Happy November!

Did I say that the other day?  I do love November, though.  It’s one of the nicer months of the year.  Here in Texas it is finally getting crisp and nice outside.  The boys and I spend as much time outside as we can.  I also like that for us, at least, it is one of those months that doesn’t have any family disagreements built into it, holiday-wise.  My in-laws do their Thanksgiving a few weeks after, just in time for their anniversary, so that just leaves us one family to do Thanksgiving with.  🙂  (Of course there are still multiple celebrations: my son, my niece, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law all have birthdays this month.  Whee!)

Catching up on life: We had a great vacation.  We went down to Galveston Island (about 5.5 hours from us) and stayed in a condo near the beach.  We got up later than we normally do and watched the sunrise on the balcony or on the shore every morning and went back out there again for the sunset.  We listened to the seagulls cry.  We walked nearly everywhere: restaurants, church, the beach.  We had time with friends.  We went to Schlitterbahn Water Park (just the indoor part) and Moody Gardens.  The weather was perfect.  I really did want to stay there forever, which never happens for me on vacation (usually I get more and more stressed and want to go home).  It was a delightful trip.

Since getting back home I’ve tried to work a little more of that laid back vacation attitude into regular life.  I head out onto the front patio with my tea in the morning and sometimes even make it back out onto the back patio in the evenings.  Nick and I made a joint decision to watch a little less TV than we had been, so we deleted a few shows off our DVR, just in time for the World Series.  So I’ve watched less TV, at least.  (Things we dropped: Raising Hope, Fringe, & some of the new stuff we’d recorded but never watched) I’ve spent that time reading or doing crafts, which I love.  I have a secret project I’ve been working on for a friend, so I’ll post about that after the gifting has been done.  I was hoping to add some more walking into my schedule, but that hasn’t worked this week yet.  After this week I’ll have more time, so maybe Greg and I can go take some long walks at the park trails.

Another new thing in my life is piano lessons.  I took piano from the time I was in 3rd grade until my senior year of high school.  I was considering going on to music school in college, but got extremely burnt out on everything and quit taking lessons and went on to be an English major instead.  But I’ve kept up with music; I sang in choirs at church, taught beginning piano and clarinet lessons for a bit while in college, played my clarinet in various community groups throughout the years, and have been doing piano duets with my mother-in-law at church lately.  I can still play well from sheet music, but I wanted to learn to improvise and accompany.  My kids piano teacher had mentioned that the system she uses with beginners (the kids will be starting it soon) had a corollary program for “professionals” and she also had a time slot open.  I figured out a way to fit it into the budget  (no more lunches out and no more fancy beverages pretty much did it; the added bonus is that theoretically that will help with weight loss, right?) and off I ran with it.  I started last week in David’s time slot while he was away at camp with a school program.  I’ve already managed to memorize 3 chords and their minors & 7ths, which had totally eluded me in the past (perhaps because while my teachers always told me what kinds of chords things were during lessons, the chords themselves weren’t what I was practicing, not in my mind).  I have my second lesson today.  I’m very excited.  🙂  Unfortunately all the practicing is making my hands more twingy and achy, but I’m trying to figure out the best way to deal with that and I think I’ll go back to doing my hand stretches in the morning again.