Saturday, March 31, 2007

Meditation on tablature and sore fingers

It seems fairly appropriate that my fingernails had grown somewhat long, but were actually strong and healthy, not brittle like they normally are. Manicures pay off.

At any rate, I've cut my nails. Very short.

And I've started working my way through the first pages of the guitar books Chuck lent me. I've started learning to read tablature. It's pretty cool. It makes sense, and I'm getting it pretty well. Most of my problems are spatial. My fingers aren't always on the string I think they're on.

But OW, those strings hurt my poor soft wimpy little fingers. As I type with my left hand or rest the tips of my fingers on the keys, it's like I can feel the strings there still, pressing in. They *hurt*! And getting my pinky finger on the fourth fret is kind of a stretch.

The second song in the book is "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." It may be such a simple little song, but it means a lot to me to learn to play it with some sort of technique. If that seems strange to you, you can read "Daddy's Guitar" and find out why.

Next weekend I'll drive out to my grandmother's house near La Grange for Easter. Mom says she'll put out new flowers for Daddy's grave now instead of waiting until May.

I don't think I'll have time to visit on or around May 3, since I'm headed to New Orleans on the 4th.

Well, I think that's all I have tonight. My head hurts a little. So I will let my meditations drift off out of words.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Bobs That Remain

Since I've put off the Bobday party, here are some photos. You can definitely see Bob.

And closer, there's a Bob about to swim in front of the fore-deck.

Ded Bob

So, last night I found a ded Bob. Only one. Looks a few days old. Everyone else looks healthy, so I don't think it's a problem. Just a little bit of sad.

I actually made it to work this morning. But after a while I felt myself going downhill, and now I'm back at home where I can be MIZERBUL without being contagious.

(weak and pitiful wailing and wimpering)

I'm tired and I'm lonely and I'm demoralized.

I should try to do some more work.

Maybe take a nap.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007



Sunday, March 25, 2007

No voice, no voice, lah lah lah lah laaah laaaahhhhhhhhhhgggcccck

Leading choir for the second and final time went well. Except this week my voice felt like it could give out at any second. During practice it actually did, but water and cough drops kept me going at least at 75% strength for long enough to make it through the final song.

Now, I have no voice. Which is okay. I don't need it for a while.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

From the Anchorite's Cell

Today I have only seen three human beings. I saw two while I was walking to my mail box, and I saw the pizza guy.

Maybe I'm weird, but extra cheese on a pizza seems like an absolute indulgence to me. My standard order is pepperoni and hamburger, but I had a coupon for a three topping, so I got extra cheese. Mmmm, luxury!

I've been saving the CRP packets for a friend. I need to get those to him. But not today.

I slept for 12 hours last night. I *might* have run a very low fever towards morning, but it's gone, if so. My throat is pretty scratchy, which doesn't bode well for choir tomorrow. I'll get lots of sleep tonight, too.

Today I'm watching DVDs and entering Snow Samba into Finale. The copy I have is really hard to read and takes up 7 pages. Taped together, the chart is almost as tall as I am. This seems a bit ludicrous. Hopefully by the end of the weekend, I'll have that fixed.

I'm trying to clean up little by little for my Bobday party next weekend.

I think I'll complete my day of indulgence and relaxation with a bubble bath. I'm feeling much better after a whole day of relaxing and being alone. I should have done this a long time ago. I should do this more often.

That's about it. Yup.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jose Miguel Yamal is my hero

Choir this morning was nowhere near as terrifying as I thought it would be. In spite of dreaming all night that I was on a different planet and couldn't get a flight home until Monday, and thus missed Sunday morning mass. Um... Okay. And then the dream right before waking up that I counted of the wrong song in the wrong meter, assuming a pick up note on beat three that was actually on beat four. That one had me sitting bolt upright in bed ten minutes before my alarm went off.

Night terrors aside, things went incredibly well. I ended up having three singers and a trumpet player in addition to the piano. I simplified a bit, deciding to do chant where I needed to start quickly and eliminating one sung mass part in favor of just having Father speak it. I didn't announce anything at the wrong time, and Jose Miguel is AMAZING. He came to the last half of rehearsal, and just glanced over some things. He was able to follow my starts or start on his own as needed, and of course played everything phenomenally. He'll be back next week, so I definitely think I can handle this lead-the-choir gig for one more week.

