When the dogwoods are in bloom, I try to drive down Old 86 as often as possible. I love this dogwood (Btw, dear husband was driving, and these were taken through the van window so they're not as clear as I'd like):
I wasn't going to write any more posts about what's going on with me, health-wise, which has led me to not posting at all for weeks.
I'm exhausted. All the time.
On March 20th, as a result of my sleep study, I got a CPAP machine. Some people adjust to one really well and feel refreshed right away when they start using it. Other people can take months to get used to it and to get enough sleep to feel normal again. Apparently, it's called "sleep debt." One's body wants to make up for all the bad sleep it's gotten.
Stupid body. I'm used to doing my normal schedule on 6 hours of sleep a night, plus a nap. Now, I can't even do a reduced schedule without 7 to 8 hours a night - plus a nap!
The first week on it, I felt as exhausted as the day after getting over the flu. I couldn't drive in the evening at all, and I actually started to drink coffee (BLEEEEECH!) in order to be alert enough to drive in the morning. By the third week, I was starting to feel a bit better - say, like two days after the flu. This week, (well, except for the intestinal virus that dear husband and I both had last week which not only kept him home from work but kept him from even working at home (he rarely feels so sick that he doesn't work from home)), is maybe like three days after the flu - when you can do a bit more, but you're still exhausted by about 4 pm.
I dropped Broadway Dance the first week (sniff), and I've missed lots of Zumba classes because I was too tired to even drive in the evenings, much less drive and do Zumba.
Yesterday, I was so tired that, by halfway through a morning Zumba class after a fairly decent night's sleep, all I wanted to do was to lie down on the Zumba floor and go to sleep.
I realized that I have to cut back even more, expecially with all the things coming up the next month. Older son has an awards ceremony at college (Language award for Best Beginning Japanese student) on Wednesday and a 3D Game Design demonstration on Friday. Graduation is in a few weeks, along with other things. I know that just going to see the Playmaker's performance of Cabaret tomorrow afternoon will wear me out so I have to skip church and choir.
What's sad is that this is supposed to be my "recharging" time of the year. We take our longest break from formal homeschooling in the spring, and, usually, I'm rejuvenated after enjoying the spring. Right now, I have to really push myself to do even my reduced schedule so I'm not going to be rejuvenated when we start again. I'll be lucky if I'm beyond "dragging myself around" by then. Not only am I too tired to enjoy the time, but I'm too tired to do any of the small projects I've been saving until "I have more time."
I'm focusing on the most important things. Last weekend, we went to Asheville for daughter's dance concert (Biltmore tulips in Asheville - above, right). I'm clearing out my schedule next week so that I have energy to go to older son's award ceremony and demonstration. Driving to Chapel Hill and Durham (20 minutes away) wears me out so I'll be taking the bus over to Raleigh (45 minutes) for those.
Younger son is doing a lot more around the house (older son has been sick for months so I'm not asking him), and dear husband is making most dinners (he cooks far better than I do) and getting groceries. I hate having to ask him to do all that.
I hate being exhausted, I hate having to pace myself, and I hate not being able to do the things I want. I feel lazy - I should just be able to push myself to do more. It's a good thing that I decided to keep giving up feeling guilty even after Lent was over because, if I were still feeling guilty, I'd be really guilty about being so lazy.
The company that makes the CPAP equipment has a "sleep coach" that calls you every few weeks to find out how things are going. She said that a lot of people have to adjust to the CPAP and that it can take months. That was good to hear, although I don't like the results right now.
Later: I wrote that first bit this afternoon while dear husband was mowing the yard. Today, all I did was go to the Farmer's Market, take a walk around Hillsborough, light gardening, a bit of housework, and dear husband and I went to the Depot to get pizza from the Capp's Pizza truck. Once I'm really tired, I occasionally get dizzy spells - like in the Depot.
It's only 9 pm, and I feel like it's four in the morning. :P
This morning, we were looking down at one of my favorite places at Ayr Mont - the rock in the Eno River. It's a beautiful, peaceful place to sit.
Moomin Light (to my back)(which is having major problems this week*): It'll be fine. There's nothing about going down there that will hurt.
Moomin Light (to back while sitting on the rock): See, you're fine!
