Episode 5: Back to School


Ah, yes, Fall… turning leaves… big yellow school buses… and crazy, half-asleep drivers.

Welcome to September, folks!

This episode was more fun to put together than I expected it would be and it certainly takes the sting out of what could be a rather trying time of year. I rant a little about the traffic the buses and driving students and parents on new routes all contribute to but mostly it’s upbeat–I liked school! Sometimes I miss it (man things were simpler then, weren’t they? didn’t feel that way at the time, but… hindsight is 20/20 they say).

And, of course, there’s plenty of music to choose from, let’s consider this Music Appreciation 101:

Wake Me Up When This Math Class Ends–Project Sisyphus/The FuMP
Like A Book–Carrie Catherine
Autumn–A Band Called Quinn
Learn to Fly–Josh Woodward
Class Clown–Steve Robinson
The Traffic Song–The Alice Project
West School Mitch–AudioUK
Haven’t Learned A Thing–This is a Shakedown/Amy Speace
The Understudy–MixMaster Mandy
What Have You Learned–Carbon Leaf
High School–Testosterone
Carpe Diem–Pillar of Autumn
Do We Learn–Janita
The Class of 68–Bill Guy
This Time Next Year–Classic Tragic Hero
Peaked in High School–Jeff Mallon
Reform School Girl–Nick Curran and the Low Lifes
Language School Lover–Dead Mans Corner

If you like what you’ve heard, pass it along to your friends. If you didn’t like something, let ME know in the comments–after all, I can’t learn and improve without feedback 🙂 (You can, of course, also tell me what you liked…)

See you next month! I’m off to start picking the tunes for it right now! (Yes, it will be Halloween themed, if you were wondering.)

Many Irons In the Fire

Everyday Adventures

and why, for me, that’s a good thing.

I heard it again, today: “since you’re not busy or anything” said with a whole heaping dose of good-natured sarcasm. (It’s actually being facetious–non-malicious–but I don’t know how to say that in the right tense for that sentence!) I get that a lot because folks who know me, know that I always have a lot of projects going at once. My usually answer to ‘how’ve you been’ is ‘busy, but in a good way.’

Let’s just take a look at my list of current projects:

That’s  just the ones that get some attention each week. Not mentioned (aka back-burnered) are both webcomics currently on hiatus, a couple of knitting projects (one needs finishing, one is an idea waiting on a swatch and a design) and the party (maybe more than one, I’ll know more later) I’ll be throwing later this year. I was fiddling around with some beads and came up with a beading pattern project that I want to finish and write up. There are canvases waiting to be painted for the living room and 3 couches to cover.

And I just accepted a commission for a painting.

Why? Because I like being busy!

It’s more than that, though. I am capable of focusing solely on one large project at a time, totally immersing myself to where it’s all I think about outside of the day-to-day requirements of human interaction.

But with such focus comes a price: burn out.

For years before culinary school I was obsessed with food. If I wasn’t decorating cakes (or teaching others how) I was baking for the office (oh, if I only blogged back then, right?). If I wasn’t baking, I was watching that new channel, Food Network, reading a copy of Cooking Light or planning the week’s menus. I got into school and there wasn’t time for anything else–I worked 8am to 4:30 pm, changed clothes, grabbed something resembling dinner on the way and was at class from 5:30 to 10:30 or 11 o’clock at night 4 nights a week.

Total immersion.

Then it stopped. The internship led to a job but that job couldn’t keep the bills paid. When I was looking for a second job to keep my car from being repossessed, the opportunity to return to my old desk job was presented and I took it.

And I stopped cooking. I stopped reading cookbooks, watching food shows, dreaming of my own bakery or catering company.

It was nearly 10 years before my passion for food returned.

10 Years is a Long Time to Go Without Your Passion

Since then I’ve become a bit of a dilettante (the lover of the arts and a nod to the root–delight–not so much the superficial interest bit).

It’s a defense mechanism against tunnel vision. Against obsession. Against burn out.

Having multiple projects going simultaneously means I’m always happy to get a chance to work on any one thing. It’s always fresh. And if I hit a road block? Just choose a different project and wait for the other to clear out.