What was most amazing though, was the realization somewhere in the middle of the first song, that I wasn't just leading the choir. I was leading the entire congregation. I love my congregation. They sing along! So much of the time I'm really focused on the alto lines and making sure I balance within the choir. Being at the top of the choir, announcing the tunes, counting the instrumentalists off, and then taking a deep breath and raising a hand and having everyone there singing with me, that was amazing. I remember that feeling from my drum major days. I remember it from directing the Phils. The idea that a group of people has now become the instrument I play, and the knowledge that I *can* play it. Well. And that the instrument is an amazingly beautiful and flexible one, one with a heart and soul full of joy and worship.


It was a good morning.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Eep! Bluebonnets!

I saw them!!! In the park along White Oak Bayou, down on East T. C. Jester! Lots and lots of bluebonnets! It's spring.

I was driving around the Heights. It's a beautiful day. Down Heights Blvd., there were some cops on motorcycles at the funeral home. There was a hearse. I wondered where they would be burying the deceased. It seems like a morbid thing to think of on a gorgeous sunny spring day, but it's not. My heart goes out to a grieving family, a grieving communtity. It made me think that the Heights is a place, in the heart of Houston, where people know each other. Have seen eachother grow up and grow old. My Aunt Ann lives here, and my Aunt Shirley. When I went to visit my Aunt Ann for dinner a few weeks ago, she mentioned that one of her friends had passed recently, who had lived here her whole life.

If I could choose, I would want my funeral to be on a lovely spring day, in the heart of a community where people have known me for years. Knew me when I was a child, even, if any such people are still alive once I've reached the ripe old age I intend to live to. :-) So many things have happened to me lately, nothing huge, but small impressions here and there. And I can't seem to get my mind around them just now. Can't work them out. They sink in and percolate around, and become a part of who I am and how I feel and think. This is one of them. Police motorcycles outside of a funeral home on a beautiful day. Men in black suits quiet by the hearse. Bluebonnets in a city park.

Oh, and happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2007

On Duty

A journal of my brush with jury duty.


So far this has been a pretty easy experience. I had expected it to be a lot more restrictive. I got here about 20 minutes early. I had no trouble finding the building, or the garage where I could park. The map on the brochure they sent was correct, and the garage and appropriate parking levels clearly marked.

The garage is a fairly gothic affair. The aisles are narrow and dark, lit by old flourecent bulbs. The concrete is damp this morning, and the spaces are very small. I parked so close to the pick-up truck next to me that I'm afraid Otto's personal space will have to be invaded all morning. I just hope I don't ding the guy's door.

I got on the elevator with some other ladies, and we all remarked when we got to the lobby that they certainly keep us from getting lost. Signs everywhere pointing to the jury assembly room. I was one of about 50 people already there. More came as we got closer and closer to 8AM, and quite a few came late.

There was a summons collection, then a video. Two women tell you in Spanish and Vietnamese that if you can't understand the video easily, you will have difficulty being a juror, and should speak to the secretary.

The bailliff came to the mic to let the gentlmen know that the men's room closes for cleaning at around 8:30AM, and would be closed for about 10 minutes, just for their information, so if they needed to go, now was the time. He announced they would be closing the jury room doors soon as well, so anyone who needed to step outside for a smoke should do so.

I wandered my way back to the snack room just as the second summons collection began. I found the restroom, a soda machine (critical information), and some tables I could set me laptop up at.

They showed a second video, then after a while began calling jurors.

Now, after three selections, I still haven't been called. They're taking a break, and making an announcment that they'll be turning the TV on (sound off in the break room, where I am). "Mr. Microphone" can be heard anywhere on the first floor, even the bathrooms, so it looks like I can get some work done. They will release us if the courts don't come in within a reasonable ammount of time. A woman asks what "a reasonable time" is. The bailiff responds that this is a state secret he never gives out until asked. Now that he's been asked, it's about 11:15AM.

The bailiff announces that we shouldn't try to pay for our parking before we're ready to leave, because we'll only have 20 minutes after paying to leave the garage. It's a glitch he's been trying to get them to fix. They really do make this as easy and comfortable as possible, which is nice.

