Monday, January 31, 2005

Pedal pusher

Wanting to keep up the meager start I'd made at taking proactive charge of my health and fitness, I set the alarm at 5:15 am so I could make it to Bally's in time for their 5:45 aerobic-type class.

However, I wasn't doing so well last night in the sleep department. Had to get up several times because I wasn't feeling well. Being delicate, just some stomach issues. So when 5:15 came, I just turned off the alarm to get a few more Zzz's before going to clean Dr J's.

Returning from Dr J's I found that the carefully-written and planned Checklist Of Things For The Family To Do While Mom Is Out-- was completely ignored. The kids were unfed, the house was unpickedup, the schoolwork was undone, and I was unhappy. I mean, not ONE thing was done on this list. Oh, well, yes I guess they managed to get themselved dressed, but that was ALL. (@(*#&(*&$@!!

So instead of rolling with it, I decided to throw a good little fit. Got the kids back over to Dr J's for their lessons (unfed) - and then back home again so I could finish pickup before my first student arrived.

It ended up being a short teaching day; One sick, one lost track of time, one on a month's sabbatical - so I taught two kids. By the time I was finished, Andy had taken the kids to karate (still unfed? I think they may have grabbed a sandwich by this time...yes, there was peanut butter on the countertop).......and I realized, HEY!! NOW I CAN GO TO BALLY'S!!

So instead of the step class that I had planned to do - I now was going to give Reactive Cycling a try.

Oh. My. Butt.

I don't think I have ever pedaled non-stop for 50 minutes until today. It was challenging, too... we added resistance at regular intervals, had to stand up and pedal....had to lean forward while standing and pedaling.... the leader would give occasional recovery breaks, but I was dripping after a bit, and I don't drip. It was challenging and a lot of fun. But I found something interesting...I couldn't stop pedaling! The muscle memory had taken over or something. It was going without my even thinking about it. Esp. when I'd taken off all the resistance.

The 2 things I found annoying about the cycling:
  1. My nether parts that were in direct contact with the cycle seat were COMPLETELY numb by the time I was through........UGH, the pins and needles! But no, i did NOT like the seat situation.
  2. The little doohickey on the pedals that you stick your shoes into so your feet don't slip....that was adjusted too tightly, and my toes fell asleep.

But all in all it was a great workout and one I want to try again (if I can find a cycle with a cushier tushie). I could tell it was good because I was lobster-faced and stringy-haired when it was all done. But there was some definite muscle failure in my quads later on...trying to sit down ended up being a "flump" down when the resistance didn't kick in.

I wonder what I'll feel like tomorrow?

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Comfortably numb

Sunday and my nose is still plugged, but not as badly. Because of my good workout yesterday, I awoke alert and refreshed, a pleasant change. Didn't even need a cuppa!

Because it's the last Sunday of the month, there's no Children's Church. However, Amy S. usually plays on the last Sunday, but she's out of town, so I had to play piano instead of sit with my kids. Jan and Leo did "grandparent duty," however, and I had brought plenty of paper and pencils for them to occupy the time.

Immediately following the morning service I had a meeting with the ladies who are interested in being on "Service Teams" (I don't think we had these when you were here) - basically they do the food and decor for any special event, as well as provide meals when there is illness, new baby, death, etc. There were about 18 people who showed up, very nice number, easy to split things up that way.

On the way home from church, Sammie told me that she and Nicholas P. were so hungry following the service that they betook themselves into the kitchen, where the two of them devoured the remainders of the Lord's Supper! I had a good laugh over that. Grape juice and crackers, mmMMmmm.

Then came The Long Afternoon of Recitals, immediately followed by choir practice. Only three people including myself were there, so we worked up a trio for 2 weeks away and called it good. Then I took D/S home. Dee B. is sick tonight so there's no kids' program--- so I decided that I might just as well take the kids and call it a day.

