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May 10, 2011

Mother’s Day involved a lot of time in the car, but it was nice. I got French toast in bed and then we piled in the car and took a road trip to Wisconsin to go back to the smiley barn for sandwiches and a scenic drive. We tried to visit my mother-in-law, but she was out and about, so we broke into her house and left her flowers on her kitchen table.

Today was writing in the morning and teaching in the afternoon. My hands are about to fall off. On guitar, I’ve been working on The New Pornographers’ “These are the Fables,” which is coming along nicely, if only I could keep the lyrics in my head for more than five seconds, and The Decembrists’ “The Shankhill Butchers.” Both feature the same bar chord (F#minor), which is letting me get some good practice time in. I’m starting to get calluses down the side of my finger, so I think it’s working. On violin, I played a little Bach, a little Biber, a little Aerosmith, and a whole lot of “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” which is finally starting to come together, albeit under tempo. Well, maybe not together, exactly, but at least I’m less embarrassed to practice it at work now. But regardless of how it sounds, it’s been really good for my playing to work on it. All the double and triple stops are building up my hand strength, and my pitch accuracy in less common positions has improved 900 percent.

In other excitement, I began investigating orthopedic surgeons today. I fear the time for foot surgery is not long off. I’m utterly terrified of the prospect. I’m hoping I can stave off surgery until after I defend, but we shall see. Walking is becoming challenging on some days, so me and my stupid ballet-abused feet may be coming soon to a hospital near you.

Now, shall I tell you about my lumbago? Hello? Anyone?

I’ll try to have something more interesting to say tomorrow.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2011 8:20 am

    I had a dream last night that someone spotted how dependent I am on first and third position and started teaching me. Might be your posts about learning music are inspiring others!

    Surgery is always best put off until the last possible minute. This is probably a really stupid question, but if it hurts, shouldn’t you walk less? Says the woman who gained ninety pounds by becoming increasingly sedentary while putting off knee surgery.

  2. freshhell permalink
    May 10, 2011 8:31 am

    Foot surgery? That does not sound pleasant. I hope you can put it off until you’re a Ph.D. and not an ABD.

  3. May 10, 2011 8:32 am

    Jeanne, I’ve always had a bit of a fear of even-numbered positions. It turns out that I just needed the right song that motivated me to buckle down and do it. The GNR song’s basic position is 2nd. It uses 1st fairly infrequently (mainly because of the key and the double stops — there are a lot of octaves, so there’s a lot of shifting). This may not be the song for you, but I wonder if finding a song you really want to figure out might do the trick.

    As for the feet, I need walking for my physical and psychological health. It doesn’t always hurt. If I wear appropriate footwear (butt ugly; thick, stiff sole so my toes don’t flex), then I’m fine. So I’m fine when I go out for a walk with the intention of taking a walk. Where I get into trouble is when I have to, say, dress for work and I’m standing all night. Or when I go to campus and have to look appropriately professorial, but still have several miles of walking to do between assorted forms of public transportation. I try to avoid walking much when I’m not wearing the right shoes, but walking has always been my transportation of choice and I”m having a hard time changing my habits.

  4. May 10, 2011 8:37 am

    That is my hope as well, freshhell. It sounds like the surgery will involve a couple of months on crutches. I need to steel myself for that mentally. It may take a while.

  5. May 10, 2011 10:22 am

    Oh dear — sounds unpleasant, but I too would go nuts if I couldn’t walk. I’m having an embarrassing problem with my right ankle not really wanting to flex. And my right knee hurts the day after a long walk. I’m thinking it’s all just age-related and if I just keep walking my ankle and my knee will eventually just shut up. I’m not sure how effective this strategy will be, though. I’ll let you know.
    When I was about 14 my mother had a friend — a fellow music teacher, in fact — who had pleurisy! I didn’t like her much and thought it was the most pathetic thing ever. She was a sort of weedy woman to begin with . . . So be careful not to contract that!

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