Chooch Firsts Music No Whining

My First Time Playing Bass

After watching Scott Pilgrim (one of the two times that I’ve seen it so far) I joked about picking up the bass to play because I just loved the music and the “dirty” sounding bass. I don’t know how else to describe it, so there ya go. While Chooch primarily plays bass, he also plays guitar, and was actually supportive. It was however, a joke at the time, as I’ve never played an instrument beyond the recorder (that little plastic flute thingy in elementary school). Scratch that, I taught myself to play “Memories” from sheet music. I could probably still play the beginning if a gun were held to my head, which is about what it would take to get me to do it.

Now after the awful spins and headache I had after our morning run (Couch to 5k, week 6, day 1), I knew I was going to have to cancel on the “First” I had planned for today because it was a strenuous physical activity. I was pretty stressed about it because neither of us could come up with anything free, local and not too terribly time consuming for me to substitute. I had a lot of work to do, and was behind where I wanted to be on both my paid work and school work.

Because Awesome Chooch is awesome, he volunteered to give me my first bass lesson and would learn a song from Scott Pilgrim for me to try. I spent all day working while doing laundry, and at 9 pm we headed down into the burrow for my first lesson. True to his word, he’d learned the entire song, and started me off with a very brief “Intro to Bass” explanation before teaching me the first parts. (Feel free to swap out my terminology for music terms that I don’t know.)

We worked for a little over an hour, and I loved it. It was somewhat painful because my arms and fingers aren’t long enough to play comfortably. Also, my boobs were a bit in the way and I felt pretty uncomfortable as I tried to manage all the shortages and abundances that were hindering my learning. I did learn what amounts to half of the song according to Chooch, because of all the repetition. I had hoped to be moving along well enough to record my progress tonight, but my fingers were just too sore to continue.

I’m planning on practicing a bit on my own before sitting down with him again. While he is extremely patient and encouraging, I got frustrated when I felt like it was taking me too long because I know he has to get up for work tomorrow. If I ever do get it down, I plan on recording it and maybe posting it somewhere.

The weekend is now over, and we’re snuggling up to read some more of “Ender’s Game” before resuming the grind tomorrow. I hope all of our friends and family traveling today and tomorrow arrive safely and with minimal drama.
Let no bad happen!

Chooch Exercise Firsts Kaylee No Whining

My First Attempt at Geocaching

To remove any sense of suspense, we didn’t find either of the ones that we looked for.

Chooch and I headed out with Kaylee to a local waterfront spot with fishing, hiking trails and boat launch area where a few geocaches were located. We had a great time on this beautiful day, and Kaylee had her first river adventure. She didn’t enjoy it as much as we expected, I think because she was slipping on the slick river bottom. I think she’s like me, in that she prefers a little less nature in her outdoor adventures.

We hiked for a total of 1 1/2 to 2 hours, through some fairly heavily wooded areas. Kaylee was in heaven with all the new sites, scents and sounds, going up and over hills and across creeks. It was a truly beautiful day for a walk in the woods, with a nice breeze and lovely views. The only irritation was that our bug spray started failing after awhile, and of course, that we didn’t find the stashes.

Our main problem was that our phones kept losing the signal, and it was pretty frustrating. At the second and last location, I launched myself into the brush determined to find it. When the arrow started spinning and had me going in opposite directions, I finally decided I was done. It simply could not get us near our destination. I’m sure if we weren’t total rookies we could’ve found one, but it was a great time regardless.

As a result of the day, I officially proclaim myself to be an indoor girl. I am allergic to too many things to spend lots and lots of time outside in the woods. I have welts from where I came in contact with nature and several bug bites. I guess I would break it down as I like nature, but it doesn’t like me.

For another first, we’re settling in to watch Swing Time, and it will be my first Fred and Ginger movie. I’ve now got a migraine so may not make it through the entire movie tonight, but I’m going to try.

Cooking Firsts Hobby No Whining

My Very First Painting

I’ve had a bunch of art supplies that belonged to my Mother. My Dad passed them on to me after she passed away a few years ago, probably because she and I had talked about taking a painting class together. She was very skilled but rusty, and I’d never painted beyond the crap you do for art class in school. We never got to do that and I guess my  Dad thought it would be cool for me to have them now. I’ve moved them around three or four times, but never opened them up. In 2008 it was even one of my goals for that year.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, and even talked to Jen, a dear new friend, about it one night a few weeks ago. She encouraged and emboldened me and I decided to give it a try. I pushed myself into doing it this weekend because of my “No Whining” post last week.

The plans Chooch and I had for today got nixed because I’ve been sick most of the day, up and down with dizziness and fighting a migraine. It’s been a rough day, and add to that some bad news and the fact that I had to miss out on a party tonight where he and his band were playing. Serious bummer. I wasn’t up to doing anything new, but I made myself go downstairs and see if anything happened.

