Saturday, February 28, 2009

59/365 At Least We Have Nice Weather

Ran a 5 mile race today. Not my best time, but the leg felt great throughout the race, and I enjoy the riverfront course with its historic waterfront homes and phenomenal river views. The weather was amazing so after our race we showered, changed, grabbed lunch and headed for the beach. We enjoyed a leisurely 3 mile stroll, amused by the fearless kids in the cold water, the patient pelicans, and the gluttony of the gulls. A delightful afternoon. Florida, you enchantress, how you make me forget my worries!

Friday, February 27, 2009

58/365 Bursting at the Seams

I am bursting at the seams with anticipation, worry, and confusion. 12 years, countless programs and thousands of unpaid hours haven't been enough to keep the husband's job. The principal CHOSE to cut music. CHOSE to cut his program. Nobody wants a teacher to lose a job, but even with one less 2nd grade teacher the school will still offer 2nd grade. But there won't be Senior Chorus, Primary Chorus, Visiting Artists Series, Voices of Paterson, Instrument Ensemble, a Play, a Variety Show or a program for commencement without the music teacher. Will he have a job? Sure. But a dozen years building something from scratch was ignored. Gotta' admit, I'm thinking of a bad word I'd like to call the principal.

Bursting for myself. What will I be doing next year? Next month? Teachers are getting pink slips, and they're not exactly having recruitment incentives. I have an interview at a daycare center on Monday. Today I took an interesting call. The principal of a Title I school in my county received my resume. While she cannot hire from general funds, she is interested in creating a position for a literacy coach. She wants a "right hand" person to model lessons, work with disaggregated data and bring best practices into her school. Because Title I funds this position, she CAN hire. My interview is Wednesday. Good thing I did a little illegal shopping (illegal due to our financial condition) here in Roanoke, VA. I bought 2 suits for interviewing, hence the exploding roll-aboard.

Bursting for my daughter. Her musicianship is improving in leaps and bounds. Her academics? Not so much. She NEEDS an arts school to help her focus. Her audition was almost 3 weeks ago. Is she in? If not, what then? I'm going to need to open the expansion zipper, both on my nerves and on my bag!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

57/365 Granny Leg

Putting the Chuck Tayors back on after security I wondered whose grandmother's swollen foot was wearing my sock. The swelling goes all the way up the calf. Sure the right knee was the one that was screaming, but ice and Aleve have made that a non-issue. I ran today anyhow, an hour on the Courtyard fitness center treadmill. But maybe it's time for the doc.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

56/365 Back in the Suitcase

The Place:
Holiday Inn Express. Alexandria, Louisiana. Fitness Center, 1st floor

The Time:

Treadmill #1. Not working.
Treadmill #2. Display won't illuminate.
Elliptical trainer. One wingnut away from self-destruction.
Stationary bike. Pedals move but the seat is anything but stationary.

No cardio for me today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

55/365 Lunch and a Show

Some things about traveling will not be missed: hotels of questionable integrity and cleanliness, night-time drives by the light of the navigator, the TSA, and regional jets, to name a few. But one thing I will miss greatly are the opportunities for prime people-watching in the airport. At 1:30 this afternoon I arrived in Atlanta with an empty tummy and a 2 hour layover. The food court on concourse A met both needs. I found some chow, the veggie plate from Paschal's, a tribute to the power of pork fat to transform vegetables into something from heaven. But even better than the food was the entertainment.

Eating alone at my table for two, I had a clear view of the South American foursome across the aisle. The men sat at the table, talking loudly and sending the women off to fetch a meal of several courses, each from a separate venue. Eventually they settled down, but for one woman. She was a high-maintenance type, dressed all in form-fitting black knit. Her boots were high on top and pointy on the bottom. On her right shoulder she wore a folded scarf, warming nothing, just an accessory to break up the monochromatic get-up. While the others at her table feasted she was busy. Again and again the tickets came out of the Gucci bag, were checked, and were then replaced. She chatted incessantly, gesturing with long-nailed, bejeweled fingers. Boy, I thought, I'm glad I don't even try to work that hard at being female.

