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Coming up for air, coughing - The Lyorn's Den

Sat Mar. 13th, 2010

02:03 am - Coming up for air, coughing

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Mid-February to early March is always one of the busiest times of the year for me. There are two birthdays -- Gwydion's and mine -- with the mandatory large party where we meet some people we see only once a year, and there's International Women's Day, where my choir is usually performing at some place or the other, with a quite ambitious program.

It is, however, also the time where I have some vacation left over from the previous year which needs to be spent before it gets stale, which balances things.

Not so this year -- one of my projects was finishing, another starting, and both would have kept me busy even without the heaps of papers that needed to be written and reviewed. So a week of vacation was out of the question.

And the moment everything was done and normality should have returned, I came down with one of my usual knock-me-out-for-a-week colds.

On the 13th of February, K___ and mad_freddy had their flat-warming party, and the choir's ensemble were doing a special practise. Also, papers needed to be written at work. So after practise I went grocery shopping, came out of the store nearly too tired to find my car, and went to work to drink lots of strong coffee and work on my papers. After four hours of that, I went home, called K___ that I would come a little later to her party, made muffins, and walked through the snowy forest to K___'s and mad_freddy's new place. The muffins were eaten before they were cold, there were a lot of people I did not know, a bunch of books I wanted to know, and around 1 am I left. It took me one hour to get home, because I got tempted by an unknown path in the woods. (Worth it.)

The start of the following week, it was thawing for a day or two, but that didn't hold: The snow came back and brought friends. I barely kept up with day-to-day work. I had considered inviting my friends for dinner on my birthday, but I didn't have the energy to spare, so I made cake and muffins on Saturday, and had a few people over for cake and tea on Sunday.

After another insane week, I had managed to take two days off work, Feb 26th and Mar 1st, so I had a long weekend around the party. flederkatz arrived on Thursday, so did Travelling Utto at Gwydion's place. As I had choir practise on Saturday, we spent Friday shopping for the party. It was raining, which was, all things considered, better than snow. Back home around two, I had breakfast with flederkatz, and then we went back into town because I had bought the wrong bamboo steamer, and I needed someone to motivate me to buy myself some birthday presents. After the failure to get an MP3-player last April, flederkatz pretty much shoved me into the store, then hunted down a sales assistant and dropped him at my feet. I now have a very cute blue Philips MP3-player which will actually communicate with Windows XP. Then I wanted to look for a light jacket for spring. As I was wearing my heaviest sweater and nothing underneath, I just got the nice saleslady in the plus-size store to grab me some T-shirt off the shelf before I tried on jackets. Turned out, I hated the jackets, but loved the T-shirt, so I bought that one. Turned out, also, that I have shrunk out of that particular store's size range, which was disquieting in a "hey, where's my identity going?" kind of way.

Seven hours of choir practise on Saturday, beautiful, sunny early spring. Quite warm indoors, and I had bought this very smelly Roquefort-like cheese in the morning. I don't know about the others, but I smelled it the whole time. No one complained, though...

When I came home around 6, flederkatz was making Bao. Or Bao-oids. I ate the first three fresh off the steamer. Nom nom. Then I called Gwydion over and we tidied up the place and did some cleaning. When the bao was done, we prepared the rest of the dishes for the party. Gwydion and I are always doing a Sunday brunch, which doesn't demand more than fresh bread rolls, butter, cold cuts, cheeses, jams, tea, coffee, and a pot of soup, but depending on my mood I might add to it. On a memorable occasion in 2006, we had six cooked dishes. This time, only two, and muffins.

Sunday 10 a.m. is the traditional start of the party. I am not trying anymore to have everything ready by then: Getting up at half past eight is hard enough for me, if I'm not done when the guests arrive, Gwydion can look after the guests while I put the last touches on the food.

To make things more fun, at a quarter to ten Tully the Tabby, who was either over-exited or had stolen too much food, barfed under the couch table. The one where you have to move the couch to clean under it. The joys of cats.

After that, all went well. The cats were stressed, Jerome more than Tullamore, and hid -- Jerome in the junk room, Tully within sight of the food. Around 2 am I kicked out Utto and Gwydion and then pretty much dropped dead.

