Monday, February 28, 2011

Music Majors

Last night, Summer came to visit. Her cousin, a music composition major at University of the Pacific, was giving his senior recital--a couple of hours of his original compositions, performed by friends and fellow music majors. I had agreed to tag along and give her a fold-out sofa to sleep on for the night.

The recital was great--her cousin is a talented young man with wonderful imagination. He composed a short symphony, basing each movement on a different elephant from P.A.W.S.*, where he volunteers every summer. Each movement introduced a different elephant, each with its own unique personality. It was a moving and lovely piece of music.

What wasn't so lovely was the group of music majors sitting behind us.

UOP has a fairly prestigious music conservatory. These kids are talented, they are dedicated. They should be proud of the fact that they got into such a distinguished school. And they should know better than to talk through a performance, even if it is "just" their peers up there. Especially if it is their peers.

I am quick to get peeved at rudeness in a public place, whereas Summer is pretty laid-back most of the time. By the time intermission rolled around, however, even Summer was an unhappy camper. We muttered back and forth about the non-stop chatter in our ears. Finally, at the end of Intermission, Summer turned around and looked at the guys. In her usual, "I can be friends with anyone" voice (it's a talent she has), she said, "Hey, are you guys music majors?"

"Yeah." The guys sounded pleased to admit this.

"Then you know about concert etiquette."

She turned back around as the instrumentalists on stage finished tuning and we enjoyed the rest of the concert in blissful silence.

*If you haven't, take a look at the link--what a wonderful place these people are running!


On Saturday, my friend (a certain anonymous Purple Magpie) posted on Facebook a really cool video that used stop-action animation (still shots set in a video so quickly that the objects in the photos appear to move). I watched it, and then thought, "Waitaminute. I could do that!"

I immediately grabbed my Scrabble tiles and made this very basic attempt:

(Yes, "Fly To Me" is a Keane song.)

Some of the photos are blurry and I discovered in this exercise that holding the camera steady for 157 seperate photos (yes, one hundred fifty-seven) made for too much movement and disjointedness. I also learned that shortening each individual slide in the video to 0.40 seconds is still a little bit too slow.

So yesterday, I put together a very short, very basic little animation. It used far fewer photos, and a certain infamous rubber ducky.

The photos are a bit dark, but I like the animation in this one. Still, it's far to short at four seconds, so today, I tried yet again. This time, I even made a little studio set for Mr. Swimmy.

(I promise that I've also done some productive stuff today--a kick-ass workout at the gym, a run, and some good job searching.)

The picture quality is better in this one (and my little set and the "plot" are adorable, if I do say so myself) but I need to work on keeping the camera steady. In order to get the backdrop in the shot I had to put the camera on a book, and every time I pressed the button to get a shot, the book would press down, moving the camera. Future investment: a proper tripod.

Using still shots in videos isn't new to me--I posted my year in pictures video in December using that idea, and last week, I put together this charming little composition:

It's hard to explain just how much we've all come to mean to each other in a few short months, and all because of one amazing band and one silly joke about a rubber duck. And this is also proof that I am not the only one who takes my duck everywhere for photo ops!

I'm having a lot of fun experimenting with Windows Movie Maker. It appeals to my love of photography and my creative side. I have more to learn, and I can certainly get even better at this if I spend some more time doing it.

Monday Music: The Script

I can't tell you how many times I've listened to "Break Even" by The Script on my car radio, only to freak out at the end when the song incorporates a siren sound. Every time, it gets me, and I think an emergency vehicle is coming up in the distance. Still, it's a good song.

This one's not bad, either. I'm in a tentative "getting to know you" stage with The Script. Nice sound, and they're from Britain or Ireland, so that's always a bonus for this Anglophile. I like this song, too.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Haiku

Hot tea and NASCAR
Low-brow and high-brow pursuits
Contradiction? Me?

Sunday Mornings at PetCo

It occured to me this morning, while I was on my hands and knees on the floor of a major chain pet store, sweeping up cat litter and talking a non-stop stream to the cats in cages around me, that I've recently passed my one-year anniversary of volunteering for Animal Friends Connection Humane Society.

I celebrated by cuddling the five current occupants of our cages at PetCo, getting hissed at by one and purred at by the rest.

