Monthly Archives: December 2018

Everyone Dabbles

They dabble at playing guitar or piano or maybe they have dreams of fronting a band.  They dabble in crafts, papier-mache, needlework or yarn work, maybe painting cute little sayings on distressed wood.  They dabble in art, in web design, in programming, in psychology.  My Facebook is jammed up with people dabbling in Philosophy and Politics.  Seth Godin categorizes these as “Non-Dentist” jobs.  To be a dentist or someone in the law profession or medical profession, or in finance, you have to have passed a rigorous test and gotten certified by the state or the bar association.  Nobody dabbles in dentistry, yet, people still dabble in law, medicine, and finance!  REALLY????!!!!  C’mon!

I see it though.  You’re a parent and little Billy has fallen off his bike again.  You got this.  A little antibiotic ointment on the scratch and a band-aid, and he’s fine.  Your sister is married to a jerk and you tell her about her legal choices.  “No thanks, we’re fine, we do our own investing.”  Of course, they’re $20k in debt, upside down in their house, just bought a car and are wondering why they’re paying 21% on their loan.

I do not have a law degree, but I read legal documents for financial contracts.  I have a degree in finance, certified and licensed in insurance, and licensed as an Investment Adviser Representative.  I’m also certified as a John Maxwell Speaker/Trainer/Coach.  I’m a Distinguished Toastmaster.  I have a degree in Music…and 160 college hours in music and music education.  It only takes 60 college hours to get a bachelor’s in Math.  It only takes 120 hours of college credits to graduate,  I had 147.  Of those 147 hours, 80 of them were in music.  I clocked in an additional 80 hours since my BME degree.  Then, I got a 2nd degree in finance.  I’ve gotten lots of hours outside a degree program, obviously.

I’m not trying to be braggadocious, but I ask you:  How many people have that much intensive study in anything?  Why do I bring this up?  I am not a dentist.  To quote Mr. Godin again, “If you’re doing one of these non-dentist jobs, the best approach is to be extraordinarily good at it. So much better than an amateur that there’s really no room for discussion. You don’t have to justify yourself. Your work justifies you.” I am extraordinarily good at what I do.  The feeling I get from most people is that if I can do it, it must be easy.  Nobody can have that much talent, and nobody can really get that much education in multiple areas.  It must not be that hard.  

NEWS FLASH!  It is that hard.  If you are getting an education in something that people perceive as unimportant, then they will downgrade the difficulty.  We can agree that finance is important, but most people do not believe they need a degree in finance to balance their checkbook.  Most will not do enough loans to understand the nuances of those contracts.  A majority will not consider that life insurance is a priority and since it is all gobbledygook in the contract, they’ll just sign on the bottom line and trust the salesman and hope to GOD that they’ll never see the bugger again.  Since everyone lives paycheck to paycheck, and they hate the rich, and the rich are the only ones in the stock market which people regard as gambling writ large, these people that really and truly need some financial education will not seek it.

Everyone knows that music is unimportant.  It is only the background for movies and TV where the emotion is amplified by the score.  It is only the jingle you can’t get out of your head.  It is only the music that makes you want to buy more ugly sweaters at the store.  It is only one of the largest sectors in the entertainment industry.  It permeates every single second of your day whether you turn on the radio when you jump in your car or while you are on interminable hold on the phone.  If someone happens to be good at music, it’s because they have “talent.”  Talent gets your toe in the door.  It takes enormous amounts of work to be good as a teacher or performer.  It’s like the duck parable:  calm and serene on the surface and pedaling like crazy underneath.  People who are really good at music have to make an effort to make what they do look effortless.

Do you know scales?  There are 12 major scales.  There are 3 minor scales associated with each major scale (Natural, Harmonic and Melodic minors).  You have to be able to play or sing any of these without having to concentrate.  That’s 48 scales.  There is a chord that is associated with each pitch in the scale, and inversions of each chord.  Then there are augmentations such as adding a 7th degree, or a 9th degree, or up to or even beyond a 13th degree, and then there are alterations like flatting or sharping one or more of the degrees of the scale, and not only do you have to be able to play them, you must recognize them when you see them in the music and know what they sound like before you hear them.  That’s just the reading part.  Oh, and there are various voicings to each chord too.

