A bright side to my knee problems this week. As long as I have to spend more time sitting around, I've got something to keep me busy.
Okay, there are many things I could do to keep myself busy, but this is a fun one (grin). My mp3 player came on Monday so I've been putting lots of music on it. Dear husband also installed the computer cassette deck that he got me for Christmas so I can record songs from cassettes to mp3s.
I'm not sure which is more exciting. The mp3 player will be lots of fun - bringing music various places. However, there are numerous tapes that I've had for years which are not doing so well, and I'm very cautious with them - meaning that I rarely play them. The cassette deck helps me get some of my favorite music back (and onto the mp3 player too).
Two of those tapes are the first things I recorded to the computer with the new deck. Both albums are difficult to impossible to get - Born on a Friday, which is an expensive collectible, and Cleo Laine, Return to Carnegie Hall (right), which is the impossible one. The latter is the album which started my lifelong love of Cleo Laine's singing. After making it into an mp3, the opening song, "Blues in the Night" was the first song I put on my mp3 player. I would love to be able to sing like she does.
I'm back to taking short walks - though I was able to go past the end of the court this afternoon so that's progress. I tried listening to my new player on the walk, but I don't think that's where I will use it. It was a wonderfully blustery day today, and it was fun to watch the trees sway back and forth. However, instead of listening to the wind while watching the trees, I was hearing Janis Ian singing:
I remember when boys told me You play like a girl. It's a matter of genetic history You play like a girl. You can't be in our band. You can't play like a man. There's one thing you can do Teach us to play like you! (Play Like a Girl)
I love the song, but the juxtaposition made me feel like I was, sort of, inside looking out at the weather. I'm not really an inside-y person so this is not a good result - particularly this winter when I've been stuck inside more than usual!
Things got rather busy last week so, on Tuesday when it snowed, I set up a number of automatic posts for my blog. Dear husband was gone for four days, and I was getting back to normal, activity-wise, which still wears me out much more than usual. Daughter had a great time at her FL dance workshop and told us all about it. Also, last week, older son was extremely busy getting his portfolio ready for his admissions portfolio review at the NC State School of Design on Saturday. After the review, we went to my mother's house to celebrate younger son's and dear husband's birthdays.
On Sunday, we had fun seeing everyone at a late Christmas celebration with dear husband's side of the family. He left again yesterday morning for SC and just got back a few minutes ago. I had a setback this weekend - Sunday evening I had sharp pains every time I put any weight on my right leg. I was back on crutches again (and very upset). Ice and elevation helped, and, although I'm not driving again, I'm back off the crutches and the knee feels much better. At my appointment today, the doctor said that about one out of every ten patients has a setback like this. Just my luck...
Oh, and, on Thursday evening, daughter and I went to see "Rent" at the Durham Performing Arts Center (Click here for a picture of the theater. Notice how high it is, how many stairs it has...how daunting if you've had knee surgery).
A week full of good things, but still overdoing it.
Now, life calms down a bit - at least until older son's and daughter's birthdays in...two and a half weeks!!!
I was going to do a separate review of "Rent," but I don't think I'll get to it. If you have a chance to see this touring production, with two of the original Broadway stars, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, you should. The whole cast is excellent, particularly the singing. Mimi is a stand out - the actress sings gospel and it shows! The actor playing Angel wasn't as girlish as the one we saw a few years ago, but his dancing was very energetic and very precise - every turn and kick. Maureen was a petite blond which is very different from both the other stage performance and the movie performance, but she also had a great voice.
The performance I enjoyed the most, though, was Anthony Rapp's as Mark. He was very good in the movie, but, onstage, he throws his whole body into his acting. We often talk about dancers who dance all the way to their fingertips. He acts all the way to his fingertips. Here's the "Tango Maureen," from the Tenth Anniversary production, with Anthony Rapp and Fredi Walker (not the same Joanne we saw). The one we saw had even more flourish than this. I don't think that this isn't a professional recording, but it gives you a feel for the production.
I don't generally do reading challenges. My reading is generally not intentional; I tend to read whatever I feel like reading at the moment.
However, some challenges are easy. If there were a "Read 10 fantasy/science fiction novels" challenge, I could finish that in a month or two.
Some challenges are useful. I like reading essays, but don't always get around to looking for good ones. That's why I'm joining the Essay Challenge at Books and Movies. Click the link to find out the details - basically read essays, write posts, and link back.
