Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Music therapy

I want to share a little about my Tuesday evening class, which is sort of an overview of music therapy and what it's all about. It's actually what I wanted to talk about in my last post, but couldn't since I really needed a nap.

Our professor talked about different things that music therapy can be used to help, and had us get into groups according to what we were most interested in. The group I chose was neurology, which includes things such as stroke and head trauma . I think I'm most interested in it partially because my dad had a stroke few years back, so I've seen what that can do to a person. I'm also interested in it because, as I've shared in a previous post, I've had head trauma myself. I live with the result of that every day of my life, even though it mostly isn't a problem these days. In fact, I have a language disorder in addition to the speech disorder, but that's for a later post.

Each of our groups will be giving a presentation on our chosen topics, by the way. I'll find out more about that later, though, when the professor hands out the info about what's expected of the presentation.

...and I need to get off the computer right this minute, so that's it for now.

Long long days

Tuesdays will be loooong days for me this term. My first class starts at 8:30am, and the last one ends at 7:15pm. On Thursdays I also have my first class starting at 8:30, but since I don't have the evening class on those days so the day doesn't feel nearly so long.

On school days I get up at 5:30am (ok, 5:35, since I hit the snooze) since I have to take the bus to school, and that is sort of time consuming since it's sort of on the other side of town. I also like to take an earlier bus than I absolutely have to, for in case I miss a bus or one breaks down -- experience has taught me that when it comes to things that I really don't want to be late to, this is generally a good idea. Fortunately mom decided, without my even asking, to pick me up Tuesday evenings. I am very happy for that, since otherwise I would probably be getting home at maybe 9pm or later.

By the way, I have found one upside to getting up so darned early: I get to watch the world change as night turns into twilight, twilight turns into dawn, and as dawn finally turns into day. I'm always amazed to see this happen, even though it happens every day.

...and now I find myself staring blankly at the screen, trying to figure out how to type up what I want to share. lol Maybe I need a nap.

I guess I'll have to say everything else in another post. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mice

Moonrat recently talked about a mouse in her house that she's having problems with, and that got me to thinking about my own experiences with mice.

I'm fairly familiar with rodents, and have had more than a few pet rodents. I've had mice, rats (love them!!!), guinea pigs, and gerbils. The mice, though, were interesting.

We had two, named Bag and Run, after characters in Brian Jacques' "Redwall" book series. They were small, and they were fast. For a while I seemed to be the only member of the family who could actually catch them, which meant that I was always involved when it came time to clean their cage. My job was to catch them, put them into another smaller cage so that we could clean theirs, and then get them back into their own cage once it was nicely cleaned up.

There is one time that stands out in my memory. I was taking them out of their own cage, and one almost escaped. Naturally I grabbed at him, and unfortunately it was his tail I grabbed. His response? He bit me.

I was incensed.

My tirade was something like this: "You ungrateful twerp! Here I am, saving you from escaping into a house that has two cats and a dog in it, and what do you do? You bite me! How dare you!" I might not have been so furious if the bite hadn't drawn blood.

The bite wasn't serious, and of course I forgave the mouse (hey, I did grab his tail), but even though I must have been a preteen at the time I'll never forget him.

No wonder I like rats more than mice.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mass transit problems


I've had a bad day with Tri-Met today. Tri-Met is my local mass transit system, and although I know that no system is perfect, this one definitely has problems.

I'd gone downtown today, and of course I eventually decided to come back home. So I went to a machine to buy a ticket. I didn't have cash, but most of the machines are set up so that you can pay with a debit card or whatever. So, I did. Except that it didn't work. I wandered around to a few other stations and tried the machines at those, with the same result at each of them.

I even found a Tri-Met info place, and tried going there for help. I figured that I could probably just buy a bunch of tickets there. But, guess what? It was closed!

I was stranded.

Fortunately I was able to call my mom and get her to come rescue me. In the future, however, I'll make sure I don't have to rely on those machines, since they obviously aren't reliable.

I've heard people talk about broken down machines and how bad they are, but I hadn't realized it was this bad.

Pagan type stuff

I've got something I want to share, but I'm not sure if it's public domain and I don't want to get in trouble so I'll just provide a link to it. It's an amusing case of what can happen if you don't think a spell through properly.

Also, I've noticed that quite a few of my followers are Pagan, which I think has something to do with the fact that I follow more than a few Pagan blogs. However, I'm not sure if it's merely most or all of my followers who are Pagan, and I'm curious to know, if only to know whether I can go off and start talking Pagan stuff (like Samhain) without explaining what the heck I'm talking about.

I guess I could just ask people to leave comments, and I'd still love to see comments. But I'm also curious to try out this poll type thingy, so I'm asking a simple yes or no question.

............................

EDIT: The poll thingy keeps taking people to some weird site, so I've removed it.

Note to self: Grabbing html from strange places perhaps isn't the brightest thing you've ever done.

............................

I look forward to finding out, and also to seeing how this poll thingy actually works!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Piano

If I practice piano too much my fingers start mutinying. At that point, I have to give up and come back to it later. I've never timed how long that takes, but I guess I should.

I'm not the only one who that happens to, right? Right?

Anyways...

I just wanted to share that I've been working on the following song, and I've got down the notes to over half of it. Now I just need to learn the rest, and pick up the tempo. :) It's a fun song to be working on.



Strangely enough, I can play practice it on the piano for what feels like ages and not get tired of it, yet if I listen to it online several times it starts to get annoying.

Choir

At school I'm part of a choir. Rehearsals are two days a week, we have two directors and they both get to direct us one day a week. Oh, we're also working on different music with each of them.

Since we've only had one class so far I only have music from one of the directors. In retrospect I shouldn't have been surprised that it was mostly Christmas music, and the two songs that aren't Christmas songs are about Hanukkah.


