Friday, December 31, 2010

Learn to Play Piano!

For Christmas I asked for some sheet music because I love to sing and I wanted more sheet music to sing and play.

One problem: I don't know how to play piano.  Not even a little bit.  Or, at least, I didn't.

I found this site, Zebra Keys.  It's a free site that teaches you how to play piano, read the clefs, etc.  As a person who has no idea how to read bass clef or play the piano, I can't tell you that it's the best thing ever, but it has helped me a lot already!

It starts out talking about the layout of the piano and musical notations and then has five lessons in each Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.  The lessons are 1) Learn Songs, 2) Chords, 3) Music Theory, 4) Improvisation and 5) Technique.

I'm enjoying myself and I am slowly, very slowly, learning to read bass clef.  I feel like I am in sixth grade again, just starting to learn to play flute and read treble clef.  Oy vey!  But I am hoping with time and LOTS of practice, I will be able to play the music I sing all the time!

I just got, courtesy of my wonderful husband, the following sheet muzak:

I also have had this one for awhile.  I lost it for about a month, and I was sad.  But I found it again! YAY!

I need to get some easier music to practice on, but for now I will practice my ass off with what I have.  If any of my wonderful friends have some beginner sheet music that I can borrow, I would love you forever!

P.S. Has anyone seen my Vocal Techniques book?  I haven't seen it since our music day in Senior Capstone....  It's Foundations in Singing by John Glenn Paton and looks like this:

I miss it and I need it!  I still have the CD set, but I can't find the actual book.  Sad Panda! :'(

Thursday, December 30, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 30: A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Dear Jenny,

You are amazing.

The End.



It seemed a little silly to expound on this.  I think that I already did this in day 2 or 3, with the Things you love about yourself.  I am perfectly happy the way I am and I think that this post is just superfluous to me.  But I wanted to finish the 30 Days of Truth. 

Even if it took me 3 months.

Wicked: The Untold Stories of the Witches of Oz

I have read the book [Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years)] (meh), listened to the Original Broadway Cast recording (OBC) [Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)] (AWESOME) and have wanted to see Wicked for a very long time, but had never been able to make it happen. 

When I was reading the book on a recommendation from my soon to be mother-in-law a few years ago, I thought that the look inside the story was interesting, but way too long and it seemed to go on FOREVER.  There were interesting nuggets and it had some great potential.  Intriguing parts of the story were there, but there were a lot of parts of the book that could have been made way more entertaining and others that should have been cut out all together.  I kept plowing through the book because I love the Wizard of Oz, and I wanted to love this.  But, even as I finished the book, I wasn't all that impressed - and a little disappointed in the story.

I don't know when I first heard the OBC, but I think it was on Pandora on a Broadway Channel I had created.  Then I was able to listen to the whole OBC eventually, and I wanted to see the musical live, because it sounded awesome from the music.  And if it sucked, at least I could look forward to the music that I had heard over and over and over.

The touring company of Wicked were going to be in Kalamazoo around our anniversary and we got tickets to go see it the day before our anniversary in Miller Auditorium 12/11/10 at 2pm.  I was stoked!

It lived up and surpassed my highest expectations!  I mean, WOW!  The songs that were amazing as stand alone pieces on a CD, were phenomenal in the context of the story.  The sets and costumes were spectacular, the performers were superb.  The woman who played Elphaba blew me away.  Before seeing the show, 'Defying Gravity' had meant a great deal to me and seeing her perform it in context of the story and how firmly she was in character was beautiful.  When I get home and look at my playbill I will edit this post to contain her name, but her performance of 'Defying Gravity' moved me to tears, it was marvelous.

I wouldn't exchange that experience for anything and we are definitely going to see the show again.  I want to live on the east coast, close enough to NYC so I can see Broadway shows whenever I want.

Amazing.  And if you are a part of the cast that performed for us that day - thank you.  You were unparalleled in anything I have ever seen in live theatre.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sorry for my massive absence, I have no excuse really.  I have not been really busy as I have been visiting family with Adam for the last week and a half.  We will be home for awhile longer for a family member who is having surgery.  I hope that I will no longer be ill so that I am able to visit this family member while they are in the hospital.  I won't share much more than that, it is their story to share, and I don't want to invade their privacy.

On a lighter note, we have had a great time visiting family and I have lots to write about for a bit.  Starting before Christmas with Adam's and my anniversary and our own little Christmas before we left to visit family. 

For our anniversary we went to see Wicked, and it was amazing!  So amazing, that I am giving it it's very own post. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year and you continue to have a safe and Happy Holiday Season!

Love and Hugs!

Jenny and Adam

Monday, December 13, 2010

Laziness Will Bite You in the Ass

Last week, we all know, was my return to P90X full time.  Well.... on Thursday, it's yoga day.  I don't like the yoga dvd.  I don't know why, and I am kind of tired of thinking about it.  SO. Moving on.  Last Thursday rolled around and I came up with many different excuses for why I didn't have time to do the yoga dvd.  All of which were crap.  Utter crap.  Then I didn't work out again until Friday.

