star_swan: (KyonKyon Kitties)
I caved and made myself another tumblr, a booklr/studyblr/artblr rainynymphbookwhore.

Pretty much just for relaxing and reblogging lovely images of books, study plans, ridiculous note-taking systems that would impress Hermione Granger, books-to-read, and arty things.

Feel free to friend me if you have one as well!

I am bound and determined to read a book per week this year (and to catch up on the weeks past).

It is already three o' clock and I still have things to sort out today before I go back to work tomorrow. This Spring weather along with photos of other peoples' bookshelves is making me rather lethargic.

Listening to Harry Potter whitenoise generators with cat purring and crackling fires, also not helping. I feel very calm though. :P
star_swan: (pink flower)
...okay, aside from plunging into a swimming pool, the ocean, rivers. If you have any of those nearby. I could really do with a trip to the beach. Anyway.

You ever go through periods where you are reading voraciously, where even eating a tasty treat creme brulee or watching a diverting program too many to list can't live up to your rapacious desire for more books?
Of course, the main reason why I can string sentences together presently is because the heat broke and it is overcast. Was going to write a few sentences about how meltingly hot it is and then slap a picture and be done with it. But I am feeling significantly more animated now!

I've had all of these books on my shelves on Celtic Myths, rhythms, animals, beliefs, poetry, folktales, contributions to Western Civilization, you name it, for years. But I haven't gotten around to reading half of them, except for some of the books on poetry and folk tales. I am not certain why. Most of them were gifts, probably a not so subtle hint from my Irish Catholic mother to read up on our ancestors! I had some Norse books for a time when I was going through, all right, I hate the way that this sounds but I have already started the sentence, damn it, when I was going through a Norse "phase" (pardon all of these crazy questionably grammatical fragments). Why not, right? It's fascinating stuff and my dad is English and we know that they are an amalgam of everyone who ever partied in the British Isles up until William the Conqueror, and beyond once they began colonizing everybody everywhere. I speak about them in the third person as if I'm not completely related to them. :P There is practically no point to this paragraph except to illustrate how my Celtic books would stare reproachfully at me whenever I cracked the spine of Norse Myth or The Poetic Edda, the Johnny Come Latelies of my bookshelf who jumped the reading queue whilst they had been sitting patiently trying to attract my notice for far longer. I used to know a guy named Stephen who was a Celtic Reconstructionist and who hissed (literally) in the general direction of anyone studying the Norse pantheon. He seemed to think that I was being more than vaguely traitorous. :D....
It's not as if my books are taking up arms and assaulting one another for rights to the shelf...and if the books do not mind, I do not see that I should terribly. I'll read what I want!

Intermission: It's raining!!!

Be that as it may, I have a pile of books and I was a little naughty earlier this week and I went and added to the pile, then proceeded to tear through it. Well, the tearing is in progress. Rather than reading one book, setting it down and then progressing to another, I am reading four or five at once. They are not several hundred page narratives after all. There are tales, poems, histories. I am also re-reading The Ladies of Grace Adieu and this fun little piece of Gothic fun:



I figured that a gothic novel is just the perfect thing to read under a tree (or indoors if it is insufferable out there) during Summer in one's spare time. The characters are forever exclaiming at shadows and ruminating on their worst fears and anxieties (usually as regards whatever may or may not be stirring in the shadows literally or metaphorically). Or else there are unseen enemies (aside from whatever may or may not be lurking in the dark waiting to get them), lightning flashes, dark woods, upturned carriages, damsels shut up in convents, secret doors, noblemen fleeing debt, castles, ruined abbeys, surly townsfolk, highly perceptive manservants, and a quote from a forlorn sounding poem/play at the beginning of every chapter.

Here is another pretty cover )

I will leave you with my Current Obsession: Prokofiev's Four Pieces, Op. 32, especially the Dance and the Gavotte. Actually, they are all really good. <333
star_swan: (Sunflowers)
A few months ago, I found a Hermit Thrush sitting on a stoop in front of a doorway. There is a tall, thin window and it is shady (no sun reflections on the window) so I figure that it probably ran into it as it looked perfectly clear and the people in that office are overly fastidious when it comes to window cleaning. :S I have only ever heard them before, hence the "hermit" in their name. They have some of the most beautiful song! Walt Whitman was moved to write about them.



It was a rather perilous place to be and it looked freaked out so I endeavored to collect it and set it someplace out of the way where nobody would accidentally run into it. It perked up when I gathered it up, started making noises, and looking around curiously which was encouraging since it had been rather quiet on the stoop. But once I set it down it looked a bit anxious again and was breathing heavily so I sat with it for awhile and gently stroked the back of its neck til it relaxed a bit. This seems to work with owls and parrots so I thought it was a worth a try. It rested for a bit before flying off, hopefully avoiding future windows.

