Friday, December 27, 2002

Camp Harmony starts today! I'll be back on the 1st. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 26, 2002

There were lots of good visits over the last couple days. On Christmas Eve we had seven adults with musical instruments of various kinds and we showed Gia how to conduct. That was really funny. She was bouncing us around between fff and ppp like a yo-yo, but we kept up, though we were pretty much just making a lot of noise. I don't think I ever had that many adults so completely under my power when I was four years old. Yesterday we had 14 Waldons gathered with Grandma Jackie and Grandpa Marsh at Rossmoor. Lots of people there I hadn't seen in a while. We ate several meals worth of brunch and then had a very amusing gift exchange game, from which I emerged with an old-fashioned duck-on-a-bike toy. It's very amusing, but you'd have to see it for yourself. Lacey and I also spent some time with Mom, Monee and Pa (and we even got to see Monee and Pa waltz!). Here are some pictures, mostly of the big Waldon group but a few others, too. I've got to run off to work now.

Monday, December 23, 2002

I'm heading back off to Berkeley tonight. Then it's up to Santa Rosa tomorrow to see Dad and Betty Lue and Terry and Gia and Grandma Marian. Then to Rossmoor on Christmas, to see Monee and Pa, Grandma Jackie and Grandpa Marsh, and all the Waldons we can assemble. Merry Christmas to everyone!

Happy Birthday Maya!

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Lacey's arriving today! Hugo's driving down with her and they're heading to Berkeley to stay with Mom, so I'm going up there soon, too, to see everyone. Meanwhile, I have to go find some way to defend my food supply in the kitchen, since the ants have now thoroughly invaded. My other big project right now is preparing for the class I'll be teaching at Harmony. I've been putting that off too long. It's going to be a busy week. I'm visiting various relatives this weekend, Christmas Eve and Christmas, I'm working Monday and Thursday, and Harmony starts on Friday. And there's a lot to do during that time.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Happy Birthday Carol!

Thursday, December 19, 2002

The road at work started flooding again this afternoon. Luckily, we managed to get out while one direction was still open. We'll see if we can get in tomorrow morning.

It was nice of the rain to stop a bit yesterday so I could bike to the library. It felt really good to move those muscles after sitting around at a desk so much. I haven't been getting as much exercise as usual (or any at all, really) this week.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

It's good to be working (better to be making money) but the job is a bit taxing by the end of the day. I'm in an insurance office processing mortgage claims on computers built in the early '80s. So I spend all day looking at a computer and typing. And then I come home and want to check my e'mail and post to my blog and whatnot but my eyes and fingers are all wiped out. Sigh.

I really want to be playing piano. And I really wish I were a lot better at it. Not only am I not getting to practice much these days, but I'm reading various books about piano playing and feeling very sad that I can't do that kind of thing. I wish I could play Bach fugues and Beethoven sonatas and all these other wonderful pieces of music that are still quite a ways beyond me. It's very frustrating to be in the position of having far more knowledge and desire than skill. Oh well. As soon as I get a decently paying, permanent job I'll start looking for a piano teacher so I can take lessons again. Right now, I'll just try to get back in shape with my mandolin before Camp Harmony.

Monday, December 16, 2002

So I had a doozy of a trip into work today. First of all, this is a new temp job, so I'm going to a place in Menlo Park that I've never been before. I get off 101 and try to turn onto the street the company is on, but it's been flooded and blocked off. So I try to find another way in. It turns out that the only other entrance to that street is a couple more miles down 101. So I get back on and the traffic is getting worse, and I find the other end of the street, go down it for a while and then find myself at the end of a long line of cars. Meanwhile I've called the company and found out that the street is actually closed on both sides. So I manage to turn around and go back to the other end (takes a long time now -- the traffic is even worse) because I think it's actually closer to the building I'm trying to get to. But still, once I manage to park in a random lot somewhere, I have to walk about a mile, skirting flooded bits of road to get to work. Golly. I was pretty darn late, but most other people were, too. Later on some people managed to get cars in, so the rest of us got rides back to our cars in the evening (which was good, since it was raining a lot harder by then). So it was quite a start to the day. I wish I could just stay here inside, bundle up with a book and listen to the rain on my skylight now, but I've got to go out to teach a music lesson tonight. Oh well. I'll come back and be warm and cozy afterwards.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

I may have to get this t-shirt. I love polka-ing.
Grr. I want to play piano but Braun is closed. I managed to find an unlocked door and snuck in yesterday, so I thought I might be in luck again today, but no. They'll be open next week but only 9 - 5, and I'm going to be working then. Phooey. It's very frustrating, since I've been on a real roll with piano practicing recently. I suppose I can always play here, but our piano isn't as good and I have to work around 5 housemates and the TV and everything. Oh well. I'll do something. I'm starting to learn a Chopin waltz now that I've loved for a long time: Op. 69 No. 2, B minor. I've been working on my sight-reading a lot, too, since it's something useful I can do on my own even though I'm not taking lessons right now. I think I'm going to be wanting lessons again soon, though.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Tonight at the contra dance four women came up to me at separate times during the break and asked for the next couple dance. That never happens. Usually I'm scrabbling through all the extra guys to find any partner for any dance. If anyone ever asks me, it's usually Bob (who is very fun to polka with). Maybe all the women are just figuring out that they can ask for dances, too, in which case I entirely approve. But maybe it's the hair cut. Maybe it's me not being attached to Miriam anymore. Maybe I just looked like I wanted to hambo. Who knows.
I just drove Jessica to the airport, and 101 is scary in this weather. Wow. Plus there are traffic lights out all over town. But I'm home safe and dry now. I think some hot chocolate is in order.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Happy Friday the 13th! Let the storms begin! I'm spending this damp Friday evening watching Fellowship of the Ring on DVD and changing various instrument strings that haven't been changed for a long time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

