3.31.2005

Driving

One of the nice things about working from home is that I really dont have to do much driving anymore. Right now I'm really appreciating that because of the outrageous gas prices. I used to have to fill my car about every 5 or 6 days (I had a long school commute my Senior year), but now I probably only have to get gas once every 2 or 3 weeks (depending on how social I am). I had to get gas this weekend, and nearly fainted when I saw the price... $2.12 for regular!! That's insane. I spent well over $20 to fill my car. Thank goodness I dont have to do that very often, I just couldnt afford it anymore.

One of the things I miss about driving is listening to music. I almost always listen to classical music in the car. But at home I usually listen to pop stuff (one day I'm going to have an entry about the terms "classical" and "pop") because I need words to sing along with while I'm working around the house. I mean I do listen to classical stuff occasionally, but only about 25% of the time.

The CD i've been listening to in my car for about the past 3 weeks is a Shostakovich Trio (I think opus 67... but dont quote me on that, I'm awful with numbers). Anyway, I just cant stop listening to it. As soon as it's over I repeat it and listen again and again and again. It's really a great piece. I think my ear leans towards anything with strong dissonances after my undergrad years (in which we spend a majority of the time studying consonant music).

3.30.2005

Cleanliness

Ah, my bedroom is clean again. No more clutter, no more mounds of clothes scattered all over the place, no more layers of dust on the furniture, no more layers of dog hair on the carpet... just complete sanitization. (I'm not sure if sanitization is a word, but I remember from high school that Shakespeare used to create his own words by changing verbs to nouns and nouns to verbs, so I figure it's okay for me to do it too) What a great feeling.

I just dont function in clutter. When I see piles of books on a desk, I have to clear them off before I can sit down to do my work. This was especially true in college. I'd have to clean my entire dorm room before I could begin working on a paper (I'm not sure if that's procrastination or obsessive behavior). This doesnt mean that I live in a completely spotless house and freak everytime someone drops a crumb on the floor; though I wish I did live in a house like that. It's just not feasible. I mean, a person would never be able to stop cleaning if that were the case. And quite frankly, I need to have a life beyond Windex.

I'm certainly not a pack rat. I go through all my possessions about every 2 years and throw out anything I dont need any more. The rule of thumb is: Have I used it in the past 2 years? And do I see myself using it in the next 2 years? If both of those answers are no, it's trash (or donation). I only save things that are truly sentimental and irreplaceable (and dont take up too much space).

But I wonder why I have such a strong desire for clean, clutterless life. I took a really interesting english course in college. It was just your run-of-the-mill Composition class, with a not-so-run-of-the-mill professor. He was a pretty young guy (I actually thought he was a student the first time i saw him), and much more liberal than most of my past english teachers. I mean he let us use the word "I" in our papers... in fact, he encouraged it!! It was the first time since 5th grade I was allowed such a privilege. Anyway, we had to write a research paper at one point, and I remember the topic of one of the guys in the class. It was something along the lines of "why are trends pushing towards minimalism?" He talked about how whenever you saw a futuristic show or movie, there were never any knick-knacks on the desks, or appliances on the counter tops. It was just all clean lines, no junk anywhere. So why does that seem to be the way nearly everyone predicts the future will look? I thought it was a really interesting topic (I have no clue how he researched it though), and I never did read his final paper. But I can say for certain that I am one of those people doing my best to contribute to a clutter-free future.

Vacuuming

My husband and I watched The Amazing Race last night. We havent watched any of the other seasons, but decided to watch this time because of Boston Rob and Amber. I have to say, we've been cheering for them to win, mostly I think because of Boston Rob (we like all things Boston around here). I was concerned that they would get kicked off because they dropped to last place for a moment yesterday. And if they are eliminated, I dont think I'd be as eager to watch.

I was glad to see the Mean Guy and the girl he's been "Dating On and Off" (seriously, they couldnt come up with a better description for these two??) finish last. Not because I wanted them to lose, but I dont think I could take another week of his verbal abuse towards her. Seriously, encouragement is a much better motivator than negativity. I hope she's able to stand up for herself and find a guy who will treat her better.

