Friday, May 5, 2017

Open Note Bowing

Things are progressing a little more slowly with my violin learning that I might like, mostly due to work overload and the resulting stress and exhaustion, but I have learned some very useful bits of information about how to prepare my violin and bow.

I had no idea what kind of tension is required for good playing, so I've done a fair amount of reading and Youtube perusing, as well as messing around with my own bow to see where it feels and plays the smoothest, so I think I have that problem ironed out.

I also got it in tune. It was all kinds of wonky straight out of the box, one of the strings was even slipping off the neck. So once I got that sorted out I sat down with Tyler's electric tuner and hammered out the sequence of G, D, A, and E. Fine tuners are a godsend, lemme tell ya. If I had to do all of that using the pegs, I would have been in a world of hurt.

So now, following my Youtube instructor's advice, my next step will be to practice bowing on the open strings and getting to know what each note really sounds and feels like, before moving onto 2nd and 3rd finger "fretting".

Maybe I'll have time to do that on Monday...

I won't get anywhere unless I start with the basics, right?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I bought a violin the other day...

So I had a little too much to drink the other week, and I got to talking with Tyler about how I've always wanted to learn to play the violin - especially after seeing Lindsey Stirling in concert twice.

Since I had some money for leisure hanging out in my bank account, I decided to purchase a student violin off eBay.

It's from mendini, and came with extra strings, rosin, and a really nice case. I've only messed with it a bit but Tyler helped me tune it up so it's mostly ready to play.

There are some great tutorials on YouTube for beginners, so once work stress settles down I'll start learning in earnest.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 20, 2017


So I'm sitting here at my desk, in my office, very quietly freaking out. You see, today I have suddenly had all of my former coworkers duties piled upon me after only a VERY brief training period yesterday. And let me be frank, I did not want her job. I still don't want her job.

So I'm sitting in my office dreading every call that comes into our department, every interpreter who comes in with a question, every email that gets forwarded to my work inbox. Because I am NOT prepared. I am NOT ready for this. And my boss isn't even in the office today - so I'm really floundering right now.

I'm on my third cup of coffee, too. It's only 1 pm. Gods help me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017's a promotion...

It would seem, this is the nature of office work. First, your boss loads you up with more and more tasks relevant to your position as they believe you are comfortable. Then, they start asking for personal favors like scanning documents or fetching coffee. And finally, after the only competent person in the office tenders their resignation, your boss asks you to take over THEIR job duties on top of yours.

Which I guess is technically a promotion.

Thing is....I don't want it. I'm not interested in taking over my coworker's job. Her position is very HR orientated with a lot of receptionist work. It involves answering phones all day, talking to interpreters and applicants, setting people up for orientations or classes, sending emails out to people and keeping track of a lot of information. It's very high pressure and customer service oriented.

And that's just I'm quiet. I'm introverted. I'm socially anxious. If I wanted to be a receptionist, I would have applied for those kinds of jobs. If I was cut out for customer service, retail wouldn't have destroyed me the way it did. If I didn't have a phone phobia, I could have gotten easy work in a call center.

I really can't do her job. And she agrees with me. Everyone else in the office agrees with me. It's just not a good fit - they're better off hiring someone who's more cut out for it. And I need to stress that point to my boss, repeatedly it seems. I mean...if she doesn't listen to me I'll have to quit - I can't allow my anxiety to get out of hand again.

So I guess that's what I'm really worried about. That if I give an inch and even "temporarily" take on some of the duties of my coworker, that I'll be stuck with them. And then I'll get sick again - and since this company doesn't even offer health benefits - I can't afford to have a mental breakdown.

I'll just have to gather my strength and schedule a time to sit down with my boss to tell her where my boundaries are. It'll be scary and nerve-wracking but I need to do it.

Sorry to vent to you, dear readers. I just needed to get some of this off my chest.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Um, hello....? Is this thing on?!

Hi. Hello. How are you?

Every time I post a new entry here, I can clearly see that there are at least 20-30 of you who might be regular readers. Who are you? Why are you checking out my blog? Come here often?

Introduce yourselves! I want to know who's here and what keeps you around! I like to think of blogger as the last real ol' fashioned bloggosphere for us weirdos who want to post a little more than a heavily edited Instagram photo.

So leave a comment for me and let me know some stuff about you - like your name, age, where you live, basic interests and hobbies! I want to know my friends here!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My Ever Changing Beliefs

When I say beliefs, I mean of course, my spiritual beliefs. You may have come to realize that over time, your personal beliefs on the divine have changed radically, as have mine. This post is an attempt to summarize just how much my personal spiritual beliefs have changed in the last decade or so.

I'll preface by saying that I was not really raised with religion. My mom had my brother and I baptized Methodist when we were infants, but beyond that I never really had any particular belief structure forced upon me. We went to church, perhaps, twice a year and only if we felt like attending - my grandparents preferred that we attend church with them on Christmas and Easter, but this was not something my mother enforced.

