Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Sixty-Six

I rarely steal from myself quite this blatantly, but my Facebook posts pretty well summed up this drama so I am going to put them here and let them speak for themselves.  Every year since my children were born, I've made them a pair of Christmas pajamas, usually from matching fabrics, the same as my mother did for my sister and me when we were small.  The idea is that they can open ONE present on Christmas Eve (which always, amazingly, just happens to be the pajamas), and then they can wear the present to bed and wake up on Christmas morning in their new jammies.

I forget, EVERY YEAR, that I do not in fact have until Christmas Day to finish them.  They have to be finished on Christmas Eve, and for some reason this always takes me by surprise.

Last year's Christmas jammies turned into such a saga that I had people asking me in the middle of December if I was going to post running commentary about them again.  I tell myself that it is because last year's posts brought so much laughter and joy into people's lives.  I suspect, however, that it actually has more to do with the number of friends I have who appreciate a good dose of holiday schadenfreude, which says something about my sewing - and probably something about my friends.

December 22 at 6:52 p.m. - Christmas pajamas for the kids.  Red-and-black plaid.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

December 22 at 9:22 p.m. - Christmas pajama update: When you're making two pajama tops and you notice that you have made precisely the same error not once, not twice, but FOUR times, where part of the front doesn't quiiiiiite line up with the back ... check the pattern before you just trim that bit to line up neatly. It is JUST POSSIBLE that you'll need that extra bit of material for the neck binding.

December 22 at 11:13 p.m. - Plaid. Why'd it have to be plaid?

December 23 at 12:23 a.m. - If you are a creature with one head, one arm, and two torsos, I have a pajama top for you. SIGH. I am going to bed now. (On the bright side, the plaids lined up.)

December 23 at 6:10 p.m. (This accompanied the picture that is posted below on Day 461.) - On the positive side, I now have an iron-clad excuse to watch another episode of MI-5 while I rip out the seam that made this garment suitable only for aliens! (whistling "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life")

December 23 at 10:47 p.m. - Christmas Pajama Update (since I know you were all waiting with bated breath): I narrowly avoided making pajama pants for a creature with two very skinny torsos and two (possibly four) legs. I am sure there will be some disappointed little aliens somewhere out there on Christmas morning.

December 23 at 11:53 p.m. - Good quality loose leaf tea (decaf, sadly), crackers, double Gloucester, and a bit of Cotswold cheese. It may not HELP me sew Pajama Pants For Humans, but it certainly can't hurt.

December 24 at 12:15 a.m. - Do you think that anyone will notice if the fronts of the pajamas are inside out? That frazzly-edged connecting seam between the plaid and the black accent material isn't THAT noticeable, is it? It is? I was afraid of that. (Here is me not chopping them into tiny bits with my lovely sharp scissors, hurrah me!)

December 24 at 1:54 a.m. - We will all pretend that I did not just sew the entire waistband of Peter's pajama pants using the random spool of thread I'd been using up on another section for basting thread that would be removed. PINK thread, did I mention that? Aaaaand that's my cue to go to bed.

December 24 at 7:31 p.m. (since I had forgotten that we had a 2-hour family event an hour's drive away) - I don't believe in jinxes. But I am starting to think that if I post ONE MORE WORD about these dratted pajamas on Facebook, I will discover that I have made a pair of jammie pants suitable only for a three-headed octopus.

And finally, after far too much ripping-out and sewing-back-together ...

December 24 at 9:56 p.m. - Imported British tea, crackers, Double Gloucester, Stilton, white Irish Cheddar, kids in jammies (with proper number of heads, legs, and arms), and Polar Express. Quite nice. (I mean the jammies have the proper number of appendages, not the children. Well, the children do too, I suppose, but I hoped that was a given.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Sixty-Four

Remember Items #4 and #5, in which I will supposedly learn French?

I got the Pink Martini album "Hey Eugene!" for Christmas, and fell entirely in love with the song "Ocala".  I am completely inspired all over again to learn at least minimal French, if for no other reason than to be able to sing along with this song with correct diction.  (If I did it right, the name of the song is now a youtube link to it.)

If you get it stuck in your head for the next three weeks, c'est la vie.  You've been given fair warning.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Sixty-One, Part Two

Happy Christmas to me - I paid off my car!  This completes Item #38.  I wish I'd paid attention to when it would normally have been paid off - I'm not sure how early I paid it off, but it's at least a year ahead of schedule and maybe more.  Woohoo for little bits here and there!

I was also quite pleased to get a personal note from the lady at the credit union who managed the final payment.  I've never regretted switching from a big cranky bank to a credit union, and things like this are why.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I am sorry to say that I do not in fact drive a silver Transformer robot car.

Day Four Hundred and Sixty-One

In pursuit of Item #78 (sewing for the kids), I stayed up past the point of grogginess working on Christmas pajamas. 

I just made a pajama top for a creature with one head, one arm, and two torsos.

I think it is time for bed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Sixty

Remember this, about music and good black boots and things not turning out the way you expect?

Here's the final product of that photo shoot. ( <== That whole sentence is actually a link to the site where I'm featured, but Blogger is being irritating and it won't let me underline it so you can tell.) You can ignore the picture where I sort of look like a surprised toad, and just look at the ones where somebody finally, finally took a picture of my hands the way they look to me when I play.  I am so very pleased with those.  This doesn't really fall under any of my 101 Things, but I thought you might like to see it anyway.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Fifty-Four

Here's one more for Item #33 (knit or crochet 20 items for the homeless).

I really enjoyed making this one.  Some shades of brown are not so nice, but I really like many of them - the deep chocolate browns that are nearly black, rich warm browns, soft tans that look like coffee and cream, such friendly colors.  I've used Buddy for my model in this picture, since I have finally, regretfully, accepted the fact that I look perfectly horrible in brown.

It's not for lack of trying, either.  I had a brown silk shirt in college that went beautifully with a silk scarf my mom had given me, a watercolor-inspired blend of leafy greens, warm gold, and soft browns.  Nope ... not even with a scarf.  My natural hair color darkened in my late twenties from a dark ash blonde to a not-very-interesting medium brown, and I thought maybe then I could wear brown.  No dice.  I rebelled against the encroaching strands of silver in my mid-thirties and went back to what I consider my natural color (i.e., the shade my sister's was in her early teen years, which I coveted with a passion that probably walked the fine line between venial and mortal sin).  Surely with my lovely, shiny, expensive golden hair, I could wear brown!  But no.  Successfully wearing brown was simply Not Gonna Happen.