Can you match a pitch regardless of the instrument you’re playing?  Oh, and by the way, oboe, bassoon, flute, trombone and tuba read C in music and it sounds C when they play.  French horn reads C and it sounds like F, Saxophone reads C and it sounds either Eb or Bb,  as does Clarinet.  And the fingerings for low register clarinet are different than the upper register.  Trumpet and Clarinet read C and it sounds Bb.  Given this diversity in pitch and fingerings, can you improvise a counter melody or a harmony without seeing the music?  Can you tell the difference between Frank Zappa and Tchaikovsky by sound?  If you are in a group, can you tell which individual is singing or playing out of tune and whether they are sharp or flat–high or low?  Can you tell, if they sound sharp, if it is the actual pitch or the pronunciation of the vowel and the timbre that makes it sound out of tune?  Can you apply the awareness you have gained in listening and performing music to any other area of life?  Of COURSE!  So do all musicians have that awareness outside of music?  OF COURSE NOT!!

It is assumed that if you are majoring in music, you take Algebra I in math and very basic English classes.  You are a musician after all, and these things are beyond you.  You have more important things to do…like practice and study your scales!  People always assume that if you’re a musician, you don’t have any interests outside of music.  In fact, most musicians couldn’t give a flying…well fill in your own word here…about math or English.  And yet, the awareness I transfer from music to the world around me connects dots that no one else can connect.  I can see the Stock Market as a large orchestra.  I see the study of sociology as a macro of a choir.  I see composition as an allegory to metaphysics.  Am I now interested in sociology (and therefore statistics), investment in both the technical analysis and the trend marketing, and the study of physics and religion as extensions of my music studies?  Of Course!  So yes, I have studied all those things.  Would being a musician be helpful if I wanted to be a dentist?  or an architect? or a rocket scientist?  More than you’d think!

But music is not important.  Therefore none of the information I have gathered and synthesized is of any use, so I am dismissed as just a musician.  I guess you could say that I’m extraordinarily good at things everyone else dabbles in.  Being extraordinarily good at something that is unimportant is not an advantage.  Truth be told, if you were to ask anyone, it is a useless thing to be good at.

Friction Fiction

How many times have you depended on Friction and it failed you?  How many times have you been frustrated by Friction?  I submit there ARE NO LAWS of Friction!  It is capricious and mean and actually has evil designs on humanity!

You know what they call fingerprints?  Friction ridges!  Yup.  Humans and in fact all primates have “friction ridges.”  Why?  So they don’t slide off of tree branches and rocks and ledges and tall buildings.  Do they work?  NO!  If you’re trying to pick up the spoon you just dropped, you will drop it 3 or 4 more times before you have a tough enough grip to get it to the sink.  If you are dangling from a building and the only thing keeping you from falling is some superhero’s grip on your hand, YOU WILL FALL!  They’re superheroes for pity’s sake!  They are certainly strong enough to crush your hand and lift you up and toss you about.  But there you are and they have a moment of regret that the tossing has caused irreparable harm to their image as do-gooders and they try to save you as you go off the building.  Suddenly, they cannot lift you with one arm, and the massive strength in their hands is reduced to butter.  Just once I’d like the villain/victim to yell on the way down, “YOU Sonofabitch!” Splat.

Do you know why there’s tread on tires?  Friction.  Have you ever hydroplaned?  Friction failed.  Have you ever driven a road you’ve traveled 1000 times and wondered why your car is going sideways?  I remember driving about 15 mph on a highway covered in ice.  It was a flat road (Nebraska!) with no turns, no hills.  Front wheel drive, no wind, and suddenly I’m doing 360’s.  Did you know that roads are higher in the middle than at the edges?  I started sliding off the side and corrected.  The car continued to go toward the ditch, regardless of the way the wheels were turned.  The brakes stopped the wheels from turning but didn’t stop the car.  The back end of the car came around and I turned into the skid like I learned in driver’s ed.  No effect.  Now, I’m going backwards down the highway at 15 mph.  Now sideways, now forward.  Whew.  Ooops!  Now sideways and backwards and sideways again, but crossing the center line.  Traction!  whoohooo!  Doesn’t matter.  I’m now in a ditch.  Here comes a pickup truck!  He slows down and stops. (Show off!)  He attaches a chain to my car and pulls me out. I continue on the road and finally get to my destination, about 3 hours later than I had planned.  Why was I spinning around and he wasn’t?  Because Friction Doesn’t Like Me!

