Monday, March 30, 2009

Water-Wee Scout

I can't believe this is happening. Maybe if I blog it, that will make it more real.

Sheltowee and I are expecting a wee babe in November of 2009. "Water-Wee" is a mix of "Waterfall" and "Sheltowee." "Water-Wee" is also a little difficult to say and results in what sounds like Elmer Fudd saying "watery." In addition, it conjures up images of tee-tee, which isn't the most pleasant thought, particularly considering the number of wet diapers I'm going to see in the next few years.

So we've decided to call our embryo "Scout." Why? Well, for one thing, it's a good unisex name. If it's a boy, we can take comfort in the fact that Boy Scouts are resourceful, trustworthy, clean, and all that. And if it's a girl ... well, any good reader knows that "Scout" is a very cool name for a girl, since it is the nickname of one of my favorite literary characters of all time--Scout Finch from Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Besides, Sheltowee is an Eagle Scout and a professional Boy Scout, plus he's really good at all that scout-like stuff, like triangulating and knot-tying and fire-building and the like. "Scout" just makes sense.

I'll be writing my thoughts about this whole thing on this blog. It's a private blog for now, and--who knows--it may remain a private blog. I still have a good seven or so weeks before my chances of miscarriage decrease. So I don't want to jump the gun. For the time being, this little blog will be for my eyes only ... and yours, if I invited you to read it.

And in the Third Month, It Rose Again ...

Sorry for the sacrilege. I am just flummoxed. I went to blogger.com today to edit a post and found the my old blog--the one I had deleted entirely--was back. I don't know if this is just a glitch, or if Blogger just makes it truly impossible to kill a blog.

That's probably a good thing. I've saved my entire blog on a disk, but it's nice to know it's still there if anyone wants to read it.

You can find it at asortofnotebook5.blogspot.com.

I just discovered that Blogger also has an import/export feature. I've imported the old blog into this one. So you don't have to go to any weirdly named or numbered blogs. Just stay here and check out the archives. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Piano is FUN.

Lately I've been doing a lot of noisemaking on the piano. I know. One should not bang when one plays the piano. I wouldn't say I was banging; after all, I am using good piano technique (I think). But I've been playing some LOUD stuff. LOUD GOSPEL STUFF.

It's kind of sad, how Bach and Beethoven and all the rest have been on the back burner of late. I don't know if I got burned out or what ... but I've lately decided that I just want to have fun at the piano. (This is kind of a strange though, considering how I think practicing Bach is fun. I guess I want to have a different kind of fun.)

So I've been playing playing in 9/8 time (or 3/4 time? who knows?), with lots of full V7 chords, octave runs, grace notes, and sudden, silent eighth rests. Some of it sounds horrible. Some of it sounds great. Sometimes I'll switch back into a new-agey hyper-arpeggiated style. Sometimes I'll combine the two. I just love those big chords. Would that my hands were bigger!

I'm also doing drills where I'm practicing doing certain "Gospel riffs" around the circle of fifths, in addition to doing certain jazz progressions around the circle of fifths.

I'm hving so much fun. I'm sure I'll, at some point (maybe even later today!), start craving contrapuntal stuff again, but for now ... I'm all about big gospel sounds.

I love knowing music theory. I love being able to improvise AND read music. I love the piano. If I want to practice Bach, it's fine with that. If I want to play with big chords and octave runs, it's fine with that, too. I love being able to play this stuff and have fun with it.

I'm back at work now. It sometimes feels weird to be back in the sterile, cubicular world of the office after playing my heart out on the big grand piano at the Baptist church.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This One Really Hit Home Today ...

"The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness."

Friedrich Nietzsche, Mixed Opinions and Maxims

(quote shamelessly stolen from the great Terry Teachout on his blog, "About Last Night")

Friday, March 20, 2009

Two Blogs I've Found Recently

I found a nice blog on baking and photography this morning while googling a recipe I tried last night. It's called Honey and Jam and is written, with lovely photographs, by 18-year-old Hannah.