More photos )

Aside from that I've been spending my weekend so far reading, mostly about Celtic culture/myths and the Fairy Faith.
It was supposed to be HOT so I took advantage of the cooler morning to sit outside with my tea, a book, and a hand written journal. I saw big, black Carpenter bees, three types of butterfly/moth, and a few dragon flies flitting about. And a possum. Don't usually see them in broad daylight! There were also some juvenile crows around. The students have Finals next week so it was very, very still apart from the critters.

There are supposed to be more thunder showers around this evening. Ooh! There were thunderclaps last night and some flashes. I always get unreasonably excited at the prospect of rain storms. My weather app has this silly little rhyme tucked in the middle of their Special Weather Statement which I have never heard of:

When thunder roars, go indoors!

o_O

Really? I used to do the opposite when I was a kid (where it thundered all the time). It's not like I was running about in an open field clutching a five iron, mind you. I would be some place sheltered if it was right overhead but I loved the smell and the sounds and the flashes. I could never understand why the children in The Sound of Music were frightened of thunderstorms. Even our cat was like "whatever", but he was sort of unusual. I suppose if you're born some place where it regularly occurs, you don't view it as terribly scary. Then again, we never had the threat of tornadoes. A black sky would definitely put me off then.

Pictures of the evening sky resembling a painting )

Window Seat

Jun. 4th, 2015 04:16 pm
star_swan: (Huginn (raven))
I keep thinking that it is Friday and then I realize that it is Thursday, which while usually cause for celebration has resulted multiple times in my thinking disappointedly to myself, "Oh."

The week was going pretty swimmingly-ish. Or at least, whatever frustrations I did encounter I was able to handle without much self-inflicted drama (meaning thinking overmuch and wondering inwardly about things until I frittered away my free time with worrying). Then in the space of twelve hours I got hit with, well, drama is the only apt word (times three even). I realized though, and perhaps this is something important that I do need to realize/address, that my thoughts and reactions are my own and that while certain people and behaviors are annoying, they do not dictate my response. I can choose not to react overly emotionally, to get sucked in.

My exercise regimen sort of imploded during the past week. I had to be careful of my back though. Been walking or riding my bike a bit since they are fairly gentle forms of exercise. Just caught myself slouching. >.>...

Looking out my window, I am really appreciating the street that I live on. Sure, it's noisy. I do have a buffer of a few car spaces and various trees and sidewalk (as well as being on the second floor) so it is not as if the road is right upon me. It can be quite noisy though, especially on the weekends late at night with haloo-ing etc.. But it is also nice to be able to stand at the window/door and to look out and watch bikes, pedestrians and cars (and hummingbirds) go by. It would be different in a quiet room in a house removed from busy streets. It sounds lovely, but here, even if I do not go very far or if I spend the weekend near to my desk, I can still be close to activity of some sort. I never feel completely removed from society, even if I have no idea who any of these people are (most of the time).

I currently have an impressive stack of books for "research" purposes. I was going to try to make a skeletal outline for the book/project/thingy I am working on though I keep having turns of mind that cause me to scribble or backspace or rethink something. I like to have A Plan before proceeding, but sometimes that is not entirely possible. At some point, I will likely be at a place where I am comfortable discussing it, though not at the moment. There is so much work to be done. Trying to fit in time for this as well as practice is seriously challenging some days.

But I did turn another corner practice-wise yesterday evening. I played something at tempo that did not sound like crap to me or like bits of it were so-so timing-wise. I just hit it and it worked, at least once which is cool even if I did not replicate it again all evening. Still, a breakthrough. Basically, the fingers of my left hand are more responsive/quicker. I do loads of maddening finger exercises. They are not as bad as some of the ones I have seen out there though. They can be meditative and enjoyable, especially when you begin to master them and play them to speed.
How anyone can tolerate Czerny finger exercises though is beyond me! They're mind numbing. There are all of these methods and dusty books written over a hundred years ago or more that set forth the "proper" way in which you should approach the study of classical piano. And mad debates occur online between people who swear upon one or the other. And who swear that doing one will bust your fingers/give your carpal tunnel/drive you crazy!
It is fun to just sit and read people getting worked up about it. Basically you need to speak with people/have a tutor who have experience and exercise common sense. Don't play until you are in pain or play seven days a week even if the thin, powerful muscles in your forearms are throbbing.

It is a bit warm this evening.
There was a chance of thunderstorms at the end of this week, but it is dwindling now. :(
Thunderstorms are rare here. I really miss them. I have mp3s of rain storms for when I really get dragged down by Summer heat and dryness.

It's June!!

Jun. 1st, 2015 09:53 am
star_swan: (Fire)
An update and then I am going to go read journals/reply to comments as I get some other reading/work done.

This weekend was quite a bit warmer than it has been!
I am excited that it is June. Though I am usually excited at the beginning of a new month. It feels like an opportunity. I was not so productive in May in many ways while also figuring out a few things. Was more in absorption mode.

