Monday, July 21, 2014

I do not feel well. In all sorts of fun ways.

I have a cold. At least, I think I do. I'm constantly exhausted, I'm sniffly, occasionally have a cough, and my head hurts. Particularly in the sinus region. And I am that special brand of stupid that only comes with being congested.

Further, I have a giant bruise on my knee and a sore right shoulder, both from modern dance. The shoulder thing happened two classes ago, when we were doing pushups. I think my right shoulder was out of its socket for one of the pushups, as it hurt a lot as soon as I started putting weight on it. Normally I don't even notice when my shoulders pop out, as I'm very loose-jointed, but I am also not normally doing pushups, because they suck. It has continued to hurt through today, and it's painful to lean on it, use it for stuff, etc.


My knee is feeling better and the swelling has gone down. I think this was from repeatedly banging it on the wooden studio floor while we learned a different movement combination. I didn't notice at the time, but later that week, when I was in ballet, I happened to look down and see what looked like a big blotch of dust on my pink tights. When I changed after class, it was apparent that said blotch was indeed a lovely discolored bruise and not dirt after all. Nice.

I went to bed early last night and probably got something like 12-13 hours of sleep. I could go back to sleep right now, no problem, but I have work to do, so awake I shall stay. At least for now.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Angel flights, Memorial Day pictures, and other things that make me cry

I saw these on my dad's blog a while back, and I meant to reblog them, but then I forgot. So here, better late than never:

The Angel Flight song makes me cry every time I hear it. And there really are flares that are set off to create the angel shape behind the plane. The crying comes both from the beauty of the gesture as well as sadness for the fallen heroes the plane is carrying and what could have happened to the former soldiers in my family. Also what did happen to my grandfather, who was a POW during WWII and suffered through the Bataan Death March, only to end up in a horrible work camp. Miraculously, he made it through. I remember watching the tv during Desert Storm with Mom and my sister, staring at the anti-aircraft fire video taken with night vision (so all the rounds looked green), and terrified that we'd hear my dad had been killed.

Stevie Nicks put it well in her song Desert Angel:

So where is my father? 
Where has he gone?
Where is my husband?
And where is my son?
Where is my father?
Where has he gone?
What is it that happened here?
Is it real, this war?
This can't be happening.

I've been more susceptible than usual to emotionally charged topics. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm depressed. It's been going on for weeks. I'm either crying or trying to avoid crying all the time, it seems. Anything at all can set me off. I'm not off my meds. I'm not suicidal. I'm not even engaging in self-harm. I'm just... trying to stay afloat in this endless ocean of sadness. Grief for myself, for other people, for things that happened and things that didn't. The only technique I've found to stave off the incessant cry-need is to bite the inside of my mouth hard enough to make it hurt, but not enough to draw blood. The pain takes my mind off the emotional stuff long enough for the crying urge to fade sufficiently.

I cried in the shower last night for a while, and although I got some temporary relief from my constantly traumatized mindset, it's back to its usual state today. Why is this happening? I'm supposed to be better with the drug cocktail I'm on, not worse. I guess it's better in that there's no suicidality or self-harming, but this deep, endless sorrow is wearing on me.

In case anyone is feeling this way, here is the necessary disclaimer: I am not saying that my emotional problems are in any way equal to the sadness and intense grief experienced by those who have lost a loved one or otherwise suffered something (or multiple somethings) incredibly traumatic. This is not intended to make any of those issues in any way less or even equal to what I am currently experiencing. I know this.

I have no good reason for my current mindset. I don't know why I am feeling this way. It is frustrating. Is this some sort of reversed Seasonal Affective Disorder? I never get the winter blues like a lot of people do. Instead I feel miserable and don't want to go outside during the summer months. The sun hurts my eyes, and everything is too bright and sharp and loud. The ground is hard and the air never smells like rain. Maybe that's why I cry. Because there is no water falling from the sky.

I miss the rain.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

La créativité

I have this black dress that I've owned for years. I forget when I even bought it. Anyway, it came with these halter straps that buttoned onto the top of the dress, and I of course lost a button and then lost the entire halter. Oh well.

SO! I tried it on again a couple days ago, and it mostly fits, except it's a bit loose now, so if I raise my arms it slides down over my bra. Not good. I didn't want to get rid of it, and I also didn't want to buy another one, since they don't even sell that style anymore and I don't particularly like any of the ones currently on offer.

I thought about it, and I decided to sew black ribbons to the front and back in order to make straps. It also has a sort of weird splotchy part on the front bottom left from when I wore it to work and somehow got bleach on it (I tried covering it with Sharpie; this does not work). It's darker than when it was just freshly bleached (bleach turns black orange for some reason), but it's still weird looking. I've cut up a bunch of little patches, drawn rats on a couple, and the word "sleep" on another, along with two hearts. I'm going to sort of scatter them on the blotch, and they should cover it almost completely. Plus I'll have a completely unique dress!

