Birthday greetings, Part Deux

Today is the birthday of my best friend. We have known each other for 11 and a little bit more years and have been married for 10 and 1/2 and a little bit more of those years. We stick together through thick and thin, good places to live and bad places to live (even when our definitions differ). I like to think that despite all our similarities, the differences that we do have complement and help bolster the other’s weaknesses (few though they are, of course).  I’m so glad he’s not only alive, not only in my life, but my life partner and I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays together. Our life together has been one of constant change but through it all, he (and I) stay firm and unchanging in his (and my) commitment, dedication and loyalty. Happy birthday to one great person. I’m sure you’ll all agree.  Let’s sing his praises loud and clear! 😉 Yay for Troy!

what bugs me

emails from otherwise-well-meaning people on: a) the evils of illegal immigrants and/or the evils of people illegal or otherwise who live in the US and “won’t” “learn” English and b) feel-good and/or “meaty” (you know what I mean, you Christian-ese speaking people) pseudo-introspective spiritual messages/homilies.

In other news, Ollie has discovered he can jump from the counter top to the table in one leap. he now does it frequently and gratuitously just to prove it can be done and, after all, I could certainly not do it since I don’t weigh 9 pounds and would therefore crush my table into matchstick-size pieces if I did. 

And finally, one of my students has never eaten venison but he has eaten shark, crocodile and horse. And did you  know that raw horse meat is considered far more of a delicacy in Japan than even raw beef? Bon apetit.

My night out, or a study in profiles

Troy and I wandered down to Carly and Marty’s old stomping grounds last night to go to the Northside Tavern and see Dan Faehnle.  Dan is a particular favorite of Troy. We first saw him play out in Portland and strangely enough he moved back east about the time we moved out of Portland, too. Now he’s based out of Dayton so Troy gets to see him even more frequently than when we were in grad school; he plays a lot at the Blue Whisp.
It was a standing-room-only crowd last night but that’s not surprising given the teeny-tiny space. Sadly, some older guy with a balding pate decided to sit down right in front of me so all I could see was the keyboardist’s left hand.  So I did some people watching while listening to good jazz and this is what I saw. A tall, lanky guy near the front door (who Troy thot was maybe the lead singer of another group he saw there recently) who went in to regular convulsions to show how much more greatly he was transported by the music than the rest of us poor mortals. The bartender was a young version of Lydia the Tatooed Lady: both arms were covered in tatoos, the one was quite lovely, of a woman…self-portrait?  Then there was the table full of older men and women; one man had long, iron grey locks and a jaunty newsboy cap.  The man behind us and to the left played airdrums so energetically that the table shook from the vibrations and the women in the table directly in front of us kept flipping their bottle blond hair, which was badly in need of a touch-up, and being generally annoying.  The man with the dreds had an indifferent-looking face so it was good he had dreds to provide a bit of interest to his appearance. The seventeen year old who came with his dad excitedly greeted another man (his neighbor? music teacher?), telling him that this guitarist was “his most favorite guitarist in the whole world“. The middle aged woman with glasses and a tired face who looked like an elementary or middle school music teacher bobbed her head and jerked her chin through the first set. Finally, all the middle-aged, beer-bellied men kept bumping my chair as they passed.
Hope you enjoyed your tour of Northside Tavern. The music was good, by the way.

Birthday greetings

Today is the birthday of one of the most special people in my life. I have known her for as long as I’ve lived and she is one of my rocks.  She has helped make me who I am today and is the person I most look up to.  She is my mentor, one of my best friends and my hero. She isn’t scared to discuss ideas and thoughts that are outside her worldview and she has always encouraged me to be the best person I can, allowing me to make my own painful mistakes and standing by me as I worked through them. I want to be like her when I grow up and I can’t imagine my world without her. She is probably one of the most successful examples of motherhood I know of in the world. Happy birthday, Mom. I love you!

Post-prandial bliss

Yes, I just wanted to work the word post-prandial in somehow.

Next year, we are not traveling anywhere for the holidays, at least not for such a short one as Thanksgiving and such a long distance as South Carolina for such a few short days.

