This weekend has been filled with a lot of unexpected good things. I like weekends like this. I think I should try to have them a lot more often.
The weekend started with Friday, since I’m still (sigh) on reduced hours. The cold I got for my birthday last weekend finally decided to release its death grip on my sinuses (or maybe it was that my sinuses finally decided to release their death grip on the cold – who knows). And I woke up in the morning feeling a sense of purpose. I was going to find myself some new black dress pants.
Shopping is usually a horrid sort of experience for me. I try on a lot of things, look in the dressing room mirror in disgust, and then eventually give up. If I am in a position where I *have* to buy clothes (because the old ones are literally falling apart, and in the case of my old black pants, the zipper broke an embarrassingly long time ago and I’ve been zipping them up with a tiny hot pink paper clip ever since, so…yeah…it was time), I will persevere until I’ve found whatever it is that I need, but it’s rare that it’s ever a remotely pleasant experience. And I’ll admit, even though I had a friend (who actually *enjoys* shopping) going with me, we were headed for the mall. Shudder. I am not a fan of the mall (any mall, quite frankly).
This time, however, it was finally my turn to get a little bit of shopping luck. A friend and I headed off to find me some new pants, and amazingly, we found a perfectly acceptable pair in the very first store we entered. Not only that, but I only had to try on about 3 pairs before I found ones that worked, and to make things even better, I spied some lovely dress pants on the clearance rack that turned out to be just my size, so I ended up with two (!) pairs of pants instead of just one.
Ah, but it gets better. We went to a second store, and on a whim I tried on a few more pairs of black pants, and found a pair that was even better than the one I’d already bought. Plus it was on clearance (oh, how we love clearance), which meant it cost about 1/3 what the first pair cost. Admittedly we had to stand in a very slow line to buy them, and then I had to go stand in another long line in the first store to return the first pair of pants, but even that experience did not negate the sense of excitement that I was actually able to find pants. Yay pants.
After lunch I dropped off my friend and then took myself (and my new pants) home and made this cake. We have three squash plants in the garden, and while so far there are only two teeny tiny little zucchini visible, there are WHOLE LOT of yellow crookneck merrily growing away, and after harvesting the first two, I realized I need to find some novel ways to use up a whole lot of squash this summer. And when I stumbled on this recipes, I knew it had to be tried.
Friday night was dress rehearsal for the concert, and it went fabulously. It was nice to have that dress rehearsal, if only because this particular concert is all solos and duets, so instead of singing as a group (where we all know the music), we were all pretty much on our own, which meant those who weren’t currently singing wouldn’t get a chance to hear those who were. So this way we all got a little preview of what the rest of the group was doing, and it was fantastic!
Saturday morning I got up and made the chocolate ganache frosted the cake, and then I headed off to a friend’s house for Dye Day. Most of the women there had done this before but I’ve never managed to make it to previous Dye Days, so this was a new experience for me. I hadn’t been sure what I was going to dye, but then I remembered that I’d bought this cone of gorgeous silk laceweight yarn a year or two ago when someone was destashing. So one of the things I did on Friday was spend about an hour skeining it (because you can’t dye it on the cone). It took that long because (and yes, I measured) there were about 3700 yards on that cone. Hint for non-knitters. That is a LOT of laceweight.
People had brought all sorts of yarns to dye – silk, bamboo, lots of wools, and even some unspun fleece. There were pots on every square inch of stove, boiling away, and bins full of yarn soaking in the sink, and the stink of vinegar and dye on the air, and then eventually there were skeins and skeins of gorgeous colors hung outside to dry. The newest baby in our knitting group came to visit, accompanied by her parents, and we all took turns passing her around and watching her make silly facial expressions and sleep. We all went out and got sandwiches and then sat outside and ate them, until the heat got to be just too much and we had to escape back inside, to get back to it. Everyone ate cake, which turned out to be incredibly rich and moist and quite possibly the best chocolate cake I have ever had, so at least I know I’ve got one squash-busting recipe that’s a keeper.
