Monday, February 18, 2013

Coming Up For Air

My mother came from a musically talented family.  My maternal cousin Lola and my mother's half-sister Kay both have gorgeous singing voices; when Kay was in college, in fact, she won the talent contest in the Miss South Dakota pageant.  Unfortunately, although I loved to sing, I always thought I hadn't inherited the family vocal cords.

Just about a year ago a woman from my parents' church choir heard me singing in the congregation and talked me into joining the choir myself.  I was frankly astonished that they took me, but hey - they were desperate for additional bodies.

Since joining the choir I've learned a lot about singing, the most important of which is this - having the vocal cords isn't enough; good sound is based on air flow.  This last year has been the first extended period in my adult lifetime when I wasn't either managing other people or coping on a daily basis with Barry's Asperger quirks.  In other words, this is the first time I haven't been living in a constant state of tension.  It's no wonder I couldn't sing when my entire body was always clenched like a fist.  Now that my throat and my diaphragm have relaxed, I have a much bigger voice than I ever expected.

The choir is a small, close-knit group and I love them all, but I am particularly grateful to Vonda, the woman who originally recruited me.  Sadly, her wonderful husband Glenn - one of the kindest people I've ever known - died last week.  His memorial service was this weekend, and I sang one of the solos that Vonda had requested.  It was hard to get through it without bursting into tears, but it was the best way I could think of to partially repay the friend who has given me this incredible gift.

"I should like to see you free as a bird, singing for the joy of it." ~Joan Aiken, The Five-Minute Marriage

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shopping for Beefcake

I've never believed in astrology, or Fate with a capital F, or even God as an entity with a close-up and personal interest in me, but sometimes the stars do align and events arrange themselves to herd me inexorably in one seemingly inevitable direction.

Take my move to New York.  The very day I was turned down for a major promotion at my last job in the Midwest, I came home to find the National Underwriter in my mailbox with an ad for a New York job I was qualified for on the back cover.  Less than a month later, I was working just off Wall Street.  Had I received that promotion, I'd probably still be living in South Dakota.  Had the ad appeared a week earlier, I wouldn't have given it a second glance.  Had it been a few weeks later, I might have been reconciled to my passed-over state.  But no, it showed up when my sense of injustice was at its white-hot peak, and the rest is history.  Kismet?  Well, maybe.

Something similar has been at work this last month.  First I took advantage of some awesome after-Christmas clothing sales to augment my work wardrobe with sharp new stuff.  Next the staff at the church whose website I maintain hounded me into getting my picture professionally taken for the church directory, and it was way better than I expected.  Then I tired of trying to figure out how to squeeze the gym into my schedule and bought a folding exercise bike I can use at home, which lets me exercise in two ways - by pedaling while watching TV, and by muscling it in and out of the closet and setting it up and taking it down.  And after all that, Barry (with whom I technically broke up almost 2 years ago) finally realized that I was never coming back and found a new sweetie.  I am - O joy! - forever off the hook with regard to his computer and personal problems; he said he wants to make "a clean break."  Free at last, free at last...  So I signed up temporarily (for free) with OurTime, the dating website for people 50 years old and up.  Just to window shop, you understand.

As I've mentioned, Barry and I met through, so I've done the online meet and greet thing before, but it's different this time.  Then I was trying to be as open-minded as possible.  The guy was three inches shorter than me?  Fine, I'd wear flats forever.  He lived on the other side of the greater Phoenix area?  No problem, I was commuting most of the way there already.  He was supporting a deadbeat child and a houseful of grandchildren?  How nice that he was a family man.

PB (post Barry), this is no longer the case.  Life with him seems to have permanently depleted my supply of tolerance.  I am surveying the offerings emailed to me as if they are plastic-wrapped trays of hamburger labeled "Manager's Special."  Why are they there?  Are they too close to expiration?  Like a fussy shopper I sort them into the "Yes," "No," and "Maybe" buckets on the site.  I throw smokers, short guys, sports fanatics, East Valley residents, and guys who can't spell or hate to read into "No" faster than I would discard a package of ground beef with an off smell.  Call me shallow, but I don't want to settle; I want someone who is a good fit in as many ways as possible.

The one area where I'm still being lenient is looks.  Many people don't photograph well, and I'm more interested in what's inside the guy's head than outside it.  Mind you, I wouldn't be UPSET if the right guy turns out to be beefcake too...

"I've been dating since I was fifteen. I'm exhausted. Where is he?" ~Kristin Davis