Moomin Light's knees: Starting to grumble.
Moomin Light to knees: Shut up!
View from the rock:
Spring has been colder and drearier this year so I'm really enjoying today's sunny, warm weather.
Here are some more pictures from our walk at Ayr Mont:
Spring beauty flowers (below, too):
Ipheon, with daffodils in the shadows
Garden behind the historic house
* An accident happened right in front of me as I was leaving church after choir rehearsal last Wednesday. A car was turning into the side road I was on, but the driver mis-judged the traffic and was hit by an SUV that couldn't stop. The car spun within a few feet of my van, and bits of the SUV's front bounced off my van's hood. Fortunately, nobody was injured in either vehicle. There's a lot more to the story, but I've gone over and over it in my head and don't really want to write it.
Every muscle in my body went Sproing! when it happened, however. My back has been really bad, and I'm getting through on Advil and Ben Gay. I already had a massage scheduled for yesterday, which has helped.** I also got a CPAP a week and a half ago. I'm gradually getting used to sleeping with it, but my sleep is all broken up (even more than usual) as I do so. I've had a lot of really tired days this last week, and I've started blog posts which will never be finished.
** At one point, the massage therapist could tell that my attention had wandered: "Where are you right now?" "Back next to the car, trying to comfort the lady who caused the accident." "Give yourself permission to set that aside for later."
Since I became a Christian again in college, for the most part, I haven't had difficulty with the idea of God as a loving Father. I think it's because my father was so loving that it seems totally natural.
I've been reading "Searching for God Knows What" by Donald Miller lately. I like the way he describes the Biblical stories, not just in an analytical way, but really getting into the emotions and what things meant to people.* I was totally stopped, however, on page 139:
And so when I consider the way I am treated by Christ, the degree of kindness with which He guides me, I know that as Napoleon said, I would die for him because he threatens me; I would die for Him because he loves me... [emphasis mine]
I still can't get into, or over, the italicized phrase. I haven't resumed reading the book, and I won't until I can get past this idea.
At first I was surprised at myself. Of course, Jesus loves all of us. That's what it's all supposed to be about. Jesus is supposed to be the loving, Human Face of God.
However, I realized that, deep down inside, that wasn't my picture of Jesus.
How do I have a view of Jesus that varies so much from my view of God?
I went back to my original impression at the top of this post. If I could, in some way, understand God's love by looking at my father's love, what did I have Jesus tied to? It didn't take me long to figure out.
Jesus started the Church/church. That kind of puts him, in a Catholic sense, in the same place as the Pope, who would (when there is one again) definitely disapprove of me because we've used birth control and now dear husband has a vasectomy.
Okay, what about in a Protestant sense? No help there. Jesus ends up, subconsciously in my mind, linked to some leaders of local churches - ministers, priests, preachers, etc. [By the way, I'm discovering all these assumptions I had that had never totally reached my conscious mind before. This isn't something I ever consciously put together.] These particular leaders speak very authoritatively and often are very good at raining down judgment. There are some preachers I've heard that made me feel like I'm definitely one of the "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (by God) [Romans 9:22].
In fact, I realized that I've incorporated every story where Jesus is angry into my view of Him, but not the stories where he is gentle.
One of the ministers I've known that was the best at raining down judgment was at the church we went to when I was in college. I knew that I wasn't everything that women were expected to be at that church. If I saw him coming down a hallway, I'd hop into the nearest Sunday School room and become engrossed with the bulletin boards. I didn't want to encounter his judgment.
I realized that this is the sort of thing that I have Jesus linked to in my head. Subconsciously, I've concluded that Jesus is Someone to avoid because of judgment.
I've read all the verses where Jesus is loving and gentle, but I can't hang anything on them. They're in a story, but they don't enter the real world for me.
I have known gentle ministers and priests - both men and women - so that's not it either.
I have no conclusion to this post, just wandering thoughts (and a window box from Charleston).**
* The sermon last Sunday was like that. It was my favorite sermon I've heard at our church.
** We were there for half of last week for part of older son's last Spring Break. Daughter is home on Spring Break this week!
I wish I could have dreams more like older son's. One morning recently, he mentioned that he had a dream that was like the movie, "Love, Actually" - except with time travel and space aliens. His dreams are almost always very creative and interesting.
