Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hello out there

If I blog and no one reads it, have I blogged at all?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Let's catch up, shall we? While I haven't missed going to work (AT ALL...this year's schedule at school makes it a nightmare, but no fear, it will be changed again for next year), I have been taking care of my newborn daughter here at home. She is now just over two weeks old. Her latest trick on mom and dad is to fall asleep after the last feeding before bed and then wake up about 5 minutes later as soon as we've laid down. Not hungry and with a clean diaper, she leaves us wondering why on earth she's crying. Mostly I've figured it's a growth spurt she's going through, or gas. Either way, usually we have to rock her back to sleep, which takes about 10-15 minutes, and then put her back down. Then repeat cycle. That's okay, though, I signed up for this. I'm sure I gave my parents hell when I was a few weeks old.

Sometimes I'm just plain tired. I laid down for a nap as soon as she fell asleep today, and sure enough, after 20 minutes, she was crying. I fed her a little (even though it had just been an hour) and held her while I checked my e-mail. So here's me, crying because when I wake up I'm cranky, but mostly because I don't know why she's crying. She stops for a minute while I catch up on some Yahoo! sports blogs, particularly Big League Stew, the baseball blog. After a few posts that reinforce my hatred for Philly fans (sorry, Doug, if you ever read this), I come across the Dear John letter for the Cincinnati Reds. These are posts that are a eulogy to fallen teams in the post season written by folks who knew them well highlighting the good times and bad of the past season. Once I started reading, I started chuckling, then out loud laughing. The tears dried up and my daughter asleep (finally!) on my chest, I had my happy-go-lucky outlook back. So what, she cries, she won't be this young forever... a tidbit of which others seem to constantly remind me. Not that I want to rush through this wonderful babydom, but I've never been a big baby person. I think my daughter is awesome and love her more than I thought capable by one human being, and I'm REALLY looking forward to when she can talk.

Okay, there is something to like about the Phillies. The Phanatic. He makes a good Lady Gaga, doesn't he?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What Constitutes Wanging Chung?

And why don't I own any Wang Chung? It was some of the most fun stuff of the 80s due to the great rhythmically syncopated vocals. Like in Dance Hall Days, video below (sorry, I couldn't embed):


This website is fun, by the way. All kinds of fun videos. I like to use it as background music while I'm doing tasks in other tabs.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Summer List Update

Well, Summer is over for me and has been for awhile. Let's see how I did on that list a few posts back:

School

  1. Organize Units into curriculum map
  2. Make Unit plans (6) with number of days in each unit
  3. Write assessments
  4. Rewrite Syllabus
  5. Incorporate keyboard lab – PD with Nancy next week?
  6. Order teachers editions of Expressions book (Dackow), also order 2 cello, 1 bass, and 15 violin books
Turns out I did do all of this, and at the beginning of summer, too!

Shelby

  1. Write warm ups for SCHS (combined)
  2. Write cadence for SCHS
  3. Drum feature included in show?
I assumed that I might double as percussion instructor as well as assistant director for this to help save the program money, but instead two percussion instructors were hired. Less work for me, so I deleted these things from the list.

Oldham

  1. Write warm ups for OCHS (drumline only)
  2. Write cadence for OCHS
  3. Write drum feature for OCHS
I did this in June. I love writing cadences. I'd like to assemble them all in a book and publish them one day for people to buy and use for their drumlines.

Home

  1. Register for baby stuff This took awhile, but finally did it. Now we have everything. I think.
  2. Select travel system (stroller) This was a gift from my dad.
  3. Get recliner chair cleaned This is a lost cause. For some reason one of my cats has taken to using that chair for her litter box. I think it's because it was my chair, and she didn't like the hormones that pregnancy has been gracing me with. She has also since scratched the crap out of the back of the chair. She has not touched anything else in the house. And she only does it once. So if I clean it (which I have five times), she just does it again. As soon as I have the baby, the chair is going to the garbage.
  4. Get floor cleaned in baby room Thanks to Nancy, the carpet is clean!
  5. Set up crib and changing table Matt's parents bought us these and we did finally put everything together. It was relatively easy and didn't take too long.
  6. Arrange baby furniture Yep. And Matt's Gazelle is still in there too for him to exercise for a bit.
  7. Hang clothes, organize baby closet This is never done. Just when I think it's good, I get more clothes from people. As I type, there is a load of them in the washer from some of my kids at school. But, Matt did organize it all with colorful totes while I was at one of my band camps, so at least everything has a place! I doubt I will have to wash clothes for Elisabeth very often, she's got so many already!
  8. Pull out bushes and crap in center island Thank God this is done. The dead mimosa is gone, the Japanese Maple is really starting to flourish, and most of the bushes are gone. There are a few other things in there, but we're waiting for things to die back a little in the fall before we tackle it.
  9. Take birthing/hospital classes Done! Not that I totally know what's going to happen, but I'm just going to do what the docs tell me to do. That's my birth plan. Do what the doctors say. They're the professionals.

