Things here have been kinda crazy. The end of the semester did not (as I had hoped) mean that my life slowed down at all. In fact, I've managed to be even busier lately. But it's been a good kind of busy for the most part.
I love my new job. Other than switching the subject to music (other than art) it's pretty much perfect for me. Although, if I can't work at a music library yet, art is the second best fit. I get to stay on top of all the current exhibits and artists going on all over the world. My boss is super nice (and I think she likes me more now that she knows that I actually know a little something about art... a very little something, but still, every little bit helps). And she's really interested in helping me learn as much as possible about the WHOLE library and art museum world as possible while I'm there (as opposed to confining me to my assigned tasks). So it's been a lot of fun. Commuting has managed to live up to my expectations... I spend a LARGE amount of time getting to and from work (an embarrassing amount, so I wont reveal the exact time here). The morning commute isn't too bad, I usually leave early enough to miss the traffic on the toll roads. Then I have a cup of coffee at starbucks in tysons before getting on the metro. The evening commute isnt as fun though... probably because I'm more anxious to get home. But it's all worth the experience and references I'll come away with from this job.
My class schedule for next semester got completely upturned in a single day. I found out that one class I wanted to take (and finally got approved for) changed times, and one of my other classes that I was REALLY looking forward to... the teacher retired (quite suddenly... which seems to be happening a lot these days). So I've had to do a lot of rearranging, but I think I've finally decided on my course load for the spring: Mon- Music Research (which is a class for graduate level musicians, but they let me in since I have an interest in working in music libraries), Thurs- Bibliographic Control (I'm really not sure what that's going to be like, but it has somehting to do with cataloging and more technical processing stuff which I kinda like), and then I'm going to take my first ever online course that has something to do with Leadership issues in information management. We'll see how that goes. I'm most excited about the music class (duh), but I'm also a little nervous because I'm expecting that we'll have to write some ginormous paper, which I haven't done in a very very very long time. I've already tried to think of topics, but so far, nothing has really stuck out.
In related news, I finally got all my grades from this semester, yay! I dont usually brag about grades, or really mention them to others, but I did really well, and after all the hard work, I have to share it... I got 2 A's and an A+! Wahoo, I didnt even know they gave A+'s in grad school, not that it has an effect on my gpa (unfortunately). But at this point I'm half way through my program with a 4.0... hopefully I can keep that up.
So come mid-January I'm going to have to learn to juggle work and school in a way I've never done before. I just hope I can maintain the level of excellence to both that I've established for myself. But it is a little different because I now view each of them as equally important for my future career. I mean, I need my degree to get a job, but I should be able to get a good job because of the experience I'll have. We'll see how balanced I'm able to keep things. I keep trying to remind myself that it's not about getting an A, or about being perfect, it's just about doing my best and learning as much as possible.
670 (as it is referred to by us library students) most deals with the "back-end" of information. As in how to make it accessible rather than how to access it. Mostly we learned about ways to organize information, including various principles and standards used in the library world (AACR2, MARC, LC Authority Files, Dewey and Library of Congress classification schemes). The class was very difficult (the teacher was an EXTREMELY hard grader... but that just forced me to really learn everything) I really enjoyed it. I learned all kinds of new ways to organize things, which I think will end up making me OCD.
Anyway, I'm excited about my new job. I think it's a good fit for me because pretty much I just organize things all day. And I feel so grown up and professional because I'm commuting into DC and working on the Mall, right next to the capitol building. Yay!
*interesting note about the East Building of the National Gallery of Art... at least in the study room/admin section... there are no right angles where walls meet, including the elevators. Oh and there are barcelona chairs all over the place (my favorite).
Days until Finals: 3
Days until Opera: 8
Days until Christmas: 16
Days until trip to New York City: 17
Am I ready for any of this? Not really.
I have, however, managed to finally finish my portion of a take home final. For one of my classes we have to work on a take home final in groups, so the group I'm in divied up the questions amongst ourselves (there are 9 people, and 4 questions). Then I met with my partner yesterday to work on overall concepts and principles for our question, and we divied up the work we had to do, then today I typed it all up. Number of hours spent answering one-half of a question... hmm let's see... background research: 2-3 hours, discussions with partner: about 1 1/2 hours on Tuesday and 5 hours (nonstop) yesterday, writing/typing/editing/proofing/formatting: 4 1/2 hours today. Total length of one-half of 1 question out of 4 total questions... 10 pages.
I am SO glad we didn't have to do the whole thing by ourselves.
(Interesting comment overheard at the Frederick Public Library yesterday: "My dad almost swallowed an entire six-pack... cans and all.")
The last time I heard this was the other day while watching a decorating show on TV. The designer created a "kitschy" piece of wall art for the room she was working on.
Today I looked up the word kitschy, partly because I wasn't 100% confident in its meaning, and partly because I wasn't even sure if it was a real word. Here's the definition (according to dictionary.com):
"Something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste""Kitschy" is an awesome word for a decorator to use; and an even more awesome design aesthetic to be shooting for.
(wow in one sentence I managed to use a word I hate (kitschy), a word I love (aesthetic), and end with a preposition... wahoo)
I'm going to be working as a student aide at the National Gallery of Art's library. I applied for the job a little while ago, and didn't really hear anything right away. I actually applied for all 3 positions they advertised. But then one day I got a call for an interview and they said that they were "very anxious" to meet me as soon as possible, which I took as a good sign. My interview went really well, and I left with pretty high hopes (though I tried not to get them too high), and a short while later I got a call with the offer. I'm SO excited. And here's why:
-first of all, my schedule is fairly flexible, I can work 20 hours a week (or less depending on my class schedule) during school, and full time during breaks (and it's paid... which is far better than the intern option I was considering if this didnt work out)
-second, the library is only open Mon-Fri 9-5:30 which means no evenings and NO WEEKENDS! wahoo
-third, it's in a field that really interests me (I love art), and the library itself is in the modern wing of the museum, which I'm hoping means that I can go look at all the Agnes Martin, Barnett Newman, and Rothko's I want on my breaks
-finally, I'm going to be working in the nonprint collections (Vertical Files and Microfilm), which I'm really excited about (because it's more interesting than reshelving books.)
-Oh I also get my own desk! wahoo!
Overall it's a pretty good opportunity for me, and I really plan on making the best of it. I'm a little nervous about starting because I haven't had a "real" job in a long time, and I dont think I've ever worked full time (other than at Starbucks over the summer). So it will definitely be a big change. Not to mention the fact that I'm gonna have to commute to DC in addition to College Park. But I'm willing to do it to reach my goals. Other than my car's mileage, this decision has also impacted my other jobs (as a piano teacher and part of St Matt's music program), and I've had to step down from both jobs. Believe me it was not easy to do. I especially hated informing my piano students since I have a strong connection with many of them. But I just came to the point where I realized that my life is heading in a new direction, and I either needed to jump on or get off.
So I should be pretty busy in December. I have finals coming up (AHHHH!), and I start my new job in the middle of december (actually the day before my finals... awesome). I wasnt supposed to start until after the holidays, but they really wanted me to come in earlier, so I told them I would, but that I couldnt work full time until after christmas. So I'm still going to be doing my church duties, and teaching piano during December.
These are pretty big changes for me. I'm definitely excited about everything that's coming up, but it's still hard to let go of what I've been doing. I just hope I'm making the right choices.
I know, I haven't been posting much lately, but in all honesty I'm starting to hate computers. Well, not really hate computers, I'm just tired of them. Most of my work at school requires electronic research and e-journal readings, which means I spend A LOT of time on the computer. And in all honesty, lately I just haven't wanted to spend any more time than was absolutely necessary on the computer. Between email and search engines, I can't take anymore. So that's my excuse for not posting.
