8.24.2010

Rainy Day Thoughts

It's been in the high 90s and low 100s nearly everyday this summer. Which has made me slightly miserable. I'm not a huge fan of summer to begin with, so going through an even hotter summer is not fun at all. We finally have a break in the hot humid weather, which I'm happy about. Yesterday was a beautiful day, in the 70s for the most part. Today it's even cooler out. Dylan and I are both wearing pants with no sweating in sight. I should be really really excited. Except this is one of the rare days that I had outdoor plans, so I'm kinda bummed. But on this rainy, dreary day I figured I'd take a moment to jot down some of my random thoughts...

First of all I think I need to admit that I have absolutely no ability to be spontaneous. In fact, the idea of not having every detail planned out way in advanced causes me to panic quite a bit. Today, for instance, I was ready to start calling my friends at like 7am to come up with a Plan B since it looked like our outdoor concert was going to be rained out. But then I had to keep reminding myself that it was early, and not to stress out about it, I'm sure we'll figure something out. But the real truth is that I've been kind of freaking out about it since yesterday morning when I first saw the weather report. I just forced myself to repress it. Luckily by 9am plans had been made, so I now feel much better. Other ways I'm not spontaneous... I plan out our dinners 2 weeks in advanced. I actually get a lot of comments on this since I leave the menus on the fridge. And I have to say that it really helps dinner time run more smoothly since I know well in advanced what food to buy at the grocery store and what meat to take out of the freezer in time to thaw. I also keep a very detailed calendar for every mundane thing we do, but I think a lot of people do that. I also start nearly every conversation with Matt on the weekend with "What's the plan for today?" Mostly to hear what he has going on, but also to set up a schedule in my mind for how we will get through the day. Here's my big confession, Matt is a spontaneous person. And it's a good thing that he is, because if we were both meticulous planners I have a feeling that our lives would be very boring and very routine. So he manages to throw some curve balls every once and a while, that give me minor panic attacks in the moment, but also have taught me to relax, let go, and enjoy the moment. I have tried to be spontaneous like him, but here's what usually happens... I think "how can I be spontaneous this weekend?" then I research lots of little things until I find an activity that sounds interesting. I get all the details for the activity and make sure it wont conflict with anything else we're doing. In my mind the plan is set.... I just don't mention it until the time gets closer, so that it seems more spur of the moment than it is. That's the best I've been able to do. But I think I am getting better with Dylan since flexibility is required of parents.

Next, I think I can finally publicly admit that Dylan is completely potty trained. Not that we don't have an occasional small accident here and there, but for the most part, he's good. He even goes without a diaper at nap time and has done great with that. We've tackled public restrooms and other people's houses all with great success. So diapers are pretty much a thing of the past for us, with the small (and normal) exception of night time. Wahoo!

Dylan is also becoming quite the little boy. He's starting to use his imagination a lot more. He'll point out the window and tell me there's a helicopter in the sky (there's not), or make a train sound and tell me it's coming down the hallway (it's not). He also has started more pretend play. He's really attached himself to this huge, ugly, robot Godzilla toy that used to belong to Matt. He treats it like a baby doll. This morning I had to give Godzilla a hug and a kiss and then Dylan did the same. He also had Godzilla pretend eat from Eve's food bowl (until I got Godzilla his own bowl of food). It's the ugliest doll, but he is really cute with it.

Some of his favorite phrases right now "What's that sound like?" "What are you doing there?" and "very careful." I know he picked up the last one from me. I must tell him to be very careful a lot because he says it ALL the time. When he closes a door he'll say "very careful, don't pinch fingers" when he walks on the bathroom floor it's "very careful it's slippery" etc. But his favorite way of saying it is when he's doing something while not being careful. Maybe he thinks that by saying "very careful" he'll avoid hurting himself. We'll see if that works.

Lastly... I'm still working on the music dictionary. The Cs are very very long. I think it's because there are a lot of important concepts that begin with C, so far: canon, chaconne, chanson, cadence, cadenza, cantus firmus, cantata, choir, chorus, chorale, oh yeah and even Canada. Ok not really Canada. The biggest boast about music from Canada was for their national anthem "O Canada" and I hardly think that's had a major impact on the musical world. No mention of Brian Adams though, oh well. Now back to reading.

8.11.2010

Restropective Reflection

I was reading through some of my first blog entries last night when I came across this excerpt that made me chuckle (July 2005 I believe):

I just got back from grocery shopping. Which is one of my least favorite things to do. But I'm convinced, especially now that it's summer break and there are more kids being dragged to the store with their mother, that grocery stores must produce some kind of painful ultra-high frequency that only kids can hear. And it must be so painful to have to listen to it that all a kid can do is scream. Not just cry... scream... at the top of their lungs... the entire time they are in the store. Those poor kids, why do parents force them to go through such torture.

I read this after taking Dylan for a quick trip to Wegman's. He was so miserable I gave him a lollipop just to keep him quiet and happy for the 10 minutes we were there. If I had only remembered that the source of his discomfort was that high pitch frequency I would have given him ear plugs instead.

