A Long Time Hobby: Music

Plinky asked, Which of your hob­bies have you been doing for the longest amount of time? When did you start?”

Music (232/365)

That would be music. I’ve been singing since I was a small child in church choir. The way my mother’s fam­i­ly makes music, I could hard­ly avoid it (not that I want­ed to). I learned to play the ukulele with the rest of my sec­ond grade class, but held on to my instru­ment and kept play­ing it for some time. I began piano lessons in the fifth grade, I think, and con­tin­ued for a cou­ple of years and through three teach­ers (we moved, one quit, and I out­grew the last). The flute came with sixth grade and mid­dle school band.

At some point my par­ents acquired an organ in addi­tion to the piano and I taught myself to play that, which was inter­est­ing. In high school I flirt­ed with the oboe and bas­soon, but didn’t real­ly take to them very well. I gave them up alto­geth­er after read­ing some­thing that claimed that dou­ble reed play­ers suf­fered loss of brain cells due to oxy­gen depri­va­tion (I haven’t fact-checked that since, so it could be utter non­sense). I acquired a wood­en flute at a Renn Faire that has a much sweet­er tone than the met­al flute, but I’ve nev­er pushed myself to real­ly learn to play it.

Now I want to return to the ukulele, but I real­ly need a new instru­ment. That poor lit­tle stu­dent uke that has been used as a “gui­tar” by chil­dren isn’t in per­fect con­di­tion after all these years, and won’t stay in tune in addi­tion to hav­ing some bro­ken bits.

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Happy Birthday, Daddy & Matt!

I spent most of today with my fam­i­ly at my par­ents’ house. It was a won­der­ful vis­it!

I got to meet my youngest nephew, Eli, for the first time. I was ill every time my broth­er and his brood came to town after his birth last fall (turned out I had pneumonia—I real­ly should learn to go to the doc­tor instead of try­ing to ignore should things). He’ll be a year old next month, and he’s such a doll! He looks a lot like Matt did as a baby, but even more like his old­er broth­er, Jack. He’s sweet­ly tick­lish even though he is teething a bit, and I got to nib­ble on his toes! (He gnawed on my hand a bit too, so it all evened out.) He has a very strong grip and is at the “grab every­thing” stage, but I antic­i­pat­ed that and didn’t both­er wear­ing ear­rings. I’m glad that I got my hair cut short again this week, as it left far less hair for him to pull at.

See­ing Jack next to my sister’s boy, Will, though, is a trip—they look more like broth­ers than cousins! Jack’s twin, Sadie, is beau­ti­ful. She reminds me of Katie at that age in some ways, but she’s very much her own per­son, with very strong opin­ions. Matt and his wife have love­ly, well-behaved chil­dren. And just in the last year, Will has gone from look­ing like a lit­tle boy to, well, not! And he’s only 7 years old! Although he says, “I’m sev­en now, you know,” with a grav­i­tas that makes it sound as if he’ll be join­ing the mil­i­tary any day now. He def­i­nite­ly lives life at one speed, and that is full ahead!

Mom and Dad cooked way too much food for breakfast—SOS, bis­cuits, eggs, lots of fruit, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and I can’t even remem­ber what else. Lat­er on we had cakes and ice cream, of course (yogurt for those of us who don’t do ice cream so much). I wimped out and try­ing both cakes, but I was being dar­ing enough to have a small slice of one. Then Mom told us that Dad­dy had been cook­ing all day Sat­ur­day, using the smok­er! I rode up there with Katie and her boyfriend, who had plans for lat­er today, so we left before any­one else did. I don’t think I could pos­si­bly have eat­en anoth­er bite, but I hope the oth­ers stayed for anoth­er meal. I know the food cer­tain­ly smelled good.

Even though the kitchen and din­ing room tables are huge, we filled both of them. Unlike the hol­i­day meals of my youth, we didn’t sep­a­rate into adult and children’s tables. Per Will’s wish­es, we had the “men’s” and “women’s” tables for break­fast, but end­ed up all mixed for cake and ice cream (he was so dis­ap­point­ed). From that I fig­ured him to be at the “girls have cooties” stage, but appar­ent­ly boys and girls don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly go through such a stage any more. Who knew?

I took an iPad, because I was asked to review an app and need­ed help from chil­dren. I had absolute­ly no idea just how pop­u­lar it would be! We could have kept sev­er­al more busy. On sec­ond thought, if there had been sev­er­al more avail­able, it might not have been as fun. After the boys dis­cov­ered the cam­era func­tion, there was a lot of silli­ness. I was glad the gad­get has a case, but for fur­ther fam­i­ly occa­sions, I think it needs one that’s more child-grip­pable. Maybe some­thing rub­ber­ized? In any case, the device is even more fun with kids. I feel much younger now as a result. We played sil­ly games, col­ored, took pic­tures, and played more sil­ly games. I should have loaded up some Trout Fish­ing in Amer­i­ca and oth­er good music. I will cer­tain­ly do so for future occa­sions!

