Monday, November 17, 2014

Good Quote

"My hero is always me in ten years.  That's who I chase every day."
 -- Matthew McConaughey

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Willpower

I have to write only a brief post today because I meant to get up earlier so I can get some things done before work, but I didn't.  I just could not get myself to get out of bed.  I read a while back that researchers now believe that willpower is a finite resource, so that if you have to use a lot of willpower to accomplish one thing, you'll have much less for other things you need willpower to do.  I see so many examples of this in my life that I have no doubt it's true.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wheezing

So, after describing my symptoms to my doctor, I have been diagnosed with exercise-induced bronchiospasms, which I just experienced (albeit mildly) for the third time this morning.  The other two times were much more intense and came on at the end of a race.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this is somehow related to my acid reflux, which has also intensified as of late.  Either way, it's a bummer, but I'm hoping I don't have to resort to using an inhaler, which is what the doctor insisted on.  I wonder if there is such thing as a natural inhaler?  Hmmm...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Finally...

I went running this morning.  It was only one mile, but my goal was just to do something.  My last logged run was on October 16th, so it had been almost a month.  And, as I said before, I'm signed up to run a 10K on Thanksgiving.  Hopefully I will be able to get back with the program in time.  One day at a time...

In the short term, I have also signed up to take my first biology exam on Saturday.  I figured I might as well sign up as soon as possible since I already read and studied the material months ago, I just never took the exam because you have to find a testing center and a proctor and I couldn't figure out how to make it work with my schedule.  But, I found a person who can proctor on Saturday, which is perfect.  Now, if only I can get my brain working again.  I think the running should help!

Monday, November 10, 2014

What does R stand for?

I have come across this bit of text that makes me feel like a big dummy. This is from the cell structure and function chapter of my biology textbook. Does R stand for Ribosome?

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Construction

Why do people in this town think it's acceptable to do construction (or loud landscaping) on a Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. in a residential neighborhood?  Shouldn't there be laws about this sort of thing?  Or, at least better etiquette?  I have to get up and sing at church on Sunday morning, but for most people this is one of the few days of the week that they get to sleep in.  It's rude!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Biology

I signed up for an online general biology course last January that I got distracted from and haven't finished.  I decided today to pay a small fee for an extension so that I now have until March 2015 to finish it.  This is the hardest course I have taken in a while and I still don't have a clue how I'm going to get through it.  But, I have a little extra time to devote to it as of very recently, so hopefully that will be enough to make it happen.  Studying starts now...

Time Stamps

Hmm... I have a sneaking suspicion that my Blogger settings locate me in California since it's 2:33 a.m. and my last post is stamped at 11:32 p.m.  This is the sort of thing that reminds me I actually lived in California for a while.  The same is true of my Pandora radio account, which still plays ads from the Bay area.  I will have to figure out how to change that.  I guess...

And, I just fixed it.  Woo hoo. :)

Cambridge

I have to admit that I like living in Cambridge.  I have lived in almost every other major nook of the metro Boston area and I think this is my favorite part.  That said, I'm working now on trying to live in every major nook of Cambridge and I'm hoping to keep it that way especially so I can keep voting as a resident of Cambridge.  This is the sort of random thing I would post at 2:32 a.m. ...

Friday, November 07, 2014

Consciousness

On Wednesday evening between work and choir practice I decided to stop at the Boston Public Library, a place I haven't visited in ages.  They are currently renovating, but luckily I immediately strolled right into the stacks of non-fiction, which is where I longed to be.  Not surprisingly, I was like a kid in a candy store and after well over an hour left with six books after putting back another ten.  My favorite selection is a book called *A Universe of Consciousness* (Edelman/Tononi).  Though it was published in 2000, my knowledge of current research is nil, so the questions seem quite relevant and fascinating.  I'll leave you with a quote from the beginning of the book which illustrates how the current controversial questions differ from the questions scientists and philosophers had before we had such an intricate knowledge of the brain.  What fascinates me most and was provoked by the partial reading of Tufts Professor Daniel Dennett's book *Consciousness Explained* (1992) is the idea that we really have no scientific way as of yet to explain conscious experience, that it is the result of the whole brain functioning and not a specific function of one part.

