dchenes: (katana)
Here it is, Monday again, but at least it's a tad bit warmer now that it snowed. And it's supposed to be above freezing through Wednesday, so my touchscreen gloves are back in service again. (Memo to self: windproof touchscreen gloves, when this pair dies. Or when everything goes on sale in March.)

Finally had a voice lesson that just Worked. Of course it was the next-to-last one. But supposedly as long as I get the air coming from the right place (involving the lower ribs and the center-of-gravity abs), I can sing anything I want to. After four and a half years of voice lessons, I think they did do some good, but I'm ready for singing by myself to be fun again, as opposed to a technical process.

Speaking of technical processes, I don't know what was up with the Patriots offensive line yesterday. I agree completely with whoever it was in the olden days who, when asked about the execution of his offensive line, said he was for it. On the other hand, so many players got hurt this season that the team doesn't have anything really to apologize for. Now I want Carolina to treat Denver the way they treated Seattle. I just do not like Peyton Manning, and that's that. Maybe if he wasn't all over the TV trying to sell me insurance and mediocre pizza regardless of what game is on, I wouldn't feel that way. But he is, and I do, and there's no doing anything about it.
dchenes: (katana)
Ugh. That's all. It's still cold out, and my touchscreen gloves are still no good under 35 degrees or so, and I got blindsided yesterday by the Oral Health Session having moved to the first year class and being in February, instead of the second year class in October. HMS did tell me that, but they told me that last September as an aside to the October session and I promptly forgot about it because the October session was using all the neurons not occupied by the October faculty retreat six days after it. So here it is, late January, and I've got to do the Oral Health Session dance all over again already. Ugh.

Also, the director of admissions is retiring next week, her assistant left at the end of last week, the registrar is retiring at the end of next month, and the longest-serving Senior Tutor is leaving sometime before next fall. If the registrar's assistant is also leaving, there goes most of the institutional memory in the office. Just what we need right before an accreditation site visit (in 2017, but you'd think it was next week). Ugh.

Good things, lest I get mired in a rant: at least it looks like we're not in for a foot of snow this weekend. I don't want a foot of snow, so that's fine with me. And I have two more weeks before I get my Sundays back from voice lessons, which was definitely the right decision. And I have wing sauce that isn't a biohazard, and another head of cauliflower, and therefore I have dinner for two days. (And I have some excellent frozen poultry jello, so I can also make soup if I want to.) And Trader Joe's has baconesque popcorn again.

Maybe not the right decision: I have ordered myself a Thorgi. I probably shouldn't be spending money on frivolities like that, given how much I'm about to spend on sneakers and chorus dues after spending a lot on a Kindle and phone protective gear and adless apps in the last couple of weeks. But I also ordered my coworker, who had a corgi until last week and has a birthday this week, a Waldo corgi, because when I showed her that, she cracked up all over the place.

If tomorrow wasn't Friday anyway, I would have been sorely tempted to declare it Friday and have another long weekend. Someday I'm going to get somebody to listen to me when I say I'd be perfectly happy to work four long days and have consistent three-day weekends.
dchenes: (katana)
The time has come, the Walrus said. Today seems to be a day for making momentous decisions; I bought myself a Kindle, finally, and I'm giving up voice lessons after January.

The Kindle comes about because my work bag has now chewed up two semi-elderly paperbacks, and one of them was an un-annotated version of Rudyard Kipling's Kim, which I'm not sure I can replace easily. Annotated editions annoy me, because I don't want six or seven asterisks per page on account of things the editors think I should need explained. I just want the story. It took me two years or so to find an un-annotated version on paper, but as an ebook, it's in the public domain. You can have my paper books over my dead body, but I'll commute with the Kindle. (And I had enough credit card points turned into an Amazon gift card to get it for about half price, besides.)

The voice lessons come about because work is going to be a bear until the accreditation site visit in October 2017. I don't practice enough anyway, and I'm even less inclined to do it when work is intense. If I'm not practicing, I'm more or less throwing $268 a month out the window. And I'm starting to resent the chunk taken out of my Sunday, when Saturday is for errands and laundry. So I think it's time to drop voice lessons for a while.

Thank goodness the Hairy Beasts aren't on the momentous decision list yet. Lily's only 10, so hopefully it'll be another five years at least.
dchenes: (katana)
Whatever it is I'm trying not to come down with is still skulking around, and I wish it wouldn't.

But yesterday I spent several hours embroidering, and I can't find language for how happy that makes me. Embroidery is how I distract myself from all sorts of things, like eating too much because I'm bored. I wandered off into playing word games on my phone when I couldn't embroider, but I was running down the phone battery too fast and Screens Are Evil and all that jazz. And when I embroider, I'm accomplishing something while distracting myself. Accomplishing something is satisfying.