When I first signed up to spend my Sunday mornings scooping cat boxes, some people scratched their heads and wondered out loud why I'd sign up to do the "dirty work." I said it then and I am still saying it: I am helping a wonderful organization do something that needs to be done, and I am providing comfort and affection to cats who are still looking for their forever homes. Each and every cat that I have known has been special, and when a successful adoption happens, I cheer. I may have just scooped the poop for that cat a few times, but my willingness to do that freed up someone else to talk to people, to get people interested in our cats, to complete the paperwork. Every little bit helps.

So yes, I'm proud that for a year now, I've spent my Sunday mornings scooping cat poop, dishing out stinky canned food and washing stainless steel food dishes in the dog grooming sinks. I have cuddled a lot of cats. I've been scratched and hissed at. I've been cuddled and head-butted. I fostered my first litter last July (and would do it again if my situation allowed it, but alas, it doesn't) and knew the joy of watching "my babies" grow up and find good forever homes. The satisfaction in what I do is endless.

Today, I happened to have my camera with me, so I took a few pictures of a typical Sunday morning at PetCo. Here's the gang in residence this morning.

This is Claire. Yes, her ear is damaged. We believe she was a victim of abuse in her previous life. She meowed at me the entire time I was cleaning this morning, and let me pet her through the bars. However, when I got near her with the cage door open, she hissed and swatted at me. Still, she has a sweet disposition at her foster home, and hopefully she'll find a good match soon.

This is Squeak. You can't tell in this picture, but he's a Big Boy. He's got to weigh more than 16 pounds. Harley is 14 pounds (or thereabouts) and he's nowhere near as big as Squeak. His ear is notched, indicating that he was once feral and someone had him neutered. This cat is the biggest sweetie, and very laid-back. He had been adopted once before, but a more aggressive cat in the home was making him stressed and unhappy, so he came back to us...everyone hated it, but it was best for the cat, which is what we're all about.

Imagine my delight when I checked the log today and saw that he got adopted yesterday! He'll be delivered to his new family soon, and I wish him all the best.

He was purring like mad at this point.

This is Beth. Beth is barely a year old, and she has already had a litter of kittens (four of whom have already been adopted). This "teenage Mom" is an absolute sweetie and someone fell in love with her a few days ago. so she, too, is spoken for. I cleaned her cage this morning, even knowing that a few hours later, Diane would come by to collect her and deliver her to her new home.  The people who adopted her have adopted four or five AFC cats over the years--sadly, one they adopted about six months ago had a brain aneurism and died recently--he'd come to us from a colony of cats that had a lot of inbreeding and health issues. Still, as Marian put it, even though we're sad for Charlie Brown (not my Charlie Brown, as far as I know, he and Snoopy are thriving in their new home), it opened a door for Beth, which opens a space in a foster home, which saves another feline life, etc.

Timmy is a sweet little boy who was bounced from one foster home to another in an attempt to socialize him. While sweet, he was incredibly timid, and people don't want timid cats. He found his way to the same foster home as a fellow junior named Bogey, and they bonded instantly. They're sharing a cage at PetCo, and making a complete mess in their epic wrestling matches (see all the scattered litter? I had just finished cleaning in there!).

Bogey was previously placed with his pal Boo, until Boo got himself adopted a few months ago. As kittens, they were total madmen at PetCo, upsetting their beds and litter boxes, spilling water and food all over, and generally making us all laugh at their crazy kitten antics. We really hope that Timmy and Bogey will get adopted together.

The grooming department lets us use their big sinks to wash our dishes. I used to feel weird, walking back there without so much as a by-your-leave, but the ladies in Grooming know me by sight now and always greet me if they're not talking to a customer.

Our supply cabinet has a small quilt strung up in the door to keep the mess out of sight. People still sometimes think we're hiding a nursing mama and her litter in there, even though it's clearly labelled "Supply Cabinet."

The log. Saturdays are adoption day, so I am always the first one in to clean after that. We keep track of who has come in, who has gone home (foster home or forever home), and any concerns. We all love our charges and

The cage fronts. Each cat (or pair of cats) has two cages, with an opening in the middle. One side is food and bedding. The other side is for the litter box. We could put eight cats in, but they'd be crowded and miserable. Cats don't like having their food near their litter boxes (would you eat dinner in your bathroom?), and they need room to stretch and move around. A cat usually stays at PetCo for 2 weeks before going back to the foster home (unless they are adopted, of course), and we rotate them in and out to ensure that they aren't there too long.