But there are a few things I've wanted to mention, so I'm gonna go over some of them now.
For a while, there just wasn't much music that I was really interested in listening to. But fortunately that has changed. Here are some of the albums I've been enjoying lately:
- John Mayer Continuum- This is a great album. It's very subtle (I like to think of it as minimal), which I really enjoy and it's more bluesy than most of his radio hits (I'm not crazy about his radio hits). There's nothing more than what absolutely needs to be included. My favorite track is Gravity, which I've listened to so many times now that it's starting to lose some of it's initial impact so I think I need to take a little break from it. But all of the songs are pretty good, it's one of those discs you can listen to from beginning to end with no problem.
- Dirty Pretty Things Waterloo to Nowhere- The band is similar to Franz Ferdinand but for some reason I like Dirty Pretty Things better. The song "Bang Bang You're Dead" really stands out, probably because the chorus uses a 2 against 3 rhythm thing which I really like for no particular reason, and I tend to point it out whenever I hear it (try clapping the beat with your right hand, and clapping the lyrics with your left hand during the chorus).
- The Raconteurs Boy Soldier- This is Jack White's new band (Jack White of the White Stripes). And to be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn't have been all that interested in the CD if I had heard it on it's own. But a couple weeks ago Matt and I went to a Bob Dylan concert and the Raconteurs opened for him. And they were great. I only knew one of their songs, so I really wasn't looking forward to it. But they were really entertaining and even though they played for at least an hour, I never got bored or wished a song would end. Jack White is a performer. I can see how his voice may be a little harsh to listen to for long periods of time (fortunately the other guitarist does about half the singing which gives your ears a chance to breathe), but he seems like one of those people that would perform the same way whether there was an audience or not, and whether people were into it or not. My favorite song they did live was a cover of Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang, but unfortunately that's not on the CD. So instead I recommend: Blue Veins, Hands, Intimate Secretary, Level, and Steady As She Goes (I especially recommend the acoustic version available on iTunes- they change it up by swinging the chorus, which again appeals to me for some unknown reason, and it's something I mention every time I hear it "this version is different than the version on the CD because they swing the chorus"). I also HIGHLY recommend seeing them live if you get the chance.
- The Ramones Loud Fast Ramones: Their Toughest Hits- Great overall album, very high energy from start to finish. I like Blitzkrieg Bop, Beat on the Brat, Sheena is A Punk Rocker, Psycho Therapy, among others...
- Classical Music- For some reason I get back into classical music when the weather gets cold.
George Mason just released an extension (I think that's what you call them) for the new Firefox browser called Zotero. I found out about it through the listserv at school and downloaded it immediately. Basically it's a way of managing resources... kind of like an online works cited thing. Anyway, I totally love it because one of my classes consists of pretty much nothing but citing resources and this allows me to keep track of what websites I visited, what my search strategies (and results) were, when I visited, and the citation information. So if you've been struggling to keep track of sources for papers or projects, or you're looking for something a little more sophisticated than bookmarks, I'd definitely recommend checking out Zotero (did I mention it was free?)
So last night I was working on this piece with my youngest student (who also, by the way, is my hardest working student) and when he found out that Beethoven wrote this song he got really excited (which is true of nearly all my students... they all love Beethoven). And when he saw the dates underneath he asked "oh is that Beethoven's phone number?" and then I told him "no, those are the years he was alive." And then my student said "oh I was gonna call him." And then a minute later he was like "oh wait, phones weren't invented when Beethoven was alive, so I couldn't call him anyway."
2nd Moment: This also occured yesterday. It's not a funny story, just an observation.
The girl I teach immediately after my Beethoven student has done very well in the short 2 years she's been with me. So yesterday we were working on a couple minuets (we called it Minuet week), and one of them is Bach's Minuet in G, which is probably the most commonly known minuet, though I'm sure most people would know it as a cell phone ringer (I'm sure Bach loves that). But as I was helping her through the piece, I remembered what it was like when I was learning the song.... a long time ago. I think I learned it about 2 or 3 months into my lessons, and I think it probably took my about 4 or 5 months to learn in total. This girl will probably learn it in less than 3 weeks. Now granted she has a much better foundation than I had before it was introduced to me, but still. That either shows that I am a good teacher, or that I was a poor student. But I prefer to think that she is just a natural pianist.
At some point in time everyone in my family has owned a Saturn, both my parents, 2 of my sisters (the 3rd one is only 12), my brother, me, and even my husband. At one point my dad lined up all our Saturns in the driveway and took a picture with all of us standing next to them. Then they sent the picture to the dealer who hung it in their lobby. We're a Saturn family.
A few weeks ago my right brake light went out. So I went to an auto parts store to get a new bulb, but after trying to replace it with no success, matt and I discovered that the socket may have been the problem (it was a little melted so we figured the connection wasnt working.) So I went back to the auto parts store to get a new socket, but they didnt have the model I needed. Which meant I had to go back to the dealer to get it.
Yesterday I stopped by the dealer in Sterling while I was down in the area. I was expecting to just go in and ask for a new socket and pay a few dollars, and then install it myself (since it just twists into place). But as it turned out there had been a recall, so they needed to install some sort of bracket thingie to prevent the electricity from melting the connection again. The funny thing is that as soon as I walked in to the service department (which i had only been to once before, and that was right after matt and I were married) the guy behind the desk knew who I was and even remembered my name... before I even said a word. I was totally impressed. Of course he only knew my maiden name (since I hadnt changed it yet), but that just proves how long ago I was there. Granted the fact that my picture is still hanging on their wall may make it easy for them to know who I am, but still, it's not like they study it... and our names arent even on the picture. Anyway, he took care of everything for me, even squeezed me in that day (despite not having an appointment) and was really pleasant about the whole thing.
This morning I went back to pick up my car, and discovered that my sister was in the waiting room (waiting on an oil change). So we chatted while waiting for my car to be pulled up. Just as I was about to leave, the same guy pointed out that my center brake lights were all burned out (apparently there are 6 bulbs in that) and he said they could replace those real quick, but it would cost like $30 or something. I figured why not. So he went and replaced my bulbs, and then when he came back he said "hey dont worry about it, this is on the house." What great service, not just because it was free, but because it was pleasant, and I felt taken care of.
So next time you're in the market for a car... I highly recommend giving the Sterling Saturn dealer a shot. I'm not sure how their sales department is since I've never worked directly with them, but their service department is better than any service department from any company I've ever worked with (ask for Adam).
I've been pretty much neglecting all other aspects of my life the past few weeks as I scrambled to get my school work done. So now that I'm over the hump, I can finally turn my attention back to other things... like doing laundry (apparently it doesnt do itself, no matter how long you let it sit on the floor), getting my dog groomed, vaccuuming, running errands, going to my yoga class (which I had to skip last week), talking to people, paying attention to my dog, posting an occasional blog... and so on.
I still have to do school work this week, but that's fine, at least it won't be an all-consuming endevour.
Now it's time to get ready for yoga.
Yay for me and my awesome researching skills.
Yay for journals that have full text available online.
Yay for not having to wake up at 5:30 in the morning so I can get to school pre-rush hour.
ps- add another 5 hours to time spent researching online... just a little more left, hopefully i can get it done before i pass out for the night.
- I think that grad school is going to make me ocd... or at least overly organized. the further and further into I get, the more and more obsessed i'm becoming with organizing everything I can. For example: My simple Daily To Do lists have gone from handwritten notes jotted down onto scrap pieces of paper as I think of them to catergorized and prioritized lists on the computer (with due dates and automatic email reminders so I dont forget important things.)
