Like I Said

We’re working on some things around the house, which is pretty exciting in the summer doldrums. Or dog days of summer. July might be the February of this time of year, as far as long stretches of meh go.

It’s nice to have a goal to work on, and it’s especially cool when an actual product arises, materializes, from that goal. There was a plan, which took the longest to nail down. And now we’re following the plan. Seems to be coming together nicely.

A thing I love about home painting: peeling dried paint from the roller tray. Like, when the paint all comes out in one layer. SO. SATISFYING.

Trees and Bees

This evening I went outside to take a picture of our apple tree, which currently has 77 billion little apples on it, and just before took the photo, a friend texted me, saying that the National Spelling Bee was on.

YES.

I did take a picture, then I ran inside and talked into my remote control to turn the tv to the spelling bee. The first result was on ESPN3, a Zoom type situation with 16 boxes with a different kid in each of them. I couldn’t tell if they were watching the bee or this was an earlier stage of the bee or whatever. I finally asked my friend which channel it was on, and she said ESPN2.

When I got to that channel, they had declared a winner, but I got to see the confetti explosion and the immediate post-bee interview.

It was amazing. The young lady was incredible. Made history. From the five minutes I saw her it was easy to see how cool she was. A bright personality. I’ll have to catch a rebroadcast of the bee soon.

I’m glad they had it, even if it was six weeks later than usual. And that they were safe during the event. And it was good they didn’t have it last year.

What a fun night.

Media Consumption And Stuff Update

TV: Mad Men Season 6; Superstore Season 6

Music: Birds of Chicago

Books: Radium Girls

Podcasts: Cold, Season 2

Clarinet: About an hour of practice that included reed adjusting.

Exercise: Digging around and chopping at some stumps in the yard with an axe for about 30 minutes

I wonder if I can keep this up. I mean, I even squeezed in a nap.

Schedule for Media and Stuff

There’s so much to watch. And listen to. And read. I need to find a way to get to it all. Let me try to break this down.

SunMonTuesWedThursFriSat
Books1 hour1 hour1 hour1 hour1 hour1 hour1 hour
Music1 hour2 hours1 hour2 hours1 hour2 hours1 hour
TV/Mov1 hour2 hours2 hours2 hours2 hours2 hours2 hours
Podc1 hour1 hour1 hour
Exer30 min30 min30 min30 min30 min

There are definitely more hours in the day than I have scheduled here, but these are minimum amounts.

More Quotes from Hood Feminism

Some powerful thoughts:

1. Feminism that encompasses all the issues that impact women, from poverty to criminal justice reform to living wages to better protections for immigrants to LGBTQIA issues, is feminism that ensures voting rights for all as a foundational issue.

2. For marginalized people, feminism is failing them by being so focused on whether middle-class white women have what they need and want, but not on protecting voting rights for everyone else.

3. Because institutions are not designed to help parents raise high-needs children, it becomes much easier to argue that children with disabilities are a burden to be avoided instead of addressing the paucity of resources.

4. Anger can be cathartic, motivating, and above all else an expression of the innate humanity of any community. Demands that the oppressed be calm and polite and that forgiveness come before all else are fundamentally dehumanizing.

Please read Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot, by Mikki Kendall. Straightforward, practical; applies ideas to real actions for including everyone in building feminist momentum for all marginalized communities.

A Letter I Sent

Subject: General Praise for Your Content

Hi Michael,

I am one of many, many, many people who found a ton of spare time during the pandemic and dusted off their clarinets. Getting reacquainted with my clarinet over the past year has been super fun, and since I peaked in 9th grade (I’m old enough to be in 39th grade now), I’ve often reflected on how I reached high notes or tackled a difficult passage so many years ago. I don’t know: maybe I was a better instrumentalist then, but maybe I’m a better musician now? Just cuz life and stuff has reformed my perspective and how I approach goals. And practice. You know?

I hate to say I stumbled upon your YouTube channel, because I try to be deliberate in most of my choices, but you were a significant part of a journey down a clarinet rabbit hole. I found Michelle Anderson, and she mentioned you, and I’ve enjoyed your performances as well as your tutorials.

It’s not much of a leap to say I’m a better player-musician now than I was a year ago. And that’s due to listening to excellent musicians like you. And learning how to REALLY take care of my instrument (I’ve since upgraded from my student model to an intermediate). And adjusting my own reeds. Your content is an invaluable resource, and I hope you keep all of it up.

Anyway, you’ve been incredibly generous sharing as much as you do. Just want to say thanks.

If you’ve wondered while filling orders who you’re shipping to in [City], Utah, that’s me. I’ve loved supporting your business in my little way.

Thanks again, and happy summer!

May

This is Michael Lowenstern’s YouTube channel.

Here is his shop.

This is Michelle Anderson’s YouTube channel.

Here is her website.

These have been my main resources for clarinet advice in the past year. They’re fun and informative and incredibly encouraging. If you relate to the clarinet at all, check out these amazing folks. I’m still contemplating lessons and masterclasses from Michelle. I do know that I need lessons if I want to get better.

That is all.

Readers

Today my readers returned after their lenses had been changed. I was wondering if they would ever be fixed. And I was wondering if I would ever read anything up close again. I was worrying that I’d be resigned to reading billboards or anything else from a distance. A life without reading doesn’t sound awesome. Thankfully they came, and here I am without and with them. (Yes, I’m singing U2’s “With or Without You” to myself right now.)

Reilly had an all-day training for his work today, so I got to look after Z. I had a hard time remembering how I managed watching her, teaching her, and doing my job during the pandemic. It seriously blows my mind. I worked for a few hours, then we took a break at a park she likes, then we picked up some groceries, then we picked up my glasses. When we came home I worked a little more, then I prepared dinner while Z had therapy. After that we ate dinner, then I came down to the basement and worked for a little while longer before calling it a day.

We tucked our girl in, I took my allergy medicine, and now I’m about to eat some cheesecake the neighbors made for us. I’m very excited.

Rough day, indeed.