For the record, the two cages on the bottom left are where two little boys, named Mr. Nibbles and Khan, were housed on a fateful December day in 2008 when I went to PetCo to find a kitty to adopt. Mr. Nibbles had just been claimed, and Marian was helping his new family with the adoption paperwork when the other volunteer on hand let me hold Khan, a three-month-old boy with enormous charm and a louder-than-loud purr. We all know what happened next.

(Damn, he was so little!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sing It, Snow White

A few weeks ago, I had a small solo with the annual St. John's Pops Choir. The CD of our performance arrived a few days ago, and I made a video so I could share it.

The solo starts around 1:26, and yes, that's me again at the end. I wasn't miked, and this was recorded in a drafty old church, so you might want to turn the volume up a little. : )

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ten Things I'd Tell 10-Year-Old Me

This was going around on Tumblr earlier today and I had to fill one out for myself. If I could go back in time and have a chat with ten-year-old Meg (long before any blogs, let alone little pink ones, existed), what would I tell her?

Here's what I came up with:

1. You are not a klutz. You can move, you can balance, and you need to love your body enough to try.

2. You’re going to grow up to be a music teacher—stop laughing, it’s true!—so go practice your scales, young lady.

3. Someday, your dream of seeing Scotland? Prince Charming isn’t going to make it happen…YOU will. And yes, you’re going to love it.

4. P.S. There’s no such thing as Prince Charming, only good men with flaws. Try to find one whose flaws are little things, like an annoying laugh or an annoying tendency to forget that there’s a laundry hamper. Then put up with those flaws because he’s faithful, he’s kind, and he makes you laugh like no one else.

5. It’s not a tragedy that you’re going to find yourself unmarried in your 30s. Live your life and love will come.

6. Guess what? You’re going to top off at 5’2” and have a natural hourglass figure. Sorry kid, no modelling career. Start learning now to love the body nature gave you and take good care of it with exercise, a healthy diet, and all that good stuff. But still, make time for ice cream.

7. Appreciate every single second with Grandma and Grandpa Bean. They’ll be gone before you have your driver’s license.

8. Your parents are your best friends. They’re going to love you even when other friends grow apart, or get jealous and leave. Appreciate them. Listen to them. Form your own opinions, but respect your parents’ opinions—they’re based on years and years of life experience.

9. Someday, you’ll be glad you grew up in a town where “nothing ever happens."

10. Failure is going to happen. You will fail at things. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn from it. Don’t make it an excuse to quit. You’re better than that.

Wordless Wednesday

Yay, it's back!

Every Wednesday, I will post a picture without an explanation, taken on one of my many adventures. If you would like to know where the picture was taken, please leave a comment and I will respond. All Wordless Wednesday pictures are my own.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Fancies

Mom and Dad gave me a gift card for JoAnn's for Christmas, and I had a ton of fun spending it. Part of what I bought included some gorgeous papers, die-cuts and stickers by K&M, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite brands of paper-crafting materials.

So recently, I've made a bunch of cards and now I'm finally getting around to listing them in my Etsy shop. Take a look! Show your friends! Share the link, put it out there! The link, of course, is on the left sidebar of this blog.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shady Babies

Pretty Girl

Chubby McPlumperson

New Job

No, for the record, I don't have one yet!

I'm going to admit here and now that I've actually kind of...enjoyed...having a year off of teaching. I mean, I miss having a larger income with health benefits, and I certainly do not love telling people, "Yeah, I'm unemployed," but having a year to reevaluate and do some hard thinking has only strengthened my resolve to stay in education. Let's face it: education in this country stinks right now, and big changes need to be made to the system. I can either run screaming from the low pay, and the difficult working conditions (crowded classrooms; classrooms with no A/C on 100-degree California days; lack of support for special needs children--and every child is special needs in some way, whether they're gifted and talented, abused at home, spoiled rotten, low-scoring, black, white, brown, yellow, get it--every child; lack of supplies; the list goes on and on and...) or I can be a catalyst for change. I want to help fight for education, and to do that, I need to be on the front lines. Plus, I like kids. I like getting paid to teach music. I like summer vacations and two weeks at Christmas and not sitting at a desk all day. I like literally singing for my supper and watching the light bulb come on over a child's head.

