So in 48 hours, I ended up gaining 6 pounds during the Thanksgiving time. Of course, since a week ago I've lost 6.4 pounds so...yeah. I still consider Thanksgiving a total win; and I ate a bunch last Thursday, too. We had amazingly delicious free food at work. I may have eaten a giant plate of food. And a cookie. And a brownie. And another cookie.
I didn't linger long after Thanksgiving, though. While normally I'd stay until at least Sunday (had I done so, I'm sure I would've gotten to a good 10+ pounds of Thanksgiving weight), I had a gig on Saturday back in the Bay Area.
I am writing this post-Thanksgiving while in my food coma.
Not only do I have a food baby (that I am patting with love) but I think it may be twins.
I woke up this morning, weighed myself, and then did not eat anything until the big meal. Afterward, I weighed myself, and I was about 4.6 pounds heavier than in the morning. And then I ate some pie and ice cream.
Take THAT, Thanksgiving! I win, again!
I contributed my annual mashed potatoes, opening of the cranberry sauce can, and reminded my mom that turkey needs to be roasted to 165 degrees (F). While helping, my parents asked if I could help around the house.
Apparently, their cable remote wasn't responding anymore. "It's a scam!" said my Dad. "They want to charge $50 to come fix it after we were on the phone."
"Old people!" I responded, jokingly. "Thinks anything wrong with technology is a scam; but really you just did something wrong."
My dad handed me the remote, and no joke...in 10 seconds I had it fixed. Maybe less. (He had the tv on the tv input instead of AV2.) "Old people!" I said again. My mom laughed. Then I fixed the CD player in about 3 minutes.
"How did you do that?!" asked my dad.
"It's that college education."
Not really. :)
Okay. I'm tired. And full. And my food baby is kicking.
I'm excited; we have gotten more access and can now do more types of transactions! Of course, with more power comes more responsibility :) Today was the first full day of my new access, and I stupidly decided to stay home to work instead of going into the office. As a result, I sent multiple people multiple questions via Google Chat.
I also announced that I have given myself a nickname: The Shameless Questioner.
I've never been shy about asking questions. I like clarifying. I like knowing exactly what to do. I like doing the right thing. I don't care at all if someone things I'm stupid for asking questions because I know my questions aren't stupid (for the most part).
Yes Post Office, I know I wasn't here for my package last Thursday. You didn't feel like leaving it in my mailbox? That's cool.
I submitted my request for redelivery later that day for Saturday.
Did I stay home all day on Saturday so I would be available for my package delivery? Why yes, I did.
Why didn't you come?
When I tried to check your status, why did you just tell me to create a new one?
Why, post man who I ran into downstairs today, did you tell me to call the post office when the post office had no phone number on their website? Why did you refuse to take my pink slip so you could then redeliver my package? Why, post office, when I looked up your phone number on yelp, did you not pick up when I called?
Was I obnoxious? Yes. Did I let the phone ring for over 3 minutes? Yes. Did I then automatically get hung up on? Why yes, yes I did. Did I call back and do the same thing? Perhaps.
Tomorrow, I will drop by after my doctor's appointment. I really hope you haven't sent my package back.
I've worked for L-Job for a little over a week now.
While the job itself isn't exactly....stimulating, it's a nice break from my previous line of work. My...supervisor (?) addressed mean emails that we sometimes receive in response, and when he said, "No, you don't have to put up with that. That's not okay," I may have pathetically sighed, "That's so nice to hear!"
It's nice not to have to put up with people being verbally abusive.
So far, everyone I have met has been nice, friendly, and enthusiastic. It's....so nice. Yes, I realize I keep saying "nice" but it sums it up so nicely!
I have a temporary job working for what I will affectionately call L-Job! It's pretty exciting, especially since I already had their app on my phone and played their games before getting the call.
My job consists of emailing people when they have problems/questions/comments. Customer service...or support? What's the difference? I get to work from home most of the time, and when I do go in I get to interact with nice fun people. ALWAYS appreciated.
It has been a really long time since I've gone to the fair.
When I was a little kid, my school would take yearly field trips to the Fresno Fair, though we had to fill out a worksheet about rocks and gems and didn't get to ride any rides. My parents took me, too, and together we...bought a set of 1989 Encyclopedia Brittanicas. Aw yeah.
I made a trek to the Central Valley to attend my friend's annual Caruther's Fair party, and to get a copy of my social security card.
There were kids everywhere. I saw a bean mural and got free raisins (hoooray!). We looked at all the art entries. I seriously eyed the potato chips on a stick. I also went on my very first fair ride! (I HAVE been on carnival rides in Europe, but those don't count. They also almost killed me and I ended up bruised for a month and bleeding. No joke. And carnies laughed at me.) I sat in a swing and spun in a circle. It was pretty relaxing, actually, though upon getting off the ride I couldn't walk straight.
I also ended up woozy afterward and had to forgo the fair food. Bummer!
A great time was had by all, though!
Next time, I don't think I'll go on any rides and will just gorge myself on fair food. Funnel cake, here I come....
I've noticed that a lot of activities I enjoy seem to be activies old people like to do. I'm going to be quite the bustling 70 year old, when that time comes.
In the meantime, I thought I'd go see a free concert on Friday. I didn't realize it was at a senior's center, and that (once again) I'd be the youngest person there. That's okay, though. The music was pleasant and I explored Aquatic Park afterward.
Being across the street from Ghiradelli Square, and not having yet visited, I decided exploring was in order. I'm not sure what I was expecting. Fountains of chocolate? A chocolate version of Main Street from Disneyland? There were little shops that were very adorable, and restaurants too, but nothing super awesome. I'm glad I waited until I happened to be in the area instead of taking a separate trip.
I associate the Ghiradelli sign with Dharma and Greg, by the way. Just thought you should know.
It has been exactly one year since I moved to San Francisco.
Woo hoo! Happy Anniversary, San Francisco! We are celebrating with sunshine (it was sunny the day I moved, too!).