So I was largely reared without too much religious dogma, and as such was allowed to have free reign over how I interpreted things I experienced as a child. Faeries in the woods at grandma's house? You bet. Fish-tailed monsters in the lake? Sure thing. Opening up doors and stepping through to other worlds? A popular play-time theme. Imaginary friends might not have been so imaginary - indeed.

I came into this world with a sense of wonder and magic about me, and while I lost that sense for a good number of years, I'm slowly regaining it.

In middle school, I had a friend who was utterly convinced she was a vampire. I suspect a large part of this was due to the influence of her older teen cousin, who was really into BDSM and blood-play and enjoyed the role-play involved, but she took it wholeheartedly. Even styled her entire persona and lifestyle around it. Melissa was a vampire. Good for her.

But she also told me that I was a witch, even if I didn't know it at the time. As a youngster in middle school, I was preoccupied with crushes, homework, family problems, and my own crisis surrounding puberty and gender-conformity. I didn't have time for make believe things like faeries and monsters anymore....but she was insistent that I had some magical ability. And it was the first time in a LONG time that I toyed with the possibility of opening that door again.

In high school I started practicing Wicca. Finally, a whole slew of resources for the budding magical practitioner! Something that wasn't centered on a male-deity and upholding outdated gender tropes! A belief system that was about love, and light, and female empowerment!

I dove deep - and I started finding things that just didn't add up or jive with me. I can't tell you how many times I pushed the concept of the Three-Fold Law onto other people and nodded sagely when other Wiccans scolded people for asking about love spells. How I defended the concept of duality between male and female - that each were equal and powerful in their own ways. But deep down, some of it really squicked me out and so I had to do some serious personal analyzing.

Wicca, and lots of other New Age movements, regard womanhood as sacred. While this isn't inherently problematic, it ends up veering into trans-exclusive radicalism pretty quickly - especially when you equate womanhood with the womb and ability to procreate. This reduction of women as vessels, even sacred vessels, was something that REALLY rubbed me the wrong way as a young Wiccan. Menstruation wasn't something to be proud of or experience joy over - it was an inconvenience at best and painful at worst. The ability to bear a child or become a "mother" wasn't something that resonated with me either, but Wicca told me that I should cherish that obligation. It was what defined me as a woman.

The maiden, mother, and crone thing just didn't make much sense to me either. That a woman was either a child, a vessel for another living being, or a wizened old lady felt really limiting. Where was the agency of the woman who wanted to be a warrior? A hunter? A lesbian....even?

So much of Wicca ended up feeling very transphobic, Euro-centric, and wrong. Energy wasn't either "male" or "female" - associating feminine energy with being passive, nurturing or calm was incredibly sexist. Same with assigning the characteristics of strength, aggression, and virility to males. Oh, but they cried! We all have both male and female energies within us!

a) That's kind of insulting to someone who might experience gendered dysphoria
b) Not everyone (myself included) identifies with the binary and...
c) Do you really think the incredible energy of the infinite cosmos is bound by our human insistence on duality?

So I had a lot of soul searching to do on my journey as a witch - and ridding myself of some of the problematic beliefs that I held was an important step.

I also used to be a soft polytheist that bought into the Three-Fold Law and was deathly afraid of curses and hexes. Today, I'm a definitely a hard polytheist (though I don't call myself pagan or currently work with any deity). Today, I can say without a doubt that I see no evidence whatsoever that every action I take will come back to me 'three times' and I've definitely cast a curse or two in the past. I no longer use terms like feminine energy or male energy - I don't really buy into the concept of duality - but I will substitute in "destructive" or "creative" to describe the intent of certain energies.

I no longer believe my power as a witch is a gift from the Goddess, but rather something inherent in me to cultivate as I wish. I no longer believe that all spirits are good or want to communicate with witches - there are plenty of nasties out there. I no longer believe that for spells to work, you have to cast a circle and call on certain entities to make sure it all goes right...I can be as creative as I want in combining different elements in my practice.

Even today, what I believe still has the capacity for great evolution and expansion. The more I come into contact with others and hear their stories, the more my beliefs change. The more I practice my craft and refine what works and what doesn't for me, the more my beliefs change. And that's okay! Change is a good thing.

How have your spiritual or personal beliefs changed over time? Let me know! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Challenge: 25 Contradicting Things About Being a Shy Introvert

This week we have another gem from Jenn Granneman, and this one is all about the contradicting nature of being both shy AND an introvert. I figured, this'll be good....

25 Contradicting Things About Being A Shy Introvert

I was pretty disappointed. Read the article here and see for yourself how short and stilted it really is.