What exercise class to go to tomorrow?? Aqua Fitness? (boring, imho) Intro to Yoga? or Step and Sculpt? but that's a 5:45 am calss. noooo. I think an evening class may be better. There's a power yoga in the evening, as well as a reaction cycling, and something called "powerflex" but I'll have to look at Bally's web site to see what that is.

I am not making sense to myself; I pity you for reading this.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Snot, sweat, and sonatinas

On Wednesday I received a talking-to by Mimi (aka Dr J) that I am not taking enough time to take care of myself.

Last night I finally admitted to myself that she was right. Instead of being intentional about what I want to accomplish, I have been just taking life as it comes....all very well and good if you are on a 3-day weekend away somewhere, but not good for long-term living of the one life God gives us all.

So goals for today were: sleep until I woke up (yes, it's true :) this cold has sapped me), spiffy up the living room and kitchen, make the kids spiffy up their respective rooms, go to Bally's PacWest and make use of the membership I've had for the last 10 years, and run off tomorrow's WSMTA Chapter Recital programs at Kinko's.

Mission accomplished!

Andy took the kids to Toys R Us while I was at Bally's. D & S had each received $5 gift certificates from Sunday School (jeez, their teacher gives out incredible awards - we can never replace her now that the kids are spoiled!) - so they whiled away an hour enjoying (or enduring, in Andy's case) the toy scene while I was sweating. I learned a few valuable bits of info at Ballys - one, my premier membership includes free child care if I call at least 2 hrs before hand! How COOL IS THAT? Two, there's family swim nights MWF and all day long on Sat and Sun. Right ON! I checked out the aerobic/cardio class schedules - mostly step and yoga, with only one Pilates. hm. I could also do Salsa dancing? One kickboxing class but it's while I'm teaching. Will find one to match my schedule soon I'm sure. But Andy is supportive of my venture, and will work with me on getting me out of the house and sweating.

Bread machine is making a loaf of herb tomato bread; now I have to make the chicken noodle soup to go with it. We'll see if there is any truth in this chicken soup thing being good for colds. I am carrying a roll of toilet paper with me since it's cheaper than Kleenex (I think I'm out of Kleenex anyway).

Lori and I planned the annual Valentine's Banquet over the phone last night. Since Joe is in recruiter's school somewhere in the South right now, she's glumly the one in charge of Getting The House Ready To Sell and Preparing To Move To New York City. I invited her and the boys up next Friday night to hang out, make chocolates and test-drive some recipes. We're planning chicken cacciatore, garlic mashed potatoes, an olive-garden-style salad, bread with olive oil/balsamic vinegar for dipping, plus after-dinner chocolate mints (made by me, naturally), tiramisu, and.....something else I'm forgetting. Ah. Apple tart. Do you have any good crusty Italian loaf bread type recipes?

Today was a sonatina festival at UPS but I didn't have any students in it so I didn't go. Instead I just worked on the programs for tomorrow's recital. We're having all the boys play at 3, then the girls' recital starts at 4. The goal for this recital was to have girls play works by female composers - trying to demonstrate to the audience that it isn't ENTIRELY a man's world when it comes to composition. However, in practicality, it didn't work out that way. So I arranged the first half of the program to be all the women composers (I titled it "Part One: She's Got the Beat" - which I was proud of ! lol) - then the second half to be the male composers. All of Mimi's students save two are playing Chopin! There's one Beethoven, one Mozart, and one Copland. So for part two of the program, since I didn't think of anything as good as "she's got the beat" - I just called it "She's Classy, Romantic, and Contemporary" in honor of the three periods represented in the repertoire.

This makes for a very long Sunday afternoon for us teachers. I am annoyed with one teacher who keeps bailing on attending the recitals. Technically if you put students in a recital, you the teacher are to be there as well. She did this last recital too: "just reassure my kids and make them feel comfortable!" Well, how the heck do I know who your students are?! I plan to say something at the next chapter meeting re: attending YOUR OWN STUDENTS' recitals. But oh-so-diplomatically, of course.

