Thursday, December 31, 2009

365/365 A Year in Blogging

2009. A romance, a life and death story, a plot full of twists and turns.

With the completion of Project 365 I have an archive of random moments, thoughts, and major life changes coming from each day of this year. Resolving to do something, and actually following it through, this project proved to be easier than other new year resolutions. Starting out last January, I'd assumed that a couple of cat photos and repetitive posts about the running trail would fill the space when nothing else surfaced. But 2009 proved to write its own story, creating an archive of an important year in our lives. The pain, the joy, the struggles, were these unique to 2009? Or by recording these thoughts have I simply created a collage of the drama of living? Completion of this project seems like an occasion to wax poetic and break out my philosophical, reflective side. Impossible, though, because the drama continues. The career uncertainty that existed at the beginning of the year continues in new form. Wellness and health, greater concerns than one year ago, will never again be taken for granted. The joys of family and friends, the struggle and uncertainty of parenting, the incessant movement of the clock, all themes from 2009 that continue to 2010 and beyond.

Looking back over the posts, some days I sunk my teeth into the meat of the day, and other days my mind struggled to sort out the meaning. Some posts were intentionally frivilous, and in others I worked hard to develop understanding through my writing. Most days I wrote only for myself, yet sometimes I imagined my floating, virtual audience and was encouraged by the steady flow of comments and personal reflections. Did this make be a better writer? Better thinker? A more grateful or reflective person?

A fellow blogger recently posted about her dislike of the phrase "Live Every Day as if it were your last." Her sentiment is that the knowledge of the last day might make us live differently, succumbing to all the gluttony available in a 24 hour period. I'm not a fan of that phrase either. I wouldn't want to live Every Day with a feeling of the end looming nearby. I perfer to "Live Every Day as if it were your best." Sure, we will still have to go to the dentist, attend traffic school, change the cat litter, do laundry, go to work, sit in traffic, or sometimes have surgery, but there are moments in Every Day that we can make the best. Looking back at this trying year, and looking forward to the years to come, I think I've stayed true to this belief, living the best day I can, and thriving in the great wealth of family, friends, music, and good fortune.

Project 365 complete. More daily blogging in my future? Probably. More thriving? Definitely.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

364/365 "Le Cinema today is in a crisis."

Sherlock Holmes: Great performance by RDJ, but it was more action flick than the deductive skills of the masterful mystery-solver. Disappointed thumbs down.

Nine: Second time around even better than the first. Visually delicious. Today was Sophia Lauren appreciation day for me. "Guarda La Luna" had me crying. Beautiful. Two worried thumbs way up. Teen audience members thought it was terrible and boring. Low box office for high art.

It's Complicated: Light-hearted romantic comedy with a loose script, but it's fun to watch Alec Baldwin in a self-deprecating role, and Meryl's class act is always worth a look. Thumbs moderately up, but I kinda' wished we'd waited for the Redbox on this one.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

363/365 Dental Drama Part 2

How does one get an infection in the root of a tooth? I didn't even have a cavity there. Owiee.

Monday, December 28, 2009

362/365 Remaining Reticent... Well Mostly

A child grows up without asking permission. A child decides she wants a boyfriend without permission.

Those of us who love her stay close, but can hardly watch.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

361/365 Alone, yet surrounded by people

I woke early this morning - about 6:15 AM to a crowded but quiet house. I crept about, gathered my things, and went for a slow solo run with my newest soundtrack purchase. A quirky set of songs - everything from a torch song rendition of My Husband Makes Movies by Marion Cotillard to a club mix of Be Italian and a rap/hip-hop version of Quando, Quando, Quando with Fergie and a Pea. We had a good time on the trail, the soundtrack and I, putting in 5 miles and returning before anyone woke up. Then the visiting cousins, my family and my mom convened for a Sunday Cracker Barrel breakfast. A table for 8 took the better part of an hour to secure, and the store/restaurant was so packed we couldn't find a spot to wait inside. Surrounded by people. Post breakfast we returned home to practice our tunes for a re-wedding of the children of a school friend. It was a precious ceremony, complete with bride and groom's kids as the flower duo. The wedding party, musicians, and guests all herded to the mother of the groom's house, a block away, for a standing-room-only reception. Great food, a lovely Victorian home, and plenty of conversation. Surrounded by people. Having my fill of crowds today, I retreat to my bed where I'll make room for the husband, daughter and two cats, surrounded again. Sometimes it's a bit chaotic, and I am glad that I can steal a moment or a run alone, but I'm thankful that I'm not lonely!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

360/365 Logging the Miles

It was a brisk 47 degrees when we hit the trail. Walking at a decent pace, we kept it under 15 minutes per mile. 6 miles in the filtered winter sun, including a 20 minute coffee stop. It was a glorious day to log some miles. If/when we get back to the running, it won't be until next June, though honestly, our "running" pace wasn't much faster than our walking! It is nice to put in the miles in daylight as opposed to the 4:30 AM departure on school days. According to the GPS/heart rate monitors we knocked out 1200+ calories, which more than entitles me to some popcorn when we go back to the movies to see Nine again! Vacation is very good!