It all comes back to the original brown silk shirt in college.  (Don't laugh at the next bit - it was 1993 and I make no apologies.)  I would get all dressed up for class in my light blue straight-leg jeans, my brown suede ankle boots, and my brown silk button-up shirt (tucked in, of course).  My beautiful silk scarf would be arranged just so over my shoulders, my hair would be braided back and secured in a coordinating olive green silk scrunchie (QUIT snickering), and my treasured earrings made from some beautiful rich Eastern wood.  I'd wear warmer-toned makeup in a final effort to coax my pale skin and blue eyes to get on board with this whole earth-toned experiment.

It never failed - I'd get to class and someone would take one look at my complexion and ask, "Oh my gosh, are you sick?  You poor girl, you look awful!"

Hopefully someone out there in my city will be happy for a warm scarf this winter.  My first goal, of course, is to do something kind for someone who needs a little extra warmth and personal effort poured into their life.  But if this scarf helps them to stand up a little straighter and smile a little more because it also makes them look fabulous- mission more than accomplished.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Fifty

I should have said in Item #28 that I just wanted to go to a major museum, not specifically the Portland Art Museum!  My mom, sister and I are all going to the Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum over the Christmas break as our present to each other.  I am very, very excited about this.  Then again, if I specify the Portland Art Museum, it's another excuse to go when they have an exhibit I want to see.  So, good call after all, self.

Nobody ever writes letters any more!  Well, not NOBODY nobody, but not very many people.  I have a few friends who occasionally write, but with the advent of Twitter (short! cute! incessant!), texting (i m 2 old 4 this), and Facebook (everything out there for all to see including your socks and your cookies and your niece's ballet recital), you're lucky to even get a decent email these days, much less anything with a stamp on it.  I've been re-reading Robin McKinley's novels again, and I think when I finish Sunshine (for the fifth time, I think) I will write her a letter and take care of Item #45.

My goodness, I want to see a Shakespeare play.  I haven't seen one in years!  It looks like if I want to drive down to Ashland some time in 2011, I can see Measure for Measure (which is being featured at this year's Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Julius Caesar, Henry IV (Part Two), or Love's Labor's Lost.  Hmmm.  What do you think?

I was going to go for a walk this morning (sort of working on Item #56), but it was raining.  It has been raining for three days.  It is supposed to rain every day from now until December 21st, which is as far as the weather forecast goes.  I love rain, but I would love it even more if we could have a half-hour sun siesta at 2:30 every afternoon.

So, did it work?  Did I successfully obscure the fact that I have not in fact done much of anything at all on this project this week?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Forty-Seven

I'm not sure #9 on this list is going to happen.  I wouldn't be too stressed out about this because there are other items on the list that probably aren't going to happen either, but this one has ramifications that make my head pound a bit.

(If you're looking for a funny blog post today, this ain't it.)

I have wanted to go to graduate school for years.  I know which school, and which degree I want.  I know professors there who want me to come (so I can accompany their students), I'm excited about the classes and the practicing, and it would be VERY good for my future job prospects.  But every year for the last five or six years something has gotten rather seriously in the way of applying - finances, schedule, life in general, always something.  I got a little more serious about the concept in the fall of 2008, and started taking private piano lessons at a local university so that I could get a program learned and memorized for my audition to get into the program.  That year was the "life just got so complicated I'm doing good to get my shoes on the right feet" year, and I quit lessons and dropped the graduate school plan entirely for a while.

Even though I hadn't gotten very far into my preparations, though, I had had the nagging sensation that something wasn't quite right about my ability to memorize.  I wrote it off to the fact that I've never been a strong memorizer (good sight-readers often aren't), and that as a professional accompanist, everything I play is with the music.  It was a reasonable enough explanation, and I didn't think much more about it until several months later when I started noticing that music wasn't the only place my memory was slipping.

I'd had one too many conversations where I heard a piece of information for what I thought was the first time, and someone would say, "Seriously?  I just told you that YESTERDAY!"  I would have no memory of the conversation.  Events stay in my head all right, but things I hear don't seem to be sticking very well.  This was distressing, but I wrote it off to stress (also a reasonable enough conclusion over the last couple of years), until a Facebook friend started chronicling her husband's recovery from a head injury, and all of a sudden this sounded very, very familiar.

At the beginning of December 2007, I managed (with my usual grace and style) to slip on the stairs in my house, landing so hard on my backside that I gave myself a concussion.  I didn't know this was even possible, but indeed it is - if you land on your butt hard enough, it jars your spinal cord which joggles your brain which smacks into your skull, and voilà!  Concussion!

I felt a little dizzy and cross-eyed, but went to work that evening anyway.  Work, in this case, was the senior recital of an oboe performance major at the college where I work, so that meant full concert attire, hair, makeup, high heels, and playing three major works in front of an audience.  I figured I'd be fine, and it wasn't until we got backstage and were waiting for our cue when I looked across the darkened backstage area and saw this:

 There is only one exit sign.  It is not normally fuzzy.  We had a problem.

Thankfully, the oboist's position at the end of the piano was just barely within the cut-off point where my vision went double, and we got through the performance with nothing more noticeable than a couple of trills in the Mozart concerto that weren't quite as clean as I'd have liked.

On the good side, I had a reputation for the next two years as "that one accompanist who played Katie Roberts' recital WITH A CONCUSSION!", spoken in awed tones.  (Yeah, OK, I kinda liked that.)  On the bad side ... it was a serious head injury, and almost exactly three years later, I am starting to realize just how serious it must have been.

I don't know what you do, when you're a musician and your memory gets slippery.  My job is nice that way, in that I don't have to memorize things.  But now that I've been paying more attention to this, I've started noticing that it seems like I'm sightreading a LOT these days, even on songs I thought I'd played before.  I had played them before.  I just forgot them.  Much of my free-lance work is due to my slightly uncanny sightreading abilities, so I have managed to keep my work going and do well at it.

But learn and memorize a full audition program, when a simple Chopin Ballade won't stay in my head?  I don't know.

I don't know.

On the bright side, I can read the whole Twilight series again for the first time!  (Or, going by what I've heard, maybe it'd be better to pretend I never read it in the first place?)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Forty-Four

This is the view directly to the left of my office chair. I don't especially care for it, and not just because it's ugly.

I am a lot better at starting things than finishing them. I am actually quite amazed that I've accomplished as many things on this list as I have, since I have a lifelong propensity for starting projects that fizzle out, overwhelm me, or (in extreme cases) get thrown out half-sewn because I've changed dress sizes three times since cutting the darn thing out. This project, though, is going to HAVE to be finished since this is my office, and I can't leave it this way, because I would hate that even more than I hate painting.

