About Me

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One year into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Birthday weekend.

BittyBit's choir concert was delightful. Secondborn says that she likes to sing. I could tell that she doesn't like to be onstage. Those kids rocked "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho"! And I loved the drumming in the first part of the program.

My eye exam went well. Prescription has been essentially unchanged for the past five years. I'm holding off on a new pair of glasses until I'm about halfway to my target weight, so I won't have to wrangle glasses that have become too wide for my face. The vision plan pays for a new pair of frames every other year. These glasses are two years old but holding up well. So maybe later this year.

I had a banjo lesson Thursday night. It went well. I got a little assertive. I hadn't practiced much all month, because the new song required learning two new techniques. (And that just felt like more than I could manage, when I took so long to figure out the high E on Olive. And was behind on my quilt blocks. And hadn't picked up a pencil in a month and a half because the next learning exercise intimidates me.) So I took a list of songs I want to be able to play, and I came home with simplified arrangements for "Amazing Grace" and "Simple Gifts". Practicing last night was pure, unadulterated joy. I played until my left bicep ached.

Recorder practice has also been going well. I'm up to 35 minutes at a whack, with the ultimate goal of playing for an hour or more.

I met my friend MA for lunch on Thursday. She wanted to pick my brain about something. And I was sufficiently relaxed that there were brains for the picking. I did some window shopping after that, chiefly for the exercise, until it was time to meet Brother Sushi for dinner.

I've done a little shopping while I've been off. Chiefly groceries, but also an uplight for the living room. A few knitting accessories. More boxes for my CD's. Some magazines. Envelopes for visiting teaching.

I have been a little nervous about the idea of retirement. What would I do to stay busy and involved? The past three days have been delicious. I still awoke at approximately the usual time. Still went to the gym. Had plenty of time for music practice. Got to visit or serve friends. Adequate time to read for pleasure. Not one drop of boredom. And only one nap, because I was getting seven hours of sleep a night.

I spent two or three hours yesterday on YouTube, listening to several arrangements of a song that's been on my mind. Singing along. I'm still finding my voice in this place. More often than I would like, it still feels like Pati's house. I didn't sing much when Beloved was still alive. Sometimes it would burst out when I was in the shower. But I was a little shy of singing around him, because I know that she had a glorious voice.

It is the one aspect of my relationship with him in which I felt insecure. The children's father, for all his faults or weaknesses, loved my voice and loved to sing with me. It was one of the places where we truly fit together. Beloved did not sing. Would not sing. Because too many people told him he should not. Which makes me want to hunt those people up and bite them.

So, now I sing. Some days it is quiet and tentative. Some days my heart is so full that I croak. Some days it just pours out of me. I hope Beloved is singing in Heaven. I hope that his voice is so joyful and true that it shames the people who shamed him.

It's been a good birthday. A sacred space for love and learning. I want a lot more of these before I go Home.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blue moon (not!)

Yes, I set the alarm. Twice. I went to bed at 9:30 and got up at midnight. Normal silvery moon. Reset the alarm for 2:00 and awoke to a lovely, mostly red moon. I don't know if I was a little early or a little late to see it fully red. I wasn't interested in staying up long enough to find out. I mumbled, "ooh, that's so pretty" and went right back to bed.

Got the word on my raise and bonus yesterday. No increase in base salary. Nice, medium range bonus. Given the disaster that parts of my work life were last year, I am thankful to still have a job, health insurance, and a monthly retirement check to look forward to.

I was productively busy all day yesterday. I am hoping for light mail today so I may work ahead on my to-do's. I'm taking Thursday and Friday off for staycation to celebrate my birthday. BittyBit has a choir concert. I have an eye appointment. I'm meeting one friend for lunch and another for dinner. You know, your normal jet setting grandma whirl of activities.

Time to fold the laundry and fix breakfast. Some days it feels as if all I do is cook. I miss the days when I could eat anything I liked. But that's what got me to where I am today. And I definitely enjoy feeling healthier. I want to be around to see the Bitties grow up. And I want to master the recorder and the banjo.

But at the moment I just want to go back to bed for another hour.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday morning coming down.

Lovely, gentle, and much needed rain is falling outside. I am balancing a plate on my lap, sitting here in bed. Toaster waffle, sliced unsweetened strawberries, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Woke up yesterday at the usual time, but after seven hours of sleep. Noodled around on FB for an hour. Ate breakfast while reading HP5. Went to the gym for a quick workout. Twenty minutes at 2.5mph on a 5% (!!!) slope.

From there, straight to the chapel to help clean up. It is a measure of how far I have come in two months of medicine and exercise, that I did not need a nap afterwards. I tanked Lorelai and dropped off a scarf at the dry cleaners.

I wasn't tired, but I was ravenous, so I fixed a ham and cheese omelette and chased it with one of these waffles and more reading. Then I ran the dishwasher.

Eventually it was time to start assembling the drive-by fooding. While the cornbread baked, I practiced my recorder. I had a small breakthrough.

I've been working on this lesson (the high E that had eluded me so long) for weeks and weeks. Some of the melodies have been easy. For others, I could read the music, count the rhythm, vocalize the melody, and still not get my fingers to cooperate on runs of eighth notes. Yesterday the tricky bits started to come together. And I got most of the way through on a couple of new pieces.

After I put Olive away, I browned the hamburger, started a load of laundry, sliced the salad stuff, and made a huge pot of soup. Sluiced off. Packed two large containers of soup into one paper shopping bag and two gallon bags of salad fixings, the cooled cornbread, and a caramel popcorn kit into another, and hit the road.