I got out a few books from the library for this the other day, but haven't started yet. I was been busy reading Sir Apropos of Nothing in my free time. The books I'm starting with are:
Two of the other books I want to use have disappeared into daughter's room - Montaigne's Essays, which she's decided to reread, and A Jacques Barzun Reader. She finished Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Cultural History last summer, and she said she missed his writing - particularly since most of the books she's using for homeschooling this year are textbooks,* which don't have the charm and wit (to say nothing of the breadth of knowledge) of From Dawn to Decadence.
* This is the year of the SAT and the AP tests so her books, alas, aren't as creatively written as those she's used in other years. Basically, they're just tools for information transmittal.
Peter David is one of my favorite authors, but it's taken me a while to get around to reading Sir Apropos of Nothing. Once I started, I read it very quickly, which is surprising because I really didn't like the main character for large parts of the book. That just shows how absorbing the story is.
Apropos is nobody's idea of a hero - particularly not his own. He ends up in adventure after adventure, while he's just trying to make his way through life as easily as possible. Being that this is a fantasy, this means that very little is easy at all. Since it's a satire on fantasy, things can go even worse than usual.
It's a rough book (if it were a movie, it would be rated R), but the author is very matter of fact. He doesn't linger over the rough sections. They're necessary parts of the story. It reminded me of the way Monty Python and the Holy Grail gave a much more realistic impression of the Middle Ages than many movies did ("There's some lovely filth over here!"). The princess isn't ideal, or even nice. Neither are the knights.
I can't say that I ever really liked Apropos, but I'm going to read the next book. I already have it out of the library. I guess that's a recommendation.
I haven't forgotton; I'm still "liveblogging" Quitting Church by Julia Duin (Click here for the first chapter).
Thoughts on the second chapter, "The Irrelevant Church: Give Them a Reason to Be Here:"
People leaving the Catholic Church, both due to scandal and poor preaching. The poor preaching resonates with me - sometimes the Catholic preaching I've heard I've had to consider as a bit of penance to endure before Communion. On the other hand, I've heard a number of excellent Catholic priests preach. Interestingly, most of them have been "a priest and..." Father Ed who is a priest and a poet, Father Phillip who is a priest and used to be a Baptist, Father Mike who is a priest and a historian, and Father Frank who is a priest and used to be a clown.
Professional people who find no outlet for their abilities in church (this was also a major feature in the book, Why Men Hate Going to Church), and professional people who find that the very regular church schedule doesn't leave them room to be involved given their irregular professional schedule. The last one, of course, is very relevant to me. Dear husband's travel schedule varies widely week to week (in SC two days last week, GA four days this week, who knows after that). You can't be involved regularly that way, and if Church membership equals involvement, than lack of involvement means...
Churches inabilities to address the sexual lives of single people. I can't address this one at all - except that I can see how churches can seem irrelevant there in the way that I found most discussions of natural family planning avoided the realities of married life.
She segues from an (all too brief) section about young people leaving church to very interesting stories of alternative church situations - bikers' church, church for the homeless, etc. They're very inspiring stories of people doing wonderful things for those who would never be in a traditional church.
Chapter 3, "Searching For Community: What We Really Wish Church Could Be:"
"The people I talk with who have found true community and then must leave it , due to family or job reasons, pine for it for the rest of their lives." (p. 50)
Ouch. The problem is, the times we have found community, we haven't so much left it as it just drifted apart. People got busy, schedules changed, etc. I have to keep myself from thinking that it didn't really exist in the first place, but, instead, that it was just for a time.
I'm not good at endings, though.
From a Catholic, mega-church perspective, I found this one funny:
"Churches have to keep better track of their people," associate director [of Lifeway Christian Resources] Scott McConnell told me. "A lot of the formerly churched said no one contacted them after they left. As a church, we at least need to send a message that we noticed you're gone and you're welcome back at any point."
Catholic churches try to keep their records in order, but, beyond that, no one in the church administration would contact you if they ever even noticed you were gone. However, even when we left a smaller Presbyterian Church, the only people who briefly kept in touch were members of our small group (which had already drifted apart...).
...for one where we didn't drive anywhere. Younger son and I got right up this morning and went outside to play in the snow - only to find that there's not much besides snowball fights that I can do in the snow. You need to squat down to make snowmen, and I wasn't even going to try sledding. I did enjoy talking to neighbors while they sledded with their children.
We finally went back inside to watch the inauguration. I've never watched one before. Usually, by this point, I'm thoroughly sick of the whole election process so I was surprised at how moved I was by various parts. I have lots of thoughts about it, but I'm way too tired to make sense of them.
To the right is a leafsicle photo that older son took this afternoon after we took a walk. None of my outside photos came out well.
Dear husband read the first Harry Potter book out loud to younger son last year. Younger son has never seen the movie so we watched it tonight. It was fun to see his reactions.
Here are some roses that dear husband bought last week.