Friday, August 31, 2007

The adventure begins!

This morning I finished clearing out my bedroom and gave up my keys. Then I went to work and at the end of the school day, at staff meeting, I got to say good-bye to everyone over cake, champagne, and strawberries! What a fantastic surprise! I have to admit I cried a little. I don't think I've ever had such an emotional connection with a group of people I work with. What an interesting and crazy place! And some really wonderful people who I will miss. I left work at about 2pm and got right on the road. I had been worried about traffic, since it's Labor Day weekend, but I guess since I was quite a ways from Boston to start, I must have missed the worst of it, because I never really hit any significant traffic. I arrived in Syracuse at about 8pm, which means it took me just about an hour longer than it should have. But, I admit, I stopped at almost every rest stop along the way for gas, air for my tires, caffeine, or to use the restroom... so I think that might have made an impact on my timing...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The most annoying thing about gmail is that there are advertising links on the right hand side of the page every time you open an email. The program that decides what links to send you reads through your email searching for key words to match you with advertisers. But, sometimes the links seem totally random. Last night I was reading an email when I saw a link that said, "Are you Johnny Depp?" My first thought was, "Yes, but how did you know since I'm wearing this disguise?" Google must also have a team of spies...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I've known I had perfect pitch since I was in high school. My voice teacher said to me once in a lesson, "Do you have perfect pitch?" to which I responded, "I don't know," to which she replied, "I think you have perfect pitch." When I got to college I discovered that perfect pitch meant I would ace "Aural Skills" class. But it also meant that I would have to learn to stretch my ears in new ways, since Junior year aural skills and theory ear training examples were all transposed (just to spite people like me) -- and that was all atonal stuff. In college I also learned that perfect pitch meant composers would want me to sing their music, which gave me an exciting new mission in life. Having perfect pitch has certainly been helpful in getting certain gigs - like the Steve Reich CD, no doubt, but because so few singers have perfect pitch, it actually hasn't been all that useful in many ways. Good musicianship is generally appreciated in the world of choral singing and the singing of new music, but I've had to learn that in the case of most solo singing (especially in the opera realm), the theatrical aspects are often more important than the music.

So, yesterday I was listening to NPR and heard about a study being done at UC - San Francisco on people with absolute pitch. It was interesting enough to lead me to their website where I tested my pitch accuracy. It was hard!! There are 80 tones in all on the test. The first half of them are electronic, just like the ones you'd hear on a hearing test at really high and low frequencies - "Boop"... "Beep"... The second half are keyboard/piano sounds, which for me were much easier to identify. The hardest part for me was in coordinating my hand with my brain to click on the proper keyboard key to identify each note in the 3 seconds given. It all progresses rather quickly.

So apparently, according to the website, people score either in the high end or the low end. There aren't many scores in between. The test only scores 36 out of 40 tones for each section. I got 33.00 right of the "pure" tones and 34.75 (?) right of the "piano" tones. Do I get a prize? No? Didn't think so...

I find this interesting because one of the first things that made me doubt whether I could say definitively that I have perfect pitch was the word "perfect". People would tell me that perfect pitch is only when you can identify the difference between A440 and A437. The times when I am least accurate about pitch are surely when I feel nervous -- on the spot to prove myself -- or when I'm tired or can't see well -- or when there is something really misleading and dissonant going on in another instrument -- or when I'm singing a duet with a bassoon (true story...). And, of course, the times when I'm most accurate are when I'm not really thinking too hard -- when I'm in the "flow". Just like everything else in life, I suppose.

I think what was most interesting about the NPR story was that they said people with perfect pitch have a memory for pitch in the same way others have a memory for colors -- so you hear a C and know it's a C and not an F, just like if you looked at the color yellow, you'd know it was yellow and not red. And one of the people they interviewed was talking about how he had to make an effort to learn about the relationships between notes, because he never thought of them really in connection to one another -- since he knew when he saw a C it was a C and the next note was an F, he never thought about the fact that it was a fourth between the notes. That was definitely my experience, too.

If you're interested in the study, here is a link to their website.
Need more silly quizzes to make your life complete?

I found a bunch here.

Find out to answers the following burning questions...