I like the idea of painting. You know how in the movies, people buy these amazing little houses with wood floors and high ceilings and lovely wood-framed windows and fireplaces (of course they have to have a fireplace), and music plays and there's this golden-lit montage of them painting walls in rich shades of tomato red and butter yellow with their hair adorably tied up in bandanas, and the paint all comes out right and never gets spilled on the rug? THAT is what I envision.

What actually happens is that I optimistically buy supplies, get all set up with my old newspapers and paintbrushes and tape, and enthusiastically start in on a random piece of wall. I step back to admire my work. I think, "Wow. That looks a lot darker than it did in the store." I paint some more. It looks better now, and I have good music playing, and it is starting to feel vaguely like the movie version of this project - look at me with my adorable bandana! (Ignore my horrid pink T-shirt and outdated jeans, please.) Here I am, painting away! Paint, paint, paint!

An hour passes. I am still painting away, on the same wall. Paint, paint, paint. This is not quite so fun any more. This bandana is making my head too hot, so I take it off. Why do I always think a brush will be better than a roller? I go and find the roller brush and the paint pan, and immediately spill paint on my clothes. I wipe it off the best I can and have a moment of relief that at least it didn't get on the carpet. I start rolling paint onto the wall - oh YES, now I remember why I don't like roller brushes: It's because I always start out too fast and it flips tiny drops of paint into my hair.


I paint with very bad grace for another five hours, and remember why I despise painting. I mutter foul imprecations against the people in Hollywood who find it amusing to depict home remodels which apparently only take 2.5 minutes, spill no paint except for the tiny dab of green on the heroine's perfectly smooth left cheek, and NEVER, not even ONCE, end up with our bedaubed young lady swearing at the mirror while she tries to comb dried paint out of her hair.

Painting party at my house, anyone? I will give you cookies.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Forty-Three

I think I can safely say that I have started Item #15 (make a patchwork blanket for each child). This one will be for Boo - the idea was to start it when she was ten and finish it by the time she turned eleven. She had her eleven-and-a-halfth birthday last week, so unless I suddenly discover time travel, it'll be a little late.

She and I settled on a quilt pattern that comes out looking like square-edged puzzle pieces, all fitting together. It makes both of us happy - I like the way it doesn't make me do a whole bunch of curved edges (which would likely result in a blanket that's more three-dimensional than either of us have in mind), and she likes the way it will have a zillion different colors in it.

It has ninety-nine "squares", if you count each puzzle piece as a square. Each color is actually cut out in seven precisely sized rectangles and squares in order to create the final illusion of a solid interlocking puzzle. It is a lot of cutting. I'm OK with that, because part of me doesn't want to finish it too quickly (and with ninety more colors to cut out, I definitely won't be setting any speed records).

I know it just looks like a pile of colored fabric, pinned in stacks of matching pieces, and that's a completely valid way of looking at it. But I see so much more already, and it's not even sewn together yet. She loves all things sparkly and striped and speckled and spangled (I keep thinking of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem "Pied Beauty"), and the piles of fabric saved for this project reflect her tastes over and over.

I look at this pile and see the candy-corn nightgown I made her with Halloween fabric, bought on clearance, in the spring, just for fun.

I see the red dress I made for her first day of the fourth grade, and I wonder how much longer she will tolerate a dress for the first day of school.

I see the camo-and-butterflies cargo pants her exceptionally cool Aunt Boo (Boo's named after my sister) bought and sent in the mail for her sixth birthday.

I see the purple flannel nightgown that I just washed and folded, which she has not yet put away - I probably should remind her.

I see the pale pink and white flowers of one of my favorite-ever Easter dresses - I think it had a little white straw hat with it, when she would still tolerate being put in a hat for Easter Sunday.

The white material with brilliantly-colored fruit takes me back to her pre-school years, from a mix-and-match set of shirts and shorts I made for her. They lasted for years, since she kept getting taller but stayed the same size around. (I'm not kidding. She's eleven, and she can still wear a circle skirt I made for her in the first grade.)

The blue-and-white check with daisies dates back to her toddler years - did I make a matching hat? I remember a hat. It's possible ... Buddy hadn't come along yet, and there was still time then for sewing impossible things like hats.

The navy blue with gold stars takes me back to Boo as her two-year-old self - even then, I realized that this tiny little person was bursting with so much personality that gold stars only hinted at everything inside there, all that energy bouncing around in her little body and mind, flowing and bubbling and sparking out, in words upon words upon words.

They are good memories. We've had some happy times and hard times since then, and there are surely more of each ahead, as there are in any given set of days and months and years. But the memories make me smile, and I have hope - real hope - that this blanket will keep her warm in better days and months and years ahead.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Forty-Two

And there's recipe #16 - Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls! They have no calories at all, you can tell just by looking at them.

I got the recipe 10 or 12 years ago from a Secret Santa, and since it was a secret she didn't put her name on it ... and as a result I have no freakin' clue where I got the recipe. So, Secret Santa from the late 1990's, if you recognize this candy, thanks - they were great!

Real butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips. It hardly seems difficult enough to consider it an actual recipe, but since it's a pain in the backside to dip anything more complicated than a strawberry in melted chocolate, I'm counting it.

I should have had Item #8 be "try 100 new recipes". I'm sorry to be almost finished with it! I mean, not that I can't still try new recipes ... it's just that after I finish the item, I no longer have any rational reason to post pictures of them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Thirty-Seven

I still have two more biographies to read. The ones I find that I most want to read, though, aren't written - they are the stories of my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and their great-grandparents. The genealogical research I've been doing lately just makes me want to know more and more about these people, the Franks and Janes and Georges and Jacobs and the lone Narcissa. So much is forgotten when time passes, with only names and dates left.

I don't feel like I'm just a name and a date, but I suppose I am.

And I imagine they didn't feel like they were just names and dates, and indeed they were not.

I expected this research to be exciting and interesting, and it has been both. I guess I wasn't quite prepared for the bittersweet experience of meeting all these dead people and wondering who they were.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Thirty-Three

Or, Things For Which This Project Has Made Me Thankful.

1. Friends, old and new, who've suggested recipes as varied as Yorkshire pudding, clam chowder, borscht, and Eggs Benedict, writing in from locations as varied as (respectively) New Zealand, Minnesota, Washington State, and England.

2. Frederic Chopin. He amazes me more every year. And he's DEAD, so that's pretty impressive.

3. The fact that I am not allergic to any foods, which means I can try cooking anything I can stand the taste of.

4. I have a house to organize. Not everybody does, and I know this.

5. I have the kind of brain that thinks it's fun to do algebra. (Hey, I consider this a plus - don't laugh!)

6. I haven't gone to the Space Needle with the kids yet, but I'm really glad I still live close enough to Seattle put it on the list!