Friday, December 25, 2009

359/365 What Child is This?

In the background... In the arms of a boy. When I took this picture I'd intended to display the traditional Jewish Christmas celebration. Movies and take-out Chinese food. The amorous teenage embrace in the background is even more disturbing than the perturbed spouse in the foreground. Oy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

358/365 Boy, Oh Boy

My daughter is a nice girl and he seems like a nice boy. Well, he'd better be. I am SO not ready to share her with anyone. How come she doesn't want me to hug her all the time? And I thought late night feedings and diaper changes were bad.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

357/365 Cool Evening, Warm Kitchen

Turkey pot pie in the oven, vegetable beef soup on the stove top. Yummy left-over goulash in the fridge - I really love whipping up dinner in our kitchen. Food from home is cheaper, healthier, and it usually tastes better too. During this winter vacation I have the time to do it. We have our favorite restaurants, and there are certain things that I won't/can't make at home (sushi?), but most everything else is best from my own pots and pans. Besides, I can dine in my flannel pajamas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

356/365 Feeling No Pain...well, the cat isn't

Recovering well after her annual trip to the vet, Gretel enjoys some sunshine. That makes one of us. As if my throbbing jawbone wasn't enough excitement, I reunited with the personal trainer at the Y today. Let's just say that I hope I don't need to use the bathroom again tonight, because lowering myself into the sitting position causes me to see stars. This is good pain, but it's soreness that wouldn't have happened a year ago from what was really just a moderate workout. Maybe I've been using his brain injury/recovery/ my new job as an excuse to stop any training but the kind we do on the trail to Starbucks. The pain is a reminder, and resolution time looms near.

Monday, December 21, 2009

355/365 The Dental and The Mental

So I went to the dentist almost 2 weeks ago, and he said he saw an infection in the root of a tooth, the source of the pain I was having. He prescribed an antibiotic and scheduled an appointment to "clean out"the infected root. It wasn't until I was in the chair today, being prepped, that I put it all together. Root canal! Ouch. And how the hell did the root of a tooth become infected? Now my mouth, jaw, head, ear and face only hurt when I breathe.

In an effort to dwell on the positive (peer pressure from some of my fellow bloggers) I share some scenes of the insanity that rules my house.

They like their water fresh from the spigot. Thank goodness we have 2 sinks.
He sleeps under the blanket, she upon it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

354/365 Another Day of Firsts

This evening we had our dear friends, the J's and the B's over to the house. In preparation for this dinner/get-together we whipped up some festive Winter treats. That's my girl, manning the latke pan, a first. She kept saying how much she enjoyed cooking, and she seemed so proud when she flipped each latke, having achieved that perfect golden brown. "I'm glad I'm good at something besides singing," she said. She's good at so many things, really. Making me smile, making me scream, making friends.

The J's brought LMJ, their precocious 2 1/2 year old daughter. Her last visit here was a pool visit, and she warmed up to talk to us about the time they were packing the water wings back into the car. Not so this time. She came in with an agenda, and she remembered where she was. Heading for the cats, their toys, and the fireplace statues, she marched around the house like she owned it, giving gentle commands in her a girly-nasaly-two-year-old voice. I remember when my girl had that same voice. Confident in the role of commander-in-chief, but still so curious and affectionate. This evening we were treated to a concert including the alphabet song and the refrain of the Winnie the Pooh theme. It wasn't very long ago that my little one butchered a childhood anthem and proclaimed "I'm a little peepot." Time whips by.

As we chatted this evening, my blogging habit came up. Will I continue for another 365? I don't know for sure. Some days I had little to write about, but I now realize that looking back at the little things can show us we have a lot. Like today, for example. Some fried potatoes, some friends, some singing, no headlines to be sure. But they are still moments worth remembering.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

353/365 PJs and Slippers

Most of my day spent in this attire. I didn't get into real clothing until 1 PM. I was back in fresh jammies by 6. The cousins from Virginia came through some cold, wet, wintry stuff and didn't get to us until about 3:30 AM. They stumbled in, put their 6 year old twins to bed, and hit the hay. Twins, having slept just fine, thank you, all night in the car were ready to go at their usual 6:30 AM. I woke up to find them harassing the cat who was sleeping comfortably between my feet. A lunch out, an investigative trip to Kohls, and back to jammies. After a bit of practicing I'll take my pajamaed, slippered self over to the couch and snuggle with the hubby, taking in a movie on demand. Lesson plans? Workshop handouts? Not tonight. I'm on vacation.