Gotta go grocery shopping tonight, since I managed not to do it yesterday. I went into my voice lesson with no energy and came out of it with the same level of no energy (despite endorphins and caffeine), so I decided not to drag myself to the grocery store besides. Apparently having no energy is good for being less uptight when I sing. Less uptight is good, and I'm good at overly uptight under normal conditions.

This here is excellent cider syrup weather. Based on it being 49 this morning, I have a hard time believing it's going to be 70 on Wednesday. But in either case, cider syrup is good stuff, so I should get some cider and boil it, and get some seltzer to put it in. And I should get some zucchini and finish the grated zucchini experiment. And I need fruit and cat food and string cheese and almonds and maybe this is going to be two shopping trips...
dchenes: (katana)
Stayed up way the hell too late last night, waiting for the moon to come back. I forgot to account for the fact that it was rising while it was gone, so looking for it in the same place it disappeared from wasn't going to work. So I never did see it come back, and had to go to bed because it was midnight. Silly me. (Tired me. Brain stops working so well when it gets tired.)

As for the rest of the weekend...Saturday was a very nice day, and I walked down to Fenway in search of more pants hangers, which I found. I hate the perfumed atmosphere in Bed Bath & Beyond, but they do have things like pants hangers. I went grocery shopping on the way back, and discovered that (a) Honeycrisp apples are back, yay!, and (b) Trader Joe's has massive ones for cheaper than Whole Foods. So I bought eight individual apples that added up to something over ten pounds. An apple that size for elevenses (at 10:30) will hold off lunch until about 12:30.

My right shoulder is finally at the point where I can carry one bag of groceries on it, as long as the bag isn't tremendously heavy. I managed to get the apples and miscellaneous other odds and ends home that way. It's mildly encouraging that I can finally do that again after almost eight months. That shoulder still has limited mobility, but it doesn't scream at me the way it used to, and now it's the less limited one. I hope the cortisone shots work. Since Saturday was a good shoulder day, I tempted fate by embroidering for an hour or so. I had to stop on account of the left shoulder, but an hour is more than I was able to do earlier this month.

Yesterday I had my second voice lesson with the new teacher, and it went fairly well. We're still getting used to each other, but we're singing all sorts of random stuff and I'm learning a lot of new vocal exercises. The general idea, apparently, is that I'm trying to be exact and it works better if I don't try so hard.

I went home by way of the Star Market, because I had wanted to make carrot muffins and the recipe called for milk, which I don't keep around these days. But I wish I had remembered that it really calls for sour milk, because it's one of those "add vinegar to milk and let sit" deals and I could have used the buttermilk powder I already had in the house. Oh well, following the recipe when you haven't made something in ages isn't the worst idea ever. The muffins came out pretty well, too. Somewhat too sweet, but that's what happens when you don't have any light brown sugar so you use dark brown instead.

I also made some more mushroom stroganoff, which is best made when I can afford to eat a lot of pasta because I tend to eat the whole thing in one sitting. All it is is a box of mushrooms, salt, pepper, garlic, sage, sour cream, a little parmesan, and noodles. If I used sliced mushrooms, it would be even quicker, but slicing mushrooms gives the water time to boil to cook the noodles. Good stuff, though, if you happen to like that sort of stuff.
dchenes: (katana)
I was wrong, but not entirely. It's tendinosis in three of the four rotator cuff tendons and a possible degenerative SLAP-1 tear. (They're not positive about the tear.) An -itis is an acute inflammation; an -osis is a chronic one. So I was right about the inflammation, anyway. On to cortisone shot, as soon as I get around to scheduling one.

In other news, I attempted a new recipe this weekend and it was such a disaster I threw it away. (And this from somebody who ate oxtail-flavored red wine and shallot jam with carrots stuck in it. But the oxtail was too expensive to throw away.) It was supposed to be Smitten Kitchen's zucchini rice gratin, but I oversalted the grated zucchini, and the whole thing never really stopped being runny in spite of the fact that I didn't use as much liquid as called for. So it came out as inedibly salty Green Goop (related to Green Soup, which is an infamous extended-family cooking disaster), and I threw it out. I think I'll go back to sauteed zucchini with a little olive oil and a pantload of garlic, which is how I usually do it. Although I don't usually grate it. Maybe I will, next time, just to see how it goes.