I somehow managed to tweak my back when I was in the laundry.I am not even sure how! I was in the laundry and after moving or bending in a particularly ordinary way, I felt this series of shocks up my spine like I was being struck with something. After that it was difficult to walk properly and bend any which way. So I sat carefully upon the ground and on top of one of the washers, crossed my legs and twisted to pop my back which took the pressure off and righted things. I was able to walk and move fine, but that area is tender now. It will take another day or two to feel less sore. Lying on my side is not fun unless I have a pillow in between my legs. It's been a lot worse though. I haven't had any problems in over a year. But I've had recurring lower back "issues" as my chiropractor called it since I was 16, so I need to be careful. It isn't weight or movement usually but just moving in a very particular way for just an instant that knocks things out. It might be related to an accident I had on my bicycle when I was 15. I was riding a racing bike when someone came out of an alleyway and hit me and I was thrown several feet. I caught a lot of air and after I landed I slid a few feet on the asphalt. On my face. I luckily was wearing a helmet. I remember limping home which was about another block. :OOO

Oddly, my back feels better than it did before I tweaked it. I am standing up straighter and feel taller.

Another reason that June is rather nice is that the university lets out and we are bathed in relative peace and quiet. Quite a few people leave to go on their annual trip to Europe or wherever and most students go back home. Summer session is pretty intense and all around is the soft buzzing of people focusing on their tasks (or else!) The warmer weather has a way of mollifying folks or causing them to slacken their pace a bit and to not rise up to meet every possible, perceived offense or slight to their person. I am not a fan of HOT weather, but I do appreciate the season. Perhaps when it gets ridiculously hot, I will go swimming. <3


Here are a couple of photos of Percy, Bill's brother, who passed away a little over a year ago. I had meant to post them before but I lost them in my bucket! Things that I've uploaded are out of order.

Percypuss )

Also, the birds are getting super loud in the mornings! It's great! Around the Solstice, the dawn chorus gets louder and louder. Sometime after the Solstice, the tweeting is noticeably less enthusiastic.

Alive

May. 28th, 2015 11:11 am
star_swan: (Default)
Every time that I went to make an entry, I stopped leaving it half finished. I have about five of them on my desktop. I usually cut and paste entries to my journal. I think that things have blown over and even if they have not entirely, I am no longer allowing myself to be the butt or to wallow unduly. Over it. Family has been bonkers these past couple of weeks in a significantly energy-draining way. I just would get to the end of the day and scarcely have the desire to do anything but read, practice mindlessly, or attempt to write. Then I had the house all to myself for nearly three days. It was BLISS. I came and went, worked, got off work, fixed supper, read, talked to the walls, watched a show, practiced in peace. I made ludicrous amounts of progress on a story I have been working on since Summer 2013. But come that Friday....:S This was last Friday. By Saturday, I wanted to scream and hurl breakable objects. It takes a considerable amount of prolonged irritation to get me to that state. I doubt that the powerful contrast of being left in relative peace followed by being torn to pieces by tension and arguing helped any.

So there's that. I'll got into somewhat more detail about it later. Meanwhile, I am terribly behind in posting pics. So here are some of those of things around the town where I live.

Pics, cut to spare your feed )

So there is some of my life in photos. I will blablabla more later.

...including some Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell gushing. Has anyone read that book? It's a magnificent door stop that I am in the process of rereading. BBC made it into a seven part series!! It will be on BBC America in June, but if you have access to iPlayer/live overseas it is running right now on BBC One. Not sure how faithful it will be to the book, but it is afterall an adaptation as are all screenplays based on books and if nothing else, it is eye candy of the highest order and faintly ridiculous.
star_swan: (Current mood: drunk)
...if by "drunk", you mean "Oh snap, I had too much caffeine."

I rerealized today why I do not ever ingest that many cups of tea. I quit coffee for reasons. Or it could be the sugar or the sugar AND the caffeine. At any rate, it's like sticking my brain on a roller coaster where the big climb takes hours, the view gets increasingly dizzying by the minute, and the drop is sudden and devastating. In less than an hour from now, I am probably going to crash like nobody's business and fall asleep beside my unmade bed or on top of the clean sheets. I knew I should have made the bed as soon as I pulled the sheets from the dryer, well right after I got into the house where my bed actually is located, of course.

I have just passed the, "Oh my gosh, everything is FUNNY!" stage and am entering the "Wow. I could get so much done in this hyper alert state".

One of my old co-workers, Derrick, said that he could always tell when I had had sugar or caffeine because my personality would just shift and my eyes would get dinner-plate-big.

I probably should have hid the keyboard from myself. Oh well.


So. Life!


Familial stuff is *crosses various appendages but not too many*, good and getting better each day. I would eye this warily and with suspicion but the caffeine high is blotting out the fear center of my brain. I don't think that we actually have a fear center. I know it's supposed to be the Amygdala, sort of, but I think it's a vastly misunderstood creature. I like my amygdala because it gives me such handy information like, "Oh my god....that dress is a truly hideous color. Must destroy it with FIRE." and "I love pudding! Yummy!" or "Aagghh!!"

But, yes. People are actually getting along and being, dare I say it, nice to one another. Hmm.

How do people get anything done drinking coffee and the like? How do they even focus? My thoughts are like demented ping pong balls.

