Thursday, December 20, 2007

Procrastinator's Exercise

I found a longer version of this (from Susan) in my email inbox and thought I'd revive it just for you!

1. What's a word that rhymes with "MAIL"

2. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?

3. What shirt are you wearing?

4. What were you doing at 8:00pm last night?

5. What does the last text message on your phone say?

6. What was the last beverage you drank? Where did you get it?

7. What is your current desktop picture?

8. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?

9. Does anything hurt on your body right now?

10. Who is the last person you "chatted" with online?

(me: 1.kale; 2.ian; 3.red hoodie; 4.watching *enchanted* with ian; 5.*where you is?*; 6.chai tea from the office kitchen; 7.gwennie (annie's dog); 8.a black dress for a choral concert; 9.neck,back,shoulders; 10.janine)

News

I got a NEW JOB that I'll start on January 2nd. I'll tell you more about it later, but for now I'll just tell you about the part I'm looking forward to the most -- I will have a *much* shorter commute. Right now I have to leave the house at 6:45am in order to arrive at work on time (or nearly so). I work 8-5 (with a one-hour unpaid lunch break) and then don't arrive home until about 7:00pm. My new job is a 25 minute walk (or less - and perhaps a 10 minute bike ride) away from home! So, I will probably be able to leave home at 8:30am at the latest, work 9-5, and arrive home at 5:30pm. I can't tell you how excited I am about that!

:-(


Bad News for British Squirrels

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cold

I was thinking and it occurred to me that there are really just two reasons a person might be cold. One is because s/he isn't dressed appropriately, which accounts for why a person might say s/he was cold even though it's 60 degrees out. The other is because s/he is wearing every piece of clothing s/he owns and because the weather is SO brutal, s/he is still cold. Most of my life I have lived in places where, during the winter, if I'm cold it's because of the latter explanation. But, the only reason I have ever been cold since moving to California is because I wasn't dressed warmly enough. (You might be in California, but that doesn't mean it's warm enough to wear flip flops and a t-shirt with no coat, dummy!) I don't think it has yet been colder than about 38 degrees here and usually the low temperature is more like 40 something. The climate is SO different here than anywhere else I've ever lived that it has taken a long time to figure out *how* to dress appropriately. In all of the cities I have lived in before now -- Syracuse, Rochester, Boston, and Madison -- at this time of year it is bitterly cold. There are no leaves on any of the deciduous trees. There is probably some combination of snow and ice on the ground. You wouldn't go outdoors without a hat, gloves, a scarf, boots with good traction -- the whole works. You wouldn't think of it -- unless you were trying to make yourself miserable. It's different here. There are still colored leaves on the deciduous trees. Autumn has extended into winter. The leaves are still falling. And, there are still flowers! There are flowering bushes in abundance. Flowers! Outside! And, the streets are dry -- unless it just rained. It *has* started to rain more frequently. And, it *does* seem colder when it rains, but so far I haven't experienced any of the extreme windiness I'm used to in winter that makes the precipitation so nasty. I haven't been wearing a hat or gloves. I've been wearing a moderately warm coat outdoors. I have been wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes. No more flip flops. Layers are essential in this weather, because you never know when you might go outside and find that the sun is shining so brightly and warmly, you have to take your coat off. But, even in August, I found that even when it's warm in the sun, it's often quite cool in the shade. Layers are necessary all year round, it seems.

I have to say, this change in climate makes for a really different experience of the holiday season, too. Sure, there are shoppers running around, colored lights and decorations, company parties, etc., but there is something missing. Not just the snow, although snow is definitely part of the visual experience of the warm, fuzzy Christmas I grew up with. Strangely, I think there is something about just being cold that has always completed my winter holiday experience -- being so cold that I can't wait to get indoors and warm myself by the fire (or radiator, or hot bath). There is something special about getting indoors after you've struggled with an icy sidewalk or driven through a blizzard -- something about being with friends that is even more special because you're so relieved to be out of the storm. There is something special about drinking hot cocoa or mulled apple cider, not just because it's delicious and festive, but because it makes you warm. I'm sure this change is something I can get used to. There are lots of nice things about living in a more temperate climate. But, as far as the holidays are concerned, I'm glad we're going to Lake Tahoe for Christmas (and I'll be in Denver for New Year's). I hear it's really cold there -- and they have plenty of snow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mastering Your Own Mind

I thought this was a good article, so I'm sharing it with you!

Oh -- This one is good, too!

Apparently, when you cry because of emotional stress, you really are crying out negative emotion. Pretty interesting...

From the article:

"Emotional tears were found to contain high levels of hormones and neurotransmitters associated with stress. They also led to lower blood pressure, pulse rate and more synchronised brain-wave patterns. Dr. Frey concluded that the purpose of emotional crying is to remove stress chemicals. He says the continued presence of these substances -- when you hold tears in -- would keep you in a needless state of tension. Your body would then be prone to the negative effects of anxiety, including weakened immunity, impaired memory and poor digestion."

So, what are you waiting for? Have a good cry!

Monday, December 17, 2007

What do you think of this?

"The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential."

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Nonsense!

I'm having some trouble getting my thoughts clear enough to write a blog post, but I want to write a blog post, so I guess I'm just going to write down some of my incoherent thoughts and deal with the consequences later.

We saw I am legend this weekend. Interesting premise - a scientist develops a virus that cures cancer in 10,000 human subjects. All seems well until it mutates and wipes out the majority of the population. Before those with the virus die they become crazy rabid monsters. Good story.

