Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Not beans, at least...

My sister called me at work to report:

My nephew, B—, woke up this morning and was all congested. His complaint: "Mommy, I have some music in my nose."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Notes to myself

It's early for me on a day off from work. I am asleep, and the phone rings. Peter is out at Liturgy. I decide to answer: it could be Important.

Not this time. I don't have my contacts in, and I can find a pen, but no paper. Only one piece of information is new in the message for my husband, so I write that down.

I didn't think this was strange until I looked at my thigh at the end of the day and see the word "dinner" written there.

Monday, November 21, 2005

How are you?

This question stumps me, unless I have a ready "clever"* response.

Other people answer with "fine." I am trying to work on that, but years and years of having my father come up with "clever" answers has demolished the normalcy from my repertoire. (Just look at the previous sentence! I write like this because I'm tired! It's easier! Nobody writes like this! And has long, parenthetical, hyper-exclamatory asides!)

*"Sedentary" is the only one I can think of now.

I analyze things. When I worked at Blockbuster, I looked at the best way for a customer to receive a pen: on the counter this way, that way, held in a particular way, on the receipt or next to (it's handing it, tip angled down and away from the signer). I try to keep my office supplies where they will be most useful (not easy, since I have a short-in-depth desk so far), and the phone where it is natural for me to reach for it. When I'm in the office kitchen, I place the coffee supplies strategically: creamer here, sugar-types here, stirrers here; decaf on the top shelf because only guests use it.

What are your favorite words starting with "non-"? I just thought of two and decided to ask. I like nonage and nonce.

Yesterday morning I chanted with the women's choir at Orthros and Liturgy. I read a psalm; Mary Beth asked me to chant a verse of the Tes presvies, and I looked at it, and it sunk in that I had no idea how the melody went, and I thought it stayed the same, but maybe it went up or down and aaaaaa, so I shook my head 'no' and she did it. Mary made fun of me, but I read the third psalm somewhere (stupid fingers! stop typing 'pslam'! It is not a word! You lose!) at Fr. Seraphim's request and after that I was pointed to keep going with the Alleluia stuff and at Peabody they sing in the middle (between psalms 3 and 4), and at all the normal places they only sing at the end, so I started singing (because I didn't know this until my husband pointed it out to me) and was hushed. And yes, I did cry, and I'm ashamed of that, too, but it was for Fr. Seraphim and I wanted to do it right and I didn't, and that hurt. So I'd rather be made fun of for not doing something than be pitied for doing it wrong. At least in this case. Eleni balked at intoning something, and Mary teased her, calling her a chicken. I told Peterbird about this and he pondered whether Mary meant it as a pun, as 'Poulos' is close to the Greek word for 'chicken.' Don't worry. I smacked him with a pillow.

Note to self: do not accept NFL tickets because you will regret going to the game when you could have accepted the luncheon invitation of MB's parents.

Yesterday afternoon, we went to see the Patriots and the Saints in Gilette Stadium, thanks to my job. It was eerie: the first football game I've been to that didn't have a marching band. The dancing girls were the only entertainment, but after making the observation that their tiny shorts seemed ridiculous in conjunction with their giant pouffy jackets, the blinking displays of advertising seemed more interesting. We watched the first half, and it was exciting and fun. It was sunny, but the sun wasn't in our eyes; it was windy, but it mostly died down. On the other hand, we were at the very top and it seemed like the only way to get there was this long long ramp which reminded me of UT fencing drills.

We had entered at the not-so-close gate, so it was a lovely walk just to get to the ramp, weaving through people carrying very spillable glasses of beer. Around halftime, I realized that there wasn't going to be any sort of halftime show (even the dancing girls had disappeared), and I asked Peterbird if he wanted to get a shirt from the Pro Shop (we had a soccer shirt coupon, also from my work, that I hadn't yet redeemed) during halftime or the third quarter (being the traditional band resting time, so that seemed natural). We went down the ramp and around about a quarter of the stadium before losing all track of any signs saying 'Pro Shop,' so we asked a yellow-jacketed group of people, one of whom pointed us to keep going another quarter-turn around the stadium (opposite corner from our seats, on the very lowest level).

We got to the Pro Shop and everything there was Patriots gear, nothing for the Revolution (coupon for a particular Revolution shirt), so we asked for help and they went in the back and gave us a shirt. So that's one Christmas present down. Everyone else to go. Peterbird asked if we could just go home, as we were well into the third quarter by then, and this would help beat the traffic. So we went home and watched NFL on tv as long as it was on (as we do most other Sunday afternoons while we take our PLN*) and played Uno.

*Post-Liturgical Nap.

