Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Attitude Adjustment

The return of gray, damp weather is putting me in a mood. Long live S.A.D. I've never been officially diagnosed, but this mood cloaking mist combined with some self-imposed stress, anxiety, and emotional crap seems to turn me into a darker, less user-friendly version of Julia.

Matt told the secretary for his office as we stood waiting for the elevator after lunch,

"Oh yeah. I just love this weather because it makes my wife want to dye her hair black, wear lots of mascara, and listen to Morrissey all day." I glared at him.

His statement isn't too far from the truth. Well, replace the mascara with wearing lots of black clothes and you've got a better picture. However, since I'm an adult, I try to not take out my inner angst on the general public. Usually, I try to extend this courtesy to my friends. That leaves Matt to deal with whatever manifests itself in my personality when I'm going through a stressful period.

Honestly, there are some things in my life that I can't lean on my friends for. I do worry that if I bottle it up too much that I risk losing myself. I never want to get to a point where all I feel comfortable offering is a fake,

"Hi! I'm fine! How are you? No, nothing new here!"

As with everything for this Libra, it's about balance. There are some things I bring into my life by choice and I have to find a more positive way to deal with them rather than freaking out about how my free time is about to go to zero and about whether I can mentally take on everything I put on my plate.

That said, if you run into me over the next few months and catch me muttering about the stratosphere and un-bracketed transcriptions while glaring at small children, just let me fly my freak flag for a moment before smacking me upside the head and ordering me to get myself a cuppa tea.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Food Porn

Some food porn for you. Homemade lasagna, foccacia bread dipped in olive oil and basalmic vinegar, salad and some red wine. Heaven.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Lap Dog

Buddy is extremely happy to see Matt after we were gone all day. Our two dogs love running around in my parent's backyard and eating the apples that have fallen off the trees.

Seneca Lake from Wagner Winery

Seneca Lake from the east side at Wagner Winery. Rowdy crowd on the deck here just cheered on a guy who chugged a pitcher of beer. I think that's a waste of good beer.

The Sun Comes Back Out!

Matt and me at Leidenfrost Winery. They have really good red wines at good prices.

Trip to the Wineries on a Rainy Day

Seneca Lake from the Weaver Farm.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Two of My Best Friends

Anne and Heidi at the Little Cafe. I haven't seen Anne and Sean in months and months.

I Finally Get My Beer

Me and a Rohrbach's Oktoberfest at the Little Cafe to hear the Varnish Cooks. That's my friend Sean behind me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Geek Accessibility

When I was in the Chautauqua Mall over the weekend to pick up some birthday cards, I noticed that a Halloween costume store had opened in the old Fashion Bug location. At first, I thought it was another kind of store because the display window to the right had a Darth Vader and Storm Trooper costume set up. I had a brief moment of hopefulness that the store would be filled with comic books, sci-fi toy figurines, manga, Star Wars memorabilia, and other assorted geek stuff. Alas, it's just geek-boy costumes and slut-wear for women.

I don't think Darth Vader and Storm Trooper costumes should be that accessible to the general public. I think you need to earn the right to wear something that cool for Halloween. Like, as part of the contract you sign to rent the costume you also have to answer five Star Wars related questions like:

1. Where does Yoda live?
2. What is the name of third movie in the Star Wars saga?
3. What is supposed to be the fate of Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and Han Solo after being captured by Jabba the Hut?
4. How do Obi Wan and Yoda figure out who killed the younglings in the Jedi Temple?
5. How many Death Stars reached fully operational status?

Bonus Question: What is family connection for Ewan McGregor with the original Star Wars trilogy?

Answers: Degobah, "Revenge of the Sith", death in the Sarlacc Pit, Obi Wan watches security recordings and sees that Anakin is the killer, While only the Death Star in Episode IV is ever fired, the Death Star in Episode VI is "fully armed and operational!" according to the Emperor.

Bonus: Ewan McGregor's uncle, actor Denis Lawson, played Wedge Antilles in Episodes 4-6 of Star Wars.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Balance of Autumn

To celebrate the Autumnal Equinox today, I put together a short, four-song playlist. The transitions between songs, if you're listening rather than watching the videos, is making me very happy:

Sisters of Mercy - This Corrosion

Morrissey - Alsatian Cousin

Depeche Mode - Fly On The Windscreen

Cranes - Jewel

'Rog' Fest 2008

This past week was a doozy for my friends. Clair and Melissa's mom, Susan, died last Monday. This meant Matt lost his former mother-in-law. Some of you know that Matt was married once before to our friend, Melissa. The divorce was amicable and we're all good friends. Life is short, you know?

