Sunday, January 15, 2017
So, in an attempt to guilt myself into exercising more, I'm going to post my workouts here periodically. Most of them will include some degree of running, so I'm calling these updates "The Runs." Ha ha.
So, here goes.
The Runs, January 7 - 14
Saturday, January 7: Walk/Run - 30 min, 2.25 mi.
Sunday, January 8: Walk/Run - 31 min, 2.1 mi.
Friday, January 13: Walk/Run - 31 min, 2.41 mi.
Sunday, January 14: Walk/Run - 40 min, 3.2 mi.
As you can see, I can manage to work out on the weekends. The problem is during the week, when I'm sitting on my butt at work all day plus I don't exercise. The best time for me to exercise is early, as in 5:00 a.m. It's been so hard for me to motivate myself to get up that early, even if I manage to get to bed early. I need to get back into the habit. Let's see if I can do that tomorrow.
Friday, January 13, 2017
After that weekend, I knew it was time: After 30 years of wishing, it was time to find a teacher and learn to sing. I wanted to be good at song-leading—to have a nice, loud, on-key voice that people could follow. And I wanted it for myself: I wanted to be able to fully enjoy singing, inner critic be damned.
Fortunately, I'm at an age where I can genuinely laugh at myself and move on. And that's just what I did.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
So, I got a guitar for Christmas, and I'm learning to play. I'm a novice but have learned a few songs already, now that I know a few chords.
This blog post is where I'm going to keep a list of songs that I can play/sing on my new guitar. I started keeping lists a couple of weeks ago elsewhere, and now I have half a dozen nearly identical lists on scraps of papers around the house. And I've misplaced most of them.
Since I can't misplace the blog, I'm putting the list here.
Blowin' in the Wind
Home on the Range
Kum Ba Ya
Night Rider's Lament
Puff the Magic Dragon
Rock My Soul
Say Why (a song from Girl Scout Camp)
Speed of the Sound of Loneliness
This Land Is Your Land
Today (John Denver)
You Are My Sunshine
Saturday, January 7, 2017
If I vow to post every workout I do on this blog, will it motivate me to get my once-buff self back into shape? We'll see! Today was a walk/jog on the treadmill--30 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down. The back of my left knee hurts. Keeping my fingers crossed that it won't hurt tomorrow.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
My New Year's resolution this year was a little different from that of previous years. Of course I want to get into better shape, read more, write more, hike more, be a better wife and mom, etc. But this year I've decided that it's time for me to get back in touch with my musical self. I forget that I'm musical. I really do. I think, "I'm just a normal person who likes music." But the truth is, I have some natural talent. And I love to make music. I can't help but think that it's wrong somehow for me not to be involved with music in some way.
In my efforts to rediscover my musical soul in 2017, I'm taking some steps I've never taken before. I'm studying with two music teachers, 30 minutes a week (for a total of an hour a week) ... and neither of them are piano teachers. I'm expanding my horizons this year. I still love piano and play it every day, but I'm exploring other areas of music that, until recently, I've never explored.
I started taking voice lessons a month or so ago. I was delighted to learn that I can carry a tune. I always sounded okay to myself, but I figured my singing was cringe-inducing to anyone who listened. (Of course, no one ever listened, because I've rarely sung in front of another person, even in the car.) I have zero confidence in my voice, and that makes it worse--even if I sound good, I sing in barely more than a whisper. It's awful because I love to sing ... in the car, alone, where no one will roll their eyes or grimace.
I also met with a guitar teacher yesterday, seeing as I have a brand-new acoustic guitar, a Christmas present from Dan. I was more nervous about the first guitar lesson than I was about the first voice lesson, oddly enough. It went well--I think the teacher and I are going to get along well. He's a Bach nerd, too, and I learned quite a bit in just that first trial lesson.
I've titled this post "Reasonable?" because I don't know how reasonable it is for a mom who works full-time and is a Girl Scout leader (Girl Scouts requires at least two hours of volunteer work per week, and usually more) to take on lessons in both voice and guitar. Financially, it's about $200 a month, and money is tight. Time-wise, it's an hour of lessons, plus 40 to 60 minutes a day of practice. That's a lot of time. Do I have that kind of time? Will I burn out before spring gets here?
I didn't mention piano, but I want to keep playing piano for a steady 30 minutes a day. So that's another three or four hours a week of music.
I think of a couple of semesters where I've taking writing classes with the Great Smokies Writing Program. Those classes were two or three hours long--much more per week than I'll spend in music lessons--and I typically put in at least an 40-60 minutes a day of work, on average. So I don't think this will be all that different, at least as a time commitment.
Of course, I still need to write, even if I'm not pressuring myself to work on a major project.
But regarding music, there is the big question: Why study voice? Why study guitar?
I'm still trying to figure that out, and I'll write more on that later. My immediate, gut answer is that "I want to sing and play guitar with the same confidence and ease that I feel when I play the piano." (That might be a tall order, since I've played the piano for more than 40 years.) Another is, "I just want to make music, and I'm tired of piano being my only means of doing that well."
THose are the gut answers. I'll explore this question a little more later ... when I have time.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
2016: Confident. Loving. Happy. (Despite the lows of this year, I've been very happy with who I've become, with my role as a mom, and with my professional life. Having suffered from depression and insecurity for so much of my life, I'm really enjoying the feeling of confidence that comes with getting older and more sure of who I am.)
