Thursday, November 29, 2012

I should really do something...

Maybe it's because I've never ever had this much down time.

And I do mean EVER.  I started piano lessons when I was 3.  I stared preschool when I was 4.  I took summer school during vacation and my mom made me do math and writing workbooks.  I took tap and ballet classes.  I took cello classes.  I never took that year off that people take during or after college.

This is the longest I've done nothing since I was literally 2.  And when I was 2 I was working on...I don't know, the ability to walk and speak and learn the alphabet.

Doing nothing has always been something I've treasured and waited for impatiently.  When I was a teacher, people would laugh when they asked me what I did during summer vacation, and I'd say, "Sleep."  When asked where I went during vacation, I'd say, "My couch.  And then my refrigerator.  Then my bed."

Spending so much time doing nothing in San Francisco is different, though.  I feel guilty.  There's so much to do in San Francisco that I feel I shouldn't be sitting here playing Chefville and watching Youtube videos.  I should go out and DO something.

But it's raining.

So instead, I've started reading two new books.  I appreciate that I have the time to read.  I'm distraught because Anna Karenina has come out in the movie theater, and that is my Everest of books.  I think I've attempted to read it maybe 9 or 10 times in the last 10 years.  The same thing always happens.  I start, I make a chart of all the names (those Russian names confuse me...why does everybody's name end with "sky" or "vich"?) read diligently....and then inevitably I get busy, and upon returning to the book have forgotten every character and what has happened.

-_-

On another note, a student let me know that their school has organized a mustache day!  =)  I find it thoroughly amusing that THAT is the legacy I left.  I find it thoroughly amusing that people, young and old, associate mustaches with me.  And cellos.  And the color orange.

That probably says something strange about me...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

BFFs :)

The best friends I have ever made, I made in elementary and middle school

They are the only friends I have who are not teachers or musicians.  =/  The funniest thing about them was said about one of my newer great friends, a fellow teacher who came to my birthday party.  When she met some of them, she said, "Oh my gosh!  Your Fresno friends are just like you, just in different fields!"  They are all very nice, funny, smart, and quirky in their own way.

I had dinner tonight with four of them tonight.  It always amazes me that we are able to pick up right where we left off.  I appreciate their friendship; now more than ever.  I appreciate that I didn't have to initiate the get together.  I appreciate that everyone was on time.  I appreciate that nobody forgot or didn't show up.

I am amused that all of us got carded when buying fruity drinks.  I had a pineapple mojito.  It tasted like pineapples.  :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving

I've gained 2/5 pounds back.  Delicious.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:
- friends who care about me, not what I can do for them
- courage
- kindness
- my house selling well
- mushrooms
- students who miss me
- my cello, George
- Google Drive
- good sneakers
- the freedom to be able to change

It was exactly one year ago today that I got sick, and I spent the next 8 months with a damaged voice. I'm thankful I can speak and sing again.

I didn't go out shopping today.  I just...don't want a pair of jeans that badly.  The parking, the people...just...no.  And Fresno people are MEAN when it comes to parking!  And then knock me over when shopping.  I'm actually SMALL in Fresno!  These big dudes always just bump into me and send me flying.  Not cool, man.  Not cool.

I did, however, give a cello lesson and set up my mom's laptop.  "What do you need me to set up?" I asked.  "I don't know," was her answer.  She also still doesn't understand youtube and wants to send the video itself to people instead of a link.  "They don't HAVE youtube," she keeps trying to tell me.  I also taught her how to close programs in her iPhone, I installed Google Drive on her laptop, desktop, and phone.  I updated her facebook status to talk about how awesome I am.  I put a profile picture on her facebook.

My parents think I'm a technology genius.

My mom also thinks I'm incredibly smart because I can do the sudoku in The Fresno Bee.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

I made something.

I will admit...as I listened to the final product I said, out loud...in a sing songy voice, "I am so rad!"  I think it's the first time I've used "rad" since 1989.



It took me a day to transcribe this, which was a LOT faster than I thought it was going to take.  I'm actually quite shocked at how quickly I did it, and seriously....if there were some kind of music transcription job I'd be super awesome at that.

The funniest part is I actually looked up the lyrics for the first time.  I have this...tendency to not know the lyrics at all.  And when I was little, I didn't know a lot of words so I THOUGHT I knew what the lyrics were....but I actually just made up nonsense.  For example, when the real lyrics are, "Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me!" my 10 year old thought they were singing, "The algebra has a devil for a sidecar"

-_-

What was wrong with me??  :)

I figured the easiest way to keep track of everything was color coding, not only to help people watching but to help myself when I went back through the video.