Getting my phone out of my purse should not be an exercise in futility.  BUT IT IS!  I reach in to get my phone and cannot grip it.  My friction ridges are providing no friction.  When I do get my phone out, I have pressed every application I have.  Yes, the phone was locked when I put it into my purse, so in grabbing it, I somehow managed hit the home page, bypass the password, turn on my flashlight (which I find difficult enough to do on purpose) hit video that plays a song I’ve never heard of before at an embarrassingly loud volume, startles me, and I drop it back into my purse.  I try in vain to pull my phone out to shut the danged noise off, but once again my friction ridges are providing no friction.  Now that the members of the church are staring at me with consternation, (Oh NOW I recognize it.  “Thong thong thong thong thong…”)  I can finally turn the dam thing off, and I don’t remember why I was getting it out of my purse in the first place.  Phone is off.  Put phone in outer pocket.  It WILL NOT GO IN!  The lack of Friction I experienced in trying to remove it from my purse is now obstinately in place again.  This pocket in my purse is full sized.  There are 2 pens and a bulletin and a name tag in the pocket, yet my phone will not go in all the way.  In fact it only goes in 1/4 of the way and threatens to fall onto the floor.  I curse under my breath.  Oops, I’m in church.  The little boy ahead of me smirks.  My phone catches on something and will not budge.  THERE IS NOTHING FOR IT TO CATCH ON!  Nevertheless, it’s catching on something. I try to force the phone into the pocket.  It finally concedes and goes in  and the preacher booms from the pulpit, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain.”  Oops.

Over and over and over again, we trust friction to keep glasses from sliding off the table.  They slide anyway.  We depend on friction to keep us standing when we open or close doors.  We fall anyway.  We depend on the apparent lack of friction to throw something into the trash. It comes up messily short anyway.  We depend on the low amount of friction when brushing our hair.  It tangles and eats our brushes, combs and barrettes anyway.  We expect the friction to keep our hair in place.  It comes out of our elaborate hairstyles anyway.

There is the Men’s guide for friction…

This won't turn out well. - Imgflip

The Women’s corollary:

If it shouldn’t move, even though it’s duct taped, IT WILL MOVE.

If it should move, even though he’s WD-40’d it, IT WON’T.

In other words, if you depend on Friction to act a certain way, and it is to your advantage for it to work that way, Friction will do exactly the opposite. Fickle Friction!  It is Flighty and Fractious–a Fiendish Fraud–a Foul Effluvia–a Freudian Froth of Fervent and Feverish Foolishness.  Pha I say!  Friction is Fiction played upon us by an evil Fairy bent on our destruction!

When people drive me crazy

I had a busy day yesterday.  It’s my day off.  Do you see a disconnect here?  I purposely do not schedule any recurring activities on Tuesdays.  It allows me clean my house, decompress, bake, do fun things.  If however, I have some business to do or make-up lessons to schedule, they go on Tuesdays.

This was my schedule for Tuesday:  5:00 lesson

This was what actually happened.

  • 8:00 Write an article for the news letter
  • 10:15  Study group for Bible Study
  • 12:00  Gym (for a whole 15 minutes instead of my regular hour)
  • 1:00  Mentoring session
  • 3:00  Follow up with client
  • 4:30-9:30 Toastmasters training session

I had to cancel the 5:00 lesson.  During the training session, I led a discussion among the treasurers and secretaries.  I presented some training to the group of about 48, and they had no PA system.  They also had no sound for the video clips so that totally messed up the session on judging by the poor guy at the end of the program.  He was supposed to have some recordings of some award winning speeches and we were to practice judging using the methods and the sensibilities gleaned from his presentation.  After that, since hubby and I took separate cars, we were to just head home, but no.  Our logistics manager is in the postal service and they run him ragged this time of year.  The next event is Saturday a distance away and we volunteered to transport all the necessary equipment for him.  We had to load up the car with coolers and containers and banners and easels, and then we also had the leftover sandwiches from the night’s training.