This has been, by far, the fastest year of my life. I think I think that every year, but this year went particularly fast since...I didn't do anything. I'm glad I took the time to rest and recuperate. After 30+ years of going full steam with no break, it was pleasantly out of character to exhale. I've been breathless my whole life! =)
I am job searching. It's so different than anything I've done before. As a musician, people just called me for gigs. As an educator, everything went through one website where jobs were posted. I submitted 3 resumes and got 3 interviews. Of course, my last job (of 8 years) started with a phone call that woke me up in the morning, asking me to come interview that day, and an hour after my interview I was offered the job.
In the meantime...
- I have been enjoying Arsenio, kind of. He's very 90s, and I'm not quite sure if I enjoy it, yet.
- I discovered the AMAZINGNESS of vanilla Greek yogurt. Every day I have that + peanut butter + honey + cut up apples and that = cheesecake tasting deliciousness. So good. SO GOOD.
- I submitted a cello thing to Joseph Gordon Levitt's Hit Record project. Woo!
- I finished reading THE FIVE PEOPLE WE MEET IN HEAVEN. It's a quick and easy read. I recommend it if you want to feel peaceful and happy with little effort.
- I have gone into "poverty mode". This is the 2nd or 3rd time I've gone into this mode in my life, and fortunately I don't want for much. I am no longer buying the good parmesan cheese, however.
- I ran out of contacts. And my last exam was over a year ago. So now I have to wear glasses until I get a job. Boo. They keep sliding down my face.
- I learned that you're supposed to clean your glasses with dish soap and warm water! It really works!
- I made a Prezi that I'm fairly proud of! I wish gold stars existed in adult life. I'd buy my own gold stars and stick them to me if I weren't in poverty mode. (I used to stick happy faces on my buttons when I was a teacher)
\- A student once told me I reminded her of Abby from NCIS. I FINALLY watched the show and some late night interviews of Pauley Perrette and...she's right! I am a strange mixture of Abby and Jess (from New Girl). Figure that one out.
Probably because it's an ensemble number where almost everybody gets to sing. Have I YouTubed various versions? Why yes I have. Do I like to lip sync along and pretend I have an amazing voice? Why yes, yes I do.
There's the 10th anniversary version. A classic. There's the 25th anniversary that keeps mysteriously disappearing from youtube. I like the ending of this one better, but I feel a little sad for Nick Jonas and his little pop singer's voice when everyone else sports powerful voices. There's the movie version, which confuses me a little bit because everyone is singing in different places. It makes me wonder how they managed to fit everyone's part together if nobody was actually together for it. There's the movie's live version from the Oscars. That one freaks me out. I was very concerned about them staying together since the orchestra was in a different building. I was also annoyed that it started with Hugh singing the original song and then suddenly Anne Hathaway was singing when she should've been dead. Don't get me wrong, I love Anne. She was my favorite person in the movie. And I get why she was there. But still. You're not part of the song.
Enough of that.
Here is MY version of One Day More. It's...fine. =) The difference between my cover and other covers is that I don't use an orchestra track in the background. All the tracks are me! That might not necessarily be a good thing, but it's a different thing. I had to wuss out and use viola because I couldn't keep smooth slurred sixteenth notes at the beginning on cello. I added piano because...what the heck, I already threw viola in there.
My computer program really struggled with all the parts, however. There were a lot of tracks to mix in there. So it's not the greatest quality, but hey...I do what I can with what I have :D
We went to Sakanaya in Fresno to celebrate. My mom and dad had Chirashizushi (sashimi on top of rice) and I had the very American beef teriyaki. To be fair, I also had a Three Amigos Roll. Tuna, yellow tail, and salmon; my 3 favorite!
My parents also had green tea ice cream for dessert, and the waiters and waitresses sang and clapped for my dad. When they were done, my dad said, "You know, I'm a music teacher!" Usually, that's not what you want to say to a bunch of people who just sang to you. It's like announcing, "You know, I am judging you as you sing." =)
I had mochi ice cream. Coffee, mango, and green tea. They were super yummy, though surprisingly mango was my favorite. Very refreshing.
When I think of The Beatles, I think of 3 main teaching moments.
1.) I introduced a Beatles Medley to a class that had always been very...antagonistic. I got them as 6th graders, and for years they complained how they hated everything I picked out no matter what I picked out. Of course, they hated everything in general and enjoyed complaining and being generally negative. When I found the Beatles Medley for orchestra, I got super excited and handed it out. I STILL remember that a cello player scoffed, and bitterly said, "The BEATLES? Why are we playing this? Nobody knows who The Beatles are!" Let the educating begin.
I relayed this story to the audience the night we performed it. When I quoted my student (anonymously), the audience booed. When I said, "This is why we have music education," the response was cheering and applause. My bitter cellist smiled at me, and I genially laughed at him.
Yesterday, a former work colleague and I (and her mom and her baby) visited the Walt Disney Museum. I grew up during a time of #1 hits by Disney (you 80s and 90s children know what I'm talking about), so Disney has always had a special place in my heart.
After spending 13 years in Southern California, I also visited Disneyland a number of times.
However, this particular song has always stuck with me and resonates with me more than when I was 11 when I first saw the musical. This musical, in general, was the first I really liked. I saw Cats before this one, and I may or may not have seen Phantom of the Opera.
It must have been the music more than the story line, because I think I basically missed the plot at 11. The only thing I really understood was there was man who was being chased. Missed everything else. But I did ask my parents to buy me the soundtrack afterward, and for my birthday (the 11th) I asked for the soundtrack of the movie version. While I will not be listening to any of Russel Crowe's songs (sorry, dude) I will be enjoying Anne Hathaway.
Trying to choose between this song and One Day More (another favorite), and beginning to transcribe both, I finally decided on this one. For me, it carries more meaning and is more substance than it is flash. In the end, that's more important to me.
Made a new video! It's Chopin's Prelude Opus 28 No. 4 in e minor. Did I get the order right? Sometimes it feels like ordering at Starbucks. You know there's a proper order, but sometimes you just mess it up. Grande soy caramel macchiato?
Today is my birthday. Despite being carded for an R rated movie earlier this week, I am in fact in my 30s =) I thank my mom and dad for forgiving genetics. (I was born at 11:07 a.m., prompting my parents to think I'd be really lucky.)