The highlight of this holiday was most definitely seeing A Prairie Home Companion.  I had never seen the movie, only listened many a year to the show.  It was thrilling to me in a way that I don’t usually feel, even for the really good shows that we’ve gotten to see this year. I really felt like I was a part of a bit of my culture. I don’t often get to feel that way any more and it gave me a sense of belonging, I guess, that I don’t usually have.  Sitting there with my family, in the magnificent old Music Hall, I felt again the things that are really important in my life: family and music with my family, playing together, singing together.  It reminded me of all the times at my grandma’s house, in the living room, around the old piano, singing hymns together or playing them with my cousins, one of them at the piano (probably Natalie), me and Jen playing our flutes, grandma listening from the kitchen to the songs she loved while (most likely) baking homemade bread that rose up in the bread pans like mounds of warm, living goodness or of getting together with my aunts and uncles, gathering around the piano, this time with Aunt Thelma or my mom at the keyboard, singing hymns together. We did that once when I had my broken ankle. I could sing for hours with them, and we did.  Or of mom and I or mom and I and Brandon singing (or playing) duets or trios at church, sometimes for Christmas, sometimes just for the worship service. So I guess for me the Thanksgiving took place in the realization of simple gifts. As much as I’m tossed about with dissatisfaction from living here or wanting to be places that i can’t be or do things I can’t do right now, it’s nice to be reminded now and again where the roots of my soul are anchored: family and the pleasure of making simple music.

The Cold Hard Truth

I have to tell you something. I keep the thermostat of my house at 60 most of the time; during the day, I turn it down to 57 or 58 and I just work in one room and turn on a  space heater. Troy and I started doing this last year when gas prices were high. We have kept on doing this; I would rather put on a sweater than crank up the heat b/c a) I don’t want to pay more and b) it’s better for the environment. The good thing is that your body adjusts to whatever temp is familiar so to put the thermostat at 65 seems like a luxurious sauna to me. Unfortunately, it also prevents me from recognizing what may or may not be a comfortable temperature for others.  Alas for our poor guests this weekend; I think they were frozen bits of walking human popsicle by the time they left our house.  😦 

(And just so everyone knows, this is something that runs in my family. My one uncle keeps his house a constant balmy 55, even on the coldest of days 😉 )

Even though our guests were miserable, Troy and I had a fun time with them. Perhaps we enjoy other people’s suffering. They were kind enough to eat all the Korean food I made and were kind enough to pretend to enjoy themselves the rest of the weekend, as well. I hope they will come again soon and I will try to remember to turn up the thermostat even more if they do.

In other news, Troy proved himself to be not only handsome but handy by installing a new tap fixture for the bathroom sink. the old one was leaking ever more profusely so we went and got a new one, which he kindly handled for me.  The new one is much better in that a) it doesn’t leak and b) it has old-fashioned handles so it goes much better w/ the era of our house.

Cads

Thanks to the cheery comments of my cheerful friends, I felt immediately better the next day after I posted 😉

Yesterday I had lunch w/ the women who had been in my erstwhile morning class. While it was absolutely wonderful so see them all again, I heard some sad news from one of them. The woman from Brazil (you know the one who had a great time at her Halloween party?), she’s getting divorced. She’s been with this guy for three years, he brought her over from Brazil, but it turns out she would often come home to find strange women at the house w/ him, women that she found out were ex-girlfriends. He’d been playing around for quite awhile and she had to start going on his business trips w/ him to keep him from further dalliance, which resulted in her having to miss a lot of her English classes.  She doesn’t have a job yet. She has asked him for a divorce to escape the hell and he suddenly agreed to it this month. He was expecting her to go back home b/c her second round of citizenship paperwork comes up in January. But she feels caught between two worlds after having been here for awhile and knows she’ll have more opportunities if she can stay here. Her husband made her sign this complicated pre-nup before they were married and her lawyer, after looking at it, asked her why her husband had wanted to marry her in the first place. She said she didn’t know.

Can you imagine living in a foreign country, no family, only a few friends, no resources, no job and now being kicked out of your home (its this huge mansion-type place and she doesn’t want to stay there)?   I feel so sorry for her; what’s going to happen to her?  At least she’s getting away from her user husband. I hope it will work out for her. I’ll keep you posted. 

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