I don't mind singing Christmas songs in a choir, even though I am Pagan. After all, I do absolutely love Jesus, even if he's not the deity I'm most likely to turn to for help. The only thing that would make me uncomfortable is if the lyrics were something like "Jesus is the only way," and we don't have any songs saying that. So, I'm quite happy. :)

I also don't mind singing Hanukkah songs. Why should I? True, their deity is one that I don't feel any particular fondness for (to clarify: unlike many, I regard Yahweh and Jesus as two separate deities), but so what? They're fun songs, and I'm part of the choir, not representing my own personal beliefs.

Singing solo on the other hand...singing solo and presenting songs that I've chosen to perform, it would depend on the lyrics as to whether I would want to sing certain Christmas or Hanukkah songs. But that's another post! This one is about choir. :)

I wasn't singing on our first day, due difficulty in merely speaking. However, I was able to sit and listen. The director didn't have us spend time practicing the music -- she just had us sight read each song through. That was nice to hear, even though people were mostly unsure of their notes and sometimes of the rhythms. I look forward to actually being able to sing with everyone else.

I predict that this will be fun, and look forward to seeing what our other director has in store for us. :D

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Page 5 of 4

No, the title of this post is not due to dyslexia (even though I am dyslexic). It's at the top of the last page of one of my syllabi. The professor, my classmates, and I had a good laugh at it, so I figured I'd share it here. I think it's a good sign that things will be interesting at my university. :)

The classes were fun, and there were some other new music therapy majors who shared all my classes. It was rather exciting to meet the people who I'll be earning my degree alongside. If only I'd been able to talk more! Sometime next week I'll get my voice back, and they'll be wondering how I suddenly got so talkative. lol

I talked a little today, but as I said before I mostly keeping quiet. I did chat a little before the first class, I clarified during attendance that Sarita is my preferred name (it isn't my legal name, so things can get interesting), I answered some questions, asked some of my own, and when we got to the singing parts -- in two different classes -- I explained that I am absolutely not singing today because my voice is recovering. But I didn't talk nearly as much as I wanted to.

I also found out today that one of my fellow students who's also going after a music therapy degree is blind. That got me to thinking about how I communicate. I don't tend to think about it, but I rely very very heavily on body language to express myself. Only problem is, body language doesn't work when the person you're talking to is blind! So talking to her kept me on my toes.

I'm sitting here, looking at this post, and I can only think of one word to describe it: rambling. That's three rambling posts this week, I think. Hopefully my writing will smooth out once I've settled into being a student at a university.

"To hear, one must be silent."

I survived my first day of classes at Marylhurst. Wow.

I just want to say, right now, that I weighed my textbooks immediately after I got home. They weigh 11 pounds, all together. I kid you not. I would like to thank whoever is responsible for the creation of rolling backpacks.

I'm pretty much recovered from my fight with the flu (which I'm guessing is what I was sick with) except for my throat. It isn't nearly as painful as it was, and in fact feels much better than it did even yesterday. However, I'm still finding it somewhat difficult to speak. I mean, I can, but then this weird sort of half voice comes out of my mouth, and I'm like "Is that me???" Yes, unfortunately it is me.

So, I minimizing how much I talk, as best I can. Talking isn't half as painful as it was even yesterday, but that itself could be a danger. What if I over work my vocal chords too soon and hurt them? I haven't asked a doctor or a vocal instructor about this, so for all I know there may be no need to worry, but to stay on the safe side I'm attempting to limit how much I talk.

This has resulted in me thinking on something said in one of my favorite books written by Ursula K. le Guin: "To hear, one must be silent." And for the life of me, I can't figure out how to put into words what I want to say about it. lol Ah well.

I'll write more later. :) I just wanted to get this down since it was a huge impact on my day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

testing 123 testing

Just ignore this...I'm experimenting...

Blog award


Much to my amazement, I have been nominated for a blog award! Thanks, Jupiter. :)

Naturally, there are rules:

1) Thank the person who gave this to you.
2) Copy the logo and place it in your blog.
3) Link the person who nominated you.
4) Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
5) Nominate seven "Kreative Bloggers."
6) Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
7) Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Seven things you don't know about me:

1) I used to drink soft drinks all the time. Something convinced me to try going without, and I stopped cold turkey one day, and replaced my soft drinks with water. A mere week later my body felt better, much to my amazement. These days I'll occasionally drink a Root Beer or whatever, but mostly I don't.

2) A nick name of mine when I was about six or seven was The Hat Lady. I always wore hats, and was never seen without one.

3) My family once adopted a greyhound. He was abandoned, and we never did find out who his previous owners were. He loved to run, and we suspect that he had a few good years racing before retirement. He was already old when we got him, though, and we had to put him down after only a few years. His name was Powell's, as in the bookstore.

4) Well, this is something that my blog followers won't know at any rate -- about a month ago I replaced my coffee habit with a juice habit. Sure, juice doesn't have caffeine, but it's healthier.

5) There have been a few occasions in which my parents have given me a taste of alcoholic beverages. (Like on New Years, and once when I was totally stressed and mom figured it would relax me.) To put it mildly, I have loathed every alcoholic drink I've ever tasted or even smelled. What's the big deal about wine and beer and stuff? I've been pondering this as I get closer to turning 21.

6) The "Animorphs" books by K.A. Applegate used to be my absolute favorite book series. After I lost interest in them my mom eventually persuaded me to donate them to the library, and now whenever I see those books on the shelves or in circulation I'm like "Oooo! I remember those!!!" :D

7) People who knew me years ago will know this, but not any of my blog followers. I used to be a die hard Lord of the Rings fan, and especially a die hard Legolas fan girl. I was a total nut, and used to end virtually every diary entry with "I love Legolas." Really sappy, I know...