I was really surprised to find I had hats in every color....except green.  The green leprechaun hat is from Old Navy that I bought for $1 and wore to school on the Friday before St. Patrick's day.  I caused chaos when I walked by a kindergarten class and they all pointed and shouted, "A leprechaun!!!"  I also discovered I have no yellow clothes.  I had a big bird costume, but I thought the feathers would get in the way.

I recorded the purple square first, then blue, then started back at the beginning of the rainbow and went in order.  I ALWAYS start with the bass part because it lays down the foundation for my intonation.  The blue came next because it goes along with the bass line and has a lot of moving rhythms.  Lay down the bass and then the metronome part, and that makes everything a lot easier.

Some people have already asked me which was the most difficult.  The yellow part was difficult in that...I was wearing a really thick hat and so it was hard to hear through the yarn.  My mom made me that hat when I was a baby :)  (It must have been HUGE on my baby head)  The green part was the most technically difficult because of all the "guitar" runs.  The red was hard because of all the skips in the high parts.  The orange was my favorite part, and it was a complete coincidence it ended up orange.

Please leave me a comment either on the blog or on youtube to let me know what you think.  I actually like this one quite a bit.  But I think it's because I like this song so much!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chamber Music Day

There was a free event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts of chamber music all day (it's still going on right now).  I like chamber music.  I love free.  It's on!

It was a little confusing, because there were multiple performances at the same time in different places, and having never been there I had no idea what was going on.  But I watched a piano trio and a baroque group.  The piano trio performed Mozart.  It was very relaxing and inspired me to practice.  The baroque group was interesting because there was actually a viola da gamba.  The tuning messes me up a little bit, but since I didn't know any of the pieces they performed I was okay.  As far as I was concerned, it was just in Db major :)

In the program, I saw "INSTRUMENT PETTING ZOO" and I got...very excited.  I was hoping there would be crazy instruments I have never gotten to play (world instruments, mostly).  I finally found the place, and when I got there it was....3 violins and a quarter sized cello.

Disappointment!

I so didn't want to play with instruments I already know how to play :(  And own.  And there were mostly just little kids playing the instruments...who already knew how to play.  There was Vivaldi happening.  Some smaller kids were just scratching on the smaller violins and I had to fight the urge to go and help them.

Alas.  No steel drum.

Oh well.  The music was nice.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving, the countdown

I like countdowns.

I actually started a week ago.  My goal is to lose 5-10 pounds before Thanksgiving...so that I may consume as much food as possible without guilt, and more importantly...without having to buy new pants.

That's really the worst part.  When your pants are tight and you feel constricted.  It's why I wore pajama pants every day my senior year of high school.

Now, herein lies the problem.  Between having surgery and my two preliminary trips to San Francisco to go apartment hunting, I gained 10 pounds.  I didn't really care and figured it would come off as soon as I stopped eating potato chips as a meal (New York Cheddar Kettle Potato Chips, anybody?  Mmmmm...) or mashed potatoes or...bread.  Something about me and bread.  I have a love of bread that's deep and real.  But that love is not returned.  =)

Realistically, I know that I can't lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks without...cutting off my arm.  I was a little slow in realizing when Thanksgiving was, so I really just started last Thursday.  I guess I'll just do what I feel like or can.

There are just times when I want to eat an impressive amount of food.  And I find I'd rather plan ahead than deal with the consequences afterward.  Like tight pants.

---

OACDN (on a completely different note): a lady at the bus stop complimented my hair.  She then asked if it was mine and pulled it.  Should strangers be allowed to pull your hair?  Discuss...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Love Song - Sara Bareilles

I made yet another new video!

I really like this song!  What's funny about this is...I'm an okay piano player.  I'm an okay singer.  But with this song, I learned that if I try to sing and play piano at the same time...I'm terrible at both.  I become strangely tone deaf.

On another note, I met my across the hall neighbor!  He heard me practicing and knocked on the door. It's weird being able to be heard by...everybody when you're practicing.  That's the ugly part that you're supposed to hide from people =)  Well, not really, but maybe that's my own perspective.

I bought a microphone for my iPhone for the videos (this is how much I'm geeking out over it), which I think helps.  It wasn't a super expensive microphone or anything.  Maybe Santa will bring me one of those....


Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Faces and Star Trek

I learned if you walk around with a smiley face sweater, a lot of people smile at you.