New voice teacher gave me some new things to think about. Apparently just because it sounds like mush in my head doesn't mean it sounds like mush to anybody else, so worry about airflow rather than diction for a while. Seems my diction is interfering with my airflow. I suppose that explains a couple of issues, but I would never have thought of it myself. That's why I take lessons.
dchenes: (katana)
The extracurricular activities are piling up, but not all at the same time, thank goodness. This week I have the first HRC rehearsal on Wednesday, for which I have to remember to bring a check so I can pay dues and music fees. On Thursday I have dinner in Kenmore Square somewhere and then the MRI.

On Sunday I start voice lessons again, with a new teacher. I decided that was important, and wanted to keep doing it.

On October 2 there's an Alzheimer's walk in Foxboro, which I'm doing because my aunt has early-onset AD and that's plain old not fair.

On October 25 I might be crossing something off my bucket list by going to the Patriots/Jets game. It was either that or the Patriots/Jaguars game in two weeks, but having just told my new voice teacher that I keep my Sundays open, I'd look like a flake canceling my second lesson.

As for the curricular activities (everything I get paid for is curricular activities, as I'm the DMD Curriculum Coordinator), I finally tracked down the supplies guy and got him to acknowledge the email I sent in August about the supplies for the PD2 Oral Health Day on October 14. I've got to send out the agenda and the June minutes for the Curriculum Committee on September 22, put together an exercise for the basic science course directors meeting on September 23, finish the Continuing Education course application for the retreat on October 20, finish the pre-retreat exercise to send out to the course directors by October 13, figure out what supplies I need for the retreat and order them, and so forth. Get me through October and everything else is coasting until Christmas (with a chorus concert on December 5).

I put the quilt back on the bed over the weekend and unleashed the usual confusion among the feline population, who are now kicking each other off the top lefthand corner of the mattress all night. Snip always starts there, but by the morning it's always either Lily or both. Silly beasts. Sooner or later they'll sort it out and end up in a sprawling furry puddle down around my ankles someplace. Preferably in such a way that I have to wake up and readjust my foot instead of just rolling over, but they wouldn't be cats otherwise.
dchenes: (katana)
I went clothes shopping this weekend, because although I'm not wearing through the inseams of my pants so much these days, the fact is I own a lot of cheap pants and eventually they're going to fall apart somewhere. So I went and bought three pairs of pants, a shirt and a sweater. But I tried on a lot more things than that, and my shoulder didn't like putting on and taking off a lot of shirts in a short period of time. (At least it kept me from buying a dress I looked good in, but couldn't zip.) And then the weather got humid again. At this point I'm about ready to go to the orthopedist on Thursday and say "I'm done messing around with this thing. Cortisone shot, right now." But they'll probably want me to make Yet Another Appointment for that. And my right shoulder has started complaining (albeit quietly) again too, although it seems to have a little more range of motion than it did when it hurt before.

Other fun stuff: no voice lessons this winter unless I find another teacher. My current one is only teaching in Boston on Wednesdays, which is the only day I can't have lessons because I have chorus rehearsals. Paying for a Zipcar once a week to drive myself to Stoneham after work, on top of paying for lessons, doesn't appeal at all. The question is, given that work is going to be a bear until at least the end of October, do I just give up on lessons this winter and start again in the spring? And if so, with whom? I have a suggested substitute, but I have to decide what I'm going to do. Especially because last year, voice lessons were my chance to have fun singing, and chorus rehearsals were less fun. Decisions, decisions.

Today is Tuesday, not Monday. That means there could be ice cream tomorrow. Of course, there's also HRC EC meeting tomorrow night, but at least that involves less time than a rehearsal does.
dchenes: (katana)
I lost enormous chunks of this weekend to voice recital dress rehearsal and performance. It wouldn't have been quite so bad except that both of those things happened in Stoneham and I had to meet my ride downtown. So I had to leave two hours before I was supposed to be in Stoneham so I could get downtown and wait for the rest of the carpool. I think next time I have to go to Stoneham, I'll have to suck it up and Zipcar it.

However, the recital went reasonably well. Naturally, my best rendition of the song I sang was at the lesson last Wednesday; the dress rehearsal version was a disaster and the recital version was half a disaster. I did finally get myself sorted out, but it took me two verses. The oldest student is in his 60s and is writing a musical, because he wants to (he's a lawyer by profession). He did three songs from that, and one of them is a patter song that got firmly stuck in my head after I'd heard it twice. I may have to go see this musical if it ever gets performed, just for that song.

At least I managed to get one load of laundry done on Saturday morning, so there's clean underwear. I meant to wash towels, too, but I have another set of towels. I just wish it would quit with the humidity, because that means the towels don't dry after I shower and I end up washing towels a lot.