I've never actually been a big birthday person. When I was little, it was exciting because it was one of two days I got presents. I had to wait SO long for new Legos. And I hoarded my $5 birthday money from my aunts and uncles like crazy. It's how I managed to buy both a Nintendo and a Super Nintendo by myself...though it did take a couple years to save up for. I didn't like Showbiz pizza. I didn't like games and the animatronic characters freaked me out. When moms would insist I go do something, I'd go sit in the ball pit.
I was chosen to participate in a research study for Google!
I got a call at the end of last week, and set it up for today. I was seriously excited. Last night, trying to sleep was like trying to sleep on Christmas eve or the night before you go to Disneyland. I kept on waking up to check the time, worried I was going to oversleep.
My GPS and Google Maps said it would take me 44 minutes, but I gave myself twice that to afford for getting lost or something happening. That ended up being a good idea (it always is!) since my GPS lead me to an empty plot of dirt and said "You have arrived!" I ended up having to park twice to pull out my email and follow the directions from that, rather than my GPS.
This is a picture of the corner where you are SUPPOSED to turn right and not go straight. Stupid GPS. I also was thoroughly amused that I saw Google bicycles EVERYWHERE. As I sat at a stop light, one was behind me. I had to fight the temptation to stick my head out the window and say, "Helloooo!"
I'm not sure if it is funny or sad, but I actually knew the Apocalyptica version before I heard the Metallica original.
My friend, Sacho, introduced me to Apocalyptica in high school after he found out I played the cello. I still remember saying, "I bet if I practiced I could play that." He looked at me with doubt and said, "I don't think so; they're really good."
To be fair, that was before Sacho had heard me play.
Eventually I heard the original, but I (don't throw things at me!) actually preferred the Apocalyptica version.
My first year starting kids out in music as 4th graders, I was terrified. I was incessantly worried I would mess up their foundation, thus ruining them for life. The notion of introducing a child to music was daunting. How do you do it? While I obviously learned myself, I was 3 when I learned how to read music! I don't remember how it happened!
When they were 5th graders, something happened, though. Our very first song in the book, a 2 lined song, took 3 weeks to learn the previous year (with the 5th graders I had not started). However, this time, when MY 5th graders read through the line, they made it all the way through the very first time. I was ecstatic!
We played Tchaikovsky, and I had to teach them how to say "Tchaikovsky".
Chai - like the tea
Cough - like coughing
Ski - like the sport
They could count out loud. They could pay syncopated rhythms and offbeats, which is challenging for anybody much less 5th graders. They cheered for themselves when they were done playing through something. When I would give them directions, they ALL would listen, all would do it, and all would remember it forever. They were magical. Thus, I began calling them my "magical 5th graders". (Any teacher out there knows that getting a class of 50 kids to all do something the first time correctly and remember it forever really IS magical!) They were an amazing combination of smart, hard working, talented, and pleasantly enthusiastic.
As 6th graders, we played a piece called For The Star of County Down. Most kids don't enjoy slow music, so I said we would sight read it and see if they liked it. We had to learn a few new concepts (triplets, 6/8 time, some new notes) before we could do it. But when we read the music for the first time and got to the slow section, something hilarious/wonderful happened. They started playing and you could hear an audible sigh as they were playing. One 6th grade boy exclaimed, "It's SO BEAUTIFUL!" as he was playing! (That's completely allowed in my classroom. I encourage dorking out.) When we finished, the kids were SO excited and demanded we play it. We ended up taking it to Festival, and we got our school's first Superiors (the highest marks) ever. We were also the youngest group participating and I was so proud of them.
They remained amazing through 7th and 8th grade. All the while, I called them my magical 5th graders. It feeds the soul when you are with amazing people for 5 years. I was so sad when they graduated 8th grade, and was mournful at the idea of not seeing them every day.
Well, today they graduated high school and they are on their way to college.
They may be 18, but to me, they will always be my magical 5th graders. Still amazing. Still smart, hard working, and talented. Still genuinely good people. I wish them all the luck, although I know they don't need it.
Since I made my mom a card for mother's day, I know my dad is hoping to get a handmade card himself :) My parents are in the phase of life where they are trying to get rid of all the stuff they don't need, so they don't want any more THINGS. So this was my way of bringing a personal touch.
My dad is a clarinet player, hence the attempt at a clarinet on the side. He also used to really like fishing, and would take my sister and I out to fish as children. My sister and I caught our first fish the same trip when I was 8 and she was 15. Everybody tried to convince me I had caught a boot, but I knew it was a fish and wouldn't let anybody cut the line! :)
This picture is my favorite. It pretty much captures us :)
My school district was awesome. I didn't even really know what worker's comp was. I thought it was something you did if a beam fell on you while you were working.
So when I had to have vocal cord surgery because I had been missing my voice for 6 months, I was surprised to get some forms in the mail for worker's comp. I had gone to human resources to talk about medical leave, and how I could go about it without missing any work or bothering anybody. In the end, the human resources lady (shout out to Kay!) submitted me for worker's comp. All 3 of my bosses replied with the general tone of, "GOOD! You deserve it!"
Maybe it's because I had to teach with a bullhorn to be heard. Maybe it's because, when my voice went away completely, I used a wireless keyboard to type instructions that was projected onto a screen behind me. (Good thing I type quickly. I used a LOT of emoticons and my own facial expressions to convey tone. It was pretty funny, really.)
Well, it is almost one year later, and I'm finally being seen by a doctor! I don't understand this, to be honest. I had my surgery almost a year ago, already. I'm fine now.
I went yesterday, and visited an ENT by Union Square. Because I'm me, I arrived having been awake over 19 hours and it was only 10:30 in the morning. I also showed up not having eaten in a while, in case they decided to scope me ::: shudder :::
After filling out pages of forms, I saw the doctor. I told him the story, he asked me questions, and wrote everything down. Seriously, 3 pages of writing things down. I'm fully aware how ridiculous it sounds when I talk about teaching a class of 73 middle schoolers by myself while a band practices on the other side of a fake wall. And every doctor always gives me a, "That's ridiculous!" kind of look.
As suspected, he scoped my vocal chords. That involves a long straight metal stick being shoved down my mouth to take pictures and video of my vocal chords. It's not horrible but certainly not pleasant, and I always refrain from eating before this to avoid throwing up on people. I'm considerate that way. THEN, my nose had to be scoped. This is my least favorite thing ever, due to a traumatic emergency room situation that involved a clueless ER guy incorrectly packing my nose, and convincing me he had stabbed me in the brain. While I know it's not actually possible to be stabbed in the brain by cotton through your nose, it very much felt like it, and I remain convinced that something happened that was not supposed to happen.
