choir

May. 25th, 2015 09:42 pm
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My little choir at Delmar Prez is just 10 regulars, but they can do amazing things. We keep a calendar where folk can mark anticipated absences so I can plan music accordingly. Even so, when I realized that Pentecost fell on the holiday weekend, I made a point of specifically asking; 9 out of 10 said they could and would sing. I loaded up with more music than we normally do, to make rehearsal worthwhile, as this is the last time they'll sing.

When I got injured, early on Wednesday I sent email around asking folk to be as prompt as possible to rehearsal... and heard crickets for more than 24 hours. Then three people cancelled for practice. I had four women for rehearsal, and learned of one more cancellation for Sunday.

By Sunday I wasn't feeling well, and arrived at church very discouraged, expecting only the four women and one man. My husband doesn't sing parts well, but I told him I was desperate for support on the two passages that were supposed to be men only so he agreed to sit in. I told Pastor Karen how discouraged I was when I arrived, then went on about preparing... and the next time I turned around, Irene who thinks she is a natural baritone (probably isn't, but for Sunday it was fine) was sitting with the two men; Karen had recruited her. Then one of the cancellations showed up after all, and at the end of warmup another walked in, and they sang their hearts out, and even got applause once.

I also was helped out by a talented teenager who played a prelude on violin and postlude on piano with only a few days' notice. So in the end I felt well supported, despite some bad moments.
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So, recovery seemed to be going well until Friday. I felt very washed out on Friday and registered a very slight fever in the evening. Saturday my temp still ranged around in the 99 point whatever range. I phoned the plastic surgeon and didn't even get an answering machine; phoned my GP's office but never got a call back from the on-call doctor.

Sunday morning, more of the same-- and I discovered much later that I never took my morning meds, which may have contributed to the downward slide later. I played for worship, which will get its own post. When I got home my temp was over 100, and after a nap it hit 102 so we headed for Urgent Care. It was a comfortable place and not at all busy, so about as comfortable as such a visit can be. The doctor took the stitches out, took a sample for culturing and redressed the wound. He also changed my antibiotics. I did have a wait before the nurse came to discharge me, and felt increasingly miserable. When the nurse came in, he took one look and said he wanted another set of vitals. He took my temp over and over, and checked my chart, so of course I asked... 104.6. He left, and got authorization to give me a megadose of ibuprofen and my first antibiotic on the spot (and was muttering a bit about the doctor).

My temp dropped steadily the rest of the day; I felt truly dreadfully ill for several more hours, and then began to revive a bit. Today I'm mostly back to where I was on Saturday-- fever between 99 and 100, not doing much but sitting or sleeping. Tomorrow morning I see the plastic surgeon again, and might get results of the culture and a more targeted antibiotic. I am a bit nervous because the Urgent Care doc mentioned the dreaded words 'antibiotic resistant' as a possibility.

A friend and I have been remarking on how incidents like this shed light on the way illness and injury are portrayed in 19th century literature. If I am this miserable now, where would I be without those antibiotics and ibuprofen? Also the feeding of invalids. Yesterday I ate almost nothing; and even now, anything too rich, or a normal serving of anything, causes misery.
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Carol Scott:
well, what you really need to know is that i felt worse this morning, and really worse after church, and we are in the process of deciding about urgent care, maybe after i nibble somehing
MaryAnn:
Oh, Christ.
What kind of bad?
Carol Scott:
fever is up a bit too high, very sleepy, occasional mild chills
MaryAnn:
Oh, man.
Thank God for antibiotics.
Carol Scott:
*nod*
MaryAnn:
I'm not sure whether I'm glad that you made it through service.

