Today my neighbor learned to play the piano. Or someone who already knew how to play moved in this weekend while I was out of town. Either way, I had two kinds of music to listen to (in addition to Nightwish) today. First there was someone playing sort of poorly, trying to learn a boring and very melancholy song and a bit later there was someone playing freely and merrily and way better than the first one. Then someone (maybe the first player?) tried to play a very beautiful classical piece I myself had to learn when I still played the piano. And this person made the exact same mistake I used to do quite often - tried to play quicker than his/her skills would actually allow. It didn't sound very good.
I envy Maarit (once again), because she has a neighbor who plays songs from the LotR soundtrack. Quite beautifully, too. I'm thinking of hanging some good sheets of soundtrack music downstairs on the notice board. Maybe the player or players would take a hint? I hope it would be the player who actually knew how to play. (But what if they are the same person after all and I would end up having to listen to poorly played themes from my favorite movies? Oh dear. I think I'll visit Maarit instead and listen to her neighbor play.)
Oh, I totally forgot to mention that on Friday, I finally got my dear old car into a bit more cooperative mood! I was actually able to drive it to Nousiainen - straight to the yard of my regular car repair man. I so hope he can still fix the poor vehicle and I'll be able to drive it one more year. It did seem a bit ominous, when I called him up and asked if he'd still take a look at my car, there was a moments silence and then he asked "It still runs?" He sounded so surprised that it was funny. I told him that was the problem, that it doesn't actually run that well at all... Ok, so when I got to his place and hopped out of the car, his daughter was outside (I'm friends with the whole family) and the first thing she says is "You still drive that thing?". My gosh, I think I really have to start saving up for a new set of wheels. Although this seems to be a good way to entertain people. Even my old teacher said she remembered that particular vehicle quite well and did sound a bit amused when she learned I still had it.
On to other things, then. Grandpa had his 83rd birthday yesterday. Isn't that something? It is sad, however, to see how his Alzheimer's is progressing all the time. I talked with my brother after we left from Uittamo, about the fact that it would, in a way, be good if he got to sleep away before he becomes completely demented. It's the saddest thing to see a mind crumble like that. Grandpa has always been very stubborn and opinionated, but nowadays he seems to live more and more in a world of his own. He isn't able to follow discussions that well anymore and his short term memory is sometimes very poor. It makes it difficult to follow his trail of thoughts too, since he can suddenly (after a long silence from his part, during which the others have moved well on in the discussion) comment on something that was discussed quite a while ago. There's a moment of silence when everyone is trying to figure out what his comment was about and then everyone nods and usually patiently agrees with him.
Alzheimer's is a cruel disease. Not only for the one who has it, but also to the people close to him. I can't even begin to understand how grandma must feel. Her husband of many decades is little by little fading away, his personality changing. She has said to mom that it is sometimes hard to keep in mind that grandpa is really sick and can't help "being difficult", when she gets annoyed with him. Luckily grandpa does nowadays take his medication regularly and has better days, too. And he still remembers for example all the names of the closest family members. And they still drive to the super market once a week. Which I think they shouldn't be doing, however. But letting go of driving must also be extremely hard, when you have been driving almost all your life. I talked about it with dad the other day and as he said it, it must feel like yet another step towards death. Or in any way, it's a good-sized chunk of independence to give away, the ability to drive around and not be dependent of anyone else's schedules, for example. I hate the idea myself, which of course is one of the reasons I so desperately try to hang on to my car.
Goodness, I didn't plan on getting this somber and dark today, because this was a good day. I managed to begin working on my poetry analysis, the lesson plans on the US presidential elections and I even got around the research books for my thesis. I read about Henry VIII's relations with the nobility, interesting stuff, although written a bit too much like a list of names to be a truly captivating research. I decided I'd pick sir William FitzWilliam to be the Name of the Day. A nice name, isn't it? While I'm at it, I'll pick Higher Than Hope (by Nightwish) to be the Song of the Day. A beautiful song, a very touching melody. Oh, and the Word of the Day is demihakes. I have absolutely no idea what it means. I came across it in the research I was reading and it had something to do with the military (some sort of category of foot soldiers, perhaps?) but I wasn't able to find it in any online encyclopedias. I did find the word "hake", which was some sort of fish, but somehow I don't think Henry VIII had any kind of half fish in his army... So anyone who can clarify the meaning of this military term, please do so. Much obliged.
Oh, and the "friends" part of the topic of today. I sat down to have a cup of tea with a friend today. I hadn't seen her in quite a while, although she lives downstairs to me! Isn't that just plain sad, how I've managed to stuff my days so full that I don't seem to have the time to invite friends for a cup of tea in the evening? Well, today we did sit and talk for three hours straight. It's so nice to talk with her, since she is in the same situation I'm at, trying to get her thesis done and at the same time doing substitute teaching. Talking really was some sort of therapy for both of us, I think. It's so good to have friends who you can share your thoughts with. I'm lucky to have quite a few friends like that.
Ok, that's it for the day. I'm off to watch Conan O'Brien. Ta ta.