In cheerier news, keeping myself at 26 points per day last week was good for three of the eight pounds I want to get rid of. So I guess that still works. If I'm really being good about it, I'll stay there until I've lost about 11, which is where I was happiest with life in general. Mostly I want to get back into the size 8 pants and stay there. So I go tromping off to wherever has the best cherry tomatoes, and buy a lot of them. I can't immediately think of anything else that makes me as happy as good cherry tomatoes. Except perhaps good blackberries in January. "Eat only local produce" doesn't work in New England in the winter unless you really like butternut squash, and I can't stand the stuff. So I buy blackberries from Elsewhere.
dchenes: (katana)
I guess I must be making progress with PT, because today I got to use three-pound weights for one of the exercises. Good thing I had PT today when it was less humid, because yesterday all I wanted was for the joint to fall apart and get it over with. (Although it won't fall apart; the problem is mostly that things in there are too tight.)

I wish I could get cherry tomatoes like the ones I can get right now, in February. YUM. Ain't nothin' wrong with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls. Especially when the cherry tomatoes outnumber the mozzarella balls 5 to 1 or so. I'm trying to take a surplus 8 lb off, which I put on by eating what I wanted when I wanted for two weeks. I had to break out the size 10 pants, and that makes me disappointed. So, back to 26 points per day for a while and as much walking as I can stuff into weekends. Too bad I have to spend a good chunk of both days this weekend in Stoneham for dress rehearsal (Saturday) and studio recital (Sunday). I'm only singing We Shall Wear Midnight this time, and I think I might be doing it early in the recital although we don't have a real concert order yet. I usually end up somewhere in the last half of the program, but this time I was given a choice and I said I didn't want to go last. Which I guess means I go early.

Speaking of concerts, HRC is doing Purcell's Ode to St. Cecilia this winter. I listened to it the other night and observed that it's a good workout for a tenor soloist and probably less work for the chorus than the Rossini from last fall (thank goodness). I still have "sing the alto solo in the Messiah" on my bucket list, too. I'm debating how long I want to stay with HRC; I'm clerk for this year and next, but I'm not sure I want to put up with this director for the foreseeable future after that. Maybe with a different director. Who knows, though?
dchenes: (katana)
Gah, HUMID. Fortunately it's supposed to be less humid tomorrow, which is good because tomorrow morning Lily's stitches come out at 8:20. And then we are DONE with the "stuff Lily in carrier, take to vet, transform into Pod Person, bring home and freak Snip out" process. This time I'm prepared for it, though; when we get home again, we break out the smoked trout and at least postpone the Pod Personage. Everything in Snip's world gets postponed on account of smoked trout. (Watch it not work this time, just because it did last time.)

I suppose the silver lining to early morning vet visits on Fridays is that I get my 40 minutes of exercise before I even get to work, so walking home doubles the total and I come out of the weekend with enough exercise points to be really profligate on Wednesday.

On a cheerier note, ages ago I skimmed through the first third or so of "The All-Girls Filling Station's Last Reunion" by Fannie Flagg in the bookstore, and thought I might like to read it but didn't want to invest in the hardcover version at the time. Last night I needed some retail therapy and had a birthday B&N gift card burning a hole in my pocket, so I went and bought the paperback. And proceeded to read the whole thing before bedtime. I didn't know it was (yet another) WWII-era story when I bought it. It is, but it's not terribly heavy because it all takes place on the homefront, so I enjoyed it. The first 40 pages were very amusing, probably because I don't have a mother like that.

I also bought a new copy of "Tai-Pan" by James Clavell because the last two used copies I've bought have fallen apart on me, and "The Napoleon of Crime" which turns out to be by Ben MacIntyre (I bought it for the subject, not the author; I've read three other Ben MacIntyre books that I did buy because he wrote them), and "Thunderstruck" by Erik Larson because it's my favorite of his (despite "The Devil in the White City" being everybody else's favorite). And I bought the DVD of "Noises Off" because my previous one wandered off on loan after the Marathon bombing (somebody needed a laugh, badly) and I don't think I'll ever get it back.

Speaking of buying things, I have to remember to buy music before Wednesday. I had this week off from voice lessons, and yep, I really am happier not having lessons on weeknights. But such is life. Depending on my teacher's life, I may not be having lessons with her at all any more after this summer. She wants her evenings and weekends back now that she has a kid. Whoda thunk?
dchenes: (katana)
Heavily medical week last week. GP on Tuesday leading to orthopedist on Wednesday and cardiologist on Thursday, for ECG. The unofficial opinion is that I haven't inherited a bicuspid aortic valve; since it was a holiday weekend, I probably won't get the official opinion until later this week. But I'll take the unofficial one to start with.