Seven nominees:

The Gods Are Bored -- Because if talking about bored deities isn't kreative, then I don't know what is!

where is kristine now -- Because she travels and explores, and to me seeing new things and places somehow equals kreativity.

Editorial Ass -- Because she talks about things that might ordinarily seem dull (such as book sales data) but she does it in a kreative way that makes them seem interesting.

Pagan Culture -- Because she talks about Paganism from a fresh and seemingly new perspective. To me fresh/new = kreative. Oh, and she also has inspired several of my blog posts. If inspiring other people isn't creative, then what is?

nomadic tendencies -- Take a quick look at her photos. No explanation is needed.

the encouragement lounge -- Because she uses kreativity to provide us college students with inspiration and laughs.

She Who Seeks -- Because seeking is kreative.

.......

Wow. That was tough. :D

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rambles about phrases

One of Anne Johnson's recent blog posts got me thinking: we have certain phrases that don't make sense.

In the particular post I'm thinking of, she uses the phrase "shooting star." But, truthfully, a shooting star is really a meteor, and hardly a star at all. (If it were a real star and got into our atmosphere, things wouldn't be pretty for us.) At first I was rolling my eyes over this phrase, but then I realized that we do things like this all the time.

Why do we say "the sun is rising"? Really, the sun is definitely not rising. The earth is rotating, and spinning around the sun, and when the sun appears on the horizon it's because of this movement -- not because the sun is rising over the earth (which would be sort of difficult anyways since the earth is round, not flat!). The same thing goes for the sun setting.

But, how cool would it be to say "due to the movement of our planet, the sun has appeared on the horizon." Not only does that not sound as nice, it's a bit of a mouthful.

There's also the "evening star," Venus. Venus is a planet, not a star.

Then again, maybe it's partially just a matter of definition. Did the Greeks have a definition for "star" that would have fit Venus? Then the phrases just stuck, in spite of changing definitions. Maybe, maybe not. I don't know a thing about Greek.

Or maybe it's a relative matter. After all, the sun certainly looks like it's rising above us at sunrise.

Hmm...

Well, these weird phrases certainly are more poetic than the things they might be replaced by. Being a poet, I guess that's a good enough argument for using them, even if they don't make much sense! :P

This and that

I am not happy.

Last evening I thought I was getting better, and figured I would even be able to get out of the house today. But then I woke up this morning with a new symptom. I was not pleased. (For anyone who's curious, I woke up in a cold sweat.) I didn't feel too bad, other than the darned sore throat, but I figured that getting new symptoms isn't a good sign. So this is one more day stuck in the house.

Maybe I'm being over cautious, but I really would rather not push myself too far and get even sicker (is that a word?) or give my germs to anyone else.

Oh, and since I can't get out today, I've missed 1) a mandatory meeting for new music students at Marylhurst, and 2) the annual music department picnic. As I said, I am not happy. And I will be even more unhappy if I still can't get out of the house on Thursday, which is the first day of fall term.

But anyways...on to a happier topic!


Today is Mabon, technically the first day of fall. In truth, though, I think the season turned about a week ago here in Portland.

I'm not sure what my family will do. We'll see. Maybe something tasty made from stuff in our veggie garden. Maybe a nice chocolate cake for desert. :)

I haven't actually talked to my family really about what we'll do, but I know mom had already given it at least a little thought, so who knows -- she might already have plans for dinner.

So, what do my Pagan followers have planned for this wonderful day? I guess this question could go for non-Pagan followers also, if you observe the changing of the seasons like we do. :D

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ramblings about being sick

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been sick. What I didn't say is that I suspect it was a minor case of the flu. It hasn't been pleasant.

The main problem has been a sore throat. Yesterday and today I've barely even been speaking. Oh yeah, and I also had a job interview scheduled today, but I had to miss it. Fortunately mom was willing to call to say that I wouldn't be there. I mean, I can talk a little, but it's painful to say more than a few words at a time.

One of my symptoms, which admittedly I haven't found on a list of symptoms for the flu, was that my skin was feeling extra sensitive. Seriously, I put on my house shoes, and this little rough patch that had never bothered me much before was driving me crazy. That's just one example of when I noticed my skin being extra sensitive.

That got me to thinking about autism, and how some autistic people have trouble with hyperactive sensory systems -- that is, they are physically more sensitive than normal people. I'm sure that what I experienced wasn't nearly as bad as what some autistic people have to live with day in and day out, yet even having it for twenty four hours was bad enough.

Anyways, I'm still not feeling my best (darned sore throat) but I'm past the worse, and am getting better. I haven't had any fever today, and started to feel better at about noon.

And while I'm on the topic of flu...

Am I the only one who looks at H1N1 and wants to say "high-nee"? Am I? Because I look at it and rather than thinking "H one N one" I look at it and think "high-nee."

Enough rambling now! :P And I guess that's all this post really is...rambling.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Creating

Joy oh joy, I'm sick. I don't know what bug I've caught, but it isn't pleasant. At least it isn't keeping me in bed, even though I'm not getting out of the house today.

In other news...

Years ago I remember hearing that some Native Americans refused to weave when they were sad or upset. Their reasoning was that their feelings would be woven into whatever it was that they were creating, and that they didn't want to weave unhappiness into their work.

I don't remember which tribe(s) this was said of. I don't even remember where I read or heard it. But it's stuck with me.

It seems to me that when you make something, you put something of yourself, your feelings, and what's going on around you into your creation. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it isn't.



I shared the above photo earlier this month, and I am happy to say that I finished spinning it last night. As I neared completing it, I got to thinking about the things I've spun into it, and would like to list a few of them here.