"Does the primary visual cortex contribute to conscious experience or not? Are areas of the brain that project directly to the prefrontal cortex more relevant than those that do not? Does only a particular subset of cortical neurons play a role? If so, are these neurons characterized by a special property or location? Do cortical neurons need to oscillate at 40 Hz or fire in bursts to contribute to conscious experience? Do different areas of the brain or groups of neurons generate different conscious fragments - a kind of microconsciousness? ... By what mysterious transformation would the firing of neurons located in a particular place in the brain or endowed with a particular biochemical property become subjective experience, while the firing of other neurons would not?"

Such wonderful mysteries to behold!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Running 10 kilometers

This morning it dawns on me that the 10K race I am signed up for is three weeks from today and the last time I went running was three weeks ago.  Clearly I need to start running again today.  It's tricky because now it's dark both before work and after.  But, I can't use that as an excuse if I expect to make any progress.  I'll need either to run after work in the dark today or in the gym in order to make this happen, since it's already too late this morning.  I had been following a program designed by Hal Higdon for eight weeks when I got a cold and lost my momentum.  It would be hard to pick up exactly where I left off, but I think I could adjust the schedule for the next three weeks to gradually build up to where I was.  At this point I don't know that I'll make any progress in terms of speed, but since I've never raced this distance before and I know the exhilaration of being in a race tends to make me run faster than I do on my own, I think I will just aim to get through it without walking.  10 kilometers is about 6.2 miles, which is a distance I have jogged casually on many occasions.  But, it's been three weeks since I've done it.  I know in the grand scheme of things that's not very long ago, but right now it feels like a very large hurdle.  I'm just hoping I can get there without too much pain!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Election Results

Have you ever seen the movie Idiocracy?  It's a movie that takes place one-hundred years (or so) in the future with the premise that all of the most intelligent people have decided not to have children and only the dumbest people have reproduced.  And, people are sitting on piles and piles of trash, because they don't know what to do with it, since so much has accumulated.  Ok, there's more to it than that, but that's the part that is going to sooner than later become a reality, especially if people continue to not give a sh*t about recycling.  In yesterday's election, the people of Massachusetts decided clearly that they would rather sit on their own trash than make sure it gets recycled (by rejecting the Bottle Bill).  I'm not surprised honestly.  After spending several years in California with very progressive people, coming back to a state that I thought was liberal has been pretty disappointing in terms of environmental awareness.  People in my office use plastic utensils and cups and throw them away on a daily basis because they can't be bothered to wash their f**king dishes.  Stores everywhere offer disposable plastic bags because people can't handle carrying multiple items in their hands (or keeping a reusable bag handy).  It's maddening!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Food For Thought

Don’t lie about yourself. And never lie to yourself. Find the thing in you that is different, that’s as sharp as a diamond and jagged as a razor. Hone that, because that’s the thing with which you’ll cut the world. If you try to stay a safe and soft and average, then you’re going to get lost in the sea of all those other things that look just like you. Find the things about yourself that are weird and cultivate them because, eventually, those are the things the world is going to want to reward you for and that will bring you the most happiness. When you’re young, those are the things that cause you so much pain, but it’s that pain that makes you unique. Own your scars.” - Clayton Cubitt

Without baseball...

Every year for the last ten or so between the end of baseball season in October and the start of the season in April I try to get interested in other sports.  Something about watching sports calms me down for some strange reason.  I can't quite explain it, except maybe that my grandfather liked to watch baseball games (the Cubs) when I was a little girl, and I loved my grandpa and always enjoyed that.  Although I know more about football now than I ever did before, it doesn't interest me all that much.  I get hockey and basketball and I used to play soccer and love that, but watching those sports doesn't hold my interest all that much.  I'm not sure what it is, but baseball is just a unique experience for me.  I can sit through 15 innings if I need to with a consistent enthusiastic interest.  Now that the season is over, I need something else to do.  Most of my friends and family regularly watch some TV show or other.  I do enjoy some television, but haven't found anything recently that has me over the moon.  I suppose maybe it doesn't have to be one thing.  Maybe I could dedicate each of the interim months to one activity or project.  Maybe December will be my month to learn to juggle and January will be all about chess.  February could be the month in which I start rock climbing.  March might be the best time to start salsa dancing lessons.  We'll see...