AH CRAP I just remembered I'm supposed to make certificates for these kids for participating. Good thing I remembered now instead of tomorrow at 2.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

the long, dark teatime of the soul

Being surrounded for 5 days with fevers and snurgle noses has taken its toll on me and I woke this morning with the harbinger (I love saying that word) of snotdrips and fever of my own to come. Press on, press on.

Tuesday night David went to group piano lessons... basically, a crowd of 2nd-6th graders who perform some pieces for peer evaluation, then Dr J does some group theory. I left David there and ran to Fred Meyers to finish up shopping (so nice to be alone when shopping), then picked him up afterwards and went home.

Weds am at my own piano lesson with Dr. J, she informed me that David had writhed around on the floor like a snake, had karate chopped pretzel sticks into her Persian rug (after specifically being told not to; intentional disobedience) and in general displayed bad form and arrogance by stating before the group that he had played a particular piece better than another student had.

Suffice it to say that was the Beginning Of A Day of Constant Discipline. I dealt with the piano class issues as soon as I got home, but it was only the beginning. Throughout the day I dealt with rudeness, unkindness, disobedience, defiance, disrespect, and in general, it was just an "Alexander" day.

At 1:00 p.m., exhausted emotionally, mentally, & physically, I grabbed the phone book and started calling Montessori schools to send me packets of information. I know D would absolutely hate a traditional school, but the hands-on approach of Montessori may be an ideal fit.

Sam, still running a fever, stayed home from karate, but I took David out there. Sensei camethisclose to making David do pushups for talking ( I am sitting in the stands thinking GO SENSEI GO! MORE MORE MORE!) By 10 pm I lay in bed, tears streaming out the corners of my eyes into my hair. So I started to read The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes since I've never finished the entire book. I finished the first book, A Study In Scarlet. Then I slept like the dead. ha.

Today improved, but only marginally. Still dealing with the same basic issues. I finally lost it and yelled rather fiercely, and then felt much calmer. Then I had to go and apologize, because I had been very angry and frightening.

Took a nap in the afternoon. My head is feeling heavy and my eyes ache. The sad thing is, I had a cold already right after New Year's. For me to get another not even three weeks later is annoying. I mean, come on, I'm not some hypochondriacal freak job who needs to be sick all the time to get attention. (No, I get my attention in other ways :p)

It's only 9:30 so I think I'll crawl in bed with some tissues and a glass of water, and try to read another Sherlock Holmes.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Hot Fevers, Cool Jazz

Both kids were pasty-looking and feverish today, but David was definitely the more alert of the two. His fever was down to just about nil, whereas at last check 5 min ago, Sam's is 102.3.

I just gave Sammie the last dose of children's tylenol! Gotta get more tomorrow.

While I was out cleaning Dr. J's this morning, Andy gave Sam some of the walmart brand cough/cold syrup, which Sammie promptly chundered into a bowl. :D I WASN'T HERE TO CLEAN IT UP, so The Man had to do it.

I love it when I miss out on those moments!

Yep, meanwhile I was busy pretending I was Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid: "Wax on, wax off..." with Dr. J's hardwood floor in her studio. It's fun cleaning someone else's house.

And no piano lessons for them today, so an extra 1.5 hours of relaxing on Monday before my own piano studio starts up at 3 pm. I just had a DVD player put into my bedroom computer, so I got Sammie all fixed up on my bed with a blankie, glass of water, and Monsters, Inc. so she could relax while I was teaching. That worked very well; must do this again sometime. It's nice to have a quasi-tv in another room of the house.

Teaching was a so-so day. Ana is usually well-prepared, and generally has a great sense of rhythm and expression, but her lesson was pretty lopsided. She'd spent most of her time working on one piece, "All You Wanted," by Michelle Branch. Still, we worked out some bugs on one of her Burgmueller pieces and I'm realizing she needs to get either Hanon or Schmitt exercises to even out the fingers.