1) Part of the audio book "Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. le Guin. I've read it ages ago, and was very happy to get ahold of it again. I also liked the narrator's voice.

2) The majority of the audio book "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman. We listened to it to and from our recent trip to the coast. Incidentally, we finished listening to this book earlier today.

3) I spun the beginning of my getting sick into it last night. This perhaps wasn't such a good thing to have spun into it.

4) My recent trip to and from the coast. It was fantastic.

5) Barbershop music at a cabaret show last night. There was one chorus and a bunch of quartets. Really fun. :)

6) Hanging out around the Pride of Portland chorus (more Barbershop music!) before they performed at Pioneer Square last weekend.

7) The happiness of being part of the bagpiping community, even though I don't play the pipes or drums myself...yet.

There's more, of course, but I'll leave it at that. And anyways, if I try to continue, I might get what I've spun into this yarn mixed up with what I've spun into other yarns of mine. :P

Have you ever thought about putting a part of yourself, your feelings, and whatever is around you into whatever you make when you get creative? What are your thoughts on this idea?

Friday, September 18, 2009

My trip to the coast

I shared that I would be going to the coast, but I didn't say exactly where we were going, did I?

Yesterday we explored a tide pool which was right by the lighthouse shown at the right. It's a place we've been before, and although we didn't enter the lighthouse this time we've climbed to the top of it before. (I should probably clarify -- "we" is mom, Tall One, and me.) It's the tallest in Oregon, and Tall One told me the other day that it's haunted. I don't know where he heard that, though.

Yesterday was an very good time to go tide pooling, because the tide was unusually low. So, we had some fun. Rather than trying to describe it, though, I think I'll share a few photos.

Here's a hermit crab I came across.

A problem I came across was that my hand sometimes got reflected in the water when I was taking photos.

There are seals on the rock back there.

During high tide the place I was standing for this photo is all under water. Imagine being the person whose job it is to take that yellow sign out there ever low tide!


And this one is a sea anemone.

This morning we wandered the beach, only a mile from where we were tide pooling. It was amazing, because the beach and the tide pool we were at yesterday are such different eco-systems, yet they are within a mile of each other!

When we go to the coast we normally camp at a KOA, but this time we were in a hotel because of the one free night we were awarded thanks to us staying at so many Best Western hotels over the summer. Our hotel overlooked the ocean, and the lighthouse was visible from our room.

We even had a "balcony." Except none of us really considered it to be a balcony. It was a little ledge with railing, that went out maybe eighteen inches from the side of the building. We looked at it, and laughed. It was too funny.

All in all, the trip was great. :)

Have any of you ever been tide pooling? What did you think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Audition and school stuff

First of all, I forgot to mention yesterday that I have a job interview scheduled. Again, it's for a job at Shoen library, and looks like a fun job. Wish me luck!

Yesterday I said I would tell more about my piano audition yesterday. I messed up a little on my classical piece, but they didn't seem to notice, and I didn't feel like pointing it out to them. (Of course, people at Marylhurst know about this blog, so they may find out via my blog that I messed up...lol. But whatever. :P) My other piece went smoothly, and I don't remember any mistakes, though there must have been at least one -- I don't think it's possible to perform a piece without making at least one small mistake.

After listening to my pieces I was told that I'm very good, but that my repertoire needs to be more advanced. They emphasized how good my playing is for the level I'm playing at, though. Not that I mean to brag. ;)

The choir audition was today. And, um, remember I said that the first I knew of it was an e-mail over the weekend? Well, I later found that I'd already gotten the info about it, but that I had overlooked it, because I'd forgotten that I was in the chamber choir.

(By the way, I've finally made a connection between crazy times and Mercury being in retrograde. Yes, it is currently in retrograde. I so need to pay attention to astrology stuff, so that I'll know when to be extra careful about communications in the future.)

The audition wasn't what I'd expected. First they had me do some vocal exercises to decide what my range is. I'm soprano. :) No surprise there. Gotta love those high notes! Next they had me do some sight reading, which had me a little nervous since I've only ever done sight reading on the piano, which is hardly the same as sight reading for singing.

In spite of the sight reading problem (and I had some trouble answering one or two music theory questions) I think it went ok. In any event, they said that they mainly just want to see what kind of group they've got, so that they know what kind of music and stuff to give us.

Oh and I also got my text books today. I've bought text books at PCC, but I was unprepared for what I had to spend today: $425. I think I'll spend my time at the beach recovering from the shock of seeing how pricey those books are.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hitting the beach

As a result of attending many Highland Games my mom booked us quite a few nights at Best Western hotels over the summer. Apparently all the nights added up, something like frequent flier miles, with the result that we get one free night at a Best Western hotel. Free is a great price. :) It does have an expiration date: sometime in January, I think. Since there's no point in waiting to use it for the next Highland Game season (it'll be expired by then anyways) we're figuring it's vacation time.

Ok, so it's one brief vacation, but whatever.

The plan is to leave early Thursday morning, hang out on the beach, spend the night at a Best Western hotel, hang out more at the beach, and meander back home sometime Friday.

Two days isn't much of a getaway, but I so cannot wait for it.

Yes, I did have an audition this morning, and it went fairly well. But more on that tomorrow. It's 11pm now and I'm getting up early in the morning for another audition.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A new music therapy student

For those who are new here, I'm a music therapist major and am starting my first term at Marylhurst university this fall term. I first auditioned with voice as my main instrument. I had to do three pieces, and accompany myself on one of them. Much to my shock, it was recommended that I switch my main instrument to piano, because they thought it was better.

Now I find myself re-auditioning tomorrow, so that they can evaluate exactly where my piano skills are, and place me where I need to be.

