Sunday, 28 January 2018

I Refuse A Biscuit

I know - I am surprised too. It was, admittedly, a second biscuit. Context is everything.

Another bit of context is that I've been reading about boundaries in relationships. Having clear boundaries means knowing what you will and won't accept from people before that thing happens.

So I knew I was going to refuse the second biscuit because I've decided on a lo-biscuit strategy for the time being. This is on account of the cheesebelt, or the cakebelt or the winebelt or the whatever-it-is that's-contributing-to-the-unboundaried-bit-about-my-middle belt.

I like biscuits a lot.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

If you were to offer me a biscuit, as my Longest Serving Friend did earlier, and if that biscuit were to be of high quality (All Butter Salted Caramel, for example) it would require an act of decisive will based on an earlier decision about biscuit-boundaries on my part to refuse it.

Boundaries are ours to tend and nurture. If you were to offer me two biscuits (let's say two Chocolate Olivers) and if I were to accept and then eat both, and then a third, that'd be my responsibility.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

I Practise The Piano

There's a myth I've grown up with that the black notes are harder.  "They're not," says my son, categorically, this evening. He realises that I am a pupil who comes with baggage. This is shown again later when he suggests, "Use your imagination - you know, the one suppressed when you were a child." We laugh.

I'm learning the piano, and my son is teaching me. I pay him - it's strictly business, strictly for pleasure. He fills in a notebook with instructions and comments. He encourages me - "Your hands are looking great!"; he imparts wisdom, "To make a mistake is not a problem, but to play without passion is a crime."

I'm learning the piano because I have unfinished business. I spent years practising the flute, taking exams and playing some of the repertoire I still hear at school concerts - ah yes, here comes Faure's Sicilienne arching down the years. But I listen, have always listened, to piano music - Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Shostakovitch, Rachmaninov, Schumann, Brahms ...

My fingers are re-playing the keys I first found under my mother's guidance decades ago. She taught me for a couple of years when I was seven or eight, and then as a teenager I'd often meander around her piano for an afternoon, mostly sticking to the things I knew.

During this evening's lesson, when my son asks me to start with any scale I like, I gravitate self-consciously to Middle C, the easy note, the one my mother showed me first. I play C major - the easy scale, avoiding the black notes. "I like B major," says my son. "It sits under my hands."

On the first page of my notebook, he has written:

Liz's Piano Journey

17th October 2017

And so it begins ...

I don't know where I'm headed, so I look at his notes.  Get your hands to do different things at the same time, he writes. And then: Enjoy yourself!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

I Dismantle Christmas

I was glad when it came, I'm glad it's over.
I sang along to favourite carols, I desire silence.
I unpacked decorations, I pack them away.
I enjoyed the tree's arrival, I enjoy its departure.
I was restored by the parties, I am restored by solitude.
I relaxed into chaos, I tidy my home.
I delighted in rich food, I eat simple food.
I revelled in December, I embrace January.