The holiday weekend was good; I haven't had a holiday weekend including a Friday in years, or so it seems to me. It feels different when the weekend starts on Friday, because you can get all the Saturday stuff done early if you want to. When the weekend goes Saturday to Monday, you get all the weekend stuff done as usual. Or at least that's how it works if you're me. This weekend I did a lot of walking by way of buying fruit and kitty litter on Friday, and made a massage appointment for next Friday at 4:00 since I was in the neighborhood anyway. Saturday I had a slow morning and was shocked at how deserted Coolidge Corner was at 2:00 in the afternoon. That's what July 4 will do for you, I guess. I watched the fireworks on TV and wished they had spent less camera time on the angle that showed the smoke with the fireworks behind it. But I have to say that Melinda Doolittle and the Sons of Serendip are both worth listening to. (I think I'll try "I Lived" in my next voice lesson. This semester we're Messing About With Anything, so I never sing the same thing two weeks in a row. Steeleye Span, Jimmy Eat World, random show tunes, random arias...in short, Messing About.)

Yesterday I decided that it was too nice out to spend all day indoors (although it was quite nice indoors too, and unhumid enough to get embroidery done), so I went out to Coolidge Corner again and spent $80 on new books and ice cream. It's peach ice cream season again, which could be a bad thing except that JP Licks peach ice cream is reasonably peachy but way too sweet. I could fix that if I owned an ice cream maker, but that's one of the reasons why I don't. Some of the others include storage space, freezer space, and available electrical outlets in the kitchen. If we had some ham, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some eggs...

Onward, through the morass of meetings this week. One of them shouldn't be happening this week, but somebody got antsy and made me schedule it despite half the people who need to be there being unavailable. Makes no sense to me, but despite it giving me agita, it's not really my circus. All I can do is what I'm asked to do. So I do.
dchenes: (katana)
As much as I hate to admit it, I think I have to let the medical profession back at my shoulders and ask for an actual diagnostic test. "If it hurts, don't do that" isn't cutting it. I want somebody to be able to tell me what exactly is going on so I know what I can do that will actually help. (This rant brought to you by the fact that I can't zip my favorite dress more than halfway, and I used to be able to do the whole thing with minimal gymnastics.)

And now for something completely different...we missed out on the thunderstorms last night, but the sunset was absolutely incredible. Between the cloud show and the post-storm light quality, it looked like one of those landscape paintings that makes you think the artist went completely overboard. Pink and beige clouds and a shade of blue sky you only see after a storm when the light is a very particular color. I didn't take any pictures because I couldn't do it justice. But it goes right up there with the completely pink sunset I saw one summer in Noank (the ocean was pink too), and the lemon yellow and neon orange post-thunderstorm sunset I saw in Brighton years ago.

Today being Wednesday and it not being so hot and humid out that I can't stand the idea of hot food, dinner tonight is going to be some conglomeration of garlic shrimp, spinach, and fettuccine alfredo. The mere idea makes me drool all over myself in a highly undignified fashion, and has been doing so for a couple of weeks now, so apparently I REALLY want that. (Slurp.)

I was supposed to get some new music for my voice lesson tonight, but I didn't do it. I've got enough things to play with right now, and I'm not really concentrating on any one thing because I'm sort of cross-training. I'm applying the overall principle of "stop being a bagpipe" to several different genres. I have a tendency to take in a lot of air and then overblow it, which is not necessary and too much work and several other things I shouldn't be doing, so I'm trying to get used to not doing it.

I hate, I just HATE, several-month Monday-Friday courses with one or two lectures per day all given by different people! Because the end-of-course survey is sorted by lecturer, and the survey building tool will only let you add, delete, edit, or move one thing at a time (and kicks you right back up to the top of the survey every time it does one of those things), setting up the survey takes at least three times longer than it really ought to. Fortunately the course in question is the only several-month course that doesn't also include tutorials, so I don't have to keep track of the tutor evaluations besides. This system is Going Away at some point and I really hope it's replaced with something that makes my life a little easier. Having created this thing is no guarantee that the students will actually submit it like they're supposed to.

I seem to be officially grumpy. I had probably better go find some lunch. That'll help.
dchenes: (katana)
I'm trying not to be gloomy, but it's a losing battle at the moment. The weather is gloomy and I had to go to a lunch meeting with indifferent pizza. I know it was indifferent pizza, but I could have eaten about five slices anyway. (I stopped at two.) And my feet are cold, because I'm wearing my work-appropriate spring shoes and no stockings and the meeting room was on the frigid side. That was an hour and a half and a very large mug of tea ago and my feet are still cold.