Hopefully I'll be out of here soon. My laptop has about an hour and a half of power left, I imagine, so let me get some more work done.


I'm highly amused at the two gentlemen at the next table discussing their wives and ex-wives (many of whom seem to have worked in high-octane lawyer offices like Baker-Botts and Fulbright and Jaworski) and getting drunk on beer and jack and coke and wine. And how you're better off with a clear liquor like vodka than wine. And the fun they've had at the rodeo. Nice. Fortunately the work I have to do is formatting, so it isn't that distracting.

I forgot, of course, to bring either iPod or headphones.

Oh. And now they're talking about girlfriends. Hmm. I'm about to repeal the appelation of gentleman. "I told her the first time she gives me any lip, she's gone. That's why you keep them as girlfriends, you don't want to marry'em. I speak from experience. I've been married 4 times. Can't live with'em, can't kill'em. They can kill us and get off a lot easier than we can."

Okay, not gentlemen.

Good ol' boys, though. And now talking about how these folks won't want them on a jury. Heh, I agree. I'm finding it hard not to be an intellectual elitist, listening to their ignorant, narrow, and misogyinistic talk.


All right, they're calling it. No courts showed up to claim us, so we can go. We'll get our checks for $6 in the mail in a few weeks. Well. That was cool!

Gotta go get real work done!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pathetic Fallacy

All right, I'm actually not going to discuss pathetic fallacy as a literary trope. It's just a catchy title in a blog that I want to write to point out something that bothers me. I use the word pathetic in my mind a lot more than I use it in real life. That's because the meaning most people ascribe to it is not the meaning I struggle for, but can't seem to express easily in our language in this era. Check it out.

pa·thet·ic /p?'??t?k/ –adjective
1. causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc.; pitiful; pitiable
2. affecting or moving the feelings.
3. pertaining to or caused by the feelings.
4. miserably or contemptibly inadequate

Hmm, there in the first definition, there's another word. Pitiful.

pit·i·ful /'p?t?f?l/ –adjective
1. evoking or deserving pity
2. evoking or deserving contempt by smallness, poor quality, etc.

That summarizes my unease in a nutshell. The first two definitions of "pitiful" are identicle in form, but so widely different. Pity vs. contempt. These have to be opposites. There are people, I imagine, who would have only contempt for people that I pity. Going back to the first defintion, there are things that move me to sympathy that some heartless bastard probably finds contemptibly inadequate.

There's an evocative quote from one of my favorite novels:

"Pity, Jane, from some people is a noxious and insulting sort of tribute, which one is justified in hurling back in the teeth of those who offer it; but that is the sort of pity native to callous, selfish hearts; it is a hybrid, egotistical pain at hearing of woes, crossed with ignorant contempt for those who have endured them. But that is not your pity, Jane; it is not the feeling of which your whole face is full at this moment--with which your eyes are now almost overflowing--with which your heart is heaving--with which your hand is trembling in mine. Your pity, my darling, is the suffering mother of love: its anguish is the very natal pang of the divine passion. I accept it, Jane; let the daughter have free advent--my arms wait to receive her."

So the words have many meanings. Lots of words have many meanings. What is it that bothers me? I think it's related to my tenuous theory that we as a society privelege objective reason over subjective emotion. I won't go into details, but we glorify feeling in ways that romanticize it, make it exotic. It's the idyll, not real life. In real life, is it smallness and inadequacy to be deserving of someone's feelings, someone's pity? I feel in real life. And I don't feel contempt nearly as often as I feel... just... feel. Empathy, sympathy, are they gifts, or are they skills that require practice?

I believe that most of the people I am priveleged to know are not heartless bastards. But I used the word "pathetic" the other day and immediately felt uncomfortable that I would be misunderstood. That I was insulting when I had no intention of being so. When I felt tenderness and compassion, friendship, and the wish that I could do something, anything to help. And when I knew there was nothing I could do, and nothing was wanted from or asked of me.

Is it that we don't want to feel tenderness and compassion, and must harden it into contempt? Or is it that we push away any tenderness and compassion that we see in others, as indicating a weakness in ourselves that we would deny? Do we prefer that people find us contemptible rather than moving to sorrow? I'm very proud, myself. But I don't think I'm that proud yet.

