I wrote a haiku for Catherine today.
Far away but close
Your eyes and voice carry me
Until I hold you
That is all. 🙂
I wrote a haiku for Catherine today.
Far away but close
Your eyes and voice carry me
Until I hold you
That is all. 🙂
I take pride in being okay in climates that most of the people I know would find uncomfortably cold. I take pride in growing up in Wahiawa heights, where, as far as I know, it has some of the coldest weather on the island of Oahu.
One of the things I remember growing up was an old school thermometer encased in aluminum, hanging on by chicken wire to a decorative horizontal board skirting at face level on the garage outside, nearest the back porch. Every morning at around 5:50am, when we were being mushed out the door to the family van to get to the school bus on time, I’d have a look to see what the temperature read. Almost every morning, it was cold enough to see my breath, usually in the 50’s and sometimes the low 60’s. However, on some mornings, those mornings where you needed to fight all kinds of internal biological red flags to get out from under the quilt, you just knew it was going to say something crazy. I can’t remember exactly, but I swear I remember seeing that thermometer dip under 40º F one morning. It often got in the 40’s, especially during the winter and spring months. But high 30’s is some other kind of beast, in Oahu of all places. Unless I’m visiting my parents, I rarely experience anything remotely close to those childhood morning temperatures on Oahu.
On that note, I’m in San Diego right now, visiting Catherine. For the last five or so weeks, I’ve been slowly building up my tolerance for cardiovascular activities; Jogging. It’s one part of my overall regiment of improving my health, including eating better and sleeping more. But I actually started jogging so that eventually, when I got enough mileage in the muscle memory and the lungs, I could run with Cat and her handsome dog Ili in SD. Tonight we officially got our first run in as the Oriental-Eyed Trio Run Club. I understand the current climate surrounding that word, “oriental,” but it’s more an inside joke since someone said Cat’s dog had oriental eyes once. Why was I talking about the temperature to start off this entry? Well, that’s because it was cold enough to see my breath and make me hide my hands in the long sleeve dry-fit shirt I wore during said inaugural run.
We did an easy two-mile course through the Balboa Park Museums via the Cabrillo Bridge. The bridge crosses over the Cabrillo Highway 163 into the west side of Balboa Park from Bankers Hill above downtown San Diego. At 7:00pm, it was already dark, and a handful of other runners and dog owners were hitting the pavement with us. The air hit me with a gentle hand when I exited the car, and I thought about how nice it is and how much more I’d run if it was this cold on Oahu. Cat, on the other hand, was visibly and audibly not having it. We walked a little bit away from our neighborhood parking stall towards the park and stretched for a minute on the sidewalk of a street corner. I squatted and spread my legs to stretch out the quads and hips, and Cat opted to do toe touches for the hamstrings and raise the front of her foot on the base of the streetlight post to stretch the calves. We started north along Sixth Street till we hit the bridge, and I could immediately see it was going to be a beautifully scenic run through the park. The bridge is more than adequately lit up, with wide sidewalks on either side. There was something about the way the different colors lit up the sides of the buildings, creating dramatic shadows, completely changing the feel of them from normal daytime viewing. We did a stop on the way back out of the park at the amphitheater, where Cat said they sometimes had the symphony play and also held a big beautiful organ. As we were walking, I looked around and said, “I could do this run every night.” It really was beautiful.
We finished up the run, made it back to the car. Cat said, “did we earn burritos?” I said, “yes, also I flew all the way over here, so. Yeah, burritos.”
The BURRITOS were FUCKING AMAZING.
Currently “trying to sleep,” on the plane ride to L.A., but failing miserably. So of course, if I can’t sleep, I’ll do some math. Let’s see I’ve got roughly 72 hours in Cali. To be on the safe side of immunity, I should probably try for 6-ish hours of sleep a night, so I don’t get sick again. So there goes 18 hours. It leaves me with 64 hours. Cat will have to be at work Monday and Tuesday for let’s say 9-10 hours if the case she’s working on will be as tough and involved as she thinks it will be. So that’s another 20 hours. That leaves me with 44 hours. She will probably have to do some work at home, so let’s tack off like 5 more hours.
Alright, so that leaves me with 39-ish precious hours. Here’s my checklist of things I want to get done in that time:
Well, that’s about all I want to accomplish in those 39 hours. And if I can’t do any of those things, I really won’t mind as long as I get to spend it with Cat. Let me try and melt my consciousness into a quick session of REM sleep before we land. T minus 3-ish hours till Operation “Melt It All” commences.
Update: I caught a Lyft from the airport. Will have to relocate melty first hug.
This will be a quick 15 minute write today. Got a few things to do today.
