Saturday, May 31, 2014

saturday is the last day of the week

42 miles this week, most since last year sometime, I think, or maybe just February. Anyway, seems like ages ago. Even though I am not anything like fast, running feels a lot less arduous. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the supplements I've been taking, or if I'm just slowly getting some endurance back, but I'm grateful.

Last viola lesson before my teacher goes away for the summer, and it was anticlimactic - I don't have a plan, or any kind of grip on what I should work on this summer, unless it's "everything." I don't know if my "summer"teacher has any agenda, and I have none to bring him - again, unless it's "everything". I think - I think - my regular teacher will have room for me in the fall, but meanwhile, for the next 2 days at least, I feel awfully at loose ends. I'm like a German Shepherd in that I need a job to do. It's very weird not having any "assignment."

I think a good plan of action would be to stay busy, making time go by and maybe getting something accomplished as well. Keep running, stay healthy, keep practicing, play with people as much as possible, prepare for camp as much as I can, try to find enjoyment in all of it, try not to make everything a chore.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

make a nice noise

While struggling through an etude tonight, I noticed a big difference in tone between the parts I knew well and the parts I kept fumbling. The known stuff sounded nice, while the tone in the not-known stuff was simultaneously whiny and rough, as though in sympathy with the struggling left hand. When I made an effort to fix my tone, the whole thing (left hand included) started to sound better. I know this sounds like "I sound better when I sound better" but that's not what I mean.

I think the secret to everything is: you can be forgiven a lot of wrong notes if you make a nice noise.

Monday, May 26, 2014

I am not good at thank you notes

Since my viola teacher is leaving soon for the summer, I am going to give him a gift card and write a thank you note. I'm not good at stuff like that (thank you notes), so this morning's run was a perfect empty boring space in which to try to compose something that didn't sound too silly ("thank you so much, for everything..."). I've learned a lot this year and can do a few things I never dreamed I'd be able to do. But it struck me that orchestra - mostly the orchestra that my teacher happens to conduct - has been the main thing that has got me Where I Am Today (heh), which is actually Nowhere, but still a lot better than I was a year or 5 ago. If it weren't for the intense desire to play cool music well with others, and the intense fear of standing out like the really awful rookie I was 4 years ago, I don't think I would have worked so hard at lessons. I don't think I would have had the motivation. Of course, none of that really fits well in a "dear teacher, thanks for another year of lessons, have a great summer" kind of note. But it was an interesting realization.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

happy towel day

I have never been a rabid Douglas Adams fan; I read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series fairly late in life for a nerd (early 20s, and at the suggestion of the love of my life at that time), and while I enjoyed the series, I only read it that one time. I think there may have been a movie or (shudder) TV adaptation of it, and if there was, I didn't see it either. but someone posted this on facebook today, and I was pleasantly blown away at how eloquently he expressed some things that (it turns out) I earnestly believe, but could never in a million years articulateWhat a beautiful writer.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

saturday may 24

Despite my utter lack of preparation, the viola lesson did not go as badly as I thought it might. Doesn't that always happen? Don't I always say that? It did kind of veer off into the land of "you're not good enough, probably never will get anywhere with this because you're so old," but that could have been my insecurity talking. Anyway, Bach is on the shelf for now or maybe forever; I may never get good enough to play it the way I hear it in my head.

Crummy little 5.5-mile run this morning but I made it over 40 miles this week, yay me. I started taking a couple of supplements this week, one of which is supposed to (gasp) help with age-related cognitive stuff, and by stuff I mean memory loss, absent-mindedness, lack of sharpness, whatever you want to call it. I have never been a supplement-taker, nor have I been one of those people fighting desperately and hopelessly against aging, but here I am taking supplements and hoping for a miracle. I am alive, so I want it to be as pleasant as possible.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Friday: got through the work week, and even got paid. Whenever I start a new job I am always worried about the mechanics of getting paid, even though there's never been an actual problem (except my first IT job, where due to bad luck in timing I worked almost a whole month before receiving my first paycheck). Running is on track (ha). Practice is definitely not on track, and I haven't much hope for tomorrow's lesson. I sound like a two-year-old. I just hope my teacher is somewhat understanding about it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I don't have tons of money, but maybe I should just give what I have to Kronos Quartet's Kickstarter campaign and be done with it.


I set this blog to "private" a while ago because I worried that anyone reading it might think ill of me. But I've decided that's pretty silly, so here it is again, and here I am.

I am still running, something like 40 miles a week, not remotely fast. It is not fun. I am not training for anything. I am running because I know it will be worse for me if I stop. It's getting on toward summer, worst time of year for running motivation. Hopefully I can continue to increase mileage.

I started a new job last week. I am not sure I like it, and there have been times I wondered if I've made a mistake. The work is not quite what I thought it would be, but everything about the place seems temporary so the nature of work may change (I hope so). The culture is a weird mix of agile and plain-old-unreasonable-business-vs-development, and the buzzwords (and the noise level because of the "open" office plan) drive me nuts. Most of the people are much younger than I am and treat me like an aged, transparent, decaying space alien.  It's a 6-month contract, though. I can probably put up with anything for 6 months. And maybe it will get better.

Viola playing has taken a dive this week. I don't know why. I feel as though I'm moving backward. No vibrato, no tone, and I can't even play in tune most of the time. Tonight I spent a couple hours on one chunk of an etude (not getting anywhere) and then just stopped. My next lesson is in 2 days, and I'm not prepared now and I won't be prepared then. My teacher will be going to his summer job soon and lessons will stop. I've arranged to take Skype lessons with someone over the summer. Maybe the change will do some good.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

another thing I love

On days when I have viola lessons, I don't force myself to any strict practice agenda afterward. I play through whatever was assigned (no pressure, either, since I have a whole week to learn it for real) and then play whatever I feel like. It's like when you're in college and it's test day - you take the test, and get a little reprieve.

Friday, May 2, 2014

I love the end of the day

The house is completely quiet. Frogs are singing outside. Nothing left that can't wait until tomorrow. A book awaits me, then sleep. I love it.