Sigh. That same morning, I was remembering my dream from the night before. In my dream, I was trying to go and sing in choir. However, for some reason, I couldn't leave the house until I had taken care of all of my piles of papers. The piles kept growing and multiplying, but I finally took care of all of them. As soon as I did that, a nurse came into the room and gave me an allergy shot, which made my throat swell so that I couldn't sing.
That dream pretty much describes what I've been focused on lately. I've had lots of doctor's appointments - all trying to attack the blood pressure issue in some form or another. Even the allergy shots, which I started a few weeks ago, I hope will help my allergies enough so that I can get off of Sudafed, which raises blood pressure. I had throat swelling from the first few shots, but they reduced the concentration so, now, I just get a bit loopy. I read for an hour and then go home.
With driving and waiting, the allergy shots take about four hours of time every week. All the doctor's appointments I had in January and the first part of February took up lots of time, and many of them didn't do any good. I'm trying to pare down to the things that I think will help my bp the most. I was trying to do all the things that have been recommended, and I was getting burnt out and unfocused on all of them.
I had my second sleep study last Monday (they didn't do the first one right). I knew from the first one, back in November, that it made me even more exhausted than a normal, bad night of insomnia (1 - 2 hours sleep). I hoped the second one would be better, but it wasn't. For days, I was exhausted, totally unfocused, and had no enthusiasm for anything. I started feeling slightly normal on Thursday evening (able to drive, etc.), but I was even exhausted for half of Friday. I think today is the first day I've felt good all day, but it's only 4 pm.
In other words, I lost most of a week to the sleep study. At least I couldn't feel guilty about being exhausted (i.e. lazy) because I gave up guilt for Lent. Although younger son did lots on his own, my ability to homeschool was minimal, and figuring out the answers to math questions took me forever (I majored in math; no, I don't use a teacher's manual!). I had to skip Zumba classes and my voice lesson.
On the bright side... sort of... it turns out that I do have sleep apnea, which can be a major contributor to blood pressure problems. I have to go back to the doctor in a few weeks to see where we go from here.
I've been irritated to loose so much time to medical stuff - and it's not like dealing with blood pressure usually takes up that much time for most people. Many people can take a happy pill to fix it and then get on with their regular lives.
Thursday, we had a warm, sunny afternoon. I wandered around the yard and cut some of the first daffodils, because we were going to get sleet and freezing rain on Friday. After Thursday's sun and warmth, Friday felt like being hit in the face with a wet fish. I thought I was dealing with winter pretty well this year, but, today, I finally admitted that I still have seasonal depression.
Even the piles of paper in the dream I mentioned have to do with my frustration. I've been feeling like things have just been piling up all over the house. We rearranged the library into a room for me about a year ago. I haven't posted about it because it's still not done. I realized that I've started keeping piles of papers and other things all over the library to remind me to do them. However, it's also a less restful and thoughtful place because I'm constantly reminded by looking at the piles. I've redone the way I organize things in the last few weeks. We got Microsoft Outlook, and I put all my papers in a hanging file in my desk, and now, at certain times of day, the computer reminds me of what needs to be done. So far, it seems to be working better.
I guess my biggest frustration is that, in the winter, we usually have more inside time to work on homeschooling projects. It's one of the (few, for me) reasons to look forward to winter. I haven't had the time or the energy to get those started. Younger son is also going through another growth spurt so he's been really tired too. He's almost as tall as older son now. On the positive side, The Lord of the Rings has really been increasing his reading speed. It took him about two months to finish the first volume, and he's read most of the second volume in two weeks.
What's interesting, is that I know that, although two years from now, I'll remember that this time was frustrating, what I'll remember most are the long family conversations after meals, taking a walk with dear husband in the snow in downtown Hillsborough last Saturday, younger son's increasing interest in wide-ranging conversations, Skype conversations with daughter, enjoying older son's art, and watching White Nights with everyone the evening I felt the worst.
Giving up chocolate for Lent is far less pleasant, but it's actually easier. Chocolate doesn't follow you around. You can make efforts to avoid it. Chocolate isn't the stream underlying every waking moment - and probably lots of the sleeping ones. Chocolate isn't a creature constantly sitting on your shoulder and whispering in your ear.