The scoping wasn't horrible. No brain stabbing. But I'd still avoid it if possible.
The doctor then put me in a room, made me stand in the corner and read a small paragraph while he and his assistant listened. When I finished, he said, "Perfect! 35 seconds exactly!" He said he had some partial hearing loss, but could still very clearly hear everything I said. I project well. =) I had to! I had to project my voice over 70 band kids playing their instruments!
I then had to close my eyes and march in place. Apparently, I move forward when I think I'm not. He checked my ears, and finished with, "You're fine."
Well, I know I'm fine. That's why I had surgery. =)
When I lived in Orange County, I made two shopping trips a week. One was to Henry's (or Sprouts, because their name changed) and one was to Vons. Sprouts was for my meats and vegetables, mostly, since they were cheaper there. My trip to Vons was for anything packaged and for my coffee creamer. I love the caramel macchiato creamer, it's delicious.
Since moving to San Francisco, I've been walking to Whole Foods twice a week. Grocery stores are strangely few and far between in SF, and this Whole Foods is a mere .3 miles from my apartment! I had heard rumor there was a Safeway nearby, but my landlady told me to drive there. Since I hate driving, I never went.
Today, I finally went! I walked, because it seemed close. Just .6 miles! The walk there was fine. I walked over Geary on a bridge, which was fun. I have a special place in my heart for bridges, no matter how mundane they may seem.
I didn't realize how much I had missed Safeway/Vons/Pavillions. It's been 8 months since I've been to one. New foods exist, now! Ice creams exist now that didn't before! A strange reuniting. Hooray! I don't have to go to Walgreens or Target anymore for my packaged foods! I also bought two cartons of Greek yogurt for 5.99 instead of the normal 7.99 at Whole Foods. I found my peanut butter Oreos I've been looking for for months. I didn't have to wait in line to buy meat!
I realize I'm a little too excited about this.
The walk back, however, was strange. I usually struggle coming back from Whole Foods, as I cram everything into one impressive bag that leaves horrible red marks on my shoulder as I trek up a giant hill. Walking twice the distance, while only .6 miles, was surprisingly difficult. By the time I reached my apartment, my face was sweaty. I had to change into cooler clothes upon returning. My heart rate was elevated and I was breathing hard.
I've decided to count my trip to the grocery store as exercise.
Buses also don't really help. All the buses will take you a block or two at most. It seems like a waste. Still. I missed the store. Perhaps I will only go for light foods next time...instead of a pound of yogurt.
Pomp and Circumstance is a piece my orchestra played twice a year every year for 8 years. That's a lot of graduations.
After my first year, I began arranging my own versions of this piece for sheer convenience. Our instrumentation changed, our strengths and weaknesses were different every year, so I adapted.
This is a tedious piece to play at a graduation, because it is inevitable to arrive at the same 8 bars that you must repeat incessantly until all the kids have made it to their seats. We repeated it anywhere from 5 to over 20 times. Every time we would come to the repeat, students would look at me with eyes of hope that pleaded, "Let this be the last time!" But alas. It never was :)
It wasn't exactly a joy to hear it over and over again, either. Not only did we have to perform it, but we had to practice it over and over again. We had to practice playing it twenty times so they had the physical stamina.
The year 2011 was a difficult year. I had a difficult 8th grade class who had been with me for 5 years. The last 2-3 years of that time had been....unpleasant for both sides. They wouldn't practice. They couldn't retain. They couldn't listen or adjust to each other. I tried and created so many different ways of addressing the same issues that by the end of 5 years I was drained. I had used all my creativity to try to make them love music and enjoy my class. Instead, they were apathetic toward the class and hated me. I had never felt so much hatred coming toward me in my life :(
The year below them, the graduating class of 2012, was the opposite. They were excitable, enthusiastic, extremely alert and observant, willing and happy to dork out with me. In 2010-2011, I was truly frightened to join these two groups together, worried of who would win. Would the 8th graders make music lame for the 7th graders, or would the 7th graders excite and motivate the 8th graders? In the end, neither happened, which I considered a success. 8/9 of my classes were positive environments with this one class of negativity that poisoned my soul. I just wanted them to love it, and they never did.
For the 2011 graduation, the 7th graders (and some 6th graders) played for the 8th graders. My 7th graders were starving for a challenge and I was finally able to feed them with the technical rigors of this particular arrangement. The first time we played together, before school, was magical. The sound was the sound of 30 people sighing in relief. We had grown accustomed to the mediocrity of every day orchestra, forgetting what we used to be. When we began to play, a 12 year exclaimed, "I forgot how good we sounded!" When we ended, another had a huge smile on his face, and he said, "FINALLY, something I can't play the first time!"
It reassured us that our orchestra would bounce back.
It became, at least in my mind, an anthem of rebellion. There was a tinge of "ha ha" to it, and I'm not proud to admit that. But seeing as how that 8th grade class took a big chunk of my spirit with them, I only feel moderately guilty. It starts out minor, which we found funny (yes, a group of 6th and 7th graders found this funny). The beginning sounded ominous.
In the end, we pulled off something special. I remember thinking, "We'll be okay next year! I'm going to make it!"
I really am. I first played the first movement of his cello concerto when I was 12 or 13, and it was a beast then just as it is still a beast for me. Having such small hands really does create a needlessly difficult obstacle in general, but for Dvorak it is so unpleasantly obvious. Simple melodies turn into complicated challenges for me.
I played the Dvorak Cello Concerto with my Youth Symphony when I was 17 (the first movement). I played it again for my senior recital in college. I own at least a dozen different recordings. I know what I like, I know what I don't like (Maisky, I'm looking at you, man!). Having said that, being me, I am always open and eager for new ideas and interpretations.
Today, my parents and I went to the San Francisco Symphony to hear Gautier Capucon's version of the Dvorak Cello Concerto. I'm always both excited and nervous to listen to new people. I'm excited at the possibility of it being super awesome and unique, but worried it's going to disappoint me and my ridiculously high standards.
