Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time Away

After more years that I can remember or count, I will be taking three weeks off at the end of this one. With that block of free time coming closer, is the growing need to fill it with something. A family vacation is not possible because DB is not able to take time off. That leaves J and I to do a mother daughter trip. It turns out to be more complicated than I thought. I had mistakenly assumed, J would play a more active role in figuring out potential destinations. Instead, she wants options presented to her that she can select from. 

DB's contribution in this whole thing has been to vet my ideas for "feasibility" and safety. His ideas are not the kind you could pull off at short notice - it is not how he plans vacations. He takes his time, does his research and the degree of uncertainty is very limited. What I am trying to do is way outside his comfort zone. In a sense so are J and I - since DB became part of our lives, we have done vacations together. A mother daughter trip for us is not associated with the happiest time of our lives - she has enjoyed our trips as a family a lot more than being dragged around by a somewhat stressed out mother trying to slot in  fun in between chores and responsibilities. She does not know that this time it will be different, and that may explain the lack of participation. The choice between being home in winter because that is comfortable and familiar or taking off somewhere we have never been just to experience it is not an easy one. I wish I could click a button and have a choice made for me.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Metronome

My grandfather used to have a metronome that all his daughters used for their music lessons. That was over fifty years ago. My oldest aunt is in her early 80s now. They are still able to hold a tune but no one expects them to be perfect - at their age they are allowed liberties that they were not as students of music. My generation of the family dabbled in music very casually. 

None of us have the fifteen plus years of classical music training that my aunts had. My grandfather's clarinet, metronome, harmonium and tabla are out in some attic gathering dust.  Our children are a little bit more involved in music than we were - maybe our youthful lapses have made us more cognizant of what we missed out on and makes us push the kids a little harder than our parents pushed us.

Recently, J told me that she needed a metronome - her piano teacher has one that looks like a cat sitting on its haunches. J has something like that in mind. The days have been busy and the metronome never made it to my shopping list. Yet each time I hear her missing a beat, I make a mental note about the metronome. Yesterday was such a day and I realized I should look for an app instead - it would save me a shopping trip. And sure enough there was an app for it

So J now has a very functional metronome but as the Techcrunch article notes it is "So efficient and functional. So depressing". It does the job but has none of the personality of the bow-tied kitten keeping time in Ms M's class. It is a sign of the times we live in. I decided it was too much trouble to go to a store and chat with the owner about metronomes, learn something new about them and find one that J would love to use for years. It was much easier to get what I wanted in return for a few clicks while cooking dinner. Unlike my grandfather's metronome that is gathering dust in an attic, mine will end up in an electronic recycle bin and without any memories entwined with it.