star_swan: (Music always helps)
I really need to hit the sack, but first...

I bought this tea sampler of Kusmi teas. They are Russian, but made in France. o___o They're incredible! I sampled four out of the five today >.>. At one point I was flying on tea. Told Kit about it, and gave her my live reaction(s). It was a good way of seeing just how strong they are as well. SO far Troika and Prince Vladimir are strong enough to have at breakfast with milk. Nearly resurrected my Tea Journal. I have managed to stop acquiring things, finally.

..on a related note, I was seized last night with the sudden desire for a violin. x_x I even found some online/at the local music shop for reasonable prices. Hmm. But it is rather hard and I would be bonkers to try it, more than likely. Kit plays and recommended (highly) some sort of instruction though she says that attempting to learn it on your own is not impossible or unheard of. I just could not shake the idea from my head. Still pondering it, but waiting a bit to see if I can manage. I would have to get something to deaden the sound. It would more or less be a secret.

HMM.
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.
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: (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.

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star_swan: (Default)
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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