Archive for the 'before coffee' Category

Trying to be very quiet

There’s taping going on in the next room. The chorus has gone virtual, which means we’ve all been doing our best. I taped earlier, and I think my tape may get the response, “Oh, dear. She tried.” So many blooper reels. So many times the pretty little horses had coats muddled, or words didn’t come out correctly (spoonerisms…. so many!).

The cats really don’t care about keeping quiet, or what other sounds might ruin a taping. One cat has been quacking and growling outside of the makeshift studio door, climbing up on a hall table to experiment with the door handle. I managed to be quiet, and not hum my part along. I’ve sent away my part, and hopefully it was good enough that the mixer can do magic and make it work with the others.

The funniest blooper reel (besides the one where I warble as sirens respond to a fire call and someone starts to wood chip a stump), was when I realized I had sung the wrong word, said “fudging hell,” and turned off the tape. Apparently working in childcare and in a museum did some good.

Advent Calendar – Day 21

Interior photo of a two story train station with a barrel roof with hexagon decorations. There is a lit Christmas tree on right side of picture.
Photograph of Christmas Tree in Union Station, Washington, DC.

If you look closely, you can see strings of American flag banners going up the tree. Not sure what year this photo was taken, but it is pre-2020. I’m hopeful to be able to enjoy visiting DC in the future, once the pandemic is over. It’s a lovely city, especially when Metro is running well enough to ease traffic.

Advent Calendar – Day 8 (oops 9)

An orange cat asleep on a grey sofa with an owl pillow behind him, and rainbows of light on his tail and to his left.
The other day, a stained glass ornament threw rainbows on the cat. What a marvelous thing to see on a cold day.

February – October

2020 has felt alienating, strange, and bizarre. From the cold/flu in the new year, to losing a cat, to the whole world sliding into a pandemic… if I could whack 2020 with a restraining order, I’d be down at the courthouse now. If the courthouse was open…

Due to the reduction in commuting, singing, and visiting with friends, there has been knitting. I’ve finished large projects (secrets until Christmas). I started Katie’s Kep for a distanced knitalong (link to the free pattern on the Shetland Wool Week website), I finished a baby knit for an auction for the chorus, and I am about a quarter of the way done with the artisan’s vest. There has been home maintenance (window caulking — very glamorous), as well as (dishwasher-adjacent) swearing.

I’m trying not to count the year’s markers that were missed because choruses can’t sing safely and families can’t meet up. I had the joy of attending a remote wedding over the computer. That was a first. I had the sorrow of attending a funeral over F*cebook. That also was a first.

I’ve attended cat church in pajamas, drinking coffee and singing along from home while using a cat toy to distract the cat congregants. I’ve become quite fond of cat church — I’ll be sad when it isn’t available. In summer and fall there have been conferences, meetings, classes, and family gatherings online. I had one in-person outing, to vote early in the election. Other than that, I only go for walks or visit the grocery store as briefly as possible.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be hard on many people. When the alternative might harm the people you love — or co-workers or children’s parents — I’m hoping more people will choose to say “no”.

Early voting

Thank goodness that’s possible. It took about an hour, round trip, with lots of social distancing in place. It’s a huge improvement for working people who can’t take all day off to vote.

Here’s a voting gif from the National Archives: https://giphy.com/embed/YRsgH4jOQnwywjRtVC

So, if you’re in the USA (or from the USA, but living elsewhere), have you made your voter’s plan? Or have you already made your decision and dropped off your ballot in a big metal box / stood in line to vote at an early location / or mailed in your ballot?

Long lost histories

Standing out in the field.

When talking with family, old stories crop up. So-and-so was a farmer in Country A… no a shepherd in Country B before he he left for greener pastures.

My ancestors lived, generation upon generation, in a northern country with shifting borders. From the 1800s on, they moved in 12 or 7 mile increments. Eventually one person left for work, choosing the Americas. His descendants lived in a 20 mile radius, until a generation left for work.

Now, most of life’s celebrations are virtual — phone conference calls with family, mailing packages, etc. During these “meetings”, I’ve heard lots of family stories, and I’m knitting these memories together and finding big gaps. Some of the gaps reflect people who were too busy working and living to write stuff down, except in their budget book. This year, it feels like everyone’s everyday moments are slipping away. I sincerely hope this is temporary….

So was my ancestor a shepherd or a goatherd or a cattle herdsman before he left for this continent? I will probably never know, although it amuses me to ponder. I know where he wound up: beside a lake, working as a carpenter, fisherman, farmer while raising a family.

Birding from Home

The tree cover here is a bit thick to see actual nestlings, but the Schoolhouse Farmhouse provides the opportunity to watch barn swallows build a nest and feed nestlings. Here is video from the nest cam:

Bittersweet

Last night, we watched footage online from concerts of choruses that were going to be at our summer’s big singing event.

I should be packing for the event – getting my outfit from the cleaners and checking my boarding details, except it’s all been canceled. Mercifully, the timing of the pandemic means all the singers aren’t converging in one place for our convention. I love singing. I love what singing does: making me feel 3-dimensional and almost a part of the elements. As an alto, I get the best of singing worlds: sometimes a rumble that supports the sopranos, and sometimes a trill that sneaks above the top line.

It’s all canceled, and postponed to a distant date. Hopefully my nonprofit chorus can bear the stress of NOT singing for the safety of everyone.

For now, seeing all those familiar faces is bittersweet. And I think about my own chorus and wonder, to quote an old song “When will I see you again?” Link to The Three Degrees. This singing group’s look and Philly sound was iconic when I was a kid.

So, I wonder, and wish. Online meetings, phone conversations and letters only go so far.

For want of a horse…

Featherweight in front, Singer 404 slant needle in back.

More like, for want of a [specialized part], I’m putting off servicing the [*&$#@%!!*] sewing machine. We have a second machine that I could get parts for, and I’m going to oil it today. The latest things I need to procure (shopping remains a pain in the neck) …. a small amount of kerosene to clean the gears, and some carnauba wax to polish the outside of the machine. The old manual didn’t talk about these things: it’s almost like the machine is possessed with Loki’s trickster spirit. I sincerely hope not.

This smaller machine is an inherited Featherweight. I added new parts that were missing, so I haven’t had a chance to get it running yet. Fingers crossed it isn’t temperamental. I’ll be working off and on to get it up and running, but only when the kitten is sleeping.

Counting months

Timex watch next to a tiny flowering plant on a pebble planting bed.

While in this holding pattern, the world keeps shifting. I drove to the post office (the first time in 2 months) so that I could drop off my vote. Voting by mail is new, but positive — less stress, and no gauntlet of people to pass.

In 2 months,

  • A grade school was torn down, explaining the ever present, mysterious truck sounds and construction noise.
  • Several storefronts have shuttered.
  • The post office is again a hub of activity.
  • People are (mostly) wearing masks to shop.
  • The USA is in a cycle of protest (my heart is with the protestors, and here’s a link to student coverage of the protests).

The natural world offers daily surprises in the yard. An amaryllis we forgot last winter is blooming, our roses are more beautiful than ever, and poison ivy (boo) has come up from underneath the reclining chair in the yard. I go out for evening walks, to avoid groups of people and the sun. It’s lovely to wave at people in their yards as I admire the sunset.

So how about you? How are you marking the last days of spring sliding into summer?


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