About Me

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Six years 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!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

That's not a bag!

(This may be a duplicate of an earlier post from where you're sitting. My mobile Blogger function changed format, and I published this from work a couple of days ago. But I just figured out how to publish the Comma Chameleon post from my phone.)

That's a car payment! Behold my anniversary gift from the corporation. It would appear that I have gone over to the dark side (into the world of designer bags). I could have gone with the Tiffany earrings, but I am more about semiprecious stones and wearable art.

I needed a new tote bag. I have been pondering that for several months while carrying one that closes with velcro and snags my knitting, my scarves, and my patience. There were two bags in the catalogue: this one and a black Coach handbag that was nowhere near large enough to haul around my life. So I sighed and rolled my eyes and chose this one.

I will concede that it is attractive. And appears to be sturdy. But I shall have to winnow out some of the things I carry. Because I doubt that those runway model straps can wrangle a 10-15-20 pound bag for the next five to ten years. Not when I wore out my Franklin Covey (Kenneth Cole) bag in something like five. And it was built like a Sherman tank.

But with thoughtful editing of its contents, this might last until my 20th anniversary with the corporation, and then they can give me another, or something like.

I wish I had thought to include the lunch bag I was given for my birthday. Black and white and sassy all over.

Knitting progresses. I am halfway through the current miniature sock. This is either eight or nine in the series. Finish-itis is starting to kick in. I skipped Knit Night in favor of a quiet evening at home. There will be another one of those tonight.

I also finished HP6 last night and started HP7. Dumbledore's death hit me a lot harder this time, even though I knew it was coming. On the other hand, I realized how much Ginny Weasley there is in me. That is not a bad thing.

I spent 40 blissful minutes with Olive. Make that 37 blissful and 3 spent learning to play C#. I think that may be easier to learn than the high E that nearly drove me mad. And then I fired up the banjo (still unnamed) and realized it had gone out of tune overnight, and I was just that much too tired to fiddle with it. So I put it away. I will try again tonight.

Maybe I like piano and recorder and harmonica and voice so much because the tuning is simple, infrequent, or unnecessary? Maybe that's why I liked zill work as much as I did belly dancing lessons? Maybe that's behind the vague desire to learn to drum?

Maybe I just want to be a lazy musician? Something to chew on while curating the contents of my ridiculously expensive knitting bag.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cheekbones. I see cheekbones.

Like the killer legs of my intermittently misspent youth, they are still in there somewhere. I caught a glimpse when I was washing my face last night. When I lose weight, I seem to start at the edges and work my way in. Maybe it's that way for everybody.

My rings are looser. Not enough to get them sized down as yet. But enough that they are starting to slip around, which will become increasingly annoying. I like my rings and watches to stay put. Most days, my shoes are looser as well. I rarely have to deal with seriously swollen feet or ankles anymore. Only if I get too much salt or too little sleep. Or both.

I have had to fold up my favorite pair of black slacks and put them in the give-away bag. They are gently broken-in, far too good to cut up and share for doll clothes. Somebody else should get to enjoy them until they have outworn their usefulness.

I've bought a raft of dressy T-shirts over the past couple of years. At the current rate they should be good for another two to four months. And then most of them will get donated, and I will have to buy smaller ones, but probably only half as many. I like to look nice, and I like to have colorful options, but I don't like to waste money.

The attorneys threw a little party for us yesterday. Texas size petits fours (square, and midway in size between a regular cupcake and a Costco muffin) and punch. I skipped the punch entirely. I tried to share my petit four with one of my skinny friends, but none of them wanted the other half.

I remembered how awful I felt after the cupcake and individual ice cream cup at the March birthday party, and I did not want a repeat. So I ate half of my petit four at the party and the rest at my desk throughout the afternoon. Came home and ate a huge salad and three small dolmas for dinner. By the time I finished music practice, my feet were moderately swollen but not painful, and they're in pretty good shape this morning.

I've been up for an hour, had a light breakfast, and now need to go to the gym. I've missed every other day this week. I have stuff to do, and it's easier to do when I've started the day with exercise. Examples: getting into and out of Lorelai and the Tardis. Sitting down and getting back up again (except for Firstborn's couch; that still requires an act of Congress). Lugging groceries. Standing to cook. Washing dishes or loading and unloading the dishwasher. Packing my lunch on weekdays. Driving for more than an hour.

Today's agenda: work out; balance checkbooks; doll meet with Fourthborn and Mel (there's a doll con in Grapevine today, but Fourthborn and I are just meeting people for lunch at a nearby park); prepare RS lesson for tomorrow. I'm subbing. Sounds like a recipe for a most excellent day.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Unable to detect user.

Oh really? While it's true that I've lost a few pounds, I'm pretty sure it's not enough to make me invisible. Or weightless. My favorite treadmill, the one where I can't see any of the three screens that play music videos, informed me rather tartly that I wasn't there: press OK to continue.

Shouldn't the fact that I pressed OK on the average of once a minute until I gave up and put my hands on the sensors that pick up my pulse, have been sufficient evidence to convince said treadmill that I was, in fact, present and working out?

I let them know at the front desk. That was Tuesday morning. Either the treadmill got over its little snit, or somebody fixed it before I got there this morning. Or maybe I just got visible again.

It's been quite the day. LittleBit texted me midmorning to say she was back in the ER with more seizures. Her boyfriend was with her. She is home, medicated, and sleeping it off. He gave me a Readers Digest version. I'll check with her over the weekend.

I was wrangling three attorneys instead of my usual one and a half, and not readily able to get away. Firstborn offered to leave work, but it wasn't necessary. I turned it all over to them and to a handful of friends who pray and just stayed in work mode until I left the office.

It is a measure of how frazzled I felt when I got the news that I put her boyfriend's phone number into my contacts and suddenly couldn't remember his last name. I've known him for three years. And I *like* him. So it wasn't a subconscious thing.

By the time I got home I was able to pray a little and cry a little. I wish Beloved could slip his leash for a couple of hours. I would like a brief howl while wrapped in his arms.

Pretty sure I will be OK in the morning. I'm going to tootle on Olive for awhile and play the banjo a bit and then curl up with HP5. And try to be in bed before 10.

Wish me luck.

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.