Tag: lessons learned


Ready or not, it’s 2011

1
January

And the crowd goes wild.

Well, that’s based upon my last-minute perusal of the action at Times Square. It was far more sedate in my family room. We broke out the smoked oysters, though–a family tradition since the dawn of time and I chalk their presence up to all the Dane genes. Luckily, for me, mine stop short at pickled herring, although I will buy a jar of the ‘delicacy’ for my mother. My sister refuses to even do that.

Obviously the French genes hold sway against most pickled items–except for things that should be pickled, like say, pickles.

Which has nothing to do with my thoughts of the morning. What few they are and scattered. Sleep eluded me about the time my allergies kicked in and the sneezing started.

Still, there’s a little resolve that I haven’t quite sneezed loose and much honest appraisal.

Writing: not enough in 2010, and certainly not consistently enough.
Resolution: stick butt in chair daily. Fifteen minutes, that’s all I’m asking of myself. And probably in the morning, because by afternoon that looks like a huge chunk of time and too much to accomplish.

Submissions: a grand total of three short stories went out last year. I’ve got to boost that up to an average of one a month in 2011.
Resolution: Pick through and rewrite what needs revision and send it out again.

Uncluttering: made some impact toward the latter part of this year. I’ll continue being ruthless. It’s getting easier to part with stuff, and more regularly.
Resolution: get rid of the quilting fabrics–except for landscapes. That I can still see myself doing on a few occasions. And clean more drawers and closets. My heavens, I’ve got a lot of stuff.

Exercise: was hit or miss for me in 2010. Mostly miss except for the summer, as usual.
Resolution: make it a priority. Thirty minutes of something–walking, gym, DVDs–is not going to kill me. Also, continue working on getting control of a hula hoop. Now that I know I don’t do complete circles with my hips (thanks, Wii and Slug!) I can focus on that.

Food: my carb addiction continues unabated.
Resolution: feed it five to nine fruits and veggies a day. It can’t hurt and might even redirect it.

Television: the bigger flat screen calls.
Resolution: watch a few more movies and maybe check out Netflix. Try not to find myself watching the intense stuff from the kitchen, like I did last night. Intensity on the big screen is… well, bigger. And more intense. Kicks me right into flight mode.

Now let’s see if public accountability does the trick. Seeing that I suddenly realized that I’m on for the Posse next Sunday via Skype, I should think that the fifteen minutes (or more) a day is a go this week. Like all of it today and tomorrow. In and around taking down the tree and putting Christmas away.

Resolution: More paranoia in 2011. New! improved! and constructive! paranoia.

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Why is it

18
October

that the bed conspires to keep me in it on these first days back to school? The pillow was softer, the covers more warm and tanglier…

And the dog slept in. Through both musical alerts and the extra fifteen minutes I allowed myself.

I suppose he doesn’t want to go out in the rain, either.

According to the county records, we’re at 800%+ of normal. That’ll change, and quickly, but it also means that fire season (seasons in SoCal: winter, spring, summer, fire) may be a little easier. Depends on how dried out the new grass gets in the next month or so.

We ripped KellyM’s latest offering to shreds–not that there was much to shred. I love these rough drafts where my first read-though is for pleasure only and I’m disappointed by only 16 pages. Of course, even if she sent us 50+ pages, we’d still be disappointed.

I also love the fact that we pick up on things that the author hadn’t consciously noticed. Oh, your social level is reflected by the strata of housing? Duh. What? You didn’t know that? Really?! Wow.

Obvious as mud, sometimes, but we’re too immersed in the details to get it.

Studio class went well. I did better lifting the soft palate and getting a more open sound, which was my focus this week. Now I’ve got to drop the jaw more, keep the sound up in my head, and work on the phrasing. This song is so much harder than it appears. Many of the notes repeat, which means I’m focused on keeping it up in addition to that soft palate issue, and the timing was difficult, although I’ve got most of that nailed at this point.

At some point today, I have to research what exactly a metallic quality to my voice is. Apparently a good thing, but Paul and Elaine couldn’t quite explain it so that I understood. And it’s nothing I can consciously change–although Paul did say that I wouldn’t want to, anyway. It’s what it is.

But I need some examples of singers with that kind of quality… and the best I can describe it as is a kind of ringing, but I don’t think that’s it, either.

And now, off. At least there are no children today, and I’ll have a chance to cut black paper for those hand- and footprints.

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Last day of vacation. *sniff*

17
October

So I didn’t make it through yesterday’s entire list, but I still have today to wrap it up. And then do more. I have two or three hours before the Spousling returns, and we’ll see how much I accomplish.

Writing did happen last night, but it was difficult and sparse. The rewrite’s in process, though, and that will mean it’ll be easier to pick up where I left off. I find starting horrendous. Opening the door to walk is the most difficult. Once my legs are moving, I’m fine. Same with writing. Opening the darn Mac is the hardest. Pulling out the memory stick? Not so much. Settling in to work at that point? Piece of cake.