Do stress and anxiety interfere with your life?
Are your emotional highs and lows normal?
Are you tossing and turning at night?
Are you a logical thinker?
Is your temper under control?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

This is SO cute.
Whenever I move to a new place, I inevitably end up contacting old friends I haven't spoken to in a while and it gets me thinking about just how different I am in some ways than I was five, ten, or fifteen years ago. How were you different??

(Just a reminder in case you don't like to do math... 5 years ago was 2002, 10 years ago was 1997, 15 years ago was 1992)

1. How was your hair different (including facial hair if you're a guy...) 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago?

2. Where were you living 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago?

3. Were you in school? If so, where? 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago?

4. How do you think you've changed over all in the last 5,10,15 years?

(Me - 1. 5 years ago my hair looked pretty much the same, but it was much lighter and redder, 10 years ago my hair was long and blond, 15 years ago my hair was long and brown, I think?; 2. 5 years ago I was living in Rochester, NY, but moved to Boston that fall, 10 years ago & 15 years ago I was living in Rochester, NY; 3. 5 years ago I started my Master's degree at New England Conservatory in the fall, 10 years ago I was not in school, 15 years ago I was in school at the Eastman School of Music working on my Bachelor's degree)

Monday, August 27, 2007

I stole this from Josh's blog because it looks like it could be much fun!!

Test Your Musical Perception

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hi all! Well, this is my last week in Boston... In case I haven't told you already, I'm moving to California!! (I leave Boston officially on Friday (I think).)

Moving AGAIN is a little bit crazy and a little bit stupid, but mostly very, very exciting!! Ian, who moved out there six months ago, didn't have to do much to convince me that Palo Alto has the most perfect weather in the world and that there are lots of beautiful places to see and fun things to do in the Bay area. And, though I have to admit I've had a secret desire to move to SF since I was in college, the two trips I've taken there this year are really what sold me on the idea.

So, I will try to continue blogging as I begin this new chapter of my life. I'm driving there, so I don't know really how much opportunity I'll have to write, but I'll be making stops in Syracuse, Chicago, Madison, Salt Lake City, and Denver along the way, so I should be able to write some updates. If all goes according to plan, I should arrive in Palo Alto to start work at my new job on Monday, September 10th.

So, in the true spirit of this blog, I'll leave you with questions...
When's the last time you were in California? How did you like it? When's the last time you were in the SF Bay area?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Congratulations, Jake!

Here are the answers (or some of them anyway...):

1) I couldn't find the answer to where the dragonfly got it's name. I like your answer, Jake!

2) The answer I was looking for to the question "Why do mosquitoes bite?" is revealed in this post from August 2006.

3) I had a feeling I'd get this answer, but I was actually thinking of "Black Angels"
(Crumb). That's insecty, isn't it?

4) Great poem! I love the setting by Clara Edwards! I admit I had Emily Dickinson on my mind.

5) I don't think it was quite 500 million years ago. Maybe more like 150 million...

6) Apparently the reason bumblebees are fuzzy has something to do with keeping them warm in cool weather - and the hairs also attract pollen when they build up an electrostatic charge.

Friday, August 24, 2007

**OH - I forgot to mention what the prize is!! It's a souvenir (TBD) from one of the following places (your choice): Boston, Syracuse, Chicago, Madison, Denver, Salt Lake City, or Palo Alto!! Now, you want to do the quiz, don't ya?!! :-)**


1. How did the dragonfly get it's name?

2. Why do mosquitoes bite?

3. Name a piece of music that aims to imitate an insect.

4. Name a poem that makes reference to an insect.

5. Approximately how long have ants been on this planet (according to current scientific research)?

6. Why are bumblebees fuzzy?

7. What's another good insect question for this quiz? What's the answer? :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I have to confess that when Scott Adams started writing about my new favorite comic strip, Basic Instructions, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was excited that the cartoon was getting so much exposure. On the other hand, I was upset at the advice Adams was giving Meyer to make changes to the cartoon (since I liked it just as it was and didn't think it needed changing). But I have to admit that I actually liked the revisions in Adams's post today (especially "How to get to work on time"). So, maybe it will all work out. :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Getting to Know You some more...