Friday, December 18, 2009

352/365 Hair did

Thanks to the masterful designs of the delightful Alex, my girl is now a caramel blonde, and my "jewhawk" is high and sporting streaks of lighter and darker red. What fun it is to pamper ourselves and enjoy a little girl time. Loving vacation already!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

351/365 Christmas Break

Hanukkah is almost over (I think) and we still didn't dig out the electric menorah, nor did we get any candles for one of the dozen or so traditional menorahs in our collection. Never mind that, though, because it's vacation. Our plans for this vacation are to have no plans, and I'm pretty excited. We usually hustle to get in a trip, visit, or excursion, making a vacation seem like work. This time we've settled on doing nothing, which will mean practicing, memorizing, planning lessons, cleaning, logging in miles, and undoubtedly a few trips for movie watching. And maybe I'll whip up a few seasonal potato latkes too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

350/365 Did I ask for this?

Barely fifteen and head-0ver-heels for a boy we don't even know. "Do I have to be single forever, Mom?" she said (shouted). Forever? Yes, she's a little dramatic.
I bandaged her boo-boos, shielded her eyes from the sting of shampoo, and carried her on my shoulders when her little legs were tired. And all that was... maybe a week ago.
No. She's not single. She's at the center of a family that adores her. And we're not giving that up any time soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

349/365 Technology Rocks

Learning new songs used to mean spending a lot of time with the English-Italian and the English-German dictionaries, fiddling my way through translations and the International Phonetic Alphabet to be sure I had proper pronunciation and translation. Enter Babylon, Google Translator, and IPA Now programs. Translations and pronunciations right under my fingertips! Now I can get back to learning notes and rhythms!

Monday, December 14, 2009

348/365 Too far

It has been brought to my attention that certain siblings feel they've been under-represented in the blogging project, getting their first mention on day 352. Just an indication that they are all too far away, and that my travels don't often allow me to go from my point A to their B or C. But that has to be our priority. Looking forward to a possible re-connect weekend in January doesn't keep me from missing my sisters and their respective clans. Growing up I'd imagined that we'd all end up in the same neighborhood, maybe even on the same street. I thought we'd casually drop in on each other like we used to do as kids when we all piled into one bed and made a sleepover party. We'd tell silly stories and laugh till we peed. Literally. When we're together we are right back into it (literally). Sometimes I'm kind of sorry that my daughter will never know the love I have had. Really, there is nothing like the love of a sister.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

347/365 Co-writer

Only 13 days from the end of blogging 365, Hansel is a bit tired of the experiment. It is taking away from my time spent with him. I am constantly having to go back and erase the characters he types, or the mistakes I make when he plants himself in front of the screen. He stands on my lap when I sit down at the keyboard, rubs his wet nose all over me, and occasionally nips me if I pause to think. His sister isn't much better. Her demands for attention come with soprano vocalizations and the beat of her paws on my back. Crazy cats.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

346/365 Supporters of the Arts

Love the fact that we have quirkly little theaters around town like ABET. Love the fact that we see our friends on the stage when we go to the shows. We brought the 9 year old nephew too, in for a quick visit from Tallahassee. He was a great audience member through a long and pretty serious show. In the car on the way home after the meet and greet, my nephew's only comment was, "Boy, you guys sure know a lot of people in Jacksonville!" I guess we do!

Friday, December 11, 2009

345/365 I teach at a school of the arts!

Granted, I don't teach the arts area. Darn piano tech... even though I qualify for the Music certification.... Back in the day, in a college practice room I only wanted to sing, not to make my fingers play scales and hateful Hannon.
In whatever capacity, it's pretty cool to be at an arts school. It's especially cool that we have these arts schools in in Jacksonville, a city that might well have the motto "Gators n' Guns."
I enjoyed the choral concert this evening. The 2 choral directors masterfully navigated the minefield of the middle school male voice. Nobody was harmed in the preparation of the concert, and some lovely music was made.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

344/365 Unpaid

Yeah, I make a couple of bucks doing these presentations, and I have to fulfill the dates already promised, but I finished my presentation today at 2:45 and I don't start again until 8:30 tomorrow morning. Can't I beam myself home in-between? I want to be with my peeps, my cats, and my music to practice. Instead I hide away in a random Starbucks, piddling away on the Macbook, dabbling in lesson plans, Facebook, Blogger, and workshop preparations. Not the super-gig, this presenting lifestyle.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

343/365 Road Warrior?

