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Making a Change

knit
So, after the recent unfortunate discovery of a Cash4Gold ad that liked to take over my LiveJournal front page, I've made the decision to change to WordPress. You can find me there at the following URL:

Allimonster.wordpress.com

I'll still be checking in here, but you should be able to comment on my WordPress blog without having to make another account.

Please don't stop reading! I won't stop reading your blogs!

Conun-drum

knit
Several months ago, Kristi wrote a Livejournal entry about her desire to return to Scotland, and her feeling that it was time, at least for a while, to put that dream aside. I have to say that I've been thinking about that a lot.

The Church is having a concert next weekend, in which I long ago agreed to play. At that point, it was one rather extensive piece of music, which has now turned into several significant pieces of music requiring an army of percussionists and an armory of equipment - none of which I own. (There are a few pieces I own, but they have been at my parents house since I finished college, and have probably seen better days for lack of use.) There's a part of me that is excited for this concert, but the majority of my soul is dreading the whole blasted affair. It's not that I'm nervous about playing (although I do want to perform well, being the perfectionist that I am), but that I'm sick of dealing with the hassle of toting equipment and mallet bags, rehearsing with certain conductors that drive me batty, and giving up weekend time with my husband and friends. The Fairfax symphony concerts have been more satisfying, but those are few and far between.

I haven't played my marimba in months, save for a few minutes here and there to peck out glockenspiel parts for these gigs. It's sitting in the living room, covered, and mostly getting in the way. I've thought about selling it to someone at Mason (though I don't think many students in this economy have several grand to spare), or maybe even just donating it to their Instruments for the Schools project and taking a hefty tax deduction. But I need the 5 octave parts to complete the package, and those are, again, at my parents' house in Oregon.

I WANT to want to play my marimba, and I love to listen to my recordings of marimba music. But I don't know if I want to play it myself anymore.

I've come to terms with the fact that music will never be my day job, and I'm okay with that. I like my djembe and my conga drums, and I like pulling them out to play folk tunes with friends or have a spontaneous jam with Mike. But I don't think I want to play for pay anymore.

Maybe I just don't want to play with The Church anymore.

They say that when you aren't nervous for a performance anymore, you need to stop performing.

...am I nervous about this concert? Or am I nervous about owning these feelings, and shutting the door on a big part of my life?

Regret

knit
In an effort to keep myself updating this on a regular basis, I've taken up a challenge. My dear friend Kate has a fantastic blog, and she's starting a group topic once a week or so. Last week's was "freudian slips", which while hilarious, don't happen all that often in my life. This week's topic, though, is "regret", which I have plenty of experience handling.
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I spent a good long time this afternoon on Facebook, looking at pictures of folks I knew in high school. It was interesting to see how many of them are rounder (whether by beer or by baby), balder, sexier, gayer (out-er just really doesn't work as an adverb), and more often than not, happier.

I also happened to do one of those godawful "Remember Back to High School" surveys and thought back to the person I was then and the person I am now. And thought about how things went and how they might have gone had things been different.

I regret...
... not being a little more laid-back.
... not skipping school once.
... being so uptight about sex and boys.
... taking AP statistics senior year.
... being walked on by people I thought were my friends.
... letting go of some people I didn't yet realize were friends.
... not taking more art classes.
... not joining a sports team.
... not continuing to take Spanish after 10th grade. It's still my favorite language.

I don't regret...
... doing theater, band, and orchestra even though it made me so busy I could have cried.
... skipping most of the high school dances (usually because I did something more fun instead).
... saying no to the guy who asked me to senior prom.
... asking a friend to the winter formal. It was definitely a memorable dance.
... waiting to make a move on Mike. If we hadn't waited, we might have screwed things up.
... flirting incessantly with Mike instead of making a move on him! (There were some great moments of sexual tension to resolve years later!)
... making friends with people in many other grades than my own, although it was hard to leave them at graduation, and it's going to make reunions suck.

There's a whole different set of regrets from college, which I may get to one of these days. Anybody else have thoughts about high school?

Grumblecakes is no more!

knit
Sometimes you get just what you need to lift your spirits, right when you need it.

All the goodies

I'm a member of an online knitting forum, and I think I can safely say that it's one of the safest, most welcoming places I've ever visited on the internet. I signed up to do a Valentine's Day swap, and put together a package I was pretty pleased with. (It helped that my swap partner was a good friend of one of my good friends, so I had spies!)

But my dear secret buddy, AKA cyclingkate, put together such a sweet package that it melted the grumbly bits out of my heart and made me smile all morning.

And look! Yarn!

Yarn!