The library was fun tonight. Georgina's 6 year old daughter Dani was there again. She informed me that when she grows up she will be a doctor, a dentist, a teacher and a cheerleader. Isn't it nice how simple and easy the world is at age six? Anyway, Dani's pretty fun to play with and we made paper snowflakes and origami seals and shadow puppets and drawings and things like that. (There wasn't a lot of tutoring to be doing tonight -- it's still in a pretty slow time.) A couple people who didn't know us asked if she was my daughter, which seemed rather odd, even aside from the fact that she's Hispanic and I'm not. I mean, technically I'm old enough, but I sure don't feel like someone who would be a father. Maybe I look older than I feel. I don't know. But it was fun to spend an evening playing with a happy little kid.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Wow, so today must be my lucky day or something. I spent the morning the same as yesterday, doing prep work for the same seminar. Yesterday I had gotten two of Tufte's books at the library. We had a break this morning between setup and registration so I was reading one of them, when Tufte himself walks in. First of all, he gives each of the temps an extra $20, which was pretty nice of him. But then he saw I was reading his book, so he invited me to sit in on the seminar, since we only had to work until everyone was checked in. That was really cool -- everybody else had paid a couple hundred dollars to be there. So I was listening in the back of the room and it was very interesting, and then one of Tufte's assistants, who I had been working with earlier, came up to me and offered me a copy of Visual Explanations for free (it's a $40 book). Apparently there was something wrong with a few pages so they didn't want to sell it but it was still perfectly usable. I managed to get it signed, too. So all in all, I got a pretty good deal for two half-days of work.

The talk itself was very good, though I suppose I'm sounding exceedingly geeky, being excited about a seminar in "Presenting Data and Information." He speaks very well, and can be quite amusing (e.g. The Gettysburg Address, done in PowerPoint), but I did think that he could have covered a lot more. He held his presentation to a much lower standard of information density than he applied to visual data. I suppose that made sense, given the difference in media, but I still think he could have done more. And it was slightly lacking in an overall point, though all the examples and details were excellent. But heck, for a free seminar, it was awesome.

Monday, December 09, 2002

The temp job I'm doing for today and tomorrow is at the Hyatt Rickeys in Palo Alto, where they're having a 2 day seminar with Edward Tufte on "Presenting Data and Information." I was mostly doing registration today, but I caught little bits of the talk and it seems like it's really interesting. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to get one of the jobs in the actual room, where I can hear more of it. I want his books now, too. We had to pack up all three of them into bags to give to seminar participants, and each bag of books probably cost more than I'll make at this job. (The books are Visual Explanations, Envisioning Information, and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.) Oh well. Off to the library again!

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Testimony's winter show last night was fantastic. In addition to their usual wonderful music, they had some hilarious skits (Tina plays Piglet very well :-) and even a Lindy Hop choreography (by Kari) to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The whole show got a very well deserved standing ovation.

Music is always a wonderful thing, but I think music and laughter together are a particularly good combination. That's just a thought that struck me on my way home last night. I feel like a good, solid dose of laughter has a way of flushing anything negative or unpleasant from my system and scrubbing me out clean. And then when there's music to fill me back up again well, life is just good. I don't consider myself a devout Christian, but I've found that, once I let myself get used to it, I can really relate in some way or another to a lot of the Christian music that Testimony sings. And you can tell, in the audience, that putting such a strong faith behind such excellent singers is a very powerful combination.

In other news, I just added commenting ability to my blog. So if anyone wants to leave me a note, go ahead and click on these little comment links at the end of each day's entry.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

I had the most amazing redowa ever with Annaka at FNW last night. We were out on the dance floor right when a fast waltz started, and there was still a fair amount of open space while other people were partnering up. So we took full advantage of it, and for the first 30 or 40 seconds we just flew around the room. Wow. I can't remember the last time I travelled that fast in a dance, even redowa. It was awesome.

Friday, December 06, 2002

I went by the Stanford Craft Fair briefly today. I always enjoy looking around at everyone's creativity. I saw Carol Attia there, and talked with her for a bit while I helped her set up her booth. It's somewhat comforting to still be liked by Miriam's parents.

There was also an extra concert today in the Wednesday noon concert series in Braun. It was some of George Barth's piano students playing. One piece I particularly liked was a Bartok suite (op. 14). But the real excitement came at the end, when the last student brought in a violinist and a cellist to do the first movement of a Mendelssohn trio (op. 49, D minor). About 3/4 of the way through, the cellist's bow broke. The wood literally just snapped, up near the tip. He just sat there looking stunned at all the horsehair flowing so freely over his strings, while the other two found a nearby cadence for a pit stop. They eventually borrowed a bow and finished off the movement, but it must have been awful for the cellist. I'd be upset if my bow broke and it's not even very expensive. His was probably a really good one.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

So I thought I'd check out this site that a few of my friends have linked to their blogs. You answer a pile of questions and it recommends places to live. Here's my list. I was glad SC and PA both made it on there. Oregon's definitely showing up a lot, too.