Capucon's rendition was....amazing. His technique makes me jealous. He hits EVERYTHING with impressive accuracy. All those double stops, thumb position, fast technical passages...everything. But what was most enjoyable was his interpretation of this piece. He took some serious tempo liberties that I found pleasantly indulgent. It can be too much very easily, and I can easily brush you off as being too flashy and too full of yourself. This, however, was the perfect balance of ALMOST too much but not. He did things I had never heard before. A difficult feat considering how many I've listened to. I really am a collector at this point. And I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of his interpretations. If I didn't outright enjoy them, I tweaked my head to the side and though, huh, that's interesting, I never thought of it that way. I appreciate those moments, equally.
Dvorak is also physically demanding. If I haven't been actively training for this specific concerto, by the time I get to the bottom of the first page my arm is burning from exertion. I feel super buff by the time I can get through the whole thing. My arms also feel a bit like limp noodles. Buff limp noodles?
That does not sound delicious...
Anyways, loved it. I kind of want to be his friend now.
I did, however, become depressed when I read his bio in the program and discovered he is the same age as I. There's nothing to make you feel bad about yourself than the amazing ability of someone the same age or younger than you! :) That's okay. That's better, in my opinion, than being the superior one in a group of mediocre people, right?
Today (through Sunday) is free entrance at the San Francisco MOMA (museum of modern art). It's a celebratory send off, as it goes into remodel mode for the next 3 years? I didn't realize this was happening until I got an email from a friend, inviting me to go (yay!).
Being a huge fan of free, of course I went!
Since I was the first one there (I always am) and since everybody else was running late, I stood in line and got myself a free tote bag. W00t! I love a tote bag. I love free things. Let the happy dance proceed! ::: insert happy dance here ::::
In other news, I went shopping today in an attempt to find a wedding outfit. Sigh. I...don't like shopping. It's crowded, people move too slow, I'm ALWAYS behind a person who stops right in the aisle when there's no way around them. I make sure I keep my comments to myself, and encourage myself to be more patient.
I also realized that I'm good at looking appropriate. While my normal wardrobe of choice usually ends up being jeans, a sweater, hoodie, and sneakers, I also know how to dress appropriately for work and for concerts. I do not, however, know how to look NICE. Appropriate, yes. Nice, no.
Oh well. There are worse things in the world. It reminds me of Princess Diaries, when Mia looks in the mirror and says, "As always, this is as good as it's going to get." Yeah. That's basically how I feel when trying to find wedding clothes.
Does anybody else watch Arthur? I realize it's a show aimed at little kids, but I've been watching it since high school. My sophomore college roommate and I used to watch it when we came back from classes. (I was also into Kipper, a Nickolodean show aimed at 3 year olds.)
George is my favorite character. I identify with George the same way I identify with Neville Longbottom. We're all characters where comically yet consistently odd and unfortunate events seem to happen...to us. We all just sigh and shrug, used to it. I also think we have a pretty good attitude, considering.
George has his dummy, I have Senor Snuffles :)
Though, to be fair, when I was a teacher I really wanted to get this puppet called Gustav Mole (a joke on Gustav Mahler) Every time I saw him in music magazine (and I received them monthly) I'd get excited and have a little debate in my head. I'm sorry to say I developed a voice for this puppet and everything, and I laughed at the idea of using him in class.
I never did buy him. I realized that would make me Mr. Garrison and would make Gustav Mole Mr. Hat. That's....unacceptable. I did not want to be THAT teacher.
Of course, I was the teacher who popularized mustaches. Seriously. It was me. I started it. 4 years ago, or so. It was a teaching device and insanely effective. But that's a story for another time.
Earlier this year, I created myself a Google resume. I screencapped the top of my Chrome browser that conveniently had links in the bookmark bar to various Google products and services to use as my header. I created the bulk of my resume to look like search results from Google, including a picture in the corner of my Google+ page with all my pertinent contact information. The footer showed I was using the Chrome browser.
Yes, I thought I was pretty funny. Yes, I still do. I wish I could use it for everything, though I somehow doubt that would fly. Apparently, Google also doesn't find me altogether amusing.
At the end of this month, which would be...Saturday, I'm going to start applying to other places. Well, Monday, realistically. Maybe. But in preparation, as I am a person who likes to be prepared, I've begun creating different themed resumes.
I don't even know if I'll actually use them. At this point, I'm rather enjoying the creativity involved with trying to mimic the format of a company. Today, I created a Facebook resume and an Apple resume. This includes looking up the companies' fonts so that I can accurately recreate their typeface. (I did this for Google, too.) I'm using colored fonts. There are pictures/icons. It's all very amusing and satisfying.
Of course, I probably should create a boring run-of-the-mill resume; one that would work for any company for any position. That seems so boring, though. ::: YAWN ::: My funny resumes bring me a little joy, and they really do express what kind of person I am. I don't particularly want to camouflage myself as "normal" (or "boring" in my eyes) with a "normal" resume. That's pretty misleading. At least I live in a city where there is no normal :)
Even when I applied for my teaching job 9 years ago, in a very conservative field in a very conservative area, while my resume wasn't particularly amusing or thrilling, I made sure to wear a bright and colorful shirt with my formal suit. I had to let a small part of me sneak in.
I don't really want to "sneak in" my Naokoness this time. Though this time, I don't think I'll have to...
My parents are visiting San Francisco because they wanted to see the Girl with a Pearl Earring at the DeYoung Museum, and wanted to see the Terra Cotta Warriors at the Asian Art Museum.
While I did visit the DeYoung Museum a few months ago, I didn't see the Rembrandt exhibit because...it costs more. :)
But the Terra Cotta Warriors were completely new for me. I knew absolutely nothing about them. My mom thought they were going to be mini-warriors; 2 feet tall! I also felt bad because most of my knowledge had come from Lara Croft The Cradle of Life. -_- Yes, I realize how lame that is.
While at Target today, I was perusing the aisles and stumbled upon a new version of the Ab Roller!
This is the new version, which you can turn over and use as a dip station! While I don't...dip, maybe I would if I had a dip station! And you can add weights on the sides. While I don't have weights, I am still excited at the option.