1. Wanting to be left alone but not wanting to be lonely.
~ I think this is across the board for all introverts, not just shy ones. Nobody wants to feel lonely. If being alone makes you feel lonely, you might not really be an introvert.
2. Wanting to be invited to social events but not always wanting to go.
~ It's always nice to be invited, it means someone is thinking of you. But wanting an invite doesn't make you shy. Not wanting to go doesn't make you shy either, unless the reason for not wanting to go is that you're nervous or afraid of going for some reason.
3. Wishing other people would notice you but avoiding the spotlight at all costs.
~ Definitely mostly just a shy or socially anxious thing. I have no real desire to be noticed, but I'll deal with the spotlight if I must and do it gracefully.
4. Having deep thoughts every day, but when you try to explain them, they never come out quite as eloquently or profoundly as they sounded in your head.
~ I think this is something a lot of introverts experience, shy or not. If you spend a good deal of time alone and you don't regularly have deep or meaningful conversations with people, your ability to do so is going to be a bit rusty. 
5. Wanting to have deep conversations with other people but not wanting to get the ball rolling by making small talk.
~ Small talk in the bane of every introvert's existence. Not wanting to engage in it doesn't make you shy.
6. Wishing you had more friends but not wanting to actually introduce yourself to new people.
~ If the reason you don't want to introduce yourself to new people stems from fear of judgement, you're shy. If you don't want to introduce yourself because the ensuing banal small talk is excruciating, you're just an introvert. 
7. Being known as the “fun/quirky” one when you’re with close friends, but being known as the “quiet/shy” one when you’re with people you don’t know well.
~ I can be quite quirky with people I know and I am definitely quiet with people I don't. This doesn't make me shy, it makes me selective in who I give my time and energy to. 
8. Being praised for how confident you were while giving a speech or presentation (you rehearsed for hours); fumbling your way through small talk with your classmates or colleagues afterward.
~ Again, definitely just an introvert thing. 
9. Knowing the answer to the question the teacher asked but not wanting to raise your hand and have everyone look at you while you talk.
~ Again depending on the reason, you may just not feel like bothering to answer but on the flip side you might be genuinely afraid of having to speak in front of your peers. Totally different level.
10. Having an idea or question in a meeting at work but being too shy to speak up.
~ Again, if it's fear of judgement prompting this introvert may not be super prone to sharing a concept or idea in front of the whole group, but a one-on-one meeting with a boss or senior colleague shouldn't be an issue.
11. Quietly doing a great job on something at work or school but not wanting anyone to make a big deal about it.
~ Some people just aren't fussy and don't think they deserve praise for doing exactly what they were supposed to. Others are uncomfortable having people notice them or look at them - different stuff here. 
12. Wanting to get away from a long-winded extrovert but not knowing how to interrupt them or exit the conversation without seeming like a jerk.
~ I'm not sure this is a shy thing. 
13. Wanting to hang out with your significant other or best friend in the same room but not wanting to actually talk to them.
~ Just an introvert thing. However, if you're too scared or nervous to actually SAY this to them, that's indicative of shyness.
14. Being hilarious and clever while texting or messaging online; being awkward and shy while talking to someone IRL.
~ I tend to speak the same way in person as I do in text/email so I can't really relate to this one much.
15. Desperately wanting to find your soulmate but being terrified to say hello to your crush.
~ Most people get really nervous around their crush and don't know what to say. If you're an introvert, this issue might be compounded. If you're shy, even worse.
16. Being told at work or school that you should speak up more; being told by your best friend or spouse that you talk too much about your niche hobbies or interests.
~ Again, I'm not really seeing anything that correlates to shyness here.
17. Feeling just fine but everyone keeps asking, “Are you okay?” because you have Resting Bitch Face (or Resting Sad Face).
~ LOTS of people have this, regardless of their personality type or level of social anxiety.....
18. Caring so much about the people in your life and treasuring all the intimate, fun moments you’ve had with them but rarely telling them how much they mean to you.
~ It's not because we're scared to do so, it just feels kind of awkward and we worry that we don't have the right words to express it.
19. Getting sad because friends don’t invite you out but then remembering that you haven’t texted/reached out to anyone for months.
~ This could be for lots of reasons. Because people are busy. Because people have been sick. Because people just don't feel like hanging out. If you're sad about lack of contact, reach out!
20. Wishing you could loosen up and have fun like everyone else but your overly self-conscious thoughts stop you.
~ That's social anxiety!
21. Wanting to sleep but not being able to turn off your over-thinking mind.
~ That's anxiety, stress, etc. 
22. Wanting to talk about something that really matters to you but worrying that everyone will be bored by what you say.
~ Definitely shy or socially anxious behavior. 
23. Going out with friends on a Saturday night even though you know you’ll get an introvert hangover.
~ Sometimes this is just called making a choice to keep one's friendships strong. 
24. Wanting to make an impact on the world but not wanting to leave your house.
~ Could be a lot of reasons for this one too.
25. Wishing you had just one person who understood your weirdness but wanting to be alone most of the time. 
~ I'm a loss. Some of these things are just normal tendencies for almost any introvert and then some are just straight up behaviors that only socially anxious or really shy people exhibit. I mean, you can totally be both, but these things aren't necessarily contradicting of each other.

What do you all think?