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Life in Billings, Montana.

February 24, 2016

Annabelle Cat

Our cat Annabelle seems to watch over a collection of our daughter’s pottery.  An old cat, she reigned serene until she made a fatal error.  The couch?  Still in use.  The lamp?  Broke it accidentally.  The table?  Belonged to Pat Zuelke.  The mirror?  From my childhood home in Missoula.  The photograph?  Wife’s father, a Montana ranch hand.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Today was rough! Worked from eight a.m. until nearly six p.m. at the pharmacy with my friends. We probably filled and checked 700 prescriptions, but working was the best part of my day. I had to go straight to rehearsal afterward.  Okay, I did stop briefly at home for some beans and rice.

Then, after three and one-half hours of opera rehearsal I felt tired, hopeless and sad. I think the rehearsal went well, over all, for the others, but I doubted the value of my own contribution because I made lots of mistakes. I came in too soon, I missed coming in later. I forgot the lyrics, I wasn’t loud enough.  Except when I came in too soon.

I had noticed an actor, one of my fellow singers that I had argued with the day before, looking isolated, in the back of the theater before rehearsal. At least I think it was he; the light was dim, so I might have been mistaken.

Oh, it was a pointless argument. I had stepped on his toes and, when he got angry, I elbowed him in the stomach. I apologized for stepping on his foot, but he was angry about getting elbowed, so he refused my apology.

After rehearsal I got an email inviting me to a day care meeting. The manager of the childcare wants to move the business out of the church and into a pair of two-bedroom houses. How can that be a good thing?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

No work today, but I went to a meeting of three of the other childcare directors, the manager, a real estate saleswoman and a banker. Everyone but me seemed to think moving out of the church into a pair of residences was just fine. They wanted me to okay a deal, but I didn’t want to be pressured. I met with the other board members privately.  I gave in to allowing the deal if the board approves, which it had not.  Now I feel like a slut.

Later P. and I drove over to the houses. The builder happened to be there and he let us into one to look.  They are much smaller than the church space with no room for much of a playground.

At opera practice I apologized again to the actor for elbowing him and for stepping on his foot. I promised never to do it again. I meant it. He thanked me for apologizing. He seemed much more animated and I noticed that he didn’t sit apart from the others in the cast.  Of course, I had also sat apart.  Now I sat with my mouth shut.  At least for a while.

Our conductor aided me by assigning three strong principal singers to belt out my choral part from offstage. At first they were way in the back and I could barely hear them. I thanked them, and asked them if they could move closer to the front. One of them said they were told to sing back there.  Oh yeah, I forgot, I thought.

Later the director said he could barely hear them and asked the three to move closer to the front. I felt nearly happy, despite the length of the rehearsal going to nearly eleven p.m.! Must be more than a dozen elementary-age kids in the opera and they didn’t get to leave until ten! I can’t imagine how tired they will be tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I practiced the lyrics and music at home along with a Youtube recording. The work doesn’t seem to stick well in my memory, even with repetition.  We are starting opera practice an hour earlier tonight, so I hope we aren’t out much past ten.

At noon I found a photograph of our old cat, Annabelle, a calico with polydactyl paws. She died at age 15 in 1999 by the hand of a veterinarian wielding a syringe of poison.

Annabelle had lived a good, meek and gentle life, but she made a fatal error. She used P.’s mother’s suitcase for a kitty litter box. Of course I felt sad for a while, but I recovered.  Anyway several members of our family have developed allergies to cats.








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