On Monday, I was exhausted and flederkatz was dead on her feet, but the sun was shining and I dragged us outside for a walk. After we had reached a café and worked on our caffeine level, flederkatz became more animated and dragged me into the home improvement store because "we wanted to put more cat shelves on the wall!". (flederkatz is good at this DIY stuff, while I'm hopeless.) Later, a few people appeared to help eat the leftovers, and the cats made themselves scarce again.

Tuesday, I had cunningly arranged things so I had to leave work early (to see my physiotherapist) and so was home around six. I had offered to GM "Deadlands", but it turned out that I was too tired to do so.

Wednesday was three hours of choir practise, and while it was not the worst I ever had (in 25+ years of choir singing, there have to have been worse practises), it surely was among them. Nothing worked, my feet hurt, my throat hurt, we spend what felt like ages with stupid discussions about choreography, which was not helped at all by the woman standing next to me loudly complaining about the discussions and their uselessness. Gods, I wish that whoever felt we had to do choreography had the skill to work it out in their heads, the assertiveness to just tell (or show) everyone what they are supposed to do, the foresight to do this weeks before the final rehearsal, and the common sense to practise it every week. But no such luck. When the topic of choreography comes up, I shut up, fold down on my chair and play dead, so at least I don't become part of the problem.

When I stumbled home, flederkatz was GMing Blue Planet for Snow and I___, and I got my Killer Commando Cat and joined in.

flederkatz was visiting friends in the next town over on Thursday, and I haven't the foggiest what I did that day.

On Friday, when I came home from work, there was a new jute carpet on the wall for the cats to climb, and two shelves which they could reach climbing the carpets, and flederkatz and I went to the movies. We couldn't decide whether we should see Sherlock Holmes or Alice in Wonderland, but as she had already seen Sherlock Holmes, we went for "Alice". It was half past one in the morning when we came out of the cinema, and a snowstorm was raging. I had thought that I was well and truly tired of snow, but it was a very pretty snowstorm.

Saturday, I drove flederkatz to the train station at 1 p.m., went home to change, and drove to the dreaded choir concerto. Which was scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but of course we had to do one more rehearsal. I have some experience with these things by now, so I brought a lunchbox, warm and comfortable clothes, and Birkenstock slippers for the rehearsal. Usually, I have no trouble singing for seven hours, but it was not my day. At six, when we stopped (because the audience was arriving) I went off to get a glass of wine. Which might have been not so good an idea, but I don't know if I would have managed without it.

The place where we sang was pretty, a tiny chapel that sat maybe 100. The place was bursting at the seams, which dampened the hard acoustics in the place just the right way. We need not have sung loud, but we did, because loud is easier. It could have been better, all in all, but the choir has this amazing stage presence which makes people well-disposed towards us, even if our singing isn't what it should be. I still could do with a lot less excitement, and actually knowing that we could do what we attempt to do on stage beforehand, but a choir where I could have that either would not take me, or would have a boring repertoire, or a less relaxed style, so I'll just have to cope with the panic before every performance, and the elephant-sized imperfections.

Here's a review from the local newspaper (in German).

I had been looking forward to return to something like a normal routine the following week, but on Sunday I had the headache from hell and crawled out of bed only around 6 p.m. Shouldn't have had the wine, I thought, or maybe that icy draft in the Italian place where we had gone after the performance hadn't been too good for me. These optimistic assumptions crashed on Monday, when I had a sore throat, and breathing hurt. Oh, joy, another cold coming up. I managed to go to work until Wednesday afternoon, then I got a fever to go with the cold and kind of broke down. I spent the last few days at home, either in bed or drinking tea, and completely forgot about having singing lessons yesterday. I had a hard time remembering my name yesterday, and I had strange nightmares all week, which weren't so much scary as just disquieting and absurd. Like the one where everyone was running around with a sack over their heads, and my main concern was that I did not have a sack.

And now the cats are sneezing, too.

Oh, well. Next week is bound to be better. Pretty please?

Posts in the queue:
- Cat pictures
- Soup, cake and muffin recipes
- Reviews
- Whining about body issues

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