After Ana, Spencer came in. He could be better, if he would practice. His mom recently agonized over that to me; she's tired of fighting the battles. I told her to just get him to the piano every day; what he did while sitting there had to be HIS doing, not hers; and to let him fail, if need be. She took my advice, apparently! :) Spencer had not practiced, nor had he done his theory. I have had him for two years and he still struggles with note names on the staff. I gave him a pep talk, encouraging him to take ownership, and worked with him to show him the how the power of just 5 minutes of FOCUS on one song will get him far. (He didn't remember that I had assigned him 3 pieces; no, nor even two. And he barely practiced the one.)

Ashley was my next student; she has never spoken to me. She's a "selective mute." This forces me to be creative to find out what she's thinking, and to try to phrase questions that can be answered "yes" or "no" with a nod or a shake of the head. At present, I would like her to memorize a particular piece, but the minute the music vanishes, so does her memory of it. I have given her some suggestions on how to memorize; she has assented to me that she's done the things I've asked her to do (sing the words as she plays, sing the note names as she plays, play two measures looking at the music, then play the same two measures looking at her hands...) we will get this in time, I'm sure, but it's a learned discipline. (don't I know it. I've been poking around at memorizing Barber's Pas de Deux since August).

My teaching day finished with Stefan, older brother of Ana. He assures me he practices 150 minutes a week, but he's so hesitant at the keys, it's either bogus, or I terrify him. He also could be better. Scales are where he is weak, and he's at the point in the literature where scales, arpeggios, and chords are becoming necessary to his being able to play the repertoire. Really nice kid though, football player at the nearby junior high.

After lessons, I bundled up everyone (yes, sick kids and all) and we went to Costco and had dinner for $6.47. guhhh. Hot dog and soda for $1.50, best deal in town. Finished the Costco shopping and now am sitting down to relax. I'm trying out internet radio as I type.... - cool jazz, very nice, very relaxing for this time of night. I think I'll run a bubble bath and turn it up a bit louder!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

"You give me fever..."

Today was a typical Sunday. Alarm went off too early (just the right time, actually, but still too early for me) and Andy and I fumbled our way around getting ready for church. Went in to check on David, who mumbled and said, "I'm sick." Because he says this 4 out of every 5 Sunday mornings when it's time to get up, I didn't put much stock in it.

Sammie is the morning person in our family. She was up and ready to go before I was, only needing a brush run through her follicles.

Because David moaned and mumbled so long about having to get up, he was cold, etc., Andy and Sammie went ahead without us. David and I followed behind 10 minutes later.

Church was fine, and when I reunited with the kids following the morning service, David was flushed and snurgley-nosed. So he really wasn't kidding this morning when he said he was sick! *GUILT* I got him home and took his temp: 100.9º *sigh*

I made arrangements to leave immediately following 5:30 choir practice (I'm the director) so David wouldn't infect all the other kids at church this evening. David enjoyed a nice quiet evening watching TV and taking a long bath. I made grilled cheese sandwiches and popcorn for our new Sunday evening tradition of having a picnic on a blanket in the living room.

When Andy and Sammie got home from evening Bible study, Sammie was complaining about her neck and shoulder hurting/aching. My suspicions aroused, I grabbed the thermometer. 100.6º . Tylenol and bed for both kids. I plan to leave my bedroom door open tonight to hear any midnight cries.

Peace and quiet reigns!
Oh the joy!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

John Donne and some mundane things

This morning as I was trying to have some time uninterrupted to study my Bible, (wasn't happening) I was searching for a particular poem in my trusty old battered Norton Anthology. I couldn't find it; however, I found another goodie by John Donne that summed up the frustration I was feeling.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

It was a dark and rainy day. (Sounds like the beginning of one of Snoopy's books!) That didn't keep D/S from playing outside, however, and getting soaked. Earlier this morning a lady in our church called and wanted to stop by to pick up a Bible she'd ordered. She and her husband came by while I was still in my jammies. That was hugelyb embarrassing. David let them in the house before I even knew they were here, and I was "trapped" on the couch with my blanket. They stayed for 20 minutes. I was sending them telepathic vibes: "Do Not Stay When The Lady Is Indisposed" but sadly, it did not work.