Then no work out Saturday because we were gone all day (we went to see Wicked, which was AMAZING and I'll write about later) and then Sunday is usually my rest day and it was our one year wedding anniversary, so I didn't do anything then either. Crap, crap, crap.

This all means that today, tomorrow and Wednesday, I will be doing two work outs per day until I am caught up again to only one work out per day.

Just in time for yoga.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Music and Obsession

I love music.  I want to have all the music in the world.  I am also an incredibly indecisive person at times.  Which can be a bad thing.  Because in the case of indecisiveness about music means I NEVER KNOW WHAT I WILL WANT TO LISTEN TO.  Which also means that I have to predict what I want to listen to before I leave the apartment every day.  HA!  Not likely.  And I have waaaaay too much music to fit on my phone, or even my phone and the nano I've had for like 8 years.

So, I began looking at iPod touches because those are pretty sweet looking and have some pretty cool apps.  I first looked at Amazon because we all know, I LOVE Amazon....  then at B&H Photography and then I went to the beast itself:  DUN DUN DUN!!!  And this is what I found:

I didn't even know they were still making the classic iPod!  It makes me happy though, because a 160GB classic iPod costs about the same as an 8GB iPod Touch.  Same price, 20x the memory!  Weird thing to be excited about, I know.  But! This means, to my indecisive mind, that I can put any and all music I could ever possibly want to listen to any given day on it!  And probably any music I would ever want to listen to in an entire year too.....

Unfortunately, I won't be able to afford such an awesome use of space for a little while.  So, SANTA!  If you happen to stumble across this and decide to get this for me, I'd really appreciate it! It's on my wish list on Amazon and everything!

I believe in Santa Claus, I DO I DO!

And if Santa fails me, hopefully I can win the Wish and Win Sweepstakes that Amazon is having right now.  $100,000 shopping spree is the prize.  But I highly doubt that will happen, Amazon has what, 80 billion customers world wide?  Although, to win a contest of that size would be pretty cool, not going to lie!  If I won, I would buy my iPod, then I would buy some coats and toys for kids.  Probably more coats than toys, since it is hard to enjoy toys if you are cold. 

Right, well, because of my own internet-induced ADD this post has taken forever to write.  So, I'm done now.  Those of you who aren't quite done with the semester yet, you got this, good luck on your exams!!

Stephen Sondheim

As those of you who saw my Facebook status last night, and who know me in general are aware that I want to meet Stephen Sondheim and that I love him.  And that my favoritest musical is Into the Woods and how crushed I was not to even get a call back for our rendition of ITW at CMU.  Dark days.

Anyway!  I love Sondheim's work and recently won a copy of his book Finishing the Hat. AAHH!!!  I have been reading it when I can, but basically life has been a whirlwind for the last two weeks or so, trying to get everything done.  In the snippets of time that I have managed to carve out to read a page or two, it has been very interesting and I think it will be very illuminating.  I'll be able to talk about it more later when I finish it.  As I write this I am listening to the Company cast recording in iTunes right now.

The point of this post is to emulate how much I love Stephen Sondheim.  His lyrics are amazing, and I wish I possessed an 1/8 of his wit! His songs just are so poignant and beautiful.  He has 8 Tonys (1963: Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum, 1971: Company (2), 1972: Follies, 1973: A Little Night Music, 1979: Sweeney Todd, 1988: Into the Woods (which I am now listening to), 1994: Passions) [source]  and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Sunday in the Park with George, which funnily enough didn't win a Tony) so I know that I'm not the only one who thinks he's awesome.

And I respect him, even more so now, since I read the introduction to his book in which he says that he won't write about anyone who is alive in this book because he doesn't want to do any inadvertent damage to their careers and that isn't why he wrote the book.

So, to sum it up: I love Stephen Sondheim and I want to meet him.  Even if I just get to shake his hand and stare dumbfoundedly up at him for a little bit, I could die even happier than I am right now.  It would be even better if I could make my tongue work and actually have a conversation with him.

I want to meet Stephen Sondheim.  But I don't think that this will happen in the near future, not without a miracle anyway.  If he somehow manages to stumble upon this, wow, that's unlikely.  And, I would be baffled, but incredibly honored.  Anyway, if he reads this: Happy 80th Birthday, Mr. Sondheim, I hope you have many more years ahead of you!

For all you Sondheim fans out there, here is an interview from to watch!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gotta Love That Feeling....