Monday, November 03, 2014

Afternoon of Darkness

It was dark when I left work today.  Sunset here on the edge of the east coast happens around 4:30 p.m. this time of year after the daylight savings time shift. This is the farthest east in any time zone I've ever lived and thus the only place where the sun has set before 5:00 p.m.  I'll never get used to it.  Pretty soon it will be dark before work and after.  I suppose that's one of the major negative consequences of working a 9-5 job.  I don't have a ton more to say today.  I have a headache and I want to take a nap.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Writing to Lose

Hello there!  I know I've said it before, but this time I am really going to try to blog every day here at least for the next 8 weeks.  I can't promise it will be super interesting, but I've decided to enter a silly weight loss contest for the next 8 weeks with the top prize being a nice chunk of cash, so I'm thinking anything I can do to make the process easier will be helpful.  Tomorrow is the first weigh in and I've just had a large cup of hot chocolate and a big chunk of pumpkin cake and I feel sick to my stomach!  Seems like a good way to start a diet.

Another reason I want to start blogging again is because of a change in my personal life that I don't want to go into details about, but I'd like to make some changes in the ways I communicate.  So, I'm thinking that means less Facebook, less G-chat, and more blogging and more face-to-face personal interaction with just a few friends, (instead of a little bit of time with lots of different people).

I also am going to try to be better about following other people's blogs, especially Susan, who I miss and haven't been following for far too long.

+++

It occurs to me to add that for the past 10 weeks I've been training for a 10k and I need to take a break.  It's been exhilarating running 15-25 miles a week and working on speed, but I'm achey and I want to take a bit of a break from running, but will probably get going again in a week or so, since the race is on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Blogging again...

So, I have decided to start blogging more regularly again, but step one is going to be to figure out how to use this new updated Blogger!

Food for thought

"The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do."
    - Bill Phillips

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Food For Thought

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” 
― Thomas Jefferson

Monday, July 09, 2012

Monday's Deep Thought

“Forever is composed of nows.”
- Emily Dickinson

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life is super-excellent


Main Entry:
good [good]  Show IPA
Part of Speech:adjective
Definition:pleasant, fine
Synonyms:acceptableace*, admirableagreeablebadboss*, bullycapital
choicecommendablecongenialcrack*, deluxeexcellent,
exceptionalfavorablefirst-classfirst-rate, gnarly, gratifyinggreat
honorablemarvelousneat*, nicepleasingpositivepreciousprime
rad, recherch√©, reputablesatisfactorysatisfyingselectshipshape, 
soundspanking, splendidsterlingstupendoussupersuper-eminent, 
super-excellent, superbsuperiortip-top, up to snuff, valuable
welcomewonderfulworthy
Notes:using good  as an adverb in place of well  ("she dances real good", 
"he did good") is nonstandard usage - so, it would be best to 
say "she dances very well", "he did well" 
well  is an adverb to describe an activity; good is an adjective 
to describe a condition or state
Antonyms:bad, detestabledisagreeableunpleasant

(from dictionary.com)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Friday


"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."
- -  Epicurus

Friday, May 04, 2012

Flashback Friday: Why Bugs Bite

from 2006

Ever since my friend's husband got really, really sick with what the doctor said could either have been spinal meningitis or West Nile Virus, I have been really paranoid about mosquito bites. I have them all over my legs and toes because I am also, unfortunately, paranoid about putting chemicals, including insect repellent, on my body. It is hard to say in some cases which is more dangerous, the disease or the cure. However, in the case of mosquito bites, I think the diseases are pretty frightening.