7. I am thankful for tulips. I love them, love them, love them.

8. I love it that I live in a part of the country where it's possible to go to the opera, the beach, a wonderful art museum, a 5-mile hike (or 50 if I wanted), and any number of photo-taking expeditions - all within 75 miles of my house.

9. I am thankful that my body, while it is a little tweaky and unpredictable, is generally healthy enough to at least consider swimming, cycling, running, and hiking.

10. I am thankful that I put #55 on the list. I will freely admit that I wish I could bring a bottle of good Scotch to today's festivities and spend the evening nursing along a glass of it, but not drinking was the right choice for this point in my life.

11. I am thankful that even though I haven't done too well with #59 (monthly self-exams), I am thankful that I have so far been spared the spectre of cancer that has hit my family so many times. And if I end up with it, I'll be thankful for good health care.

12. I am thankful for all the fun pictures I've gotten to take in the course of this project!

13. I'm really glad I got motivated about learning to quilt. That has been a huge amount of fun, even if I'm not very good at it yet.

14. I am very thankful that I managed not to kill my antique rose.

15. And I am thankful for you, my readers. I know who many of you are, but not all, and that makes it fun too - I like thinking that there are a few people out there I've never met who get a chuckle or a good idea out of what I write. Thank you for reading - we're almost halfway there!

Happy Thanksgiving!

- Bee

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Thirty

Now, this doesn't LOOK like the toy-infested craft-swamped book-filled lair that is my family room (Item #14), since it is in fact an upstairs closet. But I'm counting it as work in the general direction of that project, since there is significant overlap between what's in this closet and what's in the family room as far as games and random decorative items. Getting this area in order makes it so (hopefully) some of the items from the family room will actually have a place to go.

I spent a few hours on this today and made good progress. I did the five shelves completely, but couldn't bring myself to address the three boxes under the shelves. They have been there, with very little taken out or put into them, since moving here in 2000. I shudder to think what might be there, or how long it will take to decide what to do with it. For now, I am calling this a good day's work:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Twenty-One

Well, I should have done this a long time ago! I hadn't planned today to sort out the folder full of several years' worth of product warranties (Item #67), but it turns out that drinking a pot of good strong black tea after 9 p.m. gives one rather more energy than is ideal for sleeping. This seemed like a manageable project, and indeed it was. This folder now only has a handful of items in it, and all of them actually need to be there. Success!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Seventeen

I've made a little more progress on #56 (get to a goal weight which is on a strictly need-to-know basis), and I know it's a little blurry but I think maybe-maybe-just-maybe I am starting to have actual cheekbones again. I am pretty pleased about that.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Fifteen

I ended up with a rather nasty upset tummy today. So no Eggs Benedict, and I am spending the day on the couch working on Item #93 (watch new-to-me movies made in each year from 1939 to 2012, when the project ends).

I just finished Desk Set with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Trying to decide now between Funny Girl (1968) and Woman of the Year (1942). Heck, maybe I'll just watch them both.

On the positive side, I've had enough upset-tummy days recently that I've made some rather nice progress on Item #56. Sigh.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Fourteen

Today ... nap.

Tomorrow ... Eggs Benedict!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Thirteen

See? Better already. (Faster anyway, which means less to listen to.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Twelve

All right ... don't click on this unless your sound is turned down a little and you have something VERY nice to listen to afterwards. I am taking a risk here and allowing rather more transparency into my musical process than I normally do, as part of Item #11 (learn the Creston Sonata for Saxophone and Piano). I have already learned and performed the first two movements of this work, but I put it on the list to motivate myself to learn the fiendishly difficult third movement.

I had done some sporadic "work" on it over the last year, which translates to playing the first five pages (the easiest bit) a few times and sort of skipping the hardest parts. Then I found out last week that one of the saxophone majors where I work will be doing the third movement, and I will need to have it at performance level in six months at most, and possibly much less than that.

I will not subject you to the whole piece at this point, since I feel a little bad even practicing it in front of the cat. It is very modern and will not be your typical "happy Mozart music" even when it is completely polished and performed with the saxophonist, and this kind of music sounds pretty darn awful in the early stages. That said, I decided to post periodic updates on the final two pages of the work, which are among the most difficult in the piece and will (hopefully) improve significantly over the next few months.

So, here it is ... it probably isn't technically sight-reading since I think I may have played through the whole thing a couple of years ago, but for all practical purposes, this is my first run-through. Fasten your seatbelt, take your anti-anxiety meds, and click play if you dare.

I warned you! I promise the next one will be better.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Ten

I will probably not do much on this blog for the month of November since I'm trying to write 50,000 words - I think that's a pretty good excuse not to learn French right this minute, anyway. I'll try to keep my camera in my pocket though, in case I get a chance to add any more to Item #80, like this shot of some nearly-forgotten stairs that lead nowhere behind the building where I work.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Eight

Another essay! Yay!


I am a musician. I am a writer. I am a mother. I have ADHD. I am planning to write 50,000 words in the month of November. (You can see what’s coming, can’t you.)

My personal requirements for writing usually make for a very short list: Functional computer (pen and paper will do), reasonably sturdy chair, quiet, and the urge to write. Notice, please, that there is no mention on this list of proper writing attire, time of day, glasses of water, or mood-setting procedures. It is not at all unusual for me to be hunched over the keyboard in the dark far past my bedtime, hair awry, wearing nightclothes rumpled from tossing and turning while an essay pings around inside my skull until I surrender to the inevitable and write it.

But a focused writing goal changes all of that. Suddenly I have a list of finicky little requirements that would put a pop diva to shame. I sit down at the computer, and wonder how I didn’t notice before that it gets really warm in this room. I open the window just an inch or two and decide that I should probably move the ironing board out of my line of sight so that I’m not tempted to work on the pile of wrinkled clothes waiting for my attention. I’m still too warm, so I take off my sweater, fold it neatly, and lay it on a chair instead of dropping it on the floor according to my usual habit. I sit down again, and I’m thirsty. I head down to the kitchen for a glass of water, put in an ice cube (I never use ice! Why now?) and decide I should put a few chocolate chips in a bowl in case I need extra sustenance.

I should probably use the bathroom since I’m down here anyway. I’m washing my hands, and I realize that the light in this bathroom is much better than the one upstairs. I seem to have more grey hair in this mirror. I’m not going to try to pull all of them out, but that one right at the front has got to go, and so does that one, and just a couple more … OK, that’s better, now I can write. I pick up my water and chocolate chips and walk past the piano, which I have neglected for the last few days. Oh, look – I left my book of Chopin Preludes on the music rack! I love the C-sharp minor “Cello Etude” so dearly, and maybe a quick run-through will put me in a writing frame of mind. I play through it with passion and feeling, and yes, the creative juices are flowing in earnest now – so I play the Revolutionary Etude and the Grande Valse Brilliante too.