- # of hours I have spent doing research in a library in the past week: 7 (not including time spent researching online at home which probably adds a good 10-12 hours to that number), # of hours I spent driving to and from the library: 4 (and I have to go back tomorrow)
- I've started drinking caffinated drinks primarily for the caffiene (rather than thirst or flavor) again.
- While down in Atlanta I made the comment that I was going to enjoy being able to sleep in while I still could because I knew that it would be ending soon (like when I get a real job). Since making that comment, I've only slept past 8:00 twice. I guess I made the comment a few weeks/months too late.
- # of assignments due this week: 4... and I'm only taking 3 classes. I dont plan on sleeping much over the next couple nights.
I looked for classes in the area (via google searches... which are really starting to drive me crazy) but eventually just ended up looking through a catalog for the leesburg rec center (Ida Lee) which offered a Hatha Yoga 1 class. I don't really know anything about all the different kinds of yogas, so I have no idea how hatha differs from anything else, but it was the only beginning class I could find at a time I could attend (and it was far cheaper than any of the private yoga classes).
So Thursday I headed over to Ida Lee, feeling a little nervous, but glad that I was finally doing something again. There aren't too many people in my class. This week there were 5 (including me) and apparently 2 others should have been there, but were out of town or something. Of course I was the only one who had never taken a yoga class before, so I was a little nervous when we got started. But I think I did pretty well. I was definitely the least flexible person in there, which didn't surprise me too much. We learned some basic elements and 3 different poses (though I haven't really done them enough to know how to recreate them). I was most proud of the fact that I didnt fall over while holding the poses, there were a few times that I almost did, but I was determined not to make myself look like a fool.
The best part of the class was that it was very relaxing. Which is what I wanted. We started off with this centering thing. I knew that yoga was kind of "out there" before signing up and and I wasn't really sure how I would react to that (because it typically makes me feel uncomfortable--which I often express in giggles), but this wasnt too bad. The instructor kept saying that we should only concentrate on what we were doing and on our breathing... which of course made me think of everything but that at first, but as the class went on I was able to forget other things. But that's probably because I had to completely concentrate on what I was doing so I wouldn't look like an idiot. Oh we also had to listen to Enya-ish music the whole hour, but after a while I was able to block that out.
Overall the whole thing hardly felt like a work out (as in I wasn't panting and out of breath by the end). The hardest thing was the stretching, which I definitely felt, but I didn't push myself beyond what I could handle. Other than that, it all felt pretty good. At the end of the class we just laid down and relaxed for a few minutes. Any workout that requires laying down and doing nothing works for me. And when the class was over, I felt pretty good.
Then this morning I woke up and my muscles had that you-worked-out-yesterday feel, which kinda surprised me since I didn't really feel too much strain yesterday. But as the day has gone on, I've been feeling it more and more. Nothing too intense, just enough to know that I actually did work out.
So I think this yoga thing could work out.
Basically capoing the guitar is a "only do if you have to or if it serves a musical purpose" kinda tool... and even then it's really only an ACOUSTIC guitar kinda tool. But people also know that you can easily change keys simply by sticking a capo on a different fret. And granted, if you need to change keys (usually to accomidate a singer's vocal range) at the last minute, and aren't very good at transposing, the capo is okay, but otherwise, just change the chords and play it sans-capo, like the capable musician you are. So the capo can be misused as an easy way to get out of doing something a little more difficult. Which is why I tend to be bothered when I see a capo (unless it is used under the proper conditions). And I get really bothered when I see a "professional" musician using a capo under the wrong conditions.
Then today Matt and I made a stop at Melodee Music and while wandering around I found a book about Guitar Capoing. I picked it up an kinda browsed through it... and it basically confirmed most of what musicians think about capoing. 1- For the most part it is considered cheating, or at least taking the easy way out (kinda how pool players feel about using a bridge ... just use it for the shots you absolutely can't get on your own... but now imagine someone using a bridge for every shot... that could be a little irritating), but it does have some functional uses and can add a lot of versatility to the instrument (by instrument here they are referring to acoustic instruments, it never once mentioned capoing an electric, especially since electrics have softer strings) when used properly... for instance capoing in order to have open strings be different notes, or to assist with alternate tunings. 2- When it comes to tuning the guitar to Eb, I finally understand the term "detuning" which Matt uses a lot. Unfornately, i always thought that that he was saying "D-tuning" as in tuning the instrument to D or down a whole step, and I kept trying to correct him by saying that E to D is a whole step, not a half step so he should be calling it "Eb tuning". But when I saw the term "detuning" in the book I finally realized my mistake. Detuning means tuning the guitar to Eb, and if you want to tune it to D, you call that Drop D. I was glad for the clarification.
Those are my thoughts on the capo and I hope whoever reads this was able to understand my thoughts amongst the insane number of paranthesis.
1- The area we were in looked pretty much exactly like the northern virginia area. A little hillier perhaps, but other than that, I kept forgetting that I was in a different state. There was a lot of new building going on, the trees looked the same, the roads and everything else looked the same. There were only 2 occasions in which I really felt like I was down south. 1- I saw a sign the said "Old Wood Georgia (or something-something Georgia)" which made me think "huh what an odd sign for a shopping center" until I remembered that I was actually in Georgia. And 2- We had good southern hospitality at a resuraunt... the waitress was very nice, and personable... which I dont see too often up here. Overall, I was surprised by how similar the areas were, and also surprised by the fact that I was able to get unsweetened ice tea in the south.
2- I dont like flying on small planes... especially when I have to sit directly between the two engines, as if small planes werent noisy enough to begin with.
3- I like hotels that have free wifi... I'm totally in favor of that becomming a bigger trend. :)
and lastly 4- Dave the Horn Guy (what this clip before reading the whole post). Now before I get too much into this, let me say this. I think it's great that this guy has the ability to do this. However, I also feel that part of what I found really intriguing about his performance was how original it was... and how on earth anyone could have ever thought up something like that. And then I found out.... while search for Dave the Horn Guy on youtube, I found a french horn guy... which I originally read as french-horn guy, instead of french horn-guy. But after reading some of dave's comments it seemed that this french guy was worth checking out... so I did... French Horn Guy. Interesting isnt it?
For the most part my day was a typical Thursday. I cleaned all morning, taught in the afternoon, then had rehearsal in the evening. My mom had a dinner for me on Sunday (since she knew I'd be busy), so we pretty much celebrated my birthday then. My parents got me a crock pot, which is something I've wanted so that Matt and I can actually have real dinners again. This way I can just throw a bunch of ingredients together in the morning and by evening we'll have something to eat. Which is good for us since I am either working or at school nearly every night of the week (it makes for a lot of "cereal" dinners). I havent used the crock pot yet, but I think I might test it out tomorrow. Hopefully it's as easy to use as everyone's been telling me.
Since most of the festivities occured Sunday, my actual birthday was pretty low key. Matt and I went to Macaroni Grill for dinner because I love their tiramisu (it's a HUGE piece, even for two people), and for some reason it just wouldnt feel like my birthday if I didnt get to eat a lot of tiramisu. Then we had rehearsal right after that, which was a little longer than usual, but very productive and the music at church should sound great this week. So after reharsal I walked out to my car, and there were a dozen roses on the dashboard... how did matt do that? I guess keeping the doors unlocked pays off everyonce and while. Anyway, that was very sweet and unexpected. And what girl doesnt love to get flowers?