1. What should you be doing right now instead of reading my blog?

2. If you're at work, what would you rather be doing right now?

3. What are some things you could do (that you aren’t doing now) that if you did on a regular basis would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal well-being?

4. What are some things you could do in your professional life (that you aren’t doing now) that if you did would make a positive difference?

5. Do you have a lot of unfinished business to take care of? -- phone calls to return, emails to respond to, bills to take care of, laundry to do, tidying to do to make your living space more enjoyable to be in, etc.??

6. What is one thing you do regularly *just for fun* without criticizing yourself for how well you do it?

7. What is one thing you do regularly that is always challenging for you?

8. What makes you feel old?

9. What makes you feel young?

10.What is one new place you'd really like to visit this year?

(me: 1. updating the SPED list; 2. learning the music I'll be recording with Susan; 3. RUN!!, do exercise to increase my muscle mass, especially my arm strength, eat more vegetables, think more positively; 4. take auditions, make high quality promo materials and send them out, learn to be more confident (drugs, therapy, hypnotism??), keep trying instead of giving up; 5. well... i'm in the middle of packing, so i would have to say "yes"; 6. i don't tend to do things i don't think i'll do well... hmmm... i wonder why i wrote this question...; 7. i'm done with my computer class and that was 8 weeks of a constant challenge for me. if i kept at it and kept trying to learn web design and development, that would continue to be a challenge. also, if i started trying to build arm strength again. oof. that is hard; 8. numbers, other people, expectations; 9. nature, beauty, music i love, board games, laughing hysterically, good friends; 10. arches nat'l park/moab,ut)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Getting to Know Your Childhood Room

1. What was your favorite thing about your childhood room?

2. What was your least favorite thing about your childhood room?

3. If applicable, what did you envy about your brother or sister's room?

4. Did you have stuffed animal friends as a child? If so, who were your favorites?

5. What was your closet like? What was in it?

6. Was the floor hardwood or carpeted?

7. What was on the walls?

8. How did you listen to music?

9. Where did you do your homework?

10. Do you still have a room in your parents' house? Is it the same room you grew up in?

(1. My favorite thing about my room was mostly just that it was my room. I went through many different redecoration phases and I loved changing things around to suit my tastes.; 2. I was afraid of the dark until well after I left home, so probably my least favorite thing was that I thought there were ghosts in there at night.; 3. My brother had really neat wallpaper with brightly colored animals on it that I liked. Also, he had a bed with a trundle bed under it that pulled out, which I always thought was neat.; 4. I had a LOT of stuffed animal friends as a child. Blue Banana was the one I was inseparable from (he was a blue and pink bulldog).; 5. My closet was two doors wide and a couple of feet deep. I guess there were clothes in there. I also have random memories of playing in there with my cousins.; 6. I think most of the 18 years I lived there it was hardwood. I got a silvery-grey carpet in high school, I think.; 7. When I was really young I had pink, purple, and green wallpaper with little girls and dragons on it?? Hmm... what was on that wallpaper? I had various other purple wallpaper or just paint. I had various pictures of rock stars and such... At some point I think I decided for grey walls to match my grey carpet? Strange...; 8. I think I always had a record player. I remember listening to music or recorded stories on record -- also singing multiplication tables! At some point in high school I got a CD player. That was cool. And I also often listened to pop radio.; 9. I think I did my homework at my brother's desk in my brother's old room actually. By the time I was old enough to have significant homework, he had moved into the basement.; 10. I do have a room in my Mom's house, although technically I think it's really Jezebel's room now. It's not the same house I grew up in.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

I knew there was something wrong. The last time I had trouble accelerating, my car needed a new clutch. "I can't need a new clutch already!" I thought. But still, I knew there had to be something seriously wrong -- and what timing! -- two weeks before a *major* road trip. We went into Concord to drop off a printing job and stopped for coffee. "I'm having trouble accelerating. I don't know what's wrong," I said to Rachel, who accompanied me into town. "Is it your clutch?" she asked. "I hope not," I said. "Maybe I'll check my oil!" I said, feeling somewhat hopeful that perhaps that was the problem, and pulled into the gas station across the way. There was barely a space to park in and a mechanic stood right next to the one feasible spot. I shouted to him as I pulled in, "I'm just going to check my oil!" He sauntered back to the garage and returned with a dirty rag just as I pulled the stick out. And then... he was distracted by something. "What's that?" he said. "What?" I asked, not noticing anything unusual. And then I saw them. Donuts. Four donuts stacked amidst the innards of my vehicle. I was shocked. Never before had I seen such a thing. Knowing my co-workers have a tendency to be pranksters I asked aloud, "Do you think someone put these donuts in my car?" "It was probably an animal," he said confidently as he removed the donuts and sauntered back to the garage chuckling. We laughed as I drove out of the station, relieved to find my car running smoothly sans pastries.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

