Saturday, August 25, 2007

From the heart

I have the best friend in the whole world. She's one of those amazing people who has more energy than six of the rest of us put together. She's the least selfish person I've ever met, and I like her anyway. Everyone who knows her considers her one of their very best friends - and that's a lot of people. She has an amazing way of making all those around her feel special and remembered and cared about.

Many of my most prized possessions are from her. The cello cross-stitch she made me in high school. The hand-made scrapbook of our high school years together (LONG before scrapbooking was "in"). The dozens of hand water-colored envelopes from long chatty letters in college. The beautiful hand-knit blanket made for my daughter. She gives so much. And frankly, from me, receives not nearly enough in return. There's no keeping up with her, but I'm worst than most. I'm pretty self-absorbed. I'm not at all crafty. I'm reserved - she's bubbly. I wish and wish I knew how to reciprocate, but again and again I fall short.

All I can give her is my love and my gratitude for all of the life we have shared together. Lots of changes, lots of tears, lots of laughs. I hope she always will be there for me, as I will always be for her.

Happy Birthday, my Carrie-friend. You are one-in-a-million.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New String Heaven

Got my new G & C strings today - hallelujah!! I am now playing with a full set of Larsen strings - Soloist A&D and Wire Core G&C. I just changed the lower today so they're still playing in, but I am already in 7th heaven. I am getting overtones out of my cello I've never heard before - it's astounding.

When I bought my cello (December 2004), it had the same strings I'd always played - Jargar A/D, Dominant G/C (silver wound G, tungsten wound C). I'd never thought twice about it. In fact, I never really thought about strings. Through college, when I was playing at minimum 20 hours/week I only changed my strings maybe once a year. That's just CRAZY! I had no idea what a difference it made.

I've been experimenting the last year or so, and I've changed my strings every 6 months. My last setup was the Larsen Soloist A/D paired with the Spirocore G/C. That's the most common professional cello setup, but I didn't care for the Spirocore at all. My first pair were tungsten wound and far too gritty. I know lots of pros like that gritty sound because it helps provide clarity in the lower registers, but they just didn't sound pretty to me. Then I tried a silver-wound G with a tungsten C and it was better, but still too rough sounding for my cello. Not to mention they went dead in a matter of a months.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to try the Larsen G/C, because they are the most expensive strings you can buy and I was afraid I'd like them! Like doesn't begin to describe it. I can't wait to see what they feel like in a few more days. Ugh - I need to get some freelance gigs going this year so I can pay for my new strings!!

I love new strings! It makes me remember why I fell so in love with this cello!

Do those come in chocolate?

I had a brainstorm idea yesterday on how to make some progress weaning Kate. While there's a part of me that has no issue with continuing, the sad fact is that if we want to get scheduled for our next IVF cycle, I need to wean. In most ways I feel the time has come. It's only going to get harder as she gets older, and I have no intention of nursing a 3 yr old. But I will miss the sweet moments. The eye-gazing, the special smiles. The way her dimples show when something makes her laugh. How she likes me to hold her foot. When she stops for a second to say, "I love Mama!"

If I refuse her when she asks to nurse, it's as though I've abandoned her. Sobbing, curling up in a little ball and crying. It's heartbreaking.

Then yesterday it occurred to me: chocolate milk. If I could offer her something similar that she loves, perhaps that could distract her from nursing. Little did I know that this exact approach was used in Desperate Housewives, which I've never seen!

I tried it today and so far it is working. Not a cold-turkey weaning or anything, but for now to keep her down to 3x/day and then work down from there in the next couple months.

I don't know what else to do. There is virtually no guidance for weaning a child this age. It seems most resources assume that if you nurse past age 1, you are planning to nurse until high school. We really want to have another child, and with me turning 35 this year my ticking clock just got undeniably louder.

However, successful ABC comedies aside, I feel like a questionable mother for doing this. I've struggled with my weight since college. Kids today consume waaaay too much sugar. Childhood obesity is an epidemic. Am I risking her health to assuage my own guilt?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

You gotta start somewhere...

So, here's the deal. I've been wanting to start a blog for, oh, 4 years or so. What's the holdup, you ask? Couldn't think of a title. Yep. Seriously.

I started one last year - with a grand total of one post. Picked a title to reflect my new life as a stay-at-home Mom. It didn't feel right. Now I've been home for a little more than a year and I'm starting to discover that the best thing about being a SAHM is that I'm NOT "just a Mom." If anything, before I was "just an IT Manager." I'm rediscovering who I am. I'd say I'm finding a new identity - without work. But really I find that I'm returning to who I was 15-20 years ago. And dang, I'm happier this way.

I remember in high school they asked us where we thought we'd be in XX years (10? 25? something like that). I remember saying I'd be a professional cellist with a houseful of kids.

House full of kids? Not quite... or not yet, anyway. I'm a proud mom to Kate, who is almost 21 months. But siblings will be few and far between. The whole putting-off-childbearing-until career-in-place-and-financially-secure thing didn't work that great for me. When I got down to having kids, it wasn't so easy. Kate is an IVF baby. Hopefully she's not our only - we were lucky and it worked first try, so we're optimistic we'll get another miracle someday in the next year or so.

Professional cellist? Hardly. I've been principal cellist in a local non-paid orchestra for several years, but haven't done much else. I'm working very hard lately to get my cello chops back to where they were in college, in hopes of starting to do more free-lance work.

So, I'm not quite where I envisioned, but I'm well on my way.

And I think I finally found a title that will stick.