2014: Improved over 2013! (Hubster had kind of a crappy 2013. Things got better for him on all fronts this year.)
2016: Stressful. Busy. Focused (on work).
2016: I read a book called Story Physics that offered quite a bit of insight about writing--which is saying something, because I've read a lot of books on writing in my lifetime. Another good one was J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy. It wasn't a big year of reading for me, and I read very little fiction--unusual for me, I know.
2016: Same, although Girl Scouts has brought me a few new friendships that I value highly.
2016: Good news! My hair is long and wavy and pretty now! As far as my biggest personal change ... hmm. I am a lot flabbier, thanks to my knee/hip injury. :( I'm also dedicated to staying married, which is a change from a year ago.
2014: I am learning to stop blaming my shortcomings on conditions found in the DSM-V. It's very difficult to differentiate what is "mental illness" and what is simply laziness or lack of confidence . . . but I'm learning to do that. Or trying to.
2016: I had some wonderful therapy sessions this year with a therapist who has since moved on. With his help, I learned to let myself be vulnerable in my marriage again. I have also become much more comfortable with people--I am still an introvert, but I've learned to enjoy social situations.
2014: Oh, me. I could write a book on that ...
2016: I've adopted what I could call "Closer to Fine" spirituality, from the Indigo Girls song, circa 1990. I no longer torture myself with struggle, and I think that's good.
2016: I sure don't need to gain five pounds anymore! I don't weigh a whole lot more (though I've probably gained two or three pounds), but I'm not muscular anymore. I don't like that. I'm seeing a doctor on Wednesday for a lingering sinus infection, and I may talk to him about what exercises I can do that won't put me out of commission for the next week and a half.
2016: Mending things with Dan. Even closer to Anne--we have "deep conversations" all the time, and I love it. Also, as I mentioned above, I've made some new friendships through Girl Scouts and hope to see those grow in the year to come.
2014: Learning new things! Working with great people! Being in Asheville! Having an income!
2016: My co-workers! I work with a great group of smart, funny people who make me laugh every single day. I also love the work I do; I feel like I'm helping to make a difference in the world, and that goes a long way. At home, I wrote eleven chapters of a novel and had a great time doing it. All of that came to a halt in the fall when Girl Scouts started.
2014: Starting my job and having it be incredibly hard to learn because my medication was making me so stupid. It was unbelievable how much easier life became after I stopped taking the Depakote.
2016: Professionally ... hmm. I guess it's that our team grew from three to five, and for a while we had four people crammed into a relatively small office. While I love my co-workers, I don't love feeling like a sardine and felt almost claustrophobic each day. That was a challenge. My responsibilities also changed a bit, and that adjustment has had its challenges (though I'm happy with it overall). Personally? Having to lay my novel-in-progress aside. It's a decision I made, but it wasn't an easy decision.
2016: Facebook. I hate to say it, but definitely Facebook.
2016: A combination of camping with my family and being a Girl Scout leader. Definitely both great uses of my time.
2016: I'm good with kids.
2016: Landed. I feel like I've landed. I feel at peace and hopeful for the new year.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
This is such a big deal. The me of five or ten years ago would be a depressed mess curled up in a corner, scared to leave the house. It's been an extremely social past few weeks; we've had a lot of people in our house between the Girl Scout float project, Anne's birthday party, and dinners with friends. There were three times in December that we had over 15 guests at a time. This, friends, is an introvert's nightmare. But ...
I've been okay. I know I'm not turning into an extravert, but it's been okay. I'm not sure why, but I'm not going to think about it too much.
So, Christmas. It was such a good Christmas for our little family. Santa was quite generous; Anne asked for books, crafts, and stuffed animals, and she got some of each. She also got several games--Battleship, Clue, Mille Bornes, and a chess set. The big present was an air hockey table that converts to a ping-pong table. That's down in our basement, which Dan and I have decided to convert into a game room. Not that we had any games at the time, but the table and an electronic darts set are a good start.
My big present was a guitar. Miraculously, I remember a lot of what I learned back at my week-long guitar class at Singin' River Ranch in the mid-80s. (That would be a D chord, an A chord, a G chord, a C chord, and an F chord, along with a few minors and dominant sevenths--enough to play several hundred songs!) So yesterday I started toughening up my fingertips, playing "This Land Is Your Land," "You Are My Sunshine," "Magic Penny," "Rock My Soul," "Puff the Magic Dragon," and several other songs that make me dream of folk-singer stardom.
Dan got some good stuff, too, but nothing too exciting. I think his favorite thing is the ping-pong table. We played two out of three last night and I whupped him. I think we have a lot of fun ahead of us with that table.
So it was a good Christmas. Dan and I are happy, which isn't something I've been able to say the past few Christmases. It seems like a lot of people who were unhappy earlier this year--people whose marriages have crumbled, people who have lost their homes to fire and flooding, people who have had serious money problems--had good Christmases, surrounded by family, living in borrowed homes, benefiting from the generosity of friends. That's been good.
This is just a check-in since I left my journal at the office, which is why it (like many of my recent posts) is pretty ho-hum. Not that I need to apologize for my three readers. but there it is. I hope all three of you had a good Christmas and are enjoying your holidays. More later. (Maybe I'll even do a "year in review" post next week!)