  1. Eugene, Oregon

  2. Corvallis, Oregon

  3. Fayetteville, Arkansas

  4. Santa Cruz, California (where I used to live)

  5. Charleston, West Virginia

  6. Little Rock, Arkansas

  7. Salem, Oregon (where Jim and Siri Kirpal live)

  8. Portland, Oregon (where Lacey lives, more or less)

  9. Frederick, Maryland

  10. Providence, Rhode Island

  11. Baltimore, Maryland

  12. Hartford, Connecticut

  13. Santa Barbara, California

  14. Ventura, California

  15. Washington, District of Columbia

  16. Danbury, Connecticut

  17. Albuquerque, New Mexico

  18. New Haven, Connecticut

  19. Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

  20. Medford, Oregon

  21. Valencia, California

  22. Boston, Massachusetts

  23. Palo Alto, California (home!)

  24. Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

I went to the Dead Week Jammix last night. The height of musical excitement came when Richard played "Waltzing with Bears." That made me very happy. The tune was slightly different from the one I learned as a kid so it was harder to sing along with, but it was still fun. I'm surprised he even had a recording of it.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Testimony A Cappella went caroling in downtown Palo Alto tonight. Caroling is such a nice, happy thing. Music is always wonderful anyway, but more so when you're just going out and sharing it with everyone as a gift. They did carols (of course), some things from their CD, and improv arrangements of songs like Rudolf the Red Nosed Raindeer, by request. I went to listen for a bit and they tried to get me to sing with them. There weren't enough people to drown me out entirely, though, so I tried to sing quietly :-} I get more self conscious about singing than about a great many other things. I had a very good time, though. Once again, I wish I'd been able to be in an a cappella group at Stanford. I'd settle for just being able to sing better.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

I finished reading the rest of Grandpa Jude's WWI diary today. Just reading through it all has been a fascinating trip in itself. I've been transcribing various bits of it that I found particularly interesting, or amusingly written or whatever. So if any of you Waldon-types don't feel like trying to read through all the scanned images, let me know and I'll give you a few pages of selected highlights. What frustrates me, though, is that the diary stops the instant he gets discharged, leaving me dangling with so many more questions. What was it like being home after almost 2 years? What was his life like outside the army? Who was Mid, and what happened with her when he got back?

Saturday, November 30, 2002

I didn't go to the contra dance tonight, as I found myself thoroughly engrossed in reading the diary of my great-grandfather, Jude Riddle. My uncle Jim, the Waldon family historian, just send out another batch of CDs with scanned photos and documents of various kinds, including the diary Grandpa Jude kept for two years when he was in WWI. It's really interesting to read, though it's a bit hard on the eyes to decipher his handwriting through 85 year old ink, so it's rather slow going. It's fascinating to have a little window into the past like this. I especially enjoy the language difference, how he uses words like "dandy," and expressions like "I love him like so many rattlesnakes." Here are a few excepts I liked:

"Some of the men had never seen a plane before and they nearly twisted their necks off."
- Nov. 2, 1917

"Later in the evening we had an inspection by Col. May. As he came thru, I was standing beside the aisle, at attention. He stopped in front of me and for a moment I thought he'd recognized me and was going to extend the glad hand. Instead he said 'How long since you have had a bath?' I told him, and he walked on."
- Dec. 15, 1917 (This one struck me as rather James Thurber-like.)

"Happened to ask me a bunch of technical questions and I answered them right off the reel. Made a dandy good impression."
- Apr. 15, 1918

"About six big whiz bangs landed close to us, raising particular hell with things in general, before we had a chance to move either way."
- Aug. 6, 1918

Friday, November 29, 2002

I have now read all four of the currently-existing Harry Potter books in Spanish. I had actually forgotten a lot about book 4, so it was quite exciting to read all over again. It made me want to finish the last 7 chapters all in one go, however, which took all evening. My brain is tired. I wish J. K. Rowling would spit out that next book sometime soon. It's been over two years.

In other news, I had a very nice Thanksgiving yesterday, with Mom, Monee, Pa, Paul and Curtis. I also brought home plenty of leftovers, which I will probably be eating for several days. Monee's applesauce and apple pie were the first to go, though. Wow, that stuff is good.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

I've been figuring out how to record myself playing mandolin on my computer. If anyone's interested, here's an mp3 (1.5 MB) of The Third of April, the tune I wrote for Quena.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Mom and I just had a wonderful weekend up in Oregon with Lacey. Pictures are here. Lacey pointed out that she and I had never gone so long (5 months) without seeing each other. Wow.

We spent yesterday afternoon at Lacey and DeMara's apartment making yummy things like corn chowder and hot crossed buns. They've got a lovely little apartment but they'll only be there for a little while longer. Then DeMara's coming back to Stanford and Lacey's finding another place.

Saturday night we went to the Portland contra dance which was absolutely awesome. KGB was down from Seattle so the music was fantastic, and there were lots of good dancers there. There were even a lot of college students. I wish we could get more students to come to contras around here.

This morning we went to see the new Harry Potter movie. That was very enjoyable, but I won't say too much for those of you who haven't seen it yet. I notice, though, that when I watch a movie of a book I know pretty well, I don't so much form an overall impression of it as I just accumulate lists of details and how they relate to what was in the book and what was in my head.

After the movie we went to Powell's bookstore, which is now one of my favorite places in the world. They have something like 1.5 million new and used books. It is absolutely amazingly enormous. You have to take a map when you go in. I could have spent all day there. Heck, I would have brought a sleeping bag and just stayed for weeks, or until they kicked me out.