So that was my birthday in a nutshell. Oh one other funny thing was that one of my piano students got me a gift. She got me a romance novel... which I thought was kinda funny/odd at first (since she's only 11... I dont think she really knew what kind of book it was), but then she told me that she picked it out because she knew I was in library school so I must like to read, and the main character of the book was a music teacher. So after hearing her explanation I thought it was a very thoughtful gift.
For the most part my fall classes are far better than my summer classes. But also TONS more work. In comparison, it hardly seems like I was in school at all this summer. I read non stop now. Which is something I've said that I wanted to get back into, but if I have to read nonstop, I really wish the content could be slightly more interesting (I'm sorry, but "The History of Documented Information Management in Western Civilization" will put me to sleep, there's just no way around that). But i do find the subject itself fairly interesting, if for no other reason than the fact that I get to learn about how to organize things better. Wahoo. Also I get to see all the crazy kinds of resources that are available that I never knew about before (unfortunately most of them are subscription based, so once I leave school I wont be able to use them anymore.) My favorite one so far is the Classical Music Library, which contains a TON of classical music you can listen to online (you can listen to the whole work, not just a 30 second clip). I wish I had known about that as an undergrad because it would have saved me hundreds of dollars in CD anthologies. Oh well.
So I read non stop. And I organize non stop. And in between I work and clean and try to have a small social/leisure life. I'm trying to keep a good balance, but I can feel myself slipping into the pulls of obsessing over school (i enjoy it so much). One thing I think I've decided to change so I can use my time more efficiently is my method of note taking. I have still been taking notes by hand (which still seems to be the most common way of taking notes), but today I used my laptop in one class and it was so much easier. Not only that, but as a study method I always go through and type and organize my notes before tests. But I honestly dont have enough time to type up all my notes. So I guess it's time to cut out the middle man... no more hand written notes. I guess I'll have to figure out which seats are closest to a power outlet now so my laptop doesnt die 20 minutes before class ends (which it did today.)
Anyway... Here's a story I'll end with:
While waiting for one of my classes today I over heard a girl and guy talking. The girl was complaining about some class she had to take that was dumb, but she had to take it. The guy asked her what class it was and she was like "Intro to Lawn Care." !!!!!!! funniest thing I've heard in a long time. I think I laughed for a full two minutes thinking about what kind of text they would have, what their syllabus would look like, what their parents would say when they saw that as one of the classes their child was taking, what questions would be on the exams, the fact that a majority of students in the class probably didnt even have their own lawn to take care of (since I'm guessing this is an undergrad class)... the sad thing is that I would probably not pass that class... at least not based on the current condition of our lawn. Ah, it was a nice comic relief in the middle of a very very very long day.
There are three things that affect my decision when it comes to what music I'm going to listen to. Those things are: 1- mood, 2- activity, and 3- weather. For some reason weather has a bigger impact on my decision than I would have expected. For instance, I have winter and summer music. Winter tends to be more mellow, laid back, while summer music tends to be more upbeat, poppy, and singable. I also have rainy day, sunny day, and snow music.
A Life Less Ordinary soundtrack
Good rainy day food:
Grilled Cheese Sandwhiches
Good rainy day activities:
Watch favorite movie
Bad rainy day activity:
Yesterday Matt and I finished painting the garage floor. So we left all our stuff that's usually in the garage in the driveway. I checked the weather report like 4 times and it didnt say anything about rain, so I figured the stuff would be fine. Then this morning I wake up to the sound of static... oh wait, that's not static... it's rain! So we both quickly run downstairs and start moving stuff into the now perfectly clean and painted garage.
This is what one of my professors would describe as "what happens when recall is not 100%" (which is actually what one of my homework assignments I just finished was all about). Thanks weather.
"I heard you were facing lions baby, I thought you could use a whip and a chair." --Luke Spencer on returning to find out that his daughter is pregnant with his step-son's baby and being bullied into giving up custody to the crazy and overly wealthy Quartermane family.
You just dont get drama like that on normal TV shows. haha
Here's a quick recap of what I've been up to:
Friday I had lunch with an old friend of mine. A girl I was good friends with in 8th grade when I lived over in Germany. We've managed to stay semi-connected over the years through occasional IMs, and Christmas cards from our parents (her father and my father worked together). Another form of connection came from my aunt... she was my friend's chemistry teacher in high school at one point (they both lived in Belgium at the time). That was a great lunch. Then I got home and found out that my professors (classes start tomorrow) had finally posted their syllabi (i hate that word, syllabus is okay though) and I had a ton of reading to get through by Tuesday. Yay for WebCT.
Saturday started out by heading up to UMD to buy the books I needed to read. Of course even though I reserved the books ahead of time, the main book I needed was no longer there. Hopefully I'm not the only one in that situation. Then Matt and I went to Guitar Center where he tried out every single guitar in the store... none were good enough though. I spent my time checking out some sound equipment and practicing the correct way to roll up cords (I did find one dead cable in the process... I was so proud of myself for figuring that out), unfortunately I dont think I understand how to do it... I have the hardest time with spatial things, oh well. We spent a long time there, a very long time. Despite being music oriented, Guitar Center is not my favorite place.
On Sunday I did the usual church thing... 9:15 with the band (plus new singers... exciting!) 10:30 with the choir (and for the first time ever there were more guys than girls). Then we had a band planning meeting that was very productive and lasted only an hour (which has been my goal all along... usually it takes about an hour and a half though). Then I came home and did some reading for my classes... which ended up putting me to sleep. Later on, our friend Mike came over to do some recording with Matt. And the 3 of us went out to dinner.
Today I did a lot of reading... lots and lots and lots. I also helped matt in the garage. That's turned into a bigger project than I thought it would be. But today we primed the walls. I consider this the first visible step of progress. I'm glad the garage is the first room we decided to tackle, we can get all our mistakes... I mean, learning... taken care of in a room that gross and dirty all the time anyway. I also made the mistake of running errands around lunch time. I think everyone in the world goes shopping on labor day. I just had to get a few essentials (more primer, some school supplies, food) and it took forever. I cant wait for school to start back up so I dont have to fight screaming children in every store I go to during the week. And then I taught a piano lesson in the afternoon, which just makes me (kinda) dread the start of school because it means I go back to teaching full force. I dont know how I'm going to balance all of it. Then for dinner I made steak tacos and organic corn, one of matt's favorites. Actually the tacos are one of his favorites, the organic corn was a result of all chemically-engineered corn being sold out at Giant today. I couldnt really tell the difference, except I think this corn was more expensive.
Now I'm getting ready to go to bed. My goal was to be in bed by 11 and I think I'll actually make it. I know I'll have no problem falling asleep as soon as I get there. Tomorrow I start Fall Semester. Which means I leave the house at 6am, have 3 classes (that last 3 hours a piece) and get home around 9pm. Man what a day. I'm kinda split as to how I feel about it...
- sucks, I hate getting up early. I think this schedule is going to force me to go back on coffee
- yay, I get to see my friend Melissa again! thank god for her, I think I'd die of boredom otherwise :)
- sucks, all the work, all the driving, all the sitting in uncomfortable chairs
- yay, it's going to feel like real school
- yay, I get to be out of the house doing something real again
- sucks, I dont really know what i'm getting myself into
Alright, well I better get going so I can make my 11:00 bedtime.
On the first search all I typed in was "piano" which ended up with a lot of piano renditions of video game themes. Some of them pretty interesting. But not really what I was looking for. So I decided to limit my search a little more and typed in "clair de lune" which is a piece I played in college, but never really mastered. These results interested me for 2 reasons. 1- There was one guy who played amazingly well, although the video camera was positioned in such a way that you couldnt see his face or hands at all. 2- There were lots of videos of people in the "still learning" phase. Which really surprised me. I cant figure out why on earth someone would record and share things that werent 100% correct yet. I know I could never do something like that. But what also surprised me were the comments for these videos. Nothing like "here are the 487 notes you played wrong" or "you suck, give up." Most of the comments were supportive and helpful, even if they were critiques. I remember one said something like "you have a good start here, it would be even more effective if you gave some thought as to dynamics." What... no rulers smashing down on poor piano students fingers? What a foreign concept to me. I guess I'm too used to the blunt criticism of my former teachers.