The Ab Roller and I have a history. My parents bought one for me in high school. That was their subtle way of telling me to lose weight. That and they hid food from me in the washing machine. I did enjoy using it. I would do a couple hundred a day. I was still completely out of shape, but I could do a crunch like no other.
Then came the day we had to do fitness tests in high school. My PE class had mostly very athletic dudes, and then a couple of us nerdy kids They beat us at everything. It's a little unreasonable to have a 5'4 Asian girl playing basketball with a 6'5 tall dude. I was the kid who got an A because I tried really hard.
But when it came to the crunch test, I killed everybody. I know I did over 60 in 1 minute. I know I had the highest in the class. I know my PE teacher thought my partner and I did it wrong and made me do it over again while he watched. I repeated my results, and my teacher was completely speechless. I shrugged and said, "We have an Ab Roller at home."
I enjoy surprising people that way. I'm not offended. I wouldn't have guessed that I would've been the best cruncher in my class, either. Everybody was rather dumbfounded. It was awesomely hilarious.
Anyways, I want one! Even though it'll be difficult to hide when I have people over. My only problem is...it's a pretty big box, and I don't really want to get on the bus with the big box that says AB ROLLER across it. Maybe I can find it cheaper online....
This year, since I do not have a job, I didn't buy my mom a present. Actually, I rarely buy her presents for mother's day because she never really wants anything and is trying to get rid of all clutter anyway.
Instead of buying a card, since I have a whole lot of time on my hands right now, I thought I'd make her a card. When I was little I made cards. Even when I was in college, I made these intricate giant cards on manila folders. This one was made out of simple cardstock and I used sharpies and colored pencils.
Front of the card
Inside of the card
The front card has orchids (I know they don't really look like orchids), roses, and a hummingbird. My mom has recently become somewhat obsessed with the hummingbird in the backyard and likes to point it out about ever 10 minutes. =) She also LOVES flowers, and is completely jealous that my orchids regrow.
Anyways, I called her this morning and it turns out she loved the card! Hooray! I'm glad to report that it's still awesome to make your own cards, even when you are in your 30s.
I think this also means I have to make a homemade card for my dad come Father's Day so he won't feel left out. :) It's a lot harder to draw a clarinet, though...
Yester, the plan was to drive down to Santa Clara to visit friends and their family.
As I approached my car, I pressed the remote unlock, and nothing happened. Hmm. I tried again. Nothing. What's wrong with my remote? I wondered. Then I realized I've never unlocked my car without the remote (I bought it in 2010 and my cars before that hadn't had remotes). I tried to unlock it, and it wouldn't unlock. I went to the other doors only to realize...there's only one place for your key to go. You can't even open the trunk! How long have cars been like this? (she said like an elderly person)
I finally managed to get in after trying various techniques. I don't know why I was so worried about setting off the alarm...I completely forgot you need a battery to make the alarm work. -_- I put my key in the ignition, turned it, and nothing. No lights. No sound. Nothing.
I called AAA, and after they bounced my call around (I always end up talking to the Southern California AAA people first), I finally got connected. I was told someone would be there in 30-40 minutes. 60 minutes later (after I had stood outside for 30 minutes) I got a phone call saying someone would arrive in 20-30 minutes. BOO! 25 minutes later, I got a phone call saying someone would arrive in 15-20 minutes.
I always liked Cinderella as a child. I got the special McDonalds mouse ornaments available in the 80s. Then, in my teenage years, I became anti-Cinderella due to my feminist inclinations. The backlash had begun, and I bought into it. I didn't see it again until about a week ago, when it was on tv. Watching it now, I realize...Cinderella is pretty scrappy! She rolls her eyes, she makes quips here and there and snaps at people/animals. She is not, as many would like us to believe, just sitting around waiting for her prince, but rather hoping something will change in her life.
My favorite line in this song is "No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true."
After 4 hours of sleep, my eyes popped open from a strange dream.
My alarm had been set for 9:45 a.m. so I could eat, get ready, and meet a friend my noon at the California Academy of Sciences (no, I'm not that slow...but I was giving myself almost an hour to get there by bus, and I couldn't remember how long it took me to get ready anymore. Turns out...getting ready + eating + doing dishes = 45 minutes). I was awake by 8:45, though. Odd.
It's my first time going to the California Academy of Sciences and I wasn't sure what to expect. Thanks to Free Neighborhood Days, the normally $30 entrance fee was waved as long as I could provide proof of residence. Woo hoo! I love free things!
I think I was expecting something akin to the Exploratorium. I'm not sure why.
Side note: This was the first museum or museum-type building that didn't make me check my backpack or make me hold it in front of me. Yay!
While I was walking to Whole Foods today, I saw tons of people around my neighborhood. Cars were everywhere, people were everywhere, and then I remembered...it was the parade!
San Francisco loves their parades. I...really like parades, but don't really like crowds that much. Seeing as how I have yet to see a parade, however, I decided to go check it out. (I DID see some Asian pride parade when I was apartment hunting last year, but I watched from my hotel room confused as to what was going on.)
Fortunately for me, I can just walk to Japantown. It's a few blocks away, so I really had no excuse. I could hear the drumming from a distance, and upon getting closer I was relieved to see a fairly large crowd, but not an INSANE crowd. I nudged myself closer and closer.
I stood next to a guy with yellow shoes (I never looked at his face) who laughed at everything I laughed at, and who said the commentary that I was thinking in my head. When the...Miss Teen Japan America (or something) came by, he started laughing and said, "There's one guy who's waving really intensely."
There were a lot of little kids who were walking in groups looking confused. There were teenagers who looked like they did NOT want to be there. There were a lot of pageanty-type ladies and young women who had a smile plastered to their face, but you could see they had other things going on in their minds. The best was the Japan Airlines girl who had a mob of friends hiding in the crowd next to me. When she stood up and turned their way, they popped out of the crowd and screamed for her. Her smile got a bit tense. =D
This is a picture of...some kind of twirling of something. They were yelling something out but I had no idea what they were saying. One guy with glasses was really into it, and seemed to be really enjoying himself. That's always nice. It's so much more pleasant to watch people having fun.