In the evening we had a short visit at Hugo's new apartment, and a little bit of music time. Then Lacey drove us back to the airport and sent us home. Sleepy now....

Saturday, November 23, 2002

I'm going to see Lacey! Huzzah!

Friday, November 22, 2002

Dancing wins. I won't stay very late, though.

- - - - -

Dilemma: Do I go to the Swing Kids dance tonight or do I go to bed early so I can be in San Jose at 7:30 tomorrow morning for my plane to Oregon? Hmmm.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Happy Birthday Grant!

I hadn't heard from Grant for a while (my fault as much as his) but I e'mailed him today for his birthday and found out that he has a blog also (Grant's Rants) so I spent some time reading it. Very Grant-like, just like old times. (I don't recommend reading it unless you know him and know what you're getting into, though. You have been warned.) Sometimes I think he's about as different from me as it's possible to be. Sophomore year, when we roomed together, we made long lists of opposite qualities, under our names on the door. Optimist/Pessimist, Happy/Sad, Love/Hate, Morning Person/Night Person, Mac/PC and plenty of others. On the other hand, I think we're really similar in a lot of ways, too. Otherwise we wouldn't have become friends. It's as if we each just put opposite faces on our personalities, but somewhere underneath there's a core of similarity. Anyway, living with him in one room sort of drove me crazy (no offense, Grant), but I miss having him around now that he's back on the East Coast again and going to Duke.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Volunteering at the library is always more interesting when more people show up. These things always go in cycles, depending on how many people have tutors at any given time, but tonight was better. It's fun hearing some Spanish going by, too, and seeing how much of it I can understand. I don't get to practice speaking it much, though, since most of the people are there to learn English, after all. Georgina also had her little daughter there tonight. She's about 5 or 6 and we had some fun looking at a big map of the world. I had to explain to her why we couldn't see East Palo Alto on it, though. :-)

Monday, November 18, 2002

I had another temp job today. Pretty mundane stuff, but it's something at least. I'm back there again tomorrow, but probably not for much longer. Tonight I've got a lesson with one of my music theory students, which is a more interesting way to make money.

By the way, for those who haven't heard, here's the Grandpa Marsh update: He's been home from the hospital for a little while now and various friends and family have been visiting a lot. He's frustrated at being stuck in a wheel chair but he's gradually getting better and stronger, so we're glad for that.

Oh, and there's one other exciting piece of news: Mom and I are going to visit Lacey this weekend! Yay! It will be a very quick trip, up on Saturday morning, back Sunday evening. But I'll get to see my long-lost sister again! Happy happy.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Fun dancing this weekend. I realized that, as of Friday, I had gone two whole weeks without dancing at all, which is a lot for me. But maybe it was a good break. The Berkeley Friday Night Waltz was a lot of fun, and, while dances are always fun, it was the first one in a while where I danced the whole time and ended up feeling satisfied rather than saturated, and didn't feel like I stayed up too late, even though it was past my bedtime.

Last night was the Ragtime Ball at Stanford, and Quena came down from Davis for it. It was good to get to dance with her again. And Jessica came for a little bit, the first time I'd seen her at a dance in ages. I'd missed dancing with her, too (she was my partner for Opening Committee the last two years). And DeMara even came all the way down from Oregon for the weekend! Most exciting indeed! So overall, the theme of the night was getting to dance with good friends I don't see very often, and it made me very happy.

Friday, November 15, 2002

The Stanford Music library is having a book/sheet music/LP sale today outside Braun. For $4 I got books of Chopin scherzi and fantasies, "65 World Famous Waltzes," essays on piano music, and two volumes of theory lessons, to get ideas for my own teaching. Not bad.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Today I had my first temp assignment. It didn't involve doing very much, though. Basically, this small company was having a tax auditor come in, but the people who work there are never actually in the office, so they wanted someone in there to sort of hold down the fort. Not much real work. So in terms of money per hour I didn't make much, but as far as money per effort goes, it was great. I wouldn't have paid me to do it, but I'm not arguing. The job was originally going to be for three days, but the auditor didn't know if he'd actually have to come back and if he did it wouldn't be this week, so it turned out to just be a one-day thing. Oh well, it's something, and that's better than nothing. The office is in someone's home, and the most exciting part of the day was getting past their dogs, which were small but ferocious.

Monday, November 11, 2002

This amused me: according to the Stanford magazine, Giancarlo Aquilanti is going to be the new musical director of the LSJUMB (the Stanford Band). The article says that he "is not responsible for policing the unpredictable ensemble, but he is attempting to teach members how to read music. 'I hope that their interest will begin to shift to music and that they will think of themselves more as a musical group than a social event,' he says. 'But that may be a few years off.' " Good luck :-) I had Prof. Aquilanti for 4 or 5 music classes over several years. One of my favorite quotes is from Music 23, when he said "Everything, once it is explained, is really pretty dumb. Think of the guy who invented the wheel...."

Sunday, November 10, 2002

I was having a pretty blah day yesterday, and I ended up not going to the contra dance in the evening because I didn't feel like dancing, though I suppose it might have cheered me up. I tried to do various other things, like reading, writing, playing music, even writing a new tune, but I couldn't concentrate on anything. So I finally just went on a long walk and then went to bed, where I had weird dreams. Blah. We'll see if I feel any better today.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Last night I watched the first Harry Potter movie with Tina. That was fun to see again, though I had forgotten how much of the book they had to leave out. I'm looking forward to the second movie, coming out next week.