I have done some reading about mosquitoes recently in a book called Field Notes from the Northern Forest by Curt Stager in which he pretty thoroughly explains the predicament of biting bugs in a chapter aptly titled, "Why Do Bugs Bite?".  He explains that it is only female mosquitoes who bite. Male mosquitoes, who bunch together in clouds at dusk to attract females, don't bite at all. In fact, most of the time, most mosquitoes feed only on sugar water from plants. However, after insemination,

"[the female mosquito's] reproductive tract is freshly loaded with sperm, and hundreds of fertilized eggs are growing inside her abdomen. Each egg is a living, growing cluster of cells draining her maternal tissues of protein and minerals. She must replace those losses or die, and mere sugar water is not rich enough in the necessary compounds. Only blood will do. This is why biting flies bite, and why it is only the females that do so... It is hard to feel sympathetic about the lot of a female mosquito. But think about it: She is risking her life by approaching you, and she only does so for the sake of her unborn young, albeit instinctively. The risk is more than just a chance of being swatted. From her perspective, we humans are the ones who carry the parasites... If you happen to be suffering from filariasis, a single blood meal from you can send a swarm of nematodes down her throat. Once inside her gut, the worms bite their way out of her stomach and burrow into the fibers of her flight muscles..."

He further explains that there are many species of mosquitoes that don't bite humans at all. It is unfortunate that they are so tiny we can't tell apart the ones that bite from the ones that don't, but in any case, it's a good idea to make sure there is no standing water near your house, since that is where they breed. It is pretty fascinating to think of things from a bug's point of view, but it is hard to feel sorry for an insect that's been around for 170 million years and spreads disease to 700 million people a year. So maybe they don't *mean* to spread disease, but they are a serious threat to human life, particularly in regions of the world plagued by malaria.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Blogging

This whole blogging thing has not been going so well lately in case you haven't noticed. I'm not going to give up yet... but I don't have anything to blog about at the moment. I have been doing the Couch to 5K program, but I don't have much to say about it. It's going fine. I've been listening to Marc Maron's WTF podcast while running. That podcast has been such a blessing to me this year. I love it.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Routine

I just started the Couch to 5K program and I think therefore I will also start blogging again. And, the first thing I have to say is that the first day of the Couch to 5K program was a little harder than I thought it would be. I mean, it was completely appropriate for my level of fitness, which has really gone downhill since last October when I was last running. But, I think I had the idea when I looked at the routine that it would be really easy and it really wasn't that easy. I definitely can feel that I'm out of shape. I definitely need to do some work to get my heart and lungs working better. Part of me really wants to jump in and try running at least twenty minutes every day, but another part of me thinks starting with this easier, prescribed routine will be better for me in the long run.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Firey Truth

It's been a while since I've blogged about catching on fire. But, I don't think I can tell the story of my first time lighting up better than I did when I blogged about it three years ago. So, here it is again. The Firey Truth.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Music Videos

I've been experimenting with ways to make a music video without live action... mostly, I guess, because I don't have a good videocamera, but also because even if I did, I'm not really sure what I could do that would be interesting, given that I don't have money to buy costumes and sets. I have recorded a couple of videos of me at the piano using Photo Booth, but they are relatively boring. The stop motion videos I've been making are pretty simple and repetitive and also a bit bizarre because of how I have sometimes chosen to tweak the color, but they have been a lot of fun to make. I have posted a bunch (accompanied by original songs) on YouTube:

My YouTube Video Page

Check 'em out and let me know what you think! Thanks!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

I Love A Piano

Growing up, my family had a baby grand piano in our living room. It was usually cluttered with books and papers on every inch of it and it was not always well-tuned, but it was a constant during my upbringing and a reliable source of good entertainment. My brother and I both took piano lessons, so we practiced our scales, etudes, and solos there. We both enjoyed playing around, sightreading through new songs, and making up our own songs, too. My brother strongly identified as a songwriter/composer at a young age, so he played the piano a lot. My mother double majored in piano and violin in college, so although her main job was playing the violin in a symphony orchestra, she was eager and willing to play piano for me whenever I needed an accompanist, a luxury I've never quite become accustomed to being without. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are the times when she and I would read through books of non-classical songs together at the piano, with me singing and her playing. That's how I learned most of the jazz standards and ballads I know.

It's not that I didn't watch television or movies as a kid. It's not that I didn't read books or play board and video games or do my school work. I did a lot of other things than play the piano. But, having a piano in my home always was and continues to be a source of great joy to me. I love that I can sit down and play it anytime. It's one of my very favorite things in the world. And, whenever I go to someone's house or to a restaurant or bar or cafe where there is a piano, I feel drawn to it like a squirrel to a birdfeeder. It's hard to believe almost every home had a piano not too long ago, that people played music to entertain each other instead of watching TV, that people felt like music lessons were a necessity in a child's life partly for social reasons. I am always so glad to see pianos. I always want to play them or at the very least touch them gently like I would if saying hello to an old friend.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Songwriting, Piano, and Faking It

As a child, I took piano lessons on and off for many years with varying levels of commitment. I was also required to take piano lessons in college. I can still play many of the pieces I learned in the past (Bach, Bartok, Chopin, Schumann, etc.) and love to do so, but I lack patience when it comes to practicing new material and getting it up to speed. I sometimes sightread piano music just for fun, but I rarely have the patience required to polish it, so generally when I sit down to play something, it's something old.

As a voice teacher, I have had to accompany students regularly in lessons, and with the exception of "Caro mio ben" and "Vaga luna", my method has mostly been to "fake" it. The minute I realized that I could just arpeggiate the chords instead of actually learning the music, I was hooked. As a result, I became good at playing piano by ear, subsequently learned to transcribe some of my favorite pop songs so that I could play them myself, and then ended up writing a lot of my own songs.

Apart from about half a dozen exceptions, most of my own songs have been written on notebook paper. So, usually this means that there is one line with the words written on it, above each word the letter name of the note that goes with that word, and each chord change indicated above that and circled. The way I remember how each song goes is generally only by playing it over and over again until I can't forget it, or recording it right away. Otherwise, how would I know how the rhythm of the vocal part is supposed to go, or the particulars of the piano arpeggiation, dynamics, tempo, etc.?


When I first started writing songs, I was pretty pleased with myself. But, in time, I started to bore of them and realized that most of my piano accompaniments sounded the same.

Test Bunny (2006) and I can't hide (2005) are examples of the basic arpeggiation technique. The last one (2005) and Split (2009) are examples of an even more simplified block chord.

For many years I only wrote sparsely because my work schedule was too demanding to allow me much writing time. But, in the last year and a half or so, I've decided to try to tackle this issue more directly. The end result I've been looking for is more variety in my musical output, but enough continuity to maintain a fluid set of music.

My first inspiration for trying something different came in November 2010, when I was given the opportunity to perform "something" at an informal gathering hosted by my former voice student, Karl, who is a singer/songwriter and cellist. In looking through some compositions I had written in my comp for non-majors class in grad school, I found a piece for voice and violin I thought might work. I originally asked my friend Sid if he would sing the violin part (in his beautiful cello-y register), but he suggested I play the violin part myself. I hadn't originally intended for this to be sung and played by the same person, but I liked his idea and I gave it a try. I subsequently decided to write a few more pieces and performed them on a recital later that year. And, after that, I wrote some more.

In this song, I've been wandering, set to the poetry of Emily Bronte, I am indeed playing the violin and singing at the same time. What I learned from this experiment, though, was that I had to use my classical voice in order to project above the violin. Also, that playing the violin and singing at the same time is really, really hard and mostly because my violin chops require a lot more practicing than I actually do. In the end, I was looking to have a fluid set, even if varied, and didn't feel that the interjection of something this classical sounding would really fit with my vision.

In another attempt at variety in November 2011, I collaborated with my good friend Terri on a song written specifically for guitar. I had written one other song for guitar and violin with my cousin Annie and her husband Drew back in 2006 that we unfortunately never recorded, but I remembered it being a lot of fun and a very different sound from the music I normally wrote. I am the one who wrote this new song, but it's really Terri's talent that comes through, as she picked up her guitar and made up a harmony vocal and a lovely accompaniment on the spot. It's also her expertise with recording equipment that makes this the best recording of my music that's ever been made.

