Thanks for all the encouragement, everyone. This slump I'm going through is due to a combination of factors, one of which is most certainly this period of time as we close in on the winter solstice, when the days are so short I can see the sun low in the sky as early as 1:00 in the afternoon and there isn't yet snow on the ground to reflect the light. Instead the view outside is a mix of browns and grays from cloudy skies, bare trees and shriveled flowers in the garden. There is a beauty in this landscape, actually. It's one reason I can't quite bring myself to trim down my perennial garden in the late fall, though I probably should. I like seeing which plants stubbornly hang on after several nights of frost (snapdragons, sage, and parsley are among the hardiest), and once the snow falls, we enjoy watching the birds peck at dried flower heads.
As for the music thing...well, everyone keeps telling me to be patient. Once Anya's in school full-time I ought to be able to seek out more opportunities to play or even think about changing career direction, if that turns out to be what I want. In the meantime, I'm supposed to enjoy my time at home because they grow up so fast and all that.
Yesterday we went with a friend of Daniel's and his mom to a Discover the Dinosaurs "event" (I use this term very loosely) at the Alliant Energy Center. It was, in a word, a rip-off. We had to pay $6 just to park, the entrance tickets were expensive, and they didn't include any of the stuff the kids actually wanted to do (like face-painting and a bounce house). The exhibit was worthless, the place was loud and crowded, and the kids all ended up whining that they wanted to go to the bounce house, which was an hour wait and would have cost an extra $20. (We said no to the bounce house.) It was so stupid and lame that the other mom and I complained to a manager and got half our ticket money back. We ended up having a play date at our house instead, which was fun for the kids. We should have skipped the whole dino-lame thing and just done the play date in the first place.
Today, still feeling like I needed to cleanse my cultural palette of the dinosaur fiasco (OMG am I a total snob? Whimpering sigh...), I tried taking Anya to see Li Chiao Ping's The Knot Cracker. (Aside: I love modern dance. In my next life, I'll be the next Martha Graham.) Alas, the tickets were sold out when we got there, which was what I expected would happen, but I was disappointed anyway. Instead, we spent some time wandering the Overture Center and listening to the Madison Symphony Orchestra chorus sing Christmas carols from the balcony. It was beautiful. (And free.)