After the movie, Tina was going over to an Opening Committee party in Kimball, so I stopped by too, to pretend to be an Opener again for a little bit. Some people were experimenting with various kinds of lifts and dips for the choreography (or not). I got to try being on the lifted end of a waltz lift with Kari, and that was fun. Then George decided to do a shoulder lift with me, and Brian got an amusing picture of that. (Brian has some other pictures of the party, as well.)

Monday, November 04, 2002

My Stanford yearbook arrived today. It's nice, but I wish I had gotten one from 2001, my original year. A lot of my friends aren't in this one. I was also annoyed that they put the entire sports section in color but not the senior portraits. Oh well. My picture is pretty horrid anyway. I was not happy that day and they wouldn't let me reuse the photo from the year before. And they left out my home town and my major for some reason. At least they spelled my name right. I didn't see much about dancing in there, either. I would have thought Viennese Ball would have made it in at least, especially since it was the 25th anniversary, but no.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

I had a very good time with Quena in Davis yesterday and today. It's a wonderful place, and a very Quena-sort of place, so I'm glad she's there. We spent all Saturday afternoon walking around the UC Davis campus, which was a lot of walking but very fun. It's beautiful around there, with all sorts of wonderful trees. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any of the fistulated cows, which I really wanted to see, but I'll try again another time.

On Saturday evening we visited Quena's friend Anna at a local co-op where they were having a Day of the Dead celebration. There were 30 or 40 people there, with lots of costumes, candles, drums, noise-makers and a couple giant, decorated skulls and coffins. After dark, we all marched off in a big parade to the cemetary. Once there, we formed a large circle and made sure everyone had a candle. We had a moment of silence and then some time when everyone could take turns calling out the names of loved ones who had died. Then we resumed the festivities and paraded back to the co-op, where we had a burrito potluck and a drumming circle.

We had a nice, leisurely morning today, and made french toast and fruit compote for a very excellent breakfast. I also got to meet Quena's housemates Kristen and Naomi, and also their cat, dog and some of the snakes. All in all, it was a very nice weekend. Here are a few random photos.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

I'm off to Davis to visit Quena! I'll be back sometime Sunday afternoon or evening. I'll have my cell phone along if anyone needs to get a hold of me.

Friday, November 01, 2002

I spent some time out on the front porch last night with housemates Cheryl and Michael, distributing candy to trick-or-treaters, so that was pretty fun. I like snacking on candy and guessing what little kids are dressed up as. I severely offended a Legolas, though, by calling him Robin Hood. I suppose it's always important to remember what movies have come out in the past year when you're guessing costumes :-) I didn't see any Harry Potters, though, strangely enough.

- - - - -

Friday Night Waltz tonight! Always one of my favorite dances.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Happy Birthday, Monee!

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I went to visit Grandpa Marsh in the hospital today. I was actually pretty impressed with how he's doing -- he was smiling and talkative and seemed to be taking everything very well. So it made me feel a lot better to see him.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Grandpa Marsh got well enough to return home from Austria and now he is in John Muir Hospital. He had actually had a stroke, which affected his speech, orientation and blood pressure, and he is still pretty weak from having been hospitalized so long. He will probably leave the hospital fairly soon but will need to go to a convalescent home for physical therapy before finally going home. But we are all very glad he is back in California again and is gradually improving. We love you, Grandpa Marsh!

Monday, October 28, 2002

I'm reading another book by Eknath Easwaran now, and came across this passage: "Very often when people come to me and announce that they have moved out of their parents' home, left their boyfriend or girlfriend, or terminated an old friendship, they explain by saying, 'We had irreconcilably different philosophies of life.' If I may be blunt, the problem is not irreconcilable differences in philosophy, as if you and your estranged partner used to debate free will versus predestination; it is simply that neither was flexible enough to concede that the other has a valid point of view." (The Mantram Handbook, pg 108.) That one really struck me. I wish I'd been reading this a long time ago.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Happy Birthday, Pa!

We had a very nice party today at Rossmoor. Today is Pa's birthday and Halloween is Monee's, so we usually just have a double celebration. Mom, Paul, Curtis, Jill and I were all there, and as a special surprise Cristie and Andy came down from Seattle. (Side note: Cristie and Andy had their first date a year ago today -- Happy Anniversary!) So we had almost all the cousins there, just missing Lacey (we miss you, Lacey!). We ate a lot, watched the end of the world series, ate some more, saw Paul's pictures from Thailand and England and generally had a nice time. Here are some photos.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

I went to Jammix last night and I also got a pair of dance sneakers (my old shoes are already falling apart). The sneakers are comfy and should last a lot longer. They're a bit different to dance in, but they worked pretty well last night. It was a fun dance, though I'm a bit tired now. Someday I need to find a way to reconcile wanting to be a dance person with wanting to be a morning person, in a way that still gets me enough sleep.

Tonight is the Halloween contra dance, which I've never been to, since it's always the same date as the Halloween Gaskells. I've been thinking about going this year, but I guess it'll depend on if I feel like staying up late again, which I may not. Also, sometimes one dance in a weekend is just enough (especially when there were three last weekend).

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

I guess I haven't said anything here for the past few days, the primary reasons for this being:

  • Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thic Nhat Hanh

  • The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin by Anaïs Nin

  • Meditation by Eknath Easwaran

  • Harry Potter y el Prisionero de Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

  • Bethena by Scott Joplin (as well as other piano pieces, of course)

In other news, I signed up at a temp agency the other day, but I haven't started working yet. I'm not hurting for money yet, but it would be nice not to get to that point. And this way I can maybe have a somewhat more flexible schedule, as well as a chance to see what other companies are like and to gain more general work experience. We'll see what happens with that.