I don't really understand at all where I meant this to go. Maybe not to go anywhere, but to present the questions in my mind so that other people could also think of them with me. Maybe I just like questions better than answers. I always did like a challenge!
And I'm a word nerd. I always do wonder how meaning finds its way into those odd, beautiful little boxes of sound and line that we call words.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Two Week Olds :-)

Thanks to a suggestion from a friend, I was finally able to get some decent pictures of my Boblets! Would have been better if the backdrop wasn't shiny. I need some better lighting, too. I'll work on that. You can see the little ones, though! I think that's the biggest one right in front of the prow of the pirate ship. More of them near the keel. They're 1/8 to almost 1/4 of an inch long now!

And most exciting of all, a closeup! The little tadpoley thing in the upper left, that's a Bob!

So Bob's doing great. I'm not so much, though. I was out sick today. But the doctor doesn't think it's strep this time, so I should be able to get through the rest of the week on Advil.

It's been raining a lot around here lately. The bayou is really high. Check it out!

I've got the living room blinds open so I can watch the lightning. I love lightning storms. Here are some cool cloud pictures.

Wow, and now it's getting REALLY dark!

The lightning flashed right after I took this picture. Darn! Oh well. Here's to comfy blankets and wild storms!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Long meandering blog with little of substance to say

Substance, such as it is, first. I have two tickets to the Opera in the Heights production of Mozart's Don Giovanni for Friday, March 23 at 7:30pm. I only take up one seat. If you would like to accompany me, I have officially started taking bribes. :-P


The Denny's by my office takes take-out orders over the phone. This is a beautiful thing. I placed my order today and wandered that direction. It wasn't easy to get to, but I got a scenic tour of the artificial lake that sits in the middle of our business complex. Got startled by an enourmous white Koi rising eerily through the murky brown water as I walked by. Found a cubby-corner between the wings of a self-storage facility on the way that held a sleeping bag, some cardboard, and a pile of styrofoam take-out rubbish and beer bottles. I can't even begin to process how that made me feel. Got my Grand Slam and came back, to be hailed by duckies hoping for handouts. Sorry, webby dudes. All mine. Over all, more a Friday in jeans sort of trek. Maybe I'll sit and feed the ducks some day. When it isn't so damp.


Boblets still on the up and up. Thank you for all the kind inquiries. Oh. Hold on. I need to go order a Million-Bubbles Air Pump.


Never mind. Found a good suggestion on line about how to use the Aqua-Leash as a pump. I'd thought of that myself and forgoten. I'll just do that. Anyways...


Oh, I called the city and found out that my court case got dismissed. Guess they found my driver safety course paper work after all. All's well that ends something something...


If you're wondering why I'm so scattered, check this out:

(19:14:28) leberwick: i got up at 5:30 on monday
(19:14:32) lia0049: eww
(19:14:37) leberwick: drove to the airport in the rain
(19:14:42) leberwick: boarded on time-ish
(19:14:47) leberwick: then sat on the tarmac for an hour
(19:15:01) leberwick: got to new orleans 10 minutes before my meeting was supposed to start
(19:15:11) leberwick: caught a cab for the 20 minute ride to shell
(19:15:29) leberwick: stood in the lobby for 20 minutes while we tried to get hold of *someone* who could come and get me
(19:15:50) leberwick: finally got carted up to the 20th floor to find my meeting was on the 34th
(19:16:02) leberwick: but i wasn't late because they pushed it back for the other folks flying in fromhouston
(19:16:06) leberwick: who never made it
(19:16:17) lia0049: sheesh.
(19:16:19) leberwick: sat in a conference room with them on speaker phone for 4 hours
(19:16:30) leberwick: was told my flight home would be delayed
(19:16:35) lia0049: sheesh.
(19:16:39) leberwick: rushed to the airport anyway
(19:16:54) leberwick: found out it *wasn't* delayed, and i got there 10 minutes before boarding
(19:16:58) leberwick: got on the plane
(19:17:01) leberwick: flew home
(19:17:08) lia0049: yaggh.
(19:17:09) leberwick: ran by chick-fil-a
(19:17:16) lia0049: YUM
(19:17:18) leberwick: crashed in the bandhall
(19:17:20) lia0049: that'll make a day better
(19:17:27) leberwick: ate, checked e-mail for the first time ALL DAY
(19:17:35) leberwick: and pestered tim, who looked like he wanted to nap
(19:17:44) leberwick: had a jazz band rehearsal
(19:17:56) leberwick: sat around while tim gave marjorie a trombone lesson
(19:18:06) leberwick: took tim home, because his car was in the shop
(19:18:08) leberwick: came home
(19:18:14) lia0049: fun!
(19:18:15) leberwick: at somewhere around 11pm
(19:18:18) leberwick: finally
(19:18:21) leberwick: and
(19:18:23) leberwick: couldn't
(19:18:24) leberwick: sleep
(19:18:29) lia0049: ugh