8.10.2010

Dylan and the Library

I wrote a while ago that Dylan didn't like the library. In fact, he screamed whenever we spent more 5 minutes in one. I tried showing him how fun it was to get a stack of books and read them at the library, I also tried taking him to story time a few times, but that NEVER went well once he got old enough to know where he was. It took me a while (longer than I should admit to), but I finally remember something I heard in grad school about how boys typically like nonfiction books more than story books. So a couple weeks ago I tested the theory. I told Dylan we were going to the library to get truck books... he couldn't wait to go. It worked, we got there and he was so excited about getting some books about trucks, that he didn't seem to mind the fact that we were in the library at all.

We went back yesterday and got some boat books... I think I hit the jackpot by finding one about aircraft carriers, planes and boats at the same time, work in a few trains and construction trucks and he'd never give the book back. He even wanted to go sit in storytime, but we didn't because it was for babies (and of course, he's no longer a baby *sad*) Another successful trip! I just wish the library had a bigger nonfiction section for little kids... at this rate we'll make it through the 2 rows they have in no time.

The Musical B's

I've made it up to the term "cadence" in my dictionary, which means I have conquered the B's! Wahoo! In an attempt to make this task seem more attainable, I've come up with a plan... I'm figuring that if I read 100 pages a month, I can finish in 8 more months. Which means that if I read 10 pages a day at the beginning of the month, I'll make enough of a dent after 10 days that if I feel a need to read something else, I can do it without feeling guilty. And then when the next month comes around, I'm all set to go back to the dictionary. I can do that, 10 pages a day for 10 days is hardly a challenge.

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts as I made my way through the B's.

One of the longest entries in the B's was for bibliography. I was a little surprised to even see it in there, let alone that it was 4 pages long (the entire continent of Africa had 7 pages). It was mostly just lists of important historical musical bibliographies. I'll have to remember that as a reference in case I ever need to study up on 17th Century repertoire. I was happy to see 2 resources that I recognized, and used quite a bit: Maurice Hinson's Guide to Pianist's Repetoire and Vincent Duckles' Music Reference and Research Material. I wish I knew the Duckle's bibliography existed when I was an undergrad because it is a very good resource and would have made my papers immensely better (my undergrad research skills were sad to say the least), but unfortunately I didn't learn about it until grad school.

Barber shop quartets sing acoustically pure intervals rather than tempered ones (since they sing a Capella they can) which is why they ring so nicely.

This dictionary seems to have a habit of pairing two similar words together, even if they aren't alphabetical. Examples so far: real and tonal answers, augmentation and diminution, and binary and ternary form.

From the entry on Byzantine chant:
"When reading the earlier, simple notation, the singer was expected to interpret or realize the stenography by applying certain established rules (generally unknown now, but absolutely familiar to him) in order to provide an accurate and acceptable rendition of the music." It also mentions that the later notation explicitly writes out all these nuances to help the performer. Anyway, I think that's crazy because notated music never captures every nuance about how it's supposed to be played. Two note slurs come to mind (among other things: pedaling, ornaments, swung rhythms in jazz, etc. etc) ... no where in any music does it say to put an stronger accent on the first note and gently play the second... but that's how it's done. The only reason I know that is because someone told me. Lots and lots of the way you realize written music is not included in the notation... still.

My favorite article so far was still in the A's: acoustic. The B's were kind of a let down... I did read up on the history of ballet, a little about blues, and brass instruments, which was kinda interesting. But there was also a lot of dances. I feel like nearly every other entry was about some form of dance (basse danse, bergamasca, bourree, etc.) It makes sense... composers use dance titles for a lot of their works, so I guess a lot of these dances are included because performers want to look up something to get an idea as to what type of dance is being referred to. But man does it make for tedious reading... and most of them sound the same "a lively dance movement in duple meter and binary form." I think that describes like 90% of the dances. Occasionally there's a slow dance, or even more interesting a dance in triple meter. I'm just hoping there aren't as many dance types that start with a C.

8.06.2010

Potty Training Adventures

Dylan is potty training. We spent the whole weekend at home so that he'd have easy access to the potty, and he did surprisingly well. I say "surprisingly" only because I was fully dreading the whole experience, so the fact that I only had to clean up a few very small accidents was like a dream in comparison to the nightmare of clean ups I was mentally prepared for.

I was in no way planning on potty training at this point. In fact I had decided that I would wait to potty train until Dylan was really ready. In my mind that moment would be when Dylan came up to me and said something along the lines of "mother dearest, I wish to use the toilet now." Well, he didn't quite phrase it that way, but he did tell us a few times that he needed to pee, and then he started asking for diaper changes pretty frequently. So I took that as our cue. He must have been really ready, because aside from a few incidents on day one, he's been mostly accident free. Piece of cake.

Of course now we have to tackle the next potty training obstacle... leaving the house. We've gone outside and walked around the neighborhood a few times and he's done well with that. But we have yet to venture out anywhere in the car. Plus, he's never had to pee on a public toilet, so that should be an adventure. But today we'll attempt our first outing, I'm hopeful. He's done better than I expected with everything else, why should this be any different. Plus I really don't want to have to wash the car seat cover, because it seems like a real pain to get off.

I know I say it a lot, but I just can't believe how much Dylan is growing up.