This has been a source of some stress. You see, one of my piano pieces has to be classical. I picked out my classical piece, only to be told by my brother about a week ago that it's actually baroque. I was not pleased. So I switched to a piece I learned ages ago, and brushed the dust off of it. It's a song I like, but truthfully I like the baroque one better. Ah well. They want classical, so I'll give them classical.

As though that's not bad enough, my second piece I'd chosen died. That's the way I think of it: it died. You see, I played it so much that my fingers are now mutinying, and more practice only makes it worse. I've replaced that piece now with May it Be. I like May it Be better anyways, but was refraining from using it because it's the one I accompanied myself on in the vocal audition. Well, since the other one died, I guess I'll get to play my favorite one. :) Even though that's an upside, I'm still irritated about it dying.

And as though that isn't enough fun...

I plan to be in a school choir this term, and I just got an e-mail today that basically said: "We'd like everyone to audition this Wednesday. We understand that not everyone will be able to make it, but please make every effort to do so." I can be there, but this isn't doing anything to help my sanity.

*deep breath*

On an upside, guess what I found? Free sheet music for the following song. I absolutely love the music from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Barbershop

I talked a little about Barbershop music yesterday, and decided that I wanted to talk more about it today.

Barbershop music got started thanks to bored guys who were waiting their turn in line at, you got it, barbershops! Originally the music belonged to the men, but it's so darned cool that women didn't let them keep it to themselves.

Barbershop is four part harmony, a cappella. I've heard the four parts related to parts of a cake, and it's the best way I've found to explain the different parts.

Bass -- the basses are the plate, and hold everything together. They scarcely ever have the melody, but I think their part is really cool, and would be singing it if I had the range.

Baritone (aka bari) -- they're the icing which adds character to the cake. They do this and that, and are basically whatever the cook (or composer) needs them to be. "Vocal gymnastics" is a good way to describe this part.

Lead -- we virtually always have the melody, which is why we're called leads. We lead the song. We're the absolute best of all four parts. (Never mind that I sing lead and am therefore biased... :P)

Tenor -- they're the sprinkles on the cake, but unlike sprinkles, they are absolutely necessary for Barbershop. They add it a bit of something that you don't otherwise have in the music. A good phrase to describe them is "seen but barely heard."

The parts are called this regardless of who's singing it: men, women and men together, or just women.

At this point I think that more description is pointless unless you can actually hear the music, so I'll let the music speak for itself.



This is the Realtime, which is one awesome quartet. I was fortunate enough to see them live a few years back, and have been in love with them ever since.



This second one is Martini, and is really good. Their lead (second from the left here) is in the Pride of Portland chorus, which I was talking about in my last post. Yes, I've also seen them live. :)



I wanted to also share a chorus, so I picked Westminster chorus. Notice their choreography. Choruses tend to do that. Unfortunatley I have not seen this chorus live. :( I hope I will someday, though. :D

I could add more, but three is a pretty good number so I'll stop here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stars and Barbershop

Star light star bright
first star I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
have this wish I wish tonight.


...you know, it wasn't more blog followers I wished for, but I come back and suddenly I have a bunch more. Welcome, one and all! :)

I don't normally wish on stars, but this evening I was out with a friend and we thought that lying on the grass and watching the stars come out sounded good. Since we were watching for stars anyways, I figured I may as well wish on one.

Speaking of wishes...

I wish you could all see the Pride of Portland chorus. They're part of Sweet Adelines International, which is a women's organization for singing Barbershop music. I'll try to stop right now since if you get me going I can really get going about Barbershop music, and especially this chorus in particular.

They're on my mind at the moment because I got up early to watch them perform at 9am this morning. You see, there's a new light rail line that just opened today, and it's getting a whole lot of publicity. So, this chorus got hired (I assume they were paid, anyways) to sing at this event. There were also other Barbershop groups singing, but this was the big one I wanted to see.

Below I posted a video taken a few years ago, of the intro of a song the chorus sang. This song isn't actually in the Barbershop style, since this chorus likes to play around, but it's the only one of theirs I could find on YouTube.




And because I have just got to share some normal Barbershop stuff, I want to share a video of the quartet LoveNotes.



That's all for now! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th, 2001

I was twelve years old on September 11th, 2001. My mom woke me up with news: "Honey, there's been trouble in the middle east for years, and we've known something was going to happen. It finally has..." That's how I learned about air planes being turned into bombs.

Tall One and I watched the news with my parents. I don't know how Tall One felt, but I didn't feel any emotion about it. I was angry with myself for not being angry with those who had murdered so many people -- it turned out I was simply numbed by the news. In time, though (a few days tops), I was through being numb, and thoroughly unhappy with what had happened. I think that writing in my diary helped me work through it. Writing does wonderful things for me.

Also, I got some new heroes; all those who risked their lives to save people in the aftermath of the crashed air planes.

I'm really not sure what else to say, though I want to recommend that you read Magaly's post about September 11th. She has an interesting perspective on it that makes you think. Not that my thinking has gotten anywhere yet, but it's opened up my eyes to another aspect of that day. It makes me feel like I ought to write some kind of really deep post, but I just don't have it in me today. lol Maybe another time.

Hmm, but maybe I do want to make one comment about something that changed in me because of that day. You see, Tall One had this Star Wars video game in which we liked to blow up civilian buildings and houses. Why? Because we could, and we didn't lose any points for it. But after that horrible day, I couldn't any more. I just couldn't.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Certain Annoying Men

A brief letter to Certain Annoying Men:

I am fairly ticked off, and here's why. I was walking down my street when I heard a honk. I looked to see what was going on, and realized that the honk was your attempt to flirt with me. You also seemed to think that I ought to be flattered by your attention.