But anyway, one thing all this YouTubing has got me doing is playing piano again. My shoulder still isnt healed up (that's another issue), so I can't really play like I used to. But I can't stay away anymore either. I've been trying to get Clair de Lune up to 100% and I've come a long way. But I dont know if I'll ever think it's there. I guess it's the perfection curse most musicians deal with. I'll work on getting one section to flow better. Then I soon as that's right, I'll be like "oh now I need to get the voicing correct," then once that's done I think about the dynamics, then phrasing, then the tempo, etc etc etc... There's just too much required to make it perfect. I think I'll always be thinking about what layer of musicality I can add on. I think this is why it takes me so long to learn pieces, and also why I can play a piece for like 5 years and not get tired of it. It's constantly evolving into something better than it was and yet never achieving the greatness I know it should.
Huh... I just realized that last sentence pretty much sums up my playing.
Anyway, the point I was going to make was that YouTube has made me realize that I am far better than the average Joe Shmo when it comes to playing piano, so I need to stop being afraid of it. But I guess I made a different point instead.
Other stupid censoring things:
The Green Day song... American Idiot. The radio cuts out a word. They dont bleep it, they cut it out... totally throws the counting off, which drives me crazy.
Bleeping in general. Especially anytime they bleep out the middle letters of a swear word... hmm... wonder what f**k means? maybe fqxk? Seriously, are the "u" and "c" that offensive? And if so, then should we bleep them out all the time? How ridi**lo*s is that?
Changing phrases when a movie is on TV. "that stupid dumb head" in an awkward high pitched voice just doesnt flow as seemlessly as I think the censors think it does. Though my husband likes to watch movies he knows really well on TV to see if he can guess the weird thing they'll change "offensive language" to.
Censoring irritates me.
Maybe I should get my back straightened... it might add a few points to my IQ.
I've been tagged by Tom. Orignally this started out as a Book Meme, but since I dont read a whole lot I had a tough time answering these questions. So I decided that since music has had such a big effect on my life, I'd change it up a little... and who's going to stop me? So here's the Book Meme with a twist.
1. One album that changed your life: hmm... just one... that's hard... Well one song in particular that changed me was Bob Dylan's The Hurricane. This was my "gateway" song into Bob Dylan. The anger, energy, and conviction in the song opened my eyes to the amount of power a good songwriter should have. It doesnt even matter that Dylan's voice is barely tolerable, I couldnt stop listening to this song. Now I'm a full fledged Dylan junkie. (maybe not as much as other people, but more than I ever thought I'd be). But this has shown me that good music is about more than fast notes, difficult passages, and how pretty it is.
2. One album that you’ve listened to more than once: Okay this question doesnt translate well from the orginial book question because it would hopefully cover every single CD I own. But I'm going to choose The Bends by Radiohead because it definitely needs to be listened to in its entirety (which I think is why they haven't allowed their music to be on iTunes). I highly recommend it.
3. One album you'd want on a desert island: The very best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions. If I were on a desert island I'd probably be depressed and unmotivated so I'd want a CD that had the opposite effect on me. I can't sit still when I listen Pump It Up. Oh and I love the last song on this album, even though it is slightly crazy, it's so good.
4. One album that made you laugh: I'm gonna go with a Mitch Hedberg comedy album... Mitch All Together. One of the very few comedy albums I'll actually listen to (multiple times even, that's how funny it is).
5. One album that made you cry: the Jars of Clay self title debute I suppose.
6. One album you wish had been written: Maybe I'll do one someday. Actually something I'd love to do is arrange and orchestrate simple piano works for small ensembles. Kinda similar to what Ravel did with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, on a smaller scale.
7. One album you wish had never been written: Well I could probably go without a lot of 80s hair band music and country music in general, but if I have to pick one, I'd say whatever album Living Color's Cult of Personality is on (I absolutely hate that song).
8. One album you’re currently listening to: Lately I havent been able to get enough of System of A Down. Though I've been listening to my own mix of a few songs from Toxicity and Mezmerize.
9. One album you’ve been meaning to check out: Radiohead's Pablo Honey. Mike's been letting us borrow but I keep forgetting to listen to it. So today I'm going to change that...
10. Tag 5 others: I dont like tagging people. But if you want to give this a try, go ahead.
Xandadu, Xanadu-u-u, now we are here, in Xanadu... Xanadu your neon lights will shine... for you Xanadu
Olivia Newton John rocks
I love watching musicals with my sisters
My two big tasks for the day were: get the pianos at church tuned and give 2 presentations in my class. Somehow that took well over 12 hours. But even that didnt really bother me. I worked on my presentations at church while waiting for the pianos to be tuned. I also managed to clean up a little of the paper mess that seems to accumulate with all the music material. My first presentation for my class went well (I presented a website called Classical Music Library which offers free access to LOTS of classical recordings... unfortunatley it's a subscription database, so I can only access it through UMD's catalog and as soon as I'm no longer a student, I'll have no access). And by the time everyone had presented their websites, there wasnt enough time for me to give my other presentation... so I got out of it. Completely. All I had to do was turn in my notes instead. So main items for the day were accomplished. I feel good about that.
Here's what sucked. I got cut off while driving to church by someone who was completely out of line (and then had the nerve to honk at me). Then after writing up my notes for school during the piano tunings at church, I stopped by my parent's house to print them. I'm creating a new law... Jessica's Law: Whenever you have to print something at the last minute, the forces of the universe will cause every possible printing scenario to crap out on you, leaving you printed-less. I couldnt email it to my parent's computer because I didnt have the password to access their network. I tried to connect directly to the printer, but of course my computer didnt have the correct driver to install it. They have an HP 2600 something and my computer had drivers for the 2500, 2550, and 2700 series... where's the 2600??? How can you just skip right over that??? UGH. So then I tried to burn my files onto a CD-R, and for whatever reason my computer wouldn't recognize the CDRs my parents have. So I searched the whole house looking for a different brand (there are 6 people living in that house... all with computers... you'd think there'd be more than one brand of CDRs in there). But that didnt work. So I tried a DVDR (oh by the way, at this point I was about 30 minutes past when I usually leave for school) but that didn't work either... I dont even know if my laptop has a DVD burner... I guess not. So after exhausting every possible option I could think of (I was so proud of being able to come up with so many alternative ways to do this all on my own), I decided at this point it would probably be faster to just re-type the whole thing on my dads computer. So that's what I did. I typed as fast as I could. And when all was said and done (and finally printed) I only had one small typo. Not too bad.
By now I was about 50 minutes past my usual "leave-time." So I got in my car, and started it up, only to realize that my tank was on E. So I went to the gas station... tick tick tick, at this point i was praying that I'd get to class on time. I hit lots more traffic than usual on the Beltway, but somehow managed not to be late for class anyway... this is mostly due to the fact that I leave WAY earlier than necessary.
So then I had class.