However, I have no more mandatory lunch meetings until next Wednesday, which is good. And theoretically the sun will be out again tomorrow, so I can go elsewhere for lunch and photosynthesize for a bit. And tomorrow I have my first voice lesson since the middle of March. I didn't turn in the registration form on time on account of being out of the country, so I got stuck with lessons on Wednesdays at 6:00 instead of on weekends, which I had requested. Last time I tried weeknight lessons, I had to stop because I wasn't getting much out of them except frustration. But last time I was still working for OFA, and that was a whole other ball of wax. Last summer when I had glee club rehearsals at 5:30 on Wednesdays, that was OK, and hopefully starting at 6:00 will give me time to get there and chill out a little before my lesson. And there are all sorts of dinner options on the way home afterward, too (and Wednesday is still my eat-anything day).

Speaking of eating things, HSDM is starting its own private (not officially led by WW) WW group. So that's an optional Thursday lunch meeting. I think the first rule ought to be "no judging anybody else's lunch". I know what worked for me, but it will be interesting to see what works for other people. If I had a car, or if I lived somewhere that meant I couldn't get to the grocery store unless I drove, things would have to work differently.

Speaking of things that work, I think I'm back on the right track embroidery-wise. Or at least, if I'm making a mistake, I'm making a different mistake than I was last time. I had to tear out the whole top of the current repetition to get back to the place where I made the initial mistake, and fix it. As of last night I'm almost back to where I was when I realized I couldn't fake it and had to actually fix it. Progress, our most important product. (Progress is also the opposite of Congress, and that is as political as I'm going to get on the internet.)

Still working through HHhH, and starting to get slightly annoyed with the "That whole last section? I made it up. But I think it's a good piece of writing even though it didn't happen, so I put it in" bits. I suppose I should be glad he admits it, but I wish he would stop doing it so much.
dchenes: (katana)
It's almost a shame to be indoors on a day like this one, but I'm getting paid to be indoors, so I'm indoors. The weather tomorrow looks to be about the same, and that calls for a Devious Plot as long as I fit it around getting my hairs cut at 1:00. I'm still on hiatus from voice lessons for another two weeks, so there's a lot of Devious Plot space this weekend and next weekend. Maybe I'll dash up to the Fenway movie theater after work tonight and see if I can buy a ticket for Age of Ultron for tomorrow or Sunday.

Speaking of voice lessons, I should think a bit about what it is I want to get out of this semester (aside from an actual lesson time, which I don't have yet). Fun, mostly. HRC wasn't all that much fun between March and the concert last weekend, and that was all the singing I was doing. Singing used to be fun...

I don't know what my phone was doing all night last night, but it was down to 35% battery this morning. I expect that in Noank, which doesn't have very good cell service, but usually it doesn't happen here. I hope that doesn't mean I should go phone shopping again already. For some reason, I'm immune to gadget envy when it comes to phones; I'm perfectly happy with the 5s I've got and I don't really want a 6. And I really don't want to buy anything big until after I get the next credit card bill with the resort charges on it.

Speaking of shopping, I think I might order the last Terry Pratchett book from the UK. It's coming out there in September, which means it will probably be coming out here next March or so and I don't want to wait that long for it. Especially since I'm waiting for Patrick Rothfuss and George R. R. Martin. At least Rothfuss said "not this year" back in January. I'm reasonably certain that one will be worth the wait. I want to know how the story gets from where it was at the end of the last book to the medias res it came into at the start of the first one, although I'm also reasonably certain it's going to be depressing. If nothing happens in the next Martin book, or if whatever happens happens early and the rest of the book consists of several hundred pages of exposition for something that's supposed to happen in the book after next, I'll probably give up.

I think I might have been wrong about Australia being the last continent I hadn't been to that I had any interest in going to. Macchu Picchu isn't going to come here either. Maybe I'll do that for my 45th birthday.
dchenes: (katana)
February is over, which is good because it can't snow any more in February. That does not, however, keep it from snowing any more at all, and that's where I wish we'd get to. (This sentiment brought to you by the 2" of snow we got last night.)

On Saturday morning I did the usual grocery shopping, and got run over by at least four or five groups of runners in training for the marathon. There just isn't enough sidewalk space for packs of marathon runners and everybody else at the same time (and a lot of everybody else on Saturday mornings is elderly Jewish people trying to get to their synagogues and getting run over. That annoys me more than getting run over myself.). But the sun was out, anyway, and I got slightly carried away with buying fruit and vegetables and thereby massacred my shoulder again. But the blackberries were quite nice. And I spent the afternoon wandering through the MFA, because I hadn't been since the samurai armor exhibit, and that was nice too, and finished with a trip to Super 88 and the food court. Yay, saag paneer!

