As an adult newly carving my way through the real world, I have done my best to make intelligent decisions weighing the responsibilities of being out on my own. A large part of that is managing money. I’ve been intentional about saving money. After all, my parents raised me saving.
I learned from an early age to rescue long lost pocket change, left to fend for itself on a deserted sidewalk, making it feel right at home in my elaborate change bank. It was really cool…I could drop a coin in the slot and a system of levers would carefully gauge the weight and, with perfunctory clatter, would expertly sort the change into the appropriate column by monetary value. Each of these shining columns of wealth were graduated, making it clear how much the cache of cash was worth. When the glorious day came that the columns were filled, mom and I would make a trip to the bank on the corner and I’d make a deposit and the process would start over again.
So…we’ve established that I think saving is important. I opened a money market account with emigrantdirect.com about a year ago at 5.5% interest with the convenience of an online FDIC insured account seemed like a fantastic deal…which it was. I could save my money AND not loose money to the rate of inflation. I went back to my account to see that the APY had since dropped to 2.75%. I checked the inflation rates, and they have not been below 4.0% since the beginning of the year. Crap…I’m losing money just by having money…and I don’t even have that much. And I need to save…what if my car would crap out on me? Or the furnace would die? The government wants me to spend and stimulate the economy…splendid. I’ll pay their stupid $600 economic stimulus back to them in taxes in the coming year.
OHMYGOSH! I have a house! I closed on Friday and I’m still blown away with the fact that I’ve done it. ME! A homeowner! Yippee!
Yesterday I shopped around for dehumidifiers and lawn mowers, of all things….poured over in-store paint displays and bought painting supplies…I made a regular day of it! It payed off…I figure I spent over $400, but I feel I’ve made intelligent purchases. Yippee!
On an un-related note…I smell like a candy cane right now. On Friday morning I woke up with terrible muscle pain/stiffness/soreness in my neck and shoulders, to the point that I can’t really move. At first I blamed it on sleeping in an odd position, but I’m growing convinced that it’s because I’ve stopped taking my group exercise classes. I imagine it’s a muscular response to a drastic change in activity levels.
I tried ibuprofen, which I can’t tell if it helped…the pain is pretty acute. The only thing that really seems to improve my mobility is flexing and stretching the muscles, but that hurts like all get-out. I can’t tell if it makes it hurt less, or maybe it just feels good when the anguish stops. I used Ben-Gay ® for the first time this morning, hence the candy-cane smell. That feels pretty good, comparatively.
I’m trying to stay mobile…it seems to hurt the worst after periods of rest. It’s just really hard to keep moving when it’s so sore!
It is with an odd mix of excitement, elation, and regret (for leaving my friends at my current job) that I formally announce that I have been offered and accepted a web designer position with UWGB.
I was made aware of a Web Designer job opening with UWGB by a close friend who knew how much I’ve always wanted to work for a university. Admittedly, I hadn’t really considered the job at that point. It wasn’t until after a second friend, purely by coincidence, sent me notification of the same position.
Without any intention of actively looking for another job, the odd chance that two friends sent me the same employment posting drew me to take a closer look at the description. This job would mean a pay increase, an opportunity to grow, and above all, the chance to realize my dream of working for a university.
I took what I thought was a shot in the dark and submitted an application. To my surprise, they called me in for an interview. Still doubting my chances of actually getting this job, I prepared my portfolio and met with the hiring committee. They have just offered me the position and I responded that I would appreciate having the weekend to consider it.
I did not aspire to leave Envano, but I have decided that working with UWGB is an opportunity that I can’t pass up. I want you to understand that I was not driven to look elsewhere, but simply took a chance at what I saw was an opportunity to grow. I have had over two very happy years with the company. Now it’s time for me to move on. My first day is October 1, 2007 and I couldn’t be more excited.
I’m just writing a quick message to let everyone know that I’m doing a lot better these days! I’ve accepted the counter offer and the wheels are in motion for me to own my first home ever! Yay!
I’m working on getting my portfolio online…if all goes well, it will be up later this week. I’ll keep you posted for when that happens.
I’m in a funk…and I hate it. It doesn’t suit me. I can’t even draw artistic inspiration from my sadness. It just leaves me drained and lethargic. It’s not even sadness…hopelessness, maybe? I’ve been this way since the beginning of July and it’s really ruining the best part of my summer. Summer is great. I should be happy, but I’m not and it sucks.
