Grounded for Life

We all know I’m a cat lady, and I have cat lady things to share.

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About 10 days ago, my cat Salem vanished.  She must have gotten run off by a dog, or spooked.  Generally, her little jaunts are temporary (few hours), but this time she stayed gone.  Every night I put out a sweater of mine, some water, and a bowl of food on the back porch in the hopes she’d turn up.  I had almost given up on her returning – it’s not like her to vanish for days on end.  The most she’d disappear was 5 hours, and she’d usually show up howling by the back door around midnight when she realized it was cold outside.  At any rate, 10 days after she went missing, I’m doing dishes when I hear a ruckus by the back door.  She then comes streaking into the house followed by Jack and Spot.  Completely unexpected, but I’m so happy she’s home.   She was pretty dusty/dirty, and she’s very thin – I mean, she was scrawny to begin with but you can actually feel her bones right now.  I’ve kept her trapped in the house for now while she rests.  She’s mostly eating and napping right now, but she gets lonely really easy and cries if she can’t see any of us.  As long as Spot is sleeping next to her on the bed she’s a-ok.  Other than that, nobody seems to pleased with their confinement (Spot is currently howling in the kitchen because I won’t let him out).  She’s grounded so all of them are grounded!  Also, Salem has tracked in every pollen out there with her, so my sinuses are pretty miserable right now.

End Cat Story.

I decided a couple of weeks ago to try dating again.  I was getting a little bored and fidgety trying to keep myself occupied.  I’ve been running.  I’ve found little things to do here and there.  I’ve spent tons of time in the garden.  I planned a vacation.  I’m practicing a ton.  Still, it’s a very quiet and solitary life, so I thought it would be nice to get out and meet some new people.  I went back to Ye Olde Dating Site and threw up a profile with pictures of my oboes, pets, and green hair.

This time, though, things will be far different.  There will be no more “well, I guess it’s ok” or “I suppose I can deal with that” when looking at certain aspects of people.  I’ve not pigeonholed myself so much that I’ll never find some strange ideal that will forever only exist in my head.  I have, though, learned to spot the things that really don’t work for me.  Therapy has been such a good thing for that.  I know myself better than I ever have before, and I know what I need, and above that I know what I deserve in life.  It’s not an ego thing.  I do not think I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread.  But I am also not such a bad person that I can’t choose for myself because the most I can hope for is for somebody to like me.  This self esteem thing is really interesting.

Point is, I actually did meet someone, and been seeing him for a very short while so far.  The thing I like the most about him is that he’s a lot like me, where we both enjoy our personal time and our routines.  So I get plenty of the space that I need, especially right now.  Getting out of the house and routine are things that we both appreciate, so we’ve planned a couple of excursions already, just to do them.  And he likes me for who I am.  If it goes well, great.  If not, I’ll have a buddy to go do fun things with for a little while.

Other than that, garden is in good shape.  Everything I planted took, except the kale. It was so happy last year.  However, the ones I got were a little sickly, and didn’t handle the shock from planting.  Oh well.  Here, have a picture of the side yard, it’s pretty.

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What was I thinking

Everybody makes poor decisions.  I’ve made plenty, however I am just fine with laughing at myself over them.

On Sunday I ran 3.75 miles.  Got home super energized.  I had planned on making breakfast when I got back (eggs, toast), however my endorphin-charged brain decided that was an insufficient meal.  So I cleaned up, chugged some v-8, and headed to Trader Joe’s.  Begin poor decisions.  Everything looked SO DELICIOUS.  I wound up buying several good for me delicious things.  And a lemon cake.  And a container of ice cream.  I will be running a lot to make up for it.

Spring came back.  I’m thinking we’re out of the overnight freezes.  My goal this week is to get the sprinkler system up and the sprayers working, and start prepping for planting this weekend.  I had to buy a new hose for the front yard.  The cheap one I got last year lasted exactly one year.  This would be why I don’t buy things from wal-mart.  And probably why I shouldn’t drive over it to get into the garage.  And probably why I should have unhooked it for the winter.  In my defense, the previous hose lasted far longer!!!

On to better decisions…

I agreed a couple of weeks ago to play a Fasch concerto for flute and oboe, with me doing the flute part.  It’s a bit high.  Ok, a lot high.  However, I saw it as a challenge and got to work.  Current assessment:  definitely high, but manageable and sounds pretty decent.  It also has the added bonus of giving me some quality time with that range on my oboe.  I don’t get to exercise it much with baroque music.

In addition to that duet, I’ll be playing another one with Josue Casillas.  We’ll be reprising the Bach duet I did with Elizabeth Pitcairn back in February.  I expect my face to fall off at the end of each concert, but I think I’ll be in good shape and ready to attack it when the time comes in June!