Yesterday evening, Peterbird went to the vigil and I settled down for a solid four-and-a-half-(and then some)-hour stint at the computer: transcribed another talk for L, and commented on each of Peterbird's papers. Most of my comments at that hour were: "I DON'T GET THIS PLEASE EXPLAIN," so I don't know how helpful I was.

So I didn't exactly mean for this entry to be this long, detailed, or involved, but I'm a sucker for external validation, and yeah. Oh, and I liked L's idea of the Liturgy being a respiration process. Disjointed disjointed disjointed. I give myself an A+ because I can. I will stop now. I think I am tired and none of these papers have gotten off of my desk just because I don't like them.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Possibly more band than you wanted

Dn. Tom tries to get us to play all together, but it's difficult when someone isn't looking at him for the downbeat of the first note.
"Look at me. You know the first note, right?"
"And you know the second note, right?"
"So look at me!"
The first two notes are spot on, and Dn. Tom shouts: "See? It makes all the difference in the world!" While he's exclaiming over this, the player falls apart on the rest of the phrase, then offering this: "I didn't know what the third note was."

Dn. Tom told us a story, paraphrased here:
"If you're on time, you're late; if you're early, you're on time." Everybody's heard a band director say that. My band director used to conduct ensembles all over the world, and he tolerated very little in terms of monkey business. So the principal trombone player gets there early, puts his horn on his chair, and goes to the bathroom. He gets back four minutes after rehearsal has started.
"You're late."
"My horn was here."
"Your horn cannot play itself."
"That's not what they told me when I bought the thing!"
We lost ten minutes of rehearsal time waiting for the band director to stop laughing.

So I get random hiccups occasionally—not like regular hiccups, in a series, just one at a time out of nowhere. Peterbird thinks they're cute, because they sound like a cartoon: "hic-cUP!" Dn. Tom decided I needed to be scared out of having the hiccups.
"Boo!" I flinch. We go on with rehearsal, and later I hiccup again. We're waiting for him to start a piece (i.e., do something), and he raises his baton, staring straight at me (I'm right in front of him, after all), and leaps towards us: "BOO!" Since I'm ready for something, I don't move, but evidently the brass were rather startled. I think one trumpet made a strangled "Aah!" to which Dn. Tom, possibly disappointed that I didn't flinch this time, replied, "Well, he won't be getting hiccups any time soon!"

We played, the euphonium settling down after the past few weeks on a new horn to produce this lovely golden sound that I just wanted to curl up in.

After band, I went to the gym to watch Peterbird play basketball. They lost, and my throat hurts and is all raspy. *sigh* I don't want to be The Receptionist. Wah.

Mimi had asked what I thought about clarinets.

Here are some brief synopses of people in various sections. Some of these are dredged up from memory, others are clear and sharp. Not all of these will be agreed upon by people from various bands, except, perhaps, the trumpets. For the most part, the only people whom I noticed had changed from high school to band were the trombones. It definitely makes a difference whether the players were male or female, especially for brass, and how serious they were about practicing; there was also a social "snootiness"/popularity aspect. In other words, don't be offended; I do like people from every section, and am not terribly girly myself. Most of the time.

Flutes/Piccs: Pretty girly.
Clarinets: Ready to party and have a good time; comfortable to be around.
Oboes: Either completely together, or panicky.
Bass Clarinets & Bassoon: Rather mellow, with a wild side.
Baritone Saxophone: Needs attention.
Alto Saxophone: Mix of needing attention and being ready to party.

Trumpet: Hello, ego.
French Horn: Cool, but weird. Most of the time in a good way.
Trombone: In high school, jerks; in college, really really really sweet guys.
Euphonium/Baritone & Tuba: Low brass; how can I explain?

Snare: Hotshots, but for the sake of doing cool things, not ego.
Quads/Quints: Serene, weird, and very cool.
Bass Drum: Disgruntled, but fun. (Wouldn't you be disgruntled? Those are heavy.)
Cymbals: Social.
Pit Percussion: Dreamy, quirky, and nice. (I had a 6-year crush on a marimba player.)

My friend Heather (clarinet) used, when your friend says she's dating someone, there are two questions: "Is he in band?" and "What does he play?" It was okay to date people who weren't in band, but there was so much you could tell when they were. I think I did pretty well with my inscrutable vocalist who sometimes plays guitar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Geekily yours, an introspection

I have a problem with saying the wrong thing. I have my husband review many of my emails before I send them out.

I think too much, especially about myself, trying to be funny so people will like me, worrying that they don't if they don't laugh. This leads to trying to be funny (and I'm not good at it), and when it's inappropriate or not-so-well received, I feel twice a fool. Even if I'm imagining a bad reception.

This means that I will abruptly shut down from a conversation, leave the room, or just not blog. I think I'm rather too terrified of not being liked.

