Namaste. 01 Mar 14 | 0 Comments

I survived my first Bikram yoga (hot yoga) experience!

Now my legs feel jello-y and I’m feeling a bit headachey, so …

1. Trying out hot yoga. It was an intense experience and I’ve got a lot of flexibility things to work on, but I’m glad to finally try it and hopefully I’ll improve!

2. Water. Holy hydration, batman! I know I don’t drink enough water throughout the day, but when I make a conscious effort to hydrate, I can definitely sense the cleanse.

3. Improvement. I’m happy for the opportunity to improve certain aspects of my life. Really, I’m fortunate to be able to improve.

11. Ukulele 26 Feb 14 | 0 Comments

My current evening routine when I get home has become:

1. Feed/walk Bella
2. Eat something
3. Quick catch-up on social media
4. Ukulele
5. Ukulele
6. Ukulele
7. Shower
8. Ukulele
9. Ukulele
10. Ukulele

I think it’s paying off since my fingers no longer hurt, my strumming has improved drastically, switching chords is becoming a little less shaky, the few songs I do know I can play faster or slower, the sounds of each chord is becoming more vibrant, and I’m enjoying it more and more and more. What an incredibly fun hobby! It’s funny because I’ve made such huge moves forward in less than a month’s time. When did I even start playing? The beginning of this month and already I’ve got at least three songs tucked away. When I started, I honestly thought it would take me a full year to learn a song. Amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it … and also when you spend hours upon hours playing.

Now that I have that under my belt (and I’ll continue to make the effort to improve), I’m wondering what other new talents I should attempt next. For some reason, juggling has been creeping into my mind. This is something I wanted to learn when I was in high school, and I even attempted to learn. But with lots of things in life, I quickly pushed it aside and here I sit not knowing how to juggle.

I think I’ll make that my next thing to learn. So then I’ll become a graphic designer, with a beagle who has a balancing talent, a ukulele player, and soon-to-become juggler. What a funny little combination of things!

More things to come…
1. Upcoming happy hours and little pop-up get togethers. I’m excited about it all!
2. A new endeavor: hot yoga (Bikram yoga). I’m curious to see how this goes…
3. Spring time. The weather is still going to be chilly (well, between random warm days), but soon enough, it’ll become spring and we can finally welcome some much needed color. It’ll also give me a good excuse to maybe regularly treat myself to some fresh flowers. Nothing seems as happy as fresh flowers, no?

My weekend of the ukulele 16 Feb 14 | 0 Comments

So what did I do all weekend long? Pretty much a rotation of the following: sleep, eat, play ukulele. (with a little visit to the dog park tossed in there.)

Can I express how INTO playing the ukulele I am? Pretty dang into it! I now know several chords and … GET THIS. I CAN PLAY THREE SONGS! The first is “The Way I am” by Ingrid Michaelson, the second is “Creep” by Radiohead, and the third is probably what I’m most excited about … The How I Met Your Mother rendition of La Vie en Rose (by Cristin Milioti).

Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in such a short amount of time. My fingers feel so raw from pressing against the strings, my hands cramp a bit from contorting to the required chords, and my shoulders are begging for a stretch break … but I’ve become incredibly obsessed with playing over and over and over! What a fun hobby that I’ve picked up. I’m so incredibly thrilled to be learning to play and I CANNOT wait to see what else I learn!