I did some computer/secretary work for Andy and the church (tomorrow is the annual polity meeting) and rearranged some bookshelves.
I dusted the ceiling fan.
I planned how to do a particular wedding cake coming up in March. I have to make soft, edible pearls for the second cake and did some internet research on how best to do that.

While I was doing all these quasi-useful things, the kids watched Chicken Run and made lemonade without my knowledge or permission. Their recipe: One entire bottle RealLemon juice concentrate, 1 cup sugar. Spill sugar liberally over countertops and floor. Mix and splash lemon juice onto same countertops. Pour mixed beverage into my best stemware. Garnish with sliced apple.

I was not pleased, putting it mildly.

I'll have to see how I can waste the rest of the day. The kids want to watch The Empire Strikes Back and I've told them not a chance until their rooms are devoid of toys on the floor. Meanwhile a pork roast is perfuming the house very nicely. I'd better get back to the side dishes for now.


Friday, January 21, 2005

Prostate trouble

I forgot to say that I'm currently dealing with my insurance company, doctor's office, and LabCorp. I received a note from HealthNet that a particular charge on my account had been denied, and that I would have to pay for it. Date of service 12-16-2003.
I called the doctor's office. I was never IN on 12-16-2003.
I checked with LabCorp. The $76.25 charge is for a prostate test.

I think I'll win this one, don't you?

Last night I went out to Ross because I have ONE pair of pants and ONE pair of jeans. I bought only one pair of pants because all the others had leather and chains on them and S/M just isn't "me."

While I was there I bumped into a former student and her mother, who was my teaching colleague, dear friend, cohort in crime, and general all around favorite bit of team teaching: Anne! We talked until the store closed (I did try things on and make a purchase; see above) and then we made those indefinite, noncommital plans that we all make: "Let's get together soon and have coffee!" Whereby we absolve our consciences that we mean well and intend to get together, but we never actually have to do it. I will probably see her again in another 2 years and make the same meaningless plans.

Do I sound jaded?

See previous post for possible explanation.

Persona non grata?

I have a friend. Well, I think I have a friend. I like her, anyway.

But she doesn't return calls or emails. I would say the reply rate is perhaps 20%, being generous with the percentages. So maybe the friendship isn't entirely mutual. But I will treat her with the kindness and understanding I would like to receive myself under similar circumstances. I don't want to judge unfairly. She's very busy with a husband in Iraq and 5 school-age children with her at home, with their soccer practices, etc.

But after leaving two phone messages on two different days, and three emails over a three-week period, am I wrong in expecting just a quick reply along the lines of "can't talk much now, but will get back to you soon" ??

Which I haven't gotten. So yesterday I decided to blog her. I'm reproducing it here, because I figured, why reinvent the wheel; I might as well copy and paste rather than retype!

.........And no, she hasn't responded to my "blog." I think I need to insulate my feelings a little bit here and mentally regard her as impersonally as I do this blog.

Without further ado, my email blog to my friend.


Because I know what's going on in your life by reading your blog, and because I haven't been able to reach/talk to you about mine on the telephone, I thought I'd email-blog you.

Last Monday I woke up with a Killer Headache. But, it being Monday, I have places to go/things to do, I accordingly pulled on the old sweats and t shirt and headed over to Dr. Jacobsen's to clean her house so she will teach my kids piano. (It's a good deal.) I ran out of the house without any coffee or breakfast and was really feeling wiped by the time 11:30 am rolled around, plus the headache had not abated one whit. The kids have their lessons at 12:30 Mondays, so I had enough time to run home, shower, and eat--and take care of the finances for the week, since Andy was going to the bank and needed cash to meet at Jack in the Box for his weekly Bible study/mentoring.