Let's back up. Two weeks ago, I mentioned something that was bothering me, and younger son said that I should give up feeling guilty for Lent.
How bizarre! Isn't that what Lent's about?!
I thought about it for a while. I even offhandedly mentioned younger son's comment on Facebook. I didn't expect any response, but twenty-three people either liked the post or left a comment agreeing with younger son.
It's such a strange thing to give up for Lent, but, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed the right thing to do.
Here's an example of what I'm giving up: That Friday, I did the usual morning Zumba class. It was the instructor's 30th birthday, and we all applauded for her at the beginning of class.
Now, I can blame my behavior on other things. I had been to Broadway Dance class the night before so I was into the musical theater part of my personality. The instructor occasionally has people come up and dance a song onstage along with her, and I was one of the ones she chose that day. The onstage part of my personality was in rather high gear for a non-musical-theater-rehearsal day.
During the cool down and stretch as the class was winding down, I remembered how special it seemed when the whole cast of the musical sang "Happy Birthday" to one of the cast or crew last summer. At the end of the Zumba class, after the teacher finished and said to have a nice weekend and people started chatting with each other, I jumped up onstage, got everyones' attention, held up my fingers in a "Three, Two, One," and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to her.
And I spent the rest of the day fighting guilty feelings. What if she didn't want us to sing to her? What if she doesn't like other people hopping up onstage? What if...? What if...?
I thought I had banished that from my head by Sunday. However, Monday morning, when I went to class, she said hello to me and asked how my weekend went. Obviously, she wasn't angry at me, and I relaxed a couple of notches. Apparently, I hadn't totally banished the guilt from my head.
I feel guilty when I do something that might bother someone. I feel guilty when I'm doing the speed limit in the right hand lane on the highway and someone is tailgating me* because I'm holding them up. I feel guilty if I have too many books at the library or too many groceries in line at the grocery store - anything that might inconvenience others. I feel guilty if I don't respond in conversations the way other people seem to need.**
I also feel guilty when I don't live up to the expectations I have in my head. Last night, we celebrated older son's birthday. We got him lots of books and CDs. It was an unusually good set of very special stories and music. Dear husband and I made lasagna, Swiss chard, and brownies - which we had with 9th Street Bakery challah and Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. We didn't finish celebrating until after 10:30 pm.
Did I feel good about putting that together?
I ALMOST felt guilty because I was too tired to do the dishes. One of my own expectations for myself is to have the kitchen clean before I relax in the evening.***
I couldn't feel guilty, though, because I gave it up for Lent. There were five different times yesterday evening where I would clench my hands in frustration because I was tempted to feel guilty, but couldn't. The guys kept giving me stranger and stranger looks everytime I did that and said what I was feeling guilty about. Younger son finally said, "Your mind is broken."
As I said at the beginning, guilt seems like a stream that underlies every moment, or a small creature who always sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear. How can I get rid of that? Can I?
Every time I feel guilty, I push it out. I may have to do it every ten five three really often. It's often hard to remember.
The result is really strange, though. It feels like there is a really large, open, grassy park in my head, or a large dance studio. There's all sorts of room to think all sorts of things. What do you fill your mind with if you're not filling it with guilt?!
Getting rid of guilt doesn't mean I'm all of a sudden doing all sorts of wrong things. Morals and guilt aren't the same thing. I do what's right because - it's right - not to avoid guilt, which I can't avoid anyway. I actually feel freer to do things the right way because I'm not spending my time and energy on guilt. I actually even have more energy to think about God this way.
I'm not sure where this focus on guilt came from. I certainly didn't grow up with it. It came along later. I know lots of people used guilt on me in college and after, and there are lots of religious books/blogs/articles/sermons that motivate with guilt. Interestingly, the numbers are pretty even in terms of Catholic and Protestant as far as motivating by guilt. Protestants do it a lot too.
On the other hand, my experience with the clergy has been different. Thinking back on all the priests that have been at the Catholic churches I've gone to, I can't think of any priests that focused on guilt. Oh, they would discuss right and wrong, but they didn't use guilt to motivate. Occasionally, a visiting priest would, but the regular ones didn't - not the one whose homilies sounded like editorials from the Independent, not the one who had been a clown before becoming a priest, not the one who was involved in the Charismatic movement, not the one who was a poet, and certainly not Father C. However, I've known two Protestant ministers who could make me feel like I was God's biggest mistake and that everything was hopeless. They're part of that guilt stream that runs under every moment.
