Must try harder …

I dreaded reading the words “Amanda must try harder” on my report card, usually appearing in the math section. But I really must try harder and update my blog at least monthly. When I posted last night, the website looked entirely different after an update and I had to search for my password. But I just paid $$ to continue my website subscription and that hurts for a static screen. I mentioned before that when I started blogging and researched other retirement-themed sites, I couldn’t figure out why some hadn’t been updated for several years. Now I understand totally – the retirement fog descends and blankets several hours in the day so there are really only six hours in my waking day. And those hours are filled with yoga, piano, Bible journaling, reading, baking and getting involved in a new church that we’ve recently joined. And, of course, there are endless hours spent walking, combing, bathing, brushing teeth and counseling Savannah on the correct way to behave.

So, just to update you:

Yoga: I continue to enjoy daily practice with free online classes. I know I’ll never be able to twist myself into a pretzel, but it’s fun saluting the sun, folding in half, becoming conscious of my breath, standing like a tree and trying to spread my toes. Look at any yoga video paying close attention to the teacher’s toes. They can spread those toes giving them a far wider platform to balance on than a normal person. With my narrow feet, I just keep toppling over.

Piano: I’m still playing daily. I’ve taken a short hiatus from lessons but will start those again next month. One way I know I’m improving is to play a piece from Book 1 and it seems so easy now. I remember the first piece where I had to play two notes together with one hand. There was an annotation that said, “Play those two notes at the same time.” It’s laughable now, but I recall finding it very challenging. Now, I can play three notes with both hands – not necessarily the correct ones – and it’s still a source of wonder and amazement that I can read the notes on the score. I can also play a couple of two octave scales with the correct fingers. But then I watch You Tube videos of child prodigies and feel very discouraged.

Bible journaling: My journaling Bible is full of paint, stickers and drawings. It’s great fun and there’s no wrong way or mistake. I made a terrible blotch with watercolor paint yesterday, but simply added more paint, let it dry and drew free-flowing flower shapes round the blotches. You’d never know it wasn’t by design.

Reading: A couple of neighbors started a Book Club. We meet once a month over wine and appetizers and take turns to select the book. Next month, it’s my selection: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. There’s also a wonderful film, worth looking for. And, big drum roll – I finished reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, albeit in translation. It’s 1,300 pages and took me about 18 months. My goal was a chapter a day, but sometimes it was so depressing a tale that I just couldn’t face it and gave myself a day off. We are now watching the six-episode television special and they have done a wonderful job of condensing the story into six hours.

Baking: My three-layer chocolate cake is always requested and becoming famous. I made it for a neighbor’s 75th birthday party this week and am making it again today for a church function tomorrow.

Church: We have joined Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church. We felt it was time to return to the Anglican community in which we were both baptized. We had to find our baptism details for our membership forms. Cedric was baptized in France in 1931 and I was baptized in London in 1998. I’m already on the Prayer Shawl Ministry, where we knit blankets and shawls for parishioners who need to be wrapped in prayer. The church blesses the items during a Sunday service. I’m on a committee helping put together classes/Sunday school for the next year and Pontius Pilate had a British accent during the Passion narrative on Palm Sunday.

That’s it for now. I’ve got the bit between my teeth and if you follow this blog, you’ll be inundated with new posts … until I get too busy. Enjoy the spring!

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