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I'm a church organist, so Sunday is always my big day. So my 'weekend' is generally the rest of Sunday plus Monday. I don't cook on Sunday, but I generally expect and am expected to cook Monday dinner, and that messes up my 'day off' plans pretty often. So recently I've told my husband I would make sure one of several pantry-to-table meals would be available for Sunday or Monday, and on the other day we'll fend for ourselves.

So... today I am going to hang out at the house, doing the stuff I want to do. I'll eat dinner early... and then I will leave the house just before my husband comes home, and go walking until sunset. My day already feels longer in a good and relaxed way.


Apr. 20th, 2017 07:46 am
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After getting Nala safely indoors Tuesday, we both spent the day nibbling and napping. Late in the afternoon I got a text from my friend Jen inviting me to a movie. Hubby and I had already arranged to have dinner out, so I invited Jen to join us before the movie. Good food, good movie and good company did a lot to restore me.

Onwards to the next thing, which is Holy Humor Sunday at my church. Fun for me, as I get to go off the beaten path musically. I'll be playing Fawkes' Theme from Harry Potter-- hey, resurrection! And either the Star Wars main theme or one of the other celebration themes from the series. Still need one more piece, but hey, I have 2 whole hours to pin it down! (Hmm, maybe Maria's wedding march from The Sound of Music.) We also do some hymn texts especially for the day, or sing standard texts to the "wrong" tunes. Last year we swapped words/tunes of Amazing Grace and O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing-- try it!
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Um, new user agreement on LJ? Didn't read it all yet, logged out until I see reaction to it. Did see, as I skimmed, that they can change it just by posting a new version, and our agreement is assumed. Ummmm.....


Feb. 22nd, 2017 09:47 pm
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Sunday was sunny and warming, so I went walking in a large park nearby. When I got back in the car, the bright sunlight on my windshield suddenly made me see, backwards, "10*16" twice. Registration and inspection, both expired last October. Yikes!

I drove home carefully, and got on the internet to see what to do next. The answer was inspection first, so early Monday morning I called our mechanic and got a 1 pm appointment. I drove myself to work, then dropped off the car (pastor drove me home). I knew that at 130k miles, it wasn't likely to pass inspection straight off, and I was right-- I got a call that work was needed on the front suspension. Yesterday I got yet another call, that work was going slowly and the car still wasn't done.

Today I drove hubby to work and kept our other car. After lunch I finally got the call that mine was finished. I drove in, paid for it and picked up the keys. The mechanic was kind enough to give me a small discount and a free oil change to make up for the car-free days.

Next step was to renew the registration. I tried to do it online but the system wouldn't cooperate, so I headed across town to the DMV. I was nervous, as there was potentially a huge fine for being so late. I explained that I was sure I hadn't received the renewal paperwork, though that doesn't really excuse not noticing the stickers for so long. The clerk noted that my address had been changed a year ago, and asked if I had changed it on the registration as well... no, that had never occurred to me. She waived the fine! So now I have the sticker and am legal again. (I asked how to fix the online problems and the clerk replied, "I really wouldn't bother, the system has so many problems. Probably 2/3 of the people I work with say they tried online first.")

I spent the next few hours clearing up a banking snafu (new ATM cards that never arrived), walking, and finally having a relaxing dinner, before picking up my car at last.
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So, I was reading a novel yesterday, and realized with irritation that the coming plot twist was going to be "surprise, your new love might be your half brother!" Sure enough, Hero's childhood sweetheart dumped that bit of gossip on Heroine. This frustrated me in two ways.

First, relatively minor, it assumed utter stupidity on the part of Heroine's father, who really should have noticed the possibility that Hero was his son.

Second, and what really bothered me because it's such a trope in both literature and (white American?) society.... Heroine immediately runs away. She doesn't go to Hero and say, hey, Girlfriend thinks you could be my half brother, isn't that crazy? She doesn't go to her father and ask. She doesn't go to Hero's mother and ask. She doesn't even go to her uncle, or to Hero's uncle, and ask.

When my daughter was in her teens, she got caught up in a soap opera one summer, and instead of trying to stop her, I watched it with her, and discussed the relationship dynamics that were portrayed. Over and over I would say (and later she would say), "Ya know, this wouldn't be much of a problem at all if they would just talk to each other!" How bizarre and sad that keeping painful secrets and brooding on them, to the great harm of relationships, is portrayed as normal.
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I've already been to one peace and justice organization meeting this month, and very much wanted to go to the Albany march today; and then Laura said she wanted to go, and that cemented it. I didn't want to deal with downtown parking, and was delighted when a friend offered us a ride in. We parked about half a mile from the gathering point and walked in, then walked a few more blocks from there to the Capital (it's Albany, not NYC, remember?)

Our local march was a Unity march rather than a womens' march, with a theme of reminding us of how strong we'll all be if all the groups feeling threatened support each other. Besides the pink hats and feminist signs, we saw the local Socialist party, Black Lives Matter signs, lots of rainbows, lots of signs about tolerance and respect. The mood and the speeches were amazingly positive. (The only boos were at the mention of DeVos; the new president was never named.) The speakers were amazingly diverse-- pretty much everything but a white man! The event ended right on time. Laura and I walked far enough, in a different direction, to let my husband pick us up.

I had had the forethought to load the crockpot with soup ingredients in the morning, so we were digging into soup and good bread within minutes of arriving home.

If you go to such an event, consider a noisemaker, if they are allowed. I was jealous of the people with cowbells, as I stripped my throat chanting and cheering.
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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.
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