Carol Scott:
heading out... fever 102, mild chills, slightly elevated blood sugar
MaryAnn:
I am holding my thumbs for your speedy recovery and general comfort.
Carol Scott:
hope, have already had starter drugs
MaryAnn:
*still clutching*
Carol Scott:
so i arrived at church feeling discouraged after yet another cancellaion, leaving me with one man
bless Karen, she went and recuirted Irene who at least thinks she is a natural baritone... and I recuited David who doesn’t do parts well but can do melody, and one of the cancllations showed up
and a soprano who was a maybe came, so i had a pretty good group
i think the morning was a bit purgatorial for Irene who wants to do things RIGHT but i am grateful for her willingness
MaryAnn:
Oh, thank goodness. I had been wondering about pick-up possibilities, but expected you were, too.
Carol Scott:
we got applause for the offertory :)
MaryAnn:
Hurrah!
Carol Scott:
may i cut and paste that later/
MaryAnn:
Please!
Are you able to stay sitting up?
Youo sound wan.
Carol Scott:
i am a limp dishrag... i’m reclining, with a cold pack on my horhead
MaryAnn:
Oh, good!
Carol Scott:
i really can’t remember feeling this bad for a long time
MaryAnn:
*nod* Road rash is really terrible stuff, and can kill you.
Carol Scott:
it’s not the road rash, it’s the laceration
MaryAnn:
I include that as part of it, though I suppose it doesn't technically count. The whole thing is a very large serious injury(ies).
Carol Scott:
yup, but the road rash is nearly healed now
MaryAnn:
Already! Wow, excellent!!!!

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May. 22nd, 2015 06:24 pm
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My beautiful boycats, Oscar and Felix

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Pics

May. 22nd, 2015 05:52 pm
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Nice to spend some close-up time with a heron!

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A longtime online friend (LJ, then FB) posted about a concert that would be held at her church-- a fundraiser for restoration of their 130 year old pipe organ. It was about 2 hours away (at least by the direct route), and the weather looked promising, so I decided to go!

Of course I didn't take the direct route; I went wandering through the Berkshires, bought asparagus and jam, and took pics which I will eventually process and post, and arrived at the concert a few minutes late. But I only missed the opening bits, and throughly enjoyed a concert of not only organ music but also other local talent.

Afterwards all were invited to come see the organ and even go into the surprisingly large pipe room, and of course I did. After my turn among the pipes, I hovered around the console while another audience member made many comments and asked many questions and took up the prime spot behind the console. The organist who was demonstrating finally asked if he would like to play, at which the visitor said "Oh, no no no" and backed off... so I said "I'd love to, if I may!" So I scooted in and started checking it out. The person guiding folks through the pipe room leaned out, looked startled to see me there, and then asked, "Could you play something on the manual please?" So I did, and then on the pedals, and then operated the swell pedal, and in short did the entire demo, and had a blast doing it. What a treat!

Then my friend and I had dinner together and a nice chat, and I headed home by the faster route (after plucking a parking ticket off my windshield-- oops!).
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Last night I made arrangements for my husband to leave me his SUV, with bike rack on, so I could go riding a new stretch of bike trail. This morning-- can't find my SUV keys, so I went out on the close-by trail instead. Had a lovely time spinning around, 8.5 miles... and then, on a downhill stretch, hit a large bump and lost control. Obstacles on this path are supposed to be painted, and this one had been, but was very faded. Went down hard on my right side, but don't seem to have hit my head; need to check my helmet for scrapes (in which case I will replace it).

Found my glasses and sunglasses, both undamaged, did a quick self-assess. Not dizzy, no extreme pain, but lots of scrapes, and my right elbow bleeding rather impressively. Luckily I had carried more water than usual, so hosed off all the wounds quickly, then wrapped the elbow. Called hubby for a ride home. While I waited, peeked at the elbow, and realized it needed to be cleaned out by a professional, at least, so called my doctor. (Also assessed my bike-- wrenched the handlebars sideways, and bent my basket frame so that it interferes with front wheel. Looks like wheel itself might be okay.)