After the funeral on Friday, all the friends gathered at Melissa's house for some food and beverages. At some point, Jade proclaimed that we should make pierogis. The idea caught on with Melissa, and since I offered my expertise, it was decided that we would meet up at my house on Saturday afternoon for a pierogi party. I honestly didn't think it would happen since this was one of those late-night crazy drunk ideas. But..

At 3pm, I met Jade at Wegmans to commence with ingredient purchasing. The inclusion of Gatorade should give you a hint of how some of the group felt. Back at my house, I made a pitcher of sangria and started making the dough while we waited for Melissa and Clair to arrive.

At some point, I assessed the amount of farmer cheese filling that was left and how many pierogis we had already made and exclaimed,

"Oh god. Oh God!"

"What? What's wrong?" Jade asked.

"Nothing, really. I just realized we're following my Babcia's recipe for all of this. The recipe is for when we make pierogis for the entire family for Christmas Eve, so we make three kinds. At the end, we have about 300 pierogi. That means we might end up with 100 cheese pierogi all on their own, not including the other kinds we planned to make today," I explained, rubbing my head and getting flour all over myself.

Jade reflected, "Oh. Well, I guess we better call a few people to see who we can get over here to help us eat tonight!"

Melissa and Clair arrived soon after that to help with making the potato, cheese, and onion filled pierogi. They decided we should make this an annual tradition, calling it 'Rog Fest - the festival where everyone is Polish. And several hours later, we finally had used up all the dough and filling. Matt graciously fried up enough for dinner and the rest were parceled out on plates to take home. We figured we easily made over 100 pierogis.

It was a really fun time. Of course, it's easier to get a lot done when you have help! My mom was over-joyed when I told her of the festivities and could not wait to call my grandma to inform her that pierogi-making will live on in our family through me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pumpkin Seeds

I have the sudden urge to go out and buy a pumpkin this weekend for the sole purpose of scooping out the guts so I can roast the seeds. It was one of the highlights for me last Halloween. I'm tempted to see if it's too early for Snacky Jack pumpkins since ljc raves about them almost annually.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Little Night Out

Sawyer bought root beer shots for all our friends at Forte. Helping Clair and Melissa mourn their mom.

Altered Awakenings

Yesterday was the kind of non-stop day that I'm glad to rarely have. I honestly don't know how people who have schedules like this stay sane.

I started it at 9am, like any other work day. It kept a pretty pace from then until 10:30pm. Instead of a lunch break, I went to my exercise class during the noon hour. Lunch was eaten at my desk while I returned some phone calls. Dinner was a quick sandwich at my desk before I went to a radio station advisory committee meeting directly after work. I ended up leaving that meeting before it ended so I could stop quickly at home to change into jeans and grab my violin. The next two hours were spent wrapping my head and fingers around some new music at a rehearsal.

Finally, I made it home but that only led to sitting down at the computer to edit news scripts. Once that was taken care of, I left again to record the next day's news cast. A friend tried to coerce me into having a drink with him, but by this point I was at a point of exhaustion where my stomach threatened to upheave itself.

Then blissful bed finally at 10:30. What? What's happening? It's 2am? For some reason I've awoken and the first thought I have after looking at the clock is,

"Four hours of sleep? No. I must get back to sleep. That wasn't enough time to process all the music from tonight. Must sleep so I can digest some more. Must learn."

Three hours later, sounds of my husband moving around the house before he went to bed after a marathon session with a new computer game woke me again. I drifted between dreams and consciousness for the next 2 hours, hearing the garbage trucks beeping outside, or the gentle snuffling by my dogs as they slept.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7

The lovely ljc tagged me for a meme of 7 fun or interesting things about me.

1. I always pick out and iron my clothes the night before. This includes choosing shoes and jewelry.

2. There were several years in high school where I wanted to shave the back of my head and keep the top and front long, but I was too much of a wuss to do it.

3. I don't like to eat calzones because I find it difficult to swallow the cheese.

4. I've kept a handwritten journal since 1985. There's gaps in it that stretch across months, but if gathered together I have some semblance of my life over that time period.

5. I took middle eastern dance classes for a few years as a kid.

6. I don't have a competitive streak unless I'm playing a trivia-based game. In fact, if you're friends with me, it's best if we're on the same team lest I get into a heated argument with you over whether The Beatles wrote "I Think We're Alone Now." (This happened. A friend made the mistake of arguing with me that they did. We didn't talk for a couple days)

7. I consider The Body Shop's White Musk my signature scent and have worn it since the 1990s, even though it's such a 1990s scent. No other scent or perfume I've tried since has appealed to me as much as that one.


