Skipping stones (school), we know the price now

I’m back! That’s saying something because I didn’t know when I’d be back again.

I skipped school today to hang out and play guitars with Emil. Well, it didn’t originally start out that way – I was all ready to go to school when Emil asked us if we wanted to go to breakfast and Charlie took a picture of the BLT w/egg sandwich she just made us and asked if Emil wanted one and she said she’d be right over. Emil never going anywhere without her guitar, walked in with it saying she needed to change some strings before playing this song she wrote about her sister.

I think this is a sad time for both of us. Her sister passed around this time of year in early 2000. My mom’s birthday was Valentine’s Day and this time of year I always think of her because of the magnolia’s blooming. So, every time I’ve passed a blooming magnolia this week my heart gives a little twang like my uneven chords of Leaving on a Jet Plane.

So, yeah – I’ve been a bit blue lately even though the weather has been fantastic here.

Emil played her song and it was very beautiful – I can’t post it because it’s still a work in progress and she wants to surprise her family with it. Also, I don’t think I have a video of it. But, when I get permission I will post it here. I thought I would lose it crying when I listened to it – the words are very sad but the chords give it lively twist so it was a good balance.

We then tuned our guitars to work on this song – it was pretty great. Despite going back to guitar school our teacher hadn’t really covered strumming rhythms (we glanced off it briefly the other night but we had to move on to some other old cowboy song in the key of A.

“I will hold up the fingers 1, 4 & 5 while we play Bury me under the Weeping Willow, 1, 2, 3 hit it!”

We went on to Am and Em chords after that and I think she was trying to make us play something like Jambalaya or was it the Crawdad song? It was one of those songs from my great grandmother’s time when I said, One of the Indigo Girls songs is in the chords of Em and Am – Kid Fears.

“Oh, I don’t know them.”

That’s when I knew this lady was certifiably crazy. What artist in their right mind wouldn’t know The Indigo Girls -especially living in Atlanta? I mean, they are everywhere here not to mention almost all the acoustic guitar players I know play at least one of their songs.

Now I know in the last post I said I would never go see them again – it’s not that I don’t like them – I love them and it will be my ultimate goal in my guitar playing career to master Closer to Fine.

I’ll always love them but I’ve seen them more than I’ve seen any other artist and life is just too short to keep listening to the same people over and over again when there are millions more artists to discover.

So Emil and I played songs that we KNOW (that were recorded post 1975 not including Jet Plane – 1969). It makes it so much easier to learn if you can anticipate the lyrics from songs you’ve heard previously. We’re going to work on about three songs to play together and guess what?

They’re Indo Girls songs. HA! Well, two of them are.

Our guitar recital is next Wednesday night and Emil and I went over Jet Plane. I’m totally going to play it every damn day until then. I couldn’t just bail on the last two weeks of class because mostly I didn’t want to leave my friend Yolanda with the only other two students in the class who seem like they can barely eck out an A chord. So, I decided to go back. The other night, after the teacher said she didn’t know The Indigo Girls she ended class abruptly after a final run-thru of Worried Man Blues to dash downstairs for the old-folks-jam session. I think Yolanda and I realized that we’re way too young for this banjo picking set and we knew none of the songs. Honestly, they reminded me of being in Indiana again watching the flies buzz over cow manure in the field. It just never gave me a great mental image.

We were packing up and I started talking to this other lady in our class – she’s the song writer. (which, I admire someone who wants to learn guitar so they can write songs but it amazes me that someone can write a song without actually playing an instrument). She said this was her second time taking the beginner class and she said she ran into another woman in Guitar II who said she took I four times before making it to II.

Again, I thought, Not me sister…..

I went downstairs and Yolanda was waiting for me next to her Porsche SUV – I had to say that – it’s an amazing vehicle but even if I were rich I still wouldn’t spend that much money on a car – a boat, maybe, but not a car. I digress.

She asked me if I was all ready for the recital next week and I said, I was. I told her about talking to the song writing woman and her telling me about it being her second time in I and the other lady. We both agreed that we have the “concept” of playing in the keys of A, D, G, E, Em and holding up fingers that if we practiced on our own we’d have it. So, I’ll be on my way. Dream about the days to come and playing a more modern pallet.


away and this year

I felt like I got a lot accomplished this past weekend. I got ahead on a lot of homework and filed our taxes. Despite liking doing the taxes every year it still gives me quite a bit of anxiety before I finish them. I never know what they’re going to look like, if we’ll get anything back or have to owe. Especially, this year with all the new tax laws – although, I don’t think any of those affect us because we’re not millionaires.