I tried change…a vacation…seems to have stressed me out as much as my regular schedule. I stood up in a wedding with my closest friends…I damn near ruined the whole thing with my sorry disposition. Work should make me happy…it always has before. I like design. It’s fun.
This little black rain cloud is really bad for my social life, too. Nobody likes to be around wretches that wallow in self pity. It makes people uneasy. Or maybe that’s just my excuse for not having to talk to anyone. It makes me snippy and short-tempered with the one’s I love to the point that I can convince myself that they don’t really love me and maybe never really did.
Why am I sad? I can come up with lots of excuses. I’m 26 years old and I have osteoarthritis in my knees. I still live at home with my parents. Maybe it’s my inferior intelligence or because my gut hangs out like that of a 50-year-old lady. [The last two comments are not supported by fact and may or may not be skewed by my waning self-esteem.] Or maybe because I set out to buy a house and am nowhere nearer to achieving my goal than I was three months ago. Or perhaps because I will have taken violin lessons for almost a year without any detectable signs of improvement.
I need a kitty…a kitty would really cheer me up right now….but my parents won’t let me have one in the house…and my boyfriend’s allergic to them. I need a house…then a kitty.
It really is bittersweet to realize I have the ability to do something with software I have been using for YEARS and didn’t realize until now that it was available.
Now, this begs the question:
Am I smart for figuring it out? Or am I a flippin’ idiot for taking 4 years to notice this cool feature?
So…I did something moderately dishonest. Not dishonest enough for me to feel obligated to seek out the nearest priest for contrition (although this may come up if I ever find myself in confession and am unwilling to mention the really nasty things I do. It’s always good to keep some mild sins in your arsenal. I know I’m not perfect…the priest knows I’m not perfect…so I really have to be prepared with something to tell him. Besides…if there’s a really terrible sin that you don’t feel guilty for and you tell the priest, he’ll make you feel guilty for doing it, and worse yet, hell tell you to pray a couple rosaries and knock it off. Usually, if there’s a really terrible sin you’re committing and you don’t feel guilty for it, you like doing it and you probably won’t want to stop. These are the important things I learned in my catholic upbringing.) At any rate…I did this moderately dishonest thing…and it’s just dishonest enough for me to clear my conscience by blogging about it.
It all started on Saturday morning. I was with 3 of my closest lady friends. We decided that we would all go for a walk that afternoon in compliance with the blood-sister-diet-and-fitness-regime-pact we had sworn to a few months ago. I, however, was unfortunately inappropriately shod for such activity. I had no sneakers with me and it just so happened that buying new sneakers was on my to-do list.
And so it was that we all Rogan’s…where I proceeded to mull for some time over the aesthetics of one shoe versus another….after all, such decisions cannot be made in haste. Well…the original task of having to pick one pair of shoes was compounded by the fact that there was a buy one get one 50% off sale! I had to pick two pairs! So of course it took me twice as long! As quickly as my in-decisive nature would allow, I bought a pair of $75 new New Balance sneakers and the keeeeyyy-utest wedges…(the latter for half the price). Later that day…when I put the athletic shoes on again to go for a walk…they seemed a little roomy in the toe… I thought it was odd, but I shrugged it off and thought nothing of it. After all, this footwear’s predecessor had been of the same size of the same brand…of course they fit! Well, after two 2-mile walks and an aerobics class in my not-so-new-anymore sneakers, I finally came to terms with the fact that the damn things were to big for my little feet. CRAP! I paid SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS for those! So, I did what I could to dab the pebbles out of the soiled soles and buffed the scuff marks on the heels and I took the shoes back to Rogans and exchanged them for a smaller pair. So…if you get a pair of blue and grey size 7.5 women’s New Balance shoes at the east-side rogan’s…you may find them pleasantly broken-in for you.
Who knows maybe a priest will read this and say a prayer for my poor mislead soul and my sins will be absolved.
I’m a disgraceful violin student…and I’m inconsiderate, in general. This week I was bound and determined not to suck as badly as I had at my last lesson…and I suppose I got my wish. That’s what happens when you show up 25 minutes late for a 30 minute lesson. I didn’t have the opportunity to suck.