On my way home i took my usual route of 495 to the Dulles Toll Road to the Greenway. As soon as I got on the Toll Road and past the first exit after the toll plaza traffic stopped. They were repaving the road and pushed everyone into 1 lane. One itty-bitty lane. And even though it was after 8 (so you'd think there wouldnt be much traffic) it was ridiculously backed up. And of course whenever they close multiple lanes, they do it one at a time, slowly over a certain distance. So I'm doing my best merging (waiting until you get the point where you have to merge, and then staggering with the lane next to me), and when it's my turn to stagger in... 3 cars don't let me. I'm inching my way up and over, with my blinker on, in a clearly marked force merge. The cars ahead of me had no problem with the stagger technique. But for whatever reason these 3 people just couldn't bare to let a car in like they are supposed to. Grr. So I tried to force my way over on one of them, but they didn't like it, and they honked. So i was honked at twice today. TWICE. I'm the most cautious and non agressive driver ever (even to a fault), and I got honked at twice in one day. That's crap.
It took me nearly 2 hours to get home. Usually it takes 45 minutes. Nothing like paying for access to a road in which it takes you 4 times as long as the free road. Awesome. Then I finally make it to the end of the Toll Road, and as I'm getting ready to go through the toll booth to get on the Greenway, the car in front of me stops. He has no smart tag. Why do you go through the smart tag only lane with no smart tag? I understand that maybe you can get confused and end up in the wrong lane, but what happens when you do. The little gate wouldnt go up, so this guy gets out of his car and starts wandering around the lane. I guess he's looking for the magic "open sesame" button. After a minute or two of looking he decides to go down to a booth with a person in it. So he cautiously makes his way across several lanes of tolls to find a person who can help him. Meanwhile there are cars piling up behind me... all honking away. And the guy in the booth motions that he'll be there in a minute. At this point I was just tired of being in the car, tired of the day, and tired of stupid drivers. So while this guy tries to figure out what the heck to do to get through this gate, I was sitting in my car behind him, screaming away. Not screaming at him, just screaming. My patience was shot.
Eventually I got home... I let my dog out, made myself a toasted peanut butter-banana-honey sandwhich (my favorite) and now I'm blogging away my frustration.
Grr to the little things.
Well I guess I could write something interesting about school. I started my new class a few weeks ago. It's okay (I say that with VERY little enthusiasm). Still not as interesting as I would hope, but it's a step I need to take in order to get my degree. So I do it. Last week we had a pop quiz on Singularity and two different Information Theories (don't even ask what those to have to do with each other... the randomness of this class is one thing I haven't learned to cope with yet). Anyway, seeing as how my teacher loves to talk about every little detail he can about every single topic we discuss (the entire history, who was involved, what their parents did for a living, etc) I wrote A LOT, 4 pages of essays. And it all paid off because I got an A+!!! Wahoo! I didn't even know they gave A+s in grad school (I was shocked to find that they gave them in regular college). So I guess I'm off to a good start. I have to say, despite the fact that my hand nearly fell off afterwards, I love essay tests. I have no problem proving that I know what I'm talking about on whatever topic we've gone over in class. And I'm a decent writer when I need to be (despite my very casual grammar, structure, and style I blog with). So I tend to do really well with essays. Multiple choice on the other hand just sucks. I think I over think the questions too much... somehow I can have a question as simple as 1+1=? and find about 10 different ways to interpret the question, each requiring a different answer. I've been tempted to explain my choices on multiple choice tests, but I figure that teachers who give them won't take the time to read any notes I put in. So I tend to do alright on multiple choice tests, but I get frustrated because if it were in essay form it would be much better.
Anyway, that was a fascinating topic (it really just gave me a chance to brag about my grade :) hey I dont brag often, but every once and a while I like to celebrate the fact that I succeeded in something.)
- I'm no longer afraid to drive on the Beltway. Before I avoided it at all possibly costs. Now I don't mind it too much (so long as it's not rush hour, and it's not raining)
- I consider information more carefully. Where did it come from? What is a person's intention/motivation for giving it to you? Are you getting the whole story?
- The history of the computer
Things left to learn:
- How a library works, especially cataloging since everyone talks about it nonstop
- Apparently everything else the world has to offer
- Not to feel claustrophobic while spending time in a library
Which worked great for a while. Because as much as classical music is complicated and intricate, jazz is that to the tenth degree. And since I didnt know enough about jazz to be able to analyze it as critically as other music, I could listen to it just fine. Until I took a jazz class. And learned a lot about jazz theory (which i found way more interesting and complex than classical by the way). And one day after taking the class, I was listening to a Thelonius Monk cd that I had listened to plenty of times before, but I heard something new... a mistake! Only a small one, it hardly interrupted the flow of the song, but it was definitely there. Not only that, but I knew what the mistake was, and how it was covered. And there went my ability to just listen to Thelonius Monk. (I can now even hear various concepts I learned in that class while listening to elevator music, by the way).
So why punk rock? Here's why: It's usually very simple. A few chords, a basic beat, a very sketchy melody (often more screaming than pitch), and LOTS of energy. There, it's analyzed as much as possible. Now I can just enjoy it. Ahhhh...
I still have yet to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Matt and I actually drove down to Sterling on Saturday morning to try and see it, but as soon as we saw the crowds we lost interest. Then we thought about going to the local Leesburg theater last night, but never quite made it. Someone who saw it told me it was a great movie and Johnnie Depp is really really hot (I guess I this point I should reveal that my source was my teenage sister, Sarah). But that mostly all it does is set up a need for a 3rd movie. I still want to see it though. The first one was more entertaining than I ever thought possible (considering the fact that it is based on a Disney ride... I'd like to know who came up with that idea). Unfortunately, it's very rare to have a decent sequel. But we'll see.
I read The Devil Wears Prada this weekend. I heard from a couple people that is was a good, fun book. I think it was okay. I mean, it was definitely an easy read. But at times it was tough because basically the whole book is about all these crazy errands/tasks that this girl has to accomplish for her boss. All I kept thinking, the whole time, was that no one like her would put up with a job like that for as long as she does. But still, I read it. I have a hard time imagining what the movie will be (I'm assuming that constant coffee runs can get old rather quickly), but I'll probably see that too... eventually... when we can get it through NetFlix.
1- Celebrated my 2 year wedding anniversary. I can't believe it's been 2 years. Some days it seems like it's been so much longer, some days it seems like it was just yesterday. In any case, I look forward to many many more anniversaries.
2- Saw Collective Soul live at the Fairfax Fair. They are a good "have fun and feel good" kinda band. Their live show was pretty good. Though I was kinda bummed that they used pre-recorded tracks along with their live instruments. Boo to that. There was a woman next to matt and I who felt compelled to dance through the entire show. Only she didnt really dance dance. It was more like a work out dance. She would do these punching motions, and stretching motions, oh and I think she did the funky chicken in there somewhere too. I told matt that it looked like she owned "Sweatin to Collective Soul."
Also, I always feel better about myself when I go see a professional, successful band that has been together for many years and they have some of the same problems we have with the band at church.
- Example 1: At this concert, the bass player/back up vocals couldn't hear himself in his monitor and kept motioning to the sound guy that it needed to be fixed. This pretty much describes every conversation matt and I have on a sunday morning.
- Example 2: At the Rolling Stones concert we went to last Oct or Nov, Mick Jagger messed up on a song form (went to a verse instead of a chorus). This used to be a fairly common occurance with our band, but we have managed to communicate much better so now it only happens on the very few occasions when someone makes a genuine mistake (as opposed to everyone thinking the form is something different.) If it happens to the Rolling Stones, I figure that it can happen to anyone.
3- Went to the Arts Conference at Willow Creek near Chicago. I went out with matt and the lead singer of our church band. We had a great time. And it was my first business trip (it wasnt officially called that, but I'm calling it that anyway). I've always wanted a job that would send me on a business trip, so this was exciting for me. The conference itself was very helpful. I was exposed to leadership, teamwork, and artsy ideas that I wouldnt normally be exposed to. I tried as best as I could to soak it all up like a sponge, but I took notes as well so I wouldnt have to remember everything. I also want to say that it was my first time in Illinois, but I'm sure I've driven through that state at some point in my life.