A few minutes later an older couple made their way to the empty table to my right. They wore travel casual, he in flannel and denim, she in terrycloth and fleece. Once the luggage was tucked under the table the wife went to the counter for the food. While the husband waited he unfolded his handkerchief and positioned it across his chest and belly. The wife returned with two heaping trays, put on her reading glasses, and they ate without a word. Sometimes her fork wandered to his plate, sometimes his to hers. Funny, but I don't recall them having a conversation to decide what food to purchase. Either she knew what he wanted or he doesn't get a vote. Either way, I was impressed. Though I don't ever wish for a marriage so long that it's old, that we have nothing to say, that a food court with a dozen choices doesn't even inspire speculation.

Sure, I'm doing a bit of filling in and more than a little stereotyping, but I find myself interested in "types" of people. Yet even with years of intense study I haven't figured out which type I am.

Monday, February 23, 2009

54/365 The Soprano Learns to Belt

Take off the wig and the hoop gown. Throw away the period costume. Momma can belt now. Thanks to my amazing voice teacher, Carole Clifford, I have found my inner Broadway baby. Momma can wail, all the way up to a D! Never knew I had it in me. Oh happy day!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

53/365 THE Boy

He's a major crush, and he's over at the house. Even though this crush takes way too much time away from school and other priorities, I've got to admit that he's rather polite and they are cute together. Maybe I'll let her date him... TEN YEARS FROM NOW.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

52/365 Bravo

Took in a play this evening, The Diary of Anne Frank at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. I must admit that my favorite part was intermission. The lights went up but the cast never left the stage. The Frank family was locked away, so the cast did the same. Throughout the 15 minute intermission the players remained in character, improvising a scene from a day in the life of hiding. These young actors never broke character, never crossed the "fifth wall" never missed a beat. Wow.

Friday, February 20, 2009

51/365 "I Pity the Food"

I fell asleep with some random cable channel on the hotel room TV, something way past CNN, maybe channel sixty-something. Finally getting some sleep after two long, sleepless nights on the road, I was blissfully unaware of the programming flashing a few feet from my bed: Bob and his happy enhancements, William "Billy" D. Mays's abrasive pitch for orange-inspired cleaning products and tear-streaked, open-handed televangelists. Tossing in the sheets this morning attempting to eke out every possible ounce of sleep, I was stirred by the most preposterous sight. Mr. T stood behind a studio kitchen counter, marveling at the moisture of steaks prepared in the Flavor Wave Turbo Oven. This was so overdone I thought it was a Saturday Night Live parody. As he tasted each Flavor Waved treat he delivered his traditional Mr. T-isms, sternly admonishing the audience to knock out fat and calories. How can I improve my day after a start like that?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

50/365 Comforted by Comfort Food

30 degrees and windy in Towson, Maryland. I haven't slept at all on the road this week and I need something good. Enter the Towson Diner. Split pea soup, steak fries and a chef's salad. Yes, bring the bread basket. So what if I'm training for a race. I need happy food.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

49/365 In Kneed of Support

I didn't realize how much my knee hurts until this afternoon, when having a writing conference with a seminar attendee. I tried to kneel beside her table as she read her piece and when my knee touched the floor an involuntary noise came out of my throat - a sound akin to the screech of tires on wet asphalt. I'll be wearing my compression brace and running through the pain. Yes, I'm that stupid.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

48/365 Their, They're, There

Maybe you can't see the misused homophone in the print article, but Newsweek didn't correct it in the online version either. The flub is in this sentence. "...he now must feel knowing he is permanently established as one of the world's major frauds, up their with Sacha Stavisky..."

We teachers of the written word toil in the trenches and correct these endlessly. In vain.

