Yes, the rumors are true, and I'm so sorry, former-next husband Louis CK, but you missed your chance. I am now wearing a lovely pale green sapphire engagement ring on my left hand and after Siobhan gets married, we'll start making our plans.



Anticipation is my drug of choice. If I don't have something looming in the distance, I feel kind of empty and sad. Right now, I'm overdosing on anticipation. Next week, we're going on camping in Maine, and we'll be living here for 6 days:

I'll be home for approximately 15 hours before I head to Orlando for a work conference. I'll be starting back to school while I'm there, and when I get home, it will be about 15 hours before Maeve starts school, and later that evening will be our first day back to work in the choir. Yes, our, because Maeve will be our soprano section leader.

And it will only be a month and half after that that Siobhan will be getting married. The day after she and Jason marry, my sweetheart and I will celebrate our 3rd anniversary. And then it's not too much longer until my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and next April we're going on a cruise...

I might need to figure out how to enjoy life in the present, because I feel like I'm blowing through time looking ahead instead of being, now.  I like the endorphin rush of looking forward to things too much.


Various and Sundry

My second term at school started. I'm taking English Composition 2 and State and Local Government. I felt like I got a bad start in Eng Comp 2 - I kept doing everything wrong! It was partly because this was the first class I had where the teacher didn't use the Course Content to, you know, list the course content. He uses the Announcements to give deadlines, new assignments, etc. I had a sharp learning curve and it didn't go well. So I didn't get credit for the first week's discussions, because I missed the mid-week deadline for them. Then we had an essay to write in the second week. I thought the topic was one we had to choose from a list he had in the Course Content folder. I initially thought the paper was due on Sunday, because the syllabus states that all assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, but that's not accurate. The first draft was due Friday night. I was having a quiet day at work, so I spent a chunk of the afternoon writing an 8 page paper on homeschooling. Then I got home to finish it, and I read the announcements page and saw that I was supposed to write about a completely different topic. This was around 3:30 p.m. So I started a new paper, this one only had to be 5 pages long. I researched and wrote it in 2 hours (because I had a rehearsal, more on that later), and then submitted it around 10 p.m. after I double checked the works cited page.

We were put in peer review groups, and the instructions said to review our peers' work and respond, with a list of items to address (spelling, grammar, effectiveness/relevance of the title, quality of the argument, etc.). That had to be done by Sunday at 11:59, so Sunday afternoon, I sat down and read all of my peer group papers, and reviewed them all. Around 8:30 that evening, the professor put up a new announcement stating that we only had to review one of the papers of our peer review group. I put this one on the professor, since the original instruction didn't include the words "one of your peer review group papers".

Anywhoo, I ended up getting an A on my paper, and he even put it up as an excellent example. Good to know I can still write an acceptable paper in a short time frame!

My other class has been a breeze. I read the chapters, and discuss a specific question from the chapter on our discussion board. Easy peasy.

On the subject of the rehearsal I mentioned, I recently got to sing with Voce in their recent Anglophile concert. They needed a larger choir to perform Vaughan Williams "Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge", which is one of my very favorite choral pieces. It was so wonderful to sing with such a great group. I am getting burnt out on my church choir, I think. Some of the people seem to be incapable of learning to sing properly. They make the same mistakes on all the songs, even after they've corrected it for previous songs. We also have one tone-deaf soprano who somehow manages to sing a tri-tone below the actual soprano part. It's painful to listen to.


RIP Roger Ebert

Every now and then, not often, but every now and then, a celebrity death hits me hard. Phil Hartman, for example. Bob Fosse. And now, Roger Ebert. When I was a kid, we only got 3-4 channels depending on how clear of a day it was, and one of the channels we always could rely on was PBS, channel 24. I became a devotee of several PBS programs - on weekdays, Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, The Electric Company, Zoom, and on weekends I liked the cooking shows, but my favorite weekend show was Siskel & Ebert At The Movies. I probably didn't see 2/3ds or more of the movies they reviewed, but I loved seeing the clips and hearing them debate about a movie - and when I was younger and went to the movies more often, it was obligatory that after a movie, we would head out to a diner and have a discussion about it - which sometimes turned into a debate.

As a kid, I fancied myself a bit of intellectual, so I always sided with Siskel, who I thought was more analytical and intellectual, but as an adult, I really began to appreciate Ebert's passion and joy for the fun of movies. He had a generosity of spirit when he reviewed a movie. And in the past 10 years or so, as he dealt with his cancer, losing his jaw and his voice, I was so grateful for all of his writing, on political subjects, on movies, on his memories - that even though he couldn't speak, he could still speak, and boy, did he have some things to say!

I'm blue at the news of his death. Just to cheer myself up, I might read some of his one star reviews - they are always good for a laugh. I especially recommend his one star review of "Freddy Got Fingered".


You learn something new every day

On Monday, I learned something I never knew before, even though it was the cause of all the problems I've had with my hip my whole life.