Ooh, pretty colors!


Brain headed that way.......................................

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Welcome Home

Well, I'm back from Memphis. My allergies took off as soon as I de-bussed. Yaaaaay......

The good news. Bob survived my absense just fine. I tried to take pictures, but it's really not worth posting them. Bob's due for another feeding, but the water is kinda murky, and they say if it is, not to feed them any more. I think it's because they were in the light 24 hours a day. If it clears up in a few days, I'm sure I can get on a regular feeding schedule.

The bad news. I got a letter requiring me to appear in court at 6:30PM on April 9, 2007 for failure to comply with my application to take the court ordered driving safety course. Oh, for the LOVE of . . .

I was to submit my documents 90 days from December 4. That was March 4. A Sunday. I sent my documents certified. They were delivered on March 3. That was a Saturday. I called the city number that the citation explanation gave, and verified I could submit by mail, so I'm not really sure what the problem is. I'll be calling them Monday to find out. Probably from New Orleans, where I'll be for work.

April 9 . . . That's a Monday. Thaaaaat's gunna make me late for jazz band rehearsal. The last rehearsal before the Latin jazz concert and the social dance. Great.


It's . . . good to be home.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I'll put together an album at some point. But for now, here's the one picture that sums up this whole city for me.

As you get closer to the Mississippi, I swear, time runs slower, the food tastes better, and the blues get hotter. I've fallen in love.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

THERE they are!

So I finally captured my sea-monkeys on camera. Picture immediately below. No fanfare. No buildup. I don't want to get anyone's hopes too high. Meet Bob!

Oh. Yeah. He's still really hard to see, isn't he. Here, I've picked one out in the photo below. Like I said. Not much. But it's Bob! Pictures after Memphis hopefully, to show how much they've grown!

Another new addition to the family today, too! Check it out!

I continued my trend of naming gadgetry after Tolkien's elves. The network is Feanor, my old laptop is Eol and this one is Maeglin. The nano is named Haldir. Yes, I'm a Tolkien nerd. Now I just need to get him loaded up and ready for the road trip tomorrow!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A day of rest

Today I had church, lunch, concert, dinner, and now I'm finally home.

I took the Sea-Monkeys over into a little sunlight yesterday. They loved it. Here's their tank in their temporary, indirectly sunny locale.

And here's a pretty picture of the moon off of my balcony. It's not all that great, but that's okay. I like it.

Going to Memphis on Tuesday. Vacation!!! Basketball!!! Mississippi River!!! Go Owls!!!

I hope Bob does okay while I'm gone. The first feeding day is the day I leave, and I feel like I'm going to miss a whole phase of their development, if I'm gone 5 days. Oh well, hopefully I'll catch it with Bob Jr.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Squizzlets named Bob

Will invented a new word... squizzlets. And they are just squizzling away in there. No pictures. They're too small, and I don't know how to do anything but auto-focus on the camera. That's really not working very well.

But Bob is alive and well! Updates will probably cease to be daily. I'm sure you're all glad to hear both of those statements. :-)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy birthday, Bob!

March 1st. A new month, a new friend. Everyone meet Bob!

Ooooh Bob?

Okay, I need a better camera. But Bob is there. I *saw* them! There are lots of little specks. Some of them float up. Some of them drift down. And that one? *gasp!* THAT ONE IS....


And that one! And, and!





Happy birthday, Bob!

March 1st. A new month, a new friend. Everyone meet Bob!

Ooooh Bob?

Okay, I need a better camera. But Bob is there. I *saw* them! There are lots of little specks. Some of them float up. Some of them drift down. And that one? *gasp!* THAT ONE IS....


And that one! And, and!