So good. I know what I want to do, and I even know how to go about getting back into a classroom for the 2011-2012 school year. I just...haven't been doing it.

It's easy to make excuses. Right now we are in the lead-up to March 15, which is the date that districts must inform teachers if they are in danger of losing their job. Pink Slip Season is upon us, and I can tell you, both from past experience and from checking Ed-join regularly, there are very few teaching jobs being posted right now. After March, they'll start to trickle in, and I'll be there, with my new resume (finally upgraded to a snazzier version) and my current Letter of Interest, and even, possibly some letters of reference from people who have seen me in all of my volunteer glory this year.

Anyway, since New Year's, I've been lazy. Procrastinating. I did my resume, sure, but I haven't really done the other things I wanted to do: applying for teaching jobs with the Department of Defense, asking for those references and letters, etc. I've also been seriously lax about listing things in my Etsy shop (I've made a gazillion cards, now I need to sell them!) and doing some other business that needs to be attended to.

I've fallen into some terrible habits--staying up late playing on the computer and then reading, waking up at 8:00, having a long, lazy breakfast session while sitting at the computer reading Facebook, Twitter, my blog reader, Tumblr, and every other fun social networking thing I can find on the World Wide Weird, eventually dragging myself off for a half-assed workout and then spending a few hours every afternoon on the couch eating a lunch/dinner hybrid meal (I'm proud to say I've maintained--mostly--my healthy eating habits) and watching a movie. This model ensures my productivity hovers around 10%, and honestly, I should be fired for this.

So I am adopting a new mindset: I have a job. My job is to get a job. Even with unemployment extensions, I do not want another school year of uncertainty and living in what I wryly refer to as "genteel poverty" (stolen shamelessly from Jane Austen, that). I'd like to move out of this apartment before my neighbors send me into a nervous breakdown. So I have a job. And because of this, I have to get up every weekday morning at 6:00. I can have a nice leisurely breakfast, and I can work out in the mornings, but by 10:30, I need to be working.

I also have a dress code. I have a closet full of clothes and what have I been wearing the last few months? Pajamas. Work out gear. From now on, I get dressed every day. At any given moment, if I need to go to the post office, all I have to do is put on shoes. So today, I blog from my home computer, NOT wearing pajamas or sweaty workout gear, but jeans and a cotton top. I wouldn't wear this outfit to go teach, but it's acceptable for my job as job-seeker, Etsy seller, eBay Goddess, and non-procrastinator. Wearing jeans does not encourage a long, lazy afternoon on the couch.

So there you have it. From now on, I have a job. That job is job-seeking, card-selling, junk-shipping. I can use the bathroom when needed and I can have all the tea and baby carrots (snack du jour) I want on hand. I can even keep Facebook open, or stop to write a quick blog post now and again while I work. But I must work, and I must accomplish.

My new routine is starting off very well. Even though today is a holiday, I woke up at 6:00, thanks to placing my cell phone (which doubles as an alarm clock) across the bedroom so that I'd have to get out of bed to turn it off, and one text from Maayan (she's three hours ahead, so texting me at 9:00 her time is not a problem). I had my nice, leisurely breakfast and morning social networking session. At 8:00, I was off to the gym. I was home by 9:30. Since then, I've showered and dressed, listed a ton of items on Etsy, readied an eBay item for shipping, and done a few necessary things around my "office," which is, really, whole apartment.

Already, I'm feeling more organized, more productive, more purposeful.

Almost Perfect

While I was up at Mom and Dad's house last week, Mom and I visited our favorite used book store in Roseville. Almost Perfect Books is one of those places that has about a gazillion books. So many books, they don't have enough shelf space for them.

On the one hand, I love this place because there are so many books. On the other, my inner neat freak goes absolutely bananas the minute I walk in the door and I'm overwhelmed within about five minutes. I simply can't stay long in this store without wanting to scream, "BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE ANYTHING IS?!"

They are also not computerized. They keep track of people's store credit using index cards. I don't know how they do this. (How did we survive in the Dark Ages, otherwise known as the 1990s? Pre-Internet?) I just know that they do not have computers, only calculators. It boggles my mind.

Anyway, last time, I snapped a couple of surreptitious pictures--you probably think I'm exaggerating about the clutter. I assure you, I'm not.

The whole store is like this. This is just the kid's section.

Though I complain about the mess, I do love this bookstore. I never walk out without at least one book to read.

