Sunday, September 30, 2018

Week 20/66: Some Things Got Done

I didn't finish the revision, but I wrote the narrative stuff for my promotion application.  It took a while, but wasn't as horrid as I'd feared, primarily because I had the big "Review After Tenure" last year and as I reported, it went very well.  So this should be fine.  I wrote the stuff about what I've done since the last review, and will include stuff from the last review (since promotion isn't just a "what have you done this year" thing).

I did one thing that should be really good, and was also awarded a "Feminist Service Award" last spring, which looks good.

I'm going to a concert that should be very good this evening, and I had a good violin practice today, so I'm feeling a bit more hopeful about the world.

The big goal for this week is to finish the revision so I can submit it and add it to the promotion narrative.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Intermezzo: I Joined an Orchestra

When I took up the violin, I hoped to one day be able to play in a community orchestra, to make music with other folks.  A few weeks ago, my violin teacher told me about a community orchestra for "intermediate" string players, and gave me the email address for the leader.  So I emailed, and tonight was the first rehearsal.

Let's just say, I have a WHOLE lot of practice to do.  There are retired music teachers and such in there, as well as a bunch of health professions folks, and pretty much everyone plays way better than I do.  But everyone was friendly and encouraging, especially the conductor/organizer.

The conductor/organizer (let's call her Maestra, shall we?) runs a cello studio in town, and does the intermediate string orchestra as part of her professional work.  There's a nominal fee for the "semester" which probably covers the purchase and copying of parts and a stipend for her.

The music was hard for me, especially sight reading, but I think with a lot of practice, I'll be able to do my part to make it.  The overall level is higher than I'd thought, but that will be nice as I improve.  Meanwhile, we have to skip next week because there's a concert by the grown up community orchestra, so I have two weeks to work on the music.

I was thinking of it as a middle school level orchestra, but I'm guessing it's more high school level, except everyone was so friendly that it felt really good even though I wasn't keeping up musically.


I had a good lesson today.  I'm progressing on my piece; plenty still to work on, but at least my practice showed.  And my teacher started me on one small part of the next piece, so I'm pretty excited.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Week 19/66: Revision Work

I'm making progress on my revision work, which is a good thing, because I have to get it submitted this week.  Wish me luck.

Last weekend, I went camping with a friend.  Let's just say, it was a bit frustrating.  For some reason, they really wanted to visit all these swimming "holes" they'd used as a kid.  Okay, I can definitely see visiting a swimming hole, taking a nice swim.  Good.  But then they wanted to visit another.  And another.

In the end, I was irritated at myself that I'd gone camping with them.  I'd have been happy with staying at our campsite and spending a relaxed morning rather than visiting swimming holes here and there.  But yes, each was beautiful.

I think it's maybe because I'm at a point where I don't feel a strong attachment to any place from my childhood, really.  None are "mine" in any sense, and I've come to terms with not going back.  I think my friend, though, if having some family issues, and going back to places that made them happy as a kid is a way of dealing.

I went paddle boarding today, and did better than I've done before.  I was able to do it long enough that my arms as well as my legs started getting tired.

And that's the week that was.  This week, I need to work on those revisions and just get them done.  Period.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Week 17/66: Making Progress

I made some progress on various fronts this week, all of which are good.  And yesterday I had a fabulous day.  It started at the farmers' market, where I found Zestar apples, the best eating apples around, even a bit better than Honeycrisp.  Then I went for a morning kayak with some friends, where we saw some Bald Eagles and had a lovely time.  I went home, did laundry and mowed, then showered, practiced violin, and went out for pizza with several friends/colleagues, some of whom are fairly new, and so they got a chance to know different people around campus who are nice and friendly, and vice versa.  There was ice cream!  All in all, a pretty great day.

Progress on the article front for revision, but nowhere near done yet.

Finished reading a good book that a friend lent me and returned it.

Worked my way back up to near the end of Book 3 in Suzuki, started doing technique exercises again, and had a really helpful lesson.  I'd been frustrated by my tone, and my teacher helped me see that it was a bow position issue, and gave me some exercises to work on to help me.  She's SO good at seeing things and then giving me ways to work on them.  And also kind and encouraging.

In more exciting news, there's an orchestra in town of intermediate adult string players!  I emailed, and it looks like my skills are about there, so I'm going to go.  It starts near the end of September.  I'm excited to get to play with a group.  We'll probably sound like a so-so middle school orchestra, but it should be fun anyway, and I probably won't be so far the worst that it's plainly embarrassing.

I also used my new paddle board for the second time, for about 20 minutes.  My legs shake the whole time, so it's really tiring.  But I'm getting a tiny bit more stable each time.  If you figure the cost of something, and then divide by the times you've used it, you begin to get an idea of if you should have just rented something or not.  It's sort of a mind game: with all the accoutrements, including an electric air pump, I'm now at $400 a ride, about.  So I've got a ways to go...

This coming week:  I MAY try to go north for a day or two to see the Aurora Borealis.

The big push is to make progress on the revision.

I also want to catch myself back up on Suzuki, and work on my priorities:  bowing/tone, shifting, double stops, Suzuki, and vibrato.  In that order.  It's not like any of those is really totally independent, because in order to make progress in Suzuki, I'll need to have shifting and double stops working pretty well.  And in order to do anything, bowing/tone has to be solid at my level.  Vibrato just needs a little work every day, I think, and it will come.

I'll try to get out on the paddle board at least once, and get some exercise every day.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Week 16/66: Getting Busy

The semester starts for everyone else this week, and for me, it's time to really buckle down.

The big goal this week is to revise an essay I should have revised ages ago, and send it out.  In order to revise the essay, I'm rereading the text first, and then will work on revisions.  I also need to make sure I have a good handle on the journal's submission requirements.

Second on the list is to email the head of our promotions committee and let him know I'm planning to go up for promotion.

Today, I went to the city Labor Day gathering.  It was disappointingly sparsely attended, alas.  But I did have a nice chat with a local party volunteer, and am planning to get involved in volunteering this fall since I have more time than ever before during an election.

On Saturday, I volunteered for a local voter registration thing on campus, but they didn't realize that people can't register until they've lived somewhere for ten days, so talking to students moving into the dorms didn't seem effective.  But then I realized that they weren't really so much interested in registering voters, but more in getting students to put their names on a list to be reminded to vote and so forth.  I recognize the importance of such lists, but since I was more interested in registering folks to vote, I was less than thrilled.

And that's the week!