Also, we heard today that Grandpa Marsh is still improving, and if all goes well everyone will come home in about 4 days. He'll go directly to John Muir Hospital, but at least he'll be back.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Here's today's Doonesbury cartoon for all you bloggers out there.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

I've been very lucky recently to have a lot of wonderful music in my life. There was the Nightingale concert, of course, after which I spent a while listening to their CDs and learning tunes off them. Then we had a live swing band at the dance last night, and that's always fun. Today I've been listening to Testimony's excellent CD, which I borrowed from Tina. I also went to a student piano recital this afternoon. I went specifically to hear the two Scriabin sonatas, which were great, but I also really enjoyed the Rachmaninoff pieces and the Busoni Bach transcription. Tonight, more Nightingale, this time at the contra dance. I love music.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

I went to the Swing Kids dance on campus last night, and that was a lot of fun. Lots of people there that I didn't know, though. It was sort of disconcerting. But I had a good time and learned a few cool new moves, thanks to Kari, Donia and Tina. Tonight there's a Homecoming weekend swing dance on the Quad. I'll probably go for a bit and see how I do with dancing on concrete.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

WOW! Nightingale is such an awesome band! I went to their concert tonight and it was amazing. I was pretty much just spellbound the whole time. I also finally got my own copies of their two cds. And I'll probably go to the contra dance they're playing in Santa Cruz on Sunday. Wow. Yay for music and great musicians.

- - - - -

Last night I stopped by the end of Viennese Ball Opening rehearsal. It was fun to see everyone who's in it this year and talk to Qi a little bit about his choreography and all that. This was the part of Opening I always liked best -- just dancing with everyone and learning the choreographies. I do miss it a bit, but I really don't want to be in a performing group right now, otherwise I'd be doing it again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

The most recent news from Germany is that Grandpa Marsh has been getting a bit better, and may be able to come home in a week or so. Dad's heading out there today, though, so at least someone else can be there with them.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Uncle Jim and Siri Kirpal are down from Oregon for a few days, so tonight I got to visit them with Mom and Monee and Pa, up at Rossmoor. It was really nice to see them again, I wish it were something we could do more often.

Unfortunately, we also got some unpleasant news. Grandpa Marsh and Grandma Jackie were supposed to be getting back from their latest trip to Europe, but a few days ago Grandpa Marsh was hospitalized in Germany. Aunt Tommy made it back to the States as scheduled, which is how we heard about it, but Grandma Jackie is still over there with him. It's frustrating having them be so far away and not being able to see them or anything, but we're all praying for them, or sending them loving thoughts, or whatever it is we each prefer to do.

I've got a wonderful family. I love you all.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

I ended up not going to the Berkeley Waltz night on Friday. I was too tired and didn't want to deal with the drive, plus a lot of friends from here at Stanford decided not to go. But I went to Dance Lab and later had a nice evening hanging out with Tina instead.

I did, however, go to the contra dance last night, and that was fun. Stump Tail Dog was playing. Listening to Dan always makes me want to start writing more tunes. I'll have to get him to teach me a bunch of his at camp this year.

On Saturday morning I had tried to go to the Palo Alto flea market, in search of rugs for my room, but when I got there I found that it was actually on Sunday. Grr. I would have liked to have slept in on Saturday. But anyway, I went back this morning, not being too hopeful, since usually at flea markets you find things you're not looking for. But as soon as I got there I started seeing rugs all around. A lot of them were way too expensive, but I did find a couple nice ones and now my room is much nicer and I am quite pleased.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

I haven't been teaching a whole lot of music lessons recently, but by now I've made enough money from it to pay for Camp Harmony! That's kind of cool.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

More library volunteering time tonight. As the only person in the computer lab who knows anything about computers, I tend to get called on to fix various random things, but that's okay. I also helped some people learn how to set up an e'mail account and practice with spelling and typing programs. Nice people there, and I enjoy helping, so it was all good.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

I just finished Harry Potter Book 2 in Spanish. On to book 3!

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Friday Night Waltz was fun last night. Thank you Joan for going out and getting a minidisc so we could have a zweifacher. And thank you John for teaching me a new cross step waltz move. And thanks to everyone for all the wonderful dances.

Today Mom and I went to Santa Cruz, to sort through some of the stuff she still had in the garage down there. There was a lot of it. I found some old things of mine, too, including a bag of stuffed animals. There was a dragon I had been missing for a while, a unicorn, a couple dogs, and an absolutely ridiculous strip of brown fur with a single eye at one end. That's the one that amused me the most.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

I had my first evening of volunteering at the library last night. It wasn't a very busy night in the computer lab, but that was okay since the lady who's usually in charge of it was out sick. So I was there with a new employee and we mostly just spent the time figuring out what sort of programs were around for people to use and helping with basic computer questions for the few students who were there. It's usually busier there in the evenings, so it will probably be more interesting next week.