Not to mention a cuddly friend...who is already named Bun.

Bun!!!

Even Mogwai and Mike enjoyed the present.

Moggle and Hubs

Cyclingkate, you seriously made my week. Thank you so much!

Grumblecakes

knit
When I get to being a grumpy Alli, Mike calls me Grumblecakes, courtesy of a Homestar Runner episode from years long ago. It stuck, and still applies to this day.

I haven't been able to help it - I've been in such a rotten space the last few days. I don't even know what brought it on. There's nothing big and problematic in my life, which is actually going pretty smoothly for the first time in a long time. There's no big disappointments or mistakes we've made. Just, crabbiness.

I don't know exactly what to do to lift it, so I guess I'll just have to let it pass on its own. In the meantime, I'm going to be gentle with myself, and gentle with Mike too.

Here, there, and everywhere

knit
LJ says it's been two weeks since my last post, so I'd better get crackin'. I have been all over the place mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I have really been enjoying my internship at Signature. In the last four weeks I've been all over Northern Virginia and DC distributing posters and rack cards (the kind you find at the "Local Attractions" booth in hotels), in addition to sitting in on various meetings, a panel on the perils of public relations in theatre, and also, several lengthy "business lunches". Them folks at Signature know how to party! I'm learning a lot.

I also have enjoyed seeing that the majority of staff at Signature is in the same approximate age range as me. It soothes the part of me that always worries about being the "young one" in whatever job I take, and therefore being perceived as the inexperienced one or the prodigy (on the rare occasion that I do something right). I'd just like to be thought of as one of the staff, with no special expectations held over my head.

In other news, one of my good friends just had her second child and, well...I WANT ONE TOO!!! Strange to think that I'm getting to that age. Mike wants kids too. Not that we're getting pregnant tomorrow or anything - we've still got some planning to do - but it's nice to know that should fate throw us a curveball, it would be a welcome curveball.

School is going well, although I've got severe senioritis. I just wanna be DONE! At least after May, I'll only have one class left. I can wish that Signature hires me on, but whatever comes, I'll definitely be getting a JOB after this internship is done!

E Pluribus Unum?

knit
Out of many, one.

I spent the entire morning sitting in a dentist's office with Mike, who had to have an emergency root canal after one of his teeth cracked in half last night. The radio in the office was tuned to the inaugural events, though, so between the whine of the drill and instructions to rinse and spit, I heard bits and pieces of Obama's inaugural address.

My thoughts, initially, were centered on his tone of voice. That man has a voice drawn from the history books, evoking a time when our leaders seemed to know something we didn't, and that confidence radiated out of them like warmth. This is not to say that I believe Mr. Obama (sorry, President Obama now) is some kind of demi-god, as it seems some would like to believe (and others assume we believe), but merely that he is a man who has taken service of his country with the utmost seriousness and is truly humbled and moved by the opportunity to serve his nation.

But once I got home and was able to read the full text of Obama's speech, I shivered with goosebumps at the following words:

"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."


I wish I could say that I am not affected by the snarky comments or status updates of some of my friends, and that it doesn't hurt me to see them treating such a serious day in our country with such contempt. It saddens me to hear them claim I have "drunk the Kool-aid", or that my gladness over such a day is not genuine, but merely the byproduct of a herd mentality. I have spent the last eight years in quiet observation of the former President's actions, not always agreeing, and yes, often voicing my frustrations out loud, but never decrying the beliefs of those with whom I disagreed. I am pained by the lack of faith in the people of this country to choose a leader that may not have been their first choice, but has been tested over the last two years of campaigning and found worthy.

I am not a natural optimist, but I work hard at overcoming the tendency to be cynical. It has not always been so.

I hope to see that in the months and years to come, we can truly choose hope over fear, and proclaim an end to petty grievances.

E Pluribus Unum.
Out of many, one.

Vive la France! Vive la difference!

knit
There has been an abundance of French Revolutionary influence in my life lately.

It began last weekend when Mike and I headed out to Signature for their production of Les Miserables. Entertainment Weekly just released their review of the production, saying it was "more stirring, inventive, and genuinely moving than the original ever was". Talk about positive reviews! They are pouring in and overwhelmingly positive. Mike and I agreed that Les Mis is our favorite show ever, and once I started getting more involved in Signature through my marketing project, I knew we had to see it for our anniversary. Imagine sitting in the last row of the theatre, and yet being only six rows away from the actors! Fantastic stuff.

We preceded the show with a meal at a local restaurant, the Carlyle Grand, and shared an amazing white chocolate bread pudding. Heavenly stuff.

