Laurie Gould: Don


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Keeping it clean

Today I am going to write about personal hygiene.

I am writing this, in fact, right out of the shower, after a somewhat sweaty yoga class.  I feel clean and fresh and overall pretty great.   Clean is pretty much my favorite way to be.  Of course I am a gardener, so at the right time of year I like nothing better than getting covered in dirt from head to toe.  But part of the delight is the shower afterwards, the chance to start grimy and end sparkling (except for that bit of dirt that gets ground into my fingers in April and never really scrubs off until October).  

I am a daily bather, as were my parents before me, and I raised my children to be daily bathers, as well.  Alas, the younger generation no longer believes in bathing.  My older daughter was in college for about 20 minutes when she apparently learned from her peers that it is not actually necessary to bathe every day.  Less than a year later my younger daughter learned the same "fact" at music camp (music camp!  So much for the notion of the arts as a high-minded pursuit!)

So how much should I be worried about the younger generation's more relaxed standards of personal hygiene?   For answers, I turned to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, figuring that I could rely on them to give me cause for alarm.

Following the Rules

It's time for a little trash talk. 

Thursday is trash pickup day on our street.   Last Wednesday evening, I wheeled my City-issued garbage bins to the curb.  

By Thursday evening, the green recycling bin was empty but the blue garbage bin was still full.  So I filed the online form to report a missed trash pickup.

On Friday morning the bin was emptied, but this sticker was affixed to the lid:


Yoga song -- a new video!

Thanks to my wonderful friend and co-conspirator Sheree Galpert for joining in the fun:


Woman of Leisure

I am now going to make a shocking confession, and the confession is this:

I am not particularly busy.

My husband is out of town; my one child still living at home is occupied with her over-scheduled 17-year-old life.   I tried to make plans for the weekend with friends; but they are mostly....busy.  Which I, at the moment, am not.


Me and Mr. Pavlov

Anyone who has tried to write knows how very easy it is not to.  I do love writing this blog, but getting down to it can be a challenge. There are so many other more compelling activities!  Checking my email.  Ironing the kitchen towels.  Whipping up a pan of brownies.  Eating up a pan of brownies.

To counteract my natural tendency to do anything but write, I try to structure routines that might eventually make writing almost automatic.  In particular, I do my best to write while I am sitting at a certain downtown Boston coffee shop which I frequent on Saturday afternoons, while I am waiting for my daughter to finish her clarinet lesson at Symphony Hall down the street. 

You have surely heard of the great Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov and his seminal work on the "conditioned response."  Ring a bell each time a dog is fed, and eventually the bell alone, absent the food, will be enough to provoke the dog to salivate.  This is my plan for Saturdays at the Pavement Coffee Shop:  eventually the simple act of walking through the door will provoke the conditioned reflex:   MUST.....WRITE....BLOG!

Packing the farm

Last night I got into my husband's car and was assaulted by a swarm of fruitflies and the unmistakable odor of fermentation.  Steve acknowledged that matters were amiss:  "There's gotta be something under one of the seats; but I looked and I couldn't find it."

Fortunately I have been practicing yoga recently, and by breathing deeply from my belly and finding Threading the Needle pose I was able to contort my arm under the front seat to extract an unspeakably icky something in an advanced stage of decay. 

I'm pretty sure that it was one of these lovely Italian prune plums that Steve bought at the farmers' market near his office:

You Gotta Ac-Cent-uate the Negative

The week after Labor Day is always a wistful one, as we say goodbye to summer's leisure and get back to the business of business and school.   This year it was a particularly wistful week for me, since this is my last year of having a school-aged person living at home.  My younger child is a senior in high school, so I am less than a year away from an empty nest.   I'm sure that this next phase of my life will be full of adventure and freedom and opportunity, and I will embrace it with great enthusiasm when it comes.  But after nearly 23 years of being Mom first and foremost, this is a poignant moment indeed.

I have been doing lots of yoga and meditation over the past year; and if I have learned anything, it's that there is great strength to be found in living in the moment.   I can choose a constructive mindfulness rather than wallowing in anxiety about the future.  I need to focus on the present, to fully embrace the experience that I am having right now.

And so I am approaching this coming transition in a constructive, mindful way.   I am choosing to focus on the stuff I hate right now about having children at home, things in the now that I will not miss at ALL.

It's Fugue'in September!

Novelty Fugues are a genre that is somewhat limited in repertoire; but I have three of them on my new album.  And since it's the season for such things, here's one now, the first of the September Fugues--click on the link, then the "Play" arrow, to have a listen:

September Fugues:  On the Theme of Forms

Happy September!

To knit, or knot?

I am not very good at sitting around and doing nothing. 

And yet that was the top priority for a big chunk of the vacation I just took with my husband.   We rented a lovely cabin on a beautiful lake on Vancouver Island for four days, totally off the grid--no Internet, no cellphone reception, no civilization within easy reach.   "We will just sit and be and do nothing at all," my husband enthused as he finalized the arrangements on Air B&B.

Yes.  That is all very nice.   But if I'm doing to sit around and do nothing, I need something to do.  So in preparation for this trip, I went out and bought materials for a knitting project.    

This is what my sweater will look like when it is done:



No, it won't look anything like that.   My sweaters always come out somewhat mis-shapen; they have that unmistakable look that my friend Jennifer describes as "made at home with loving hands."  Here's one:

What I'm Not Doing at the AIrport

I'm at the airport, ready for my flight home.  And I am surprised to see that at least so far, it is on time.

I've had a lot of business travel lately; this is my eighth flight in the past eight weeks.   If this one leaves on schedule, it will be only the second of those eight flights to do so. 

But think of all the quality airport time I'll be missing!   I won't be doing any impulse shopping at the BestBuy kiosk:


I won't have time to upgrade my headphones--and I know these are WAY better than mine:

Nor to buy one of these things for the sole purpose of figuring out what the hell it does:

No time to slam back a few burgers here!

Nor beers, here:

If I were to spend a few hours at the Columbus International Airport, I would surely emerge on a very different spiritual plane:

Let me make it very clear to the good proprietors of the Terminal C newsstand that I am deeply grateful for your concern for my immortal soul.  Thanks, guys!  But I have no time for salvation today:  I'm going HOME, and on time!

In the Newark airport one evening last month, I had extensive leisure to contemplate a different kind of book cover:

This tomb was being devoured quite voraciously by the woman sitting opposite me, waiting for the same Boston-bound flight, delayed more than three hours (United; mechanical difficulty).   Contemplating this title naturally raised a number of questions, principal among them:

  • Are we talking really new?  Or just new-to-me (i.e., used)?
  • What would I do with the old husband?
  • Which Friday?

Tonight, alas, there will be no time to contemplate such matters.

I will not, alas, be buying one of these:

Nor one of these:

Although you have to admit that $8.88 is a damn good deal.

I will not have time to wonder what in God's name has happened to the eyes of Beanie Babies:

The Beanie Babies of my younger days had beady little eyes, as befits a stuffed animal.  These things look like they're possessed.   If I had one in my room when the lights went out I would need to stuff it in a drawer.

But no worries about creepy Beanie Babies disturbing my slumber!   I have no time to purchase such things today.   My flight is on time, at least for now, and I am heading home.  Where I will have a joyful reunion with my Old Husband. 

Unless, of course, it's Friday.....



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