Mosaic of Faces

I feel like there’s a ton to get down, but no central theme. OK, let’s start with the prompt:

What changes are you observing in recreational patterns in your home neighborhood? (For the purposes of this exercise, consider dog-walking, jogging, outdoor exercise, outdoor gatherings, park usage, and the like as recreational.) How have these patterns differed, if at all, from those before the pandemic? Which changes have surprised you most? What further changes do you anticipate, or should be implemented?

Gosh, not sure. I’m dying to get out on my own bike, but the weather’s been too crappy/cold to do so. When I go out to powerwalk, there is, now that I think about it, a higher percentage of runners and dog-walkers than normal. (Lots of dogs. I passed the old lady with the pug the other day, the one I tried to zoom past last July, causing myself to trip really badly and fracture my hand. Boy, was my face red.) (also, I’m playing with WordPress features as I draft this, so, layout- and design-wise, this may get odd)

I hear kids playing in our central courtyard, which is fine. I don’t know if they are playing with other kids (they’re not supposed to). I don’t know if any changes have surprised me – or where I see this going. I’m really anxious for the ice rinks to be opened up – although now that it’s getting warm, ice-skating is counter-intuitive. But while social distancing might be possible on the rink to some extent if they keep the numbers down, it’s going to be more difficult on the benches. Saturdays and Sundays, which is when most of the classes happen, are mob scenes of parents and children.

So, no great revelations there.

I made lemon cookies yesterday! Used this Martha Stewart recipe that C sent me. They weren’t as pretty as the picture, but they taste fine (the glaze really makes it) and weren’t difficult. Both these and the blondies I made a few weeks ago took longer to cook (and could have used even more time than I gave them) than the recipe called for. Our oven is new, I don’t know if that’s a factor or not. I suspect that upping the temperature 25 degrees or so might take care of that.

But I think I’m at the point in the OMG last year was awful / my mom died / I’m still unemployed / our national leadership is as bad as it could be / people are dying from a contagious virus / we’re all trapped at home cycle where … well, it’s not normal, but at the moment it’s stable. And I probably should stop using it as an excuse to order chili cheese dogs and onion rings from the local deli, or eat cookies twice a day (or more), or make my own cookies, or drink as much as I do. I’m heavy and feel yucky and my knees are starting to complain and it’s only going to get worse. So I have a master plan of sorts, and I think I’m probably going to join Weight Watchers again, just to get some structure. It works if you do it right, and the thing I tend to shy away from is the constant tracking and planning – but right now, I have time for that and frankly I’m ready to submit to that. (I don’t do submission well. Ask any number of ex-boyfriends or controlling bosses.) (Apropo of nothing, I had a dream last night that I had returned to the 2019 job and Tough Cookie was still there, for some reason, even though she’s not at the company any more in real life, and it was just as awful as it had been. So I guess… a nightmare? Or just a different kind of anxiety dream, like being naked in public or not studying for the test.)

But, after a Saturday where I felt like nothing got done except laundry, yesterday was pretty awesome. Besides the aforementioned lemon cookies, I tidied up/reorganized the home office closet, which didn’t take that long. It also completed the annual tidy up/reorganize/dust the entire home office project which starts annually at the beginning of the year. I’m hoping I can swap out that project (with dedicated time on Sunday) to bike riding. Come on, weather!

And I recorded a piano performance. I’ve been working on a particular piece as sort of a tribute to Mom, and have gotten it up to the point yesterday where I actually sat down and recorded it. The performance was acceptable, but there were problems with the recording itself, so I want to track that down today. (I also have to remember to do this sort of thing when I know C won’t wander into the room, and remember to turn off the grandfather clock chimes.)

I’m also doing a casual, yet structured, daily workthrough of Bach’s two-part inventions. I’ve been working on them my entire pianistic life, seems like (certainly since college), and there are at least three that have at one point been under my fingers enough to call them ‘done’. The plan there is to spend, ya know, 15 minutes on one a day (I’ve been cycling through a different three each week). When one is up to reasonable performance level, I’ll record it and post it, then take that one off the list. And eventually I’ll be able to get through the whole set.

I’ll probably take weekly breaks here and there to do the same sort of thing with Scarlatta sonatas or Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (hee hee hee) pieces. And once I finish with the 2-parts, I’ll move on to the 3-parts, then maybe the Italian Concerto, and then the Well-Tempered Klavier.

I’m also doing daily scales and sight-reading of easy stuff and work on a particular piece (right now, it’s the one for Mom) and the ‘particular piece’ will change as I work each one up. It’s a plan, I think, and I’d love to keep this going as long as I’m home every or most days. I love playing piano, I have a gorgeous instrument if I do say so myself, and it taunts me when I don’t give it any attention.

Media consumption… TV, um, we finished Locke and Key, which is entertaining enough. Has a real ‘why are all the teenagers 25?’ problem, but the effects are pretty cool. Now on the latest season of Bosch. Bosch is fantastic, but have I mentioned before how viscerally irritating I find the opening credits? Not only the discombobulating mirrored visuals, but that music makes me want to throw something. Anyway…

Movies: we watched Angel Has Fallen last night. I knew there had been two ‘the president has been attacked and we need a hero’ movies at the same time (the other was White House Down and I knew we’d seen that), so I wasn’t sure whether we’d seen this. (we hadn’t) We liked it a lot, actually. Still a lot of macho macho shoot-’em-up, but viscerally exciting. Loved the drone attack at the beginning. Nick Nolte is a hoot and a half, as is Jada Pinkett Smith (doing a Kamala Harris impression). Recommended.

Books: I finished several. My friend Stephanie Gillett wrote a skating thriller/romance called On Edge which you can get on Amazon, worth the read. I finished another Amazon thriller called Rain Will Come, enjoyed that a lot. Gave up on the Mary Wickes bio, it wasn’t very well-written or interesting. (The author does mention, briefly, that she played Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest at William & Mary. That happened my freshman year, and I had several friends in the cast. The book corroborates what my friend Shana told me, that she liked to call everyone “pushface”. That’s weird.)

Working my way (again) through the Valdemar Tarma/Kethry books. (my library book expires today – I need to renew it.) More than halfway through the Star Wars From a Certain Point of View anthology, which is really great (although I’ll probably pass it on to someone else once done, rather than hang onto it. Loved the force-sensitive dianogan, and the mouse droid being used to set up a gay assignation.) And for the m/m romance crowd, I didn’t love KJ Charles’s The Henchmen of Zenda as much as my friend Gabe did, but I really enjoyed Think of England. I have switched back to other authors for a bit, but KJ Charles is going to be a favorite – almost all her stuff has been top-notch fun.

Galas: this weekend there were two ‘galas’ done kind of the same way that SNL has been broadcasting – everyone at home on Zoom, given their turn. The Met Opera did one, and I tuned in at possibly the best part, when soprano Erin Morley not only sang , but accompanied herself – spectacularly.

Then there was a Sondheim one last night, and I sort of followed the meta-commentary on Twitter and FB, but haven’t seen anything from it yet. That will be today, I guess.

Rumor has it it may be Monday. Enjoy the week!

This post is part of a larger project, #MOC19. Read more about the Mass Observation COVID-19 project here.  Also, we are trying to publicize this projects – if you have any ideas about good ways to do so, please let me know.

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