I woke up on my own this morning! Cat did send me a text afterward, to make sure I was up. She wasn’t able to call today on account of being slammed at work — all good. I get to see her in a couple of days anyway 🙂
I think today I’m going to run over to the gym in town for a quick workout before my gig in Kailua, so when the gig is finished, I can just worry about getting the rest of my things packed in my carryon and get the house tidied up before tomorrow. Once I leave the house in the morning, I won’t be coming back till Wednesday.
With so much anticipation and excitement, I don’t know what to write about besides that. I’m going to be honest; I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to see someone. Last night I was thinking about seeing Cat, and my hands felt tingly. I had ‘chicken skin’ on my arms. I know I’m going to meet her and her friends for a concert, which will be fun, but I probably won’t be paying much attention to the music. All that will matter is that I’m there with Cat, and I’m going to be as present as I can.
I think we’re going to walk around the Aquarium there as well, and in that case, I think I’ll pay attention to the sharks in the “petting zoo” section, cause that’s pretty damn cool. See you soon, Sharks. And Cat 🙂
Cat had to do a little traveling for work today, so I never got a wake-up call this morning, but I still woke up to a pleasant wake-up text! I had a productive night of recovery, according to my WHOOP app. It’s like a Fitbit, but there’s no display screen on it. It purely collects data. I spent nine hours and twenty 5 minutes in bed, with nine hours and eleven minutes of actual sleep — 98 % efficiency.
So I don’t remember where I heard about the whoop thing, but it was on a podcast I listen to maybe. It’s made for athletes to understand their workload, recovery, and sleep better. All of which are tied together. The reason I got it was for the sleep aspect. I’ve had trouble sleeping in the past, so I wanted something to be able to track that to see where I could get better. Also, the effect of just having something to follow psychologically makes me want to “beat” myself at sleeping every night. Like have better sleep than the last, or have a better average sleep this week than last week. So far, with this little wrist band, and the occasional help of some melatonin, my sleep this last month or two with it has been much better. I still have bad days where I need to wake up early for something, and having that on my mind makes it hard for me to fall asleep, and I end up getting 3-5 hours instead of 8. But I’d say 80% of the time I’m having much more effective sleep than the last two or three years. As I said, it tracks your cardiovascular workload displayed as “Strain,” and based on this and your recovery (and some other factors), it produces your recovery score, or effectively how much you can workout today! It’s pretty cool, but again, I bought this for the sleep aspect.
I realize I’m posting this a day late, but I wanted to post it anyway, since I think sleep is very important. The more I read about it, the more I’m convinced that all though people can say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” They’re gonna “sleep” many years sooner than if they’re not getting adequate sleep every night. I know you can’t predict what will happen to you, and we could depart this existence at any point without warning or reason, but that’s not a good reason to take care of yourself and be prepared to stick around for a long time. But anyway, you do you. I’ll keep trying to get my 8-ish hours of sleep every night. Sweet Dreams.
Let’s face it, I’ve been quite comfortable, in every sense of the word. Straight up, too comfortable. Like zero growth comfortable.
The maybe last year and a half to two years, I fell into a routine of sleeping late, and waking up late, then going to gigs, perhaps the gym afterward, maybe watch a movie (or two), and sleep late again. Sometimes two to three weeks straight of gigging every night was the only excuse I needed not to touch my guitar or sing when I was at home.
In a month, sprinkled here and there, would be a few good days where I woke up before noon (and got 8 hours of sleep), took care of my emails and invoices/contracts, picked up my guitar, practiced and studied some theory, and tried to learn something new. Sometimes I’d even do a little songwriting.
In the last month, I’ve had more good days than I probably had all of last year. It’s sad to say that, but I’m still happy to say it at the same time. I’m hoping I can keep this up for as long as possible. Maybe I’ll have more good days in the next two months than I did in the last three years! It’s been a comfortable last few years, and I thought maybe I needed some poverty to be uncomfortable. It looks like I just needed to build some daily habits, with the help of some friends. Being uncomfortable in the beginning, but feeling proud and accomplished afterward.
Oh, the title of this entry, “15 minutes.” That’s the minimum amount of time for certain things like “writing,” practicing piano, learning some music theory, listening to/learning new music, moving of some kind, that I want to commit to every day. If I happen to go over 15 minutes, great, but 15 minutes isn’t too daunting for me to not start at all. Baby steps.
Keeping up with these things as a daily habit would be amazing, but if I happen to take a day off or two in between, it’s still better than I’ve been doing the last five or so years. Here are a few of those things I’d like to stay on top of:
Catherine said the other day, after reading one of these posts, “if anyone actually reads this, what are they going to think you ever did without me?” I said, “Nothing. I did nothing without you.” Thanks, Cat 🙂
I started packing a carryon suitcase last night. Opened the zippers, all 3 of them, and felt around in the pockets that I was too lazy to do a visual inspection of. It wasn’t even a month since I last used this particular suitcase, and I looked at it with a smile. No, Mari Kondo, this suitcase doesn’t give me joy, but what it represents this week does. The end of this week will be quite hectic with gigs and whatnot. Saturday will be especially eventful!