I am a “T” personality, or “Green” or whatever Meyers-Briggs classifies me.  That means I’m most comfortable one on one, but even more comfortable squirreled away in my little office behind mounds of junk just working on my computer or reading.  Big crowds and lots of personal contacts make me anxious (?) so I have to decompress for a while.  It tires me out!

I enjoyed the study session, no one says much, and we just study and fill out the questions.  I don’t interact with anyone at the gym.  When I mentor, that takes some concentration.  I have to ask questions that bring my mentee to greater awareness.  Sometimes I fall back into teacher mode instead of asking questions so he thinks for himself.  When I do that, I see his eyes start to glaze over, and have to work on bringing him back to himself with some questions.  It mentally exhausts me.  Then I went to follow up on a client, and I love this woman to death.  She’s fun and lively and unstoppable.  But she’s a client so I need to make sure she’s on the right track.  I have to ask the questions and get the answers from her so I know what things I need to do to make sure she stays on the right track.

I headed out too late and got to the training session 15 minutes later than I intended.  I facilitated the small group of Treasurers and Secretaries, and to tell you the truth, they didn’t have much to offer.  They were forced into the office because someone had to do it and they were “voluntold.”  This office is an “easy” office, not much for you to do.  Liars.  So we discussed the ways that we contribute to the club that no one in any other position can.  Morale went up, and we weren’t lowly Treasurers/Secretaries.  No, we were the power behind the throne!  (Insert evil laugh here.)


Getting them to contribute was like pulling teeth.  Then they asked me to speak for the group since I was the only one taking notes.  Did you get that?  3 Secretaries there and I was the only one taking notes.  I had some rudimentary ideas that we’d discussed, but I’ve been doing these training sessions since I joined TM in 2008.  I expanded on the stuff I had written down so we sounded amazing.

Then my part of the presentation came up and I was helping people get started on a new educational program.  The only thing they remembered about my presentation was the word, “SAVE.”  In truth, the presentation I gave was written by someone else.  They wanted consistency through out the training sessions: 2 here, 2 there, and 1 way the heck out there.  Then we had an interactive session, and one of the activities didn’t go through.  We had to tap dance waiting for it to show up, and it never did.  We would have answered questions, but there were only a couple.  They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

By the end of the night, I’m REALLY short tempered and anxious to go home.  I still have to be nice and smile and laugh.  I helped my hubby get stuff out to the car.  He had the sandwiches on top of the cooler and the storage bin.  I figured to put the sandwiches in my car so I could get them into the house.  I opened my door (which was not locked) and asked for the sandwiches.  At this time I discovered that my hubby was also anxious and short tempered.  “Close that door and open my car door!”  So I did.  Then I grabbed the sandwich plate and squirreled it into my car and took off.  The cooler and the big storage unit, his briefcase, the banner, the easel and the paper went into his car.

When I get home, I jump out of my car.  (OK that’s funny because you’ve never seen me jump out of any car!)  This is how it actually goes:  open car door, stick foot out, watch as car door closes and try to catch it before it cuts my foot off at the calf.  Re-open the door, and get second foot out, and again catch the door as it’s about to hit me in the head as I lean out. Watch the colorful blue smoke and sparks emanate from the driver’s side, the paint peels and the window cracks from the vehemence of my cursing.  I finally get out of the car, hobble over to the passenger’s side, carefully open the door and grab the sandwiches.  Close the door and it catches my coat.  My hands are full of purse, notebook and a big tray of sandwiches.  More colorful adjectives and vindictive curses escape my lips.  More melted paint.  I get the door unlatched, and it immediately closes on my coat again. The temptation to throw the bag, the sandwiches and the notebook rises, but gets subordinated by a new stream of invective. Re-open the car door, pull coat out, move away from door and close it with foot.  March into house.  Deposit purse and notebook, carry sandwiches to kitchen, return to entryway and remove coat, take phone from purse. Stomp into living room and look for murder and mayhem on Netflix.  Watch 2 episodes of Glee.  Yes.  I was looking for Frontier, but I’d seen all of those, and all the Criminal Minds, and all the CSI and the Vikings, and and and…Glee was the only thing left.  There was not nearly enough blood.  I went to bed slightly unsatisfied.

