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Albany NY March

Early in the march, gathered a few blocks away from the Capitol.

Six more )
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I went to the grocery yesterday, along with seemingly most of the local population. I had a smallish load but too much for an express or self-checkout, and looked with dismay at the regular lines, all with long lines and/or giant loads. I got in a line with a giant (two carts!) load at the front, and a cart similar to my own next, then me. That guy started unloading when he could, and looked with obvious dismay at one loose tomato, and went poking through the rest of the order, looking for the rest of the tomatoes he thought he had. Finally he glanced at me and the clerk, said "I'll be right back," and took off for the produce section at a jog. I didn't mind because giant load still had a long way to go.

A minute later I saw him coming back-- and clearly looking right past our lane, further down the store. I waved; he didn't see me but our clerk did. She also waved, called out "hey" as he passed us-- and then bellowed "Hey Tomato Guy!" That got his attention, and I think everyone in three lanes chuckled. Something about "hey tomato guy!" still makes me laugh.
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I didn't mean to make a New Year's resolution. But there's a quilt that I feel a need to design and make, and some key parts of the process fell into place today-- so I think this may be the Year of the Quilt for me. It's an art quilt, and I've started a design notebook so I can tackle it one block at a time.
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Two star breads

Kid and I are still experimenting with "star bread." One recipe makes two nice smaller stars, so we can have some variety. These are blueberry and cinnamon/brown sugar. We did the latter by brushing each layer with butter, sprinkling with cinnamon and brown sugar, putting on the next bread layer-- and lightly rolling before adding more butter and such.

I've been quiet lately. I was really quite ill Christmas week, and the stress of three services in 18 hours while only half recovered really knocked me off balance emotionally. I'm just starting to feel like 'me' again, and hoping to start posting a bit now.

BTW, I'm kayre on both LJ and DW, so if you are migrating to DW please consider adding me there!
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I took over directing our church's handbell choir six weeks ago. Tonight we were working on Christmas music that'll be performed in worship in ten days. They're doing a setting of What Child is This that should be gentle and flowing, but sounded dull and stompy instead. Despite having the notes basically correct, the tempo kept dragging and the melody didn't sing.

When I've had that problem on keyboards, teachers suggested playing in a completely different style or tempo to break the mental block. So I asked the ringers to bear with me... and instructed them to thumb-damp, which creates a muted staccato sound, and set a very fast tempo. I told them we'd only do the first two pages. They were laughing as we started off. When I stopped after two pages, one person said it was really helping, and asked to keep going, and the others chimed in, so we played the whole piece that way. It slowed down a bit, but not to the previous slog.

After finishing the piece, we went back and played it with traditional ringing, and at a more appropriate tempo-- and finally the music sang and danced! We played it three more times, putting polish on specific spots. The last time, several ringers said "wow!" after the last chord.

It was incredibly satisfying to achieve that transformation!

hanging on

Nov. 9th, 2016 09:10 pm
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So, of course there's the election, and I really didn't sleep much last night.

And then there's my less-than-half-time job, which is doing a good imitation of a full-time job just now. Two extra services, and Advent music for two choirs, which must be selected by Sunday at the latest.

And then there are three piano students; though they are pure joy, it's still a demand on my time.

And the kid and I got commissions for two Advent stoles, and she's at school so I'm making both, and we should ship them next week. Neither of the extra services was scheduled when we took the commissions, and we need the money....

So I realized yesterday that my head was about to explode. I had one stole completed except for some final hand stitching, so I asked a very kind friend if she'd do that for me, and she said yes. And this morning I loaded the crockpot, but I told the hubby that tomorrow is fend-for-yourself, and Friday we're going out.

If I can get through the weekend and get the stoles shipped I'll have a breather before Thanksgiving, at least. I can do this...
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IMG_5095 Doe nuzzling her fawn to calm it while I walked by very quietly.

Three more )
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The Tepee Gift Shop on Route 20.

Two more )
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So, this time I'm the quiet one, as a couple of you pointed out. The fact is, after the summer which was full of big nasty administrative screwups to sort out... September was just quietly PAINFUL. I've got chronic bursitis in both shoulders, and a partial rotator cuff tear in the left, and I got into a downward spiral where I kept irritating one or both shoulders, and by last week I was really starting to despair. Then something finally clicked. I was describing the pain to someone, and said that it felt like my bones were being crushed-- and that's a key phrase for me. When I'm under stress, my potassium levels drop like a rock. That 'bone-crushing' sensation is a symptom, along with crashing depression. I think the pain itself caused the stress that sent my potassium lower, and that made the pain worse, for a rather scary downward spiral.

So anyway, after 2 days of having a potassium-rich food at every meal (bananas, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes), last Saturday I woke up feeling almost completely restored. That was just in time for a quick road trip to meet Laura halfway from her school to pass along some essentials, and I had a tremendously fun day exploring and shopping. Turns out US 20 west of the Albany area is *gorgeous*-- I'll be going back that way soon! And now I'm moving forward on rehabbing the shoulders, and continuing with at least one potassium food per day.
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Really? Nothing new here for three days? Are y'all okay?


