Friday, October 31, 2008

Who Am I For Halloween?

This is me before I put crap in my hair and tried my hand at the smokey eye:



















And this is me as my version of Kat Von D:

I do have arm sleeves on that make it look like I have tattoos. Matt took some full length shots that show me in the full regalia. Just something fun. We're headed to Forte now!

Burst of Morning Sun



Snagged this quick shot of the morning sun on the last bit of Autumn leaves on a tree next to our house. This is the same tree in the picture below from when it snowed a couple days ago.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Working Through Dreams

For those of you who have been following along the past two months, you've read about me creating some goals, then breaking one of them by taking on too much, and then reigning things back in a little recently.

Part of my subconscious way of dealing with the day time madness is letting my dreams take over. The number of stress dreams I've been having has gone from a couple nights of a week to a nightly occurrence, with sometimes there being more than one stress dream in a night.

One recurring stress dream I have involves tornadoes. They tend to represent stress or craziness in my life. The tornadoes come close, sometimes pass over me, pass over the house I'm hiding in, even rattling the structure, but they've never hurt me. And I always see them coming. This has been a constant for years until a dream I had at the beginning of October. Here's a brief synopsis that I wrote in my journal the day after the dream:
As I walked back toward the building, I think I noticed the clouds had moved in and it started to rain.. then the wind started to blow, but as soon as I thought or someone said, "Here it comes!" the wind suddenly was VERY STRONG. Stronger than anything I had ever experienced. So strong that it ripped an aluminum can from my hand and seemed to crush it as it flew away. It seems that I turned my head to the left and sensed a white wall of wind, but then my body was picked up and I was thrown a little ways, landing on my back. Last part of the dream seemed to be me laying on my back and saying "Ow" as someone asked how everyone was.
This is the first time in a dream where I had an inkling of possible tornadic activity, but was in doubt that one would form. And then, coupled with that, it struck suddenly and struck me as well. I wasn't injured really, maybe bruised, but this was the first time my body had been physically picked up and tossed around by a tornado in a dream. Just over two weeks after that, I dropped out of the Warren Orchestra concert for November. A few days after I did that, I had another dream involving multiple tornadoes, but this time the shelter I had taken refuge in was picked up by the storm and gently set down somewhere else. There was a lot of destruction around, but me and the strangers who had hid with me were okay.

Last night, I dreamed I was canoing/kayaking on some river. I was with a group of women and we were enjoying meandering along on a nice, sunny day. At some point we hit rapids, but I wasn't too concerned. Then, we faced a small waterfall, but I instinctively knew how to handle it and came out of it just fine. Near the end of this dream, we came to the final, and largest, waterfall. It jutted out into the gorge below, but I figured if I had handled the last one, I could do this one too. When I hit bottom, I was tossed from the boat and felt myself being pulled back toward the falls by the current. Still, I kicked and swam free from the force to come to the surface and look back with a smile at the falls.

I don't doubt that I'm facing some chaos over the next month, but I think I'm going to make it through just fine. That's what I'm telling myself at least.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Early Autumn Snow


When I took the dogs out this morning, I was greeted by a white lawn and kids throwing snowballs at each other on their way to school.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trifling Bits

My mom made me a fruit trifle for my birthday cake. A little bit different than previous years where I had asked for Paula Dean's "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Cream Puddin'."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trimming Back

Wednesday night, I made the decision to drop one of the groups I was scheduled to perform with this Fall. Warren Civic Orchestra was the unlucky ensemble.

The decision came after finding out there will be more "Peter Pan" rehearsals that would be conflicting with the Warren rehearsals.

While I've historically played longer with the Warren Civic Orchestra, we hadn't yet started rehearsing the full program for our November concert. On the flip side, I have about a month's worth of rehearsal time with "Peter Pan," which forms the bulk of my performance load (11 shows). I simply didn't want to half-arse either group. I really don't get more breathing room by doing this, but it's less music I have to learn, so that'll be a small break.