Monday, February 16, 2009

47/365 Power Rake

I mocked him when he wanted to use the shopvac to sweep a coupla' stray leaves off the pool deck, but today when I raked an entire forest's worth of fallen live oak leaves from the front lawn the shopvac was pretty handy in "scooping" up the leaf piles. It felt like fall this morning, the air a crisp and breezy 50 degrees. Dumping barrels-full of wet leaves added to the autumnal spirit. I was glad to have the Black and Decker's horsepower and a somewhat helpful assistant to make the work go quickly.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

46/365 Another Race, Another Porta Potty

We finished the National Breast Cancer half-marathon, and I think we shaved 10-15 minutes off last month's time @ the Disney half. Jacksonville weather came through as the sun came up around mile 8, just after the turnaround at Jax Beach. Two of our favorite people cheered for us on the course, inspiring us to keep moving (shout out to MB and CB). The race was fabulously organized, with a well-stocked runners' village offering amenities before and after the race. Evan is pictured here after an especially delightful portalet experience. They even had hand washing stations, soap and paper towels!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

45/365 The Youngest Singer

Ilana participated in her first NATS audition today. She was the youngest singer to participate. While she didn't place, she had great composure and professionalism. With hard work and a good dose of luck, I think her talents can take her far.

Friday, February 13, 2009

44/365 What good is a gated community?

They didn't stop my dad at the gate. They even let him bring in the alto saxophone.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

43/365 I'm waiting...

Lovely weather, beautiful day, dangerous intersection, why not take a bike ride? I waited almost 6 minutes to cross US 17. The semis' wheels were over the crosswalk line and they were breathing down my back as I dashed across. 30 seconds to cross.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

42/365 A Cat Would Really Appreciate This

We don't know what kind of birds they are, so we call them the squeaky birds - they squeak when they fly.I took this picture from my bedroom window, squeezing in between my two cats. They were looking off in the other direction.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

41/365 Not Camera Shy

Maybe it's the prevalence and ease of digital technology. Maybe it's the need to update and comment on "friends'" myspace and facebook pics. Today's teenagers grow up with the same growth spurts, self esteem issues, and feelings of pressure to have a certain look. Yet instead of hiding during these awkward phases they are documenting them with incessant photographs. How can they look at so many pages of friends' self portraits taken at arm's length or in the bathroom mirror reflection? One more pouty face or goofy look with a peace sign and my head will explode.

Monday, February 9, 2009

40/365 The Young Musician's Queue

We're running out of room on the piano. Lesson books, vocal exercise books, anthologies of songs and arias, and music theory books crowd the space on the small ledge above the keys. All hold assignments and opportunities for our young musician. She's just beginning to glimpse her potential.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

39/365 Double Trouble

After several days of cold weather, closed windows and the resultant extended sleep, finally Hansel and Gretel can get back to the important work of daytime: stalking birds behind the safety of a screen. Thanks to the 70-degree plus temperatures they had many screen opportunities. Tireless when facing the task, they watched for hours, staring down every robin, jay, and sparrow that dared to enter their terrain. They will sleep well tonight.
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

38/365 Mah Jongg

In-laws over for dinner tonight. We had a lovely chat, scrumptious home-made chicken pot pie and a delightful walk around the block. We also spent 2 hours playing mah jongg. It's like rummy, but you can only play certain combinations of hands, and it moves at a mind-numbing pace.
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Friday, February 6, 2009

37/365 Enough Already!

The third straight night of a hard freeze. Floridians should NOT have to scrape ice off windshields in the morning.
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

36/365 A Blanket of Flowers

Now that my snapdragons are nice and cozy I think I may have to move to the equator. Florida is too cold.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

35/365 Sick Day

We girls were both feeling under the weather so we made today a sick day. This is Ilana near the end of her second afternoon nap. She looks so sweet and innocent when she's sleeping. We even had some silliness, tickle time and mother-daughter bonding. Her health and her mother's heart are both feeling much better.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

34/365 More Cat Pics

Kind of a crummy day, as I was experiencing some strange (maybe flu-like) symptoms. Thankfully my trusted companions were by my side. Notice the lack of collars. It seems that we're running a feline nudist colony. Good thing we no longer need the pink and blue collars to discern the girl from the boy cat.
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Monday, February 2, 2009

33/365 Challah!

Chilly and drizzly with limited sun, today is the kind of day that calls for fresh, warm, home-made bread. Besides, it's the perfect accompaniment to the vat of split pea soup that I've been working since last night. The house has a warm, toasty smell that thumbs its nose at the gray outdoors. I can't wait for supper!
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

32/365 In his Natural Habitat

The superbowl isn't enough for this Royal Commander of the Remote Control. Seamlessly he flips from football to Nancy Grace to Lucy Ricardo. A real man's man.