I catch myself before I get too inspired and move on to Brahms, and trundle back upstairs to the office. I sit down yet again, and realize that I’ve left my water and snack downstairs. On the way back down, I am appalled by the state of the family basket of shoes by the front door, and take a moment to put them back in an orderly fashion. There, now my mind is at ease and I can write. I return to the office, find a spot for my water and chocolate chips, try a few (they’re just fine), take a sip of water, and spend five minutes adjusting my chair. It has been fine for months. I don’t know why it’s too high now – or too low – or maybe it was too far forward – now it’s messed up completely and I have to crawl underneath it to look at the levers to figure out how to put it back. There, much better – ahh, telephone.

Call finished, I return to my computer, and am embarrassed to recall that I never sent my sister that recipe she asked for. I open up Facebook and bravely ignore the red notification box, going straight to my sister’s wall. Oh, look – new pictures of my nephew! Is there anything cuter than a toddler who’s learning to color for the first time? I love being an aunt, and of course I comment on a few of the most recent pictures. Wait – recipe! Fortunately I know it by heart, so I fire off a message to my sister and close down my web browser, conscience eased and mind at rest. There, now I can write!

I finally open up a blank document in Word, and it regards me silently. I gaze back. Nothing happens. That really is a very large pile of ironing, now that I think about it, and – NO. No ironing, no telephone, no sandwich, and definitely no more Facebook. As a last-ditch effort at procrastination, I pin my hair up out of my face, take off my watch, and remove my socks (since I am certain that I write better when I’m barefoot), but it is no use – it is time, so I close my eyes for a moment, smile slightly, look at that lovely expanse of white on my screen, and I begin to write.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day Four Hundred and Five

What on EARTH possessed me to think I had the mental facility to learn French?!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Ninety-Nine

Here are four more pictures for Item #80, the Windows/Doors/Stairs photography project. Clicking on any picture will give you a full-screen shot in much better resolution. For reasons unfathomable to me, Blogger's largest size option for a picture within a blog post is really not very big, and when you click and drag to increase the size, it loses resolution. My next 101 Things project will not be on Blogger, so I should probably start looking for a new site in 550 days or so.

The clock tower at Willamette University, late afternoon.

Another view of the clock tower, taken at the same time.

Window into stairwell at the Chemeketa Parkade, downtown Salem, Oregon.

Gated stairway into building on Commercial Street downtown.

The beach at Manzanita, Oregon - not a window or door, I just liked it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Ninety-Eight

Finally, another essay! (Item #41)


Pride Goeth.

As I've gotten older, I've gotten increasingly less interested in the opinions of all but those who matter most to me. I don't worry as much about my hair, I spend less time fretting about my funny walk and ghostly skin, and I have even found a small measure of resigned acceptance of my post-baby figure.

That said, when I was approached with an offer to include me in a project featuring local artists doing what they do, I thought, “Oh yes, of course you can photograph me in the daily nitty-gritty of my work, as long as I can have an hour to do my hair and makeup, and I need to find that one good red lipstick, and I think maybe those REALLY flattering jeans and my good black boots, and can you not shoot me from the side because I don’t like my double chin?"

What I actually said was, “Yeah, sure!” You know, all casual-like. And then arranged for the photo shoot to take place at rehearsal (in the performance hall at the local university) instead of at my house as originally planned. I mean, sure, it’s a great idea in theory. But for a photographic feature that focuses on process (the hidden, solitary hours of solo practice) instead of the final product (the black-satin-clad, high-heeled, sparkly-jeweled performances), I was a little worried about just HOW nitty-gritty this might be.

My actual practice sessions involve stepping over an abandoned wooden train-track construction to get to the piano, clearing elaborate Lego creations off of the bench before I sit down, and making sure there are no marbles under the pedals. There's usually a cup of tea or a can of diet Coke on a coaster proclaiming "I had a mind once - now I have small children." A small pile of M&M candies (for energy, you know) is a distinct possibility. I generally have my hair in a ponytail to keep it out of my face, I rarely have makeup on when I'm at home, and I almost always practice barefoot. Pajamas and a bathrobe are not unheard of. I’m all for honesty, but this was a little more honesty than I wanted posted on the internet.

I thought this would be a good compromise – I’d be more casual than on a performance day, certainly, which is highly dependent on good makeup, hot rollers, hairspray, and a quite literally breath-taking amount of Lycra under that smooth sweep of black chiffon. On the other hand, this “casual” snapshot of my work would still include a lovely nine-foot Steinway, polished hardwood floors, and beautiful lighting. I decided on jeans, a black turtleneck sweater, my good black boots, and of course I would allow ample time for carefully understated makeup and a complete blow-dry of my waist-length hair. I’d leave my librarian-esque glasses at home in favor of contact lenses, put on a little eyeliner so you could see my eyes, maybe a touch of lipstick. As my imagination picked up pace, I envisioned (remember that thing about pride and falls?) my hands tenderly drawing music from the keys as my hair cascaded around me in a shining, smooth waterfall of blonde, eyes closed in a moment of transcendent oneness with the music.

So, at 8:45 I’m on the phone with Hannah, the soprano I’ll be working with, getting everything settled regarding the hall and the photographer. I’ve spent the last 45 minutes getting my son fed and ready for school, and I’m not as far along as I thought I’d be in my preparations. I realize I’m cutting it close, so I say my goodbyes to Hannah with a cheery “See you at ten!” Hannah says, “No, you mean 9:30!” I say, “Um, yeah! Sorry, you’re right, 9:30.”

At this point I hang up and explode into full-fledged Panic Mode. I am wearing a green nightshirt with a cartoon of a giant black bear on the front. I am barefoot, unfed, unshowered, and my sleep-tousled hair is rampaging in a highly unflattering multitude of directions. It takes twenty minutes to get to the university, and it is now 8:48.

I fly into the bathroom, barely taking the time to remove my glasses before I get into the shower. I take the fastest shower I’ve had in years, forgoing conditioner (I know I’ll regret this shortly) in favor of speed. I hop back out of the shower, scrubbing my hair with a towel as I charge back to the bedroom to get dressed. Jeans! Black sweater! Earrings! Socks, I can’t find my socks, dang it! Here, laundry basket, socks, run, run, run, back to the bathroom … auuggghhh! My HAIR!

I am faced with the inevitable result of a fast shower, no conditioner, and a mad towel-drying rampage. Helena Bonham-Carter’s rats’-nest of hair in any one of her freakier movie roles is a good point of comparison. There is no way, NO way this is going to metamorphose into a smoothly shimmering waterfall, or even a moderately ripply stream. There is no help for it. I get it just dry enough and just detangled enough that it doesn’t appear to be harboring small birds and woodland creatures, and twist it into a bun, stabbing blindly with hairpins until it feels like it will withstand the mad rush to the university.