Yesterday I paid bills and did laundry and then decided to go out and find a new mattress pad and plug adapters for Australia, and possibly a new electric toothbrush. I ended up coming home with none of the above, because the T on the outbound leg was so slow that I didn't have time to go find things before I had to come home again and then go to my voice lesson. Which I am now not having until May, on account of logistics. Mostly it's on account of my teacher's now-four-month-old only letting her get four hours of sleep a night and her husband not wanting her to drive so much on four hours of sleep. Which is a good point, but I can't get out to Stoneham on Sundays, so no lessons for me unless I find another teacher. Sigh.

The worst part about not getting the acquisition-of-stuff errands done yesterday was that I didn't have time to cook either. I really want to braise that oxtail, but that requires about four hours and I didn't have it when I got home last night. I don't know why I'm so grumpy about that, but it seems I am. I also (courtesy of the Super 88 trip) have a rather large daikon radish I want to turn into refrigerator pickles, but that only takes as long as dissecting it and making brine takes. Maybe I'll do that tonight.
dchenes: (katana)
Yesterday I shoveled out the sidewalk, some of the driveway and the plow berm. This morning I shoveled out the plow berm again and earned my two slices of cranberry pecan bread for breakfast comma dammit. (Knee high on the downhill end, hip high on the uphill end and five or six feet wide.) Having rendered everything between my neck and my elbows sore, I am somewhat grumpy about people who either didn't shovel or decided to clear their parking space into the sidewalk.

Chorus rehearsal tonight is canceled, which means I'm having whatever the hell I want for dinner on this side of the river instead of in Harvard Square. If I'd been in Harvard Square it would have been Chipotle if they had carnitas. (If we had some ham, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some eggs.) Maybe I'll go to Carlo's instead; I haven't been there in ages. And I've done enough hiking around before snow and shoveling after snow that I don't have to walk there if I don't wanna.

Voice lessons are back, and apparently not singing for a month or so was good for me, because now I seem to be doing things right that I wasn't in December. Don't ask me how, but I'm glad it's working that way. And I'm mildly obsessed with "What Have We Got?" from The Last Ship now, but I need to find somebody to sing it with.

Chorus rehearsal and all other obvious reasons it isn't Monday aside, I'm still having trouble remembering it isn't Monday. I think I need a vacation. Three more months...but I've got to ask about missing rehearsals on account of being out of the country, which is the annoying part about rehearsal tonight being canceled. I suppose I could email and quit complaining about not having a chance to ask. I may start complaining about the answer when I get one, though. We shall see.
dchenes: (katana)
I reversed this weekend due to the concert on Saturday, and did most of the domestic stuff on Saturday and most of the errands on Sunday. And I still somehow managed to leave laundry sitting in the dryer. Drat.

The concert went well, although the weather was absolutely disgusting. But we were in tune for all the a cappella parts, appropriately loud for the loud parts, and appropriately quiet for the quiet parts. Had I been in charge, we wouldn't have split the mass in half and stuck an opera chorus in between the halves, but I wasn't in charge, so that's what we did.

I really wasn't up for a voice lesson yesterday, but went to it anyway (fighting furiously with my inner four-year-old all the way down there, because the inner four-year-old wanted to be home, where it was warm and use of brain was optional). Next week is my last lesson with the substitute teacher, which is probably good because the two teachers have almost opposite approaches to getting me to do the same things, and I'm getting somewhat confused. After two and a half years of being told not to be breathy, now I'm supposed to be? Oh well, if I have to spend another three months getting unconfused, so be it.

Speaking of being confused, the cats have been furry little limpets lately. Partly it's because the dress rehearsals and the concert meant they got dinner five and a half hours late three times in the last week, and partly it's because my brain has been full of things other than "pay attention to the cats" for the last two weeks. So they've decided to make themselves impossible to ignore, mostly by taking turns having at least one eye and preferably at least one foot on me, and bellowing a lot when they don't. Lily gave me such a harangue last night that she was actually meowing by the end of it. She wanted the Patented Double-Barrel LilyBeast Scritch, after which she purred so loud she practically busted a grunion. Snip likes to be whistled at, so I gave her a piece of the New World Symphony and she came and sat in my lap for a while. They'll probably be happier this week.