I wondered if having color (red and white) on a Little Black Dress sort of defeated the point, but then I thought that LBDs are generally worn only with other black stuff (shoes, etc), so a bit of red and white wouldn't really matter. I began sewing the patches on last night after deciding on a layout and pinning them, and I'll get the ribbon tonight either before or after dance class.

I shall post pictures when I'm done. If you hate it, don't tell me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You make me sick. But in a good, dance-y way.

As I'm sure you're all sick of hearing, I love my dance classes. They are fantastic. I WANT MORE. In that vein, I re-watched Save the Last Dance (with Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas), and I was totally inspired to do more. Next quarter, I'm thinking of adding hip hop and tango (for Patrick) to the mix, along with the ballet and modern. I LOVE dancing after work. I get so cramped up doing The Science all day, and the exercise really helps me ditch the muscle pain. Plus: why go to the gym and torture yourself when you can dance?! Waaaaay more fun. Lovey love love LOVE. And it'll be even more fun in the fall and winter when it's chilly outside and warm and bouncy inside. 

Oh dance, why did I wait so long to take you up again? Forgive me?

Oh yeah, and the title of this post is from a Pink song that's played during the movie. Super fun to listen and sing along to. Wheeee!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Something beautiful to end your week

If you have not heard Andrea Bocelli singing Con te Partiro, you are missing out. Listen to it. Your soul will thank you. Here is one of his live recordings with orchestral backing, sung in Tuscany:

I'd like to cover this myself, but it will take a while. It's (obviously) in Italian, which I do not speak, and that's the hardest part. Once I've learned the libretto, it will be easy enough. I'm thinking of two versions, one sung an octave up with orchestral backing and then a stripped down version done in his range with just guitar for accompaniment. I can't really sing it an octave up with just guitar, unless it was some sort of Jimi Hendrix thing, as the sheer volume of sound necessary to make the high notes sound good would totally overwhelm the accompaniment. Just say no to screechiness, y'all. Anyway, it will probably take a few months before I'm satisfied, so don't hold your breath.

In other news, I've been loving my dance classes! I had ballet for the first time yesterday evening, and I've attended two modern dance classes so far. Both are great fun, for different reasons. I learned in ballet that one must be attentive to one's toenail trimming, because OW. The shoes are fairly tight, and doing a tendu (where you point your toe and sort of put a little weight on your big toe and the next one) are not particularly good feeling when your toenails are digging into your flesh. Other than that, though, it was awesome. I fixed The Great Toenail Situation as soon as I got home, so the next class shouldn't have that irritation.

The only bad thing about the modern dance class is still that it's in that non-air-conditioned building, and when I checked the thermometer in there on Wednesday, it was 84F. Ugh. No other complaints, but the sweat was just dripping from my hair in the latter half of class. I cannot wait for cooler weather.

All of my teachers are really nice, and they make taking their classes a delight. I include in this my guitar teacher, Cameron. I feel quite fortunate to have found such lovely teachers. I know firsthand just how scary a bad teacher can be. I once had this clarinet teacher who absolutely terrified me, and I couldn't play hardly at all in her presence. As soon as she left, though, I miraculously got all my skill back! Terrible. Couldn't stand that woman.

Also, Uggs? I'm sorry I ever maligned you. I admit I thought for years they were just ugly (how fitting) boots, but I have since tried them on and HOLY FLUFFY CHICKENS, YOU GUYS. They are sooooo comfy. I therefore no longer care about their appearance, and I am wearing them around everywhere. Especially after ballet class. After wearing snug ballet slippers and doing said pointy toe business in them, the feel of a soft sheepskin boot is pretty much like how I'd imagine Foot Heaven feels. Kinda makes you feel like Riverdancing.... Wait, no. That was Boondock Saints. Kinda makes you feel like purring. THERE. *purr*

I really want a sandwich.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I know, I haven't been posting.

Sorry about that. Sort of. I'm not really sorry, as I didn't want to, but I felt like I should say it anyway. Are y'all appeased? 

I've been really stressed lately from various sources, none of which I want to write about. 

In good news, I had my first modern dance class last week, and it was incredibly fun. I hope my teacher opens an intermediate or beginner-intermediate class after this one. The single downside was the class being located on the horrible sun side of the building, so the heat was just pouring into our studio the entire time. Ugh. University Heights, PLEASE for the love of God get some air conditioning. Awful. I only felt faint once, but it was pretty sticky and nasty. We don't often need air conditioning in Seattle, but when we need it, we REALLY need it. Gross.

Ballet begins this week, and I'm excited! I've lost around 40 total lbs so far, and I don't feel like a total beached whale in my ballet outfit, which is pleasant. It will be a totally different atmosphere from modern, with a much more regimented instruction layout. 

I've been reading this sort of exposé about the world of professional ballet dancers, and I am SO glad I never thought to pursue a career in that. I don't know that I'd ever want to do anything en pointe, either, as that would probably make my feet really hurt. Not worth it. But the beginning and early intermediate stuff involves just easy to wear ballet slippers, and those I do not mind at all. 