Other

  1. Go to Cleveland: Indians game, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame We did this, and it was fun. The Indians game went to a pretty long rain delay, but it was nice to see a game there. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was also great, but disappointed that you can't take pictures there. I think one of my favorite things was seeing Jim Morrison's Cub Scout uniform.
  2. Go to Gatlinburg with Dad: three nights max Did this and had a lot of fun. Played a lot of canasta, a really fun rummy card game.
  3. Read Echo in the Bone (June 22nd, paperback) I've got about 200 pages left on this, and I plan to get most of that out of the way this weekend. I'm also casually reading Stephen Colbert's "I Am America and So Can You!"
  4. See Eclipse Twice!
  5. Have bonfire Did that.
  6. Finish Idiot America
  7. Read Don Quixote Did that.
  8. Blog every week I think we all knew this wasn't going to happen.
  9. Spanish every day (Finish by end of summer!) Yea! I finished that workbook and even bought another one on verb tenses. I'm unsure on when I'm going to start that one. Maybe after I finish Colbert.
  10. Get calendar for kitchen, organize Did this. It's really helpful. Matt's stuff is in red, mine in blue, and events for both of us in green. The summer was very blue!
  11. Upload ultrasound pics to Facebook I completely forgot about this and it seems a little late now. Oh well. I have had some requests to post some pregnant pics of me, but I'm just not all about that. Frankly, I've always found pregnant belly pics to be a bit uncomfortable and disgusting. And those words also sum up how I've been feeling so far in my 9th month.
Overall, not bad! A pretty productive summer. I've been really tired lately and have cancelled all after-school activities including lessons, rehearsals, and football games. I love setting goals. If I were to do that for this fall it might look like this:

1. Have a baby
2. Learn to breastfeed
3. Enjoy eating sushi
4. Enjoy sleeping on stomach
5. Enjoy my husband (seriously, I'm not going into details, but I miss this.)
6. Enjoy some wine (like a GLASS, not an ounce or two)
7. Enjoy spending time with Elisabeth
8. Enjoy bending over and picking stuff up off the floor with ease
9. Exercising again
10. Host Thanksgiving at our house again

This list looks like a lot more fun.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm back...for this month

You know, I always hate the first blog back from a blogging slump. I feel the need to come up with something fantastic or just don't blog at all. I'm breaking that tradition by simply posting something.

So, since the Reds are doing so well, I'd like to share this old youtube video of Bronson Arroyo in a car commercial. Obviously, this was cut from the final product.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Things I Miss

In the last three months of pregnancy, I reflect on the top ten things I miss, and in doing so, I look forward to again.

10. Sushi
This is the least missed because I did get to have some. The thing about sushi (they warn) is the high mercury content in many deep-sea fish, and the fact that it's raw fish and you could get food poisoning. However, eating sushi that doesn't have fish in it (yes, it's still sushi) completely evades this. Also, if you have a professional sushi guy that only uses fresh ingredients, you're good to go. Here in Louisville, there aren't many, but in Chicago I was able to communicate with Sushi Mike about what is okay when I'm pregnant. He made me some yummy treats all while telling me what he can't give me (squid, white tuna, crab), and about his grandchilden whose pictures are behind the sushi bar, all "sushi babies". So that's my one splurge, but I miss going to Fuji's on a whim.

9. Talking about other stuff besides the baby
I remember a time when people looked at me and didn't think about baby. Don't get me wrong, we chose to have a baby, and I'm really excited about it. But it's all most people can talk about. Yes. Come up to me and touch my stomach. I really like that, especially if we're just acquaintances. It's not awkward at all. Also, please talk to me only about being pregnant, childbirth, cravings, etc. I am no longer a wife, teacher, music-lover, bookworm...I am only Mommy.

8. Hot tubbing
Not that I do this on a regular basis, but we had a hot tub available in Chicago and again in Gatlinburg both times and I really miss it. Dipping my feet in just doesn't quite cut it. The hot tub is a magical world for Matt and I where we can talk about whatever and laugh and be far away from the stresses of life. How I miss it!

7. Roller Coasters
Not that I've ever had a bunch of friends that also like to ride rides, but that Kings Island trip with the kids really killed me. The state fair this year is also going to be a little sad. Well, I guess Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom isn't there to tempt me this summer.

6. Going out Dancing
I love going out to Phoenix Hill or Air Devil's Inn to see a band or sing Karaoke. And technically, I could still do this. But no one wants to see a big pregnant lady sitting at the bar (sorry, self-image is somewhat important to women wanting to have a good time), and I can't really move like I did before. And I'm certainly not getting up to sing Karaoke like this. Although I could sing the Dixie Chicks' "White-Trash Wedding" and get a few laughs.