I gave the twins their copy of Clean Water for Eli Rose by Ari­ah Fine, and they must have liked it. They each had each of their par­ents, Mom, and me read it to them at least once that I know of in less than an hour. They may have also got­ten Katie and my sis­ter to read it to them, as well. It looks as though it’s going to be in heavy sto­ry time rota­tion for a while. I could see some wheels turn­ing for Sadie, so I’m hop­ing she’ll get more than just a sto­ry out of it. If she asks ques­tions, Jack will def­i­nite­ly fol­low.

It was the best fam­i­ly day I can remem­ber ever hav­ing. I’m get­ting the pho­tos off my phone and the iPad. I hope they came out well, but whether they did or not, we’ll have the mem­o­ries.

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Music from Defying Gravity?

We’ve been watch­ing Defy­ing Grav­i­ty on Hulu, and enjoy­ing it. The music is one of the appeal­ing fac­tors, but I can’t find any infor­ma­tion about what songs by which per­form­ers are used in most of the episodes. TV.com has infor­ma­tion for two of them, but not the rest. I don’t sup­pose any of you know where to find more infor­ma­tion?

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De-Lovely

Sam and I just fin­ished watch­ing it–the 2004 Cole Porter biopic/musical. It was, absolute­ly, De-Love­ly and Delight­ful and every oth­er pos­i­tive adjec­tive you can think of! Porter is my favorite com­pos­er, but hon­est­ly, I put this one in the Net­flix queue after see­ing a YouTube clip of John Bar­row­man singing “Night and Day” with Kevin Kline as Porter.

Sam watched it with me and enjoyed it, too. How many men will sit through, not just a chick flick, but a musi­cal one, and enjoy it just as much as you do? It was just over 3 hours long, too!

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Semester done!

I took my project man­age­ment final tonight, so I’m done with the semes­ter! Now I’m try­ing to down­load the text­book files for next semes­ter, but the ebook serv­er is hav­ing Issues.

In the mean­time, I’m lis­ten­ing to some love­ly new music, free and legal, over at The­Six­ty­One. I don’t know how Sam found out about the place, but it’s neat.

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Video: George Hrab, The Assumption


Fun video from George Hrab. I’ve heard of the guy quite a few times, and seen a fair num­ber of pho­tos, but this is the first time I’ve actu­al­ly heard his music. I like!

Many thanks to Chris Miller, who sent me a link to this video via Pownce.

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A Cappella Music, Babylon5, and Firefly, Oh My!

This after­noon, I opened the blinds on the win­dows behind my chair, think­ing it would draw Kioshi off the mon­i­tor (his tail kept obscur­ing the screen) to look out the win­dows. Nope. He turned around, so at least his tail wasn’t in the way, but he was inor­di­nate­ly pleased with him­self because he could then sur­vey his world from his nice, warm perch.

I down­load a ridicu­lous num­ber of pod­casts, then for­get to lis­ten to them. I can’t find my MP3 play­er, and it’s tiny any­way (512k), so it doesn’t hold much. Sam has the same kind, and he gets by, but he’s more moti­vat­ed: it keeps him sane while he’s “out there” every day. I nor­mal­ly take the lazy way out and lis­ten to Pan­do­ra or Last.FM.
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Relearning How to Play the Piano

I can’t remem­ber whether or not I bur­bled about this already, but if this is a repeat you can get extra hugs the next time I see you or some­thing. We have a work­ing, mar­velous, beau­ti­ful piano! It’s the freecy­cled Korg 88-key dig­i­tal that I men­tioned way back in Novem­ber, all clean and func­tion­al thanks to my sweet Sam. It sounds so good! It even feels right, unlike any elec­tron­ic key­board I’ve ever tried to play. I learned to play on an acoustic piano, and the feel is just dif­fer­ent. This piano has nice­ly weight­ed keys to help old­sters like me, and they’re even touch-sen­si­tive, like a “real” (acoustic) piano. And it has two ped­als! (There’s a pic­ture of a sim­i­lar mod­el down there under the “read more” link.)

It won’t go out of tune. We can record any­thing that’s played on it. There are not one, but two head­jack ports, so that, say, a teacher and stu­dent could hear the student’s attempts with­out both­er­ing any­one else in the house­hold.

Yes, I like!
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Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rota­tion:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, pod­casts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, col­lege
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing infor­ma­tion
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like.

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it our­selves.)

2007 wasn’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer housemate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

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KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse & the Cherry Tree”


Sam just sent me a link to this video. Incred­i­ble! I’ll def­i­nite­ly be look­ing for more of her music.

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