Contacts … no time, I guess I’m Marian the Librarian today. Makeup … quick, a little powder and mascara, and let’s at least cover up that spot in case he decides that pimples add to the artist-at-work ambience. Lipstick? No time. DANG IT.

Run downstairs, gather music, grab a granola bar, no time for tea, do I have a pencil?, purse, boots! No time to go back and get them, I’m late, sneakers will have to do, but oh NO these are bootcut jeans, and I guess they’ll just have to drag on the ground, nothing to do for it now. Run to the car, run back for my cell phone, run to the car again, come on light turn GREEN, park, mad dash across campus, and I’m here.

Beautiful piano. Perfect light. Shining wood floor. Lovely Hannah. And my scuffed-up Converse sneakers, cheeks flushed from hurry, hair already trying to escape the hasty updo, and clothes disheveled from the careless dash from the car. Everything was rushed, mussed, breathless, and not at all what I had in mind. The photographer said it was perfect.

I can live with rushed, mussed, breathless and perfect.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Ninety-Four

Here are two more for Item #78 (sew 10 items of clothing for each child). These are the first-day-of-school outfits, and I got the last stitch in at around 12:30 a.m. the night before school started. And that was WITH planning ahead!

Buddy's shirt was a breeze - he picked out the material himself, and even when I suggested some nice blue material with baseballs on it, he insisted that the strange-looking striped material with olive green, mustard yellow, brown and orange was exactly what he wanted. And when I got it home and started cutting it out, I realized it was perfect. He looks great in those colors, and I was very pleased with the end result.

Boo's dress was another story entirely. After much poring over pattern books and agonized discussion over the merits of various dresses, she settled on (of all things) a little retro-inspired outfit that was done up in the pattern book in a tweedy plaid, clearly reminiscent of a classic Chanel suit. And nothing would do but we found it in plaid, and as luck would have it ... pink.

Boo is not all that into pink as a general rule (more of a lime green and orange kind of kid), but this was The Dress, and I was determined to make it.

Do you have ANY idea how many pieces there are in a lined, tailored jacket and matching flared skirt? And do you have ANY idea how long it takes to sew a stabilizing line of stitching around each and every pattern piece as soon as it's cut out, to keep it from unraveling to bits while it's sewn? (Answers: A lot, and a long time.)

Fortunately, the extended family spent a couple of days out at the Oregon coast right before school started, and there was a quiet table in the corner where I could work. I have no idea what all the rest of the relatives did, but I got quite a bit of work done on the dress. I sewed like crazy the next couple of days, and quietly tiptoed into Boo's room in the wee small hours of the first day of school to hang it up for her to see when she awoke.

And it was worth it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Ninety-Three

I am starting to regret the "healthy, trimmed" part of Item #92 (grow healthy, trimmed hair to my waist). Every time it gets close, it's time to get it trimmed again. I took this picture earlier this week, and my hand is about waist-level - I suppose the straggliest little bits are probably waist-length, but that hardly qualifies as healthy, does it?

I got it trimmed later that day, and ... hang on, let me go measure ...


... it looks like I have about 2.25 inches to go. So, if I get a half inch trimmed for every inch it grows (which is about what it comes out to), it should be trimmed and healthy and waist-length in early spring. Hurrah!

The idea, of course, was that I would then lop off a bunch and donate it (Item #34). But now I'm not so sure ... I've found out that much of that hair does NOT in fact go to the sad-eyed little cancer patients on the website, but goes instead to wigs for adults who might just be in the mood for blonde hair this week. So for now, I'm going to keep wearing it, and do a little more research on donating it before I do anything involving scissors and tears.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh Dear ...

... I keep checking my blog to see if there's anything new on it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Seventy-Two

See how those towers look like they are very high in the air? That's because they ARE very high in the air. One hundred and ninety feet to be exact.

And see those cables hanging down from the towers? You can't see this in the picture because my camera couldn't get the whole thing in the shot at once, but they are attached to a two-person seat, and they are STRETCHY. Two hundred and fifty feet in the air, that kind of stretchy.

(And - this delights me no end - for my non-American readers, that's about 58 meters and 76 meters respectively. Hurrah for readers in Canada, England and Australia!)

I went on this in order to fulfill Item #88 at the Oregon State Fair earlier this month, and Boo got very brave all of a sudden and decided to go with me. She ended up a little shellshocked, and needed ice cream to recuperate.

I thought about it, but I really couldn't face food until later the next day. I did fine on the ride itself, with the exception of the last few feet of the first explosive upswing. As we slowed near the top of our upward trajectory but still kept going UP, there was a sick-making moment where I thought, "No, this really is far enough, thank you, down now, WAIT not around in circles AUUUGGGHHHH!!!" Other than that though, it was quite a bit of fun. We truly could see for miles, and this was a view of the city I certainly had never had before.

Now, I'm not saying I'm getting old or anything, but I think that was probably a one-time shot. I had a good time, but my equilibrium isn't quite as steel-plated as it once was, and I felt slightly cross-eyed for the entire next week. (Although that may have had something to do with going on the swings immediately afterwards. In case you were wondering - BAD IDEA.)

Fortunately, my memory's not what it used to be either, so as long as I don't re-read this post, I can go on it again next year! Wheee!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Seventy

Attempt #2 at spending 15 minutes a day outside for 100 consecutive days (Item #63):

I had a lovely picnic at the park.

I took my kids into the back yard on a nice day and insisted that we all read books! I know! Torture!

I went on many walks, in all sorts of weather.

I actually dusted off my bike and went for a ride, and remembered why I don't ride much. (It has to do with my butt muscles. Don't ask.)

I played a game of croquet with the rest of the pit orchestra (the first one I've ever played in, very fun!) for a local production of "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat." I am not very good at croquet, it turns out.

I browsed through the outdoor market in front of the health food store and bought some perfectly delicious organic Brandywine tomatoes. (With a name like Brandywine, how can a Tolkien buff resist?!)

I helped with some impromptu decorating at the park for Buddy's friend's birthday party.

I sat outside on the back porch at night, read books and enjoyed the night air.

I cleaned out my car, with a vacuum cleaner and everything!

I took Boo for a brisk morning walk, which was quite fun and I should do it more often.

I took a hike with my mom down by the Puget Sound in Washington State.

I took lots and lots of pictures at the Capitol Building in Olympia, WA.

I watched Buddy do his best at the Cub Scout Olympics.