Doctor said come right in. We stopped at home, where I changed out of my gory shirt, and hubby covered the wound and strapped on a cold pack for me, as it was hurting quite a lot. He went back to work, I drove myself to the doctor (not very far). When the doctor unwrapped it, her eyes got a bit big, and she looked worried. She numbed it, irrigated it, picked out some of the debris, and then said "have you ever seen a plastic surgeon?" Well, I hadn't before, but 20 minutes later I did! The surgeon removed the new bandage, and smiled and said "I love this stuff!" He also checked my other wounds, which GP hadn't done, and cleaned up my bloody toe.

He went to work, more lidocaine and irrigation and tweezers, and then six stitches. The cut is apparently fairly deep, and about 1/4 inch from bone, so I'm glad I went in. Afterwards I grabbed some lunch, as it was 7 hours since breakfast, did some hasty grocery shopping (including a BIG tube of neosporin + pain relief) and came home. Now quite achy, watching bruises bloom, and trying to find out where my electronically sent antibiotics prescription went, as 'to my pharmacy' seems to not be the answer.

All in all, I'm very lucky-- no concussion, nothing broken (including glasses), nothing that will interfere with playing. I will probably have a scar, and will not bother about it; the plastic surgery part was reconstructive, not cosmetic. I was wearing a helmet and gloves, as I always do.
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First I have to introduce you to Irene. Chronologically she's somewhere around 80, but she is determinedly Not Old. She is insanely active, nearly always cheerful, and 100% committed to everything she does, and she has a crazy sense of humor.

On Thursdays Irene comes to the church and sets up the handbell tables, 8 of them, by herself. (Yes, I said she's 80.) Then she drives across town to volunteer at an after-school program for disadvantaged children, and then back to church for handbell practice. She has at most 15 minute to eat in between those last activities so she packs a small meal... except that last Thursday she forgot. And when she was setting up the tables, she noticed that refreshments for the AA meeting that day were being provided by the men of the group. So when she saw a package of small muffins on the counter, unlabelled, she assumed those men had kindly left some leftovers for us folks at the church, and she ate two. (I bumped into her after she ate the first, and was a bit concerned, but since the deed was done I didn't tell her that I wasn't so sure about her reasoning.)

Time came for the handbell practice... and the handbell director came out of the kitchen shouting "who ate my muffins???" Irene was mortified, and kept quiet, and suffered all through rehearsal. So in the morning, she confessed via email, and copied me since I knew about it. As I said, she does everything 100%, so it was an incredible, moving and funny and abject apology, and of course the director accepted-- with an almost equally moving and funny and abject response. He also mentioned that he had assumed I was the culprit, so I'm glad Irene confessed.

But the happy postscript is that, next time I saw Irene, I pointed out that she and I and Pastor Karen all too often end up at the church with no food and no time, and then we do terrible things-- buy horrible junk food at the convenience stores on the corner, or go hungry and be irritable at our meetings and rehearsals and then binge.. or eat someone else's muffins. So we brought Karen into the conversation, and agreed on a short list of healthy shelf-stable snacks to keep handy, plus apples which at least keep for weeks on end. And enthusiastic Irene went out and bought them all, and now we-- and anyone else-- can eat something healthy and quick and tasty in those short minutes between things.

The beauty of it is that I don't think it would have worked if there weren't three of us. I'm selfish enough that I have wanted something like our pantry for months, but I think Irene and Karen are going along with it mostly for each other's sake and mine.

Pics

May. 10th, 2015 09:05 pm
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Catbird along my evening walk.

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May. 9th, 2015 10:05 pm
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Lovely winding CCC-built wall in Letchworth State Park (New York).

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CROP walk

May. 4th, 2015 10:34 pm
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Thanks to a bunch of y'all online friends, I raised a respectable amount of money for CROP, and tossed in my own donation as I promised, so I felt okay about walking. I still felt pretty awkward about the walk itself, though. In spite of being part of the DPC 'team', as of Sunday morning I was expecting to drive downtown by myself and hope to connect with someone I knew there. At pretty much the last minute someone asked if I wanted to carpool, though, so I arrived on site with several DPC folk. There was the inevitable period of milling around while things got organized, and then we took off walking. There were 1 mile and 3 mile routes; when we reached the dividing point, I ended up with a musician I haven't had much time with, so we talked music for most of the walk.

