St. Patrick's Day, Lent, & Coconut

Saturday greetings! I'm still here, though hardly as much as before, obviously.

We're headed into the 5th week of Lent, and apparently, since I just looked at my calendar to figure that out, I see that today is St. Patrick's Day. Thankfully I am wearing green, although they are my pyjamas and no one is around to confirm this, so you're just going to have to take my word for it (yes, I am still in my PJs - it IS Saturday, after all). All this to say, enjoy your St. Paddy's Day festivities and don't pinch me!

F804C0B2-06A8-47DC-AB6A-BAE87B75E328.jpg

I'm happy to report that I successfully, and I mean that, completed Algebra 1 in the condensed Winter semester. I'm talking all A's (barre one high B) on all the tests, homework, AND the final. I got the 4th highest score in the class on the final and I legitimately cried and hugged my professor (who is an astounding teacher, btw). There is just no denying the morale boost that overcoming a huge obstacle, creates. It has to be one of the best feelings I've ever experienced, that delayed gratification.

But back to Lent: this was the first year that I decided to observe Lent and the "fasting" practice. Back in November, I gave up drinking after a lecture in my Psych 101 class on brain chemistry, drug usage and dependence. It hit me a bit hard as I am the type who can easily consume a whole bottle of wine a night, every night....and oftentimes, I did just that, especially as the stress of the school semester was underway. I was finding myself rushing to get my reading and assignments done in the evenings just so I could "relax" with (read, crawl into) a bottle of wine. Addiction runs in our family and whilst I hadn't reached the point of dependence, I could see the high probability of it sneaking up on me. So, I decided to nip it in the bud before it nipped me, so to speak. And I've been dry ever since....except for one time...it was during communion the following Sunday and I completely forgot and drank the wine. A bit of a conundrum of sorts, to ask for forgiveness for receiving the "blood", but I digress. I've also been eating a vegan keto (LCHF) diet since about August and you see, what I'm trying to get at here, as you may already gather, is that I was running out of things to "give up" for Lent. I quickly began to question my Puritan trajectory, let me tell you, but in the grand scheme of things, there are much worse life paths to worry about. (BTW, I've lost 17lbs, most of which came off when I dried out!)
So, I looked at my current life and evaluated the things that were keeping me from aiming towards my potential. Of course, there was one glaring thing - Facebook. I would find myself scrolling for upwards of 45 minutes sometimes, often twice a day for no good reason at all. I am very good at making justifications for this useless behavior, like "I like to know what everyone is up to" or "it's my only source of news since we don't watch TV" or "I learn so much from observing people". The amount of time wasted, when you do the math, is just too staggering to even repeat. So, the decision was made, swiftly and with no remorse, like a merciless monarch's ruling - I gave up Facebook for Lent. (I also attempted to give up added sugar but I worried about those Puritan tendencies of mine, you know?)

I have 2 weeks left and I honestly do not miss FB at all. I've gotten some e-mail notifications of people tagging me in some things (even though I made a post on Ash Wednesday saying that I would be abstaining from FB) and that worries me a little bit because I can't monitor what people are posting in regards to me but, I'm not worried enough to break my vow. I don't know if I'll return, and I can definitely tell you that if I do, I will not be engaging in it with the fervor as per usual. It's been a very good decision thus far.

IMG_1421.jpg

Well, in other news, Nick is out of town. He is visiting his old stomping grounds that is Upstate New York. His former percussion teacher at SUNY Potsdam is retiring, so he and his buddies from school all piled in a van and drove through the snow and Adirondack mountains to pay homage to the man. As you could imagine, he's having a blast but there is a dark cloud hanging overhead as, I regret to inform, that Nick's father passed away, suddenly, on February 1st and there are family matters, and extreme grief, to which to tend. When we received the news Nick was on the first day of what was to be a nasty strain of the flu which laid him flat for nearly two weeks. The pain, both physical and emotional, that he endured was absolutely heartwrenching and stomach-turning. It was so bad that he was unable to even make it to his father's own funeral. Even if he had been well, a ticket for both of us would've cost nearly $1000, each and neither of us is anywhere near that flush, ever. You see, Nick had the tickets already for this trip for the retirement homage of his teacher so, with many avoidant days of indecision, we finally decided to wait for him to go, and I to stay home.  He's spending the first few days in the company of some of his most influential friends from his college days, and then he'll be spending the remaining week at his father's house, the house in which he was raised, alone, albeit with his father's cats. If you're thinking anything like us, then you'll agree that the next week will be difficult, but necessary.

An added part of this story is that he will be attempting to bring home his cat, Coconut, who's lived with his parents since he moved to Los Angeles in 2006, to live with us in our already 3-cat household. She is an 18 y/o white Himalayan whom he found in the NYC subway. She's quite the cat and for years we've toyed with the idea of snagging her back to live with us. Well, now, it's a reality. There are two other cats there, Sweetheart and Scooter who will go to live with Nick's sister, Diana. Nick's task is to take Coconut to the vet in Ballston Spa to maybe get the ok for her to travel and to retrieve her medical records/prescriptions. He has two layovers and Coconut has a heart murmur, so sedating her is probably not an option, though she is one of the most relaxed cats I've ever come across.
I hope she can make it because we adore her.

IMG_3444.JPG
0EFDB4B9-5168-4037-BE87-97E76667ED16.jpg
Facetune_20-02-2018-16-49-05.jpg

 

 

 

In the meantime, I am busy with my Spring semester, church choir and its looming Easter services, the Pasadena Master Chorale rehearsals and soirée planning, teaching, and the occasional socializing, if I can muster it. I'm taking Social Psychology, the second semester of Music History, English Composition, and I'm performing with the Baroque Ensemble. It's a lot of reading and writing but so far it's manageable. In addition to the heavy load, I have to fulfil some community volunteer hours for the psych class which I am looking forward to, I just hope I can make the time for it.

Speaking of all these commitments I have, I feel I should tend to them now. I shall leave you with some of the class listening assignments which has played as the soundtrack to my composing of this post. 

Until next time, whenever that may be -

af