So today's plans call for a lot of cleaning. A LOT. i've kinda slacked on this the past couple days, which means I have to make up for it now. I think our bedroom is being overrun by clothes right now. The sad thing is that some of them were clean, but they've been mixed in with the dirty clothes, so now I can't tell which is which. And I hate doing laundry. I guess I make it sound like I just hate cleaning in general, which isnt true. I dont mind vacuuming anymore (ever since we've had a dog that endlessly sheds I've learned to love the vacuum). I just wish cleaning didnt have to occupy so much of my time. The problem is that once I start cleaning, I cant stop until things are spotless. So it may start out that I'm just trying to straighten up in the kitchen, and instead I end up spending 3 hours scrubbing the counters, sorting through and reorganizing every drawer, and mopping the floors. I mean when I was living in the college dorm, I could be obsessively neat because I only had one little room to worry about (actually only half a room). And that didnt really take much time or effort. But now with a whole house it's completely different. I cant even clean the entire house in one day. So I have to do one floor at a time.

Today's floor: the Upstairs--which contains all the bedrooms (and the monstrous amount of clothing), both full bathrooms, and a linen closet I'm afraid to open. Ugh, better get to it.

3.29.2005

Jars

Currently Listening to: Jars of Clay Redemption Songs

Jars of Clay just came out with a new CD on Tuesday. I actually pre-ordered it like a month ago because then you could have early access to some of the songs online. Jars of Clay release dates are a big deal to me. They usually go on my calendar so I can rush out and buy the CD the day it drops. It's like a holiday for me. I dont do anything even close to that obsessed with any other band. This CD is pretty different from stuff they've done before because it's more hymn based. Any of the CDs they produced themselves are good though. And this CD has 2 tracks that feature the Blind Boys of Alabama, so how couldnt it be good?

Changing topics:
I just took my dog out for a walk. It's so nice out today, probably the warmest it's been in a while, but there's still a cool breeze so it's not too warm yet. I did notice that the grass is getting really green again. Probably because it's been raining here for like a week straight (maybe not quite that long, but it sure feels like it's been that long). So that brings up 2 different emotions in me:
  1. it's nice to get a break from the cold and wet
  2. I'm gonna have to start doing yardwork again
People think I'm crazy, but I love cold weather. Not really just cold weather, but I love SNOW. Cold weather without snow just seems wasteful to me. I'm not crazy about blistering hot, humid weather. In fact I get pretty miserable in the summer time due to the high temps. So right now I have mixed emotions. On the whole, I like spring because it's not hot enough to make me hate going outside, but I know those days are right around the corner.

In fact, yesterday I had to move my dog's food and water bowl because they are close to the door to the back porch, and when I fed her in the morning, I noticed a small trail of ants nearby. This reminds me of the bug problems we had last year all summer. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just the occasional flies that sneak in with open windows and doors, random ants searching for food, and a visiting spider from time to time. But along with the hot temperatures, bugs are the second thing about summer I could do without.

I have admit though, I do like the fact that the days are longer.

MoMAStore

Yesterday in the mail I got the Winter 2005 catalogue from the MoMA (Musuem of Modern Art) Store. I read it cover to cover immediately.


The MoMA store has some of my favorite things in it. I love the unique and modern designs, especially of their kitchen items. Whenever my husband and I go to an art museum half of the fun for me is going to the museum store and picking out cool little trinkets to add to our house. Most of it is WAY to expensive for us, but I can usually find a small thing here or there for a good deal. Luckily for me, you dont just ahve to go to MoMA (in NYC) to get their pieces; which is good since I still havent been there yet. Most museums carry some of their stuff.

For instance on our honeymoon we got a salt and pepper shaker, Mondrian tumbler, and very cool clock (which hangs in my piano studio) from the art museum in Philadelphia. The salt and pepper shaker are so cute, they are just little round ceramic balls, one says "NaCl" and the other says "Pe+(Pe) R." It usually takes guests a minute to figure out what they mean. And the Mondrian tumbler is another one of my favorites. Which is very weird because in general i dont really like Mondrian's stuff too much. Well I used to hate it. But over the years I think it's turned into more of a love-hate kind of thing. When people ask I usually refer to Mondrian as the "kitchen tiles" guy.


MoMA Glasses
We also got our glasses from the MoMA design. Actually i first saw them at the Hirschhorn a couple years ago. But they were so expensive at the museum. So I did a search online and found them a little cheaper. Then one day I was shopping in another one of my favorite stores: Kitchen etc. (which has since shut down), and found them there for about half price. That was such a great store.