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. x_x I mean, it's a good thing, but I feel like there are some things that I had hoped to have accomplished in my spare time before the end of the week which is fast approaching.

Speaking of, can somebody please tell me how in the blue, bloody hell we've arrived at May already??? Wasn't it just New Year's?? Jesus trucking crispy rice

Coming to a post near you (does that make sense?): photos of the quirky things that make this town where I live unique-ish. They include things like cats on leashes (and they're happy about it!), London Buses that are cruising around thousands of miles from their original point of origin on another continent (why??), Fro Yo places that demand that you eat their trendy, frozen treat and like it or else go get eaten by bears for all that they care, and Evil Traffic Lights of Doom that can smell your driving record and are judging you accordingly (and I do not mean those silly little cameras on top of the light pole either).

You think I'm kidding, or that it's the caffeine talking.
But seriously, I took some photos that seemed fairly typical of this place. :)

As a side fannish note or a fannish side note (?), I finally finished watching Season 8 of Doctor Who. Wow. It is nice to know that Moffatt is digging into the same Big Fat Bag of Crack as RTD. That finale though. I liked it! Woah. Yeah. It was epic and bonkers. Still processing.

Going to wander off to shower and bed now...before I really type something crazy.
star_swan: (Sunflowers)
Felt the desire to write in here and mull over things this morning. It's crisp, clear and cool with a slight breeze.

In the midst of all of the familial crazy, I have been a bit harsh on myself. I feel after a mere week of losing my footing with the story and Russian that I am somehow stagnating. Losing sight of the time table. I know that there will be slow periods where life is hectic. But I am going to sit and open the document and go over things to ensure some sort of movement. And whenever I am doing that, I will listen to a writing playlist or some piece of piano music, some symphony so that I can train my mind onto certain things. I really need to start practicing composing music out of that workbook that I have and the half a dozen theory books. No excuses. I have ideas and I should not wait until I have mastered every scale before jotting things down.

Remembering the staffs still proves annoying. The letters still do not stick, but I need to be better so that I can notate things that I hear and come up with. I'll just keep staring at them until it is such second nature that it overcomes my bizarre wiring (not that I have not already been taking that tack for months).
I might just color the sheet music. It's mine. I bought it. Nobody is going to arrest me for doing it. It might solidify the lettering as well as help me to learn the piece more quickly. YES.

I watched a youtube vid about not having too many tabs open because it creates mental clutter. I am such a tab junkie and while I will not be able to entirely abandon that habit, I think that I can commit to at least finishing my open tabs and leaving no more than two or three open when I close Chrome. Eventually I will get it down to one. I just made my e-mail manageable again! I deleted a bunch of crap and marked a bunch of unread fanfic "for later" until I get over to the site to dedicate some time to reading. I just can't have it all sitting starred in my inbox for weeks. -_-

And the only thing that I can wash my face with lately is WATER. All soaps tend to piss it off. I thought that I looked like hell, so I splashed my face with water and looked a bit better. I simultaneously have oily an dry skin with occasionally red, irritated not quite pimples. As in, my skin is oily underneath the flaking. :( It isn't even that it's dry in some places and oily in others. That at least would be straightforward.

Listening to Lang Lang play. He managed the first one really well, but he sort of bangs on the keys in this one. Hmm. I am so sick of having a cluttered desktop so I am listening to all of the stuff I had just sitting out there everyday as a reminder to listen to it.

My life is full of reminders: reminder tabs, stickies, actual post its, starred e-mails, documents/pics/??? on the desktop, books pulled a few inches out of place on bookshelves, fridge magnets.

It is getting pretty ridiculous.

My goal today is to rid myself of this stuff by doing it or letting it go.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that a big, bushy Robin appeared on my balcony this morning early. I take that as a good sign. Robins are always good to see especially is they start singing.
star_swan: (Hogwarts Foxgloves (PoA))
I had to grad a handful of things at the store, including soap. I get this nice soap by this company called Plantlife. I usually get the Peppermint. It is soooo nice and not too horribly expensive (at least not in town it isn't). It lasts me awhile.

But I was tempted by Vanilla Orange and swayed by the text on the back:

"The gentle aroma of pure vanilla blended with sweet orange reminds us of the classic 50/50 ice cream bar and summer days gone by."

Yes, please!
Feeling nostalgic as *&^% lately so I am going with this one.
I needs some aromatherapy. :S

Dorama

Apr. 29th, 2015 08:06 am
star_swan: (Default)
I had about two or three posts I was typing about whatever has been going on this week, thoughts, projects mainly halted by familial drama. :S

I won't go into detail. Suffice to say, I am not really talking to my concert-going friend, Ange, anymore, the one who blew up and then ditched (was that a week ago??? Seems like an age). And I am currently trying to keep various segments of the family from throttling each other. Should I bother? Perhaps I should just let everything explode. Hmm. Sometimes you can't really prevent that from happening and it can be a good thing. A few beneficial explosions I do not mind (I mean I do, but eh), I just do not want people to wind up never speaking to each other ever again.


