Within the pile of mail we have post-vacation, I received my diploma from Emerson. It's official now, except I still have to walk at the commencement in May. The thing reads "Master of Arts" and that's it. No mention of exactly what I studied. It's kind of amusing because my family asked me just that - "Exactly what did you study?" - and they still wouldn't be able to tell with this diploma.
California was glorious. Santa Barbara was expensive. The bums on the main street in downtown SB wore layers of Patagonia sweatshirts and Brooks Brothers blazers, asking me to "spare some change," and randomly waltzing into my path singing drunkenly. Time with Charlotte and Scott is always too short, especially when we power hiked up a mountain with my stubby little legs, which were affectionately dubbed "lil' smokies" for the duration of our visit. I think we drank every night (it's a bit hazy now), and I might have over-shared at some point, but we had some good times with no vomiting.
As we arrived at SB airport to pick up a compact car for the drive up to San Fran, the fella at the counter couldn't fill our request. "Unfortunately, we have to upgrade you," he said, and went through a list of cars available when all I heard was "....convertible." So in a Sebring we went, up the Pacific Coast Highway where far too many people drive much too quickly. It was a really gorgeous day, unseasonably warm they said, not a drop of cloud in the sky. The Pacific coast waves are quite mighty; I really enjoyed watching them crash into the side of the cliffs. Picture this panoramic: deep blue ocean, white waves, brown and gray rocks and hills, followed by green rolling hills with possibly a lighthouse to complete the look. It really was stunning.
Next was Pleasant Hill, where Toftie and Penny reside and the pair equals fun times. We also had the opportunity to meet Heather and Nick over dinner, who were fabulous as promised. At this brewpub Aaron order a beer sample, I got a soda sample, and Toftie got a water sample, thanks to our competent waiter. Aaron and I ventured into San Fran daily, and visited Haight/Ashbury a couple of times. Gutterpunks littered the streets, and I overheard one of them recycle the joke of, "My family was killed by Ninjas I need money to learn how to fight." His delivery was awful, and clearly he didn't put any effort into getting my pocket change. San Fran bums are bizarre, they have this sense of ownership of the streets. If you walk down Haight on a weekday you'd feel like you're leading around an elephant in their bedroom. Aaron was quite uncomfortable with it, I mostly just wanted to ask them to bathe.
I missed the Boston blizzard by about 12 hours, while I sat in Oakland Airport waiting for my delayed flight. Coming home was comforting, especially noticing that the cats are clearly irate with me for being away (it's their way of showing they care). I'm finally feeling like we've settled back into our routine now, two weeks later. A huge load is also off our backs - we found a housemate to fill the vacant bedroom, and she is very interesting. An elementary school teacher, Katelyn is also getting certified to become a yoga instructor while she makes and sells her own jewelry, among other things. I'm really looking forward to getting to know her better; I feel that it will be quite a learning experience for me.
Yesterday I finally figured out how to make a Flash menu where the Actionscript behaviors are doing what I want them to do. It was a good feeling, and now I have another skill that I can use in my web design work. Very exciting stuff. Other web projects include: a site for Susan's cattery, assisting Aaron with one of his projects, and getting some work done on my piano site. I'm starting to feel like I'm pushing off my piano studio building process, and I suspect, if that is true, it's because it's new and I'm terrified that I won't be able to get clients, that I won't be a good teacher, that I won't have the patience for my students and be a supportive role model. Any day now I will have to just sit down and crank it out and start my networking to just try it, 'cause if I don't I'll never know.
While chatting with Cristal over AIM a couple of days ago for a tagline to describe myself, I came up with "unsuspecting and unconventionally unexpected." It has really grown on me - it's incredibly vague but it has a nice ring. I had wanted something that says, "If you didn't know her, this tells you nothing about her. If you knew her, this makes perfect sense." and I think the phrase did the trick. Sometimes I impress myself just a little bit.
Other New Year things: We're preparing seedlings for the spring, considering our cats for cat shows, and cleaning the house thoroughly (finally) with a new fancy vacuum cleaner. We’ve changed our diet so that our meals are: Large breakfast, medium lunch, and light dinner. We are now Netflix subscribers and I’ve already placed 50+ movies in our queue. As soon as I get more funds I’m putting them toward piano footrests, a Wittner metronome, and upgrading our fish tank. Finally, I’m also in the market for some fun shoes, but that’s rather low on my list of Things To Do.
I’m making a mental note to post more often on Fridays instead of Mondays. Oh, and note which week of the month I’m posting, that seems to impact my mood.