Fortunately my husband and I have pretty much the same taste in decorating. If I could, I would have MoMA design and furnish my dream house.

The best part about receiving the magazine yesterday was that I found out that the new MoMA is open. So I think we are going to take a trip up there soon and check it out. We've been patiently waiting for this for a couple years. I can't wait!


3.28.2005

Dentist

I just got back from the dentist. I've never really cared for going to the dentist, but my experiences there lately have caused me to really hate it.

Weekend highlights:

1- Pianos. Definately excited about that. Now I just have to figure out how they will all fit.

2- Quickbooks. Or in my case Not-So-Quick-Books. I got it 8 months ago when I first started my business. I really tried to use it (making up my own rules), and it didnt work. So instead I established my own bookkeeping system which works pretty well (though probably not the quickest method). Finally i was convinced into trying again. This time i put effort into learning the system their way, and... after several long hours of number crunching and many trips to the Help Index... everything is caught up and working fine. If I can do it, anyone can.


3- Work... or lack thereof. Since schools were on spring break I didnt teach a whole lot.

4- Church. I spent 5:00 am to 12:00 pm at church on sunday morning singing for the easter services. I didn't mind the long hours, i just wasnt crazy about the fact that I had to wake up at 4 in the morning. I did enjoy the champagne breakfast after the Sunrise service. Nothing like a mimosa first thing in the morning to put me in a good mood. And I have to admit that hearing the sermon 3 times really makes it stick in your head; though it does have some strong competition with the song "This is the Day." I hate it when songs get stuck in your head... i need to get it out, it's been going on for almost 24 hours now.... Where did I put my BebePod???

5- Ham. My mom made ham for easter dinner. I always like ham, but it's safe to say, that this was the best ham I've ever had. Ever. I wish I had brought some of it home.

3.26.2005

Blog

I dont like the word blog... it reminds me of blob.

Rosencrantz

I am finally replacing my grand piano. Not that I dont love it. I did right up until the soundboard cracked (it was less than a year old). That happened about 3 months ago. Ever since then the keys having been buzzing and clicking and making all kinds of weird noises pianos arent supposed to make. I have especially been having problems with Middle C. I dont know how many people teach piano, but I can safely say that Middle C is the most commonly played key by beginning students. So 4 hours of a broken Middle C a day is just enough to make me want to rip the key out of the piano and stomp on it until it turns into a fine piano paste. But fortunately, I wont have to deal with that much longer. I decided to replace the grand with 2 (very nice) Boston uprights. I just picked them out this afternoon and can't wait until they are delivered. I figure I can hold out for a while before I get the grand of my dreams.

Yesterday morning my husband told me that i woke him up in the middle of the night because i was singing in my sleep. He doesnt know what I was singing though, and when I asked him what it sounded like, he made an awful sound. I'm not sure if it really qualifies as singing.

I finally got one of my favorite movies! It was just released on DVD this week: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I love it!! I've been waiting for this day for what seems like an eternity. The first time I watched it was in an English class my junior year of high school. It was the only thing I remember about the class. I dont think the teacher cared for my writing, so in turn I didnt really care much for her class. It seems as though every year in high school you read 1 shakespeare play; that year it was Hamlet. After we read the play (and watched the movie... apparently you cant just read anymore, if there's a movie made about the book, you have to watch that too), she showed us Rosencrantz. Most of the class didnt get it, but I totally did. I thought it was great, but didnt really say anything at the time because I didnt want to give the teacher the satisfaction. So between now and then I've only seen the movie 1 other time. But I've read the play. I think it's safe to say that it's much better to watch the play than to read it. I mean I dont like it when someone turns a book into a movie, but plays are meant to be acted out, so that's okay. But anyway, if you havent seen the movie, and like intellectual humor, it's a must see.

3.24.2005

Nerdiness

Current on the BebePod: Video Killed the Radio Star by the Bugles. What an awesome song

Day 2 for Quickbooks. Hopefully I will get everything in order today, I have a feeling this will take a while.

Tonight is Maundy Thursday at church. I'm singing in the choir for it. I dont think I've ever been to Maundy Thursdays service before. I know I've been to Good Friday a couple times. So this should be interesting. I'm looking forward to it tonight. I think we are singing some great music that will really move people. I'm glad to be a part of it.