This is Come on by (2011) with me on lead vocals and Terri on harmony vocals, guitar, and shaker.

When I got back to New York state, I started fiddling around with Garage Band Loops. I did write some music I like, but it's very jazzy.

Here are Help me baby (2012) and Get Over Here (2012) which were undoubtedly inspired by watching too much Mad Men. They were created with Apple Loops in Garage Band with the addition only of my voice. Again, this was fun, but would require getting together a jazz band to complete legitimately, and it's a totally different genre of music from the other stuff I've written.

After that, I wrote a few more tunes back in my old style, including Making the choice (2012) for which I made a video that I put up on YouTube.

Then, I recorded a couple of piano-accompanied cover songs, including Doing it Wrong by the R&B artist, Drake, and Sideline by the singer/songwriter (and "Renaissance man"), Peter Broderick (sent to me by my friend Scott). These two songs were easy to play and made me realize that there is more I could do to add variety to my songs even at my level of skill.

What's next? Well, I think I need change some of my long-ingrained habits in order to take my songwriting to the next level. If I'm going to write music that's as good as the singer/songwriter-pianists I admire, like Tori Amos and Regina Spektor, for example, I need to be able to play their music as written and stop the incessant opting to simply arpeggiate chords. And, I just plain need to practice more. In 2003, when I submitted a request to sing "Little Green" at the NEC Joni Mitchell Tribute concert, I was rejected because my piano playing sounded clumsy on my audition recording. Luckily, I did get to sing two other songs with other ensembles, but honestly, I would have loved to be able to accompany myself. Maybe giving up "faking it" for a while could do me some good. But, habits are so hard to break.

In the meantime, it looks like my best bet for adding variety to my musical output is in collaborating with other musicians. I wonder if I really need to stick to one genre or if audiences would be more receptive to a variety show of genres than I think they would be. At any rate, I keep plugging. I've been writing songs since I was a young teenager. I doubt if I'll ever stop.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Insomnia

What do you do when you can't sleep?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mom's Cooking

I have to admit, over the last year of trying (and failing a lot) to be vegan, my mind continues to be blown every time I encounter a really tasty, rich vegan recipe. Last night, my mother invited me to dinner and made a recipe called Thai-Style Vegetable Curry from Lorna Sass's Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure cookbook. From the first bite, I was in heaven. This recipe is incredible and the secret to its deliciousness is in the combination of coconut milk and sweet potatoes. She served this broccoli heavy vegetable curry over brown rice and I was compelled to eat seconds despite how full my stomach was from the first serving. My mother has been cooking delicious vegetarian (and often vegan, without her realizing it) meals in the pressure cooker for decades and they are always wonderful. I think it's about time I fight my lazy cook syndrome and learn her secrets (including how to use the pressure cooker!).

Let me know if you'd like me to send you this recipe!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Food Blogs and Vegan Pasta

I guess the reason I have so many food blogs on my blogroll is because I enjoy drooling. Especially when I see pictures of Chocolate chip cookie dough-filled chocolate cake. But, seriously, I have always aspired to be a good cook. Unfortunately, I am not the most patient person with recipes, so when I do make something that tastes good, it always seems to happen by accident.

Tonight I made some vegan pasta that tasted delicious. Here's what I did to the best of my recollection. First, I sauteed half a diced red onion in olive oil until it was translucent. Then, I added maybe a cup of chopped baby portabello mushrooms. After a few minutes on - oh, I don't know - medium heat, I added two stalks of chopped broccoli heads. I added about a cup (or so) of garlic pre-seasoned tomato sauce, about a tablespoon (or so) of tamari sauce, and some dried minced garlic. I turned it up to high and covered it until the broccoli was just right and then turned down the heat and stirred in about a cup of cooked macaroni.

That's about it.

A well-stocked bar...

is a good bar.