I found a 20 week marathon training program and started it this week.  This is the easy portion (4 runs a week).  I can do that.  So the big question becomes, which half-marathon am I going to tackle?  I haven’t figured that out yet, so until I decide I’ll probably be repeating sets of weeks until I figure out what I should be doing.  Or I might just pick a set of weeks and repeat them endlessly.  I’m not in a huge rush either way.  The important part for me right now is just the running part – it’s been a significant portion of my therapy.  It’s just nice to go out and pound the pavement until my problems fade away.

Flotsam

Maybe another half marathon?

Many moons ago I ran a half marathon.  I think I want to try it again.  I’m back up to 3/3/3/4 miles a week.  Granted, my running is still pretty slow.  However, it was slow the last time I did it, and I eventually got my speed up to something reasonable.  The thing I like the most about doing it is my brain is pretty much 95% endorphins all the time.  The thing I dislike is the amount of time it takes.  I have to be strict with myself, and run whether I feel it or not.

I’ve booked the first week schedule starting for next week.

It’s time to farm

This year I’m going to scale it back a bit and stick with what is successful:  Kale, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers.  I’m also going to get more berry bushes.  I may or may not try basil again.  I’ve only ever once managed to get it to grow successfully.  I think I found the right place for it this time, but I don’t think the ground was kind to it.  So I’m going to try the same spot again, but stick with pots.

I’m hoping the apple trees make it.  They are starting to bud, right on time for the next freeze.

Flat Pianos

This is more of a gripe, really. Let me tell you a story about the oboe.  Unlike most other instruments, you cant just “pull out” things to make it flatter.  Oh sure, I remember my band teachers telling me to pull out my reed.  When I grew up I learned that makes hardly a dent in the pitch.  The oboe is so dependent on the reed that all the wishing in the world won’t make it play in tune unless you make it to play in tune.

I make my reeds at A-440.  There’s some range in there – I can usually pull it 15 cents in either direction with my embouchure when required (and believe me, it’s required when the trumpet section gets excited and goes sharp).  But there’s a limit, and I hit that like a brick wall this week.  I’m doing a gig with a choir in Tahoe.  It’s actually a lot of fun – we’re playing Puccini.  It’s not a full orchestra, so it’s being supplemented by the piano.  . And the piano is about 18-20 cents flat.  I’m not sure if it hasn’t been tuned, or if it was tuned by someone that forgot to reset the tuner calibration.

Point is, I came in with my nice A-440 reeds and I was ridiculously sharp compared to everyone else.  I wound up gutting my reed mid-rehearsal to drop the pitch down to painful levels.  So, I did finally manage to flatten the reed enough to make it work, and in the process I may have killed it.  I give it two practice sessions tops before it curls up and dies on me.

Moar Concertos

I get to do the Bach duet again (the one I did with Elizabeth) in June.  This time with Josue Casillas covering the violin part on flute.  Finally, a chance to take another stab at that long and meandering second movement I didn’t get quite right in January.

And to make it all more amusing, we’ll be doing a piece by Fasch.  Flute and oboe duet.  Except I’ll be playing the flute part on that one.  I am on board with this idea because this has some tricky work in the upper register, and it will give me a chance to give it a workout.

I’m going to have to practice a lot to pull all of this off!

Cruise

I’m going on another one, YAY!  I wanted to go to Greece.  However, scheduling and timing failed me, so I’ll be hitting Spain, France, and southern Italy.  I’m sure I’ll see a few of the required sights, but quite frankly I just want to be chill, enjoy some of the luxury, eat too much food, and fly home so fat that they charge me an extra baggage fee for my ass.

Games

I don’t have much time nowadays to burn on games, but now and then I give them a whirl if they are interesting enough.  I have a pal that had pestered me (forever) to play Bioshock.  Then he gifted me the games – Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite.  I tried to play Bioshock, but it was so spooky I couldn’t get past the first few levels.  A few weeks ago I was bored.  House was super clean. I had nowhere to be, and I wanted to do something fun.  So I opened up Bioshock Infinite.  And started playing.  It wasn’t scary at first – and by the time the blood and gore started I was so hooked I couldn’t stop playing.  I’ve played a good chunk of the game to date, and I’m really enjoying it.  And once it’s done I’ll probably go back to Bioshock and try that again.  It’s really nice finding a new game to enjoy.  It’s been a while.

Solitude

I’ve been reflecting a lot on the general quietness of my life.  It’s been around 3 months that I’ve been on my own again.  I’m still talking to my therapist.  I’m slowly but surely finding myself and the things I like to do again.  Finding new hobbies.  Finding new things to do.  Taking care of little projects I’ve missed out on over the last year when I was more or less broken.

I do feel lonely sometimes.  I feel regret that things turned out the way they did, and I feel sad for what I’ve lost.  And I am also extremely grateful that it all happened this way so I could have my own personal spring.