This was the last float in the parade. It was a tower being held up by people! These young men were carrying this on their shoulders. I tried very hard to get a front shot, because it was a sumo-type of attire. I figure the world doesn't need to see this guy's butt, even though I doubt he'd mind. At some point, he reached over to get some water, put his leg in the air and bent over. The entire crowd flinched, groaned, and averted their eyes :)
It was fun to see people in all sorts of costumes. It ranged from kimono to cosplay to my personal favorite...the lone guy wearing a Star Trek uniform. I was trying to figure out if he was confused, if he was just excited to have an excuse to dress up, or if he was trying to be Sulu. It was really unclear.
All in all, it was fun. I'm glad I had my hat; it was warm out there!
Seriously, does anybody know how to cure chapped lips? It's been almost 7 weeks of chapped lips, and while my cocoa butter balm is awesome at making me feel better, it's not actually fixing anything. I tried vaseline. I bought this Blistex Renew and Restore medicated balm. I bought Aquaphor? I tried olive oil. I tried "brushing" my lips with a toothbrush. I brought my humidifier back from Fresno 3 weeks ago. I've been drinking even more water than normal.
If you have any solutions, please share, because...this is unpleasant.
Aside from that, I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival during the weekend. It's happening next weekend, too. There were so many people! I tend to try to avoid places where I know there will be huge crowds (I get impatient), but since it was within walking distance and it was...well the Cherry Blossom Festival, I braved the crowds.
The majority of the crowds were Japanese people, too, and I've discovered that crowds of Japanese people tend to be more polite and courteous than other crowds of people. They say "excuse me" and apologize when they bump into you. I appreciate that.
The parade is this weekend, so I may try to catch that.
Aside from that, nothing is really going on. I bought a new bookcase from Ikea so I can store more kitchen things. They're always spilling out everywhere. I installed hooks in my bathroom so I can hang up my pajamas instead of leaving them on the floor. I bought an AWESOME rainbow sock monkey hat online. I hope it fits my head; I have a really big head.
I'd watch Real Housewives of the Orange County and just think...these women could be the parents of my students! I saw the same type of woman at the schools where I taught. I dealt with very similar personality types. I lived one mile from Coto de Caza! I saw Vicky at Target!
Glued to the television, I'd watch in disgust and horror. But mainly I'd watch knowing all these people had kids, and I was probably teaching them. Well not THEM specifically.
Don't get me wrong. I had some really awesome and delightful students. I had students who worked hard and had a good attitude. I also had students who tried to say they didn't need to turn in their homework because their maid threw it away. I had parents who literally say, "Do you know how much money I make?" as an explanation for why their child did not have to turn in their homework.
Oh Orange County. I do not miss you. Or your traffic. Or your creepily manicured lawns. Or your lack of litter. Or your lack of ethnic diversity.
Real Housewives of the Orange County was my gateway show into the franchise. From here, I started watching New York (go Carole!) and then kind of New Jersey, then Atlanta, then kind of Beverly Hills. Seriously, the only person I related to was Carole from New York, who would put on her headphones and ignore everybody.
Now that Orange County is starting up again, I am finding myself drawn to it. I must watch what I left behind. And while that makes me kind of a jerk for knowing I will watch a certain amount of smug satisfaction, I'm not sure if that's better or worse than watching with horror, knowing that what I was watching was SO close.
So, in the meantime, they performed a free concert. Thanks to the power of facebook, I saw a message this afternoon.
The brass, woodwinds, and string section all had their moment in the sun. I love Fanfare for the Common Man.
But the highlight for me was Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings. I LOVE this piece. I've performed it 4 or 5 times maybe? I've played it (rehearsals and what not) probably hundreds of times by now. I first played it in 6th grade with Sierra String Ensemble. I look back and wonder...how did I do that?? I also played it my freshman year of high school at an All-State Orchestra (CODA) as one of 4 cellists. Then again with my Youth Symphony my senior year. Maybe at UCLA...I can't remember. UCI hired me to play it with them. And Blackbird Ensemble.
I also had my school orchestra play an arranged version of it (but still very difficult) a couple times. Two groups, in particular, were very meaningful. I bought them mutes :) Hearing this piece now makes me nostalgic and sad that it couldn't work out.
Hearing members of the San Francisco Symphony perform this, a mere 20 feet from me, was so awesome. I'm an annoying person to be with when it comes to musical performances; I sway with the music, I finger along on my arm, I try REALLY hard not to audibly inhale before key moments. It was so beautiful. However, it wasn't perfect :) The older couple behind me were talking about how flawless it was....but it wasn't. I can't help it. It's the musician in me. I noticed the flaws. But the flaws make it...human, I suppose. It's also strangely reassuring to know that all musicians, no matter the level, can still struggle with the same basic issues.
I hope they do more concerts! I will happily attend!
I've been in Fresno since Monday, because my sister and brother-in-law (who haven't been here in 2 years or so?) were visiting from the East Coast, and my parents wanted me to come down, too.
Being around my entire family means we all kind of revert to the family dynamics of 1990. My sister stays in her room. I get ignored by literally everybody, and when I talk either nobody responds or I get interrupted. My mom and dad feel all happy, like we're a happy close family, and they dote on my sister.
That's cool. I went to Target two times and bought...everything. By everything, I mean soap, a watch for the bus (sometimes I get nervous when that sketchy guy eyes my iPhone), body butter (smells good enough to eat!), more soap, and 2 16-packs of mega roll toilet paper! I love Charmin and their ridiculous mega rolls. I bought a giant pack at each Target trip because I can only carry one at a time, and I hate rolling a cart around Target.
I also visited Ulta (there really should be one in SF!) to stock up on random skin care items.
AND, I visited Barnes and Noble.
I LOVE Barnes and Noble. I love all bookstores. When I lived in a city with a Barnes and Noble, that's probably where you could find me on a Saturday night. Yeah. I'm exciting. I bought 3 books. 1.) Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior (every time I hear the word "subliminal" I think about how poor George W. said that word incorrectly over and over again in his speech. "Subliminable" I believe it was.) 2.) Siddhartha and 3.) A Tale for the Time Being. There is a character named Nao. I had to buy it.
I also attempted to buy the 2 disc soundtrack of Les Miserables (the newest one, I already have the old one) but they were out. And I contemplated buying the DVD but couldn't bring myself to pay $27.99 for it.
I'll buy it on amazon.
