» Family Photographer Mary Schannen serving Dallas Texas and surrounding areas.

Breathing Better.

Well, I pretty much told you about my plan not to do photography for profit before I happen to mention it to my husband.  (Ooops -:)  Well – I had a good idea that he wouldn’t mind – he has always supported my decisions, and of course he prefers me to be a mom first over anything else.  So, that’s the plan.  I have a few more sessions that I will gladly do, then will take on sessions only if I am able to and will have all creative license.  I’ve tended to create more dynamic pieces that way – The published work (or soon to be published that is) and the work that has tended to be more popular, was born from an idea or a candid moment that I either saw at the time .  Rarely was it a basic portrait (although, I do love those too).

Well, in other Schannen news, we have a 1920 baby grand Steinway Duo-Art player piano that I have inherited from my grandparents.  I’ve always treasured this piano, and every house that we have moved into had to have a space to accommodate the piano.   The house we are in currently has a downstairs office with two story ceilings and no built-in’s, so we decided to make that room the ‘music’ room.  I do not play, I took lessons when I was younger and have a musical background, so I know the basics.  However, in the last 6-7 years or so that we have had the piano in our possession, it has sat there, with the occasional sounds of children playing the keys or my mother when she visits will play a tune here or there.  It’s old, in need of restoration, and the the lid would come down on the kids fingers occasionally when they played with the keys (ouch!).  So I put a painter’s tape on it to keep the lid up.  It won’t hurt the piano, and more importantly, it won’t come down on little kid’s fingers!  Not attractive, but who cares for now.  lol

For the last three years that we have had this ‘music’ room, with double french doors off the entry way, the doors were mostly shut, decorated with all sorts of formal art, mirrors, antique furniture (also inherited from my grandparents) and lately it’s been a holding place for all of my items that I will be removing from this house – either selling or  donating (I’m becoming a minimalist, but that’s a whole different topic and will be glad to share once I’m in a position to do so).   My kids have  never really showed any interest in lessons, and quite honestly, between all the sports, having the house on the market last year, and my trying to develop and cultivate photography and a business, there just was not enough time.  So the poor piano sat there, collecting dust, serving as a holding place for excess clutter, used as a prop for the occasional photo,  patiently waiting for someone to revive it and bring it back the glorious  life it once had.

Sentimentality is in my nature, so I would not give it up.  Some kindhearted friends and chats with my husband had put thoughts into our heads of not keeping it – at least not in this house.  I would have family take it.  Therefore my husband would have an office.  He has to occasionally work from home, especially during tax season, and the laptop with the mounds of paper on our kitchen table is not exactly ideal.

After my epiphany yesterday when I decided to change my priorities (thank you for long talks with a very good friend and my mother), I felt that I had more clarity and a sense of calm.  I’ve been working on my house for the last few months – organizing, making it functional, uncluttered, easier to live in, and using it to it’s fullest potential.   I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment – why did I not ever think of this before?  Move the piano to the living room! My grandparents had it in their living area, my parents have one in their living room.   At first, it appeared that it would not fit, or be a big monster sitting in the most awkward place.   I measured, visualized, moved furniture, more visualization, brought neighbors and friends in for their opinions – AND – I think it may work!  Finally!  We can celebrate this beautiful instrument as for what it’s meant to be – a treasure that will provide music, beauty, memories, tradition for our family for many years.   We can actually ENJOY the piano!

Will be looking into piano lessons very soon.

It may appear that this post should be titled ‘ the piano’ or something similar.  However, it’s all cyclical.  Now that my priorities are on the right track, I can focus on the important things.  Living our lives to their fullest. Staying calm, happy, healthy, enjoying and appreciating what we have, and Breathing Better.


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  • Mary Schannen - Thank you Melinda and Mom. Can’t wait to take photos of the kids playing in the living room!

  • Susan Monaghan - Hi Mary, How lovely, everything. – my parents got that piano in 1957 — at the time they had decided we were to have piano lessons so they (hired I guess) the future piano teacher, Freida Bell, to go to Concord, NH to an estate auction – with a price in mind. She came back with the piano – at a little higher price – I remember her playing it for my parents just after it was in the house. So, just wanted you to know that before it was in Dallas and Hanover, it was in Concord !
    Beautiful pictures of the keyboard –

  • Melinda - Love this post Mary and your beautiful pictures. You are truly an artist and your breathing room will give your creativity a space to flourish!

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