Charlie and I are planning a couple of out of town trips this Spring. One is firmed up and the other I’m looking in to. Both trips include taking the dogs. That will probably be the extent of our trips this year as I can’t miss too much school. I will probably look into taking several stay-ca’s this year which will still be relaxing. I hope to get out and do a little trout fishing this year. This is something I think I’m going to do every year and then it never happens. A friend of mine’s husband is a fellow angler and every year when we see each other at Super Bowl we always say we need to get out and go fishing. I’ve already looked at the stocking times and rivers and plan on trying to get out there as early as March. March – mid-April is really the best times because it’s still cool. When it gets hot outside those fish dive to the bottom and are hard to coax out.

I just love when you have friends who read your blog and every time they tell you something they have to preface it with “Don’t put this on your blog”. It’s a double-edged sword having people you know read your blog.

But, I am not a professor and will not lecture people about their lives and choices. I have only myself and my family (which, I will preface with the family I have chosen not my blood family) to worry about.

It’s a large temptation of mine – getting involved. I’ve had to tell myself several times – don’t get involved. Worry about your own shit and stay out of others. That’s one of the NY resolutions. Others are:

I will not see The Indigo Girls for the 45th time. I will pursue hearing new music.

I will not let my sister or father hurt me and I will remain non-emotional when I speak to them. I will not give them details about my life so they can criticize.

I think the whole sex-change thing was the last straw for me. The last two conversations I’ve had with my sister she’s said she’s taken food down to our father and I never commented on it. She’s asked me what I’ve been up to and I’ve said just work.

Take more breaks from social media – honestly, I have been a little tempted to uninstall FB from my phone – especially, in light of everything that’s happened in the news. I get staying in touch with people and events but there’s a time when it’s just too much negativity and the need to take care of yourself.

I guess that’s enough resolutions for now. How are your resolutions going?


tuesday chex

The time of reckoning came. What I had been waiting for to happen for a whole year finally came – I got my yearly review. And, it was good.

Big exhale.

I was prepared for battle, believe me. My boss waited until the last moment to do mine last Friday afternoon – over the phone. That’s fine – he’s kind of a gutless twat. All I was looking for was the “meaningful impact” which is higher than the somewhat impact I got last year. Upon further investigation I was told everyone got the same rating (we were all evaluated as a team) and no one got the highest rating like I suspected they wanted. I was happy that we were all evaluated on the same plane and no one got more of a rating than others, more of a bonus structure, etc.

Now that that’s out of the way I can breathe easier and just hang out here until I get further through cyber security school before I start looking again. I mentioned in the past I’m in this computer basics class – that although I know most of the basics some of it stumps me from time to time – like the UNIX lab we did last weekend. My favorite class is the other one – the hardware class. We cover a part of the inside of a computer every week. Last week we talked about the processors and wattage tonight we’re going to talk about hard drives.

So, I dug out my old Macbook Pro – this is an early 2008 15” running OS X. After several attempts I finally got the thing to turn on. It ran and I played around with all the programs, it connected to the internet but the fan runs constantly on the thing. I suspect is has years of dust that has collected in it. I’ve been doing a ton of research on switching out the hard drive to a SSD and putting in more RAM. That all seems pretty straightforward but then I started looking into replacing the motherboard. That’s a whole other ball of wax. I plan on picking my prof’s brain on that tonight when I get to class. I think it would be a good little home project to do is switch out the hard drive and replace the ram.

I’ve bailed on the last two guitar classes – I mean, why would I want to go play Leaving on a Jet plane all night compared to having V-Day dinner with my wife? So, I don’t know if I’ll be back there. I plan on working on some stuff this weekend while Charlie is away if I can get all the homework completed that I need to. I’m going for all A’s this semester so I need to keep my GPA up and that’s way more important than Jet plane right now.

So, on that note I’ve gotta fly – cheers and have a great weekend if I don’t talk to you before then!


rainy day chex mix

It’s a disgustingly rainy day here in Atlanta. Not just a light drizzle that you would expect from Atlanta winters but a FULL ON downpour with thunder chiming in from time to time saying, “SO THERE” and “TAKE THAT!” 

