3 feb 2016

what's the thing that drives you? give your time and your energy to that thing. make it a priority.

on the heels of about 80 minutes at the piano, i know that i've found it. being able to play freely for the first time in years without concern over disrupting someone else is undoubtably the best thing for my health. one neighbor has complimented my playing, the other hasn't made a single peep about it. i've played mozart, moszkowski, and martin cuellar. i've practiced scales and done hanon exercises. i've sightread bartok. if something's going to give, it'll likely happen now and not several months from now. i'm lucky that the only thing under my apartment is a garage, because i think that is where the sound has the most potential for intrusion.

what gives with all the piano playing? i'm making large plans, my friends: a year from now, i'm giving a concert. recital? i haven't decided what the appropriate term is. i'm having this thing. i'm going to invite friends and i'm going to play piano. there a nervous anticipation brewing in my chest just dreaming about it. will i be able to collaborate with fellow musicians? because that sounds like so much fun. if not for this performance, it's certainly something to aspire to.

the dust has settled. i've almost been in this place for six months and for a while i didn't know what was next. in fact, i'm sure i had more than one conversation along the lines of "what do you do?" wherein i replied, "well, i go to work, come home, read, pet my cat, cook. and i'm not sure what else i want to do at this point, but i'm really happy." i knew that wouldn't last forever, and i'm grateful to have something to work on.

also, i'm still rather happy.

17 jan 2016

i'm trying to be less of a perfectionist.

to that end, i might actually go back in time and restore my old blog data (if i can figure out how to do that) sometime down the line.

as i find myself blogging more frequently, i'm learning to be patient with the amount of time it is taking to rediscover my voice. i find my words deficient in their communication; looking back at some posts makes me want to cringe--or hit delete.

i stay inside on a beautiful sunny day because i just can't settle on what i should be doing if i go outside. social paralysis is an overstatement, but when i have options at my fingertips and barely move from my living room, i don't know if i can say i'm enjoying my life to the fullest. (if you hadn't guessed, i'm talking about today.)

i could have gone to the grocery store, the gas station (even less glamorous), the movie theater, the library, the local hiking trail.... what did i do? well, i cleaned for about two hours this morning, and then i went to brunch with a friend, and then i came home and watched downton abbey. oh! i should mention i played piano for a while and phoned my parents. i don't mean to imply that it's been a total waste of a day--it hasn't--but i just think that i could have done better.

the perfectionist in me wants to constantly rewrite and edit until i have the clearest and bestest meaning conveyed that words can communicate. is that really the way to live a life? instead, how about don't apologize for being yourself. i will always strive to improve, but arguably some imperfect communication/blogging is better than none.

11 jan 2016

so many people have memorialized David Bowie so poignantly today.... for me, it was Bowie all day long in my earbuds. i sampled a musical education that i wish i'd taken the time to get much earlier as i have never been well versed in his discography. do yourself a favor: have a listen.

what did i learn? David Bowie was immensely talented (surely an understatement). five decades of albums means that he fully explored the diversity of musical genres. i assure you, if you don't find something you like then it's your own damn fault.

here are my highlights from today's exploration. reader, do share a favorite or four in the comments so that i make sure to give it a listen.

10 jan 2016

today is a race against myself: a day of uber-productivity. i haven't done much yet: i've composed two separate "To Do" lists, eaten breakfast, listened to some podcasts, emptied the trash, watched an episode of downton abbey, ordered acoustic foam to stuff into my soundboard...you don't want a list, do you?

i also woke from a very intense dream about taking piano lessons and prepping for a concert that was a week away.

what am i doing writing all this though: it's time to get those errands run!

5 jan 2016

i'm taking charge this month in some key areas that have been neglected.

  1. write more. this blog will get improve, and there will be some non-blog-related writing as well. 
  2. self care. a balanced life approach incorporating more sleep and exercise (stretch, strengthen, bike, yoga). and maybe a little more discipline in terms of prepping my own food as i certainly prefer it. i'd like to save dining out for special occasions, not because i was lazy and didn't pack my lunch. 
  3. feline care. an appointment is on the calendar. poor moxie will have to tolerate a 45 minute drive to my favorite vet.*
  4. make music. my piano is set to be tuned on friday. my neighbors have no idea what they're in for. 

i think that's enough to start, don't you?

*i feel like quality is so valuable these days. i drive an hour to get my hair cut, why scrimp on veterinary care? the doctor in town that i went to for mango was amazing, but palliative care was minimal and reasonably priced. when updating moxie's shots there was a discussion about dental care and the quote was simply off the charts. the excellent bedside manner and staff's empathy throughout the euthanization process aside, i see no reason to go back there and pay double what i would at my former office. it bears mentioning that i've known that veterinarian since 1998 and trust her implicitly.
do you go the distance far for quality service, products, or other things? tell me about it!

4 jan 2016

tonight i baked salted vanilla toffee cookies. i love the salty sweetness that this recipe brings. in my version i played around with the salt and found the best flavor when sprinkling the raw dough balls with kosher salt instead of sea salt. i'm bringing about 4 dozen cookies to the office tomorrow: i'm tired.

*update: no more cookies (except the few i stashed in my freezer). success!

2 jan 2016

2015 treated me fine: continuing a job i love, the new apartment that prompted me to donate my stash of boxes, amazing memories with family and friends alike. there were downturns along the way that promoted varying degrees of tears: the death of a beloved pet, a good friend moving away, missing out on a long-standing plan to watch the new star wars film with my sister's family. this is life, is it not? it goes up and down in no predictable order and when a year rises like a phoenix from the ashes of the previous (too grandiose an image?) i find myself wondering if i'm supposed to be doing something else.

i've wondered what's next since i moved in august. the clock hanging in the kitchen loudly announces the passing seconds. i love my work. i can't seem to find a piano tuner. none of this is causing me anxiety and yet somewhere in the background i feel like i should be anxious about something.

since getting divorced roughly eight years ago, i have fought to find my place, my self. i've looked back at what happened, tried to understand my part in the dissolution of a nearly ten year relationship, and have pushed myself to continually grow. 2013 was a landmark year in that regard, primarily because i landed the role that birthed the Dream Job. after nine months in one department, a spot opened up on my current team. on any given day i look back and am flooded with gratitude.

for me, inner peace begins with my ability to provide personal stability. life's got some rough edges and kinks, sure, but the view is just fine. let me tell you what it looks like:

it's a saturday night and i'm home. i'm winding down from hosting one of my favorite people (the same one who moved away). my cat moxie is loafing it up on the sofa as i've decided to blog on my laptop. i napped here earlier, following a two-ish hour walk with a friend by the beach and a delicious thai lunch. i have food in my fridge, tea in my cupboard, and downton abby queued up so i can finally see what all the fuss has been about. i ordered some sundries from target because i would rather shop online most days. there are four library books scattered throughout my living room, both fiction and nonfiction. they are: the girl in the spider's web [lagercrantz], just a corpse at twilight [van de wetering], words without music [glass], and dalton trumbo: blacklisted hollywood radical [ceplair and trumbo]. all of this contributes to my overwhelming contentedness.

i'm going to enjoy it (life/2016). i worked tirelessly to earn this: bachelor's in '08, paralegal in '13, interviews, nine moves in eight years.... there's a month of overtime coming up, so i may not really get moving on personally planning things until february. my goals on the horizon include the grand and the small: travel, tuning the piano for the first time in nearly three years (followed by regular playing), writing, cycling, reading, hiking, cooking, baking. it's my year to do as i want to and i'm looking forward.