The only thing I managed to grab at home was some cheese toast and a cup of cold coffee. The headache has now gone to a violent throb, but I had places to go/things to do, so I hustled the kids into the van and back over to Dr. J's, where I collapsed on her couch, holding my head while listening to David play "Rex, The Tyrannosaur" (a very loud, pounding song) and Sammie play "Choo Choo Train" -her own composition, more pounding with strident 4ths/tritones. oy. About then I got that cold feeling in my stomach, and that watering in my mouth....ooooohhh noooo. Bolting for the freshly-cleaned bathroom, I christened the toilet I had pine-solled not two hours before. My headache actually dissipated somewhat as I heaved uncontrollably. Pressure. But it came right back as soon as I was finished hurling. Fortunately it was right at the end of their hour, so I bustled the kids back into the van, mumbling I know not what form of leave-taking to Dr J, and began the drive home. Before I even got to the end of the street, I had to pull over and add some color to the asphalt as well, while listening to the kids "Hey Mommy, what are you doing....eEEEEEEEEEeeewww!!" (at which point David wants to know 'what color is it?!!")

I limped home, feebly called all my monday piano students and cancelled their lessons for that day, and crawled into bed at 2 pm, where I remained for the next 18 hours, sleeping. That was definitely an experience.

Two days ago (that would be Tuesday) I waited with some unease for a phone call from my friend Lori. Yep, got the call. Do you know that I am beginning to dislike the Army? It moves my friends away. Lori and Joe will be leaving Fort Lewis and heading to New York City, where Joe will be a recruiter. He put in for Olympia, but The Army knows best, right. I know it's a great opportunity for them, but what about poor me? (being selfish)

Yesterday I had my monthly music teacher's meeting (you may remember my feelings of inferiority in the presence of these august individuals). This year we are studying the Romantic composers, and each person gets to present the life/music of a predetermined composer. Well yesterday was my day. Chopin. I played his Nocturne in F-sharp Major (rather well), and then gave a 10-15 minute speech on his bio and his contribution to Romantic music (which I did exceedingly well). I felt pretty good about the whole thing. When I got home, I was assaulted with "what's for lunch" (macaroni and cheese) and then two of my piano students showed up for makeup lessons (I'd forgotten, BUT I carried it off so they never noticed my brain fade).

After piano I decided maybe we should do some school this week (rolling eyes). We accomplished Math, phonics/spelling and printing, then I called it good and sent the kids out to play in the 65º weather. I started making dinner at 3, since we have to leave for karate at 4:45 to get there by 5:30 (it's out in Graham) - then rush back to the church by 7 for Women of Grace (which Lori is currently teaching instead of me....looks like that will have to change once she moves to New York in April). I have no white flour in the house, so I tried to make tortillas with whole wheat flour. Word: Don't. But the chicken and refried beans and tomatoes that went into the tortillas were mighty good. So we ate dinner at 4:15, drove out to karate, drove back, went to Bible study, and were back home by 8 pm. Piano practice! I filtered both kids through their practice routines by 9, got them in bed by 9:30, then sat at the piano until 11 pm (motivated by my earlier Chopin success, I turned my attention to the Bach, Mozart and Schubert pieces I've been poking at but not doing much with). My new piano has a practice rail on it.....step on the middle pedal, and a felt piece comes down between the hammers and the strings, effectively muffling the sound so the family isn't disturbed. Much.

After practicing piano for 1.5 hours I needed some mindless internet activity, so I went to Neopets. com and discovered that my Neopian stocks in SMUG had risen to 71 neopoints a share, so I sold off 500 stocks and cleared a tidy little profit. If only it worked that way for me in real life.

Midnight I turned off the computer and went to bed.

Now it's time to do some serious laundry around here.Ciao!