Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

#FridayFlash#77: Tonight

Do you ever feel like there’s a story there but it’s just out of reach? That’s what I had last night, and this is what we got instead. For the first one this year?!?! Ah well. Enjoy.  Also, slightly disappointed to realise this is the first one of the year :(   



Tonight is a night where morning is a reality that can be ignored; 
Tonight is a night for walking alone in the woods; 
Tonight is a night for watching moonlight shatter on a ripple on an otherwise still lake; 
Tonight is a night to listen to the sounds we can only hear when we stop; 
Tonight is a night to stare into a fire that cackles and throws shadows that dance; 
Tonight is a night for storytellers, dreamers, songwriters, and artists; 
Tonight is a night those without imagination sleep soundly, while those with are wide awake w wonder; 
Tonight is a night that if you pay attention, you just might glimpse magic rarely seen past childhood; 
Tonight is a night for memories of what was and dreams of what may be; 
Tonight is a night for questions without answers; 
Tonight is a night for mystery; 
Tonight is a night for calm, but also for magic and chaos; 
Tonight is a first for some, and a last for others; 
And on this night, of all nights, will you experience it, or will you be sound asleep?

Somebody else's next adventure?

Okay so here’s my new business idea. If I had time and money, I’d be all over it :). Alas, I have neither, and thus share the idea in hopes I can one day be a customer. 

I’m thinking a “silent resort” that is neither religious nor health based. A place for the introverts if the world to recharge in quiet that still serves awesome carnivorous food with savoury deserts. I want to come back from this retreat happy, relaxed, and 10lbs heavier ;). It’s not that there isn’t healthy food, it’s just that vegetarian and healthful aren’t the *only* options.

The resort shop would sell many many varieties of pens and notebooks ;). Probably artists' supplies as well. Possibly even a bookstore involved. 

The property would be rural and stunning. There’s be hiking trails - bonus points if they lead to a waterfall or swimming hole, maybe a beach somewhere. And the only sounds are those from nature.

It would be far enough away from town that light pollution is negligible and the stars and be fully admired at night.

If this resort is in a country that has winter, roaring fireplaces are a must. Snowshoeing and xc skiing would both be outdoor possibilities. 

Potentially a few stress-relieving critters around?   Cats, dogs, bunnies, etc?

Tablets, phones, computers, etc would be discouraged but not blocked - to each their own as long as no sound can be overheard (aka sound off or excellent headset).

A skilled RMT would be an excellent addition. Hot springs a lovely bonus if possible.   

Who’s gonna make this happen? Go on - tell your friends. Quietly ;)

This week's wtf (I mean, "learning") moment in piano

So those of you who hang out here on a regular basis will know that Spanishing has been going reasonably well of late. Alas, the same cannot be said of the piano. 

I am still very much enjoying it, but it’s being held back by two very strong forces:
  • It’s an indoor toy and it’s one of the few lovely months of the year, so I want to be outside 
  • I’m a beginner and beginner music is boring ;) 
So to combat the first, I need to be learning something interesting enough to be inside during summer. Tricky given the second ;). So I looked at the pieces that I really passionately want to learn to play, none of which are level appropriate, and picked the one which seemed most feasible.

It actually didn’t end up being either of the ones I would’ve expected but okay. Still all good. My feasibility scale was based on:
  • Is the tempo slow enough that I have a chance of ever playing it at speed? 
  • How much of it can I already play from having learned an easier version that was smart enough to use similar patterns to the real thing? 
  • How much musical theory is there that I have never seen before? 
  • Are there any parts I looked at and went wtf, how is that even possible? 
So the song I picked, I can play prob 75% going in. Win. To put in perspective, of that other 25%, I spent an hour tonight learning 2 bars. An hour. 2 bars. Hands SEPARATE. And it was a HUGE win at the end that I could do the “hard” hand *almost* correctly at 50% speed. And it fell completely apart when trying to add any of the other bars or the other hand in.

Musical notation there are two sections that I have no idea what they mean. I’m reasonably certain FB will provide an answer. One I figured out by context - I know the song and you can watch a person play it on the app so I figured it out, even though I don’t actually get it (aka if I didn’t know how it was supposed to go, there’s no way I’d know to make it happen). The second one I have no idea but have deemed it mildly irrelevant atm ;)

This is way better than the half a dozen in the other songs I wanted ;-P

Then there’s capability. Almost all of it, I’m confident I could get to. Except - there’s one part with THREE four-note cords in a row. Plus side, I can at least reach all the notes. Down side, neither my sheet reading nor my playing capabilities are at the point where I can hit that many keys simultaneously with any sort of accuracy or rhythm.

So yeah. In over my head? For sure. Harming anyone? Nope. And we all know I do better with the almost impossible challenge, so this is the approach for now.