I took Boo and Buddy all over the World Beat Festival in downtown Salem, and we ate a little too much fair food.


And then I forgot about it, and now I have to start over. I promise I'm not starting this over multiple times because I like having to be outside every day ... although that's tempting now that I think about it. Hmmm.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Sixty-Six

I just realized that today is the first anniversary of this blog! I'd do a progress report, but it's getting late and I am tired. So, here is another one of my road pictures, just because I like them. Thank you for coming on this long walk with me!

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Fifty-three

I have lost one of my regular readers, and my heart is aching. You'll be missed, Mike. I was thinking about having my next 101 Things project include "sign up to be an organ donor", but I think I'll go do that now instead. A donated kidney gave you a few more years to hang around and make very funny sarcastic remarks, and I'm so glad I had those years to get to know you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Forty-Five

I have a new camera now, although it is not, alas, in fulfillment of Item #2 since that requires a few more dollars than I have in my penny jar at the moment. This one will work, I think, but it is giving me fits so I'll have to wait on posting any items that involve pictures.

In the meantime, I'll catch up on a new item I started: #7, read five biographies.

The first one I read was It Doesn't Take a Hero: The Autobiography of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf (Bantam, 2009). I was fascinated by the story of the man, of course, but I was equally pleased to find that the book filled many hazy gaps in my understanding of the conflicts in Vietnam and the Middle East. Schwarzkopf's grasp of (and clear communication of) the cultural differences between Eastern and Western culture was incredibly helpful in allowing the reader to understand subtleties of the conflicts that don't quite fit in the World Events section of the newspaper. His dry wit sparkled through in many places, and I realize that he is probably a very entertaining man to talk to in person. More than anything, I came away from the book with a renewed appreciation for what soldiers go through on a daily basis.

Today I finished the second on my list, Helen Keller: The Story of My Life (Penguin Books, 2002). Her autobiography begins with her earliest memories and concludes at the time of writing, her second year of college. Some of the stories of her early life were familiar from the Childcraft Encyclopedia set my parents had when I was a child, but I had not realized until reading the full autobiography that Keller was in fact an amazingly educated woman. She writes of "seeing" Shakespeare plays (by having an observer spell the dialogue into her hand) after having studied them herself, reading German philosophers in the original language, her travails with learning to speak French (by putting her hands on the lips and throat of her French teacher) - can you imagine? Speak French! A woman who has never heard the language spoken and has to learn each word, each phrase, each turn of syllable with her hands. I can't fathom the determination it must have required. And I had a bad enough time with geometry without having to use bent bits of wire to "draw" the problems and remember every label of the angles and lines in my head.

Her love of learning is evident in every line of the book, and it inspired me with the desire to read more, write more, and just pay more attention to life generally. My favorite quote is an eloquent expression of the exasperation all writers must feel at some time:

"It seems to me that the great difficulty of writing is to make the language of the educated mind express our confused ideas, half feelings, half thoughts, when we are little more than bundles of instinctive tendencies. Trying to write is very much like trying to put a Chinese puzzle together. We have a pattern in mind which we wish to work out in words; but the words will not fit the spaces, or, if they do, they will not match the design. But we keep on trying because we know that others have succeeded, and we are not willing to acknowledge defeat."

I am thoroughly looking forward to reading more of these - there is as much variety among autobiographies as there is among people, which is to say all the variety in the world.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day Something

Did you know it is very hard to do a photoblog if you lose your camera?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Twelve

And there goes Item #12, take a cooking class!

I signed up for the "Summer Dinner" class at Carl's Cuisine in downtown Salem, OR. Sorry, no website - Carl has opted not to have an internet presence, and since his classes fill up quite literally within minutes (due in part to lines of people waiting outside the door before the store opens) on the day registration opens, his business seems to be doing just fine without a website! After taking this class, I can see why everyone flocks to his classes, and why some of the attendees have been coming to them for decades. (Although I must say that makes it a bit tricky for us new kids to get into the classes, if the spots are taken up by people who've been coming to them for thirty years. You'd think they'd know how to cook by now, wouldn't you?!)

I get a little tangled sometimes about where my captions and pictures go, so in this post, all captions will be below the relevant picture.

The man himself, and the Amazing Wonderful Kitchen of Paradise. I seriously covet this kitchen. Lovely huge counter space, state-of-the-art stove and oven, more nifty little gadgets than you could possibly stuff in ten years' worth of Christmas stockings, copper-bottomed pots and pans hanging from the ceiling (happy sigh), marvelous cutting board which I NEEEED, sharp slicy cutty whackety knives, and I think I fell in love with the Cuisinart.

Isn't this a cute little bowl? I loved the way all the ingredients were set out ahead of time in bowls ... and I realized an hour or so into the class that that's how he can get a whole meal cooked in 2.5 hours that would take me, um, DAYS. A great deal of the prep is done ahead of time, and that makes all the difference. That, and a staff who comes and washes dishes on demand. If I had a staff on call while I cook, I'd probably weigh three hundred pounds. (But my kitchen would look AWESOME.)

Oh, also - yummy delicious basmati rice. Guess where? The bulk food section at Lifesource Natural Foods. I shop there all the time! I never knew this was there! Silly me!

This alone made it worth the price of admission. I've always wanted to learn how to roast peppers properly, but after an Unfortunate Incident regarding a green pepper and my oven which we will not discuss here, I've been afraid to try it. These jalapeños, along with some red bell peppers, hotter ancho chilies, and pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds, also from Lifesource), went into the rice dish. I tried roasting some when I got home, and while I learned an important lesson about how LONG to roast the peppers, it did work exactly like he demonstrated. Hurrah! I can torment my children with peppers in yet another way!

Oh, and I bought one of the cutting boards. Just a little one, but I can already tell you it is QUITE wonderful. It's made, of all things, of paper. Zillions of layers of paper. And it's non-absorbent, so you don't have to boil it to death every time you make chicken, and it doesn't make your sliced strawberries taste like yesterday's onions. So that's nice.

Here, he's chopping fresh rosemary to go in the dip for the appetizer. I have GOT to get one of these knives, even if I have to cover my eyes when I sign the credit card receipt. I don't know how much they are. I don't want to know. I just want one of these knives.

The appetizer: Rosemary Green Bean Spread with Rosemary Flatbread. Really! Green beans! I never would have guessed if I hadn't seen them go into it. They're fresh, overcooked just enough to be a little bendy, then tossed into the magical Cuisinart (swoon) and alchemized into a gently flavored dip involving ricotta, rosemary, and olive oil. The end result tastes what I can only call green. It tastes green - not really like beans, or like ricotta, or like rosemary exactly, just this smooth, creamy, vegetableness. (Yes, thank you Spellcheck, I know vegetableness isn't a word any more than green is a taste. But if you tried this dip, you'd put it in the dictionary.)