Today I went down to Starlite Ballroom for an interview for the dance instructor job. Turns out the hours for that job would be 1pm to 10pm, though, which would be a bit of a problem. But oh well, interview practice is always good.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Well, I've had a couple days of being unemployed now. So far I'm kind of just taking it easy. A little rejuvenation time with lots of books and piano playing is always good. I'm spending some time looking for jobs, too, but it's a bit difficult since I don't really know yet what I want to look for. I've still got a lot of thinking to do about that. It's one of those things that only seems to get harder as you go along, though.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Busy day yesterday. From 10 to 3 I was at the second training session for the literacy tutors. I talked with one of the coordinators and what I'm going to start out doing is volunteering in the computer lab for a couple hours on Wednesday evenings. They've got various programs for people learning English or learning to read there and they need volunteers to help teach people how to use them. So that will be a good thing to do.

After that, I went down to Santa Cruz for Jim's birthday and music party. That was fun -- I needed a good music fix. I played for about 5 hours, and even though I kept switching to progressively less painful instruments (mandolin to banjo to fiddle) my hands were feeling pretty battered by the time I was done. Even now, the tips of my fingers are complaining about typing. But it was worth it. I did a lot of Irish tunes and a couple really fun Cape Breton sets with Jim on piano.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Today was my last day at Verifia. Part of me is glad to be done, but part of me is nervous, of course. I just have to hope that this is a good move and everything will work out. A few people from work took me out to lunch before I left. I was hoping for something auspicious in my fortune cookie, but all I got was "Ignorance never settles arguments." Oh well.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

My student for tonight had to reschedule so I'm not doing that tonight. Speaking of students, though, I've lost a couple recently. My mandolin student had to stop because life was taking over her music time (which is usually less fun than the reverse) and one of my new theory students decided to cancel when she realized how far Palo Alto is from Oakland. So that's too bad. I'm having a nice night at home, though. I'm listening to my Talisman CDs that I haven't heard for a while and I'm writing some thank you letters to give to a few people at work, since it'll be my last day tomorrow. I'm also working on typing up my piano composition from last quarter, which is kind of tricky, since there are some funny notation thing in it. But maybe I'll get that done and put it up here with my other compositions.

- - - - -

Happy Birthday Jim!

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

The Menlo Park library has a literacy tutoring program that I've been wanting to join for a while. Every few months they have a series of three training sessions that are required for volunteers and one started tonight. So I went to the first one to see what it's like. I'm a little leery of committing to something like this right now, since I don't know what's going to be happening with me job-wise. But I would like to do it at some point, so I figured I could at least go to the training sessions. They said, though, that right now they don't have a lot of students available, so I guess it might be a little while before I could start anyway. So we'll see what works out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I just got back from the freshman orientation a cappella concert. No, I'm not trying to be a freshman again, but I have some friends in Testimony who invited me to hear them sing. (Awesome solo, Kari! Excellent directing, Tina! Well sung, everyone!) It was all extremely fun. I hadn't heard much of the a cappella groups at Stanford for a while, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. All the groups look so different now, from the way I remember them. That's the problem with student groups, I guess -- the people keep changing. But they all sounded good. Talisman is definitely the one I would have auditioned for as a freshman, if I could sing or something. Fleet Street was last and did their same "Pray to the God of Partial Credit" routine that I remember from my freshman year -- that was really fun to see again.

- - - - -

Happy Birthday Gia! Happy Birthday Jac! Neither of you are probably reading this, but oh well. Happy birthday anyway.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Well, I guess there are a few things to catch up on here....

Thursday: One good music theory lesson, the other one rescheduled to tonight.

Friday: Another lesson in the afternoon, then later on a night-time walk through the Stanford Arboretum. That's a great place, with all sorts of cool trees, a mausoleum, some statues and a cactus garden. The moon was beautiful, and one day away from full. I stayed up a bit too late, though.

Saturday: Went up to Mom's place in Berkeley and also saw Quena, who came down from Davis to visit. We went to the Berkeley waltz night, where I particularly enjoyed some of the cross-step waltzes and polkas.

Today: Came back from Berkeley, still somewhat sleep deprived. I've got that other music lesson to teach tonight, then I'll probably just veg out and go to bed early.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

There's been a sudden surge of interest recently in my music theory lessons, of all things. I hadn't expected to get many responses to those ads, compared to lessons on actual instruments, but three people have contacted me about it this week. So I'm seeing two of them on Thursday, and one on Friday. I'm doing a mandolin lesson tonight, too, so it's a busy week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Starlite Ballroom has a job opening for a dance instructor. Hmmm....

- - - - -

Last MND of the summer last night, though of course it'll keep going through the year. More people are starting to come back to campus now. It's nice to see them, of course, and there are a lot of people that I'll be really glad to have around again, but in a way I'll also miss just having our little summer group of dancers. It's been a good bunch of people.

Monday, September 16, 2002

The movies were a lot of fun yesterday: Top Hat and Swing Time. Typical plots, some funny lines and the usual great dancing. For the first movie we had both Tinas, Erin, and Evan there, but we were also joined later by George, Donia, Alex., Joan, Annaka and Heraldo. I was amused by Alex.'s comment after I had introduced Tina to several people, when he said to me "Yes, but who are you?" (He hadn't seen my haircut yet :-) Anyway, a bunch of us went out for Thai food afterwards and overall it was a very nice time. George took some photos.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Great contra dance last night, with the Hillbillies from Mars playing. Particularly nice last waltz. Tina, Karl and Felix all came, so we're gradually raising the proportion of Stanford people there. Erin was silly and off doing her laundry or something. This afternoon: double feature Fred & Ginger movies at the Stanford Theatre with the summer dance crew.