Spider narrative. Skip if you don't like spiders. Happy Ending! )

Aside from that....working very little :( (need to find a job with more and more reliable hours), grocery shopping, playing piano, binge watching Doctor Who, sitting on the patio garden when I have time, and making a frankly unrealistic reading list for 2015, but where's the fun in having a realistic one anyway?

I might dig into my closet (dvds) and binge watch old Nickelodeon tv shows. Family drama makes you feel sort of vulnerable. As I get older, I sort of pine for simpler times, but then I remember that they weren't simpler, merely different. As a kid, you have a lot of worries about being good enough, not upsetting parentals, dragging your arse off to school every morning (and the workload! How the fuck did I ever manage it?? and swim on top of that!), worrying about what you're going to do, yada yada. It's true, bills are less of an issue, but well, I don't have to go to six or seven periods five days a week. Sometimes I think that jobs are better, some days school sounds better. But either way, life wasn't all roses back then.

I am pretty good with how it is now even if it is far from perfect. It's a work in progress. I am starting to realize that is just life all over, possibly forever. "In Progress". You are always rushing to get somewhere to experience things, making plans, but you're never quite "done".

Need to sort out my head today.
star_swan: (Default)
I need to remember to "check in" for myself and not just to broadcast to friends. It has been almost a week since I posted in here and I have not written in my handwritten journal in a couple of weeks. (That one was supposed to be a weekly check in, to see how I am coming along from a longer term lens.) I also need to update LJ. Haha. Been busy.

I get perspective when I come on here. I am trying to let go of the performance a wee bit and just write in there what I would post here. I am going to cross post once I get the hang of that.

Want to take a second to say that I love my room/space. It is vibrant, active (a little chaotic) and unequivocally mine. It reminds me of something that I would see in an episode of Doctor Who, something designed and well-thought out to be a sort of ideal representation of the person occupying it. I rest here, draw power and strength from it. It's great. I like to stop and appreciate it every once in awhile.

I had two amazing practices last week and today was not so amazing. I think that I need more variety or something. I am practicing the Bach over and over, not merely to repeat it endlessly, but in thoughtful way. I think that I might need to choose a different project and revisit it. I can play it all the way through now at a nice tempo mainly error-free. I don't want to beat it to death because , pretty though it may be, I am getting a little bored with it.

Saw a performance on Picnic Day of Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto by a pianist who attends a conservatory on the East coast: Nathan Cheung. He's stunning! He actually plays with feeling and expressiveness. I think that he will go far. We were seated on the left so that we could see most of the orchestra and the pianist. I got to watch his fingers flying up and down the keyboard. I was most impressed with how he played slowly though. Playing fast isn't difficult once you strengthen your fingers and get used to the variety of motions. It takes time to work up to, but it isn't the most challenging aspect. I am still working on that, obviously, along with everything else. But he played very beautifully at any speed! It was such a pleasure and a treat. It was FREE. :O

Moar Babbling )

The weather was nearly hot on Saturday!

Doing a dump of story ideas, but need to do more.
Maybe need a pep talk concerning the novel as well as piano.

I'm doing all right though.

Eff it.

Mar. 31st, 2015 08:37 pm
star_swan: (Default)
I write in here nearly every day, at least three times per week, and I have been keeping this up for the past two years. Before that I was writing a handful of times a month. And I have been locking all of my entries. Why the fuck have I been doing this?

Putting this here because it is amazing: extreme words of wisdom about playing an instrument, specifically piano. It highlights how you have to work steadily, consistently, and reasonably resting in between sessions.

My favorite line: You can't cram the piano.


So working on third day in a row of tossing and turning. I would always get back to sleep, but then I would wake up again. My cycles seemed to elongate as I approached dawn, probably because I was talking to myself (in my head) and trying to soothe myself back to sleep and into a more prolonged sleep, which worked, albeit with weird side effects. I would be dreaming and I would think to myself, "Damn! This feels so good, sleeping." and "I can see the edge of the dream. It's the outside world. Shit! Don't want to wake up again!" And then I would "physically" run away and plunge deeper into the dreamscape. I would even feel myself waking up and I would force it away. Then I thought, "Gee. I hope that I can wake up again if I need to." I can do this thing where I can be dreaming and I can decide to wake up, not every night, but a lot of nights. Lucid dreaming is really cool and also kinda strange. Being able to control your sleep means that any stressor or misstep and you can wind up with a jacked up sleep schedule. Mind over matter is not always a picnic, more like a demented carnival ride.

I've decided to pretend like this is a normal day and that I do not feel half delirious with dark circles under my eyes. I don't think that napping is going to fix it. Perversely, if I do my practice (gently) and manage to accomplish things, slowly, it will put my mind at ease better than trying to take half-assed naps would. The last time that I was sleep less, getting good and exhausted was the only sure way to calm my arse down. It's like I have to really want the sleep because a lot of the time I am too wound up or spinning my gears too much to settle down and accept the loss of consciousness. Even if I think that I want to go sleep. Spinning stories helps because it takes concentration, but is also diverting and relaxing and eventually you lose the thread and drift off. How sick is it that I play mind games with myself in order to sleep?