So socially things worked out fine. As a Good Deed, however... I was profoundly uncomfortable with it and almost certainly won't do it again. When I did CROP events as a teenager, there were strong elements of education, and of awareness-raising in the community; those seem to have died out, and left a feel-good event that doesn't really accomplish anything. Not that the donations are meaningless, far from it! But the walk part of it is just for fun.

Funny bit of conversation from the walk: during morning services, I went a bit over the top and modulated up a half step for EACH verse of a 3 verse hymn-- normally I would only do so once, on the last verse. My walking buddy claims, and his wife backs him up, that when I modulated after the FIRST verse, he exclaimed "fasten your seat belts, it's CRAZY time!"

Pics

May. 4th, 2015 09:01 pm
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I saw a little patch of red trilliums during my bike ride today. They are a different variety from those that are common in Vermont.

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Pics!

May. 3rd, 2015 09:45 pm
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Two of our escorts at the CROP walk today. My thanks to those who donated to my effort!

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Folks, in a fit of... whimsy? nostalgia? inspiration? I signed up for the
Albany Area CROP Walk to fight hunger. I did several CROP walks and bike-a-thons as a teenager, back when they were 10 mile walks and 50 mile bikes! This is a token 3 mile walk (with a 1 mile option, but I plan to do the 3 miles). Sadly, after signing up I discovered that folks at my church are loyal to their friends who have been doing this for years, so I have NO sponsors, and really no other local contacts to draw on since church is my workplace too.

Will any of you help me make walking worthwhile? You can click the link above to donate on my behalf. If I can raise $100 I'll donate that much myself, and enjoy seeing new sites and meeting new people on the walk; if not I'll withdraw, rather than claim a t-shirt for just my own donation, which seems pointless.

Direct CROP donations go to Church World Service. If you prefer not to donate through them, there is a box on the donation form to enter another agency name. The list of other agencies is here.
Donations to HI (Heifer International) would make me especially happy.
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I tried to go to Saratoga National Historic Park today, but they were burning the grasslands, so I ended up at the Saratoga Monument instead, and the surrounding cemeteries.

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Lovely Celtic-style cross in the cemetery across the street.

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31 years ago I found out I was pregnant and began to furnish a nursery. There was a crib in the family, but no changing table, and as I shopped I didn't like what I saw. Traditional changing tables were mostly cutesy, and so clearly one-use, and very low-- I'm tall. Then I found a 'convertible' armoire, unfinished. It was almost too tall, but it had rails that could be removed, and a large compartment with a hanging rod for baby sizes, and shelves to install later. I finished it in golden pine, used it as Laura's changing table, and then took it back as my own dresser.

Today.... I installed the shelves. :)
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I am very much a cat person; a cat magnet, even. I have rarely encountered a cat that didn't warm up to me rapidly. So when my husband wanted a cat that would be his, 12 years ago, I was very careful to not befriend her in her first month or so with us, and to not seek her out after that. It worked; Gypsy is very much his cat. When he moved to New York ahead of me last year, he brought her along, so their connection was reinforced. She follows him around, sits at his feet, sleeps with him-- under the covers, snuggled up by his side (though occasionally when he's restless she'll move over to me). I am perfectly content with the company of Oscar and Felix.

David's been traveling on business recently; has been gone 12 of the last 15 days. I've been consoling Gypsy as best I can, and the last few nights she has demanded to get under the covers with me. Which is fine... except that every single time, we are both sound asleep when one of the boy cats comes up to sleep with me, and unsuspectingly walks across the lump that is her, and I'm woken up by the resulting catfight, half of which is under the blankets beside me.

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Apr. 18th, 2015 09:47 pm
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A man and his dog out for an evening paddle. That's the base of Erie Canal Lock #2 in the background.

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