It will be interesting to see how Lent plays out.
Here's another post I wrote, six years ago, about guilt. I like the post - it's a shame I can't keep these thoughts in my head.
* Older son said that he's decided not to feel guilty about following traffic rules.
** I've realized, recently, that, after a while, this has the result of making most people seem very needy and incapable of handling any inconvenience whatsoever.
*** I don't have those expectations if someone else is doing dishes though. If someone else were doing them and they were tired and left them for the morning, I'd be fine with that. I certainly wouldn't want to exhaust them any further. I don't treat myself that way, though.
I thought my voice was back to normal last weekend, but I was wrong. I blew my voice out during the choir rehearsal on Sunday, and, by the time we got to the anthem, I could barely sing. I croaked out - maybe - 1/4 of the notes. I usually give my voice a month to recover after almost totally losing it like I did in January. This time, I was too excited to get back to choir so I only gave my voice 2 1/2 weeks.
No singing for at least the next week and a half means no church either. I can't go and not sing (I've tried before, and I just can't) - so I missed the Ash Wednesday service today.
I'm trying to get in better shape to help get my blood pressure down so I've been doing four Zumba classes a week (plus one Broadway dance).* The Ash Wednesday service was during one of my usual four classes so I just went to Zumba like usual.
At first, I kept looking at the clock to see where they were in the service. We were dancing to In a Search at about the time for the first reading. "I wanna party with a sexy lady..." - not unusual lyrics for Zumba, but certainly not Ash Wednesday-ish.
Here's a video of another instructor's version of the song. The choreography that our instructor does to the chorus is similar, including the body roll, but the rest of the choreography is different:
During the second reading?
Booty Shake. That's when I decided to stop looking at the clock.
Here's another instructor's choreography for Booty Shake. The moves that our instructor does for part of the chorus and the bridge are similar (the rest is different). I love it when we break into the samba during the bridge!
Once I stopped thinking about not being at the service, I had a wonderful time (as usual) at Zumba (one of my favorite instructors), and it was over before I was ready.
* At first, four Zumba classes a week made me really tired. Now, I don't even really notice.
For those who think God alters the outcome of a football game while today 30,000 children die from preventable disease, we pray. (Unvirtuous Abbey)
Unvirtuous Abbey is a Facebook page where the digital monks post humorous prayers about common aspects of society. For instance:
We pray for the kid texting how bored he is on a piece of technology that 20 years ago could have launched a space shuttle. Lord, have mercy.
For the Facebook option to hide people from timeline who you can't unfriend but wish you didn't know, Lord we give thanks. [BTW, I've never done this.]
People also send in their own prayers. I particularly like this one:
For those who slow down to let you in when you don't have a prayer of changing lanes, we give thanks.
I also liked this submission:
For those who think that posting cute cat pictures on Facebook actually helps anyone in any way, we pray to the Lord--even as we eagerly await more cute cat pictures..
Yesterday's prayer, however, stayed with me a good bit of the day:
For those who think God alters the outcome of a football game while today 30,000 children die from preventable disease, we pray.
It makes sense, and I understand wanting to say this, but...
...if you take it to its logical conclusion, you never end up praying at all.
At least I did.
Actually, I did pray for other people, even though I didn't think it would do any good at all, but I didn't pray for myself. Whatever problems I had, I could always find someone with worse problems who didn't seem to be getting any relief. Should I pray for help when others are worse off? Is there any point in praying at all if others are stuck in horrible situations? How could I be selfish and pray for myself? Why would I be helped if they aren't?
I have no idea.
At the same time, my faith had already been fading fast. Is God even there? If He (She?) is, does He (She) care? Did God just get everything started, but that's pretty much it? Was I mistaken about everything I had believed for decades? Had I wasted all that time on faith? I still kept going to choir, but when we would say the Creed, I would preface everything with "I would like to believe..." instead of "We believe." I wasn't part of that "we."