That and Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. It's the same as regular except that you can set lower or higher word counts for yourself for the month. And I do not want it to be like camp when I was nine years old where I was sad, beleaguered, and half feral from lack of rest.


***********

Three hours before three o' clock! Woohoo!! I spent a lot of it practicing Bach (which is restful for the sleepy mind) and this thing called Parisian Street Scene which has a pretty wicked tempo and is a lot of fun. I feel so accomplished right now, I can't even tell you. I think that I am going to do some leisurely exercises, grab a coconut water, and go sit outside at the shadier end of my patio and luxuriate in beneath the crepe myrtle and snapdragons/mint/violas/morning glories. It is pretty dope out there now with everything lush and flowering, have to say.

Mint water is GREAT! Ice water with crushed mint leaves in it to be exact.

I had to stop myself from going back to the piano earlier. I am tempted to play a little more, just something leisurely. So long as I do my three hours, I suppose I can do extra dabbling here and there. I think that I am going to start doing daily s l o w trill exercises. I started to do hand over hand arpeggios a couple (??) of days ago.

Tonight, I need to shower after dinner (I am going back to showering in the evenings because I forgot to this morning and I realized that it is weird after having showered for years in the evenings, pretty much my entire life with a brief interlude from HS or uni??) and then finish transferring notes and snippets into Scrivener. Tomorrow is IT. 1,110 words per day for a month. I can do this. I just need to find a suitable time of day. Seems like mornings would be best, first thing, after breakfast but before the piano.

Might have to dance this evening to induce serious tiredness. That and it will drive away over thinking by refocusing my energy into my body.
star_swan: (Snape about to bitchslap (Gof))
So I have been furiously (though not actually) adhering to my practice sessions with a will. The past couple of days I had had to retool a couple of things because my hands were getting tired. I was ignoring some of the Hanon Insanity and rolling my wrists when going up to the black keys on scales, otherwise the tendon between my right ring finger and pinky were going to start muttering unhappily.

Long story short, four hours per day every day is a little crazy at least with current techniques. While lifting my fingers and hammering through Hanon has created a boost in strength, it is simply too intense to sustain. It was starting to make my thumb pads a little sore. And while the soreness was always gone the next day, nevertheless, it wasn't good. I thought back and realized that practicing with lightness and fluidity took longer, but got me to the same place technique wise. I was still building finger strength. As one person put it, "You can't cram the piano". More is not necessarily better. This one British concert pianist was encouraging people to use six hours of their free time in order to learn it, but I would advise using those hours for a variety of things: theory, note learning, slooooow practice, ear training. I was getting a little frustrated also because I want to compose things and learn about structure and build on some of my improvisations, and have the time to do so. I was afraid to ease up even though as an athlete, I always knew intuitively to rest after a session and allow my muscles and brain to recuperate.

Hanon has proved useful, but I am going to ignore the earlier advice and use my wrists more keeping my fingers lower. As one person said, raising your fingers simply slows you down and gives you more distance to cover and makes for awkward hand positions that are less efficient and cause more potential strain. Or else I could just tread more lightly (mf or mp). I get that slowly you build strength and that when you up the tempo, you play more lightly. "No pain, no gain" is a BAD mantra to apply to piano practice. :S

This one professional musician even went so far as to recommend only practicing four days a week for those with busy schedules. I am seriously considering five days with rest days interspersed. So, something like Mon, Tues, Rest, Thurs, Fri, Rest, Sun, Mon, Rest…et cetera. On the rest days, I can just study theory. Hmm. I am still not sure. Or else I could scale it back to two hours daily and take off one day in the middle of the week, possibly Wednesday. The thing is, when I get in front of the keyboard, I tend to get sucked in and just keep on going. I'll break up the time into segments where I work on one thing and then another and time whizzes by. I do realize that quality is preferable and some folks argue that beyond two-three hours, you're facing diminishing returns both mentally and physically. Then I think back to people who say that you should practice for 30-60 mins daily. :S I was supposed to take today off in order to rest, but I did wind up doing 30 mins of light arpeggios and simple Bach. Keeping me away is a challenge! This one guy also recommended working on passages/new tunes first when you are fresh mentally and working on scales etc later and switching it up.

I am simply going to have to sleep on it and think to myself about what is the best schedule, intuitively, for me. Is my goal to become a piano demon or to write and learn music and become more proficient?
star_swan: (Protego)
It rained for several minutes last night. I smelled it and woke up around three in the morning. I was also having creepy dreams. I set my internal alarm clock for 6:30 (and an actual phone alarm, just in case). And of course I woke back up clear out of the middle of a dream at 6:29, right before it went off. Erin's Brain: Freaky since the late 1970s.