So. Writing at some point this afternoon, even if I only give myself fifteen minutes. Which may be all I have.

Yes, there’s this little thing called a critique, and then I have a studio class tonight. (Where I’ll get to hear Elaine blow everyone else away, including me, and omg, I’m so lucky to hear the other students on a regular basis like this. I just wish I could point you to a YouTube vid of a performance from her.) I’m doing the studio classes in an effort to overcome the performance fear.

Well, it’s working. But only IN the studio class, because my brain has managed to trick my fear into believing it’s just an extension of my regular voice lesson, so hey, I’m allowed to make mistakes.

Yeah, not so much in solos at church. I flattened one note today, changed a word (okay, I can forgive myself that, and thankfully it was to a word that made sense) and then didn’t have enough support for the last little bit of the Agnus Dei. (You know, I first typed the Angus Dei. Whoooooooooole different thing, there. Although I’m sure that somewhere, somewhen, there’s a religion based on cow breeding and the god of bovine good intentions.)

So yeah, discouraged about performance and wondering omg, when, oh when, will have I get the nerves to work for rather than against me?

In addition to the writing last night, I first met Dru at CLU for one of the other professor’s art exhibit. Had a good time visiting, liked much of his stuff, and ate some yummy food. There was one assemblage that needed a story written: Mr. Tock’s Terror (Mansion, I think. Didn’t hold onto the last word.)

How cool to have a character named Mr. Tock–the evil bad guy, in a steampunk paradise.

Sadly the one I liked the best (which was, I think, a battlefield in 1864, with a ghostly figure out of texture rather than any color variation) was too rich for me: $1800. I hope he gets his asking price, though, and now that I know where the gallery on campus is (to get there, I drove around looking for Dru, all in black, with her hand clamped to the phone at her ear as she walked the middle of the main drag through campus) I can go back and visit my art again.

And now, time to change and get to work. If nothing else, I have to rid my head of the verse I sang this morning because I am SO OVER IT.

(Huh. Perhaps I am a tad strident there.

Don’t be ridiculous. I am not either in denial.)

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Home.

17
July

Oh, thank heavens. The last two days of car travel were long and there simply wasn’t enough time to get out and stretch. Yesterday we were on zoom, home… and the day before was Jackson to Cedar City, through Salt Lake.

I have a lot of love for the places we visited, although really, South Dakota was my favorite. (Okay, not the Badlands, although they were impressive.) My takeaway from everything was awe at the people who initially explored these places and the people who packed up everything into a wagon and chose to travel the Oregon Trail. Those mountain passes were amazing, and at times, I’d blink, and we’d be in another geographical zone. I think it’s the vast spaces, uninterrupted by people, that makes this so astonishing.

To the Spousling’s dismay, he had to listen to my gasps on curves, and my pleas of “Slow down! Slow down!” We finally came to an agreement that he would drive the posted speed limits. :P

Major high points:

While heading back to Cody from Yellowstone at midnight: Yellowstone Lake having SURF… and washing across the road. Scared the bejabbers out of me the first time it happened. Nothing like a lot of wind on a really large lake.

Spending a few hours at Mt. Rushmore. I’ve seen pictures, but the true immensity of Gutzon Borglum’s task didn’t strike me until I was in the workshop staring up at his models–easily three times my height.

Seeing a missile silo and realizing that back in the early 60’s, part of the optical alignment system relied upon compass bearings and getting the missile to know where it was in relation to the north star. Old tech. Really old tech. Reminded me of slide rulers. Not unusual seeing that I actually used them for advanced math in the late ’60’s.

Buffalos are really, really big animals. When they’re in distant herds, they don’t seem that large. But find one napping alongside of the road….

How much of Yellowstone is geothermally active. Fishermen wading in a river to flyfish, with a fulmarole just down the way. Puffs of steam where you least expect them. A bit scary when you consider that Yellowstone’s caldera is mostly under the huge lake and it’s active.

That bacteria thrives in extremely inhospitable places–and adds beautiful colors to the surroundings.

Southern Wyoming is all wind and flat. Northern Wyoming is all wind with periods of rolling hills interrupted by flat and then mountains. Wind. Wind. Wind. Why they aren’t powering the entire country by windmill farms, I don’t understand. I think I saw one modern one the entire trip, and it was in Utah.

Pictures are coming. Cross my heart.

As for writing, I got some done. Not enough, but I was too busy snapping photos or staring out windows. I managed 10K in ten days, which is exactly what I should have done, but I’m still catching up. As of this morning, I’m 8.1K behind my goal. Since I’m on the road again the week after next, the plan is to cover at least 2K a day over the next eight.

Doable. Really.

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