I'm somewhat happier this week because I think I've solved the dextrous vs warm glove issue. My right mitten decided to go off and have adventures on its own sometime during my commute on Friday morning, so on Friday night I went to REI and found some windproof, leather-palmed, water-resistant "lobster" gloves. They give me my thumb and index finger free and keep the other three fingers together, so I can get my keys out of my pocket without taking the glove off. The only problem I have with them so far is the amount of fit-adjusting hardware they've got on the backs of the wrists, but I think I can live with that. So far my hands have been warm down to 19 degrees, which beats hell out of all my other gloves that give up at 35. And I know the water-resistant part is true because I got coffee everywhere this morning. The regiment may invest in a pair of glove liners anyway, but so far I think we have a winner.
dchenes: (katana)
Most weekends aren't quite long enough. This one was almost long enough, and I'm trying to figure out how that happened. I think it's because last weekend was a long weekend and I didn't absolutely have to go grocery shopping on Saturday.

Saturday morning was the HRC sectional rehearsal, which wasn't mandatory but was useful anyway. I went both because I needed the practice, and because if I do get an Insidious Grue and have to miss a rehearsal, that makes up for it. I also got a fairish bit of exercise because I walked to the sectional in Harvard Square, and then walked from Arlington Heights to Wilson Farm and back. So I got my yearly indulgence in hot cider donuts, and got adequately supplied with apples and various other things, on top of the exercise. And then I came home, dropped off the apples and picked up the embroidery, and went off to the framing store. Spent a ridiculous amount of money on framing the thing, but it should be lovely when done. This is the one that also includes the needle Snip swallowed.

Yesterday I spent the morning off the grid, and ate lunch at 2:00, and then picked up my phone and discovered that my voice lesson was proposing to be two hours earlier than usual. So I threw on some presentable clothes and belted off down there, and had a frustrating lesson. We're back to breath control again, and that's frustrating because (among other things) we're working on a song I like, and doing it WAY too slowly, and that's Not How It Goes! And it infuriates me when I do something, and apparently do it right, and then do the exact same thing again and apparently do it wrong. How am I supposed to tell the difference?

Anyway, after that I came home again and did laundry, so at least there's that to be said for yesterday. Although the laundry is still in the dryer because when I found that the back hallway light wouldn't turn on, I decided not to break my neck falling down the stairs. I guess that explains why the ladder is there; I noticed it when I went down with the wet laundry, but thought it was for the smoke detector, which is the usual suspect. Oh well. I guess I'll find out if the supposedly wrinkle-proof shirt is really wrinkle-proof.

I also spent a reasonably large portion of yesterday providing Lily with lap space. She's been a little furry limpet lately; I woke up yesterday morning and discovered that the reason I couldn't roll over was because she'd curled up just about in my armpit. She absolutely didn't read the advice that says a feral cat past kittenhood won't ever really like people. Silly beast. But indubitably MY silly beast. And a champion purrer.
dchenes: (katana)
Come tomorrow I will have had six lunch meetings in the last two weeks. I'm not sure what that says about it being busy around here, but it is. I really can't afford to get any Insidious Grue until about mid-November.

We have a winner on the cooking front, I think. I actually like savory steel-cut oatmeal, and I like it better cold than warm. The first batch was 3:1 oatmeal and water, and I put salt, garlic, sage and walnuts in it. It was 7 points per serving, which is a bit much for breakfast if I'm going to have lunch meetings.

I realize that it's my coworker's first time having anything to do with a faculty development day, and that this particular one is fairly huge, but I really wish she would chill the heck out and stop asking me to beat little tiny details to death. I've been doing that for her for three weeks now and I keep having to resist the urge to say "not if it has anything to do with faculty development" every time she asks me if I've got a minute. (She's asked me three or four times if I'll be helping to clear away the food after breakfast and after lunch.) Oh well, that will all be over with in...26 hours. We'll be running late by the end, because we always do.

Last night I dragged my carcass off to a "sing for your sub" workshop, involving the four people who are taking students over from my voice teacher when she goes on maternity leave in November. The woman who's taking me over lives in the same neighborhood I do. Somehow that figures. It was a good event, but it was long for a school night and the T was not cooperating. At least I got an extra 10 minutes of walking out of it.

When I got home, I discovered that the rest of the linen I was about to get annoyed over the absence of had arrived in the mail yesterday, so I can stop remembering to get annoyed about not having it. I wasn't really all that annoyed in the first place, because it's for the project after next. I'm trying to get the current one done by Thanksgiving. The next one is going to be white embroidery on burgundy linen, and it's geometry, so it should go fairly fast and be gorgeous when finished. The one after next is going to be grayscale on black.

Speaking of things arriving, supposedly the new furnaces are arriving today and/or tomorrow. Nice day for it, though, since it decided to be warm at night again. That means it's warm in the daytime too, and I don't need the furnace. Now here's hoping that making this New and Improved doesn't screw up everything else. I've noticed that things have a way of doing that; sometimes a system that's perfectly happy being held together with string and chewing gum doesn't know what to do with a shiny new something-or-other and difficulties ensue.
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