In anticipation of my upcoming move, I've begun the process of sorting through things. Because I have moved eight times already in the last five years, I have actually pared down my things considerably, but I am still amazed at the things that are most difficult for me to get rid of. Books, music, clothing, letters from loved ones, school papers... all of these things are important... but lip gloss, body glitter, lotion, perfume?? None of these are things I even wear with any regularity. I am actually highly sensitive to scent and find that if I wear a scent that is too strong, I'll feel nauseous or get a headache, so it's pretty rare to find me wearing anything but the most innocuous fragrance -- maybe vanilla or something fruity. So then why can't I seem to make myself get rid of the lotions and perfumes I have (from Victoria's Secret or other non-"natural" companies) that I've been carting around for four years or more and worn maybe once or twice? I don't know. Same goes for lip balm. I have tons of it -- mint and green tea, different glittery colored glosses, burt's bees, etc. --, but I rarely think to use it. In that case, I probably should use it, as it's been pointed out to me that my lips are often chapped. But, body glitter? This is much harder to explain. What if I need it...? It doesn't take up that much room... And you thought you had issues... It just now occurs to me that perhaps I'm holding on to these things because these are all things I wished I had as a little girl. Hmmm... And my favorite colors were pink and purple... I want my Blue Banana!! How old am I?

Friday, August 17, 2007

I never used to think cartoons from The New Yorker were funny, but my boss loves them and likes to put them everywhere -- on bulletin boards, fax cover sheets, and most recently in the newest version of our teacher handbook. I don't know why, but this one struck me as very funny when I read it. But, I have a weird sense of humor lately, as maybe you could tell from my last post. I thought that was funny, too. In fact, I couldn't stop laughing while I was writing it. Go figure.

Getting to Know Your Limits

Imagine you are getting to know someone as a friend -- hanging out with them for the first time. Considering that everything otherwise is going quite well, which of the following things would make you *seriously* question whether you wanted to hang out with him/her again?

a) S/he picks his/her nose and eats it unabashedly in your presence.

b) S/he stares repeatedly at your crotch with an alarmed expression that leads you to think maybe you have spilled something on yourself (which you haven't done).

c) S/he asks to borrow $50 so s/he can buy a pair of sunglasses s/he really likes.

d) S/he describes a really disgusting toilet incident to you while you are eating.

e) As you part, s/he punches you really hard in the chest and says, "See ya, stupid!"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It would be fun to have a drawing contest to see who could best illustrate the non-illustrated warning box. If only that were possible within this medium...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

If you had to, would you choose:

1) a really boring job (soul numbingly so) that pays $50K/yr OR a really exciting job (that makes you excited to get up and go to work everyday) that pays $30K/yr?

2) to be amazingly brilliant, yet confined for your entire life to a wheelchair OR to have significantly reduced intelligence, but be amazingly physically fit?

3) to have an incredibly rewarding family life, but be stuck in a small town for the rest of your life, unable to travel more than 30 miles in any direction OR to have a nomadic life full of travel to every destination you desire to see, but be unable to ever have a family or settle down in one place or relationship for more than one month?

4) to be the President of the United States OR to be an air traffic controller?

5) to be a really homely person of your own sex OR to be a really homely person of the opposite sex?

6) to be a butterfly OR to be a turtle?