Speaking of teen bloggers, I also recently discovered Clickety-Clack: Notes of a Young Authoress, written by a delightful young lady with the delightful name of Everly Pleasant

I hope y'all enjoy these as much as I do!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reading Meme

I found this one at Belinda's blog. Feel free use it on your own blog or on Facebook ... and if you do, let me know so I can read your answers!

1. To mark your page you: use a bookmark, bend the page corner, leave the book open face down? I've always been one to bend the page corner ... but in the last few years, I've become more of a bookmark person. Usually the "bookmark" is the pen I'm using to scribble notes in the margins. I guess I'm a born book-defacer, whether bending the pages or committing marginalia.

2. Do you lend your books? Not often. My books are my children. If I do lend a book, it's usually for one of two reasons: (1) it's a book I don't particularly value, so if I never get it back, it's not a big deal ... I might even be glad to get rid of it; (2) it's to someone I really trust.

3. You find an interesting passage: you write in your book or NO WRITING IN BOOKS! For me, reading a book without a pen in my hand is like going out in public wearing only my underwear. I suppose I could do it, but it would feel really weird. I always write in my books.

4. Dust jackets - leave it on or take it off. I don't have much experience with dust jackets, since most of my books are paperbacks. I generally find dust jackets annoying. If I am reading a book with a dust jacket, I'll usually keep it on and use one of the flaps as a bookmark.

5. Hard cover, paperback, skip it and get the audio book? Paperbacks. It would be nice to have a library full of hardback books, but I don't think that will ever happen. I like the lightweight-ness of paperbacks. They're much easier to read in bed, and in the tub. I enjoy audio books if I have a long drive or a long run ahead of me.

6. Do you shelve your books by subject, author, or size and color of the book spines? Usually they are shelved by subject, then author, but they've been completely out of order ever since we moved into our new house.

7. Buy it or borrow it from the library? I prefer to buy books, since I like to write in them. (And there is just something thrilling about buying a book. I suppose other people feel the same way about shoes or houses.) Really, I think of library books as "other people's children." It's nice to have them visit, but I they don't feel right because they're not mine. I do use the library a lot, though. If I actually bought every book I wanted to read, I wouldn't be able to buy groceries.

8. Do you put your name on your books - scribble your name in the cover, fancy bookplate, or stamp? I put my name in them. Usually I just write my name. I'm not sure why I do this. Habit, I guess. My books are my babies. I guess I need to claim some sort of ownership. I do have some "ex libris" bookplates, which I use on my hardback "nice" books.

9. Most of the books you own are rare and out of print books or recent publications? A few rare and old books, all belonging to my husband. Mostly more recent (meaning within the last 300 years) books. I don't tend to buy "new" fiction.

10. Page edges - deckled or straight? Straight.

11. How many books do you read at one time? Anywhere between three and six. Right now I'm working on four.

12. Be honest, ever tear a page from a book? Once I did by accident. I was reading some long Wordsworth poem and was so into it that I turned the page too fast and it tore. I felt bad about that. My books are my children. Would I tear a limb off a child? I don't think so!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh, Joy

Hideaway used her litterbox today! Hideaway, give yourself a big "hooray!" Yaaaaay!



(Who says bloggers don't write about deep, meaningful, important things?)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gripes

I'm sick today and don't have the energy to do much of anything. So I'm going to write down a few gripes here. When you read these, you might get the impression that I'm a complainer. I'm not, generally. Most of the time I feel like I'm basking in the wonder of life. Today, not so much.

1. Hideaway Cat is driving both Hubster and me bonkers. She will not go in the litterbox, no matter what. We've followed all the conventional wisdom--bought a third litterbox, changed to a non-clumping clay litter, punished her, put the litterbox in the same rooms where she was pooping/peeing, moved the litterboxes all over the house, etc. We bought a nice rug for our living room, to go under the table and chairs because the chairs were scratching up the wood floor. She's pooped on that rug so much (including having diarrhea) that we've pretty much realized we need to throw the rug out. Good thing we only spent $90 on it, as opposed to the $150 and $200 rugs we'd been considering.