Just don't ask me where anything is.

Monday Music: Fleet Fox

My friend Daryl posted a link to a video for Fleet Fox on my Facebook profile recently, and I liked what I heard. So I checked them out on YouTube and came up with this gem.

Yes, there are goats in the video. Get past them and listen to the song.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

If You Have a Minute...

I am having too much fun with my Scrabble tiles.

Fashion Smashion...Skinny Jeans and Rainbows

As blogged on Friday night, I took myself on a date to a little cafe here in town. I even curled my hair for the occasion. I was pleased with how I looked, even though I ended up keeping my coat on all evening because I was close to the door.

I wore:

Skinny jeans from Old Navy
Black long-sleeve t-shirt from Kohl's
Black Mary Janes from Kohl's
Multi-color scarf from a market in Paris
Jade bracelet from China (thank you, Mom and Dad!)
Vintage pin/brooch from my Grandma Bean's things.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lazy Day

I had the most delightfully lazy day today. The most active thing I did was walk to the store for some milk. Mostly I sat around watching the second season of a show called "Life" that only lasted two seasons, alas. It starred Damian Lewis, a fine (in looks and talent) actor from that lovely small island nation north of Continental Europe that I love so much.

I have more discs of the second season coming from Blockbuster and can't wait to watch more.

In the mean time, I have a grand event tomorrow: the Daytona 500. My interest in NASCAR waned last season, but a new season means renewed hope that Dale Jr. can start having some GOOD things happen for a change, and I will tune into the Great Race tomorrow, and make a few cards and whatnot. That is, after cleaning cat cages at PetCo.

But was a lazy day. : )

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Night Date Night

In which our heroine shakes her head, laughs uncontrollably, and then takes herself out on a date.

Online dating--you just never know what you're going to find. You can see that the original message by this guy was not very imaginative. So I responded in kind. His response back left my eyebrows stuck up somewhere around my hairline. I thought maybe I might be taking things a little bit too personally so I consulted with friends on Facebook. General consensus: "That's rude." Yeah, I thought so.

So I responded with sarcasm. Anyway, read on:

I figured this could go one of two ways:

1. He'd get the message and not respond to me, or

2. He'd get defensive, and I'd not respond to him.

He surprised me.

His next message, I kid you not, said, "How about your chest area ;)"

(Lack of punctuation and all.)

I simply replied, "Obviously, my sarcasm didn't shine through," and that seems to be the end of that. I hope, anyway. In the end, I had to laugh--both at his clueless audacity and at the reaction of my friends. Maayan summed it up succinctly, as usual: "OMFG."

I took myself out on a date tonight, going to a local dive bar/cafe to hear some live music. I was feeling in the moment and happy about going until I complimented the singer, a lady named Amy Obenski.

"You have a lovely voice."

Blank stare. Pause.

"Oh. Thanks."

She did not seem remotely pleased to be complimented. She performs a lot, and has CDs, so she's got to be used to people complimenting her. I felt kind of stupid saying anything, and then regretted putting money in the tip jar...though her opening act, a male folksy-blues-country singer, was nicer, so I'll just figure all my tip money went to him.

Of course, she can't know that I am absolutely brutal when it comes to judging other female singers--I let nothing slide--not one wonky vowel, not one warble, not one shrieky note. For me to say she sounded good means she was good. But her attitude stunk, so *harrumph* is all I can say.

I'm glad I took myself out. The "cafe" was really more of a dive bar kind of place, but it was friendly and I can see myself going back. I was overdressed, wearing sassy shoes and a Parisian scarf/shawl pinned in front with a vintage brooch that belonged to my Grandma Bean. It was really more of a jeans-and-hoodies type of establishment, but I dressed up for myself tonight and felt pretty damned good.

I mean, hey, I could have worn my workout gear, or pajamas. Or jeans and a hoodie. These are becoming my signature style, so a little Fashion Smashion (to be blogged tomorrow) was just what I needed.

I'm feeling creative, so tomorrow I think I'll stick to the pajama uniform, stick some movies in the DVD player, and set up a table in the living room to make some cards for my Etsy shop. A bunch of friends are having babies all over the place, so I'll make some cards for them, too. If I get fed up being stuck at home, maybe I'll stop by PetCo and see if the AFC ladies need a hand with Adoption Day.