I wasn't.

It's not that I object to being flirted with. It's just that I would rather be flirted with because you've met me and like me, rather than because you just think I'm hot stuff.

You don't even know me. You haven't even had the chance to exchange a few words with me, let alone get some general idea of what I'm like. All you know is what you see. Well let me tell you something -- what you see is only skin deep. There's more to me than my outfit and my body. And if you can't understand that, you aren't my type.

This isn't the first time it has happened. Please, stop it. It gets you nowhere, and only irritates me.

Sincerely,

A Woman

..............

Ok, so I don't expect that any of my followers are those annoying people honking at me, but I just wanted to get this out there.

I know I'm not the only woman who feels this way. I know that if this is our worst problem, life is pretty good, but come on...why not let people know that we don't appreciate it? I feel a bit presumptuous to suggest that other women copy this letter on their blog, but why not? Why not let people know how we feel about this?

While I'm at it, I just realized that I don't know if men sometimes have this same problem with women. Do you? I'm curious.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The joys of ADHD

Yes, I know I'm doing a lot of blogging, but that'll change once term starts. By then I'll have other things to occupy my attention: schoolwork and (hopefully) a job. In the meantime, I'm blogging daily, or sometimes multiple times a day.

Just figured I'd address that. :P

This morning I was talking to another volunteer at the library, and for some reason I mentioned that I'm ADHD. She said "me too!"

Her son was diagnosed ADHD, and as she started learning about it she discovered that she was also ADHD. I didn't think to ask whether she was actually diagnosed, but the truth is that if a kid is ADHD then most likely one of the parents is too. It's a genetic thing.

So we fell to discussing the joys of ADHD. She used to be a secretary, but had a hard time keeping things organized and keeping track of schedules. (This is a common difficulty for ADHD people, though exactly how bad it is or isn't depends on the individual.) At the time she thought she simply wasn't smart, but she now realizes that her brain is simply wired differently.

Random thought -- my mom's reading a book, I forget the title, in which ADHD kids are actually demi-gods, and that in old days we used to go on adventures and quests and that our ADHD craziness actually kept us alive.

Oh yeah, and another ADHD thing is going off on tangents, like the one I just went off on. :P I suppose I could delete my "random thought" paragraph, but I'll leave it up to make a point.

And with our randomness, we can have trouble focusing. Well, ok, it's not exactly focusing we have trouble with. We focus perfectly well! ...just not always on what we're supposed to be focusing on. And we sometimes take in too much all at once. To quote Frank Copplola, "I prefer to distinguish ADD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting ... remarkably at the same time." Ok, so that's about ADD, not ADHD, but they're really similar. The only difference I can see is that one involves hyperactivity and the other doesn't.

The flip side of not being able to focus easily on things is that we sometimes hyper-focus. That is, we latch onto one thing, and focus all our attention on it. This can be really great sometimes, but not always. The times it's not so great is when we're hyper-focusing on something other than school work, or our job. That can get to be problematic. Fortunately there are little tricks to dealing with it. But I think that's for another post. This one is long enough already.

Happy day!

Today is 9/9/09. As one person has said (Dale, I'm assuming you don't mind my quoting you):

Re 9/9/09, part of its numerological significance lies in the fact that 9+9+9=27, which reduces to 2+7=9. Furthermore, ANY! number multiplied by 9 yields a result which reduces to 9; for instance, 9x9=81, 8+1=9; or 9x26=234, 2+3+4=9...etc., no matter how large the result, it will ALWAYS reduce to 9.


I'm personally somewhat excited about this day, though not because of the numerological significance, though I think it is worth noting.

The reason I'm excited about this is the day that the PCC campuses become officially smoke free. I've always had a problem with smoking. Ok, so no I don't have a problem with tobacco used ceremonially in religious ceremonies, but that's different. In those cases, it isn't being abused, or inflicted on other people.

And yes, I use the word "inflicted." I have family members who are very much allergic to it, and cannot be near someone who is smoking without taking medication. I'm not allergic, but I hate (I know that's a strong word) it when I find myself breathing second hand smoke, which can even happen inside buildings that are designated as smoke free. You may ask, how does smoke get in there? Well, for one thing people sometimes smoke next to open doors, and the second hand smoke gets wafted in on the breeze. Also, second hand smokes clings to the smoker a full twenty minutes after they put the cigarette out.

And as happy as I am, I'm not celebrating a complete victory yet. For the last year PCC has had designated smoking spots, and everywhere else on the campuses was supposed to be smoke free. Unfortunately, a number of smokers did not follow the rules, and I did not see the rules being enforced. So even though I'm happy about PCC officially going smoke free, I'm somewhat skeptical about how well the rules will be followed, and whether the rules will be enforced.

Still, it's a step in the right direction. Also, people have known that this was coming for a full year, and have hopefully the smokers have prepared themselves for the change.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Autism



Someone shared the above video on facebook, and I knew I just had to post it here. You should watch it (it's a mere ten minutes) but I'll try to sum up what it says.

It's about an autistic girl who was unable to communicate for eleven years of her life, and who was believed to almost certainly be mentally retarded. Then when she was eleven someone set her down at a computer; she typed "hurt" and "help." Realize, no one had taught her how to write. But she typed those words out. And that was just the beginning.

She turned out to be very intelligent -- and her father said that they were "horrified" because they used to talk about her, right in front of her. I don't think they do that any more.

Now, through the computer, she is able to express herself, and even open up a little window as to why autistic people behave the way they do. To paraphrase her very briefly, she says that they have sensory overload and that their wild antics (waving their arms around, etc.) is their way of dealing with it. And it's not something they can control, either. Carley says that if she could stop, she would. But she can't.