I've been trying not to have too many "questioning sanity" moments, but it's hard to ignore how the stress is affecting me. Between the things I choose to do (the music ensembles) and other things somewhat beyond my control (job security), I've become rather snappish to Matt and have had countless private, weepy moments the past few weeks. I've lost track of how many times I've had to apologize to Matt for taking stuff out on him. He's been beyond awesome there.

The perspective I'm doing my best to retain is that I genuinely enjoy playing with these groups. The musical, when the bad photocopied parts aren't getting in the way, is a great show. I'm looking forward to, and feeling freaked out about, being in the theater at next week's rehearsals. Up to this point, we've only had the actors/actresses visit us in the band room to sing along.

I've had my moments of doubt when it comes to my skills, but one moment last night was very appreciated. I had the great luck to run into the conductor for Warren at Forte, where he greeted me with a hug and "I got your music you turned in and thought 'Oh no! Not one of my stronger violinists!'" More often than not, I consider myself adequate, so it's always nice to get positive feedback. So onwards I plow! Rehearsals for "The Living Christmas Tree" begin this Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Well Intentioned Baking

While I was at "Peter Pan" rehearsal last night, Matt thought he'd surprise me with a birthday cake when I got home.

I was re-writing my news scripts when he appeared in the office doorway holding a lasagna pan that looked like it had something burned inside.

"I tried! I really did! You're just a better baker," he said as he tilted the pan toward my mystified face. The craggy surface undulated with chocolate frosting and chocolate cake.

"It tastes good though! You gotta try it," he pleaded as he noted the skeptical look on my face. Dutifully, I did and it was tasty, if not a little interesting texture-wise.

So thank you to Matt for his best attempt at making me a birthday cake. The day was made a lot brighter by him and all my friend's well wishes. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

"I was having this awful nightmare that I was 32. And then I woke up and I was 23. So relieved. And then I woke up for real, and I was 32."
- Celine as played by Julie Delpy in Before Sunset

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

30 Rules To Live By After Turning 30

The Frisky posted a great list yesterday about rules for women over the age of 30.

I liked it so much that I couldn't just share the link (see "Julia's Shared Stuff" section to right).

1. The real mistake is not making amends as soon as you realize you’ve made one.
2. A (legally obtained) sleep aid like Xanax works wonders on long distance flights.
3. Wait at least two weeks after a break up before scheduling a haircut.
4. Cut everyone a little slack; none of us is perfect.
5. Even a fabulous sale won’t make the wrong size fit any better.
6. Laughing at his jokes beats cooking skills, hand’s down.
7. The “friend zone” is where the most promising boyfriend material hangs out.
8. Black is more slimming than a grapefruit diet.
9. Recycled trends only work if you weren’t old enough to wear them the first time they were popular.
10. Gay men make the best girlfriends.
11. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly is for women what duct tape is for MacGyver.
12. When people tell you their flaws, believe them.
13. If his profile picture looks like it was taken in the ‘80s, it probably was.
14. Don’t ask if you look fat if you can’t handle the truth.
15. A job interview is the only time self deprecation won’t work in your favor.
16. She who says the least knows the most.
17. If he only sees you after dark and won’t introduce you to friends or family, he’s an FWB (Friends With Benefits), not a BF…no matter how many months you’ve been sleeping with him.
18. Giving a good BJ beats cooking skills, hand’s down.
19. Thou shalt not drink and text.
20. In three months, everything will be different.
21. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
22. Find joy in the simple things.
23. Creativity is a hot commodity, so charge (and pay) accordingly.
24. The larger your frame, the larger the pattern should be.
25. The person who tells you everything about everyone is telling everyone everything about you, too.
26. Be open to change, but never compromise your values.
27. Remember that what you want isn’t always what you need.
28. Living well isn’t the best revenge, a great haircut is.
29. Great love and great achievement require great risk.
30. Great sex does not.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When Alcohol and Metal Don't Mix

Shenanigans at Mojos. Nick Dean and I are taking pictures because what else would two reporters do?