Method for Crash Learning

By the end of this week I will have picked up three different sets of music for upcoming concerts. While the performances aren't until November or early December, I still am faced with a somewhat monumental task of not just becoming familiar with, but being able to play all this music with some sort of magical competency.

Fortunately, there are some tools I can use to help me along the way. Since I was taught mainly using the Suzuki method, I usually try to find a recording of the music to listen to first. After iTunes or eMusic fills that need, I make a cuppa tea.

After the tea has steeped for the appropriate 3-5 minutes, I settle back down in front of my computer with my violin and the sheet music. For the next undefined space of time, I can be found wearing headphones, frowning at my music stand, invariably plucking my violin strings, and swearing under my breath.

By the time I'm done listening and frantically trying to find where the hell I am in the piece of music, my aggravation has made it necessary for me to check what blogs have been updated in my Google Reader. You can now usually safely assume I've given up trying to make sense of the chicken scratch note transcription on my music stand for the night and that I'm hoping not to embarrass myself too much at the next rehearsal where I'll find out how the music is really supposed to come together.

Add a few dozen more cuppa teas, more swearing, dogs hiding in corners when I just can't figure out what that note is in the stratosphere on my violin, and you've got a rough sketch of my practice regime. Here's to the next three months!

The Things We Carry

I have an affinity for large bags. I think it goes back to when I was a teenager and couldn't live without my backpack. Perhaps it goes further back to my Girl Scout days when I would do my best to fit everything I might need for an overnight into one bag.

The size of my bag doesn't cross my mind until I go home to visit my parents and my mom exclaims,

"Now that's a torba!" (Polish for bag) "What have you got in there? It weighs a ton!"

That's when I usually look down to the unwieldy bag hanging off my shoulder, shrug and answer,

"Oh, just my wallet, an umbrella, my notebook, the camera, my iPod, sunglasses, coupons, assorted female items, you know, the usual stuff."

At this point, I can expect a loud sigh from my mom as she begins to chide me for carrying around something so heavy and have I been taking my calcium supplements lately? I don't know what the latter has to do with any of this other than my mom being my mom.

For the next six months or so, I'll be swinging my red torba (seen above) around, doing my best not to knock anyone out. My black Kenneth Cole purse I got a great deal on at TJ Maxx back in 2002 has gotten to a point where black Sharpies can't hide where the leather is scratched or worn. Someday I'll replace that one with another black montrosity.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Progress Report

I know it's been less than two weeks since the Fall resolution post, but I must admit I feel like I'm in a better head-space than the last few months. I chalk that up to taking some time off during those past few weeks, and using the time to get some of the nagging items on my list done.

One thing is certain, never underestimate the power of having a clean house. It will never be perfect, especially as long as we have dogs. They shed a small litter every day, making any vacuuming or swiffering moot after a 12-hour period. But I figure as long as I can keep up with laundry, dishes, and general clutter, I'm good.

From an environmental standpoint, I bought a cloth, mildew-resistant shower liner over the weekend. Lemme tell ya', that baby looks a hell of a lot better than the piece of vinyl that was hanging in there before. Plus, it's washable. Hooray.

On the violin front, I picked up my music for the Living Christmas Tree yesterday. Warren Orchestra rehearsals begin this week for our November concert. I just verified that Jamestown Community Orchestra rehearsals will begin in a month for their November concert. And apparently, there might be another production I will be playing violin in, which will make this Fall my busiest performance schedule since I was a senior in high school. I'm excited and freaked out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Genius Playlist

Apple released iTunes 8 this past week and with it comes a new feature known as "Genius." For a good explanation of this read this post/article hosted on CNN.

My "Genius" moment happened the day I installed the new version. For my test spin, I decided to pick an older song that melodically was upbeat and rocked a little. And since it's September, I wanted to see how well it would meet the "It's almost Autumn, let's get together some retro WBER stuff" qualifications.

The song: Paul Westerberg's "Dyslexic Heart." The result was crushingly good. I couldn't have picked a better playlist:
  1. Paul Westerberg - Dyslexic Heart
  2. XTC - Mayor of Simpleton
  3. Pavement - Cut Your Hair
  4. Camper Van Beethoven - Take The Skinheads Bowling
  5. The Pixies - Here Comes Your Man
  6. XTC - Senses Working Overtime
  7. Cracker - Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)
  8. Matthew Sweet - Sick of Myself
  9. Love Spit Love - Am I Wrong
  10. Liz Phair - Never Said
  11. Wilco - Heavy Metal Drummer
  12. Gin Blossoms - Allison Road
  13. World Party - Way Down Now
  14. They Might Be Giants - Don't Let's Start
  15. Fountains Of Wayne - Radiation Vibe
  16. Soul Asylum - Somebody To Shove
  17. Aimee Mann - That's Just What You Are
  18. The Pretenders - Night In My Veins
  19. Catherine Wheel - Crank
  20. The Wallflowers - Sleepwalker
  21. James - Born of Frustration
  22. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Kiss Them For Me
  23. Belly - Feed The Tree
  24. Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic
  25. Cracker - Happy Birthday To Me

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jamestown Jets Win 8-4!