Heart Strings
1. I’ve also started looking up videos people have posted of their ukulele prowess, and it’s thrilling to see how others have progressed in their little ukulele adventures. (Here are a few of my favorites: “Hang on Little Tomato” by this clarinet-ukulele duo, “Roar” by this bubbly 14-year-old, “Creep” by this adorable girl, and Ingrid Michaelson playing her “The Way I Am” on the ukulele (prefaced with a cute story behind the song).)
2. This makes me excited to pick up other little hobbies. I wonder what other crazy ideas will pop into my head this year that I will want to try. Knowing that I have the freedom to pursue various hobbies is such a privilege, and it makes me extremely excited and happy.
3. I have a new-found respect for anyone that plays a stringed instrument. There’s actually a lot of pain behind learning it and from what I’ve read, not a lot of people can make it past that pain. (I understand this … when I was trying to teach myself how to play the guitar many, many years ago, the pain in my fingers was a huge reason why I decided not to continue with it.) Plus, your fingers get incredibly calloused and sore. But once you jump past that initial hurdle of pain and your body starts to get used to it, it’s incredibly fulfilling. Kudos to all who made it past that jump.

Strides! Strides! Strides! 13 Feb 14 | 0 Comments

C, A-minor, F, G7, G

These are chords that I know how to play on the ukulele…. and oh. my. gosh. I can’t believe I’ve managed to learn how to play those three chords in less than a week!! The first day, I could barely manage the F-chord, and now I can easily transition from C to F to G7. C to A to F. C to A to F to G7 to C … and a few other combinations! (The G-chord is currently the hardest for me.) It’s sort of amazing how I’m starting to pick it up a little easier each day. When I got home today, I sat on my bed and just strummed random combinations of these five chords just to practice. It feel SO GOOD to just randomly play. It’s so exciting to see strides!

One week! I wonder how well I’ll be playing in a month. Three months! Six months! A year from now!

Progress
1. Today, I presented three sketches to my boss of a website I’ve been working on from the start of this year. Honestly, it’s a project that I was a little afraid to work on because of who the clients are (it’s a legendary firm in the city). But I got to the point in this project that I became confident with what I was presenting and even though I probably should have been nervous, I showed my boss what I had and it felt comfortable. I’ve worked at this firm for a little over seven years and it still hits me in the pit of my stomach to present my sketches, but I’m glad that I can muster the courage to present with confidence. It’s ok to have nerves … as long as your pride-in-your-work outweighs it.
2. I see progress in what’s happening between my crush and I. It started off with me not being able to say hello to him, to working up the courage to have a long conversation with him at a social event, to asking him for very personal advice, to inviting him to my work’s dinner, to feeling more comfortable with him, to … who knows what’s to come. I feel like the way it’s been slowly growing is exactly happening at the right pace and at the right times and at the right amount. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. It gives me butterflies!
3. Even though this blog is a huge challenge to maintain, I’m glad that I’ve still been able to keep up with it. Hoping it’ll get easier and easier to write.

Fine tuning 09 Feb 14 | 0 Comments

That, my friends, is some of the first in-tune sounds of my ukulele. I cannot express how THRILLED I am to get it in tuned and to hear that fun, happy sound.

Here’s a bit of a confession: I broke one of the ukulele strings during my first hour of owning the thing. Is that not the most embarrassing thing you’d ever hear? I’ve watched several videos showing how to tune a ukulele and the videos made it seem deceivingly simple. And you would think that having several years of playing a clarinet and being a part of a school band would help me easily figure out tuning … oh, how mistaken that notion is. I over-twisted the little winder thingy (ok, looks like I will need to learn the names of the parts of the ukulele) the first string snapped.

Way to go, Kathy. Wayyyy toooo gooooooooo.

The kit I bought luckily came with extra strings, but I haven’t had a chance to restring it until tonight. Again, I watched several videos on how to restring a ukulele (hence, posting about watching tutorials online), this time with the intent to be a little more patient, and careful, with it. Ahh, the difference a little care makes. There’s the lesson, Kathy. Approach things with a little more patience and care, and you won’t end up with a broken string. … but if you do end up with one, at least you got a lesson out of it.

I’ve attempted to learn two chords already by watching more videos online, and while it’s convenient (and free) to learn this way, I think I might do a better job if I sign up for lessons. So, I may look into it. Looks like there are a lot of group lessons all over town, or alternatively, I found someone who does private lessons. We’ll see where I end up going.