Sexy Note Takers

Hot Stenographer rocking out at Mojos. A late show on a Friday night.

Addendum:

Nick Dean posted this video from Friday night:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Real. Pumpkin.


My friends, meet the pumpkin spice soy latte made with real pumpkin and a shot of espresso that I procured on my way back to the office after lunch from Labyrinth Press Company. Owner, Jeff, tells me he also has the ability to make pumpkin milkshakes.

Coffee Snobbery

When you consider this blog's name comes from a coffeehouse, you can assume I retain a smidge of coffee snobbery.

Generally, I share a disdain for chain coffee like Starbucks. But, as you can see from yesterday's post, I will venture into a store to try such delectable items that involve pumpkin. I get why Starbucks are popular. Even I found myself being mildly seduced by the mellow music playing over the sound system, the sleek furniture, the pleasant, readable font on their menu boards; and the feeling that I was in someplace you might find in a larger city rather than rural suburbia.

And to be more contradictory, I hold a special place in my heart for all things Tim Horton's. I love them even more now that our local chain carries the steeped tea. There's nothing better than being able to get a medium take-away cup of strong, black tea with real milk on a gray day.

Still though, I do like the familiarity of going into local coffeehouses and being greeted by name. I'm enough of a caffeine addict that there are three places in town I can go to and have this happen. One of my favorite moments was going into Ryder's Cup and Elise, the owner, knowing the drink I wanted and how I wanted it (chai made with soy milk and a shot of espresso) before I said much more than "Hello!" A more recent bit of happiness was going to Timothy's Cafe downtown and Tony giving me one look before saying, "You want a small chai." He was right. Of course, I think that Jeff at Labyrinth must be stalking my blog because while I'm in the middle of a pumpkin-craze, he's offering a pumpkin spice soy latte made with real pumpkin today.

Of course, I'll always whole-heartedly endorse people supporting their local caffeine-purveyors. It's really hard to duplicate the experience of patronizing a local coffeehouse and the product they offer when it comes to chains.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mmmm.. Tasty Pumpkin Spice

Blasphemy. Another drink from Starbucks that I like. Pumpkin Spice Latte (made with soy milk).

Sigh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Music In Hand


I now have all the music in hand that I will be playing between now and December 7th. There are four sets on my music stand in the picture above. Ensembles include Warren Civic Orchestra (violin 1), Jamestown Community Orchestra (violin 2), pit orchestra (violin 1) for JCC's production of Peter Pan (Director's Blog), and "The Living Christmas Tree" (violin 2).

Deep breath.

It's 19 performances total. The first one is this Saturday for the 125th Gala Anniversary of Struther's Library Theatre in Warren, PA.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Glow of Electric Heat

Living in Jamestown, we are lucky enough to have our own municipal power plant. That means our electric rates are ridiculously cheap. There's a proposed clean coal power project that will raise our rates in future years, but our rates will still be pretty damn cheap.

This is why it kills me that our house is heated with natural gas. I dread the monthly bill from National Fuel, even during the summer time. There are plenty of things we can, and should, do to winterize our home but a quick fix was to pick up an electric fireplace. If we ran it every day for five hours a day, it would only add about $8 to our monthly electric bill, plus heat most of the first floor of our house. We're hoping that this in addition to other things I will be pressing Matt to help me with will make this winter a little more manageable pocketbook-wise.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Is That Your Final Answer?

Mark finishes asking us a question in a competitive game of Trivial Pursuit. Yes, that's a pumpkin on his forehead.

30 Candles

Happy 30th birthday Dan! It's a fun filled night in Bemus with our friends.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn In Jamestown

This is the gorgeous view I have from my office. Time to go enjoy it and the weekend.

Ernie Visits City Hall


My co-worker, Amanda, brought in Ernie to meet everyone at City Hall today. Ernie is a mini-dachshund, who is 12-weeks old. He's the kind of bundle of cuteness that tries to hide in his mom's hair when he meets new people.

