Well, I realize my blogging attempts in November were sparse. Yikes. So that I can begin anew in December, I offer this November recap as a Rancid Peace Offering.
Jacksonville – Horrible trip, terrible hotel, and we only got to eat dinner out ONCE. The rest of our dinners were spent scarfing down pretzels from the pitiful cafeteria. I was surprised at the dumpiness of the place – I had imagined Florida to be more tropical and really it was more like Lower Georgia – complete with Older White Man Bigot. You know the type. This guy had no qualms telling me over lunch that he voted for Bush “because a woman doesn’t have the right to choose”. I nearly choked, but managed to compose myself and resisted the urge to jump over the table and choke him. Grrrrrrr.
Philadelphia – Well Philadelphia was better than expected. The people in that office are pretty crabby and let’s just admit that they were not excited about us visiting (this was the 4th scheduled visit – the previous 3, they managed to weasel out of). Most of the trip was spent working (we logged 60+ hours for that week which included the weekend). However, on the Saturday we were there, we only worked a part day. I declared it to be a Taxi-Free Day and I conducted my own personal walking tour. I was staying in Society Hill and walked to Antique Row to check out a LYS (local yarn store to you non-knitters). Sophie’s Yarn was a lovely little shop with great selections and a courteous staff. Even the requisite Store Cats were in residence. Since I was missing my own little fur balls, this was an added bonus for me. I picked up some cool yarn, and then ambled my way downtown to get closer the Big Al’s Lair. I stopped in Washington Square Park and started my new knitting project there. The weather was mild, slightly chilly, but not nippy. The park is surrounded by brownstones and there were people milling through the park with their children and pets. It was one of those Perfectly Peaceful Moments that you live for – those moments that get you through the bad ones coming. Which for me, were just around the corner as I had to pack up my knitting and continue on to work. After a stressful time at work, I walked back to my hotel, dropped off my laptop bag and decided to check out the Garment district. I had a lovely dinner at a local coffeehouse and then strolled for over an hour through the surrounding neighborhoods. I played one of my favorite games that I like to call Peeping Tom. If someone was lax enough to leave their shades open, I would slow down my pace to get a glimpse of the inside. I love brownstones anyway, so this was a particularly fun version for me. Then, it started to lightly rain as I walked back to the hotel. It was a beautiful rain – the sort that doesn’t soak and you can get away with not using an umbrella. Two Perfectly Peaceful Moments in ONE day? Wow.
Piano – I have wanted a piano for years. I played through junior high and high school, but when I went away to college, I lapsed – I simply didn’t have access to a piano anymore and never felt comfortable playing in my mom’s house (to be explained further down). I always regretted letting piano fall by the wayside. In fact, I always feel pangs of sadness whenever I listen to Chopin because the Funeral Marche was the last piece I worked on and I didn’t get it finished. So, imagine my shock when a few weeks ago, when Leavenworth Grandma called and offered me a piano. Specifically, a baby grand. Let’s make that a Steinway. In fact – let’s kick it up a notch -- a 1916 Steinway baby grand. That belonged to my great-grandmother. Who was a concert pianist. After I recovered from the shock and verified she really meant it, I eagerly accepted her generous offer. Since she owns 2 baby grands, it wasn’t like I was taking her only piano. For the week between offer acceptance and actual delivery, I excitedly sorted and re-sorted my music into the order I wanted to play the pieces. When it was delivered, I was on cloud nine, but a little nervous. This piano comes with a lot of history – it’s the very same piano that Leavenworth Grandma and my mother both learned on. I am just now getting comfortable with it all. I can still hardly believe that after all these years I have a piano that is MINE, in MY house. I can now practice all my minor scales to my heart’s content without my mother complaining about how boring they sound or how macabre the Funeral Marche was (well, duh. That’s the point.). And yes, speaking of the Funeral Marche, I have started it up. And Mr. X didn’t even complain thus confirming once again I did indeed marry the right man.
New Computer – Our poor Gateway computer was limping along quite sadly. It tried so hard to keep up with us, but frankly its hard drive is smaller than my iPod. The relationship just wasn’t working out. So, we decided to mix things up in the Rancid Raves le Manse and we purchased the G5 iMAC – yes, an Apple. I haven’t used an Apple since BankStreet Writer bit the dust, so this was truly going to be an adventure for me. So far, it has been great except for one thing – Mr. X, in his online shopping excitement did some pre-mature selection and clicked the choice for the SPANISH wireless keyboard. As I tore open the packaging and saw the key marked “ayuda”, I knew I would be needing a little ayuda myself. Unfortunately, customer service at Apple is much like customer service everywhere – slow and most probably based in India. Anyway, we do have the new keyboard and everything is fine. The computer is a magnificent specimen of beautiful design and engineering. We are very happy with our purchase – it even has the added bonus of acting like a 2nd DVD player since we got the 20 inch screen. Christmas certainly came early this year.
Thanksgiving – I love Thanksgiving. Other than the hearty servings of fattening, bland food topped with heaps of familial guilt, it’s really a nice holiday. Consumerism hasn’t really found a way to tighten its grip on it, so there are no excessive gifts to buy or onerous amounts to decorations to content with. The day is really about being thankful, spending time with the family, watching some football, and relaxing. It can’t get much better than that. When I was young, Olathe Grandma would host the festivities. She has 6 siblings and is the oldest daughter so this role of hostess came naturally to her. However, our family is big now and her house can’t contain everyone anymore. For the past years, we have scattered. This year, we rented a hall and hosted everyone. All 50+ of us. It was great to see everyone in the same room, at the SAME time. I do see these people all year long, but not all together unless there is a wedding. It was so pleasant to look around and re-live childhood memories. As I looked around, I truly felt a moment of Thanksgiving Thankfulness. That is what it’s all about, after all.