- - - - -

I got to make my own Thai iced tea today! Yum. That's become my favorite drink recently. Thanks, Mom, for sending me some.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

I love libraries.

Some things I have checked out now: Letters of Lewis Carroll, Treasury of the World's Great Letters, Alarms and Diversions by James Thurber, Harry Potter book 1 in Spanish and English, The Joy of Music by Leonard Bernstein, two Marx Brothers videos, CDs of classical piano, Irish fiddle and Tuvan throat singing, and more.

Things I passed on because I know I won't even finish what I've got: Journal of H.D. Thoreau, Letters of Virginia Woolf, and Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Okay, here is the official job update:

Short Version: I will be staying at Verifia until the end of September. After that -- no clue.

Long Version: For those who don't know, this has been a part-time/temp job, but I was recently given two offers to make it permanent -- one for part time, one for full time. Unfortunately, while I like the company and the people I work with, I've been feeling more and more that this is not really the sort of thing I want to keep doing with my life. So it wouldn't really be fair to either me or the company to accept a permanent job. I still don't know what I do want to do (a common lament from these last several years) but I figure that if there's any time in my life when I should be trying out various kinds of jobs, it's now. I'd like to maybe look for something with a non-profit organization. Or anything where I could take a shot at dealing a little more with people than with computers. But I have no idea what I might end up finding. For those of you who worry about money things, I've got enough saved up to last me 2 or 3 months, and my expenses these days are probably as low as they'll ever be, so I have a little flexibility. I do feel kind of bad because I'm leaving a good place. If I knew I wanted to keep working in a technology company, this would be a great place to stay. And it's not like job offers have ever just been falling out of the sky for me. But I've realized by now that I can't really stay here, and I needed to get a fixed cut-off date, whether or not I have something lined up for afterwards. My change-resistant personality needs a bit of a jumpstart like that. So anyway, that's the current situation with all that. Hopefully everything will work out well. It usually does, somehow.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Betty Lue asked me yesterday how 9/11 has affected my life over the last year. On a day-to-day level, it really hasn't, but I think it's affected my overall thoughts and reactions to things. I don't know if there's more anger or sadness in the world now than a year ago, or if I'm just noticing more, but every time I hear of terrorists, or guns in schools, or couples breaking up or people just being unhappy, I think back to this time last year and wonder if the world is just going completely downhill. It's as if there's a general sickness in the planet, of which 9/11 was just one of the more noticeable symptoms. But I suppose my perspective is less optimistic than it used to be, since it's been a bit of a rough year for me, personally. I think the trick will be to not get overwhelmed by a world that seems to go crazy sometimes, but just to remember that the best thing we can all do is to keep our own lives happy and meaningful, and then try to work up from there. We can't change the world from the top down.

- - - - -

Dad and Betty Lue and I all went to Rossmoor for dinner with Grandpa Marsh and Grandma Jackie yesterday. It was good to see everybody. Pictures are here. Something I want to remember from the conversation: People who spend their lives giving to others also need to learn to receive. That can be harder than it sounds, but a good reminder for some of us.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

I sent in our Camp Harmony registration today! Yay Harmony! Only 108 days to go! Think I'm looking forward to it? Nah....

- - - - -

Well, at least my day got better yesterday after losing the dumb CalTrain ticket. Erin, TINA and tina invited all the MND people (which turned out to be me, Neal and Evan) over to their apartment for a movie before dancing. We saw "An American in Paris." Somewhat silly movie, but good dancing. Makes me want to start learning tap again. I liked the piano concerto daydream scene, too. I have daydreams like that :-)

Monday, September 09, 2002

I think I've lost my CalTrain pass. Phooey. And it's not even very far into the month yet.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Today was personal-history-day for me, I think. I spent a lot of time going through old journals, photo albums and letters. I figure that knowing where my life has been is the best start towards deciding where it's going, but sometimes I just don't know what to do with the information. Lots of good memories in there, though.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

I randomly heard about a "Small Animal Adoption Fair" that was happening today, so just for fun I went to check it out and play with all the baby rats. I miss having pet rats.

- - - - -

FNW was fun. I need to remember polka redowa more often. I'm always looking for more polka variations but I always forget that one. Joan had taught zweifachers in the lesson before hand, so there were some good ones.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Tina's blog inspired me to create one of my own, so here it is. I added in some past entries so it wouldn't have to start out all empty.

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Friday Night Waltz tonight! Yay!

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Tina brought her guitar over tonight and we played a few tunes. We also watched a Victor Borge video - I know some of those routines by heart but I never get tired of them. Laughs are always good.

- - - - -

I got something interesting in the mail today from the Stanford Alumni Association. At some freshman orientation event 5 years ago, they had us write down a personal policy that we would commit ourselves to for building community at Stanford. Then we sealed them in envelopes and now they've been sent back to us. I had forgotten all about it. Mine said: "Honesty in all things and the cultivation of happiness in myself and others."

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

I went to the library today and checked out "Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal." Seems like a fun way to try to resurrect my poor neglected Spanish skills. I'm enjoying it, but so far it's harder than I thought it would be.

Monday, September 02, 2002

I visited Quena and family over Labor Day weekend. It was my first time at Hollygate Ranch and I had a great time. Lots of love and hugs, which I needed. Thank you, Quena! You're wonderful. See pictures.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

I've decided to try to start teaching music lessons. So far I've had two students. Gentaro came over last night to try to decide what instrument he wants to play. Catherine had her first mandolin lesson tonight and will be coming back each week, hopefully. I like teaching.