Sep. 9th, 2016 07:14 pm
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Small banners I'm working on recently.

story and 3 more pics )


Aug. 6th, 2016 10:33 pm
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Laura had to be at her soon-to-be college for an orientation day. I went along to help drive, but chose to explore the area instead of doing the parent activies. I found this lovely waterfall on a railtrail nearby. The corridor was a natural stream, then the site of 11 mills in 7 miles, then a canal, then a railroad.

Four more )
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Instead, I found two of these at the park down the street! Juvenile hawks; I'm guessing broad-winged based on the whistling or keening call.


This one was playing with a stick-- flapping up in the air, dropping the stick and pouncing on it. They both were foraging for insects on the ground.

RIP Oscar

Jun. 22nd, 2016 09:33 am
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Oscar and Felix

Oscar (the dark one) is with his brother again. He's never been an active cat, but the last two weeks he's been increasingly quiet, eating very little, and then started bringing that back up. Took him to the vet this morning, and she immediately showed that he was severely jaundiced-- liver failure. He already had a heart murmur, and that was significantly worse. We could probably have made him comfortable for a few more days or even a couple of weeks, but only with more stressful vet trips. I said goodbye to him instead.


Jun. 13th, 2016 10:21 pm
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I had to do a panic stop to avoid flattening this chukar on my recent trip to Vermont.

Two )


Jun. 3rd, 2016 09:10 pm
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Pileated woodpecker in my very own yard!

Three more )
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I've played for 3 memorial services in 15 days. One two weeks ago today, and then two days ago and now today. We have an ongoing problem with the ushers standing in the back of the sanctuary, near me, during the prelude and chatting loudly. It's generally so long between funerals that I forget. Saturday they were particularly obnoxious, and with only a day in between of course I remembered, so I asked the Deacon in Charge to take care of it-- and he really did! He talked to them, and watched them, and even did so tactfully enough that the worst offender apologized to me later, sincerely and with no resentment. Playing my prelude was actually meditative and restorative today rather than a drain-- lovely! And I think far more appropriate for those gathering for the service.


One of my choir singers does some small folk singing gigs in the area. His usual partner had to back out of a tiny two-song program, and he persuaded me to do it with him. I love folk music, always have, and had a good time with it. Much to my surprise, folks who heard us rehearse at church were very complimentary, and urged us to sing there; and so yesterday we filled in a gap in the musical schedule. Folks loved it! So it seems I'll be doing some singing as well as playing, occasionally.
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I have never particularly liked shoes. When I was a child I wore corrective shoes until I was 12. They were black and white saddle shoes, and I wasn't allowed to wear anything else, except eventually gym shoes for a hour at school, and dressy shoes for church. (I know that many children naturally grow out of minor leg malconformations; mine was so bad that after several years of treatment, at age 5, I still couldn't run because my knees would collide.) Inevitably, the year I was released from treatment, saddle shoes came into style; I couldn't stand to wear another pair!

Since then I have generally had only two or just possibly three pairs of shoes 'in play' at a time. A basic pair for every day, something for church, and possibly hiking boots or the like. Occasionally I'd have a pair that I really enjoyed, but I still never bought shoes just for fun, or switched from day to day.

Well, my kid has discovered fun shoes, and it seems to be rubbing off. It helps that flats are in style; I really don't do heels. But suddenly I have not one, not two, but THREE pairs of dress shoes, and the third has flowers; and last week I bought THREE pairs of casual shoes! My taste seems to be leaning towards "I can't believe my church organist is wearing those!"



May. 18th, 2016 09:47 pm
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Fern leaf just beginning to unfold.

two more )
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(Yes, I am still alive! And can post words, not just pictures!)

Y'all may recall that while in Vermont we had an annual open house every Memorial Day, in connection with the local parade. It was always a fun way to entertain, so we decided to try an open house here, sans parade. Today was the day! It was a weekend with relatively few conflicts, and it seemed to make sense to do this while we have only one cat, and before we get into the chaos of moving Laura and Nala back here.

We decided to keep the food simple, nearly all bought. Our big special touch was an Edible Arrangements fruit centerpiece, and it was a hit--no one had ever had one before! We made deviled eggs and rice krispie treats, and bought pita chips, hummus, tortilla chips and salsa. Friends brought chicken salad sandwiches, meringues, an apple cake, and cider donuts. Beverages were iced tea (regular and mint) and lemonade, plus water and sliced lemons and limes.

The first four people came just before 1:30, and from then until 4:00 there were never fewer than four guests in the house; several times we had 10 to 15 or maybe more at once. And it was a happy mix; I think everyone felt comfortable, and connected with someone. Our four nearest neighbors came at overlapping times, and held their own little party in our sunroom, along with visits from church people who happened to know one or another of them. Children had a great time blowing bubbles in our gardens. We had said 'no gifts please', but of course a few people brought little tokens-- a plant, a bottle of honey from one of the beekeepers, etc. And one very dear friend left a much-too-large gift card, but she is just unstoppable.

When the last two people left at 5:00, we made a light meal of some of the leftovers. After a brief rest, it only took an hour to put the house mostly to rights, and deal with leftovers. We served on paper and plastic so there are only serving dishes to be washed.

Overall, I had a great time-- I'm so glad lots of people came, and I enjoyed spending time with them, though I know I barely said hello to a few folks!
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