I think everybody should wear smiley face sweaters all the time.

=)        --> (it's a picture from the website...not of me!)

I went to Guitar Center today in hopes of buying an awesome microphone for my iphone, and instead I bought a pretty okay microphone.  But for the 5 minutes I was in the store, I got complimented twice on my super awesome fingertipless gloves with Spiderman on the back and a web on the palm of the hands.  I like them because they have good grip (I use them to drive home so my hands to get tired) but have no finger tips so I can play cello and use my phone.

I came home to test out my new microphone.  Well, after I made stuffed mushrooms and half a baked potato.

So here it is!  Themes from Star Trek!
(While I'm not hardcore enough to be a Trekkie, I did watch TNG as a kid and made Lego versions of all the characters.  They would go on adventures.)


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Union Square Skating

Yesterday, I headed downtown to go to The Gap for a pair of orange khakis on sale.  Yup.  I really love orange!   At some point, when I go back to work, I will have orange work pants.  Yeah!

Getting off the bus, I walked through Union Square...because I enjoy it.  First, I saw the giant half Christmas tree.  Seems a little soon, but that's okay.  The holiday spirit is a good one, so I encourage it.  I made a mental note to come back when it was done.
The other thing I saw was...an ice skating rink!  I have a special place in my heart for ice skating, so of course I was drawn to the rink.  I stared happily, but refrained from skating.  I have no health insurance right now, and the last time I skated it ended up with me having surgery and not being able to walk for 2-3 months.  I probably shouldn't get on skates again until I can afford the consequences.
BUT, I did watch other people skate.  There was a very impressive man and woman who were doing...jumps.   Lutzes?  Salchows?  I have no idea.  But the BEST...there was a construction worker skating around.  At first, I thought...well that's nice!  And somewhat unexpected.  I don't know why I was surprised to see a construction worker skating.  I just was.  BUT, he came with a friend.  His friend, who looked like the guy from MythBusters, was squatting and sort of...floating across the ice.  Seriously, a 90 degree squat, arms out precariously, legs wide apart.  He clearly had no skating experience, but good for him for trying!

So the squatting guy's friend came over, laughed at him, and then took his hand and started trying to help him skate!  It was so nice!  :)  I, of course, stood on the outside laughing because he looked so ridiculous, but I wasn't laughing in a mean way.  Church giggles.  I REALLY wanted to take a picture, but didn't want to be rude.

It was just...NICE to see a grown man helping his friend.  They had one more co-worker who was standing, taking pictures, and hysterically laughing at the poor squatting ice skater.  Watching them made me happy.

I kind of want to be their friend now.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

DeYoung Museum

What to do after voting?

The first Tuesday of the month is free admission day at the DeYoung Museum.  After voting, I hopped on a bus and went to go visit.  I wandered looking at paintings, sculptures, photographs, and....randomness on a very sunny afternoon.

Okay, the fruit was my favorite because it was like 6 feet long.  That pear is a good 3 feet tall, and for some reason I thought it was really funny.

This one was for my mom.  :)

Giant safety pin?  Yes.

This was a painting!  It got me hungry...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting 2013

Ask me my political party and....I can't tell you.  Because I forgot.

At 18, walking down Bruin Walk, I registered to vote, and I registered as a Green Party member.  Even though I'm very pro-environment, I mainly registered Green Party because I thought it was funny, I thought I'd get fewer phone calls and mail from the Democrat/Republican side, and I liked being a 3rd party.

I re-registered when I moved to SF, and I thought I'd give up the Green Party.  So I re-registered as another 3rd party...but...I can't remember which one.  Not Libertarian.  But.  Yes.  Clearly, political parties don't really matter to me in terms of labels.  =)

My polling place was across the street at a senior housing center.  I've voted mostly in schools and someone's garage once (that was weird), but voting at a senior housing center....where the poll people are mostly seniors and the people voting at 12:30 are seniors...let the hilarity ensue.

I walked into the voting room and noticed immediately that there were no machines.  Huh?  As I was trying to figure this out, a young man was fighting with an older poll guy (who I presume lives in the senior housing center) about the lack of machines and how our votes will take 7-10 days to be counted.  The poll person said, "Who are you getting your information from?" and they fought some more.  And the young man said he never had problems like these in Arizona, and the polling person said, "This is California!"  

I wasn't sure what that argument meant.  I'm living in the techiest city in the United States.  Shouldn't there be machines for everybody?