4- I thought of other weird Jessica-isms:
- I count when I walk up or down steps. I dont necessarily count the steps, or anything in particular. I just count. Usually I will start over when I reach some kind of a landing. Though I will say this, there are usually 13 steps going from one floor to the next in a standard house. I have no idea if this is true in my own house because we have a landing at some point on all our staircases.
- I cant stand it when doors, cabinets, or drawers are left partially opened. Either it is opened all the way, or it's completely shut. Every morning after my husband goes to work, I have to close it sock drawer. He has a lot of socks, so sometimes it's tough to close the drawer; you have to smush the socks down first otherwise when you try to shut it, a sock with get in the way and prevent it from closing completely. I don't think he really cares that this happens. But every morning I feel compelled to fix it. Also, because of the way it was hung (improperly), the closet door in matt's office at home doesn't shut all the way. It drives me crazy, and I constantly try to force it to shut, but it never works. Good thing I dont spend too much time in that room.
I dont mind watching baseball. It's one of the few sports I can really sit and watch (though I'm usually doing other things while it's on). I think it's mostly because it's one of the few sports I really understand in terms of rules, strategies, etc. But it is slow enough that I dont have to devote my full attention to it.
Basketball is tough to watch. My theory is that it's too easy to score. Seriously when people can score into the 100s, it kind of takes away from the suspense. If I do watch basketball, I'll usually only watch the last 3 or 4 minutes. If it's any kind of a good game, that's all you need to watch anyway.
Football is somewhere in the middle. I dont really understand all the rules and fouls and strategies involved in football. But I'm learning. I definitely have to care about at least one of the teams I'm watching. Otherwise I just get bored.
Okay, back to the Red Sox.
Yesterday I had my first graduate class. I got there early for two reasons: the most important-- to avoid rush hour traffic (since class starts at 5:30), and also to run some last minute errands.
So when I got to campus the first thing I wanted to do was get my ID. I knew I had to go to the Mitchell Building, and I knew approximately where the Mitchell building was, but I figured once I got on campus I would just follow the signs to find my way. Guess what? UMD doesnt have signs to tell people where buildings are. That's crazy! And of course being the shy person I am, I didnt want to ask for directions from anyone. But I found it anyway (with a minimum of wandering). I got my ID which says GRADUATE in big letters at the top. Yay. Then I decided to go to the bookstore and make sure there werent any books required for the class. Again, since there were no signs or anything I just started wandering around. I headed toward where I thought the Student Union was (and I was right) figuring that the bookstore would most likely be there (and it was). So the good news is that I dont have to buy any books for this class. Which I'm totally fine with, I just find it a little strange. But my credit card is not complaining. While wandering I also found out a few things about the university of maryland: 1- they are a Pepsi school. I prefer Coke, but oh well. I guess I'll be drinking Sierra Mist more often. 2- they have crosswalks EVERYWHERE. Seriously it's crazy how many they have, especially how close together they are. Which is good if you are walking, but it makes driving around campus a very slow ordeal. 3- They have way more fast food places than any other school I've seen, including McDonalds, Taco Bell, and my favorite Sbarros. Unfortunately when I was there all of them were closed. Guess I'll have to pack my own snacks. Which is probably better for me anyway.
So eventually I made my way to class. Luckily a girl I met at orientation was there, so we kept each other company. I think we'll get along great, and there's a project we have to work on with partners later in the course that we've agreed to work on together. As for the class itself... it's so easy! Of course I say that now, before having done any graded work. But I mean, there's hardly any outside work to do. We have one big project at the end of the semester and 2 littler projects (that we work on with other people during class). Other than that we have a midterm and final, which are open notes, book, and internet. One blog entry we have to write (mine has to be on E-Books) and a current event related to technology that we have to present. Seriously, it's not a problem. We spent the majority of class learning the history of the computer and basics of hardware and software. I better get an A in this class. If not, I messed up big time... and I just dont see that happening. I better enjoy this while it lasts, I'm sure the rest of my classes wont be this light.
Oh and here's another pet peeve I have: Asking personal questions that take up class time. If the answer doesn't benefit the whole class, ask the teacher after it's over. This is especially true if the teacher ends early and your question causes everyone to stay an extra 20 minutes. Some of us have 1 and a half hour drives to tackle.
Ahh, how I've missed school.
If I could, I'd put a link up to Leesburg Vintner, unfortunately I haven't been able to find a website for them. But I'd definitely recommend checking it out if you are ever in the area.
So how am I spending my last few days of freedom?
Thursday I took my dog to the vet for a yearly check-up. She's all healthy. I had to pay a lot of money to find that out, but I guess it's worth the peace of mind. I talked with the vet for a little while. I mentioned to her that I was going back to school for library science and she actually told me she thought about doing the same thing She said she loves being a vet, but it's really hard for her to be around animals that are so sick all the time. She was really happy that for once she was able to work with a healthy animal (so I guess there are 2 good things that came out of that expensive appointment) even though eve was TOTALLY freaked out to be there. She also said it was tough to commit to one career for so long when you are so young (she seemed to be only a couple years older than me), I could relate. I think the only thing that gets eve into the door of the vet's office is the fact that occasionally some people have cats in the waiting room. Then we get to play the fun game of "can I eat the cat?" Fortunately they are smart enough to keep the cats and dogs in opposite sides of the office. After the vet I went out to Fairfax to have lunch with my friend harmony. She just adopted a 2 month old chihuahua so I went out there to socialize and play with her new pup. I think eve could eat her in 1 bite. It is the smallest dog i've ever seen. Very cute, but VERY needy.
Yesterday I cleaned out my car. Doesnt seem like much of a task, but considering my shedding dog and tendency to get slightly compulsive when I clean, it took a couple hours. But now it's as clean as new (or at least as clean as "used" when we bought it). Then I cleaned up a little around the house, did some vacuuming, and finally went grocery shopping. Ever since I cleaned out my fridge last month I really havent felt like getting it dirty with food again, so the only thing that's been in the fridge for teh last few weeks has been some yoghurt, tortillas, and a thing of cream cheese (this again relates back to my cleaning compulsion). But now we have some real food again. Then for dinner I made my favorite tortillini with meat sauce, and I even made my favorite angel food cake with strawberries for dessert. Yum.
Today matt and I had a lazy day. I actually slept in until 10, which I haven't done since I dont even know when. Then matt and I spent the remainder of the morning catching up on some of our dvr episodes, including a random Dr Who episode (when we thought the season ended a couple weeks ago). We ran some errands. Matt spent a good part of the day rearranging our computer set up. Our dinner tonight wasnt as glamorous as last night... bagels and cream cheese with kahlua mudslides. Matt put in the johnny knoxville movie where he pretends to be mentally challenged and enters the special olympics. When he put it in I told him that I expected to hate the movie. But we're getting close to the end and in all honesty it's no where near as awful as I expected.
There's my glamorous life. I think tomorrow I'd like to do something a little more out of the ordinary. I think I might drag matt out for a wine tasting. Though there are still lots of things to do around the house, so we'll see.
This is what it looked like before we did anything. Love the country blue-with-hearts wallpaper... gag.
Here's me with my best friend the wallpaper steamer on Day 2 of the project. See those brown patches... that's the drywall. This wall actually didnt turn out too bad, the other walls were much much worse.