So I pile my packed lunch and self in the car early this morning, park, stand in line with a host of sleep addled grumpy folks who don't want to be effing standing in front of the county courthouse before eight in the morning on a Monday, set off the arch, get run over with batons, have my entire bag searched (which was kind of amusing since the guy doing it seemed highly diverted by the contents; that job must get boring if found my book on Counterpoint and Russian interesting along with my menacing key chain), only to arrive at the touchpad checkpoint station and discover that my date of birth is incorrect by several years. Go to the side office and the nice lady there reveals to me that they've had a duplicate me in their system since 2009! Yes. So I've been called every year or so because there was more than one of me. They fixed it and sent me home since I just served and I need to now go beat someone with voter registration. Mum pointed out that, in essence, I have been serving jury duty in the place of other people who should have been called for years. You're welcome! :P

In other news, I may possibly have a job in the near future, I hope. It would be part time in the afternoons. *crosses fingers*

Happy Monday!!

I am going to study Russian then practice later. It felt a little like I had a metal band across my right hand so perhaps I need to lighten up on the Hanon. It did not hurt this morning and it did not even hurt, per se, last night, but I like to remain vigilant where these things are concerned and not push myself. It was probably the long, thin muscles in my hand getting quite a workout. Also though, my right hand has probably gotten abused a bit more historically, all things considered (being right-handed). I was starting to feel a little lost in the weeds last night. Keeping up the variety should help. It is, in the end, a lot of seriously hard work no matter how rewarding or fun the process can be and usually is. :S

So worth it though!
star_swan: (NYC thunderstorm)
I am seated downstairs on the large (and freakishly comfortable) sofa listening to more sonatas and reading music. I am getting much better at identifying notes without pauses and I can sit down and begin to play things fairly accurately, but I need to quiz myself, have like a note reading blitz. I have been spending my evenings practicing which I am going to switch up again. I've just been busy in the daytime lately. It is a task to sit down at seven or eight with the evening wearing on into later evening. You grow tired and do not feel like staring at the keyboard and at sheet music come eleven thirty. Practicing in the mornings and afternoons is a bit better, but this works. I still produce results and benefit from it. It is just "geh".

The weather has turned a little chillier, but I find that this makes for the perfect Sunday. It is just active enough to inspire movement and creativity, but relaxed enough to allow for repose. The sun peaks out, clouds obscure it again for several minutes, and the breeze undulates through all of the new foliage like an underwater current. I can see large petals scattering into view from somewhere left seeming to follow the downward movement of notes on a staff. A dried twig from a nearby redwood alights on the patio and sits stilly heavy with meaning. It might be that Sundays are always like this and I just now noticed.

I love how Scriabin doesn't even really bother with key signatures as such in a bunch of these. He just says it's in C and tosses in truckloads of accidentals. It's all relative anyway. (Not to be punny). And it obviously does float around a tonal center or it sounds like it does because we expect it to…I think technically it really doesn't??

Haha…I also love his notations. They're very whimsically specific!
"avec une langueur naissante" , "sombre et mysterieux", "avec une douceur de plus en plus caressante et empoisonnée" , "tres pur avec douceur" , "imperieux", "comme des éclairs", "orageux", "avec une céléste volupté".

In all important fic news, she updated again, the third in less than 48 hours or it might be the fourth, losing track, and she has made up for things somewhat. It was a short chapter, but I do not mind having short chapters twice or thrice a week. :P It's great! Her Natasha is quite cool and she finally convinced Bucky to be roommates and leave his shithole apartment; and he quit his sleazy bartending job. Why in the hell do I read these things?? Going to reread more slowly, savoringly, and then back to sight reading practice.

Sight reading this stuff is not very fascinating. It's the same five or six notes over and over again. Perhaps I should skip ahead? Perhaps I should not type a running commentary on my day in here.
star_swan: (Seven BAMF)
What an amazing Saturday after such a lackluster Friday evening. The afternoon was lovely yesterday, but I began to feel more and more tired and sore (in the throat). I felt the front of my throat and it was a little swollen. Cue freaking out. Spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching Shiro Neko videos and feeling a little down. I awoke late cause Saturday. Colin wanted me to leave and give him a couple of hours to himself in the house. I was a little hesitant but I threw on a blazer and jeans after switching out of one of my new dresses and cycled down the path with my bag full of Russian books, counterpoint, and a hardcover journal that I write in once a week to sort of check in on myself, life listening to The Strokes on my iPod. I had no clue where I was going, but I wound up on this one path just past the library on campus. It is the perfect combinations of sunshine and shade. I was grateful that I changed because the ground was hard and it was still a little chilly. I sat there listening to music, reading last week's entry and then writing a new one occasionally sketching tree branches. It was lovely. When the music stopped, I just sat there and listened to the surrounding art buildings humming and the birds for about an hour.
Cycled past people sunning themselves by the lake and proceeded with haste to WF to relieve my bladder. Got a snack and a coconut water and wandered for a little bit. Hung out in the arboretum listening to Brahms' Violin Concerto in D. Watched the birds and this ridiculous ginger cat that I once tried to collect and take back to his oblivious caretakers on a rainy afternoon last year. My throat felt a bit better and was noticeably less swollen! Hooray! It was so nice lazily taking in the sights and listening to tunes. Felt so good to be alive watching the sun glint off the trees, the water, the people walking past. It was like the town was my backyard, I felt so at home. Colin texted to apologize for pseudo kicking me out but I was well pleased. Sitting there listening to music rekindled my resolve to not waste any time with writing and with music, but also to get a grip. I set a rough date as a goal for having everything together, how I get there is up to me complete with marathon work periods and days here and there of rest and slacking. I need that freedom at least to maneuver in time and space. So by May 2016, I want to have a first draft of the novel ready (or perhaps what I mean is a revised version that could be ready to show to someone) along with considerable improvement on the keyboard and with musical studies. I want to have written something or be really exploring composing.