I think I'm liking this whole blogging thing. Not that I plan on publishing my entire life story online or anything. But it's fun to have an excuse to write again. I dont really get to do much of that since I graduated from college. I was one of those weird kids who really enjoyed taking notes, studying, writing papers, taking test, etc (I think we're technically referred to as "nerds"-- which is actually okay with me). I really miss college... too bad it costs so much to be a Professional Student.

New Song on the BebePod: Pump it Up by Elvis Costello. This is my "cleaning the house" song. It gets me motivated to get off my butt and get some work done. So on that note... back to Quickbooks.

3.23.2005

Computer

I feel like I spent all day on the computer. First I started out by organizing a few files. Then I decided to use Quickbooks; a program I purchased, oh, about 8 months ago. I tried to learn it then, but it was so complicated for me. I know nothing about accounting. But now I decided to give it another shot. My husband got me a Quickbooks for Dummies from the library, so i think having a guidebook somewhere along my level will be helpful. And actually a lot more of it did makes sense this go-around. Not that I'm some kind of expert now, but at least i have a clue as to what i'm doing.

I didn't really make it too far because I kept getting interrupted. Not bad interruptions, the good kind; phone call from a friend, quick walk with the dog (in the rain, yuck), and the likes.

I checked out Fr Rob's blog, he had a little question type thingie posted on his that I thought I would carry over into mine:

What's next to you?
Your mission, should you choose to accept it.:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

So here's mine:
"Bernard delineates three distinguishing strategies of the Minimalist style in art and music: "(1) the minimization of change or accident; (2) an emphasis upon the surface of the work...; (3) a concentration up on the whole rather than the parts." from Minimalism: Origins by Edward Strickland

What's yours?

Hirschhorn

Just sitting down with my morning cup of coffee, which I have to drink black because I think the milk is starting to spoil. I've become somewhat of a milk snob after all my years working at starbucks. As soon as I can detect any sort of "milk smell" it's undrinkable. Though other people dont seem to be as sensitive. I seem to have made the coffee unusually strong today.

I'll probably spend the first half of the day cleaning the house and organizing clutter, as usual. I never realized how much time cleaning consumes. I'm just glad we havent reached Mow-the-Lawn season yet. Our yard is small enough that we didnt think it was necessary to buy a lawn mower. Instead my dad gave us an old fashioned mower (you push it and the blades rotate), which really just pushes the grass down more than it cuts anything. Then we got a weed wacker, which does most of the work for us. But man, I cant stand yard work.

We went into DC last weekend to go to the Hirschhorn (one of my FAVE museums). We hadnt been to an art museum in so long that I was going through withdrawal. I love the Hirschhorn though. I think one of my favorite things about it is the fountain in the middle. It looks like a normal fountain in the middle of a circular pool, except that the fountain is off-centered. And that's what I love about it. Unfortunately, it wasnt turned on when we got there. I know it was technically still winter, but it was so nice on Saturday. I have to admit, I was disappointed.

Since it had been so long since our last visit, they had a bunch of new stuff up in the museum. I noticed that the Ugly Naked Guy sculpture was gone. (that's not really what it's called, but it's a fitting description). I cant say I was sad to see that go. It was disturbing, though I think that was part of the idea. Plenty of other disturbing things replaced it though, so no worries. One of my favorite paintings was also gone though :( It's an Agnes Martin painting. Luckily, they replaced with another one of her's but I LOVED the other one, and thought the new one was just OK. (I wonder if you're supposed to write this much in one entry). I was happy to see that the Joseph Albers Homage to A Square was still there. It's by far my favorite of his. I love the subtle colors. I'm glad it's at the Hirschhorn so I can see it whenever I want.

There were 2 special exhibits that we walked though. One was sculpture. I have to admit, I dont really get modern sculpture. I mean there are a few things I like, but overall, i'm kinda perplexed. Though there was one thing I liked in the exhibit. It was a very simple ring that looked like it was made from a very polished pinkish marble (i am no expert, believe me). But other than that, i didnt see anything that made an impression. The other exhibit was pretty interesting because of how the art was made. I think basically the artist put gun powder on a canvas and then ignites it and the residue leaves an image behind. There was a really cool one that looked like a spider web. I wonder how he came up with the idea to do that.

I suppose i should be done for now.