Sunday, March 09, 2008

A great Saturday

Here's a great Saturday: Went to the Y with Dave and Lily at 10. Dave had a racquet ball appointment with someone he hadn't met before who had advertised for a game partner. I gather it went well, although the guy was better and much younger. Dave lost all three games but held his own and got a great workout; Lily went into childcare where she made clothespin dolls; I went on the elliptical for what ended up being 40 minutes, and then did weights.

The elliptical is a pain. I've never been trained on it so I have little idea how high to set the resistance or the incline (the lower the harder, actually). Also the buttons are placed poorly, so I kept hitting the quick start when I tried to change the resistance. I also jumped off to get a towel at one point -- I hit pause first -- but in the 10 seconds it took to get over and back the thing had reset itself again. But I got in a good work-out.

Back home Lily had pasta for lunch and Dave made us a kind of frittata. Yesterday was pouring out, as you may have experienced where you live, too, and I planned to take a shower and relax all afternoon until a new friend came to pick me up for the evening, at 6pm. So it was perfect when my friend Mary unexpectedly called, looking to see if Lily wanted to play with her daughter, Ruth. "C'mon by!" I ordered, and we fed them lunch and the kids played all afternoon while Mary and I chatted by the roaring fireplace. Lovely!

Mary and I bonded over This Old House, her and Ruth's favorite TV show, and she was impressed that I used to work for the magazine and knew all the guys. They were the nicest part of that job, which was not my happiest professional experience . . . That led us to the topic of magazines and the brilliance of Roz Chast, in particular her cartoon "The Party, After You Left," which perfectly sums up all my insecurities. I found a good link where the words are readable, Mary!

Then I took a soak in the Japanese soaking tub, which actually happened okay. Here's the backstory: The hot water heater for this thing is on the fritz--it was not really the appropriate machine for this set-up, actually, as it turns out--but a plumber had rejiggered it so the water now comes from the hot water heater for the house. Last weekend I had tried to fill it but the house tank is only 50 gallons and the tub is 70, and I filled up the tub too quickly and when I tested it, it was tepid. Not a fun thing.

So this time Dave said, fill it more slowly and don't turn on the cold at all, which I did. But there was no hot water left so my shower beforehand was essentially cold. Yuck. The tub wasn't quite filled high enough, but it was hot, so I warmed up in there right away. This has been going on for about a month, and I really miss the soaks!

Dave is now thinking it might be worth the investment just to get hot water on demand for the entire house, which will suit me just fine, I think. I just want to be able to take a blistering hot, steamy soak--preceded by a hot shower--without much thought or preparation (not even not running the dishwater beforehand, but not washing a couple of pots because there won't be enough hot water). So we might make that investment.

Anyway, while I was soaking my friend Heather came over and brought her arsenal, as she calls it, of hair and make-up supplies. She was here to do Lily's hair, and she did Ruth's too, while she was at it. I left just as it was starting but Dave acted as fashion photog. Heather hung out with Lily after Mary and Ruth left and Dave went out for his regular poker game. I got back around 10 and put sleepy Lily to bed and thanked Heather profusely, who just loves to do this. So it was a great great Saturday all 'round.

The photos from last night are here. They look so glam and grown-up! This link also includes a couple of mask-camp photos from Friday afternoon--Lily is Cat Saver, the superhero she made up a couple of years ago--and a photo of the bird feeder that hangs outside our bedroom that Dave took this morning. On that note, here's the bird update:

The best news is we have a cardinal couple and he is just stunning against the white snow. He and other birds, juncos, chickadees, and now tree sparrows and a house finch, who have been gone for several weeks in the dead of winter, love hanging out in the bare branches of the forsythia in our back yard. They pop up to the feeder outside our window for a snack, eat furiously, dropping lots of seeds on the ground below--very messy eaters--and then race back to their shrubbery perch. I also heard a woodpecker some place when I went to get the Sunday papers.

Yes, we still have tons of snow. We seem to be in a distinctly different microclimate, which made my nephew Jonah ecstatic last weekend (they came right after a big snow storm too so it was fresh, and he and Lily made forts at the piles at end of the driveway). A quarter mile from here, say on Hatfield Road, most of the snow is gone and we can see the ground. But all the yards on Marian Street are covered with at least a foot of snow. It's kinda depressing, although the cardinal, as I say, makes it worth it, makes me sigh with happiness every time I see him.

We first saw this house in late April last year but we moved in at the end of June, so this will be our first spring here and I can't wait. Spring is a time when a young bird's fancy turns to love, and we will reap the benefits by waking up to them singing what the previous owners referred to as the Hallelujah chorus in a few weeks, but just for a brief time. Then they will finish up their courting and go about the business of sitting on eggs and then feeding their families.

We go south for the winter
South for the winter
But we’re back! It’s almost spring!
In spring the weather’s lovely!
It elevates the mood
But even more important:
There’s a plentitude of food!
So if you’re feeling peckish
You could go for seconds
Even thirds!

Boy Bird: Winter’s for the Birds!

Lady Bird 2 (spoken): No it isn’t!

Boy Bird: It’s an expression!

Lady Bird 2 (spoken): Oh…

Winter now is over!
The snow has all been snowed!
Spring is near, which starts a year
With Frog and Toad!

(from A Year with Frog and Toad, the fabulous musical.)

God I'm ready for spring.

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