Face off between the Jamestown Jets and Wooster Oilers for their inaugural game in Jamestown. Date night is a hockey night!

What Did You Do On Your Day Off?

I had a four-day weekend scheduled because originally we thought we were going to be out of town. Plans changed, but I decided to keep the time off to decompress from everything.

The first day of this long weekend I drank many strong cuppa teas and have a mug of hot goodness to my right as I type. I read some blogs, but decided it would be more fun to set my iTunes on the new Genius cycle and let it create a play list for me. OH. MY. GOD. I don't think I could have created a better play list myself. That turned into an hour or more of me freaking out my dogs by singing loudly along with every single song that came up. It's a perk I don't get to enjoy much because that sort of thing doesn't go over well at work. Go figure.

This afternoon, I got in a hair cut from my recently returned stylist, Danielle. She had deserted Jamestown for the wilds of Willoughby, Ohio for 8 months but decided she missed home too much. I'm a very happy girl with a nice hair cut. It's a long, layered style so even though it may look a little short in the front, the back is long. And yes, that sweet green color behind me is one of the walls in our kitchenette. We (aka Matt) painted our entire kitchen that color per my request after we moved in.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Local Music Showcase Wrap-Up

Pictorially, you've seen below what music acts I caught over the course of Local Music Showcase. It was a crazy, fun time. However, I wasn't prepared for the auditory overload that began to set in around the third venue. Still, I managed to have a good time and keep warm against the suddenly chilled night air.

On Sunday, Matt and I were the first set of presenters for the Chautauqua County Music Awards & Hall of Fame Show. I had never presented before, and felt a little deer-in-headlightish when we got on stage. I'm told we did just fine even though we were flying by the seat of our pants while we waited for the award envelopes to appear for us to read. The mash-up bands all were awesome! Plus, I dug that the show was over and done with in a 2-hour period.

For other's experiences and lots of videos of the music performances, check out the two threads from the Chautauqua AMP below:

LMS Stories


Saturday, September 06, 2008

More Acoustic Coffeehouse

Charity Nuse at Labyrinth. Yes. I got comfortable and it's warm in here.

Gary Peters Plays Labyrinth

Gary Peters Jr. At Labyrinth Press Co.

Filling In

Word Editor Mike Salamone warming up for Gary Peters at Labyrinth Press Company.

Stopping By Forte for Local Music Showcase

Tiny B at Forte. Venues are starting to fill up. And Forte is previewing their new late night menu.

Canoeist/Musician Chris Bell

Chris Bell at Townhouse Records fresh off his canoe trip down the Erie Canal from Buffalo to NYC.

Disco Labrador

Disco Labrador at Suburban Blend. First act I'm catching tonight as part of the 5th Annual Local Music Showcase in Jamestown.

At Mojo's for Ra Ra Riot

Matt listens to Walter Meego at Mojos.

Friday, September 05, 2008

5th Annual Local Music Showcase

This weekend is the Chautauqua Region World Local Music Showcase here in the Jamestown area. This the festival I look forward to for months!

Details can be found here.

A more updated venue schedule is here.

We're hoping to hit up Mojo's for a little Ra Ra Riot tonight, Saturday I'll be bouncing around to various venues all night, and then Sunday both Matt and I are presenters at the Chautauqua County Music Awards and Hall of Fame show.

Hopefully I'll be able to pull off a few good photos with my cell to post here while I'm out and about. There should be some Twitter updates as well, so give the sidebar on the right a look to see what's up!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Resolve...

I posted this on my LJ and thought I'd copy most of it over here. This is what I came up with not long after the "Where Is Julia?" post:

As the first day of classes start for kiddies all around this country, I figured it was a good time to start my own new year.

I want it to be better than where I've been floating all summer and seasons before.

I started by signing up for an exercise class on lunch Mondays and Wednesday starting next week until the end of October. If it goes well, I'm signing up for the second section.

I intend not to drink soda more than once a week. I had it a couple times already this week, so I'm cut off. Unfortunately, this means I'll have to consume vast quantities of espresso drinks Saturday so I can make it through Local Music Showcase '08.