2. I would like to go one day, just one day, where I don't have to think about, smell, or clean up cat poo.

3. My stomach hurts. Really hurts.

4. My books have been out of order for about a year and a half now (including when we were at the old house, and when several hundred were in storage for all that time). Now that we're in the new house, they're more disordered than ever. I'm generally not all that particular about things being in order ... except when it comes to books. I need to set aside an entire weekend (or week) to put them back in order.

5. Hubster and I are planning to go hiking for 10 days. But we won't go if we can't find someone nice enough to come to our house every day to feed the cats and clean Hideaway's poop and/or pee out of the carpet.

6. Guess how much money we've spent on carpet shampoo vac rentals in the last six months. I don't want to guess. I don't know, but I know it's in the hundreds of dollars. Fortunately my friend Janet is letting me borrow her Hoover now.

7. Cat litter boxes are not cheap. Neither is cat litter. Except for the non-clumping clay litter. And Hideaway won't touch that stuff.

8. The vet can't find a thing wrong with her. His guess is that she's getting senile.

9. Other than the soiling of our carpets, she's as sweet and lovable and good-natured as ever.

10. I think this whole cat thing is stressing me out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ready for an Update?

Here goes.

I still have pinky problems. Not good. I feel like my poor hands are atrophying. I've been playing piano quite a bit at lunch, but nothing too difficult. Mostly I've been improvising new-age versions of hymns in the style of Jeff Bjork, David Nevue, etc.--not my favorite kind of music, but an unbelievably easy style to play. I really missed my calling as new-age Christian music pianist. Really.

Of course, I'm only 39 ... it's not like I'm on my deathbed. It's just a little depressing that I'm improvising the same old crap since the early 1980's. (My style is crap--not the hymns themselves. At least not most of them.) Truth is, I've played new-agey, beautiful and relaxing renditions of classics like "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In The Garden" for years. It's music I grew up to, so it's in my blood. Show me a hymnbook arrangement and I'll crank out a beautiful solo-piano rendition faster than you can say "Yanni Chryssomallis."

I love my music. I'm just really depressed about it right now. I don't know where I want to go with it. I'm not a performer--I know that much. But it seems like navel-gazing to practice, practice, practice all the time in my little George closet.

I know. I'm forgetting how Bach makes me sail above and beyond all the petty cares of this world. Someone please remind me. Robert? George? Sebastian?

Now that I'm having these hand issues, I'm suddenly feeling like the piano world is not my oyster. Not that it ever was ... but I was seriously considering auditioning for an amateur pianists competition, and now ... I don't know. I'm feeling a sense of ... maybe I can't do this after all.

OK. I just wanted to update the blog and let my reader(s?) know how things are. I'm off to play some piano ... and hoping the exercise lifts me out of these doldrums rather than dragging me deeper in.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Running Blog Updated

In case anyone is curious, Janet and I have both been updating our running blog, Return Runners. If you're interested in reading about our progress as we train for the Flying Pig (half-marathon), feel free to "drop by"!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Normal" Brownies

So I made some brownies for a hiker/hippie friend of mine awhile back. A couple of weeks later, we're with another hiker friend, and my first friend is telling me how great the brownies were.

Our other friend asks, "Were they normal brownies?"

"Yes," I answer, and am about to say something like, "No siree, I don't do low-fat, low-sugar, or low-cal when it comes to sweets and desserts!"

Then I realize he's asking if they were legal brownies.

Heh. For me, "normal" means they weren't made with Splenda, egg substitute, or non-fat milk products.

It's good to be a geek.

(Though ... I do need to get out of the kitchen and into the woods more often ...)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some Ella Pics

Ella loves her Paw Paw Hugh!




Ella is too cool in her shades.




Ella seems delighted with meeting Frances




Sleepy Ella Bella




Miss Ella is happy to finally meet her great aunt Joyce!




Spending quality time with Paw Paw Hugh.