Interestingly enough, the rosemary flatbread came from the Cascade Baking Company, which I gave a somewhat-less-than-favorable review here, based on their soft-palate-piercing grilled cheese sandwiches. Looks like I need to give them another try.

See how they look all slimy and gross? They taste WAY better than that.

Yeah, they still look slimy and gross. They sure smell good though...

... and holy cow do they TASTE good. Here's the finished rice dish, along with shrimp (basil jalapeño tequila(!) quick marinade) and a Parmesan basil aïoli that was so good I had to restrain myself from actually licking the plate. I had to content myself with just scraping up the last drops with my fork when nobody was looking.

Incidentally, I asked Carl at this juncture if he had ever considered a class focused on vegetarian cuisine - this seemed reasonable enough, given the health-conscious and vegetarian-friendly part of the country we live in, and the fact that this rice dish (which would have been vegetarian with a golden broth instead of chicken broth) would have been a perfectly lovely dinner all by itself. He said that he doesn't really DO vegetarian. He tried a class with a meatless meal once, but he doesn't anticipate doing it again because he just didn't enjoy it much. I confess I was a little disappointed since I'm always on the lookout for good dinners that aren't centered on meat, but when it comes right down to it, it's his kitchen - and if he can do things like that to shrimp, I can get my veggie fare elsewhere!

Here goes a little armada of almond cornmeal cakes! I know, it sounded odd to me too. Almond? Cornmeal? But oh MY. The flavors blend amazingly, and the whipped cream and fresh berries were completely perfect.

Oops ... I was going to photograph this, but I accidentally ate almost the whole thing before I remembered. Well, you get the idea.

My only real regret is that I didn't require myself to take twenty cooking classes for this item to be crossed off my list!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day Three Hundred and One, Postscript

But oh hey! I am at exactly 2500 views on my blog! So that is kind of cool, in a not-really-doing-anything kind of way.

Day Three Hundred and One

Well, hmmm. This could sort of count for #48 (train for and run a 10K race) or for #49 (go on a hike of 5+ miles), but I am not going to count it for either. The reason I am blogging about this not-progress is that I have not written in two weeks, since I am in a profoundly lazy mode right now, and I'll take any topic I can get.

This is me finishing the Go Girl Trail Run 10K, picture shamelessly stolen from the event photographer's site and cropped down so you can't see just HOW little progress I have made on Item #56 (lose a bunch of weight). I am pretty cranky about that, especially since I know perfectly well that eating less and exercising more would knock that item off the list.

I am not counting it for #48 since I didn't train very well for it, nor did I run it (finish line jogging doesn't count). I am not counting it for #49 either since it was sort of a hike (much up-and-down trail walking and trees and mosquitoes and sharp pointy rocks), but not really because I didn't bring a) a nice snack, b) a journal, or c) a camera, all of which I consider essential for a REAL hike.

You can see my progress on #92 though!

(stopping to consider what I just typed)

Blah. The only thing I have done on this list in the last two weeks is Grow My Hair. That level of laziness takes real commitment, folks. Tune in next week to watch me cut my fingernails and maybe (if you're lucky) blink my eyes a few times!



Friday, July 2, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Eighty-Seven

I am trying to finish a quilt so I can start a quilt (Item #15).

I wonder if that will still make sense in the morning ...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Eighty-Five

I am trying to figure out which would be the best list items to work on today, after a morning in which not one but TWO really great potential job offers fell through.

Learn French? I don't think I have the energy.

Try a recipe? Not hungry.

Visit a new state? Tempting.

Go to a Shakespeare play? Might be a good distraction, but I think the kids would hate it.

Put $1000 in an education fund for each child? Better not right now.

Work on a quilt? Maybe ... better for me than eating chocolate, anyway!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Eighty-Four

Well, there's Item #54 done. I went 30 (actually 31) days with no chocolate.

I did not magically lose five pounds. I didn't lose ANY pounds.

My skin did not magically clear up - well, it did this week, but that has more to do with an accidental sunburn, which always has that temporary effect on me.

I didn't actually even miss it all that much.

I am underwhelmed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Eighty-Three


Item #20 is now officially off the list. Buddy, Boo and I set out on Tuesday afternoon (a bit later than we intended, but oh well) and started off down I-5. Our first stop was at the McDonald's in Cottage Grove, where we drank sodas, played on the toys, and Boo learned to play checkers. (Photo compliments of Buddy)

At the recommendation of my friend Christine, we stayed in a tiny little nowhere place that's not even on the map - which is fine by us, because it meant the awesome little hotel we stayed in was cheap! Adorable little A-frame cottages with one bed on the ground floor and one in a loft, pretty view out the back, bathroom, fridge, microwave, and plenty of floor space, for $55/night = WIN.

Sunset ... ahhhh.

On Wednesday morning we headed south again. We'd never been to Roseburg and we needed a bathroom and a RiteAid, so we stopped. We parked in the little downtown area, and among other things we visited the utterly delightful Country Lady Quilt Shop. We asked for and received a tour of the back half of the store so that Buddy could see the machines - a few antique sewing machines, the machine quilting apparatus, and the huge quilt frame that was currently displaying a quilt top of a king-sized quilt in the Log Cabin pattern. Boo picked out a few fabrics of her own - that's my girl!

Wednesday's main event was a trip to the Wildlife Safari in southern Oregon - what a treat!

We stopped at a bridge over the South Fork of the Coos River. We got barked at by a very enthusiastic dog and decided that it was time to get going again.

We spent a quiet half hour on the porch and in the side yard of a country store in Bridge, Oregon. It said it was a town, but I am starting to suspect otherwise since a list of the smallest towns in Oregon (including Green Horn, OR, pop. 3) does not include it. Anyway, it was a perfect afternoon and stands out in my recollections of the trip.

We drove a little too far on Wednesday night in a frustrating search for a hotel (they all disappeared about the time we wanted to stop), but finally found one just outside North Bend. Thursday morning we walked from our hotel partway over the Coos Bay Bridge (built in 1936 and about a mile long). It was amazing!!

The rest of Thursday we drove back up the Oregon coast in no particular hurry. It was cold and windy, but beautiful as always.

My sweet girl.

There was a lighthouse somewhere under all that fog.

Look! Sea lions!

This covered bridge (built in 1926, a replacement of the original structure which was built in 1893 for the railroad) was a lovely surprise on the side of the road.

Boo snapped this of me when I was sitting on the railing of the bridge. It was such a beautiful, perfect evening that I hated to get back in the car!

And one last shot on the side of the road crossing back through western Oregon. This state never fails to amaze me!

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