I recently read through some of my blog entries from the previous year (trying to find the all-important entry on "blatant eggs" so I could post a link), and I like the person I seem here. So why can't I just relax and enjoy it, and believe people, like my husband, when they say that they actually like me? (A rousing chorus of "Because you think too much!" might fit here.)

In news of the flippantly geeky, I am in love with* this site. Excruciatingly and pantingly in love. Not only do you get to do challenging** logic puzzles, there's a possibility of a prize! And the prize? A book of logic puzzles, natch.

*Or, in the vernacular: I puffy heart this site. *smirk* I love that, all spelled out.

**Hard enough to feel I've accomplished something, not so difficult that I think it's impossible and give up. Also, I do them faster than Peterbird, which results in triumphant battle cries and happiness (he is patient and my battle cries are amusing).

Monday, November 14, 2005

10 Influencing People

A meme from Laura: "Top 10 Greatest Influences Outside of God and my Family Members." ('10' in base 14-ish.)

people who taught me things about becoming an adult:
-Ava Preacher: Most people who graduate from high school are not immediately ready for college; it's okay not to be ready for college.
-Rebecca Davidson: Intelligent people don't always know how to get along in the world, but you'll figure it out; it's okay not to agree with your parents on how to live your life, but you still have to respect them.

Latin teachers, in particular, who made me realize I can do more than I dreamed:
-Linda Rawlings: If you're in a bad mood, the people around you can tell; it's more fun to be in a good mood. Also, if you study, you will enjoy understanding the material.
-Daniel Sheerin
-Brian Krostenko

peers who got me through college:
-Rebecca Weber: Cut out the non-essentials; friends are essentials, and hard work never killed anyone.
-Miriam Rainbird: If your Latin homework goes past midnight, pour the vodka; chocolate and good food solve a lot of unhappiness, and an understanding friend helps to close the gap.
-Sarah R— C—
-Tim Brick

people who have simply been safe havens, yet helped me grow and look at myself:
-Tara W— M— (elementary school, before the move)
-Heather S— H— (elementary school and beyond, after the move)
-Fr. George Konstantopoulos
-Fr. Seraphim Dedes

and the current little angels.

I think Gabi is too little for this one (but feel free to surprise me, o ye parents), and most of the people I would tag have already been tagged (if I've missed someone, go ahead and be tagged, but it's difficult following the branching thread backwards), so I'll just zap Peterbird. ZAP! I say!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Office dynamics

Now, most people, when they use the phrase "office dynamics" are talking about how people interact with each other. The people in my office, however, interact with each other loudly.

When D— is in his office, to my left, talking to someone with the door open, even though I cannot see anyone in his office, it sounds as though they are a mere three feet away, talking directly to me.

When E— is in her office, to my right, I can clearly hear her when she's just muttering or humming to herself. Which she does.

Yes, that might be irritating, you say, but surely it's not enough to make a fuss about.

Except that D— is developing the habit of using the intercom with speakerphone to speak to E—, who is also on speakerphone. He calls to see whether or not she's free to meet with him. And then he invites her into his office.

Augh! I do not need to hear the pre-meta-meta-conversation in stereo with booming voices ricocheting off the acoustically bright walls. Also: fie!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mostly band rehearsal

(To Philippa:) I will worry if I want! I have had pie and ice cream! I bought 5 dozen eggs on Monday, knowing that the Nativity Fast starts on November 14. And I'm allergic to eggs! (Don't worry. It's not supposed to make sense.

So, tonight at band practice was possibly the best practice we've had. Or at least, I thought ... our increment of getting better was larger. Does that make sense? It is my blog. Of course it makes sense. Also, we had percussion, and once that was settled into triplet rhythms (instead of contrasting duples), it sounded super-fantastic.

Dang. I forgot to ask whether or not we need anyone to print programs. I guess Dn. Tom has that all taken care of, or I can ask next week. You know, because he lives all of 50 feet away.

So Dn. Tom gave the concert schedule:
El Capitan (Sousa)
The Laurel Grove
Violin Studio performs
King Cotton (Sousa)
"... and then we will recept!"

Both the marches are in 6/8 taken in two: DA-da-da-DA-da-da is one measure. We started King Cotton, our second march, and sounded "monotone," i.e., did not use the accent markings. "See these?" our fearless leader inquired, stabbing his hands: < "Or for you this:" (he turns around) > (to make the accent mark (no. 4)). "So it sounds like this: 'da-da-da-DA-da DA-da-DA-da'" (which is from El Capitan; King Cotton sounds like this: DA-da-da-da-da DA-da-da-da-da; each DA is twice as long as each da). To which there was a general chorus: "That's not the piece we're playing." Nonetheless, we played it how he wanted it to sound (I hope) when he started us up again.