I also plan to cut out the crap, once again, that I've been inflicting on my body. This includes candy bars, pastries, chips, and other assorted evils.

From and food and financial stand-point, I will once again make Matt tell me what he will be happy eating for lunch and dinner so that I can more effectively plan our meals, including buying stuff I can pack for lunch twice a week.

Onto more heady stuff. I plan to read a book a month. I figure this is doable with the life I lead. Books are free at the library. I also have a few at home that I should get through too.

I plan to practice violin at least once a week in addition to the usual practice for Warren, Jamestown, or Living Christmas Tree rehearsal.

I will blog at least four times a week, with two entries being non-picture posts.

I will dedicate at least one night a week to sorting through bills, mail, paperwork and filing/shredding/entering payments online.

I will blah, blah, blah housework. Really? It's all about just keeping up with it, right?

I will do my best to honor date night and make it count, especially when considering that it would be far too easy to sleepwalk through it like any other night of the week.

I will do a better job at saying no and not feeling guilty when I have to say no in order to keep my sanity.

I will keep doing my best at keeping in contact with my friends and family.

I won't worry about that which I have next to no control over (the stability of my job) and keep my eyes and mind open to other possibilities.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Let's Go To Church

I was in Rochester for a fairly short trip this weekend in order to go to a friend's baby shower. Because I didn't get a lot of time with my parents, I decided to go to church with them. Those who know me know that this is a little weird seeing as how I avoid the church unless it's Christmas, a wedding, a funeral, or some other kind of service that I can't get out of going to. I'm an agnostic and really haven't found any kind of organized religion that I get along with. Then there's that God thing, but that's a whole other issue.

My family is what you would call good Catholics. My parents go to church every week. They've been both active in the church for as long as I can remember. I never realized how big a role the church played in our lives until this past Sunday. I also truly saw for the first time how much has changed for the church since I could be counted as a regular worshiper circa 1995.

When I was a kid, almost every service at our church was full. The weekly attendance figures were over 2,000 during the 1980s. Life as a Catholic kid meant church on Sunday, religion class one other day of the week, youth group another day as I got older, being an altar server for five years, and then a Blood minister for mass after my confirmation. I had friends I only saw twice a week that I thought of as my "church friends." I looked forward to the services that featured the town's Choral group, or the five-piece folk ensemble. I loved the singing. Everyone sang in our church during all parts of the mass. We were big on full participation.

Now? I know it was a Sunday of a holiday weekend at the tail end of summer, but the once very crowded service was practically empty. Parking spaces were plentiful in a lot where cars used to be lined up like sardines in order to get everyone in. I looked around at the faces and didn't see too many people I recognized outside of our family friends who were there to do the readings. My mom mentioned that there was talk of consolidating two of the morning masses into one. In this era when dioceses are closing down churches by the handful, St. Charles is fortunate to still have a large enough attendance to not be considered as a possible shut down.

For all the differences I have with the Catholic Church and religion, I have a lot of good memories of my time spent there. It was a huge part of my youth. Seeing it all again this Sunday as a willing participant, I felt sad. It was another reminder that you can re-visit those places of your youth, but as with anything, it's part of the past.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Where Is Julia?

It's not September. It can't be!

Ever wake up and realize you're not really sure where you've been for the past three to four months? When people have asked me how my summer has been, they've been met with a blank stare and, "Um. I know I've been doing stuff. I think I've been at a lot of weddings."

How many? Just three. Which resulted in attending 2 bridal showers and 2 bachelorette parties. Then there was a baby shower last weekend just to mix it up a little.

I seem to recall a garage sale. When I look around the house, I start to question whether we got rid of enough stuff.

It's been a whirlwind. Honestly? I'm not in a very happy place. We've done our best to make the most of the time we've had with friends and family, but it's taken a lot out of both me and Matt. Now that September is truly here, we are completely worn out physically, mentally, and fiscally (if that's possible).

Of course it doesn't stop here. Looking forward over the next three months we possibly have another wedding, Local Music Showcase this weekend, 2 concerts that I will perform in, 2 alumni weekends (one I have to schedule radio shifts for), an out of town trip for work, and at least one trip up to the ROC. I can hear Matt screaming, "Make it stop!!!"

I do love my blog. I love that I have a cell phone that allows me to post pictures to my blog so I don't entirely neglect it when traveling from one end of the state to the other. I won't give this up, but I have a feeling there will be other things I have to start saying, "NO" to in my life.

Links with Little Connection

Amy Goodman arrested at GOP Convention

Voice-Over God Don LaFontaine has died

Fashion for the Seasonally Depressed

Hm. Well, maybe there is a sort of odd connection.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...