And, a good bar is not usually well-lit. But, it may have nice lamps.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Bowling





I have gone bowling three times in the last five weeks (in three different states: CA, CO, NY)! That's a lot for me. And, I admit I was proud when the last time I bowled, I broke 100 three games in a row. So, that might tell you that I am not a good bowler. But, also, not a terrible bowler either. I have always enjoyed bowling. I can usually get the ball to go straight down the middle of the lane. And, I'm not too bad at picking up spares.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Couple of Songs

So, you may remember that I've been writing songs for a while. I thought I'd post something I recorded last month with a friend of mine in California.

Come On By

Also, I started teaching myself to use Apple Loops in Garage Band and found myself singing a totally different sort of tune. It was fun and makes me wonder how cool it would be to put together a trio.

Help me, baby!

I think maybe these songs sound better than the ones I've been writing at the piano. I hope you enjoy listening!

This LINK goes to the main page with more song selections.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Snowy Day in Syracuse

As I adjust to the freezing-my-butt-off cold weather here, I am in total awe of the birds and squirrels going about business as usual. It's a tough life out there.


This picture is worth clicking to enlarge. I think there are three juncos and three cardinals in the tree and two more juncos on the ground.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Beach

A great place to put your feet in the warm sand...


or wade in the shallow waters...


A great place to bring your happy dog...


or just enjoy watching someone else's happy dog...


A great place to watch people learning to surf...


or just relax the day away...

I wish I was still there.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Sunsets

Pacifica, CA - January 4th
This sunset got redder and more dynamic as I drove north into San Francisco. I wanted to stop and take more pictures, but I wasn't able to.

Denver, CO - December 28th

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Washington Park - Denver, CO

Bare trees in winter have a special kind of beauty.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mt. Tamalpais

One of my favorite places in the world is the top of Mt. Tamalpais. It's a pretty short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, just a few exits north on Route 1 in Mill Valley. You can drive all the way to the top and then walk around the perimeter on a paved path, or stop and hike at any other place along the way. And, it's just a short hop over from Muir Woods and Stinson Beach, so you could conceivably spend one day exploring the city, the beach, the woods, and the top of a mountain. Because I don't have a good camera and am taking photos with my phone, you can't see a lot of detail, but the top of Mt. Tam gives you an amazing bird's eye view of the whole Bay Area. It's amazing.






Friday, December 23, 2011

A Wise Man's Guidance

"If you follow your heart's desire, you will bring your best self with you wherever you go."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Quiz Friday

subject: Christmas

1. Will you be celebrating Christmas this year? If so, where and how?
2. What is your favorite hymn or Christmas melody?
3. What is the first Christmas present you remember asking for and getting really excited about?
4. Are you performing Christmas music on any concerts or other programs this year?
5. Will you celebrate any other holidays this December?

(me: 1. yes. at church on the day and then in denver with my family. 2. "on this day earth shall ring". 3. the sheet music book for the musical "annie". 4. yes. i'll be singing some traditional solos on a concert tomorrow and then will be singing a few times at church over the next week. 5. nope. i don't think so.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December in San Francisco

The sight of flowers and greenery thriving in wintertime here never gets old to this child of the snow belt.

A green hillside in the south bay:


Flowers for sale at the Civic Center Farmer's Market:


A tree in Golden Gate Park:


A flowering tree on a city sidewalk in the Inner Richmond:


A sidewalk succulent garden in NOPA:


In the Rose Garden at Golden Gate Park:

Bright Sun

Sometimes the light is just right.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Fortune Cookie

Today I got a fortune cookie that said:

"Be prepared to modify your plan. It'll be good for you."

Ah... yes.

"If you follow your heart, you're going to find that it is often extremely inconvenient."
- Pema Chodron

Simply...

"Since all things are naked, clear from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The everyday practice is simply to develop complete acceptance and openness to all situations, emotions, and people."

- Trungpa Rinpoche (via Pema Chodron)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Patience

One of my favorite quotes is this one by Rainer Maria Rilke:

"...I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

I heard it first in the homily of a very literate Episcopalian priest and was immediately struck by it. I am a person who, unlike my brother and some other more clear-headed people I have known, has not always felt certain of the answers to life's questions. This quote has always helped me to feel that uncertainty is okay.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fog Lifts

It's amazing what a few hours of sun can do.