Yesterday, when I was inside all day and had class that night it was beautiful, of course. 63 degrees and sunny. -SIGH- It was the first really nice day we’d had since last Saturday and it was cold even then.

We had a great Super Bowl and the turn out was what most of us wanted. Link was still there in her NE scarf but she held back on the jersey this year – maybe because she had a premonition that they would lose? We had a ton of food and a medium crowd – around 15-16 people. Remember the couple that messed up our spare room three Super Bowl’s ago? They came – this was the first they have been back since that night. And, miraculously they’re married now. (and, no, they didn’t stay this time)

So, I have a new guitar to take to class with me [to play leaving on a jet plane]. Well, it’s new to me. LB is letting me borrow it while I’m taking classes because she just got a new guitar. This one is a little damaged – it has a crack in the side but it still plays well and the crack doesn’t go all the way through (don’t ask me how that happened). She said I could have it since she didn’t need two but I just asked to borrow it. Anyway, it’s a big improvement over that Ibanez I’d been playing that Lee left at my house after we broke up. (I think I’m even going to gift that thing to someone in our neighborhood who wants it)

This Friday we’re going to go see our friend Hannah play for her birthday bash at Eddie’s. Last year when she had it Charlie was sick and couldn’t go so Benji went instead. Hannah always has a full band of rocking women behind her on her birthday bash so we’re looking forward to it.

I broke down and got a flu shot today. There’s only two other people in the office I work and one of them has the flu. So, hopefully I will dodge the bullet. Well, that’s all I got right now – I just wanted to pop in and say hi. Have a great rest of the week and stay dry if you’re in the ATL.





leaving on a jet plane

Guitar lessons are not what I hoped them to be.

Our teacher in guitar looks like a hippie from the ‘70’s – in fact, I’m sure she was a hippie in the ‘70’s – and we keep working on these chords which you would expect guitar lessons to be. She has a strange way of presenting – the best I can explain is that say we play something in the key of A then A= I, D=IV, E =V

Does that make any sense to any of you guitar players out there?

Then, the key of D is D= I, A = IV, A7 = V

What is with the Roman numerals, lady? If you want me to play the chords of D, A & A7 just say so instead of arbitrarily writing these Roman numerals on the dry erase board and testing us on this. I’m a bit fed up to be honest. Last night we played the key of G (since we just learned G & C last week) and it was this: G= I, C = IV, D = V then we had to play this tune in this order: I, IV, I, V, then the next line I, IV, I-IV-I-V the dashes between being switching the chords quicker like a quarter note as opposed to a half note.

It was hard enough just to switch between the chords quickly let alone having to just remember what the IV, V was – especially since we just did something in the key of A. I admit I’m not memorizing the Roman numeral/chord/key correlation quick enough.

Again, does any of this make any sense to you guitar players out there? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

To top it all off – all we’ve been playing in class are these old songs. She even mentioned some old cowboy song last night and I groaned inwardly. In the last class recap email she said to start practice playing these songs in the key of A – Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow and Hello Mary Lou.

There is a list of songs online (229 to be exact) that were made in this last century in the key of A we could be playing instead of some songs that were released in 1927 and 1961.

The second half of the class we’re all supposed to go downstairs and jam out with the old people. There’s always some guy standing up front announcing the songs we’re going to play in some key and he holds up fingers that correlate to the Roman numerals. The last two classes my friend, Yolanda and I have been skipping the jamboree. The last week of class we’re supposed to have a recital and play – get this: Leaving on a Jet plane (1967 – at least we’re getting more recent here).

Honestly, I feel like we should be attempting to play more recent songs and the last 30 minutes that have been devoted to a jam session downstairs should be cut to 15 minutes with an extra 15 added on to our lesson. Last night the teacher, Shelly, said that if we didn’t learn all the 7 and minor chords by the end of the remaining 4 weeks then we probably wouldn’t be ready for Guitar Repertoire next semester and that we’d probably have to take Guitar I over again.

Not me, sister.

I’m not playing Leaving on a jet plane another 8 weeks. I keep looking at online guitar lessons by Fender (and they have all kinds of recent songs to play) and wondering if that’s a better option for next semester. Regardless, Yolanda and I have both said we’re done with Guitar I down there after the semester is over – we’re both flying outta there onna jet plane.