Dropped off the food at the elders' apartment, and on my way to the turnpike had the impulse to call a friend and see if I could persuade her to run away to the Main Street Arts Festival with me. It took some talking, but I did. We drove an hour to get there and the better part of another hour trying to find parking. Gave it up and went to Lucile's for lobster bisque and fried green tomatoes and salads and a shared slice of key lime pie for dessert. And then we came home. I read for an hour and rolled into bed at midnight.

I woke up seven hours later, wanting to play the recorder. But I needed to hydrate and refuel first. So now I will eat the last few bites of breakfast, plug my phone into the charger, and see if I can coax more music out of Olive.

Good Sabbath, y'all!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Long week of short days?

At any rate, it's over. Last night I made the February quilt block. This morning, after sleeping in until the decadent hour of 7:30, I made most of the March block before sluicing off and hightailing it to Firstborn's. We picked up Fourthborn between Conference sessions and got our April blocks. Dropped her off, watched the afternoon session, and then played a board game that I actually liked. And not just because I won one of the rounds.

Carcassonne. I would play it again. I might even buy it. Firstborn made us yummy salads for lunch. I bought groceries on the way home. Am about ready for a light snack and some music practice.

I have ordered myself some early birthday presents: an early music CD (Praetorius), a cello CD, and Harry Potter 5.

Looking forward to tomorrow's Conference sessions.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Because financial fitness is important, too.

Blew off the gym in favor of balancing the checkbook this morning. Did two loads of laundry last night. Made a last minute dash to World Market for some free trade 72% chocolate, ate one square and portioned out the rest for future enjoyment.

The rebalancing in terms of tomatoes seems to have worked. It was so yummy to have some with my salad yesterday. And my ankles are quiet. Pie5 might be an option for dinner before Knit Night.

I am continuing to plow through the fourth Harry Potter. The movies were good. The books are better.

I wound the second ball of Shibui Knits in order to finish binding off. Which didn't happen. No clue what to make from what will be left. Maybe another cowl for my sister? It would be really cool to get a jump start on her birthday present this year.

All this cooking from scratch is wearing me out. I suppose I will eventually get faster at it. I certainly hope so. It's worth the trouble. I like how I feel in my skin, most days. But it still goes against my philosophy that if it takes longer to fix it than to eat it, something's wrong.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Objets trouvees.

(Sorry. Can't insert the proper accents from my phone.) Yesterday I retrieved a few of my marbles, by attacking the paper glacier that has been stealthily growing in the doorway to my closet.

I found two umbrellas, now hanging in the hall closet. An earring that had escaped my grasp while being dropped into its pocket on the accessories organizer which hangs from one of the bifold doors to my closet. My Relief Society manual, missing for the past three weeks.

Half a dozen plastic shopping bags that had slithered down into the mix and will be joining their cousins in the pantry on my next foray into the kitchen. The paperwork supporting my 2013 tax return. The programs from Carmen and last week's hockey game.

Several books I had begun reading but lost interest in. A sheaf of old church manuals belonging to Beloved or his late wife. The sheet music for "The Green Days of Summer," a beautiful song from my childhood that was featured in The Alamo and was one of Beloved's favorite songs.

I told him, "Honey, I found that sheet music you had wondered about." I am taking it with me to my banjo lesson, to see if my teacher has it transcribed. And if not I will ask him to do so. I would like to learn to play it for Beloved.

My room looks a lot better now. Not perfect, but far more navigable. And my head feels clearer. I am going to reward myself by creating two or three scrapbook pages. Beloved gave me a beautiful red scrapbook for Christmas, right before we married. I've done nothing with it, except to keep it safe for two years, and to step around the bag which holds it when I go into my studio. So much of the past few years does not lend itself to being captured in 12" square segments and put into a book.

In knitting news, I began binding off the enormously long infinity scarf while at the General Women's Conference last night. I will make more progress while at church later today.

I finished reading the third Harry Potter about half an hour ago. The fourth is out on an ottoman in the living room, waiting patiently for its turn.

I'm really glad that church and obedience and the like are still important to me. The video that was part of last night's broadcast quietly undid me. One of the young(ish) moms was sitting next to me and put her arm around my shoulder. I whispered, "Sometimes it just comes up out of nowhere." She nodded. I whispered again, "And the music never helps." She nodded again. I don't know what griefs she has borne, but her face is too wise for there not to have been any. I'm just grateful that she was so kind. She's not one of my close friends, but last night she was God's hands to me.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Significantly less crabby today.

Two good nights' sleep. Two good workouts. I made myself walk the full mile today, on a 2% slope, after doing my weight training. I have hit the grocery store for one glorious Roma tomato. Sarah repeated the rebalancing on Wednesday night, since I couldn't have a massage because of the antibiotics.

And this time I was successful in avoiding all tomatoes and tomato products until I'd completed the 26 hour cycle. I am about to put away the rest of the groceries and make a ham and cheese omelette with a slice or two of tomato on the side. If (as I expect) there are no hives, I will gleefully resume eating tomatoes. I have missed them dreadfully.

I picked up some single-serving microwave popcorn to eat in the car on the drive home, for those days when my blood sugar and energy are flagging. If i yawn six times in ten minutes it means I need to send down reinforcements.

Bought a small bunch of daffodils to add to the alstromeria in the vase in the living room. I love fresh flowers. Alstromeria last for a week or longer, so it's an inexpensive way to get my beauty fix. I love tulips, but they poop out so quickly. (Maybe they are diabetic but uncontrolled?)

I hereby declare this a day of pampering, rest, and spiritual growth. Later, gators!