That’s all I have to say about what’s floating around in my head.

 

Life is Good

You know, I have a good life.  I often forget the amount of amazing things I’ve seen and done when I get buried in my mental hole.  I was purging some old leftover pictures I missed from [the relationship].  While cleaning, I took a tour through the last 10 years or so of photo memories.

Completely random memories, in no particular order:

Saw the Grand Canyon

May 092

Went to Alaska, by myself

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Learned to snowboard at one point

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I love New Orleans


120

San Felipe, Mexico

San Felipe April 2006 024Went to Hawaii, met more Nenes

hawaii

Saw St. Louis

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Learned to pew pew

pew

Rafting in Colorado with my marvelous coworkers

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That is not the entire list, but it’s enough to remind me my life is not boring, and I get to do a lot of really amazing things.

This year I’m going on another cruise (southern Italy, France, Spain) to see more places I haven’t seen before.  I am glad I stumbled over these pictures.  It reminds me that I can and should go out and try things like this when I can.

Holy Shit Snacks

Now that I’m digging out of my personal well of misery, I’m actually able to focus on some of the insanity that can be called our Presidential Election.  Summary:  OMGWTFBBQ.  Logically, I know there are limits to presidential power.  Our country is supposed to be equally balanced between executive, legislative, and judicial.  One cannot do things without the other.  You want change? Uproot congress.  Hate on him/her all you want, but remember: the President has a great deal of power and is our spokesperson, but the President does not decide how everything works.  It’s like a coach in a basketball game.  The President can strategize and push initiatives, but cannot control every movement of our government.  That said, it’s somewhat scary to know the likely nominees aren’t people of good character, and if one of them gets his way I could be lumped in with the rest of the the immigrants and booted out.  So for now I’m going to hold to the idea that while we may elect an idiot to office (okay, I’ll concede:  when don’t we do that), overall s/he’ll have a congress to contend with and probably won’t get to do much other than embarrass us.  A lot.

Our town was visited recently by a couple of Republican nominees who both held rallies a couple of blocks from my house.  One filled up the streets.  The other didn’t.   I didn’t mind the rallies at all.  It’s expression, support, and a way to hear what someone has to say.  The thing I did mind the most was the absolute hatred surrounding them.   I was out walking one of those afternoons and passed by a small group of supporters talking about the rally.  They weren’t talking action, phone calls, or door-to-door campaigning.  They were talking about how they felt the election should end with certain democrat candidate in a wheelchair, in jail, or dead.  How can you wish another human being dead or injured just because you don’t agree with their politics?  How can you encourage beating up the opponent’s supporters?  Oh, right.  Let me go look at all the wars going on in the world.

It’s just gross.  And sad.  On to slightly less gross and sad things.

Running is still going great.  In fact, it’s getting much easier.  My last post was about my fight with my brain when I go and do this.  I can now say the fight has diminished, and I’m finding some peace with it. I still undergo the first stage:  Convincing brain I should go run when the alarm goes off.  Beyond that, once I’m out the door it’s just time to pound pavement and think.  I can toss off 3+ miles without stress or misery, which for me seems like a miracle.  I thought about going 4 miles today, but I had a meeting to get back to and needed the time to wind down.  Trust me, I’m a total spaz post-run, and if I don’t decompress a bit I sound crazy.  My next goal will be five miles.  When I hit that, I’m going to start in on half marathon training.  I don’t have a particular one in mind yet, but I’ll find one and get it done.  Because why not?  And because I can.

We got through the storm.  It dumped a ton of snow on the mountains, but we mostly dealt with super gusty wind and rain.  I did have the pleasure (pfft) of driving up through said snow to Incline on Sunday for a rehearsal.  Very wet snow, so the roads weren’t too terrible.  I have a violinist friend, Trudy, that is nice enough to accompany me on those drives so I’m not going it alone in a white-knuckled panic attack.  Honestly, I like driving.  I don’t mind inclement weather.  The part that kills me is anxiety.  I pretty much run through every worst case scenario in my head.  Oh no, I never think things are fine.  I pack for every contingency.  I am one of those people with the emergency water, flares, chains, food, blankets, and cell phone chargers in their car.  It makes me feel better.  Now apply this type of thinking to the rest of my life and you can see why I’m a mess most of the time.

We’re doing St. Matthew Passion in orchestra right now.  It’s an amazing and beautiful piece of music.  It is also a huge pain in the ass to play.  I have to swap through all three instruments (oboe, oboe d’amore, and English Horn).  The parts I play are long and never let you breathe.  When I finish the bass aria near the end, I’m positive I want to lay down and pass out.  Can’t do that, I have to pick up my oboe and do the finale.  I am allowed to pass out when it’s over.  I think.  Still, it’s my third year playing it, and it really is a good experience that lets me build some super chops and exercise all of my oboe kids.

Until next time!