Sometimes I wish I didn't sit right in front of him. He is very intense, and there is only so much I can do dynamically (without my teeth falling out, of course), but I want to do more. (I wasn't kidding, though, about the teeth, which is why I was surprised that everyone thought it was such a great joke. I think I may need to wear my retainer—horror!—again.) *sigh* On the other hand, dynamics are one of the (many) things I need to work on. Along with fingerings and breath. Yeah, the lyricism and the tone and tuning I don't find that I need to work on as much. (If you know otherwise, let me know!)

I have always seen the flutes as sort of a goody-goody section. Or maybe that was just me. I want to be on time, and have a pencil (never a pen!), and measure the numbers number the measures, and have my eyes up, and use good dynamics, and only breath where it's lyrically apt, and all that stuff. I kind of feel ashamed for playing the flute. It's so ... girly. One of the reasons I stopped being in band (aside from trying to kill myself by bilocation with marching band rehearsal and fencing practice being held at the *same* time ... though I'd probably do it again, if Mary Beth were there to sing in harmony with me as we rode our bikes to the dining hall in the dark—singing to let pedestrians know where we were) was that all my section-mates were so ... fluttery. They wanted to talk about guys and hair and she said and oh my goodness did you see ... and at ND, you were pretty limited in terms of everyone hung out within their own sections which wasn't true at my high school, where the flute cabinets were between the clarinets and the French horns who were pretty cool, so we hung out with them. Also, I didn't like being one of the tallest people—(I'm 5'3")—I don't know why, but that made me feel nervous.

I need to take the bubble bath my husband has drawn for me, and think about my teeth, and how to keep them while being louder.

In the meantime, I think this is a cool test.

Whining and an advertisement

I'm having one of those times where I write and write and then don't send. So far I have a lengthy blog-post which has been reduced to a draft, and an email to Philippa which has been written about three (also lengthy) times and still sits in my "drafts" in gmail. Meanwhile, my nanowrimo is going nowhere because I have time at work and not at home, but the most recent version is at home and I keep forgetting to make it accessible at work; also, I don't want to.

I don't want to say too much.

I don't want to say the wrong thing.

I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, or post about any work-related problems. (I know where that has gone for others.)

*sigh* Being a Christian would be easier without having to deal with all these bothersome people, you know? Especially myself.

In other news: I want this, but from here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Storytime, but no plot

Once upon a time there was a magda. She liked to do many things.

She liked to go to the gym and work out and feel stronger and stronger, and to read books while there, and feel her arm muscles.

She liked to go to the library and get heavy stacks of lovely things to read.

She liked to go to the family reunion in Dallas and see her niece and nephews and cousins, and volunteer to distribute the family trees and photos so that people could get what they wanted.

She liked to see a picture of a very cute little boy dressed as a deacon.

She liked to go to two chant rehearsals and feel all goldeny and be impatient for Pascha (though not Lent, as Fr. Seraphim pointed out).

She liked to go to band practice and feel useful even if she was one of four (the only woodwind and in the front row all alone) and even if she found out that she needed work now that everyone could hear her even more and even if they all laughed at the idea that she would blow her teeth out if she tried to be any louder.

She liked to pretend to be a writer and write a little story about a little girl named Theodora whom Laura has heard of, even though the story isn't getting written down for nanowrimo as quickly as it needs to be, because it's difficult to write a story when you don't know what the plot is, and realize that writing fiction is harder than you thought by more powers than you have fingers.

She liked to read the Bible passages for the day at the very end of the day from the Bible that her father had given her which they used to read out of when she was very small.

She liked to make lists of things which needed to be done in the evening, and things which she would like to do in the evening, and be okay with not getting even half of the things done on the list.

She liked to feel clever at thinking of taping a piece of paper on the clear door so that the sun wouldn't get in her eyes at the end of the day.

She did not like to go to work and get a cut while driving to get lunch for a meeting on such short notice, and she did not like to be the receptionist with the phone ringing every minute, and she did not like to bribe with more candy ask the Fedex girl to wait while she did up two packages which had just been handed to her.

She did not like leaving things undone, like typing out theological lectures, and scanning and uploading photos, and writing for nanowrimo, and replying to letters and emails.

Best of all, she liked to cuddle up with her husband at night and know that she was one day closer to the weekend, where she knew she would have chocolate-chip pancakes, and dreamed she might have time, in a single day, to do all the things she liked to do.

So that's where she's been all this time, in case anyone was wondering.

However, if the hectic work-day continues to be this stressful, she will need to apologize to her neighbors after playing music somewhat loudly for a while, like the Skalcoholiks, Rachmaninov, Altan, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Christopher Parkening.

N.B. When the magda gets stressed out and has a long and crazy day, she talks in third person.