Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Guilty Sleep

Several people have spoken to me recently about reading my blog. What a lovely compliment and what a huge responsibility! I always feel the pressure of not writing in “Down Memory Lane” enough, but when I know people read it, the pressure mounts. So I am going to try to write more frequently. Have I said that before? I can’t remember …

These days, I can hardly drag myself out of bed in the morning, a consequence of my lupus acting up or “flaring” as we professional lupins like to call it. The desperate need to stay in bed and sleep all morning despite getting a good night’s sleep is exactly the reason I no longer work. Knowing that does not alleviate my frustration at losing so much productive time each day or, interestingly, my guilt about it.

When friends and family call and wake me up after 8:00 AM, I usually pretend I was not sleeping.

“Did I wake you?” someone asks when I finally manage to locate and pick up the telephone from a dead sleep.

“Oh, no,” I reply, “you didn’t wake me. Been up for hours. Michael and Tori leave so early, you know.”

Then I yawn, which probably gives it away, but people are nice enough not to say anything. Why the feelings of guilt? I wish I knew.

It is the same thing with using handicapped parking. I am legal – license plate and all – and I use it because of the joint pain I experience when I’m on my feet for long or when I walk, which means that if I feel okay going into the grocery store, for example, I will NOT feel okay coming out of it. But I don’t look sick and I always feel as if people are giving me the fish eye as I walk away from my handicapped parking spot. Sometimes, when I feel great, I don’t park in the handicapped zones and then I feel guilty because I am taking up a parking space that a non-handicapped person could use.

This guilt thing is very tricky. Perhaps I just feel guilty and then look for things to attach my guilt to. What about you, dear reader? What crazy thing do you feel guilty about? I can’t be the only one.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Years and Brass Bands

The new year (small caps intended) strikes me as less exciting than the New Year. I feel unprepared to write 2008 on anything because I have not finished with 2007. I failed to organize my studio. I never got my closet cleaned out. My garden overgrew the backyard pond and I still have not cleaned it out. Work on my book is stalled and I have no art projects underway. I did not find the time to complete two hand-made Christmas gifts (okay, I didn't even get started on them). I could go on, but I won't. It depresses me.

Michael turned 60 last Friday. That doesn't exactly depress me, but it has me shaking my head. I truly don't feel as old as I am (57). I don't see a middle-aged person when I look in the mirror. I feel like a thirty- or forty-year-old, yet my oldest daughter is 33 herself. How did Michael and I get so old? (I am not being facetious; neither am I equating 57 or 60 with advanced old age, like my parents who are 85 and 87.) When, if ever, does one's self-image change from young to old? Mine hasn't despite my graying hair and sagging body.

Enough of that. I can't maintain grouchiness for too long because even I get irritated with myself. I'd hate to irritate my readers.

I threw a tremendous birthday party for Michael if I say so myself. I hired the Paragon Brass Ensemble to perform at the party. All of our guests save the guest of honor knew about the concert. The look on his face when they arrived, and he found out why, made my scheming and work worth while. I have attended many house concerts, usually acoustic guitar and the like. A brass quintet in close quarters produces an awesome sound. The intimacy reminded me, oddly enough, of the Tuba Christmas performances my son used to play in (on the euphonium) years ago. Although held in a large, public venue (Williams Tower here in Houston), the audience at our Tuba Christmas concerts stood so close to the performers that the vibrations of their instruments reverberated through our feet.

Our eldest daughter, Alix, and her husband, Adam, hosted the party because my house did not have the 10x10 area required for the ensemble. (Fortunately, we chose the linoleum floored dining area so the five spit valves created an easily cleaned up mess.) I had borrowed folding chairs from my friend Carol complete with chair skirts to make them pretty. Our guests had an hour to meet and greet, eat and drink, and generally relax and get comfortable before the band arrived.

With excellent showmanship, ensemble spokesman Jeff Grass walked us through a few centuries of musical history with his commentary prior to each piece. The high point of the show came when, in a effort to present "authentic" natural sounds a la the middle ages, each performer took up a plastic oil funnel attached to a long plastic hose (of varying lengths) and played a song on them that had just been played on their brass instruments. Perhaps not as melodious to the ear, the hose-and-funnel performance sounded surprisingly good.

I could go on, but I am getting sleepy and I think I need an afternoon nap. I usually resist sleeping during the daytime, but it can't always be avoided. If I try to read or do anything else sedentary, I am going to fall asleep anyway, so I may as well be comfortable.

Not one to make big resolutions for the New Year, I would like to be a more consistent writer in the coming months. We'll see.