Friday, February 27, 2009

Taking a moment

  For the second time this week, somebody I know has died.

  The first was a man I had known my entire life, who for many years lived right up the street. He was the patriarch in one of my many surrogate families. You may remember reading one of my blogs on another site a while back about a friend of mine who died in a bike accident. This was his father. It’s hard to accept now that the entire family is gone. First the mother, then the son, now the father. I spent countless hours with them in my youth, and now they don’t exist anymore. Ponderous.
  The second bit of bad news came yesterday, and hit harder. A man I had come to think of as a grandparent for the last ten years passed away. While not altogether unexpected, it was still a bitter pill to swallow. I still have his last email in my inbox, telling me that he was going to have surgery to remove a lung.
  For the last few weeks, I’ve been going at 150%, burning the candle at both ends. Some days, I’ve been running on sheer willpower, because it’s all I have left. An overly busy schedule, lack of sleep, skipped meals and physical and mental exertion have run me so ragged that three separate health professionals have told me in the last two weeks to slow down. I finally heeded their advice last night and took some time, more though to mourn a loss rather than rest.
  Pictures can take on such a different meaning when there is a drastic change of circumstance. Loves lost, death, age. I viewed a lot of history last night, and experienced the full gamut of emotions from grief to happiness. Mostly I enjoyed fond memories of visits, family meals together, and stories- oh, the stories! This man had one of the most interesting lives I had ever been privileged to hear. One of my goals was to sit down with him someday, turn on a recorder, and just have him talk at length. Sadly, it never came to pass, and now that narrative is lost.
  If I sit and close my eyes, I can picture him perfectly. I can see his broad grin and hear his laugh. I can hear every pronunciation from his heavy Kentucky drawl. It makes me smile, and that’s a good thing. I’m not sad.
  I could recount a book of stories and experiences, but some of my favorite memories come from walks he and I would take together through the tiny burg of Smithland. He’d grab Libby, his much beloved pooch, and head out on the narrow road bordering the river. I would join him every time, whether the humid night air was alive with June’s fireflies or if it was the dead of winter and the icy wind was howling. We had some great talks and shared a lot of laughs.
  I’ll always fondly remember those walks, and that’s how I’ll choose to picture Bob when I think of him. He always used to tell me that people said, “There goes Libby and that ol’ guy she walks.”
  I love you, ol’ guy. Rest now.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Zoo Day

One of my homework assignments for this week was to go to the National Zoo and study the movements of some animals. Tough assignment, right? I would have been more excited about it if the weather had been good, but I got to see some beautiful beasts. Thought I'd snap a few shots while I was there too. You can see them by going to my flickr page:


When you click on a photo, it will still come up in small size, but there will be a little button that says "all sizes" above the pic. Click that and you'll see it big size. Trying this flickr thing out, don't know if I like it yet. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ten minutes to write this blog. GO.

Anybody who knows me knows I keep a really hectic week. Lately, it’s gotten a bit comical. It seems like every day now is scheduled out, at least mentally, down to the minute. “Okay, I have fifteen minutes to eat. It’s going to take me twenty-five minutes to drive there. Ironing this shirt tonight for tomorrow morning’s brief will take me about five minutes.” Amazingly, though, nothing is out of control or alarming. Just very, very tightly packed.
Friday, I finally had my temporarily-in-town friends over and I cooked dinner. It was a short window of two hours between wrapping work for the day, cleaning the house up, buying the food and preparing it. We had a great visit, though, and it was good to see those guys again. It was Chicken Cordon Bleu, by the way, if you’re wondering, with garlic mashed potatoes and chive green beans. Seems everybody I cook them for flips out over how good they are. I also discovered a new favorite wine.
Saturday was full of all sorts of things; mostly boring crap like climbing under my Jeep and changing the oil. At least the weather warmed up. That’s a horrible job in the cold. Saturday night, however, was the much anticipated “second sleep study.” I’ll go on record here and tell you it was completely miserable. I was forced to lie on my back all night, which is a very uncomfortable position for me, and I had an oxygen mask clamped over my face. I slept for the first two hours, then woke up thinking I was being smothered. For the next six hours, I fought to get back to sleep, but only managed a few minutes at a time. Sometimes the mask would start trying to breathe for me, and it was like somebody poking me in the face over and over. It was not at all conducive to sleeping. The entire night was pretty much an exercise in sleep deprivation.
On the plus side, I had a long talk with an attending nurse who put forth the theory that I have a deviated septum. I hadn’t ever really considered the possibility before, and she was very surprised to find that I hadn’t seen an ENT specialist since I started looking into these apnea issues. It would make sense- I’ve certainly taken my fair share of blows to the head and face. I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’m singing or doing vocal warm ups, I get pressure in my sinuses in certain ranges, like the air wants to push through but can’t. I really hope this is the problem, because the fix is only a surgery away.
I spent the rest of the weekend working on my voice lesson homework and practicing. I also had to come up with a three minute pantomime to perform at my first class, which is tonight. I think I’ve got a good one. I’m anxious to see what everybody else is coming in with, because I’ve never done pantomime before. Don’t worry, there are no “glass boxes” or “invisible ropes.”
Then the week started off with a bang (maybe more of a crash) when I found out that a guy we’d been working on hiring for the last six months changed his mind 30 minutes before he was supposed to start. Needless to say, the office is in a bit of turmoil right now, and that individual has been blacklisted.
That’s all the news with me that’s fit to print. I sadly haven’t had a minute to work on any of my personal projects. Someday.
Ten minutes is up.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bloop. Glooloop.

This is a still frame taken from some of the underwater footage I shot off the coast of Easter Island. All the footage I shot looks spectacular, including the stuff that wasn't on the bottom of the ocean. I have to say, I'm a big fan of my Hi-Def camera. There are drawbacks, though, as I'm finding out in the editing process. Sure, this ain't my first rodeo with HD, but I'm running into some of those painful problems associated with MPEG-2. I could bore you with a lengthy dissertation about long-GOP media and I-frames, but who cares? It looks pretty. There are always workarounds for problems.
All my footage and pictures have now been safely backed up, and soon I'll begin slicing and gluing (in a purely digital sense). I'm still wracking my brain as to what musical cues to use. Nothing sounds like the island to me. The fun of these little pet projects is when things start snapping together. I haven't quite reached that point yet. Then again, I haven't really had time to sit down and think about it.
Speaking of music, I'm learning how to read it in addition to singing it. I now know something about treble clefs, bass clefs, measures, notes and timing. I know what "middle C" is on a piano. It's like learning a foreign language. I love it. Supposedly, I'll be starting on a new song tomorrow night. I'm anxious to see what it will be.
My reassignment is currently on hold due to some personnel jockeying, but on the bonus side, I got a raise this week based on my outstanding performance over the last few months. I was just getting ready to pursue that very thing, so I suppose it's good timing. What is certainly NOT good timing is when the IRS informs you that you owe an entire year's worth of state taxes that your employer forgot to take out. I miss Washington state, the golden land of state-taxlessness. Bye-bye, savings. It was nice to know you.
Classes at DC Studio Theatre begin one week from today. I don't know how I'm going to possibly jam that into my schedule, but I'm too excited to care.
My Easter Island blog will come soon. Promise. I want to make sure I get it down while it's still fresh in my mind. Hard to believe I was there only a week ago.