Then an old lady cut in front of me.  And the old lady in back of me pointed at her and said, "She's a Republican you know!"  The poll guy tried to shush the lady in back of me, and then she said, "Darling, what happened with the garden?  Who caved, darling?  She's a Republican!" at which point...I started laughing.

I checked in, and they handed me a folder and a pen.  I had to draw a line connecting two parts of an arrow to indicate my choice.  Seriously?  The young man who had been arguing before mumbled, "I don't want another hanging chad situation," which made me laugh.  I took out my notebook and diligently started filling out my ballot.  Good thing I wrote it all down.  There was very little description.

Part way through, one of the polling people started helping an older lady fill out her ballot, and they were very audibly talking about the choices.  "I don't want to vote for her!  I voted for her last time and she let me down!!!" yelled the older lady.  The poor guy said, "Well, you can vote for the other candidate..."  The older lady yelled out her opinions about every single person and ballot measure.

So much for not talking politics =)  

That's okay, though.  I found it all amusing, personally.  I spent a good 3 minutes looking for the cap of my voting pen, and was told when I went to return my pen that there was no cap.   <<<face palm>>>  While I found the whole process entertaining, I'm sure it won't be as entertaining to the people voting at 6:00 p.m. right after work is done.

My favorite part?  The sticker, of course.

Lifelong Student

Today, I learned two things.

1.) YOU DON'T HAVE TO VOTE FOR EVERYTHING.  I feel stupid for not knowing this.  I remember the first time I went to vote (embarrassingly not until I was working...), I was ready to vote for president and propositions, but I was not ready to vote for school board members.  I felt bad voting for people when I had no idea what their background was aside from the little blurb by their name.  I ended up voting for anybody who was a current or former teacher.  And if there weren't enough,  I voted for any woman or minority....or female minority.  It was Orange County, I was trying to force some diversity in my very non-diverse area.

This is the first time I actually properly am going through my sample ballot, am looking at all the websites (I'm being late about it but at least I'm doing it), and actually really know who and what I am voting for.  I have to admit, there are just some things I don't have a strong opinion on.  I don't know who would make the best BART director.  I don't know what really qualifies a person to do a good job.

I'm sad to see that, out of the 11 people running for school board spots, only one mentions the arts.  One.  That's it.  He gets my vote.  I put a star by his name.

2.) I watched a guy walk by with a lit up pizza sign....the kind that you normally see on top of a delivery car...and I had a realization...they just stick the sign on their own car!!!  All these years, I thought pizza delivery cars were kind of like...taxi cabs.  I assumed that the sign was somehow attached and that the business owned the car!  It didn't even occur to me that the delivery people were driving around in their own car and just propped a lit up sign on top.

My friend, A~, looked at me with the same shocked face.  It made me feel better that such a smart person had the same exact reaction as I.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Books and Coffee

I had a lazy Sunday...following an even lazier Saturday.  Walking down Fillmore, I got lured in to Browser Books.  I love bookstores.  I spend way too much time in them and always end up buying more than I read.  I love buying books.  I love having books.  And now I finally have time to READ these books :)  I read before, of course, but it took SO long to finish anything.  With the exception of Harry Potter.

I ended up with 3 books.  YES, I can buy it cheaper on Amazon, but I like support bookstores, especially local ones.  I've never really had a local bookstore before.

Starbucks can be a controversial choice, but...I have over $200 worth of gift cards and I'm using them!  Again...finally.  Today, I tried .... wait for it ...a salted caramel mocha soy frappucino.  It was delicious.  I love a caramel frappucino to begin with, but this was a whole other level.  The other thing I love is in San Francisco...people say my name right!

It's been YEARS of people not just mispronouncing my name but absolutely butchering it.  And I'm STILL surprised when the Starbucks barista can say my name correctly.  He asked, "How else would you say it??" which made me smile.  Nay-oh-koh, Nye-yoh-koh, No-oko, Noko, Na-ah-ko, Nye-yah-koh, No, Nilico....

There's something strangely comforting being somewhere, after over 30 years, where people can say my name.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Don't go chasing waterfalls

If you got the TLC reference, congratulations.  You are old.  :)

Today, while coming back from my second Target trip, I walked past the Yerba Buena Gardens and was drawn toward the waterfall.  I like that there's a waterfall in the middle of downtown.  It's strangely peaceful.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bach - Air

New video!

When it comes to slow pieces, I tend to either love them or hate them.  Well, maybe not hate.  But I'm easily bored.

And even though the cello never gets melody, I've always thought this was a pretty piece.

Enjoy!