Monday, April 28, 2008

With a knick-knack paddywhack

Well, we've been to Washington and back, and it was a great vacation, but it's always so hard to come back to real life once you've had a vacation. Erica and El Jefe were awesome hosts, cooking dinner almost every night and providing tons of distraction (bath toys! art projects! books!) for Nolan. Plus we had the whole upstairs of the house to ourselves - it was like our own little apartment in their house. We didn't do a whole heck of a lot, really. We went to the wedding of KB's friend Weissy (the ostensible purpose for the trip), and we made one other trip into Seattle to go to the Frye museum and of course Pike's Place market, but other than that we mostly hung out in Olympia. Erica and I got to have a girls' night out (which meant Nolan, KB and Jefe had a boys' night in, complete with steaks and bourbon) and it was soooooo nice to just hang out for a little while. We've been friends for over 20 years now (yipe!) and it's incredibly easy to fall back into our same rhythm of talking and laughing together. (The sparkling wine and gourmet food didn't hurt, either.) We almost didn't go out because we had all gotten sick (thank you, airplane travel) and we were kind of sniffly and sore throat-y, but again, the sparkling wine was a lifesaver. The girl-time binge made the return to Princeton a little hard for me - I'm once again reminded of my dearth of close friends here, and while I know things will get better with time and there's no rushing it, I still miss it.

So what else is going on, you ask?

Well. Our camera died, for one. The day of Weissy's wedding, right at the beginning of the ceremony. KB picked up the camera, pushed the shutter button, and it just froze, dead. So I am looking for any and all input into digital SLRs the four of you who read this blog might have for me - considering the Canon digital Rebel XTi, but willing to listen to other opinions. And that also means we have zero pictures of our trip.

And zero pictures of my seedlings, which I just planted yesterday. We had one of these indoor plant-starting kits that we, well, started before we left for WA, and while we were gone the green bean seedlings went berserk and pushed the lid off, they grew so fast. So I got the peas and the green beans in the ground yesterday, and I'm giving the tomatoes a few more days to get their strength up (and to hope the weather warms up a little) before I subject them to the same treatment. I put down chicken wire to keep the squirrels from digging up the plants (because I was told that squirrels aren't really interested in the plants themselves, they just like digging in freshly turned earth - who knew?) and think I probably killed more seedlings trying to get them through the holes in the chicken wire than the squirrels would have. Sigh. So we'll see.

Aaaaaaaand...what else?

Fiddle lessons are continuing. My teacher said something last week that really struck me, which was "Musicians are athletes of the small muscles." We were talking about the importance of practice and how there's really no shortcut or substitute for it. You have to tell your muscles the correct way to do things ("No, ring finger, for C sharp you're right next to the pinky, not the middle finger.") over and over and over again until they can do it from memory. Even if your brain can think it correctly, that doesn't mean your fingers and arms can play it correctly. So you have to commit yourself to practicing scales over and over just like a tennis player practices serves over and over. There's no other way to do it, to the chagrin of slackers like me who have a dream scenario in mind of playing in an Irish bar pick-up band but don't necessarily want to, you know, work to get to that point.

(And please, can someone explain to me why the names of the scales never have anything to do with the notes that are sharped or flatted in said scales? G major has one sharp, F#. A major has three sharps, F#, G#, and C#. Why? Why isn't a scale with only an F# called F#? I think I need to take a music theory class.)

I guess that's it for now. Nolan is good, KB is good, the weather sucks, the cats are annoying. You know, the usual.

Oh, and we still have no working washer-dryer set up. The new washing machine is installed, but the old dryer won't stack on top of it without a special stacking kit and new legs, so I've ordered those and when they come in I get to find out if KB and I can do it (stack the dryer on top of the washer and hook it up, that is) ourselves. So I'm washing clothes and hanging them on a clothesline I rigged last week. We're so eco-friendly, if not strictly by choice.

Thanks for reading.

No comments: