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Where I present a huge helping of random before the holidays

by John on December 23rd, 2014
  • I have figured out what my introduction music would be, if I were a major league baseball player:
    • First three innings: Grieg’s In The Hall of the Mountain King (from Peer Gynt)
    • Second three innings: The cannon-firing portion of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture
    • Final three innings: First movement from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (right from the start)
    • Extra-innings/critical game situation: O Fortuna, from Orff’s arrangement of The Carmina Burana
  • A little part of me wonders if my figuring this music out now that I’m well-past my playing age prime is why I am not a major league baseball player.
  • Yes, I’m aware that classical music might be an unorthodox choice for “coming to the plate music”
  • I may be a tad bit excited to binge-watch Mozart In the Jungle this holiday break.
  • What I have been binge-watching lately, when time allows (which means, generally, 30-40 minute segments between work and symphony on Monday nights and a wondrous hour between work and poker last Friday night)? Kung Fu movies. Holy shit, they’re fun.
  • I’m ridiculously excited for Christmas, partly because I want to play many of the video games that the kids are getting. And I’m very eager to see what The La might create with modeling clay.
  • I’ve decided to make a dessert to bring to my mom’s for Christmas Eve & my in-laws for Christmas night, just so that I have a “slightly-less-guilty” dessert option available to me1.
  • Throughout the year, when I listen to music in the office, I usually gravitate toward classical music. However, as the season changes to Christmas, that changes to Christmas music . . . but I have found myself keeping the Christmas tunes “poppy”. Only recently, I think I discovered why: many classical Christmas albums heavily feature grand organ pieces – complex, layered sounds made on truly brilliant pipe organs. That’s right, my readers, I’m admitting organ envy.
  • It’s been years since I’ve worked at a government installation, but I’ve, only recently, gotten into the habit of carrying a pocket knife with me most everywhere I go (I actually attach my keys to a carabineer included with the small pocket knife, which “lives” on my belt and/or a belt-loop if I’m not wearing a belt that given day). It’s amazing how handy those things are.
  • I recently attended the retirement luncheon of a former coworker, whom I consider a friend — and damn, that made me feel old.
  • There was a time when I unsure if I’d ever have kids. I truly cannot comprehend my life without those little ones, now.
  • CJ & I tested for our yellow belt in Tang Soo Do the other week. We both passed. It may only be a step on a journey, but I, sincerely, could not be more proud of the way that CJ focused for his test, how seriously he took the responsibility, and how newly devoted he appears to be after getting his first, colored belt.
  • While I have all gifts planned & purchased by this point (though I just purchased something for my mother yesterday), I find myself stressed and actually opening/reading spam emails offering last minute deals and/or free overnight shipping. Dear John – you don’t need anything else. All is accounted for.
  • Every year, at my in-laws, we do a Yankee Swap2. Every year, my wife & I bring decent bottles of booze because, well, booze is always appreciated at my house. Every year, I end up taking home something I’d rather not have. I’m hoping to end the tradition.
  • I think I’m close to being able to complete a muscle-up, but I always feel strongest in the early morning, and it’s too cold for me to work out outside, and I can’t arrange a low-enough pull-up bar for me to attempt a dip at the top of a pull-up while at home, so my test of this will have to wait until a random dog walk on a mild morning.
  • I’m giving serious thought to waking up 20-30 minutes earlier, every morning, and fitting in a kickboxing workout with my heavy bag. Because my plans to swim just haven’t come to fruition, and I’m trying to find “full body exercises” that will get my heart going. Because, you know, 5am3 is bullshit already really isn’t all that early.
  • I chaperoned the kids to a “meet the orchestra” holiday field trip the other day. I kind-of got in trouble for allowing Leila to dance in the aisle (my reason for not stopping it is, as a musician, I have never complained about someone dancing to the music I was creating . . . had people been paying and/or had I felt my daughter was distracting someone else’s viewing experience, I’d have disallowed it . . . but she was just The La being The La).
  • Coming home from said field-trip, the kids and I played with every instrument we had in the house . . . heck, I’m even planning on bringing a bunch of instruments to the preschool so all the kids can bang around on the not-as-nice instruments that I happen to own (my bass, banjo, and bass guitars being the exceptions – those are nice instruments). I believe my son now qualifies as a better violin player than I am.
  • If I’m setting a New Year’s resolution, it’s to teach myself guitar. I’m an adequate-enough bassist & pianist, but I need to sit down and figure out how to play each chord. If I’m playing guitar, I want to be proficient enough so that I can “just play along,” and I’m nowhere near there right now. We’ll see how that goes. Once I am “proficient-enough” on guitar, I’ll focus on the banjo.
  • I want an accordion.
  • And a sitar.
  • And a money tree.
  • I spent this past weekend quite sick — a stomach bug that, seemingly, came from out of nowhere. So far, my immediate family hasn’t shown any signs of the awful that I had, but I’m nervous about Christmas being around the corner. Anyway, in being so sick, I barely ate anything on Sunday and didn’t have a drop of caffeine. By Sunday evening, I think I’d have been feeling “entirely better,” but, well, I was deep in the midst of caffeine withdrawal. Since then, my morning coffee? Well, I believe it’s given me the ability to hear squirrel thoughts — I go from “quasi-functional4” to “more than a bit wired” during the morning commute to work.
  • I wish movie theatres offered iced tea or reasonably-priced water. I have a feeling that I’ll head out to see a movie, at least once over the break . . . but I’ve given up artificial sweeteners and soda. You know, wine and beer would work, too . . .
  • Merry Christmas, everyone.

1 Hey, I’m still me, you didn’t expect this to be a fully “no health news / evangelism” post, did you?
2 A gift exchange where everybody brings a modest, wrapped gift, and you take turns picking/opening presents. When it’s your turn, you can chose to open a new gift or “steal” an already opened gift. If your gift is stolen, you may then open another present. You do this until all gifts have been opened.
3 My current wake up time
4 So my morning routine is quite strict, and because of that, I just, kind-of, react without really thinking much: wake, dress for the cold, walk the dog, feed both dogs, undress to weigh myself, put on pajama pants, complete half my morning work out, dress the kids, start the coffee process, say goodbye to the family as they go about their day, complete the second half of my workout. From there, I typically dress, blend my coffee, pour it, and head out the door for work. Only, the other day, I missed the “dress” part. I stepped outside and realized that I wasn’t wearing shoes . . . but this isn’t entirely uncommon for me — I knew I had a spare set of shoes in my gym bag, and it wouldn’t be a problem for me to wear those. And then I realized that I was quite cold, but, again, I had my jacket in the car, so, no problem. I got to my truck started, went to back out the drive-way and realized that I didn’t have a clean pair of socks to put on my feet. So I would have to go back in the house to get some, when I realized that, um, I needed to put on real pants. And just maybe a shirt, too, if I wanted to head to work ok.
  1. I am trying to enjoy every second of my vacation and holiday, because things are about to get real crappy.

    In laws with cancer.

    Here’s what I am thinking:
    I don’t want to do this. This is hard. Hard for them, hard for my husband, and hard for me. I don’t want to live this far from them. I feel like I know what’s coming and no one else does. And saying it only irritates everyone. Not in a I know what’s coming, but a lets plan for the future way. But no matter, I have no control of anything. It’s like we are on a roller coaster, and it know there’s some scary turns coming, but no one is listening.

    Sorry. Just felt like dumping that somewhere.

    I want a little more time until the ride gets scary.

  2. 1. You guys need an Alamo Drafthouse in your city.

    2. I think I’m more excited about the Rainbow Loom finger looms my kids got.

    3. I had the best Christmas pandora station this year.

    4. Pretty sure I momentarily turned into a piece of kettle corn this season.

    5. A few years ago when I had a tummy bug, the caffeine headache I got was worse than the stomach ache. This year when I got one, I forced myself to chug 3/4 of a mug of black coffee to stave the headache away.

    Happy new year!

    • Mmmmmmmm, kettle corn.

      It’s kind of crazy to try to compare a tummy bug & a headache . . . but, yeah, I can totally see “wishing I could just puke and feel better” over a truly horrible headache. That said, you’d think I would have taken it easy on the coffee, after actually kicking the caffeine-withdrawal headache . . . but you’d have been wrong.

      I’m all about visiting an Alamo Drafthouse.

  3. What was the better for you dessert?

    Yankee swap sucks because you get crap. SIL actually came up with something cool. We do a secret santa with a set dollar amount $20. This year the theme was “Neon”. Anyway you have to guess who drew you based on the gift. This year since it was kind of messed up, we had a contest to see who could correctly guess who got gifts for everyone. That sounds completely wrong but you get it, right? Anyway, person who got the most correct guesses got a $25 amazon gift cert. It was fun. I lost in a bad way. Husband won. SCORE.

    Seriously, you are dedicated. DEDICATED to working out.

    Why would she get in trouble for dancing? Allie danced at the Nutcracker and I thought it was awesome. People should be glad she’s enjoying the experience and the music.

    We have fabulous theaters that have food and drink. And booze. As pricey as regular theaters are, these aren’t all that bad. We never actually GO to the movies…but I’m scheduling the sitter as soon as I know when American Sniper is coming out in Austin. At a theater near us. Why does theater make it sound old timey?

    ^^^the above comment talks about Alamo Drafthouse too!!!

    • The La got in trouble for dancing because I think some of the adults felt that she was not behaving appropriately for being in an audience. I say phooey — a performer is ALWAYS excited for people dancing to their music, classical setting or not.

      I took home moonshine from this year’s Yankee swap, so I was happy — I very nearly took home a bottle of wine & a bottle of scotch — that would’ve been better, but beggars can’t be choosers. And we used to do the secret-santa type gift exchange . . . basically, those who were not yet graduated from college would be the “keepers of the names,” and “names in a hat” would be the draw . . . and yeah, you had to try to guess based on the present. It all fell apart when the ages of people to run it didn’t include super-responsible kids over the same year that a major stomach bug hit — people didn’t have gifts and, well, many husbands were wholly unaware of what they had “purchased” as their wives did the shopping. We went to the Yankee swap because it means “you bring a present, you’re in” that night – no arranging schedules, no hard feelings if you can’t make it to the dinner.

      And yes, I am dedicated to working out, I’ll admit that. I’ve had horrible habits in my past . . . I feel that, with working out as I do, I have a habit that I can continue and have it be “good”.

      • HAHAHAHA to be fair, I wasn’t paying attention and don’t remember who got my my running hat. I’m an easy buy every year. Buy Jess something for running.

        At Nutcracker Allie was really good. But oh Dear Lord was her little friend horrible. I was so horrified that even though Allie wasn’t really that bad, I couldn’t even sit by our friends because of guilt by association. It was mortifying. She was talking out loud, hitting her seat cushion, jumping around. I felt bad for the people in front of us. Of course the friends I was with (lady and her mom) thought there was nothing wrong at all so when the young lady in front of them said be quiet, the mom got so upset she started talking to the kid more so she would make more noise. Uncool.

        Not so good for Anxiety Jess. We hung out on the chairs at the back. Much better.

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