I realized this morning that I have less than a week before classes start. Less than a week until I'm officially a graduate student. I'm excited and kinda nervous at the same time. Luckily at orientation I met a girl who will be in both of my summer classes, so at least I dont have to worry about not knowing people the first day of class. That's always the worst. Although it was much worse in elementary and high school. At least now I dont have to worry about finding someone to eat lunch with on the first day of school. Ugh. That was always the single worst moment of moving. Unfortunately since I moved nearly every school year that sensation, through the transitive property, is now the sensation I associate with any first day of anything... school, work, whatever. But I'm trying to stay positive. I'm sure once I'm in class I'll be fine. Until then, I'll have butterflies in my stomach. I also still need to buy books and get my student ID, though at this point I think it just makes sense to wait until the first day of class to do that. Otherwise I have to make a 3 hour (roundtrip) drive for it. Which I'm just not up to at the moment. But maybe I'll make myself go on Friday. We'll see.
And two weeks ago I finally had enough courage (and knew enough about my upcoming schedule) to tell my piano students all my new life plans. I waited until then because I wanted to be able to tell them exactly when I'd be able to teach, and how much I'd be able to work. But I think I also waited because I dreaded what would happen after they all found out about my plans to go back to school and do something more than just teach piano lessons with my life. I thought I would get a lot of complaints about abandoning students, not being able to continue, and the problems of bumping piano lessons down a rung on my Grand Ladder of Priorities. But it was handled way better than I expected. Everyone is more than willing to work with my new schedule even if it inconviences them a little bit, I guess I'm worth it :) But I just have to make sure that I'm not getting into more than I can handle. I was actually hoping a couple students would opt to change teachers (not that I dont like my students). Going to school full time and working 2 part time jobs (probably about 25 hours a week total) seems reasonable to me as of now, hopefully I'll be able to keep my sanity. When I was an undergrad I learned the importance of prioritizing commitments and taking on too much the hard way. But in all honest I'm ready for life to be more of a challenge again.
On to a totally different subject...
Matt and I finally started cleaning out our "Monica's Closet" yesterday. Let me explain Monica's Closet. I took the term from a Friends episode.... In Monica's apartment there is a door in the very back next to the bathroom that was never really addressed except for in one episode where Chandler decides to find out what's in there. Of course when he discovers that it's locked, he gets more interested. Eventually he gets in and when he opens the door, he sees it crammed with all kinds of random junk. And since Monica is very organized and neat, it seems very out of character for her. But she rationalizes it by saying that she is SO neat and SO organized that everything in the closet is in there because it didnt have a proper place anywhere else in the apartment. Well that's what we were using the 3rd bedroom of our house for. It orginally started out as a recording studio for matt, then became a painting studio, then became the "it doesnt go anywhere else, so I'll just throw it in here" room... aka Monica's Closet. Ahh, we're such Friends Junkies. But now we're turning it back into a music room so matt can get back into recording and we can have a functioning room again. Yesterday we cleaned out the dozens of canvases that were in there (I was amazed at how many there were) and now we're trying to find places for all the "place-less objects" we had to clean out. I'll feel much better once it's all clean. In fact, now that I can see the floor, I am probably going to vaccuum the room for the first time ever as soon as I'm done here. Yay. One project down, seventeen thousand to go.
I feel like I'm starting to turn into a real homeowner. You know the never ending list of improvements and projects. It seems like I add to that list far more often than I cross things off of it. My dad has tried to warn me about this (since I consult him whenever I do any kind of house stuff), but I think it just comes with the territory. Plus it gives me something to do with my days. Of course I'm sure that will all change next week. But I am having a small dinner party for some of my friends from college the first week of July, so I'm using that as a deadline to get the majority of things done. Oh and my painter just stopped by to give me an esitmate on replacing our front door... looks like that's another thing I'll be able to cross off the list in about a week! yay.
Alright, I'm off to vaccuum. Arent you glad I've come back to the blogging world to share all my fascinating stories.
So the day my mom left we moved all their furniture out of the room, well at least my dad and my uncle moved it out. I kinda stood there and commented on how much clutter my parents have kept over the years and how much dust had accumulated behind furniture. I guess this is what happens when people don't move every year of their life. Then we all sat down and tried to finalize a paint color. I was trying to get my dad's opinion since he's one of the two people who will have to live with it, but he didnt really have a strong opinion. So matt ended up picking out the colors. I certainly am not qualified to do something like that because I have this colorphobia that tends to force me into white (which is my way of not picking a color... as is evident throughout my house). Actually though since matt and I tend to use our walls more as an art gallery would, white walls work very well for us. But my parents like color. My dad freaks out a little bit when I tell him that I've never painted a wall before, but he'll get over that.
Oh and my dad was nice enough to scrape off the accoustic ceiling that night.
Day 2: My sister and I begin the daunting task of steaming off wallpaper. I only had a few hours to do this because I had an interview at the university of maryland in the middle of the day. But I was there long enough to see that I had clearly bit of more than I could chew. My mom was due back in 3 days and this wallpaper was apparently cemented to the walls. It either didnt come all the way off, or if it did come off it took every coat of paint along with it, leaving exposed drywall (or whatever the brown cardboardy stuff that makes up walls is called). Not only that, but it was a very very very slow process. But I wasnt freaking out yet. After my interview and work I went back to my parents house to start removing the glue and little bits of stuck on wallpaper. My sisters had taken down all the major panels and let me tell you, the walls were torn apart. It looked awful. I kept apologizing to my dad (who was certainly now going to be living in a room with lumpy walls) and saying that next year my mom would surely get flowers for her birthday.
Day 3: More scraping off of wallpaper bits and glue spots. That's all, just hours and hours of scraping. Right about now I'm really starting to think it might be easier to invent a time machine, go back in time, and talk myself out of this idea. I think that would be a lot easier than trying to fix the mess I made. I complain the entire time (of course this is all my fault). My dad tells me that you have to learn to enjoy the process and not just the end result. I tell him this is the most boring and tedious process I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying.
Day 4: Mom's back. What a short vacation. We tried to talk her into staying longer, but it didnt work. So she comes home and SURPRISE!! Not only is the room not done, but she can't even sleep in her bed or get to her closet because all the furniture is either taken apart or moved out of the room. Not to mention the patches of exposed drywall. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM. I call her several times to assure her that when we're done it will look good.
Day 5: Too busy to work on it, not to mention too tired. So my dad and I took a day off.
Day 6: Bad reaction to the pain killer medication the dentist gave me, spent most of the day in bed because standing up made me so nauseaus I'd puke. That was still better than scraping off wallpaper.
Day 7: Go with Matt to sand the walls my dad patched the previous day. After sanding them I think that the room actually stands a chance of looking somewhat normal.
Day 8: Primer time! Matt and I prime the walls and ceiling. I realize the fact that I dont have a steady hand, so having me do the cut ins with the actual paint color probably wouldn't be a great idea. Matt and I also go to home depot to get the paint color. We pick a color called teepee brown with swiss white for accents and the chair rail. I end up doing the cut in with the brown color despite my shakiness. My dad freaks out when he first sees the color which causes me to freak out. But then my mom comes up and says that she really likes it so we all calm down. By the time it was done, my dad loved the color too. Also, by the time we are done, I can't move my right arm due to painting cramps. Oh by this time it's Mother's Day. So my mom got to relax while we did all the painting... though she was nice enough to make us dinner (which I think I ate so fast I didnt even have time to taste it) Fun stuff.
Today: Matt and I went over to paint the trim. Again my lack of a steady hand shows through, but tomorrow we're going to do the final touch ups and I think everything will turn out okay.
Next time I get a brilliant idea for a surprise project, someone needs to remind me: Just buy them flowers instead.