This went on for a few years. I would pray for other people daily (probably pointlessly, but still...), but never for myself. The faith I had had for decades seemed to be gone. Nothing at church helped. In fact, it felt sad to watch everyone else so enthusiastic about something which didn't mean anything to me.
It would be wonderful, writing-wise, to be able to point to some event or dramatic realization on my part which reawakened my faith, but that didn't happen. I just realized, in mid-December (less than two months ago) that I believed. Strangely, I realized it at church, during a sermon, even though the sermon didn't have anything to do with my faith or doubts.
It was the first Sunday that daughter went to church with me when she was home during the Christmas break. Was that why I felt faith-hopeful again? Maybe it was just an emotional reaction to her being there.
However, she's been back at college again for three weeks, and I still believe. I'm not sure why, and I'm not going to bother analyzing it.
I also realized that I missed... well... talking to God. I had restricted my praying to praying for others, which is more important than anything else, but I missed all the rest of prayer.
[BTW, sometimes I feel that, prayer-wise, my purpose is to be the one saying, "Hey, really neat beetle! Thank you!" or "Wow, what a beautiful violet! Thank you!" - about the little things that often get overlooked.]
I was going to write this post yesterday, but then by the time I got home from choir, we had a nice long lunch conversation, dear husband and I took a walk at Ayr Mont - we ate a wonderful dinner, talked to daughter on Skype (happy!), watched a strange episode of Red Dwarf, and showed dear husband and older son a song on My Little Pony that reminded us of The Music Man ("Trouble, right here in River City!") in order to get psycho-Rimmer out of my head... I wasn't up to blogging by the time I got to it yesterday evening.
...What happens in prayer? Does God really listen and answer? I have no clue. But this much I've learned:
Prayer is an act of hallowing.
Imagine someone comes to you and shares a great burden. They share loss, failure, despair, fear, brokenness, or sickness. Their own or that of someone they love. What do you say upon listening? Thanks for sharing? Good luck with all that? I'm so sorry?
Something has happened, something was shared, that needs to be set apart from every other mundane and silly thing that has happened during the day. The moment needs to be hallowed--set apart, consecrated, made holy...
This makes sense. It doesn't answer anything, but it helps.
I actually have an evening with time to blog, and I don't even know where to start. Christmas was wonderful - daughter was home for almost a month, older son was off from college, no major illnesses, and we had a great time. Daughter didn't go back to college until after younger son's birthday on the 10th so January has actually felt shorter than usual. Some of the weather has been really cold, and we had snow and sleet on two different weeks. Today was beautiful with a high around 70 so I took a long walk this afternoon.
Dear husband and I took an anniversary trip for the first time in quite a while. We were trying to decide between Blowing Rock, NC and Richmond, VA (both about the same distance). That was the weekend of the snow so Blowing Rock would have been really pretty, but it was also going to be colder there, and there aren't as many things we do inside there. If it got too cold in Richmond, there are lots of stores and museums.
It turns out that we didn't spend much time inside. It got warm enough in the afternoons to go to Maymont Park and the Ginter Botanical Gardens. I took lots of pictures (of course!), but my camera hasn't been working right lately so the photos will require a lot of fixing up. The light meter has gone rather crazy, and the focus has a mind of its own. The camera is now at a local repair shop, and I'm left with a sad and empty camera case. I probably won't blog that many of the photos.
I've had a number of bad doctor's appointments (including the worst one ever) having to do with my blood pressure, asthma, and allergies. It's gotten to the point where my blood pressure goes up a day before a doctor's appointment because I'm dreading it, and it usually stays up for a week after because I'm so angry at how the appointment turned out. I talked to my doctor about the way my blood pressure tracks with how tense I am,* and she agreed that I should see someone about better ways any way to handle stress. Three doctor's appointments later, I still haven't found anyone in the regular health system who will help with that.
However, I've been getting occasional massages for the last half year. They're wonderful, and I slow down so much. I really can focus on things and appreciate beauty for the next few hours after a massage - before I go back to normal. Because it's so expensive, I alternate massages with voice lessons - which means that, if my voice isn't up to having a voice lesson, which happens all too often, I use the money for a massage instead. My massage therapist actually also specializes, not surprisingly, in how the emotions affect the body so I'll be talking more to her about that next week (because I lost my voice (and voice lesson) last week).