Before my memory begins, I had surgery and was in a series of braces for various lengths of time. My mom always told me it was because I was born with a dislocated hip. Eventually, when I was managing my own health care, I heard the term "hip dysplasia". So that's what I thought my problem was, and the typical treatment for a person with hip dysplasia and severe osteoarthritis is total hip replacement surgery. When I was younger, I was told that I should wait until I was 40 to get the surgery done. When I was 40, I went to the orthpedist and he encouraged me to wait a little longer. I kept hearing that my life was going to change with hip replacement surgery. All the people I knew who had hip replacement surgery told me to stop waiting and just do it.

Well, as it turns out, I didn't have hip dysplasia. I had a childhood disease called Legg Calve Perthes. I heard these three words for the first time on Monday. My trust in my orthopedist is shaken. How could I know know that this was what I had? How could I be hearing this for the first time when I'm 43 years old?

At any rate, he still doesn't want to do the surgery. I am going to get a second opinion, because there are some things about the LCP that don't gibe with what I went through (osteotomy surgery at not quite 2, a full 2 years before the disease is supposed to show up, for example). In reading about it, people who have LCP and get total hip replacement surgery can have good outcomes, but recent studies (small studies, unfortunately), have suggested that there is a significant increase in neurological complications in THR surgery on LCP patients. And I can't have the latest and greatest in surgical techniques because my hip is so very deformed.

I'm kind of thrown. The surgery that I've been hearing "this will change your life for the better" all my life suddenly seems much more tenuous. My orthopedist said that I have to set aside all the success stories I've heard, because my surgery will be different and my results won't be so strong. On the other hand, I was reading a forum of people who have had or are going to have hip replacement surgery, and there are some people on there who are thrilled with the results of their surgery. I would like to have an increased range of motion, because I'm worried about the lifetime impact of overcompensating on all the other joints in my body.

On the plus side, I have ankylosing spondylitis in my hip, which my ortho called "a blessing", because it further limits my already severely limited range of motion, which actually reduces the pain.


Blizzard 2013

This was the view from our front door shortly after the snow stopped falling. The snow wasn't actually 3 feet deep, you can kind of tell from the picture that there was drifting. We probably got 18-20" of snow, and thankfully, my sweetheart has a snowblower, so it wasn't hours of shoveling to get everything cleared. I was more worried we would lose power (which would mean we would lose heat, too), so I'm grateful it was just a shit-ton of snow.

The storm did remind me of two snowstorms from my childhood. After the ice storm ('72, I think), my sister and I were able to ice skate on our back yard. And I mean we strapped on ice skates, we didn't just slide on top of the snow. It was magical, I remember being outside until it was dark and feeling like I was in fairy story.

The second one was '78, and a bunch of kids from the neighborhood and my sister and I built a series of adjoining caves/tunnels into a snowbank that was well over 6' high. She reminded me that we were having so much fun that when we came inside and took our socks off, our toes were purple and it took a long time before we could get our feet warm again.

I love the summer, but now that time goes by so quickly, I do find winter more survivable and less depressing. Especially if I don't have to go anywhere in the bad weather!



Maeve has been selected as a People to People Student Ambassador delegate. She will be traveling this summer, to France, England, Wales and Ireland. I am so excited for her, although I spend at least a half-hour lying in bed doing math to figure out how we're going to pay for the trip. Our first significant payment is made already, but there are three more looming.

This will not be her first travel experience. When she was 4, we vacationed in New Brunswick, Canada for a week. We stayed in a little town called Bouctouche, right on Le Baie de Bouctouche. It was a wonderful trip - we visited Prince Edward Island, with its gorgeous red clay beaches; Nova Scotia, where we spent most of a day at Peggy's Cove and where she discovered her love of pickled beets; and where we also visited an animal preserve, where a young otter decided he loved Maeve, and he followed her everywhere she went.

When she was 5, we went to England. We stayed in London for a few days, at a  hotel that was just around the corner from the London Eye and just on the back side of Town Hall, which faces the Thames. Then we traveled around. We went to Glastonbury, where we found a little B&B that had the Tor in its backyard. We went to Bath and Stonehenge, where Maeve absorbed the autoguided tour, telling us that "this is hundreds of thousands of years old!" Then we went back to London and stayed with family for a few days, which was fantastic. We also had a get together with some of the May Moms and their kids, all the same age as Maeve. We visited Leeds Castle and heard the sad story of the albino peacock, whose albino peahen mate was eaten by foxes and who was rejected by the colorful peahens. My cousin-in-law Mick took us on his whistle stop tour of London, which included some seedy bars where he got to see some of the giants of classic rock before they were huge.

When she was 8, we went to Paris and Ireland. Our first day in Paris, we stayed in Montmartre. It was a drizzly evening, and I was wearing a blue plastic poncho, and an old man came up to me, reaching for my face and speaking to me in French. Siobhan translated for me - he was telling me that my red hair looked beautiful against the blue poncho. We went to Ireland for a week, where we met people in Dublin who varied between angry and crazy; we found a much nicer Ireland in the countryside, and we stayed with my family in Galway for a week. Then we went back to France, stayed in a small apartment off of Rue Mouffetard, and did all kinds of touristy stuff like the Tour d'Eiffel and the Louvre, D'Orsay, etc. And we ate like kings!

I feel so lucky that we've been able to see some small part of the world outside of where we have settled down.