Weekend report: Tulips and singing

I just closed the books on another year of tracking time. I have now tracked the past four years of my life in half-hour increments. Don’t worry — if you met me at a party I would not bore you with a recitation. But! Since you are here at this blog…I do intend to do some number-crunching and I will write analytical posts over the next few weeks about where the past 8760 hours (one year) have gone, or maybe even where the past 35,064 hours (three 365-day years plus one 366-day year) have gone. If you’ve tracked your time, I’d love to hear what you’ve found too! As always, you can email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.

Thanks to my time-tracking spreadsheets, I know exactly what I did this past weekend. It was a pretty good one. I got a massage on Friday afternoon — a somewhat gentler one than usual as my back is sunburned (the sun in St. Lucia is strong). I then went to church at 6 p.m. to prep for my 7:30 p.m. concert. We sang Bach’s St. Mark Passion as the Good Friday service. Bach’s original score did not survive but some detective work has resulted in a reasonable approximation. We had readers speak what would have been the “recitatives” in English (instead of German) so the congregation would hear the passion account. My chamber choir did all the chorales in German. We sopranos sang lots of high German. Challenging — but I like a challenge, and thanks to all my practice with my tuning fork, I think I’ve gotten better at hearing intervals (e.g. coming in on a high F sharp after tapping the fork and hearing an A — just think the opening interval from “My Bonnie lies over the ocean…”)

In Friday’s episode of Before Breakfast, I talked about the concept of “effortful fun.” There’s effortless fun (Netflix) and there’s effortful fun (singing in a choir). Both deserve a place in life, but since the former is so easy, the path of least resistance is to do more of that, and little of the effortful variety. But singing Bach’s German chorales was to me ultimately more meaningful and memorable than spending a comparable number of hours watching TV. I’m glad I got to know this work of music.

Saturday featured grocery shopping, laundry, sorting the mail, dyeing Easter eggs. I also ran 8.5 miles in the beautiful spring weather. I’m not training for anything, I just kept going. I felt surprisingly good after. Maybe I will sign up for a half-marathon at some point.

On Sunday the kids got up early to hunt for Easter eggs. I’m happy to report that all 45 eggs the Easter bunny hid were found. It’s such a disaster when they aren’t! I did not sing at the 8 a.m. service, but I did sing at both the 9:30 and the 11:00. We started off with the Hallelujah Chorus — always a great way to wake up — and then sang a fascinating piece by Melissa Dunphy called “The Day of Resurrection” for double chorus, big chunks of it in 7/8 meter.

After church, I ran 3.5 miles — not a problem after my previous 8.5, and another sign I could probably do a half-marathon. Then we went to Longwood Gardens to see the tulips. The kids whined about going, but they’re at peak bloom now, and so we forced everyone in the car. I won’t claim the whining completely stopped at the gardens, but I do think the kids enjoyed seeing the flowers, climbing up the tree houses, playing in the children’s area and eating giant Bavarian pretzels from the beer garden. I took a lot of photos; tulips just do that to me.

Now, after spring break, it’s back to school and work. I brought the elementary school kids to school this morning because I was delivering 120 little water bottles for the third graders’ hydration during the state testing this week. Good times.

In other news: The Wall Street Journal ran my review of Melinda Gates’s new book, The Moment of Lift, in today’s paper.  I was also a guest on You Turns this past week. This podcast, hosted by Jill Herzig and Lisa Oz, covers life changes and transformations. We talked about Juliet’s School of Possibilities, Before Breakfast, and other topics. Please check it out!


6 thoughts on “Weekend report: Tulips and singing

  1. Hi Laura! Congrats on another year of time tracking. Looking forward to some number crunching posts soon.

    I’m reading 168 hours right now and I’m really shocked by the average amount of time part time working moms (like me- I work 24 hours a week) play with their children. I often feel guilty about not spending enough time with my son and on work days, 20 mins of play time is probably about right. But on non work days we would clock 4+ hours of dedicated time together. This previous Sunday we spent about 30 mins building a train track and playing trains, 20 mins playing ‘driving’ in our car (not my fave but my 2.5 year old loves it), and 3.5 hours in the afternoon at the bus museum and on a double decker bus ride.

    My question was whether outings and activities are counted as ‘playing’ or are they categorized separately?

    1. @Megan – my guess is there aren’t a whole lot of outings over the whole population. Time primarily spent caring for a child would be classified as childcare. Childcare as a secondary activity would be something like getting groceries with the kid in the cart.

      1. I would lose my mind without outings! I think my son is quite similar to your youngest in terms of intensity and energy levels. Today is a day off for me, and still very warm despite being more than halfway through fall here so we went to the park this morning and to the beach/rock pools this afternoon.

        But- we live in inner city Sydney in a terrace house with no backyard so outings are necessary for outdoor play.

        Looking forward to the upcoming podcast episode on toddlers and weekends

  2. I joined a new handbell choir this year and it is more challenging than my old one, and more fun!

    Um, regarding the Easter egg hunt. Let’s see, 45 eggs / 4 kids = 1 kid with a superior attitude and 12 eggs?

    1. @Barb – it wasn’t quite evenly split…we originally boiled 48 eggs, but 2 broke in the process, and then one broke during the dye process. I’m not sure who found how many of the 45!

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