Sunday, March 1, 2015

Puppy Dog Eyes

So much to write, so little time....  This is just a quick post to let people know I"m not dead, just swamped.

In my world there have been rehearsals, concerts, army things, a ton of work (yesterday was 12 straight hours and I still didn't get to everything), snow, cold, one kid broke a wrist.  Blogging time has been hard to come by.

In the meantime, here is the rare non-blurry picture of my dog trying to get me to stop working.
When I'm in my shop at home working on violins Chipper gets anxious.  He does not like it when I do things, so he looks at me pleadingly and occasionally puts his paws in my lap while I'm trying to carve.

Then he curls up under my chair, which has wheels, so I worry the whole time I will roll over him.  Chipper also does not like it when everyone else has gone to bed and I'm still up.  When he gets tired of waiting for me in my shop he curls up on the living room couch and passes out and waits to follow me upstairs when I finally go.

Sometimes he's too zonked to notice when I go to bed and we hear him on the stairs a few hours later.  When I say hear him on the stairs, I don't just mean walking up, I mean he whimpers there.  Chipper is a weird, anxious dog with issues and he goes through odd phases.  The most recent phase is not remembering how to walk up all the stairs.  He'll get within two steps of the top and then just cry and hope someone carries him the last little bit.  If we ignore him, eventually he comes all the way up on his own, but there is always a crazy thump/scrabbling sound to it, as if he somehow fell up the stairs.

We're hoping this phase doesn't last much longer, but it's better than the last one, which was being afraid to take walks.  We would get out the leash and he would hide under the couch.  We ended up leaving the leash on him all the time so that when he hid under furniture we could still drag him out.  Thankfully now after several months of that he's happy about walks again, just not about stairs.

Our dog is weird and sometimes obnoxious, but we love him anyway.  There are moments I wonder if he's worth it, but Ian put it in the context of most people having to put up with annoying relatives or struggles with kids, and we are very lucky on that score, so the dog tries our patience and keeps us humble.  At least he doesn't shed.  And he looks cute in a sweater.

Anyway, need to get rolling.  There are errands to run and possibly a trip to the circus in the works.  And that violin to carve if Chipper will let me.

UPDATE:  Circus was fun!  My kids had never been before so I'm glad we were able to get in.  Now to get to that violin....

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weighty Issues

I'm officially in the range of normal for my weight.  It's a large range (depending on which chart you use) and I am in the heaviest end of it, but technically I'm not overweight, and certainly not obese.  It's taken a lot of effort, but it's good to be 35 pounds lighter than I was back in June.  I still have another ten pounds or so to go, because I want to be squarely in the normal range.  I would like the option of one day eating a cookie again without that tipping the scales into overweight territory.

Self-perception is a strange thing, though.  Other people tell me I look slimmer, but I'm not really seeing it.  I know I am smaller by looking at the clothes I can wear.  I was an 18 and now I'm an 8.  (My preferred swimsuit, however still fits best at a 14, because somewhere, somehow, I am always a size 14.)  But when my pants are tight enough to stay up I still have some muffin-top stuff going on, so I don't feel any different.  I have the same body issues, just different pants.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Returning the Cart

It's hard to be appreciative of everything all the time.  In some ways that would be unhealthy, because being dissatisfied can inspire positive change and progress.  It's also distracting not to be able to take basic things for granted, or else we'd never get anything done.  As with most things it's best to find a balance.

But for the most part I don't think people appreciate what they have enough.  I'm often surprised by the kinds of things many people become openly dissatisfied with.  It's a miracle most days just to breathe, and when I'm healthy I try not to take even that for granted.  When I get outside in the morning I try to remember to take in one good breath and just be happy that I can.  It would be insane to try to appreciate everything we should be grateful for every moment, but I figure one or two representative moments can help put things in a better perspective.

Probably the most unlikely thing I do that I remember to mark in this way is every time I put away a grocery cart.  I know it annoys most people to have to return the cart after unloading groceries in the parking lot, especially when the weather is bad.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Goodbye Y

It's so strange navigating this week without factoring in trips to the Y.

We went to Swim Team as a family last Thursday (although, ironically Mona was the only one who didn't swim--her coaches threw a dance party).  Friday I did my laps as usual before work.  And that was it.  Now it's closed and we're not going back there anymore.

We've been going there for a long time.  Here are my kids in the playroom at the Y when we first signed up:

One of my favorite places to let the kids use up some energy was the racket ball court.  We never actually figured out how to play, we just always got as many balls as we could and let them all fly.  (Yes, occasionally someone got bonked, but life is like that.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Picking Up the Pieces

I had a really bad day this week.  It was all work related, and left me feeling kind of shattered where I stood.  The details aren't important, but the variety of ways in which people were hurt and reacting to it ran an impressive spectrum.  I failed someone, someone else failed and wanted to blame me, another person is coming apart and forcing me into an uncomfortable position, I goofed up, floundered, and was left staring at a pile of work I had to finish and no longer felt qualified to do.  I spent the day in tears on and off, and confronted with the reality that even when I do my best it isn't always enough and I don't really have much control over my reputation.  I'm at the mercy of my community and my own limitations.

Monday, January 26, 2015


I am making a point to get work done in my home shop every day, and three violins are now rolling!  It's exciting, and I'm so much happier when I get to build.  I feel productive and inspired.  (And also tired since I'm up working until midnight in order to make it happen, but that's just the way that goes.  The time has to come from somewhere.)

The main thing I'm focusing on is an Amati model I'm doing on commission.  It's a new model for me, and it's fun working with new lines and shapes and thinking ahead about what the player might like.

Aden and her maple
Aden and I also started working on her violin together.  She's making a Strad model, and I told her she can do as much or as little of the work as she likes.  I'm fine with just making the whole thing, but I'm glad she wants her own hands in it.  She picked out all her wood and I'm walking her through the process step by baby step.  Currently she's still planing her blocks, which makes your hands sore if you're not used to it, so there are many breaks.

I decided it would be helpful to Aden if I had an instrument going alongside hers that I could use for demonstration, so I'm also making a Lee model that I intend to use as my next competition instrument when the VSA meets in fall of 2016.

Aden's and the competition violin are moving along at a slow pace, but that's fine.  My real energy is going into the Amati model and that's coming together very well.  Want to see?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Freedom Ringing!

Or something.  It being MLK Day that title just kind of naturally popped up, but in terms of the actual day I will just refer back to this particular post.

And my husband did fix our bell, so that's ringing again, but that's not what this post is about, either.

No, this post is about actual rings.  Over a year ago my husband lost his wedding ring at the Y.  He's been borrowing one of mine ever since, and I've been wearing a new one.  Periodically I'll ask at the desk if a wedding band has turned up in Lost and Found, and the answer has always been no.  Seeing as the Y is closing soon, I figured I should check one last time.