I guess that the moral of the story (to which there is more than I have written) is that just because someone is different doesn't mean you should write them off as being stupid. Because Carley definitely isn't.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Job hunting


Remember that almost dream job I was looking at in the library? I expected to hear back last week, but didn't. So I'm assuming I haven't got the job. :( Ah well. Life goes on!

So it's back to job hunting. There were three possible jobs listed for work study that I found online. (Well, actually four, but one if them is the job I've already applied to.) One required experience in customer service, which I haven't got, so I won't bother applying for that one. But the other two are possible. One of the would have me working in the Department of Art and Interior Design, the other one would have me working at the library. They both look like good jobs, even fun jobs.

Wish me luck! :D

French Fry Fun

Not much is going on, so I was thinking that perhaps I should share funny stories. This is the month of Ramadan, and brings back one particular amusing memory I have.

I was maybe fourteen or so, and I was tending a booth at GirlFest event with some other girls, one of whom happened to be Muslim. Her religion might not be worth noting, except that it was Ramadan at the time, so she was fasting from sun up to sun down.

In spite of knowing that she was fasting I ate my lunch at the booth, where she was. In retrospect that was somewhat insensitive of me because it's easier to fast if you don't think about food, and it's hard to not think about food when someone eating right in front of you. But I didn't realize that at the time, and no one pointed that out to me.

She didn't complain about my eating in front of her, though. In fact, she started hovering over me. I didn't have a problem with her hovering, and it soon became obvious that it wasn't exactly me she was hovering over, but my food. Oh, and she wasn't hovering, either: she was drooling.

Whatever happened to ignoring food to make fasting go easier? Maybe she didn't know it at the time.

It eventually wound up with me handing over one of my french fries. She didn't eat it, but she did sniff it like it was heaven to her. She stood there, holding it with both hands, eyes closed, just smelling. She didn't seem to care that I and a few others were laughing. But, that was typical. She's one of those people who is always doing something or other, and is used to being a source of amusement.

I guess the story loses something in the telling, but it was hilarious.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

"The Burning Island"


As I promised in my post Goals a while back, I am talking about Pele to prove that I'm not being (too) lazy and am actually looking up info on her.

I picked up "The Burning Island: A Journey Through Myth and History in Volcano Country, Hawai'i" by Pamela Frierson from my local library recently. It's a book devoted to Pele, though somewhat indirectly. Frierson talks about the volcanoes of Hawai'i, and the geology -- obviously, Pele's domain, since she is the local volcano goddess there. But Frierson also takes interest in mythology, and whether or not she actually believes in the old gods (that's a point I'm not clear on), mentions Pele's name frequently.

Really, this book is as good as one that is devoted to the mythological side of things. Frierson even talks about the myths, though they aren't what I'm talking about in this post.

There are two interesting geological facts which I want to share this time. One is that science proves that the islands were formed in almost the exact same order that mythology tells they formed. But this doesn't surprise me. Wouldn't it seem natural for myth to tell that the less active volcanoes are the older and that the more active are the newer? So when I read this I was just like "Well, duh."

The other interesting fact is a little more interesting, and it is that the islands come from a "hot spot." A hot spot is where there is a hole in the middle of a tectonic plate, which causes volcanoes to form. How a hot spot pops up (no tongue twister was intended, honestly) is not fully understood by scientists yet, though there are theories. I don't fully understand them, and won't attempt to explain them. If you are truly curious, I direct you to the reference desk of your local library. Alternatively, I suppose Google would also be good. :)

But what's interesting about this, is the mythology. According to myth, Pele stuck her staff into the ground to form the first Hawai'ian volcano -- which would create such a "hot spot." Very interesting, I think.

By the way, I got the photo here, and there are plenty more volcano photos if you are curious to see them. Unless otherwise specified they were taken by scientists, and are public domain. And yes, these are photos of Hawai'ian volcanoes. :)

Pagan census


I came across a Pagan census which I figured I should share here. Hopefully the link will work. Thing is, since I've already done the census, it refuses to let me see the census itself. But hopefully what I copied will work. Hopefully. If not, I'll just have to figure out something else.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A few thingies

First of all, I want to introduce you to Juliet Marillier. She is a fantastic writer, and because her "Sevenwaters" trilogy opened my eyes up to Paganism she has a special place in my heart. Ok, I would have found it anyways, but she just helped me along a bit. :) Marillier grew up on folklore (and a good dose of mythology too, I'd say), and it comes throughstrongly in her writing. Really, I don't know what to say about her, so perhaps I'll let her writing speak for itself.

When I was looking at her website the other day I discovered that she has two short stories that you can read online. Or, you can print them to read at your leisure away from the computer. One is "Let Down Your Hair" which is a lovely twist on the story of Rapunzel. It's a mere eight pages, and is a quick read. Please, look at it! Marillier is an absolutely fantastic writer.

The other story is "Otherling" which I find to be a bit darker than is her norm, but is absolutely fantastic. It's longer than the other (twenty two pages) but is also a quick read. If you like these two, you should read one of her novels.

Secondly, while I'm talking about people, maybe I should mention that there's a new blog: Highschool, my dear Watson. It's written by the daughter of one of my favorite bloggers, and though there are only three posts up in it so far, it promises to be interesting.

Last, I want to share what I've been up to. Tall One commented that the roving (that is, the stuff that's about to be spun) looks like cotton candy. It's half wool and half soy silk, hand painted in China. I don't know what soy silk is, but when you mix it with wool it's fantastic! :D



Friday, September 4, 2009

Fur Baby Friday

Today I'd like to talk about Kokopelle, who I refer to as "my baby" and is our youngest cat.

