Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer's golden lining

I've got a confession: I don't really love summer. Or more specifically, I don't love summer where I live. It's hot, ridiculously humid, and it's one long mosquito fiesta from May (sometimes April) through October (sometimes November).

As a runner, I'm an odd bird because I'd much prefer to run in 20 degree weather than in 80s and higher -- and trust me, there are a lot more days here that are above 80 than below 20. I know some runners who won't even run outside in the winter but relish a warm July day to head out into the sun. Not me. There are only so many clothes a person can take off and still run outside.

I'm actually not running these days anyway. I've been sidelined with an injury for the last four weeks, and I'm looking at possibly two more weeks without running. If any of you are or know runners who have been sidelined, then you'll know that climbing-the-walls feeling I'm fighting every day. And feel free to send my husband sympathy cards for having to deal with my general grumpiness at being among the walking wounded. He definitely deserves them. Just don't send the kind with glitter -- he's not a fan.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Missing the forest

I've been hard at work this week on an art project that will (I hope) be a gift for one of my nephews. He's graduating from high school next week, and I'm a very proud aunt, despite having nothing to do with his success in high school. In fact, one time when I was visiting, he asked me how much math I had taken in school (I minored in it in college), and I told him I had forgotten most of the math I had learned, which, unfortunately, meant that I was useless when it came to helping him with the particular algebra-trig or calculus problem he was working on.

But I digress, and I don't have time to digress. The gift is something for his college dorm, unless it ends up looking like something a 1st grader made (with apologies to any 1st graders reading this -- I'm sure your art projects are fabulous).

Because I procrastinated in getting started on the project, I'm less than a week away from having to finish it and am spending several hours each day working on the tiny little details that make up the whole work. I'm sure I'm learning a great lesson in patience, but I also find myself wondering whose dumb idea it was to plan out such an complicated piece. Oh, yeah. Mine.

At the end of each day, though, when I've had enough of working on a small area and am feeling a bit frustrated with the whole thing, I step back and look at the whole work. It's slowly coming together ... and I think it'll end up looking pretty decent. At least, decent enough that I hope my nephew won't just say thanks and then bury it in the back corner of his closet at home.

All of that has gotten me thinking about the expression about missing the forest for the trees. My art project is just one example where it's so easy to get bogged down in details and not see a whole thing for what it is. And it has me wondering how often I miss other forests for the trees.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blueberry blues

I'm tired of buying frozen blueberries, and though I know fresh blueberry season is right around the corner, I'm impatient for inexpensive, fresh blueberries to arrive at a store near me. Right now, I could buy a teeny container of fresh blueberries for $10. I think I'll wait. In the meantime, this longing for blueberries takes me back to a time when I was a child, more "worst of times" than "best of times" in my memory bank.

When I was growing up, one of my next-door neighbors had a line of blueberry bushes that grew along his driveway, separating our yard from his, and each year, I greatly anticipated the time when the vines would fill with ripe berries. I'd go over, ring the doorbell and ask permission to pick some of the berries for myself and my family. I'd gleefully fill up a bowl with them.

One year, however, when I rang the doorbell, the answer was, "No, not yet. I want to make a blueberry pie for my husband first. Then you can come over and pick some." I walked away from the door, feeling sad that my plans for the afternoon had just been thwarted.

Then, I don't know what possessed me. There was no snake poking its head out from the bushes calling me over, but there might as well have been.

A neighborhood friend, several years older than I, was waiting on my deck to hear the answer. In the (not so very) long walk from my neighbor's front door to my back deck, something took hold of me. "She said we could pick some." So off we went, bowls in hand.

We had a great time picking blueberries that afternoon, and I'm sure plenty made their way into our mouths rather than the bowls. I really don't know why I didn't think I'd get caught. I'm pretty sure consequences didn't even cross my mind.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dancing on the inside

My husband I spent the weekend at MerleFest, an awesome music festival in the North Carolina foothills with a wide range of music: bluegrass, blues, rock, country, folk, gospel. My back has let me know that it's not as young as it used to be, and toting around a backpack for four days and sitting on a blanket to listen to music isn't as acceptable to it as it used to be. Though I still feel quite young, my back is telling me that I can't sit in front of a computer long today. But I'm so excited about the music I got to hear over the weekend that I have to share it with you.

Music has so many different powers and can evoke such a wide range of emotions. Here are just a few of the ways that music moves me (emotionally and/or physically):