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.