Teach, meeting, dentist drive. Arrive in West Palm POOPED.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

342/365 the rescue

Big plans to practice and have some "me" time, but a Science "group" project was assigned yesterday and is due tomorrow. Gotta love these groups. I think my child chooses groups based on gossip potential, not GPA. I wish, for once, she was in a group with reliable kids. Instead we pre-emptively help her do the WHOLE project. Too many times she's been burned by slackers in the group. As to the "me" time... There's always the weekend.

Monday, December 7, 2009

341/365 High point/Low point

5 A.M. I was treading a mill at the Y, passing the time by flipping through the channels on the built-in cardio cinema. WJCT was rebroadcasting Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle featuring Renowned Soprano Renee Fleming. Enter low point. Madame Fleming was the protege of my first real voice teacher, and she was making her first steps toward the future she now owns when this unfortunate soprano entered said teacher's studio. Impossible to live in the shadow of her potential, I believe that there was less than an honest interest in assisting me to reach mine. So on the treadmill this morning, while listening to her perform, I was running. Running away from the woulda' coulda' shoulda's that were chasing me.

5 P.M. Voice lesson. Learning again, picking up the pieces and getting better just because I love doing it. In the hands of a professional, maybe I will finally reach that potential. Woulda' coulda' shoulda's be damned.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

340/365 Hubby Does the Dry Cleaning

During our mid-run Starbucks stop we were discussing the concert today.
"Where's your tux?"
"I took it to the cleaners," he says, "It's in the closet." Back home, 2 1/2 miles later, we open the closet. It's there, but it hasn't visited the cleaners. The jacket is on a hanger, but the pants and shirt are rolled into a large pile in the corner. "The t-shirt!"
Yes, my husband is into wet t-shirts... but not that kind. This is his newfound thrill. In lieu 0f ironing he has found that placing a wet t-shirt in a hot dryer with the dry but wrinkly clothing makes a miracle happen. He wore the tux today, and stood proud and wrinkle-free as a soloist in the front of the choir. But maybe it should really be cleaned before the next concert!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

339/365 Long day, late breakfast

Should I admit this? After a long day with a rehearsal, early make-up call and a performance, we were jonesin' for some eats. Not many choices at 12:30 A.M. Chicken n' eggs was the perfect nightcap.

Friday, December 4, 2009

338/365 i <3 performing

Even if I'm "undead."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

337/365 I hate it. I love it. I miss it.

Our routine for the last few years was "Feet on the pavement by 5:15 AM, 'Bucks (Starbucks) and back before 7 AM." Our 5 mile round-trip jaunt, including a 20 minute sip and chat over coffee was always completed in plenty of time for his shower and 1.5 mile commute to school. In August we became the parents of a high-schooler, and then I became a full-time commuting teacher. I'm on my way to school by 6:55. Only a 4:20 AM departure would make the morning 'Bucks and back possible, and even I'm not that crazy. We try to make it to the YMCA, squeezing in a 30-40 minute treadmill session. Even that requires a 4:45 wake-up and 5:00 exit. And without the promise of some hot java waking that early is even more painful. Our evenings are blessedly jammed with rehearsals, so the after-school hours aren't available for this routine. Even with all these obstacles, my feet yearn to move, and the 1/2 marathon and Gate River Run dates loom on the next few calendar pages.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

336/365 My Baby Hurts

Her sinuses are pounding, my poor little thing. Missing 2 days of school means a lot of make-ups and not much fun. Hopefully, the Amoxicillin will kick the butt of the infection soon. It was a long night of, "Owie, Owie, it hurts. The pain." That hurts Mommy worse.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

335/365 Time Travel Needed

As a ghost in scenes from Scrooge at Saturday's Clay County Christmas, I will be the guide for Ebenezer's time travel. Wish I could take advantage of that myself. I had an achy, sick daughter in the car on the way to Grandma's by 6:15. Taught all day, stayed late for extra help, then skipped an Oliver rehearsal to take the girl to the Solantic. The first headache she's ever had in 15 years turns out to be a nasty sinus infection. Solantic was on the costumer's side of town so we stopped in for my penultimate fitting. Busy weekend ahead and my girl and I feel less than stellar. No time to get sick!