(my answers: 1)B; 2)B; 3); 4)A; 5)A; 6)A)
Ian and I went to Point Reyes over the weekend while I was in California. It was so beautiful, but since neither of us had a camera with us, I thought I'd provide a link to some beautiful pictures he posted on his blog back in March. It doesn't look quite the same at this time of year, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

***CONGRATULATIONS, IAN! A for effort!***

Quiz Tuesday

1) Which of the following places did I live for at least three months (in a row)?
a. Cambridge, MA
b. Marcellus, NY
c. Sydney, ME
**d. Allston, MA**
e. Galesburg, IL

2) Which of the following is NOT the name of a pet I have ever had?
a. Vana
b. Bear
c. Suzie
d. Spotty
**e. Dr. Seuss** Seuss was my cousins' dog.

3) Which of the following is NOT the name of one of my relatives (to the best of my knowledge)?
a. Inez
b. Geneva
**c. Nicholas**
d. Hilmar
e. Spray

4) Which of the following was NOT an activity I regularly engaged in (at some point) as a child?
**a. Syracuse Children's Chorus**
b. soccer
c. violin lessons
d. figure skating lessons
e. ballet lessons

5) Which of the following places have I NEVER visited?
a. Prague
**b. London**
c. Paris
d. Edinburgh (is one of my favorite places in the world!!)
e. Vienna

6) Which language have I NEVER sung in on a solo recital?
a. French
b. Norwegian
c. German
d. Italian
**e. Spanish**

7) Which kind of church have I NEVER been a soloist in?
a. Catholic
b. Presbyterian
c. Christian Scientist
**d. Lutheran**
e. Unitarian Universalist

8) Which job have I NEVER had?
**a. waitress at "India Palace"** It was the "India House"...
b. annoying mall survey person
c. dishroom worker
d. clerk at "All For A Dollar"
e. 8th grade general music teacher

9) Which car have I NEVER been the primary driver of (at one point)?
a. Subaru Impreza
b. Dodge Colt
c. Nissan Stanza
d. Nissan Sentra
**e. Chevrolet Citation** was a car my parents' owned long before I could drive.

(the prize for this quiz is one of my favorite books - it will be a surprise!)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Getting to Know Your Routines:

1. Who does the dishes in your house? By hand? or dishwasher?

2. Do you exercise? If so, what do you do?

3. How often do you grocery shop? Do you always go to the same place?

4. Do you listen to music while going to sleep?

5. What kind of alarm do you wake up to?

6. Do you read before bed?

7. How often do you check your email?

8. How often do you talk to your family - mom/dad/siblings/grandparents, etc?

9. What do you watch regularly on television?

(Me: 1. We each do our own dishes, by hand; 2. I used to run....; 3. I grocery shop whenever I am out of the essentials (milk, bread, PB, jam) and at other random times. I normally shop at the Harvest Co-op, but sometimes shop at the little market next door; 4. sometimes; 5. 2 alarms - one on my phone, the other plays church bells; 6. usually; 7. six billion times a day; 8. Since my Mom's surgery, we have been talking almost every day. Usually my contact with family is pretty erratic. It's nice to talk every day.; 9. Nothing)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Random thought:

Are there really all that many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?

My singing voice is loud enough to carry to the back of a large hall. When I sing, I am often told, "I could understand every word." Apparently, I am even able to project my speaking voice pretty far when I put my mind to it. But most often, I am accused of being totally incoherent when I speak -- of mumbling so softly that I'm incomprehensible. It is totally unnatural for me to speak clearly at a reasonable volume. It is something I have to put a lot of effort into. I either mumble, or I decide to speak clearly and I end up speaking really loudly and unnaturally.

What is contradictory about you?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

**Update - So, I went out to the woods this morning (Thurs) and found an orangey-red dragonfly perched in the same place as the one in this photo. The sun was hitting her wings just right so that they looked iridescent. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my camera to focus on her. Maybe I'll try again later.

I am so excited that this picture came out! So excited that I'm going to bring my (mom's) real camera with me to work tomorrow so I can try to get another. I went for a short walk in the woods today (There is a wooded area in back of the building I work in) and there were lots of dragonflies buzzing all around. I had my phone with me, so I decided to try to get a picture. I think it's kind of neat!

What did Buddha say to the hot dog vendor?

Why can't Buddha vacuum his house?

Aww.. give up?
#1 - Make me one with everything.
#2 - Because he has lost all of his attachments.
(Anybody who knows me well knows these are the
only jokes I know. So, now you know me well!)