I’m excited! My goal is to be able to play one song, gracefully, by the end of the year. Right now, switching from one chord to another is a huge challenge!

In Other News
1. Tonight, my crush had his birthday party and I went … with two pies in hand. Yes, ladies and gents, that was the biggest reason for all the practice pies. I hope they turned out ok. I didn’t try them at the party and left them there in case his guests wanted them. Goodness, I hope they turned out ok … eeep.
2. He has two main parties every year — one for his birthday, one for halloween — maybe I’ve mentioned this already, but he’s invited me to each every year I’ve known him, and every year I never end up going. Of course, things have changed and there I found myself at his party, enjoying crawfish. It’s nice to get a glimpse into his home and meet his friends who aren’t part of our big design circle. He seems to surround himself with really good, friendly, warm people. Also adorable? He invited his parents to his party. His mother is an absolute delight.
3. I was talking about the evolution of this crush to my friend and she mentioned that things just seem to be “rolling along and developing as it should.” It’s kind of interesting how it really has easily progressed along (so often crushes don’t). I’m still not completely sure what his feelings are for me, but I’m enjoying the fact that I’m beginning to ease into this crush a little bit more. When I first realized how I felt, I was a complete shy ball of nerves and barely worked up the guts to casually be able to talk to him. But each time I see him, things start to feel a little more natural, and a little less frightening. (I find it funny that for years how I acted around him was really no big deal to me, and then that sudden rush of feelings hit and I could barely say hello to him at an event. Now, I’m starting to run into him more and more, and am easing back into a good comfort-level with him… this time with a side of butterflies-in-the-stomach. I’m curious to see how, if at all, this continues to evolve.)

Uke’n Do it! 29 Jan 14 | 2 Comments

So a funny new aspiration hit me lately. I want to learn how to play the ukulele. From what I’ve gathered so far, it’s an instrument that is relatively inexpensive and easy to learn. The small size is appealing, not to mention it just sounds so cute and cheerful. Knowing as little as three chords is enough to play several songs. Plus, I feel like it’s a little more laid-back to its cousin, the guitar. And the slight quirk of its tone works well with people who aren’t the greatest of singers (like me!) …

If I continue to feel the push to pursue it these next few days, then I am going to walk myself into a guitar store and pick one up. (I’ve already researched which ukuleles are good for beginners, searched a few tutorials on youtube, found some options for private lessons, and even found a local ukulele social club … all little actions suggesting that I really want to do this?!) I was almost tempted to drive to a guitar store after work today, but I figured to not be so quick to do this and let myself sit on it to be absolutely sure that it’s something that I’m willing to put the time into, and not just a hobby that will entertain me for only a few days.

But … I feel like I want to really do this. And it might be the first of what I’m hoping to be my completed list of 100 new things to try this year. Feeling good about it. Cannot wait to at least strum one!

Why tiptoe through the tulips?
1. I used to play the clarinet in middle and high schools, but haven’t dabbled in music since. Recently, I read some of the great benefits about playing an instrument … stress relief, exercises the brain, etc. … so I think it’d be a good way to spend my time and maybe do some good for my mind and soul.
2. Many years ago, I attempted to teach myself how to play the guitar to very little success. Playing a string instrument seems to always be something that I’ve wanted to do, though I never gave myself a proper shot at it. On my drive home from work, I was thinking that now would be a great time to do it — single, job requires no take-home work, not a lot of big distractions — why not do it now?! Plus, I want to become a more interesting person, and expand my character beyond what I tell most people I am … that I’m a graphic designer with a beagle. I’d like to have more diversified interests and music used to be one, but has become lacking in my life. Why not bring it back?
3. If ever I have kids one day, I think it would be a sweet notion to sing them cute lullabies while playing the ukelele. Might as well start practicing now, in case I ever have the chance!

(Oh would you look at that! I still have a lot of hope!)

12-31-13 ... A note about the site

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