What would happen if the world was actually rid of disease? What would happen if everyone on the planet had everything they needed to live well and achieve their own potential? Would people do more? or is adversity needed for great achievement? Just a few thoughts. Not related to the movie really...

Would Dennis Kucinich make a good president? Whenever I take those surveys to determine my ideal candidate, he always ends up on top. But, my question is, is he someone the American public could ever embrace? I mean, is he good looking enough to be our president? Just kidding. In all seriousness, though, it's a tricky business deciding who to vote for. You want to support the candidate who stands for what you believe in, but don't you also have to support someone who has a chance of winning? I dunno. And, what if there were a Republican candidate worth considering because he's anti-war? Would I vote for a Democrat who is pro-war just because s/he is a Democrat?

I am not such a good shopper and as far as Christmas shopping goes, I always wait until the last minute -- pretty much every year. The worst thing (in my mind) would be to get someone a gift they don't want, never use, and end up throwing out. Why bother getting them anything at all? But, what to give? Something personal... something unique... something everyone needs... something extremely usable... Still thinking...

I have this funny habit of referring to job interviews I go on as auditions... Sometimes it doesn't actually come out of my mouth that way, but that's only because my brain figures out it's the wrong word *before* it comes out.

I see more homeless people now that I'm living in California than I did in any other place I've ever lived. In San Francisco, I literally walk past dozens of folks sleeping on the sidewalk every day. And, even down here in the 'burbs, there are plenty of folks on the street looking for spare change. When I lived in Rochester, NY, during college one of my friends told me he discovered an underground city. It's true that there was a subway built that the city wasn't able to continue using, but I'm not sure how true the *city* part of my friend's story is. Obviously Rochester is a smaller city than San Francisco, but even in Boston I didn't see nearly as many people sleeping on the street. Do you suppose it's because California never gets so cold that people could die from living outdoors, so people live outdoors year round, whereas in the cold northeast folks live underground or more often in sheletered areas? Or, do you think it has something to do with state laws about where you can or can't sleep? At any rate, it's sad to see so many people who are living on so little. It's really quite amazing how they get by.

I dyed my hair this weekend. I was going for dark. I've never dyed my hair a really dark brown that didn't involve significant amounts of red, so I thought I'd give it a try. I have had hair of every shade from light blonde to dark reddish brown (other than non-standard hair colors, like green, blue, purple, and pink, which I have thought about, but have never gone through with) so I figured it was time to see what really dark brown looked like on me. Unfortunately (or not??) I ended up with black hair. Jet black. I didn't realize in proceeding from numbers 3 and 4 (or whatever they were) on the hair dye boxes that I was going from dark brown to black -- two *totally* different realms of color. My only concern is just that I don't think it looks particularly natural on me. I feel a little odd. But, I'll give myself some time to see if I get used to it. Both my Mom and her sister used to have black hair, so I suppose it isn't that far fetched. It's just a little bizarre at the moment...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Getting to Know You

1. What are the last three meals you made at home?

2. What are some of your favorite things to cook for dinner?

3. Do you plan meals ahead of time or just wing it?

4. How often do you eat out?

5. What was the last good meal you ate out?

6. What items do you buy at the grocery store every week (must you always have in the house)?

(me - 1. french toast, pancakes, spaghetti?; 2. indian biryani, pasta w/ marinara sauce; 3. i usually wing it; 4. it depends; 5. sushi a few weeks ago - it was yummy; 6. bread, eggs, skim milk, cheese)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Enjoy being unknown and regarded as nothing."

Sacred Space
(after you click, you may need to scroll down a bit)

I was thinking the other day about how, for me, solo singing is an addictive experience and, like any addiction, something I have a mad craving for when I'm around others doing it. In thinking about it further, I realized that what I really crave is the attention and the approval of others that happens when I sing well. I have a really strong need to know that I am doing something that is of value. I admit it -- I crave approval from others. I am motivated by the reactions I get from people when I do things that make them happy. I'm addicted to that kind of attention. Thinking about that got me thinking about what all of the things are in my life that I do in order to get attention -- negative and positive. I suppose we learn from infancy to do certain things that will get our parents' attention. We learn that certain things work and certain things don't work and we cultivate behaviors that will get us what we need -- both negative and positive*. We get ourselves in trouble emotionally when we maintain some of these faulty connections. How do I know that I'm doing ok, that I'm worthy of love, that I deserve to be happy if no one is clapping and saying 'Brava!'? If my boss doesn't look at my work and give me an 'A', how do I know I'm doing a good job? And, if I don't know if I'm doing a good job, how can I feel good about myself? How do I motivate myself to do my best when no one is watching, when no one will ever know what I've done? What do I do when the people around me don't say anything after I sing -- or after I perform *any* other act - trivial or otherwise? What do I do without feedback, without approval? Of course this is something I've had to think about before. One of the greatest things you can learn as a performer is how to filter the feedback that comes your way -- how to not let it be too important. But, I have never thought much about how I could possibly "enjoy being unknown and regarded as nothing." That could be a very interesting challenge.

*Here's a question... If our parents pay more attention to us when we get sick, do we get sick more often?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Do your worst

This article has some interesting points about perfectionism.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Quiz Time!

**Hints: 1. The answer makes no logical sense. 2. People have strange ideas. 3. People are fixated on celebrities.**

What do these 5 women have in common
(that has something, although not much, to do with me...)?





Sunday, December 02, 2007

Singing with Suze Q

As you may recall, about 3 months ago Susan and I recorded some songs for her dissertation project. Today, I *finally* posted a few of them on my MySpace page. If you're interested, you can listen to four of the songs if you click here.