I ended up doing a painting, and I’m pretty happy with it. Nothing exciting or earth-shattering, but I definitely vibed on my Mom and my son NB while I was at it and it has a special meaning to me. I haven’t decided if it’s finished or not. I’ll look at it tomorrow and decide if I want to add anything as I first intended, but I may leave it as is.

Oh, and I made potato salad for the first time, too. Thanks to my great friend Andrea for her tip on making the best I’ve ever tasted. Mine isn’t as good, but it’s still okay.

AFI's Top 100 Movies Uncategorized

Sophie's Choice (#91)

Made in 1982, the first thing that hits me is how young Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol were when this was made. Baby faces! The second thing that you realize is that Meryl as Sophie is going to be a tragic figure. The first scene that she is in is a huge argument and portrays a loud and passionate relationship with Kevin Kline’s Nathan. And just like Peter MacNicol’s Stingo, it’s hard not to forgive the turbulent scene with Sophie and Nathan and follow him as their magnetic personalities pull him along.

Now, having seen this movie, I’m guessing, sometime in the ’90s only the heart breaking ending stayed with me. (I mean, come on, it’s a robot test! If you weren’t deeply moved by her confession at the end of the movie then you are clearly a robot.)  Because of the 20 year or so gap, it was very like watching it for the first time, but with a knot in my stomach knowing the source of Sophie’s great pain.

I was as enamored with Nathan as Sophie and Stingo are, completely forgiving all of his passionate and crazed outbursts because of his powerful and intoxicating ability to make things up to them. I was completely in love with the fragile Sophie, so strong and yet so weak when she would stand up to Nathan to defend against his crazed claims.

As for Chooch, he chuckled when he heard the line from the latest xkcd, “Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me.” I didn’t catch it at all, and I’d read it half an hour before sitting down to the movie. He enjoyed the movie as well, but we haven’t had much time to discuss it yet.

As is standard for me whenever I watch a Meryl Streep movie, I completely forget that she is acting. It’s been said millions of times, but the woman can really take you along as she completely immerses herself in her role and the world she’s in. And seeing what she endured during the flashbacks, it’s so easy to see why she would stay with Nathan in spite of his verbal abuse and mental instability. Come on, after surviving Auschwitz being swept around in a Southern belle style hoop gown with that grand way that he has, it must have felt like Heaven to her broken soul. She was drawn to him like a moth to the flame, knowing he was dangerous but needing his warmth.

Obviously, this movie really affected me. I’m not sure that you have to be a parent to “get” how horrific a thing it is to be forced to choose which of your two children will live. Then add to that the knowledge that if you do not choose, both will die. In the end, I don’t think it’s any great leap to say that she had a death wish, and did not believe she deserved the life of quiet peace that Stingo offered. The guilt, pain and shame that she carried would not allow her such things. I think this is a Movie You Must See, so if you haven’t you should really consider doing so. Even though it’s somewhat spoiled for you, I think you’ll still find it worth your time.

Chooch and I have re-ranked the movies we have seen so far, and we are taking yet another page from Christiana and Mike’s Watching 100 Movies in that we are adding movies that we think belong on the list. The difference is that Chooch felt there were twenty movies that should be on the list. Insanity! I had only selected one, and have since talked him down to five. I’m now culling through my DVD collection and Netflix queue to find four more. Once that’s done I’ll do a post. I have a general plan of posting our rankings every tenth movie, but we’ll see if I stick to it.

Next up is Swing Time and the only thing I know about it is that it was released in 1936 and stars Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ll have seen one of their films all the way through, so I’m very excited to see if it holds up to all the acclaim.

Cooking Firsts Health No Whining

My Very First Time Making Pizza Dough

In my last post, I explained that I had no intention of spending the weekend wishing I were somewhere else. Like Dragon*Con. Or PAX. Or WorldCon. Instead, I vowed to do one new thing each day of the three day weekend. Well, I started early without meaning to and since I just realized what I’ve done is a “first” I thought I’d fill in all you shiny people of the intarwebz since I know you’re sitting on the edge of your seat. Waiting. With bated breath.

I came across a book that grabbed my attention, but funds being tight I couldn’t swing the $20 to buy it right now. Plus, my experiences with breads and the like have been less than encouraging. They turned out okay, but I didn’t feel the urge to really ever do it again outside of a bread machine. But the only pizza dough I can ever remember using was either made by a friend (Thanks again, Allie! It was delish!), a Boboli-type shell or one of those canned pizza dough things in the refrigeration section.

Since I didn’t want to wait for funds, I instead checked the book out from my library (whodathunk?!?) and cracked it open in the parking lot to see if it was as cool as it appeared. Digging what I read, I hit the grocery store for the few key ingredients and headed home.

‘Lo and behold, I have made pizza dough.  Healthy pizza dough. (Well, about as healthy as it can get.) I peeked, and it’s actually rising as expected! We shall have fresh, homemade whole wheat pizza for dinner tonight!

Good or bad, I’ll post a review of the book. It looks promising so far.

Now I’m off to bake the pizza so we can settle in and watch Sophie’s Choice.