Since Eric's been out of town all week, I naturally set the bar a little high and fell short on project completions. But I made lots of progress on some sewing/mending jobs that had plagued me for a while, and made a respectable stab at trying to revamp our budget to allow for the huge rise in food and gas prices. As I said, nothing is totally finished, but I have to shift gears this afternoon and do a little cleaning and tidying (hide unfinished stuff) before he gets home.
So, lacking a real theme to explore today, I'll just do a brief recap of a few interesting things I did this week.
1. I contributed my olfactory talents to a neighbor whose smoke detectors in went into intermittent alarm mode for no apparent reason. After a thorough inspection of the house, we took the covers off the detectors and blew them out with air-in-a-can. A cute little spider ran out of one, and then there were no more alarms. Saved the taxpayers a small fortune by averting an expensive 911 call, and got to feel like Robert DiNiro in "Backdraft." Just call me Inspector Arnett.
2. Watched a neat docu-dramentary about the "little ice age." Who knew Stradivari achieved the amazing sound we enjoy because of the effect of the temporarily harsh climate in European forests? It was entertaining History Channel fare, and they didn't propose an alien invasion as the cause even once.
3. Camille participated in the Stickley piano competition, a prestigious regional competition for young people. She performed Burgmueller's "The Knight Errant," a happy, tricky piece that she's worked on tirelessly for several months. This was her first time to enter the Stickley, and she approached her performance as a chance to get her feet wet in the big leagues, so to speak. She wasn't thrilled with herself, since she made a mistake or two, but I was so proud of her having the courage and determination to try. She has talent, but more importantly, she has discipline and a willingness to work hard. These two traits will carry her farther than raw talent ever could.
4. Mary Kathleen is approaching her 16th birthday, and owing to her almost constant employment as a babysitter or pet sitter, she has enough money that she can't even come up with a decent list of gift ideas. I'm sure a request for a Japanese teppanyaki dinner is coming, but she won't be pinned down on a party or outing idea. She's going to end up at Chuck E. Cheese if she's not careful. Mary's also working on summer plans. She wants to work at the art camp sponsored by the high school, she wants to do a credit project for Animal Science (anyone want to let her raise chickens at your house?), and she's got to take driver's education. Plus she wants to get a job at United Arts and Education. Oh, and visit a few college campii. Sounds relaxing, doesn't it?
5. I watched two movies that I've had in the dvr queue for several months, plus went to one at the theatre. "The Portrait of a Lady," with Nicole Kidman, is a film I've meant to see since it came out in the late 90s. I like other adaptations of Henry James' novels (The Wings of the Dove, The Turn of the Screw), but this was such a let-down. I don't intend to do a movie review at this time, but it's so disappointing to get your hopes up about a movie, and have it disappoint. It's the opposite of my feelings about "Just Go With It," the latest idiotic, contrived vehicle for Adam Sandler. I dislike him and his brand of comedy so much, I had extremely low expectation (it's amazing what you'll do to get out of the house in winter sometimes). The fact the Jennifer Aniston and the rest of the cast was decent, while not redeeming this piece of trash, made it much easier to enjoy as stupid escapism. And last, but definitely not least, I watched "Sunshine Cleaning," with Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Adam Arkin, which was very enjoyable. In desperation, Adams has to take a job doing crime scene clean-ups, which ends up being lucrative. She and Blunt have great chemistry as sisters with a bittersweet tragedy in their past. Anyone would like this story, but it's got a bit of profanity and more than one sex scene, so it's not for the kids.
6. I joined a new ladies' service club this week. It's actually a new "branch" of a club to which I already belong, but this chapter will meet at night and on my end of town. I joke about Medical Margaritas, my drunko group and my life of leisure, but deep down, I care very much about being a contributor in the community. I look forward to making new friends and helping out with some worthy local causes.
7. Drunko was last night. Delicious food, yummy drinks, excellent company, home by 11. Perfect.
8. Camille and I are taking off for a quick overnight in Indy tonight. She's attending a conference which emphasizes STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). She went last year and had a ball; this year she has a friend from Columbus who is attending as well. I see myself peacefully browsing at one of the local antique malls, broadening my knowledge of the market and honing my negotiating skills. Or maybe I'll ride down to the Garden Show at the Fairgrounds, if it's not snowing...
Now that I killed an hour recapping my week, I suppose I need to get ready for the weekend. We have a couple's dinner tomorrow night, where our favorite local chef will be preparing a five-course meal for a group of us who won his services in a silent auction. I'll see Eric for the first time in a week when we meet at this get-together. It will be a lovely way to end a pleasant week.
p.s. Prayers and thoughts go out to the many people affected by the earthquake and tsunami disasters. I marvel at how lucky I am, and wonder why that is.