9:00 am Wake up
9:05 am morning poop
9:15 am hop back into bed and rest my eyes
9:57 am wake up in a panic and look for pants.
10:30 am speed into Natsunoya Tea House parking lot
11:00 am Downstrum for our classmate Drew’s wedding 🙂
1:00 pm Finito! Pack up everything
1:20 pm Hopefully be done packing, grab our shoes at the door, book it out of there
2:00 pm Hopefully be at Nutridge estate to set up for another fellow Kamehameha grad, Winston, the ‘blue eyed beast’s wedding.
4:00 pm Ceremony starts
4:30 pm Cocktail hour, we’re on!
7:15 pm start packing up my gear
7:45 pm Hopefully I’ll be in my car heading down the mountain
8:00 pm Arrive at Honolulu Club for a shower
8:30 pm Leave Honolulu Club
8:45 pm Leave car at an undisclosed location, catch a Lyft to the Airport
9:00 pm get in TSA line
10:50 pm take off for LAX 🙂
Yeah, I’m going back to the west coast — the third time since September. On my last visit, during the New Year holidays, Catherine told me she and her friends were planning on going to the One Love festival in Long Beach, a weekend-long reggae concert. She said I should come, I said, I’ll be there. Last night on the phone, I mentioned to Catherine that I was going to start packing my suitcase, and she said it’ll make the week go by slow if I see it all week. So I have it hiding behind a wall of hanging close in my spare bedroom. Problem solved. I was too excited today to not do any packing.
If I could, I’d go to sleep right now and wake up Saturday morning. I’m on my way Cat.
I think I’m going to sign up for a Udemy course to learn piano/keyboard.
It’s been fun just doodling on it the past week, but I think it’s time to get some actual instructions.
I signed up for a few Udemy classes in the past, and I enjoyed them. One for photography, and another for guitar mastery. Neither of which I mastered yet, but that’s because I stopped logging onto Udemy and taking the lessons. You know life. But new year, new me, as they say. Thanks to Cat, who’s been waking me up a few hours earlier than I would on my own, I’ve been much more productive these last couple of weeks, and it feels good to be more on top of things. I felt like I had all the time in the world since I only “work” a few hours a night. However, I wasn’t putting in the work that I needed to at home, that I’m sure my other musician friends are. I’m doing them a disservice by slacking off at home.
Since I’m talking about that, let’s talk about that. I think it’s a misconception that a lot of people have about us “gigging musicians” that our life is so easy since we only “work” maybe 2-3 hours at gigs. But that doesn’t include the setup and breakdown of equipment. When we play new songs, it’s hours and hours put into that one song. The part I’ve been slacking off on was the overall improvement of my musicality, or practicing guitar and music theory. Taking care of the voice is a whole other task. According to my voice coach, Renson Madarang, the vocal folds are one of the last places in the body that receive hydration. So, as singers, we need to have the perception that we’re overhydrating to have adequate hydration for good vocal fold health. He also recommends doing certain singing drills throughout the day to “massage” the vocal folds. Then there’s all the correspondence and bookkeeping. If you’re lucky enough, you have a lot of inquiries and business opportunities, and your inbox needs regular maintenance and upkeep. There are emails to respond to, contracts to sign, and invoices to send. Being self-employed has a fair share of “things you didn’t need to worry about as an employee.” The big one is taxes. Without an employer to withhold taxes, you’re left to manage that yourself. Maybe you’re completely on top of your finances, but I’m sure for some, it’d be hard to hold onto 30% of all the checks coming in to set aside, just for taxes. So not savings, just money you can’t use, because you’re going to have to pay self employment, State, and Federal taxes eventually. Let’s not talk about dental and health insurance.
Well, that was exhausting. Going to finish up my emails, then I think I’ll browse Udemy for a piano course, and spend an hour on that. Then another hour or two on learning some new songs, and maybe an hour trying to write original stuff. After that, it’s time for “work.” Merriman’s tonight! While I’m at it, maybe I’ll throw another article of clothing in that carryon I started packing.