5. Smoking Hookah
Many spring and summer nights we spent with friends on the back deck passing around the hookah and enjoying life. It's very relaxing, probably less so from the tobacco than from the deep breathing. Maybe a little next summer.

4. Beer
Ah, beer. Beer goes hand in hand with watching sports, doing yardwork, or grilling outside. Watching hockey playoffs wasn't the same. Watching March Madness definitely wasn't the same! And that crappy tour of the Miller Brewery in Milwaukee could have been alleviated with the three free beers at the end of the tour. Well, two beers and a water (Miller Lite). Beer is an award. Finish that landscaping project? Wash the car? Grade papers? Have a beer! It's cold, refreshing, and you deserve it. I have been drinking some of the NA beers available, but the taste is not quite as full.

3. My clothes
I miss when I could go to my closet and pull out whatever to wear. Now all of those clothes, except for maybe 9 shirts, are unwearable. It's summer! I want to wear my strappy tank top. Oh, wait. It doesn't cover my gut anymore and I look like a backwoods hillbilly. Not to mention not being able to buy clothes that I see on sale that I really like. Who knows if I'll be able to wear that? Even my hockey jersey was getting a little tight in June. It's a HOCKEY JERSEY, for cryin' out loud!

2. Sleeping
Okay, this one will also be missed after Elisabeth gets here, but as I recover there's no doubt I will be able to fall asleep. I miss sleeping on my stomach and I really hate having all the pillows in my bed for my fat ass to be able to be somewhat comfortable. Waking up in a sweat has also been great fun. The worst is not being able to fall asleep until an hour after I lay down. No music, gigantic body pillows, or lavender candles have worked yet.

1. Wine
Well, what did you expect? This is different from beer, too. I treasure wine. I like how it rolls around in my mouth before I swallow and how it pairs with food. I like sitting with Matt drinking wine and talking about life. I miss the relaxation splitting a bottle of wine with him brought. I miss the stress it would take away, too. While I have been able to taste wine lately, drinking a glass or two (or three) I really do miss.

I'm absolutely sure it is all worth it. I'm not bitching, just airing some thoughts. In the last few months of school, seasoned mothers I work with kept asking me in all seriousness, "Oh, don't you just love being pregnant?" Uhh, no. But I wouldn't change that for a bottle of wine.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Music that Moves You

Thursday I was driving to UL to meet my husband for dinner and see a band concert that evening. I was listening to a local radio station, 88.1FM WNAS, which is a great station. It's part of a broadcasting department of New Albany High School in Indiana and the great thing about it is that they play EVERYTHING. And not in that 80s, 90s, and today pop crap way. Literally, everything. I have heard 90s country, Nine Inch Nails, Broadway musical numbers, recent top 40 rap, 70s rock, Frank Sinatra, 80s punk, old jazz standards... really there is no format. It's great.

As I came around hospital curve, I heard the beginnings on my favorite Led Zeppelin song, which I RARELY hear on the radio called "Travelling Riverside Blues." Go listen to it. Instantly, my mood changed and I cranked the radio. It totally changed my day.

So why? I've read a lot of books about music and the brain and I'm not sure I know why. I think what really gets it for my is the bluesy guitar riff. Repetition is really important for us as humans, and hearing that riff during every chorus is one of the best parts of the song. For me, I love blues music with the 12-bar form and chord progressions, and this song (and lots of Zeppelin) is really influenced by American blues music. Maybe it's the melody and where it leads. If I were to draw the melody of the aforementioned and loved guitar riff, it might look like this (Microsoft Paint still good for something):

I think this is indicative of what our brains like. We're going to flirt with what you want, but not give it to you immediately. This was you appreciate it more when you do get it, and "it" here is tonic. Tonic is also referred to as the home tone or tonal center in a song, the key, what the melody revolves around, what helps the song to achieve musical form. If you take tonic out, you have a mess of random tones, which some people like (I'm looking at you, Schoenberg, not that I'm siding with the Nazis.)

To give the non musician a better idea of what tonic is, if I sang "Do-Re-Mi" from the Sound of Music, and left out all the "Do"s (which is tonic in this song; Do is most always tonic), it would completely suck because your ear keeps trying to find tonic by hearing it and it never does, therefore you get pissed off and dismiss it as crap. Or accept it as "art," your choice. Let's let Julie Andrews explain it better. The first thing you hear sung in this video is a scale without the top note (Do). While it's present at the beginning, our western European trained ears have learned to expect the other "Do," so it sounds unfinished.

So we like tonic. Some like it with gin. I think I really like this song because it doesn't take too long to get to tonic in the riff, but doesn't give it to you immediately.

What songs move you to crank your radio/ipod/phonograph? Consider how the chorus deals with tonic and you might find what I did: Tonic is a disease-free flirt who you can have plenty of fun with and know that eventually, you're gonna get to bang her.