I ran into my folks on the way back, sprinted to the house to use the bathroom again and then went back out to meet them back at WF. Listened to Petrushka. It is a little weird and sort of sad, but I love it. On the way back I lost sight of them behind me and so lingered by Hart Hall and these poplars that I like. Sat on a bench for someone named "Jennifer" who passed away several years ago by the looks of the bench, probably within the last ten. She couldn't have been more than thirty-something. I patted the bench and told her that I was sorry that her life ended so soon.

By the time I made it back for the second time (and saw Colin and Callie on the path this time), I was pretty tired. It is a little before eight and I am exhausted. My throat is a bit better, but still a little rough and I was out all day. So nice though. I want to look at Russian, but I need to lie down a little first.
star_swan: (Default)
Who got 49/50 on the last lecture exam? This person, right here!!! YES. I think that I did well on the lab bit too so that's a great big boost from like 88-89% overall to a solidly, safe "A". We are about halfway through the exams, grading wise though more than halfway through the course. I am so so pleased right now. I am currently leaping ahead since I pretty much have the blood vessels down. We are being lectured on Lymphatic/Immune/Respiratory on Monday, but that's a quite a bit considering that we have yet another exam on Tuesday so I am actually starting early.

Here is a comment that I made on the latest and greatest chapter by Shiso:

"There's this wonderful unspoken connection (again) between them sort of like breathing or the ocean. It feels like there is distance there of a sort, but not really since there is this great, big something connecting them at all times. (I think of water because, well, emotions, but also because it feels like that to me. ) The right swell could come along and just suddenly push one of them back into the other's orbit."

It felt like a bit of a babble, but she really liked it and I like the image the more that I think about it. It got me thinking in other ways. Several of her responses did actually, about life and people. I think that we are all floating in the same whateveritis, something, some substance akin to water or perhaps like a cross between water and light, a form of energy, a medium that we all inhabit/share/cohabitate. Some are farther away, off in seas separated by great watery expanses (that could have proper names if this was about some odd, interstitial geography), but inevitably connected nevertheless, the people we love, strongly dislike, don't particularly like or dislike, and the ones that we know nothing about. And I like that. I like that I am connected to everyone, even people whom I would perhaps choose to not be around. They deserve a space and they have it just by being part of the human race.
Of course, it makes me also ponder the other thing, that there are people whom I like, who I am related to, or what have you that I am also connected to no matter how far away they may appear to be. It gives me hope. It could be a bonkers only child thing, seeing connections by virtue of being the observer, of knowing solitude and not being either ashamed, insecure, or especially bothered by it as a concept and as a practice when necessary.
Sure, I desire a social life a bit more scintillating than the one that I've got at present, but I can go out into the world and do things myself on my own and derive pleasure from it. I can sit in a cafe or a shop and watch other people and not think, "Well, gee I should have just stayed home rather than venture out with no one else to do it with" cause this is what a lot of people do, sadly. It's like they need permission to go out alone, like it's somehow odd or embarrassing. It might just be a smaller town thing. I suspect that in highly urban areas, folks are less reticent about going out alone, more confident which makes them seem usual so that it sort of normalizes itself. And, yo, people watching.

Done! ...with the chapter on lymph/immune. I am going to do the Respiratory tomorrow and then review the set. I cannot imagine that he is going to include all that much from this latest stuff seeing as we will scarcely have the time to go over it in any detail.

Colin was singing in the shower last night at one in the flipping morning. I think that I partially surfaced for a moment, long enough to wonder, "Can I hear singing?" and then I fell deeper into sleep. Apparently he kept people up... He said that it made him feel less uneasy. Aww, he's afraid of the dark. <3 He said that it was taking his mind off the potential for psycho killers to randomly get him in the shower. :S

I could cure him of that. ;D

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I was promised tea

April 2017

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about me

I'm a mad translator with a degree in Comp Lit and assorted languages. Writing a novel and studying violin. (The story has been flailing along for the past couple of years. I think that the Scrivener research file is larger than the actual text.)

I live with a rather naughty ginger cat. Is there any other kind?

I love tea, loose leaf teas, teas in sachets, all sorts of teas and COFFEE. The more legally, addictive stimulants, the merrier!

Music and books are my life. I basically live in a closet-sized library with a container garden. I occasionally sleep. <3

ivybellis ------> star_swan

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