I could have gotten the books on amazon too, I suppose, but I like the idea of supporting Barnes and Noble. I want them to stay open. I also want to start reading something RIGHT NOW and not in a few days.
There was a day in college where I just kept dropping everything. Dropped the shampoo on my foot. Dropped the conditioner on my foot. Fell on 2 stairs walking to class. Dropped by bow, then my rosin, then my bow again within 10 seconds while practicing. Fell down more stairs. What is going ON? I asked myself. That's when I realized it was the 15th of March!...which got me to thinking...when did I fall in high school?
After going back and doing the research, I realized that I fell and broke my leg on March 15th.
I had found my rollerskates; you know, the old school kind with 4 wheels in each "corner" of the skate? I got super excited, put them on, and started my skate adventure around the block. I turned the first corner, and thought, "Uh-oh, I'm going to fall." Now, by this time, I was a senior in high school and had already broken both my arms, and knew that I just don't fall correctly. I had also sprained several fingers in a few falls, too, and I had All-State Orchestra coming up and was going to solo with my Youth Symphony in a couple months.
As I rounded the 2nd corner, two things happened. 1.) It started to lightly sprinkle. Over the years, strangely, the story has turned into "Naoko went rollerskating in the rain." No. I went rollerskating and then it started to rain. 2.) I realized I was going to fall which meant I was going to break something.
Skating on (for some reason turning back didn't seem like an option at the time), I thought of all the responsibilities I had lined up for myself and how much I didn't want to hurt my hands or arms.
That's when it happened. That stupid acorn. That is what led to my demise: an acorn. I tripped over it, and immediately tried to go to the grass. USUALLY, when you are on rollerskates and go to long grass, it stops your momentum. That is, unless it has been raining, and the grass is slick from rain.
I wish I could have seen it. I did a Hollywood kind of fall, where one leg goes up, the other leg goes up, you land on the first leg and it rolls from under you again, and then the other leg, until both legs are in the air at the same time. That's when I made the conscious decision, and I fell with both of my arms in the air.
Yes. I held my arms up so I wouldn't try to land on them, so I wouldn't break them.
When I landed on the ground, in a fully sitting position with my legs out in front of me, it sounded like 20 people had cracker their knuckles. I sat for a moment and thought, that wasn't a good sound. Then, I looked at my right leg. My knee was facing up like normal, but my ankle had turned and my foot was pointing to the right. Surprised, I said, "Ew!" grabbed my foot, and turned it so it would be facing upward again. More cracking ensued.
In retrospect, it was probably a bad decision to attempt to reset my foot myself, but it really was my first instinct.
I took off my rollerskates (the additional weight didn't seem like it would be good for my leg), and sat, trying to figure out how to get home. I was sitting in front of the house directly in back of my house, so I was exactly half way away. I sat, trying to surmise if there was a better option than crawling back. That seemed a little undignified, but I didn't think hopping was a great idea, either.
At that point, the door opened and a man walked out. He saw me sitting on the sidewalk and walked over to me. "Hello!" he said.
"Hi," I returned.
"What happened?" he asked.
"I think I killed myself," was my reply. I still remember this very clearly.
"That's not good," he said. "Well, I'm on my way to work, but my wife is at home."
When his wife came out, she recognized me as the kid who lived on the other side of the fence. I guess it helped that we were the only Asian family on the block.
She drove me home, and I hopped up to the door and rang the doorbell. My mom answered the door, confused, and asked what happened. "I broke my leg. I need to go to the doctor."
I'm not sure why it is, but everyone in my family are panickers. I don't think that's a word. But I've decided in this context it is. In any remotely emergency situation, everybody freaks out very easily. Except me. I am always the calm one. I think it's because I'm the one who always has the emergency.
My mom said, "You didn't break your leg! Don't say that!"
"Oh, it's broken. I heard it," I said knowledgeably.
My dad drove me to the walk-in clinic. When they asked what was wrong, I said I broke my leg, and my dad got mad. "She fell down. Her leg hurts."
"It doesn't hurt that bad, but it IS broken," I said. I still don't know why they were in such denial about my leg. It's not like I had gotten shot or anything, or had fallen and injured my spine.
We waited. And waited. I remember sitting in a wheelchair and having to lift up my foot and rest it on my other knee. My leg went kind of numb, so I had to use my arms to pick my leg up, which struck me as amusing. Until my leg fell asleep. I entertained myself by poking my foot.
I have a rule in life, where...the more cranky people you have to deal with, the friendlier and more polite I'm going to be. So when the doctors and nurses finally called me in, I was my normal jolly self. The pain has to be pretty bad for me to be snappish.
They wrapped my foot, took x-rays, and sent me home with crutches. The next day, I went to school and had the worst time maneuvering on those stupid crutches (maybe it was because my backpack was literally 25 pounds) and was late to all my classes. When I got home, I had been scheduled to go to the doctor again.
I went in and was told I had broken my leg and had to go to see an orthopedic surgeon. When I went to see the orthopedic surgeon, he told me I had broken my fibula, shattered the bone around it, and had tore all my ankle tendons and/or ligaments, so there was nothing keeping my foot in places for everything to grow back properly.
I was to have pins placed in my leg. I stayed home for a few weeks (yay!) and had surgery, where they ended up screwing a metal plate into my bone. I guess it was worse when they opened up my leg. More time at home. Then spring break. It was great. Except I had to take baths with my leg hanging out of the bathtub. And my leg was itchy. And I couldn't walk. Or drive.
When I did go back to school, my friend drove me, because my dad complained about having to drive me places. As I started healing, and my parents complained more and more about having to drive me to rehearsals and lessons, I finally had it and just drove with my left foot. I found it rude that they were complaining. =)
By May 17th, which was the day of my Youth Symphony Concert, I had had my cast off for a week and could very slowly kind of hobble. I was intent not to walk out on crutches. Grad night at Disneyland was very hobbly, too. After graduation, my mom said she could spot me because I was limping, and I slowed down the line. Thanks, mom. And for sober grad, when we bowled, I had to walk up to the line and throw the ball with my left hand, because the extra weight was too much for my leg. I am still proud of the 92 I got.
And it all started on the 15th of March.
So what's the point?
I bought a lottery ticket today. Maybe something GOOD will happen this year =)