With that,

Buenos noches.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gettin' the Mojo Back

I've just finished a ton of Wordless Wednesday posts and a few Monday Music posts, so Yay Me!! I ran out of these in December and haven't been very good about doing more, but they're coming back.

The problem lately hasn't been finding things to blog's just been sitting down and doing it. It's not a depression thing, and it's not a bored-with-blogging thing. I just haven't been in a blogging mood much, but that's turning around. And sometimes, I'll have an idea while I'm out running, or toiling at the gym, or grocery shopping, and I'll think, "I must blog that!" only to find that once I'm home the idea is gone, or the words don't sound quite so real. I schedule posts like Monday Music and Wordless Wednesday, but the rest of my blog is a sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. The purpose has always been for me to discuss, rant, explain or just story-tell about the things that matter in my life right at this very minute. I really look at this blog as less of something I want to market to the whole world an more of really a journal that I invite the world to read if they care to keep up with a 30-something music nerd in California (or Washington, or England, or...wherever).

Also, let's face it, things are slow right now. I don't have stories for the "A Teacher's Life" label, even though I tutor a couple of days a week. Adventures as Chorale Librarian or Cat-Cage Cleaning Lady only go so far (though I do have a gross-but-entertaining story from two weeks ago, in which your hapless blogger found herself stepping in a fresh, soft, really stinky pile of cat poo at PetCo, then limping theatrically outside to scrape her shoe on the sidewalk). Day trips and adventures are limited because of money conservation, though I'm thinking a drive to San Francisco might be in order soon just to get out for a day and do something that isn't running, going to the gym, hanging out at my apartment rewriting my resume, or cleaning.

Tomorrow night I might go to Blackwater Cafe here in Stockton. They've got a jazz singer performing, and it's free (unless I buy something to eat). I like jazz. I need to get out more. It will give me an excuse to dress in something besides sweaty running gear, pajamas, or Old Navy jeans.

I am proud to report that despite the fact that I spend about 80% of my time in running gear or pajamas these days (when I'm at home, pajamas are my uniform--this has always been so), I have not lowered myself to that point where I wear pajamas or slippers to the grocery store. I have standards, and while I may leave with my hair in a sloppy bun and no makeup on my face, I'm always wearing jeans and a sweater, and a proper bra. Or workout gear, because, you know.

As posted earlier today, I have my ticket to see Mumford and Sons in April, and I am very, very excited about that. It gives me something to look forward to in addition to the endless routine of checking Ed-join (teaching jobs are rarely posted at this time of year--it's Pink Slip Season), searching for other opportunities (though Dad and I have discussed it many times, I'm still absolutely terrified of leaving this career field and trying to find a new one, unless someone wants to pay me to blog, use social networking, and take pictures) (or, you know, pay me a living wage to sing for people).

So the mojo is coming back--I originally intended to post one or two paragraphs alerting any faithful readers of this and ended up rambling on. I'll stop now. I want to blog some more, and I've got Grey's Anatomy on in 40 minutes.


Meg of the LPB


Mumford and Sons are coming back to California in April, and I'm going to see them!

Okay, so it's in Santa Barbara. Which is a bit of a drive from here. But my friend Meghan is probably going with me (pending work scheduling) and I figure we might be able to spring for a night in a hotel, or at least trade off on driving duties.

The whole point is, tickets are $40 and I really need something fun to look forward to. And I'm getting a bit back on my taxes this year (for a change!) and did I mention it's Mumford and Sons? At this point, they're probably my second-favorite band on the planet.

(And, *sniff* I'd just like to insert here that I consider all B.G. fans like myself to be superior.)

(B.G., of course, is Before Grammy's.)

I'm glad I bought my ticket early because apparently, the pre-sale sold out within about 15 minutes. General ticket sales will open up on Friday and I have a feeling they'll sell out fast. But I am going! After Maayan and I made the mature and adult decision not to bankrupt ourselves trying to go to Coachella (which sold out anyway, and apparently there are no places to stay), it's nice to get a chance to see the M&S boys again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Say It With Scrabble

A few weeks ago, in Half Moon Bay, I bought four Scrabble tiles, spelling L-O-V-E, for an anniversary card I was making for Dad to give to Mom. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it, but trust, it was lovely. Mom loved it. (And I peeked--Dad wrote, "I'd do it all again" inside, which made me smile.)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the possibilities of Scrabble tiles and card-making, so I bought a bag of 200 tiles on eBay, thinking it might be fun to use them.