I stayed late at work tonight to get some things done for the big go-live tomorrow…and then I practiced just a bit so that I wouldn’t be so flippin’ awful when I had my lesson at 7:30…when I brought my violin down to glance at my watch I saw I had 10 minutes to spare before my lesson…holy crap, I was going to be late! Traffic hovered just at or below the speed limit, despite my exclamations of frustration…and of course Chicago St. was still under construction so I needed to park a block away from my lesson.
When I finally arrived and saw myself in through the tricky combination button lock exterior door and went downstairs, I saw that Bruce was waiting for me. He said, “Well, we could have a 5 minute lesson…Or we could just reschedule for next week.” What? I thought the lesson was at 7:30…I know I was late, but I didn’t think I was that late. Bruce appologized for the miss-communication, but I wouldn’t be suprized if it were my fault. I muttered, “I”m sorry” and “I’ll see you next week at 7:15, then” and lumbered back up the narrow stairway to exit that door that found such delight in causing me grief.
I’m such a pain in the ass.
Okay…regarding last night’s post and general frustration with playing the violin, I had not practiced what my instructor recommended. It’s my own damn fault I suck. I ordered new music and I neeeded to play it…and I didn’t really have a lot of time to practice early in the weekend so I spent a good amount of time on Sunday playing this new music…and not what the teacher told me to do. So…even though I played until my fingers were sore and my jaw felt bruised, I didn’t do anything to work on my weaknesses.
These are the things I should have been working on:
- Relax my grip on the bow.
The bow should be held by a relaxed hand with the index, middle, and ring fingers resting over the top.
- Keep a loose wrist on the bow arm.
Short, quick bow movements originating at the wrist will increase the speed of bow strokes and make playing very fast songs at tempo possible.
- Practice changing positions.
Through repetition and practice, changes in position will become seamless. I’ll quickly be able to find the correct note and play it with the correct intonation.
- Work on dynamics.
I’ve never been good at dynamics, but I should be aware of them and try to play them.
Bruce, my instructor, also recommended that I don’t rosin my bow as frequently as I do. Apparently, the excess of rosin creates a sort of harsh screaching noise. He told me he only rosins his bow about once a week…and for as frequently as he plays, I’m really amazed that he does it so little.
I’m wallowing in self-pity right now…and the very realization of it not only make me feel worse, it disgusts me. My life is so rosey that the only thing I’ve got to worry about is my in-ability to play the violin with discipline. Of all of the adult things I could be preoccupied with, I’m questioning my value as a human being because I suck at my most recent less-than-worthwhile persuit.
Okay…so I enjoy playing, or rather totally sucking at playing the violin. I’m convinced that I know how to play the notes in tune…I know how to read the music and I’m fully capable of coaxing out the sweetest pianisimos or the boldest sfortzandos…but for some dumb reason as soon as I play, any imagined elegance, rhythm, or intonation evaporates…and I croak out the same pitchless notes I always have.
Yes, I’m dispicable…I sit here alone in my room with tears of frustration streaming down my blotchy cheeks (I never was a cute crier) It’s very…erm…salty. I wonder if my private instructor dreads my lessons, “Oh crap…it’s Monday at 7:30 pm again!?” He tolerates my lessons for his love of making beautiful music…with the hope that my resounding screaches don’t damage his perfect ears.
He dissed my new bow…rightfully, so…I only paid $75 for it…what should I expect? During last week’s lesson I told him it was new and he responded laughingly that he supposed he shouldn’t say anything bad about it, then…so he saved it for today’s lesson. I’m making him out to sound like a jerk…he’s really very sweet and polite. He didn’t insult my bow…he just implied that a better quality bow would sound better, which is accurate. After finishing with the suzuki books, I told him that I had bought some new music…he suggested we play some of the Andrew Lloyd Webber music. My book, written to be played by beginning students, is ridiculously easy…only making me look that much more foolish when I screw up. When we played, just for kicks he began in third position and went on to play a full octive above me…all the while I had all I could do to play the correct key in first position. After that he told me how he marvelled at some other violinists and how they outplayed him. Great…I can’t imagine what that feels like.
Apparently I’m not practicing hard enough…whatever that’s supposed to mean. Maybe that’s my problem…practice hard…that’s not just practice a lot. It means, play the most mundane etudes for hours on end or the most brain-exerting passages in time with the throbbing of of my temples.
This isn’t making me feel any better.