Robo calls

buzz, buzz, buzz.

Who do I know from Las Vegas?  Nobody.  No voicemail

Buzz, buzz, buzz.

Who do I know from California?  Nobody.  No voicemail

Buzz, buzz, buzz

Rhode Island?

Buzz, buzz, buzz

Omaha.  Better answer this:  “If I could save you money on your automatic peat dispenser…” No, I don’t have an automatic peat dispenser.  Voice doesn’t stop, doesn’t answer questions, doesn’t ask questions…

*Slowly sinks into madness…Tim Curry maniacal look on face 

Buzz, buzz, buzz.

I text, “I’m on my way.”

Reply from phone:  “Who is this?”

“You called, I answered, just getting into the car”

“You’re coming here?”

“Of Course.”

“How do you know where to go?”

“I’ve been waiting for your call…I’ve been following you for weeks!  I can hardly wait to see you face to face!”

“Who is this really?”

“Look at your last call.  The one at 10:42.  It’s me!”

“Well you don’t know where I live do you!  I’m leaving!”

“I know you’re not.  You don’t even have your coat on.  It’s freezing out here!  I don’t want you to catch cold and end up in the hospital like last year.”

“Wait, how did you know about that?”  I don’t know but it was a 50/50 shot…

“Apparently this phone scam doesn’t pay all that well.  That’s a really messed up car!  Did you get it at an auction?”

“How do you know what kind of car I have?!!!”

“Drone…”  I play a youtube video in the background so he hears the drone sound.

He hangs up.  I call him back.  He doesn’t answer.  I call him periodically through out the day.

“I knocked, but you didn’t answer.  I’m right around the corner when you’re ready.”

I called back today, phone is disconnected.

A MAJOR Award!

I was nominated by floatinggold.  Wow!  What an honor!  I don’t get nominated for much so this is really amazing!  Thankyou!

No Not this one:


This one! 

Check her blog:

She is participating in the NaNoWriMo and I’m anxious to see what she wrote in that.  I also participated and got my 50K words, but I can’t seem to find a satisfactory ending.


  • Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

In answer to her questions:


  1. What scares you?  When my kids are driving in bad weather, even though they’re not “kids” anymore.
  2. If you could guarantee living until you’re 100 years old, would you?  There’s So much I want to see and experience yet!  There is so much I need to do.  Absolutely would want to live to 100, but am fine if I don’t make it.
  3. What would your dream vacation be like?  I’ve had several dream vacations:  Alaskan Cruise, 3 International Choir Festivals (Coventry, Bern, and Rome), National Parks, State Parks… Each vacation I take starts out as a dream, and when we go, I journal it so I can remember what I took pictures of, how I felt, who was with me, what we did, what we ate, what new thing I learned every day.
  4. What’s your morning routine?  Routine?  People have routines?
  5. What is your biggest motivation?  Looking forward to a completed project, a trip, an accomplishment, a new certification.
  6. What is your favorite time of day and why? I love mornings, it’s quiet so I can think.  Sometimes I have special coffee or tea.  I write or read or think.
  7. When do you write most and why? (day of week, time of day, etc.) I write all times of the day.  If I’ve had a revelation during the night, I write like a mad woman in the morning so I don’t forget.  If I’m having a conversation with someone and they say something that sounds like one of my characters, I rush home to get it down.  If I’m scrolling through Facebook and I catch something really bizarre, I think about it for a while and then write something in my blog.

I’d like to nominate:



When I read their posts, I’m always uplifted and more positive.  They bring sunshine into my life.

These are my questions:

  1. Where do you feel the happiest?  How does being there make you happy?
  2. What inspires you most?
  3. What is your favorite type of weather?
  4. If you could live for a month anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  5. What is the favorite activity you do with your best buds?
  6. What have you always wanted to do that’s still on your bucket list?
  7. Is it the journey or the destination that’s most important to you?
  8. If you could fix one mental thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
  9. Have you ever laughed hard enough to have milk come out of your nose?
  10. What age group do you love the most?
  11. When my grandmother was born, there were no cars or planes or interstates or computers, and she lived through 2 world wars.  If you live to be 100, what changes would you expect to see?  (Yes you may use your crystal ball.)