If things go well, I will likely attempt to find a teacher (not so easy out here) when the weather turns. I *may* even have figured out this one song by then lol. Wish me luck!

Never growing up ;)

Right, so I had a lovely week at the cottage.  One of the things I noticed was how much my nails grew?!?! And I kinda put it down to not typing / playing piano / etc.  Then ONE day back into work four of my nails were torn down to the quick.  Not bitten, torn.  hmmm.  Perhaps something is not as it should be.

Now I don't actually care about having nice nails.  Lol I'm a barn kid at heart and they've always been v short, otherwise they just had tons of dirt under them ;).  Practicality win.   But I would like them to not hurt or bleed on stuff.

SO enter the adult fidget toys.  I googled: it's a thing.  Once I clued in a bit, it occurred to me that I used to always fiddle, like all work day long, with random scrunchies.  But since I cut my hair, I don't have them all around the house anymore.  Even in the before times in the office, it'd be with a pen, or my phone, or whatever.  So, I needed something that I could twist around and that was quiet.   I found two super cheap options on Amazon which made their way to me the next day.

This was after one morning?!?!

So the first one (see above) was a bunch of spirally, plastic rings.   They're stretchy, but not much.   They came in a pack of about 10, so I'm not too concerned about this morning's sacrifice.  😂 but it did justify to me that there is a use for them.   AND, while the morning meetings transitioned it from the before pic to the after pic, it's still useful as I spent all my afternoon meetings attempting (unsuccessfully) to detangle it.

This other one I got is definitely more durable!  The only thing I didn't like about it was it made my hands smell like metal.  It's not as much fun as the stretchy ring but still conceptually did what it needed to do.  And end result is I could focus on work without destroying my hands ;).  We're going to deem that an overall win.

So far, so good.  Hands are no longer bleeding.  Nobody can see my toys under the height of the video camera.  Fascinates me that this far in, I'm still learning random things about my own behaviour.  Compensation techniques for the win!

Misc Spanish Update

So I've been really enjoying my Spanish Adventures lately -- feeling like it's a bit on an upswing again, which is always a win ;).   That being said, pluses and minuses...   I found a new Spanish teacher I'm excited about, but went through a couple way less fun trial lessons before this one - one of which was super demotivating.  Booo.  

Sheesh - thanks Duo.

Anyways - this instructor sent me a few documents after our lesson; one was the notes from the class (all my previous instructors have just used google docs, but if he wants to do it this way that's fine too); one was almost a report card of the lesson?  This one was interesting as it had two examples in each of "red" "yellow" and "green" categories of things I said with the why it was or was not correct and how to fix it.  That, to me, is just a lot more work on his part, but moderately interesting (only moderately because my knowledge way exceeds my speaking ability so as soon as I see it, I know what's wrong).  And the third one was a summary of my objectives and level.   

So that last one, I wanted to clarify some details.  I debated whether to do so in English or Spanish 😂. I'm reasonably certain this instructor is fluent in English, but I haven't actually heard him speak it.  So I figured I should give writing in Spanish a solid try.   And I did, and I was reasonably pleased with it - if for no other reason than it was a decent length.  Most of my Spanish writing to date is a sentence or two at most.  

And then I got a response that was very long and all in Spanish.  😂. It's amazing how my brain just shut down at that. I've read literal novels in Spanish, an email w a few paragraphs is not, in fact, an issue.  But I def went omg that's way too many words.  Lol when calmer me, not standing in line on my phone, looked at it, it was a non issue to read and reply.   But I'm still amused at my immediate reaction.   Was also pleased -- he correct and returned my email and it wasn't NEARLY as bad as I'd expected it'd be ;).  Some minor things of course but they were conceptually minor.  So yeah - excited to start lessons with this teacher.  We shall see.

Along the same lines -- the Story Learning site that I generally follow just released an "Upper Intermediate" class (aka B2) that I'm *really* enjoying.  It's the first online one I've found that really helps hit the picky details that make a difference and makes me feel like I'm learning "new" stuff again instead of just trying to continue to improve the same beginner topics endlessly.

And then re beginner topics, I got re-hooked on DuoLingo when I was at the cottage; I tested out of the final one which opened the full tree and all the stories, but now I'm going through and testing out of each level individually.  If I can't do it w/ a score better than 90% I do the next step up too.   I figure this is getting me more review on the details I need in a moderately amusing fashion.  I'm loving the daily quests and the friend challenges.   It has more than doubled the size of the tree since the last time I did it, so I'm looking forward to the more advanced topics at the top of the tree.

The big gap remains, of course, speaking practice.   *sigh*.  It is the primary goal of my new lessons is to help bridge the gap between my comprehension abilities and my speaking abilities.   Fingers crossed.

So yeah - all the things :).   This is a hobby that definitely goes in waves for me, but on an upswing atm and really enjoying it.  We'll see how it goes...