Thursday, October 20, 2011

One Day

Before Mozart C minor Mass hell week and all its affiliated time-in-the-car, I was searching on Audible for a new book. I chose "One Day", by David Nicholls. I liked the idea of peeking into the lives of two people on the same day every year for twenty years.

I've been enjoying it immensely, and will see the movie as soon as it comes out on video next month.

There are so many good lines in this book. Nicholls is the kind of writer I like who turns out phrases that grab my ear. (I "read" most books in audio format.)

I think the movie wasn't such a big hit, but I highly recommend the book.

The two books that PianoLady recommended to me for our Ireland vacation didn't resonate with me. They were "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand", by Helen Simonson, and "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", by Jamie Ford. I think both of these books might have lent themselves more to hardcopy reading than audio format.

I think I'll go back and explore Nicholls' two earlier novels, to see if this is always the way he writes. I hope so!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Old Friends

For the past umpty-seven years, PianoLady and I have been meeting in New York City for a Broadway weekend. (Want to read the accounts dating back to 2006?)

This year we decided to change things up a little. She has two sons in college; I have bills I'm trying to consolidate. It was time to hold our purses a little tighter.

Her across-the-street neighbor has become a dear friend. They discuss books together; they drink wine and watch chick flicks together; they take quarterly girls'-weekend-away trips. I had met Susan on our past two Broadway weekends, and could understand how she and PianoLady had become such close friends.

So when Susan asked, "Why don't you and Jan have a staycation at my house this year?", I willingly and eagerly signed on.

She has a lovely 30s home in Westchester County, filled with lovely works of art that she and her husbad have amassed in their travels. Her hand-crafted pottery is everywhere. The room I stayed in was filled with antique quilts. Get it? Yep, kindred spirits.

We spent the weekend watching old Meryl Streep movies, traveling to an outlet mall to find the best bargains, and just getting to know each other better.

Here's the thing about good friends—especially old friends. They validate you. They've known you on the hills and in the valleys. They've known you through elation and heartbreak.

When I say, "I wish I had done such-and-such differently", PianoLady (who has known me since January of 1969) can say, "Ah, yes, but then this (or that or the other thing) wouldn't have happened."

One comes home from such a visit saying, "My life has turned out the way it was supposed to."

And that's a good feeling.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's the Little Things That Count

The first "little thing" of the day was Angel. As I was waking up, he crawled up on my chest and went to sleep. He loves on his own terms, which is not what I like in a cat. However, his parsimonious love makes it all the more precious.

Last spring the Jazzman and I went somewhere; I was ill-equipped for the cool weather that blew in. He tossed me a black sweatshirt hoodie from the trunk of the car. I instantly fell in love with the garment, which I'm sure he bought a his favorite thrift store. I'd sneak it off his bedside chair when I thought he wasn't looking, and always return it from whence it came. Last night he pulled it from his closet and told me I could have it. I could have it!! Honestly, that's more precious than the black turtleneck cashmere sweater I've been wanting him to buy me (um, to replace the one he shrunk in the dryer a couple of months ago).

So this morning, with the temps hovering around 50 degrees and the sky filled with clouds, I put a silk tank, a cotton turtleneck, and MY new black hoodie on over a pair of comfy knit Eileen Fisher slacks. After pulling my socks on, I slipped my feet into the Jazzman's fleece-lined slippers, just waiting for me on his side of the bed.

Now, in my ever-chilly office, I'm toasty warm.

And very lucky.

Friday, October 07, 2011


Taking a moment out of a very busy day to share with you the review of last night's Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus performance of Mozart's Mass in C minor.

We in the chorus thought it was an incredible performance. I am honored to be a part of this organization!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Family of Choice

Boston was talking the other day about drawing a family tree. We joked that if he included all my husbands and step-children, he would need another nine pages.

Years ago (1983, to be exact), after finding my birthmother and having her ask me never to contact her again, I began researching my genealogy. The thrill of finding actual relations, even though only on paper, was unsurpassed in my lifetime of experiences.

Through some questions I had posted to a genealogical research site in the early 1990s, I found a distant cousin, who began corresponding with me. We had begun making plans to meet in the fall of 1993; in the summer of 1993 I received an email from his son telling me he had died. What a kick in the gut!

Three years later I received a handwritten letter from his younger brother, who lived in Wales. I don't remember if I ever answered the letter, as John had just received his diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer, and our lives were in utter chaos.

This week I was cleaning out a box and found the letter again. Hoping the power of the Internet would again be my friend, I began searching for this cousin, only to learn he was killed in a train accident a year ago. Double kick in the gut! (And how interesting, through further Internet searching, to learn that his middle name was Ridley, the same as my granddaughter's first name!) (And also interesting that all four of his children were adopted, and that he had written about and advocated for adoption and adoptees in his life!)

Earlier this week, one of the Jazzman's cousins added me to his list of family members on Facebook. I have not met a person who is related to the Jazzman (and I've met hundreds!) who has not been warm and welcoming and loving to me. He has an astonishing family!

That incident led me to post on Facebook that we should be able to list the members of our Family of Choice.

Who would mine be? Of course my sons would be there, but not their father or his followers-to-the-position. My daughter-in-law and grandchildren would be there. The Jazzman and his large family, and his circle of friends—who have been equally warm and welcoming and loving to me since we first met. Abigail and PianoLady would be on the list as my sisters. And others - dear friends whom I have met and retained relationships with over miles and years and life circumstances.

Aren't we lucky that we don't have to be confined to familial relationships with our family-of-blood or family-of-law?