My uncle that I live with, is more generous to me than I deserve. First of all, he lets me stay with him and his family for almost nothing (which I will stick to for legal reasons, haha). He’s saved me in a pinch when I needed speakers for a wedding ceremony since he happens to have battery-powered Bose speakers that some of my friends gig with, but he just uses to listen to music while working in the garage. He lets me borrow his expensive camera to take photos with when I need it, like when I went over to the Big Island to shoot some photos of the owls with my friend Darcy. He even lets me take over his home to host parties and cook massive amounts of food. The latest example of generosity was allowing me to borrow one of the two keyboards that he owns. It’s much nicer than anything I’d ever know what to do with. One day we were talking, and he asked me how my music was going. I mentioned that I was thinking of buying a keyboard on craigslist or amazon to fiddle around with, and he said, “Nah no need, just take one of mine.” I’ve spent maybe an hour on it, and it’s crazy just how much easier it is to learn music theory than on a guitar. In theory, I knew what inversions of chords were, but the visual of it on a keyboard makes the theory party stick a bit more in my mind. I’m very much looking forward to doodling more on this thing.
I didn’t mention that I had this conversation about the keyboard with my uncle months ago. Catherine told me to stop procrastinating and borrow it already. Thanks, Cat. Also, she got me to write on here two days in a row!
Wikipedia… Music theory. That is all.
This whole post is kind of about the keyboard. But if not for orchestra in intermediate and high school, I wouldn’t have this general grasp of music theory knowledge to pull from. I didn’t think learning the notes on a piano, so I could have a reference note to tune my standup bass from, would come in so much handy today. Clutch.
I lied, the whole post isn’t about the keyboard. I purchased a Sodastream machine from Target like a month ago. It’s one of those contraptions that allows you to carbonate your water. Safeway and Costco were getting a ton of money from me in the form of bottles and bottles of sparkling water purchases. In turn, I have piles and piles of trash bags full of plastic bottles that need to get taken to get recycled. Figured it might end up costing more to buy the CO₂ cartridges, but it’d save me time and would probably be better for the environment in the long run. Doing the keto diet right now, and the one craving I have isn’t rice, or candy, or ice cream. It’s “bubbles.” Sometimes, all I need is a little bit of carbonation in my life. Hits the spot.
When I sat down here in the spare bedroom that I thought I’d be using as my “music room,” but has just been acting as “the room I hang my laundry in,” I wasn’t sure what I’d write. But It became clear what I’d write about today when I looked over at Catherine there on my phone through the magic of FaceTime. Oh, what a time we live in.
I wish I could say I started typing this of my own volition, but Catherine pulled on the motivation strings today. When I think about it, she’s been tugging on those motivation strings for the last few months. And I’m okay with that. Catherine asked me yesterday if I’ve been writing, and I embarrassingly replied, “no.” I laughed nervously and responded with, “honestly, I should just be striving to write just 15 minutes a day, of any kind of writing.” She said, “yeah, you should… I’ll call you from work, and you’ll have to write for 15 minutes with me while I work.” I didn’t realize she meant today because she woke me up with a facetime and an enthusiastic “get up! Work with me!”
The last few months I’ve spent watching her fall asleep, and she’s been waking my lazy ass up. When you say it like that, it seems like I have the harder part of this arrangement, but I don’t just watch her fall asleep, okay? She found this cheap little adapter on Amazon that allows me to turn off and on whatever she has plugged into it from an app on my phone. So sometimes she’ll fall asleep watching me on Facetime while I’m at a gig, and I’ll make sure I turn off the lantern she has plugged in mid-song. Other times I’ll be at home, and I’ll sing her to sleep while I sit in my computer chair and play my nylon string guitar and sing in as much of a whisper as I possibly can. Sometimes she’ll fall asleep while I chop up veggies for whatever I’m cooking for dinner. Luckily she falls asleep relatively quickly when she’s tired. I’m talking 1-3 songs max! Anyway, she woke me up today to have me write while she works, but I resist a little until the weight of knowing she’s been at work for 6 hours hits me, and I roll myself out of bed.
It’s not just with the writing thing that she’s helped me stay more on top of. We started a weight loss competition between the two of us a few weeks ago, and I’ve been really on top of my diet for two weeks now. I’m not saying she’s been participating in the competition yet, but she’s been very busy at work, as well as hosting her mom at her place, so I’ll give her a pass for now. She’ll tell me that’s not an excuse, but I understand. She only has to lose 10 pounds while I have to lose 20 pounds, so she’s in the clear for now, since I’m only down about 4 pounds. Sometimes she’ll FaceTime me during the day while she’s working from home, and I’ll feel guilty and go through emails and whatnot. I’m beginning to realize I do have a lot of these clerical type things to take care of, even as a musician. There are checks to deposit, contracts, invoices to send out, and emails to reply to. Sometimes I’ll also clean my place, so she doesn’t see a mess when we’re FaceTiming. I even started running again so that when I go and visit her in SD, we can go running together with her dog Ilio.
The thing is, she hasn’t asked me to do any of these things. She just silently makes me want to follow through on things I should be more responsible with. It’s a welcomed influence I’m incredibly grateful for. I can’t wait for her to wake me up tomorrow.