It's an interesting story, how he came to me. It starts out with my mom at work. A woman came into the building my mom works in with this kitten in her arms, and said "Will someone please hold this kitty? If someone doesn't hold him he'll get under my car and I'll squash him when I drive away." This feline was, of course, Kokopelle. My mom took charge of the kitten, and even wandered around the local neighborhood to see if he would take off to his home. But he only sat at her feet whenever she put him down, and she didn't see any signs about missing kitties that matched his description.

Mom decided to take him to our vet to see if there was a micro chip in him. (Note: never, ever, drive with a cat lose in your car. She didn't get into an accident, but only because Kokopelle acted up in a street she had all to herself in a quiet neighborhood.) That was when I first met him, because she called me and asked me to meet her in the driveway with a cat carrier. I insisted on going to the vet, of course, because I wanted to see more of this wonderful kitty.

No micro chip was found, and he was taken home until we found out where he belonged. My parents have always been firm believers in keeping new cats separate from the other cats in a household until everyone gets used to the smell and idea of a new cat -- something I was amazed to find that not everyone does -- so the kitty was put in my room, much to my delight.

There are two particular things I remember clearly from that time, aside from having a litter box in my room. One was the first time he was in my lap. He had obviously been someone's pet, because he was starved for affection. He was also extraordinarily trusting, because he was content to lay belly up in my lap, even though I was a stranger. The other thing I remember was when I had to separated from him for about twenty minutes so that I could take a shower. Mom kept him company during that time, but he made it known that he was not happy about my disappearance.

We never found his previous owners, of course, and now I belong to him.

By the way, his name was my mom's idea. Her second idea, actually. Her first was Loki, but after a bit of research (I was unfamiliar with Loki at the time) I vetoed that idea. My own idea had been to name him after a dragon, but I decided I liked Kokopelle better. Well, Kokopelli, actually. Kokopelle is just my nickname for him.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Oregon tartan

You've probably noticed that I've been playing around with the background of the blog. I currently have the Oregon tartan up, and I think I'm going to keep it.

I don't know how many people understand tartans. I know I didn't before Tall One got a kilt. There are many different tartans, and which one you wear depends on which clan you're part of (or what the pipe band you're in demands that you wear when playing with them). Of course, if you aren't actually part of a clan or a pipe band, then there are some choices. My brother went with the Douglass tartan when he got his first kilt because the official Oregon tree is the Douglass fir tree, named after a guy in the Douglass clan.

That's not to say we don't have Scottish heritage. We do. We even know what clan is in our heritage, but we choose not to associate with it. You see, about five generations back our branch of the family either got disinherited, or disinherited ourselves; it's sort of debatable, but I like the latter theory better. This clan -- or at any rate those in it who we're descended from -- has a bit of a history of being fairly nasty, to put it mildly.

So, we have nothing to do with them. And as a result, Tall One got to go searching for a tartan to wear just like anyone who isn't actually of Scottish descent gets to.

Another interesting tidbit about this clan is that it was disbanded for plotting treason. Well, truthfully, whether treason was actually plotted is a debatable point. What's not debatable is that one day the king exclaimed "Treason! Off with their heads!" And off their heads went. However, there are still actual members of the clan around (not just disinherited members like my branch of the family) and I suspect that the tartan is still in use outside of Scotland.

I'd always figured that when I get around to wearing a tartan I'd just follow Tall One's lead and wear the Douglass tartan. Then last summer I learned that each US state has its own tartan. I instantly knew what my tartan is.

My roots are firmly in the Great Northwest. I've grown up in Oregon. This is my homeland. It has a tartan? Well then, that tartan is my tartan. Simple as that. Ok, so I'm close enough to Washington that my roots are partially embedded there as well, but it's in Oregon that I've grown up, so it's the Oregon tartan that I'm claiming as my own.

I still might find a different background for this blog that I like better, but I don't think that's likely.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fun in the library

I've been having fun in the library.

I've started collecting some interesting spine labels. Sometimes they are simply the first three letters of someone's name which happens to spell something out, like JEW. Other times, it's someone's last name that is in an interesting place. For example, finding the last name BEER in the kid's section. That one had me laughing.

I've got a link to this on the sidebar in my blog, and you can find the link here.

It's also interesting, the books I come across. Especially "Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude." I decided that I had to share an image of the book, since simply giving the title isn't enough.

Ok, so it's a kids book, but I want to get ahold of it and look through it. Basically, it's two kids telling a story, and they don't agree on what kind of story should be told -- one about cool motorcycle dudes or about a beautiful princess.


I guess that's it for now. I need to go do chores before mom gets too irritated with me.

testing 123 testing

Just ignore this post...I'm playing around, and seeing what happens if I try doing the Oregon tartan as my background...














Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Circle of life type stuff



I discovered this song recently, and instantly fell in love with it. I didn't know why I fell in love with it, though, because I'm vegetarian.

After writing about being vegetarian earlier I realized why. The song is ultimately about respecting life. Yeah, in particular it's talking about the hunt, but really it seems that the theme of the song could be applied to any life -- including plants. So, it's as relevant to vegetarians as it is to carnivores.

Speaking of plants...

I have of course seen great trees taken down before, but not since I started talking to plants. There's a tree near my Aikido dojo which I haven't talked to before, but seemed old and wise, and today I discovered that it had been taken down. I was sad to see it gone.

Pagan clip art type stuff

Ok, I've discovered the joy of public domain clip art, now I have a question. Does anyone know where I can find Pagan public domain clip art? In the sites devoted to such stuff that I've found on Google I'll do a search for "pentacle" or "pagan" and get nothing! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it's a little irritating.

Do you know where I can find public domain Pagan type stuff that no one will complain about me using?

ps. I love actually having followers now who I can ask questions of. :D