Going back to culinary school for a minute, it was a private college that taught in modules. 16 days of focus on a single subject. 1 subject a month. For a lot of people this style of learning works well because there’s little to no distractions. No other classes are competing for the student’s attention, no other homework getting in the way.

But there are no breaks, either.

In contrast, middle and high school and the majority of public universities prefer schedules with multiple disciplines being taught over the course of a day or week. They switched to block scheduling at my old high school when my brother’s were there and, while it played hell with extracurriculars, it was the middle ground between 7-periods a day and 1 module a month.

I liked high school.

I liked the multiple classes because it kept everything in motion. It might feel overwhelming from time to time (tonight, a little, but my schedule’s been off) but, all in all, it serves me well.

So I don’t mind when folks rib me about all my many projects. Sometimes they admire me, and I–always working on accepting compliments gracefully–thank them. I think it’s given me a skill set not everyone has and I revel in that, too.


This has nothing to do with the 64 Arts (other than it’s the perfect project for someone like me, someone who likes to change things up on a regular basis), just something that was on my mind and I wanted to share. We’ll get back to flowers and what to do with them, soon.

Until then: where do you fit? Do you prefer a single focus or a broad spectrum?

There is no wrong answer, as long as it’s right for you.

Get Up Stand Up

64 Arts

In high school, I auditioned for the school musical in a fit of stupidity uncharacteristic bravery.

The school had recently built a fabulous, new auditorium/theater so it seemed logical to have stuff going on it it. (I guess if we did, before then, it happened at other schools? I’m honestly not sure.) Band and chorus, of course, were thrilled, and the chorus teacher was heading up the musical. It was supposed to be Barnum, needing a huge cast, so anyone who wanted was encouraged to try out.

I was going through a serious infatuation with Broadway during those years and thought it would be fun. I wasn’t some aspiring starlet or anything, I just wanted to try. I picked Eponine’s solo, ” On My Own,” from Les Mis and practiced the hell out of it. I knew I wasn’t the best singer in the world, but I also knew that this song needed less theatrics to pull of and more stamina. Stamina I had.

Along with some other chorus students and the chorus teacher there was some big-time muckity-muck in musical theatre and he was to be advising on the performance. Basically, another person to impress.

I won’t say that it was a seamless performance. First, I only brought one copy of the sheet music with me and the pianist (we were required to sing with accompaniment) needed it. And I was supposed to stand away from the piano so this left me singing it by memory. Which, for the most part, wasn’t a problem, only a couple of the verses start the same and I did flub up the order a bit. That wasn’t fun. Finally, after it was all said and done, Mr Muckity-Muck said to me,

“Ah. Patti Lupone.”

But not in a way that said he thought I was anything like her. Only that I was trying to imitate her. But here’s the thing: while Ms. Lupone was, indeed, in Les Miserables, she played Fantine. By the time this song was sung? Fantine was long-dead. Moreover, the recording I had that I based my performance on had Eponine sung by a Japanese girl. And I knew this, and was very confused, but said nothing.

As it turned out, they didn’t have enough people audition to fill the cast of Barnum so they changed it to You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. And I wasn’t cast. Which turned out to be fine since I had so much else going on that I wouldn’t have had the time, anyway. All’s well that ends well, right?

There are a few things I’ve learned from looking back on this incident:

  1. There’s a reason so many things are asked for in triplicate. Having an extra copy of the sheet music certainly would have come in handy. It’s like having all the directions from point A to point B and back again. Because (and this is a different story altogether) retracing your steps doesn’t always work.
  2. Sometimes perseverance isn’t always enough. It counts for a lot, but if you’re persevering in the wrong direction, it’s still the wrong direction.
  3. Human beings make mistakes. I’m not saying I should have called out Mr. Muckety-Muck on his error but I could have. Had I done it, had I spoken up and stood up for myself, maybe I wouldn’t have been so upset by his disregard of me. Anger blows over whereas sadness lingers.

* * *

And that, I think, wraps up what I’ve got to ramble about for the first art: singing. All the songs I’ve referenced this past week and a bit can be found in one handy spot thanks to iTunes’ iMix feature. Enjoy and I’ll be back on Wednesday with Art the second: musical instruments!