Home schooling is going wonderfully right now. Younger son has gotten into programming in the last week. He's also started enjoying math. Along with the algebra he's doing, we've been doing the constructions from Ruler and Compass (for those of you familiar with homeschooling math books, although he liked the other Key to... books he found the Key to Geometry books boring). I think younger son is past the worst of the past year's growth spurt, with the migraines and dizziness that went along with it. He's got a lot more energy for things. I'm glad because, even though we were still homeschooling, I felt like I missed him during his 13 yo hibernation year.
Unfortunately, the second session of the Swing Dance class that Dear Husband and I were taking is on Sunday evenings so we aren't taking it. On the happy side, the Broadway Dance class is back on Thursday evenings. So far, we've done One from A Chorus Line and Forget About the Boy from Thoroughly Modern Millie.
There are lots of posts I've thought of in the last month, but didn't have the time to write down (and edit, and edit...). I will mention one thing from one of them: I loved Les Misérables. It's one of my (many) favorite musicals. As I said to my kids at the theater, I've been waiting for this movie for about twenty years. I did see a student production onstage, but I haven't ever seen a professional production before. Were all the singers ideal? No, but I think that, given the usual need for box office stars, they did a fantastic job, and they got the spirit of the musical.
* Whereas, my bp hasn't changed at all when I've gained or lost weight or when I added lots of fruits and vegetables - and, now, I'm on to the low sodium thing.** By the way, do you know that, if you feed three hungry guys taco salads with no salt at all, none of them will have their usual seconds, but two of them will be back in the kitchen later for snacks?
** Which means no soups in the cold parts of the winter because canned soups have so much sodium. :(
Even though she's one of my (ten or so) favorite folk singers and I haven't been to a concert of hers in a few years, this morning, I wasn't planning on going to this evening's Lucy Kaplansky concert. I was tired and depressed. The holidays, starting before Thanksgiving, were wonderful, but they were over. Daughter headed back to UNC-Asheville yesterday. It was a grey and drizzly day which turned into a foggy evening and morning. Everything made me grumpy this morning.
However, older son wanted to go to the concert so we did, and I'm so glad. It was wonderful.
However, I think I used as many Kleenexes during her concert as I used while watching Les Misérables. The songs that made me cry the most were the two about her daughter (who's 10). Those songs sounded so familiar to me, and with daughter having left yesterday, I had tears running down my face.
I loved her introductions to the songs where she told about her past and how the songs came about.
She sang a number of songs off of her new album, Reunion, which we bought afterwards, and she also sang a number of my favorites. She did a few cover songs, including a Bruce Springsteen song, the Beatles' Let It Be, and I Wish It Would Rain, by Nanci Griffith. It was difficult not to sing along with that one because I used to sing it as a bedtime song to older son:
One of the two songs she sang about her daughter was Manhattan Moon:
I love the words to this one, particularly the end:
...I used to travel in a straight line Now I'm walking on a road that winds You take my hand and we take our time Oh we take our time We take our time
You hear music in everything The rain's a drum The traffic sings I listen too and I dance along We keep on dancing when the music's gone When the music's gone
I was much more purposeful and straight-line before I had kids, and I'm much more wander-y now. I want to stay that way, but I'm finding it difficult because I feel like I "should" be more organized and get more done.
We bought two of her CDs after the performance, the new one, and one where she sings math songs written by her father (she sang two in the concert - they're good). We actually stood in line to get her to sign the new CD, which I've never done before at a concert.
I've turned off so many of my emotions the last few years, but, somehow, going to this concert turned lots of them back on again. It stirred up all sorts of things inside me, and made me want to keep stirring things up rather than going back to being more safe, comfortable, and... not blank, but not all there either.
[This post is more choppy than I would like, but it's after midnight, and if I don't post it now, I'll never get back to it. I haven't written in almost a month. I spent the holidays exactly the way I intended. Older son graduates from college this spring, and we have no idea where he'll be next year. This was the last time I could be sure that both daughter and older son would be home for the long, college, winter break. I didn't think about house cleaning or any other unnecessary details of life. I knew blogging would come back later. I threw myself into enjoying doing things with my family, and I'm so glad I did so.]