We shall see how it goes. Modern is Wednesday and ballet is Thursday. They, at least, have my beloved air conditioning, so we won't all keel over in our leotards and tights. Did you know there's a particular shade known as "ballet pink"? I didn't. I hope I'm not so sore from ballet that I have to hobble through modern dance the next day. That'd be fun...

I am apparently sufficiently watering my strawberries and thyme, as the pot they're in is also growing a lovely crop of toadstools. In the middle of summer. In direct light. Yeah... At any rate the plants are happy. The toadstools don't quite form a fairy ring yet, but I'm holding out hope. 

Word to the wise: do not attempt to barbecue July peaches. They turn out weirdly. Wait for the peaches of August! Sooo much better. Apparently it's taken me several goes to learn this lesson.

I was reading this really interesting paper last night about Vibrio cholerae and the phage (virus that attacks bacteria) that seems to render cholera epidemics self-limiting. I wonder if I would've been more interested in a career as a bacteriologist than a virologist. Oh well. I like what I do now, anyway. The blogger app won't let me turn text into links, so here is the link to the paper if anyone aside from me is interested:

I know, reading papers unrelated to my field in bed? I am such a scientist, hah. Guess it had to happen sometime, with the sheer amount of time I've spent in labs at this point. 

I think that's pretty much all for now. I hope everyone is doing well and staying cool in this heat. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hi, my name is Taryn and I'm a cello addict.

Yup. So, despite the horribleness of the last go-round with a cello (which I primarily attribute to the teaching style of my instructor, which totally stressed me out), I have once again embarked upon a quest to play this damn instrument. I've gotten another one from the lovely Bischofberger Violins, and it sounds beautiful. Fortunately I didn't forget anything I'd learned the last time (not that there was much to forget), and I still remember how to hold the bow, tune it, play various simple things, etc. I played along with Knockin' On Heaven's Door just to get a feel for the four strings without anything held down (although I can find an E, so that's nice).

The four strings are A, D, G and C, which I remember with All Dogs Go to Carnivals. Whatever works, right? With guitar it's Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually, lol. Nice, isn't it? Ahhh, mnemonics. I've got a beginning cello book, and until I have time, energy and drive to get myself some lessons, I'm going to work on the lessons in the book myself. I'm hoping most of the exercises are in bass clef, as I do read that, instead of tenor clef, which I don't. (Patrick reads like six types of clef, but he's a magical mutant or something.) This time, when I look for a cello teacher, I'm going to try to find one who's as laid back and cool as my guitar instructor, Cameron Peace. He's great. (And if you click that link, he's the one on the right.)

Modern dance begins next week, and ballet the week after that. I hope I enjoy them! We'll see how they go. Maybe I'll hate them and come home shrieking "NEVER AGAIN!", but I'm thinking they will be fun. At least I'm keeping an open mind about it, so if I DO hate it, I won't beat myself up about it.

In other news, our mailperson is an IDIOT. This is the second time I've had to leave a note for them telling them that the key to the lockbox portion of our street's joint mailbox thingy does not work, and they should just leave packages on my porch. I spent over 30 minutes last night trying to get that sucker open, and it would not. I actually got a blister on my right pointer finger from trying to turn the key so much. This ended even more poorly when I was working on my current scarf later and the Widget tried to eat the yarn, so I went to grab it from her and she got excited, hooking one of her claws into my fun new blister, which of course ripped wide open and started bleeding. SIGH. That thing hurt. I smeared antibiotic ointment on it and bandaged it up, but OW.

I finally gave up with the mailbox and left them another note saying to just leave things on my porch until they can manage to get a key that works. This is ridiculous. How hard can it be to get a new key made? They must not have ever tried that key themselves or they would know how bad it is. There's a separate, Special Mailperson Key that opens the whole thing at once, and they never have to use the shitty Normal People Key.

I am cranky about this entire deal. You might have noticed. Look at this:

Can you believe I got a blister from a mailbox key? Retarded beyond belief.
Like I said, CRAAAAANKY. Ugh.

Patrick is out most nights this week rehearsing for the SSO Tim Burton gig, which has performances on both Friday and Saturday. It'll be great to hear him again, especially in such a lovely space as Benaroya. Apparently there are five trombones, which is kind of insane. That is a lot of trombones, if you did not know. Usually there's just the first, the second and the bass, so this concert should be interesting. And loud.

I've drunk enough chamomile tea in the last two days to float a boat. I'm trying to go through my stash of older teas, and this was next on the list. Once this is done it's onto the pile of Tazo Passion, which I have tons of for some reason. Little unclear how that happened, but evidently it did. Passion isn't even a tea, it's this herbal blend thing. It's all right, if a bit weirdly tart. I should really stop buying it by the bushel, though, if that is how this happened. I suspect I forgot I had it every time I went to the grocery store and was lured in by seductively nice packaging. I'm a sucker for a good wrapping job. Damn you, marketing people!