I eventually had to head home, even though we weren’t done, because Richard’s mom and little sister were coming up to see the concert. They brought my birthday presents, which included a goofy little stuffed dragon. This turned out to be far more hysterical than they’d expected, because Ingrid (once she got over being shy) jumped onto the table, inspected the dragon, and then grabbed hold of it in her mouth and carried it off with her. So I guess it’s isn’t just Rosie who’s fond of the stuffed critters in our house now. Who knew.
Saturday night was the concert. I’ve been a little nervous about this, on and off, ever since I agreed to do it. I’ve never been very confident about doing solos. It might seem kind of odd, considering that I’ve been singing in the group for several years, and also, you would think that someone who used to perform in front of crowds of strangers, wearing nothing but a bathing suit and massive quantities of Knox gelatin in her hair (I did synchronized swimming in high school and college) would have no problem at all with something like singing, but…. The director did a similar solo-based concert last year and I did not do it because I just didn’t have the nerve. But after I went to the concert and heard everyone sing and saw how fantastic they all were, I knew I had to make myself do it.
And last night, for the first time ever, I went out there and I sang and I wasn’t nervous at *all*. Granted, there was a brief moment during the prior singer’s set when I was afraid I’d forgotten the words to my first song, but I went out into the hall and quietly sang it to myself and of course it was just fine. I suspect maybe it helped that the first number I did was a duet that required a little bit of acting and hamming it up, so once I got through that, the rest was just easy. Everyone laughed at exactly the right spots, and that helped too.
I’m not sure how any of the others did, because most of the time we were all lurking nervously downstairs, waiting for our turn, but I feel like this huge weight has now been lifted off of me, because I did something I didn’t think I could do, and I actually did it really well, and if I’d let all my fear and my self-doubt take over, I wouldn’t have ever had this chance.
And that brings us to today, which was a lovely way to end the weekend of unexpected good things. We went out and spent about half an hour in the garden in the morning, weeding. I found one perfect strawberry that hadn’t yet been eaten by the ants, and Richard said it was delicious. The little blueberry bush that I was afraid we’d killed due to neglect produced its very first ripe blueberry and he said that was delicious too (all the berries are his because I really do not like berries in any shape or form). We spotted about a dozen bright green tomatoes, half-hidden underneath leaves. Despite prior snail and slug attacks, the ground coffee moat around each plant seems to be working, and the peppers are actually showing signs of recovery and new growth. The potato bed has pretty much exploded with green and there are flowers popping up everywhere. The blackberry bushes went from little squatty sticks to long vines almost over night. I may not be a fan of the heat, but at least the veggie garden loves it.
This afternoon we went out with a friend and her sister and her dad (who were visiting from out of town) to see the Star Trek exhibit at the Aerospace Museum in McClellan. It was fun to geek out over all the uniforms and various props; to read about how the first cell phones were designed based on what the designers had seen on Star Trek; to see how real life starts to mimic science fiction in tribute, in so many small ways. And after we’d wandered through looking at fantasy and future, then we wandered around and looked at all the old engines and planes and a replica of the Mars lander, and craned our necks to stare up at the replica of a rocket launcher something-or-other that hung, massively, from the ceiling.
We headed back to Sacramento, me driving while my friend and her sister sat in the back seat and tried to find Star-Trek inspired apps for their dad’s iPad. They introduced us to a new-to-us coffee shop, and we all sat around a high table and drank iced coffee drinks and talked about chemistry and engine maintenance and how schools need to bring back things like shop and Home Ec, but make them mandatory for everyone. And then we dropped them off and waved our goodbyes, and Richard and I headed home.
The rest of the day has been fairly low key. We’ve read books and played on the computer. I took this picture of Ingrid and turned it into an LOLCat. We watched the first episode of Next Food Network Star, because that’s the sort of “reality” show that is our guilty pleasure, and then I went off to pick up my silk yarn – the yarn that I dyed yesterday. It was supposed to be brown, but something about the dye didn’t quite take, and so instead of brown, it went deep silvery, wine purple. I am not sure I could have described the color if I’d been trying to get it, but it’s absolutely gorgeous and it will work just as well (if not better) for the project I’ll be making from the yarn, so that was just the sort of unexpected good thing to end the day.