bed, she'll happily join me. She burrows deep under the covers and snuggles up. It's perfect.

I admire people who can get up early and accomplish a lot before noon. But nobody ever accuses me of not doing enough things, so I don't lament not being an early bird. I do wish I had more opportunity to go back to bed on an average day, though. It's like an unexpected bonus, a surprise gift, a stolen stretch of dazed calm. It's a welcome time-out in a busy day. I've had a few chances to go back to bed over this winter break, and it's made the vacation that much better.

Looking back on 2022 this New Year's Eve, "back to bed" is a good summary to me. There were parts that were frustrating or disappointing because that's life, but overall? There were more unexpected bonuses and moments of joy than anyone deserves. I got to go to Venice with my mom. I got a new dog that loves me. I got to improve our house with a new deck. I got to spend time with my husband and kids. I got to make music. I got to put instruments I made in the hands of people who were excited to play them. I made new friends. I had time with family at the cottage. I put out an ABC book. My back problem appears to be gone. Stitch Fix finally sent me some decent concert clothes. I feel more calm.

The pandemic damaged my sense of time in that 2020 was a slow blur, 2021 was disjointed, but 2022 unfolded in a way that felt more welcome and familiar. Like going back to bed.

I'm looking forward to 2023. I hope you are, too.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Korinthian Violins A B C

My new book is out! I mostly made it as a cute little gift to have in my shop, but copies are available on Amazon if anyone wants one. (And if you like it, please give it a good review!) It's a tiny paperback for $15.

For anyone who simply wants to see it, here it is! Enjoy. (And I'll type the text in case it isn't readable in the images.)

This book is dedicated to Robyn Sullivan and Carol Kraco. Both spent many years contributing their time and talents to make Korinthian Violins the place it is. They have moved on to new adventures and they are missed. We hope this book reminds them of fun days in the shop they helped run for so long.
Welcome to Korinthian Violins! We are a small violin store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, only a couple of blocks from Lake Michigan. We think our shop is special, and we want to show you the reasons why from A to Z. (And if you are reading this in our store, see how many of these things you can spot in real life!)
A is for Armadillo. This cute little sculpture has been posing in our store practically since we opened in 2008. He was made by Detroit artist Dick Cruger.
B is for Box of Crayons. I liked this broken violin body and found a new way to use it. Sometimes repurposing things makes the world a little more interesting.
C is for Clock. This large music clock on the back wall was the first thing I made for our store. Do you know what all the music symbols on it are? (If not, find a musician to ask!)
D is for Drum. This drum came from West Africa and used to be in my parents' art gallery in Michigan until my dad passed it on to me for my music store.
E is for Escher Lizards. This floor puzzle is based on designs by M. C. Escher. Repeated interlocking patterns like these lizards are called "tessellations."
F is for Fancy Floors. Our building is over 100 years old, and still has the original tiled floors, which I think are beautiful even with the cracks.
G is for Gifts. We have lots of fun gifts, many of which were made by me, or people I know.
H is for Halloween! Korinthian Violins won a neighborhood association award for our Halloween window display in 2020, which included this Cell-O-Lantern.
I is for Intersection. Korinthian Violins is at the intersection of Rusk and Delaware Avenues.
J is for Jar of Tips. Bow tips! Sometimes people put money in the jar, which always makes me laugh since the jar is a joke.
K is for Korinthia! I love having my own violin store! People are often surprised that it's my name on the window.
L is for Lamp. We find lots of things to do with broken instruments. This cello lamp can be found in our teaching studio.
M is for Mold-A-Rama. Our family collects figures from Mold-A-Rama machines around the country. We have our own machine that makes a corythosaurus dinosaur.
N is for Novels. I like to write books! Just because people know you for doing one thing doesn't mean you can't do other things, too.
O is for Open. I like that when the case on our front door is open it means the store is open to visitors.
P is for Peeps Violin. Our family enjoys entering the Peeps art competition at the Racine Art Museum every spring. I have also had on display a Peeps orchestra, and a Peep-A-Rama machine.
Q is in Bow-Quet. We find many ways to recycle things at Korinthian Violins, like these broken bows.
R is for Rubik's Cube. I love having my very own cubes for my collection! We offer free cube solving at Korinthian Violins.
S is for Sparkle Cello. No, it doesn't play, but it's very pretty, especially in the sunlight inside our front window.
T is for Toy Box. Cellos are fragile, and many got broken when our store used to rent them, so we found some of the broken ones new uses, like this one for toys.
U is for Ukulele. I thought it would be fun to play ukulele during slow days, but our store is very busy, so it just keeps me company on my bench.
V is for Viometer. I use this tool to help measure new players to see what size violin they might need.
W is for Walking Sundae. A business in our space once sold walking sundaes and the sign is still on our side window. (That's a treat that looks like a sundae, but is made from less-melty things such as pudding and cake.)
X is for Xylophone. We have a couple of xylophones in our store, but my favorite is this one made from bamboo.
Y is for Yellow Stand. And its friends! We love having colorful stands for sale, and we put them all in rainbow order in the window every June for Pride.
Z is for Zebra. Because Z is always for zebra. Our zebra's name is Buzz, and you can hunt for him in a different spot every time you visit. (Searching for a buzz is very common in violin shops.)
Thank you for spending time with the A B Cs of Korinthian Violins! If you want to know more about our store, please visit us on our website at: (And much love to my husband, Ian Weisser, for being the other half of Korinthian Violins, and for showing me how to format this book.)