Long Lost FOW

Fountains Of Wayne recently uploaded a "long, lost" video for "Troubled Times" that was shot in Japan. In the blog post about this, there were other tasty bits including the fact that Dar Williams covered "Troubled Times" for her new album.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

When Family Members Find Out You Blog

Earlier this week, I got to mix a work trip with spending time with family I don't often see. It was a serendipitous kind of thing where our office was only able to afford sending me to the statewide conference for the program I work because I could stay overnight with family.

Monday, I went from listening to doom and gloom about how Wall Street could end up affecting everything in our program to my cousin, Karen, joking about how dinner's discussion would be about how Aunt Stella survived the Depression and how we, too, could survive whatever was around the corner. When my aunt asked her to find a bigger pot for the corn on the cob, she brought up a white pot that had been used for canning,

"Well, maybe we should just keep this up here because canning will be useful when we all have to start growing our little gardens in order to have food to eat," she suggested.

It was just the kind of cynical humor I needed.

Discussions switched to technology and how blogging has become more the norm within the industry, whichever one you want to talk about, than ever. I mentioned that I even have my Twitter updates appear on the sidebar of my blog. Karen looked a little surprised, "You blog?"

"Yes. I have for, let me think, over seven years now," I answered.

I could see and hear the wheels turning in Karen's head. How did the fact that I've had a blog manage to escape her purview? And why hadn't I shared this fact before?

I knew this would happen one day. The day you find out all your wibblings about life, sex, and your deep love for Morrissey, Wegmans, and chick lit have been found by your family. This happened to my dad a few years ago. I think he had a quick look around and hasn't come back for fear I might make his head explode.

Sharing the link to my blog with Karen is a bit different though. She's always been the cool cousin out in Albany who was able to build a successful career in radio news. I shadowed her in 1999 for a couple days when Governor Pataki was inaugurated for his second term. The short time I spent with her solidified my interest in radio news and we also got to talk about relationships, movies, music, books, and other assorted bits. That, and she knew all the words to Bran Van 3000's "Drinking In L.A." I told you she's cool. You can guess that I'm a bit shy about sharing something I've sometimes cavalierly kept up for years, but I do try to share when asked, so this is the welcome post for Karen. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

PSA: Don't Say "That's So Gay"

Wanda Sykes Bitch Slaps Some Boys


Hillary Duff Is Still Mostly Nice to Some Girls

Sexy Boys

I finally had a chance to watch my dvr-ed copy of The Holiday this weekend. Curled up under a fleece blanket, I hunkered down on the couch and commenced sighing over the gorgeousness that is Jude Law.

I'm not a fan of his ways with women in real life, but he is completely drool-worthy throughout The Holiday, especially when he dons his spectacles. And believe me, you need some decent eye-candy because half the movie is pure, romantic-comedy corn. The caramel variety.



I must admit I also thought Rufus Sewell was a bit cute, but I liked him better in Dark City. No comments from the peanut gallery (ahem, Heidi). I know who he looks like.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The NFL Loves Morrissey?

While catching up on some blogs and the news one Sunday several weeks ago, I caught part of a NFL commercial that was playing on the tv where Matt was watching a Bills' game.

I stuck my head out of my office next to the living room and asked, "Did I just hear that right?? Is the NFL seriously using a version of 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' by Morrissey in their promo? What the hell???"

Watch until the end for the proof:

Sunday Breakfast

Matt made us breakfast before we embark on a long to do list. I took care of the coffee.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

WRFA Fundraiser Friday

Bring your ear-plugs to this show at Shawbucks Friday night. It's a cheap one ($5!!) and benefits WRFA-LP.

Read the article in Thursday's Post Journal: Don't Call It Rockabilly
Addendum: Friday's Article - Q&A with Cowslingers frontman Greg Miller


Poster by Chris Wysard

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...