The day after Les Mis, Jason came over with a DVD of the movie The Brotherhood of the Wolf, a French action movie set in the 18th century and dealing with the French legend of the Beast of Gevaudan. I thought it was a pretty decent movie, nevermind that it starred Mike's favorite B-movie action here, Mark Dacascos.

Finally, this week while shopping for my brother's upcoming birthday, I scored a sweet deal on the movie Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. For some reason I'd hesitated seeing this film - why, I can't recall. It's a Sofia Coppola movie, which usually means I adore it. In any case, it was an interesting character study on a woman who seems much maligned by history and propaganda. I'd like to read more on her, if anybody has recommendations.

Aside from the French stuff, things are going exceedingly well. My first week of internship is done, and had some exciting moments that I will save for another post...probably post-inaugural.

Feeling good from my head to my shoes...

knit
Remember last post and how I said I was going at a good pace and making the changes and improvements in my life that need to be done? I figure I'll start from the top and work my way down.

Head
About six months ago, I put myself into what I've referred to as "diet detox". I was tired of obsessing over my weight, trying to lose the "last ten pounds" and becoming unhealthily preoccupied with food. I kept telling myself "tomorrow's the first day back on my diet", only to find myself dreading it and eating everything in sight.

I read the book Intuitive Eating and decided I needed to stop obsessing about food. I found I was able to stop myself from being an emotional eater for the most part, and stopped feeling guilty for eating any kind of "forbidden food". I also was able to recognize some bad patterns and nip those in the bud.

...I also put on about 20 pounds. Normally this wouldn't really faze me, but I don't really have the money for a new wardrobe and need to be dressed kind of "business casual" for work and such, so after much soul-searching, I made the decision to go back to Weight Watchers.

I've only been back a week, and it's been like a Road to Damascus type of experience. I'm eating sensibly and yet, eating everything I want/crave. There are no "good" and "bad" foods, only foods that are worth it and not worth it to me. I lost about a pound and a half this week, too. So far, so good.

Heart
This fall, I came to the realization that The Church (the big one where I play timpani sometimes) is not my spiritual home. After doing some exploring, I gave the local Unitarian Universalist congregation a try. Friends, this truly is the "thinking man's" religion. They respect each individual's beliefs and spiritual journey, but recognize the need for people to gather for spiritual enrichment. I don't know if this is my home, but I'm going to attend for a while and see how things feel.

Feet
I've always been a walking gal, but this time I finally hit upon a workout that feels good and does me some good. I've been doing Leslie Sansone's "Walk at Home" DVDs, and once you get over the mild silliness of marching in place, you realize that she's giving you a serious workout...my arms are still sore from yesterday's session with the toning band! I'm sure that this is helping with the weight situation, too.

All good things, and hopefully will continue to be good.

New Year, New Energy

knit
A new year and a lot to catch up on. In the spirit of my resolution to blog more, I'm putting aside the guilt of not posting on each and every little tiny thing I've meant to write about, and moving on into the future.

After my initial conversation with the folks at the theatre at which I'll be interning, I have not heard anything from them about when I will be starting or whatever. Which is a little taxing because I'm supposed to start within the next couple of weeks. But I'll give them until Monday to call, at which point I'll give them a call back.

I can't even express how excited I'll be to work with them - it seems way too good to be true. This organization focuses on musical theatre - they do three musicals and two straight plays a year - and are pretty much one of the only theatres in the country to do so. Their production of Les Mis (which Mike and I will see next weekend as an anniversary date) was pretty much heralded as accomplishing the unattainable: reinventing the show completely from the touring production we've all seen over the years. I'm so excited to see it! Aside from the quality of their productions, though, but the quality of people working there excites me. Not only are they all passionate about what they do, but they seem like my kind of people. Case in point: When I first met the managing director, she correctly used the term "jumblefuck" in a sentence.

My kinda boss.

I got the marketing audit back from my professor with an A on it. I hope that the folks at Signature liked it as well as he did...I'm hoping that this internship might translate into a job in the future. Even a part time gig at the box office would be great. I think I could handle being in customer service if I knew I was selling a product that I really believe in.

Mike and I just got back from Pennsylvania, visiting with his friend (and fellow staff member on Co-Optimus and Colony of Gamers) Nick and his wife Jamie. I've met Nick before, but meeting Jamie was nice too. I could see us getting along pretty well in subsequent years, which is nice because I think Mike and Nick are going to be working together for a while.

I'm feeling pretty energetic coming into 2009. I think it's going to be a pretty exciting year for the two of us - we've been making plans, together and separately, for things we want to accomplish in the coming year, and I feel like we're hitting a good stride. One hopes that we can continue at this pace.

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