Then I got an even better idea--using the tiles in pictures to convey messages.

The tiles arrived today and I immediately set out looking around my apartment for photo ops. Here's what I came up with tonight.

For my Swimmy's Ladies

I accidentally deleted the not-blurry pic I got of this. Oops. You might have noticed (or might not) that I have a tag called "Home Sweet...Whereever" that I use sometimes, because I've lived so many places.

Grandma and Grandpa Bean

It occured me a few days ago that it's been over five years since I left...and I still miss it.

This card came with my wonderful print from valentinadesign on Etsy: 

And old child-sized chair.

Curious to find out why Mommy was sitting on the floor near their food dishes, Millie and Harley came over to check things out.

Anyway, I had fun, and might just use my tiles for this kind of thing instead of card-making.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Nerd Is Not Alone In This World

It all started when Richard (yes, of Keane) Tweeted last night. My friend Lindsay responded to him.

Which, in turn, started a brief Tweet conversation between me and Lindsay (you have to read them from the bottom up for it to make sense):

Richard doesn't "follow" us on Twitter, so he couldn't have seen this conversation, except for the Tweet in which I directly mentioned him.

Imagine how delighted we were when this cropped up:

This is the FOURTH time Richard has responded to me in some way on Twitter, and the first time he has used my name. (Squeee!!)

What makes Lindsay and I particularly smug is also that Keane had made no mention on their web site or in any previous Tweets by Richard, that they'd be in the U.S. soon (we all assume this means they're in New York City to work on their in-progress album). So, while plenty of Keane fans will see what he Tweeted to us because they're also friends with Lindsay and I on Twitter, it was kind of awesome that he told us first.

Yes, we are nerds.

The ammount of online squee-ing and OMG-ing on Facebook was pretty epic. Of course, Maayan, Amanda and Sarah joined in today (they were all long asleep when this happened last night) and before long, other Keane fans I'm connected with on Facebook and Twitter were speculating. "Is it true they're in the States?" "Well, I'm hearing they might be." I just giggled.

The proof is in the Tweeting, my friends.

Folsom Park

Yesterday, Mom and I went to Folsom with some of her friends to attend the Folsom Quilt Guild's annual Quilt Show. I spent some of my most formative years in Folsom--we moved there when I was nine and my parents finally quit the place when I was in England--aged 26. It's the longest my family has ever been based in any one city or town.

We don't much miss it. It's a nice enough place, but it grew too fast and now it's a nightmare trying to navigate the place.

Anyway, it was fun to see the city park, next to the community center where the show was held. A beautiful new library was built in the park a few years ago, but the old miniature train remains, and the gazebo, and a war memorial that my dad helped to make happen has been expanded.

The new library.

Watch out for dangerous mini-trains!

The war memorial.

The rock and the largest plaque are there pretty much because of my dad. The rest was added later.

I once read a poem from this gazebo, the day they dedicated the war memorial. I had written it and Dad liked it so much he put it in the program. It went something like this:

Here I stand,
Proud and tall
To be seen by one,
To be seen by all

I show the past,
The laughter the tears
Of memories gone
Lost in the years

I show them
Of young men gone
Destruction of war
As life presses on

I stand here
Proud and tall
To remember one
To remember all.

I was twelve or thirteen when I wrote it.

The flags (U.S./California, the POW/MIA flag, and one for each military branch) are a nice addition.

I don't know the significance of the dog-type animal in front of the library.

I was glad to see that 1) the train still runs and 2) it had a decent number of people riding it on a weekday.

Then, of course, there are pics from the quilt show. I can't sew to save my life but I appreciate the time and effort that goes into these incredible quilts. They are works of art, and the women (and men!) who make them should be proud of their work.

The ladies queued like Keane fans would queue for a Keane gig.

Mom and I used to know the lady who made this one (her son was in band with me at FHS).

Even the lunch options were classy. (This is Folsom we're talking about.)

The quilt above was quilted in red thread--gorgeous.

This is fabric. It is not a painting. It is a quilt. I was there, I saw it. It's really, truly a quilt.

We had a lovely day out, and it was nice to visit my "hometown" (if a woman who has moved about 27 times in her life--okay, so I'm exaggerating a little--can have a hometown) for a few hours.