With the onset of exam week (which I am totally prepared for - I love not freaking out about finals!) I have time once again to finally get back on a regular schedule for P90X!  Everyman is done with rehearsals until the Monday that classes start back up which is good for break, but I'll miss everyone and I hope we all remember the great progress we made the last few weeks.  And, when classes start up again, I will be able to workout at 8a every day, because my classes start so late in the day and I'll have enough free time in the morning to be able to workout, shower and eat!

With everything stopping like this for the end of the semester, it seems to be a parting of the waters - so to speak - for me to finally be rested enough/awake enough/have enough time to be able to finish the P90X cycle I was on before the semester started moving faster than the speed of light.  So, last night I adjusted my P90X tracking sheet dates and popped in Core Synergistics X.  I was pleasantly surprised that after almost a month of not doing the work outs six days a week that I had only lost a little of my progress - I have never been good at push ups anyway.  I think that part of it is that Everyman is physically demanding enough that I was able to kind of maintain my progress.

I worked out hard and I didn't do the bonus round, which may have killed me if I tried it last night.  I also don't do superman/banana (I don't feel that AT ALL) or the Dreya Roll (I physically can't do that yet, but I'm working on it) but this morning when I woke up and moved to go to the bathroom, I knew I had done it right.  I could list all the muscles that are sore when I move, but with my prior knowledge of all the muscles, I would be listing them for days.

In a little side note, Adam and I are celebrating our own Christmas a little early this year, since we will be visiting family on the actual holiday.  So on Sunday (our one year anniversary - holy crap!) we're spending the day together ignoring the world and we'll open our Christmas gifts from each other that day too.  But! We both got to open one early because I couldn't wait for him to open one of the things I got him.  And last night I got to open one and now I have heavier hand weights for my P90X - WOO!  I had 2 lb weights prior and that was NOT heavy enough.  So now I have 5 lb Valeo Hand Weights and I'll talk about those after I use them the first time, I didn't open them until after I had already done my work out.

So, to wrap up a completely random post: it's exam week and I'm ready for it, Everyman is on break until classes start again and the rehearsals are physically demanding, I have time and have started doing P90X again, I have 5 lb weights now, Our one year anniversary is on Sunday and we're having our own Christmas at home before we visit family.

I think that's everything....

Go vote for The Williamston Theatre on the Pepsi Refresh Project!  I thought the other day was the last day for voting, but I think it was just for that cycle....  I'm not sure.  Go VOTE!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Amazon and "The Kids Are Alright"

First, a note: shortly after I posted about the points left I needed to get my Amazon card, I got them and I was able to buy four of the books on my Wish List.  After I read one of them, I may give it away here, I don't know yet....  I'll let you know :)  I also managed to end up with the email that had the redemption code in it end up in my spam folder last week and didn't know it.  That sucked, but I got it! 

Alright: Next up, The Kids Are Alright

Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their birth father into their family life.

**** (out of 5)

The movie was unconventional, and didn't leave the audience with warm fuzzies.  It had a very real feel to it; I enjoyed it.  The Kids Are Alright emulated the roughness and unknown of real life, something that is often missed in mainstream movies.  It gives a look into the functionality of a homosexual relationship, showing that they have the same problems as many heterosexual relationships, and some very different ones.

Worth a watch.

I Won a Book!!

I won a book from The Andy Gram!!

This book just happens to be Stephen Sondheim's Finishing the Hat.  It came on Thursday, and I have been reading it whenever I can!  So far, I am really enjoying it - my favoritest musical is by Sondheim and Lapine, Into the Woods.  The book is soooooo pretty!

I can't wait to be able to read more, but I have to finish my take home final first.  One and a half questions down, one and a half to go - I'm at 4 pages and just over 1500 words! Can't slack off now!

P.S. Blogging is an EXCELLENT way to procrastinate! 

30 Days of Truth - Day 29: Something You Hope to Change About Yourself, Why?

I think it is too easy to say that I want to change my weight.  Soooo.......

I want to change my eating habits.  I want to eat healthier, consistently and I have problems getting all my veggies in!  I love a lot of vegetables (not broccoli or cauliflower or a few others) but I love bell peppers, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes (have you ever had pear tomatoes? OMG, they are like CANDY!) and many others.  So, liking them is not the problem.  Remembering to eat them is.  And I'd like to fix that!  But it's hard.  And salads get boring.

I'd also like to get into an exercise routine that happens at the same time every day.  But surprise! Since my schedule changes every 3-4 months, it's hard to find one time that can be consistent that isn't 4am.  I have a few friends who get up that early to work out and I hold great respect for those wonderful people, because I can not get up that early and only have four hours of sleep.  I get home too late from rehearsal to do that.  Even if I came home from rehearsal and went straight to bed (to get up at 4), I would only have, max, on the earliest night, 5.5 hours of sleep. No.  I can't not have 8 hours.  I get grouchy, and it's better for you to get 8 hours.

I also would like to not judge too quickly.  Sometimes I do, and several times I have come down on the wrong side of it.  I have already started working on this, and I think it's going well so far.

Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with myself, and the person I have worked so hard to become.

It Works! It Really Does!

As those of you who follow Weight Watchers® know, they just unveiled their PointsPlus™system, the biggest change in their system in 13 years.  And those of you who read my blog know that I have not actually attended a meeting in person in several months, but I was still trying to follow the plan on my own.

Well, with this change, that has become impossible (the following the plan on my own, not the attending the meetings, my schedule is what prevents THAT.)  Even though I wasn't going to meetings, I was still on the Weight Watchers® mailing list.  With their new unveiling they were running a special that you could either do a month of meetings for $50 or 3 months online for the same.  So, duh, I did three months of online, way better value, so I could get a handle on the new program.

So far, these are the changes: The old system for weekly food points was based on Calories, Fat and Fiber.  The new system is based on Fat, Carbs, Protein and Fiber.  The activity points still look at the same things, activity length and intensity, but I am NOT a math whiz, so I don't know how it's different on the inside.  You also get more Daily Points and I think that the extra Weekly Allowance is tailored to you.  For example, I now get 32 points a day and 49 points for a Weekly Allowance, instead of the 26 and 35, respectively, I had before.

I also joined Fat Cyclist's campaign to lose 10 lbs by Christmas.

I am off to a good start.  Since Monday, when I re-joined Weight Watchers®, til today, I lost 3.2 lbs.  The first weigh in for Fat Cyclist's thing is Monday, so hopefully I will keep it up!  With that 3.2 lbs down, I hit my 10% loss again and I am at 25 lbs down (since Spring Break 2010).  WOO!  Of course Weight Watchers® is freaking out because it somehow got mixed up when I entered in my new starting weight.  I had just put in a guess when I re-signed up, because I was in Moore when I was doing it and not near my scale.  So when I deleted the original number and put in the actual weighed number it thought I had lost weight, even though the new number was higher and warned me about losing weight too fast.  So, when I weighed in this morning, it warned me again, thinking I had been consistently losing more than 2 lbs a week for more than five weeks.  Really confusing.  But don't worry, I'm being healthy about it, I ate all of my Daily Points every day and I ate most of my Weekly Allowance.  (I LOVE FRENCH SILK ICE CREAM!!! ...low fat, of course...and pie....with Cool Whip Free....)

Also, we decorated for Christmas, and I'll post a picture of that with some stuff about that too.  And the end of the school year will get its own post too.  And Everyman.  And P90X, when I restart that on Monday.

Right, well, yes, 3.2 lbs down, ~60* to go!

*That may change.  Depending on how happy I am when I get into the healthy weight range for my height, which is a 30 pound spread.  So, if I am happy with how I look and feel healthy at 140 or 150 or somewhere in between, then I will switch to maintaining.  A whole new monster - just in time for Courtney's Wedding in June!! :D

Friday, December 3, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 28: What If You Were Pregnant, What Would You Do?

If I got pregnant now, I would FREAK OUT. And not in a good way, because it would be a complete and total accident. And because of that, I don't know what else I would do, beyond freak the hell out.

Now if we were talking a planned pregnancy, I would be super excited. I want to have kids, I really do, just not now. We don't have the time, or the smallest inkling of the kind of income we would need to have a child right now. When we aren't in school full time anymore and at least one of us has a job that allows us to have a more financially sound future and allows us to save a little more than we have now we'll start talking about kids.

But that time is definitely not now. This is going to sound totally selfish, but you can't fly in your third trimester, and I wouldn't be able to go to Ireland if I got pregnant now.

No babies.

30 Days of Truth - Day 27: What’s the Best Thing Going for You Right Now?

I don't particularly understand what the question wants to hear....  so the best thing going for me right now is the end of the semester, I suppose.  It's going to be amazing when the semester ends!  I won't have any school work and I won't be insanely busy for the first time in 16 weeks.  21 credits is murder!  But I have managed very well all semester.  I don't know how, but apparently I'm pretty good at time management, that's good to know. 

I am hoping to 4.0 this semester for the first time in my college career, and I have been working my ass off trying to make that happen.  Unfortunately one class looks to be standing in my way, with an A- (if I get 100% on the two remaining papers that haven't been graded yet, the final and all the participation points) and that is Musical Theatre History.  Damn it.  I know that a semester 3.9 is nothing to be ashamed of and I would be ecstatic under normal circumstances, but to get so close and fall that tiny bit short is hard.

But soon, a new semester will be upon us and I will have a shot again at a 4.0 semester and only 18 credits to contend with instead of 21.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December!!


Also, last day of voting for the Pepsi Refresh Project!  Go vote for the Williamston Theatre!!  After you click the links and vote, text 103812 to 73774 and vote again!!!!  GO GO GO GO!!!!

And enjoy the snow!!

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Everywhere you go...."