Keeping with Music (for a moment)

I’m trying to remember the day that I stopped buying physical forms of music and started buying music on iTunes. I can’t remember the first album I bought on iTunes. It was likely something I already owned.

That made me try to remember the day I stopped buying music on iTunes and started streaming. It was Spotify at first. Now, it’s Apple Music (I LOVE Apple Music).

For my last two moves, I carted around tubs of CDs that I haven’t played in a decade. Now, I only own about five – a few that I couldn’t bear to give up.

The reason for this thinking is I was very anti-Kindle. My parents gifted me a Nook for Christmas probably ten years ago, but I could never read books on it. It felt largely inauthentic, and I had a hard time focusing. (I had a similar issue when I first switched from newspapers to online news – now I avoid it all together, but that’s another story.)

Then, I tried audio books, and couldn’t do it either. I couldn’t follow the stories very well. I guess I was always trying to multitask and didn’t have the focus.

But then I had kids.

And Audible became my best friend. I could listen to books as I walked with the stroller. That’s the only way I read the few books I did over the past four years. I listened. But even that wasn’t as fulfilling as reading a book.

So, I went back to Kindle – the app, not the device. And turns out my brain is much more primed to read digitally. The best thing is I use it on my phone, and I read five minutes at a time whenever I have a chance. Works perfectly for this stay-at-home, work-at-home mom. And I’m actually reading!

I just finished Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give and have started The Handmaid’s Tale.

Ah, but back to the point of this post. I purchased a few books about three months ago and have read none of them, unfortunately, despite my best efforts.

So, as I sit here wanting to pre-order Michelle Obama’s Becoming, I’m wondering for the first time, should I order the book or a kindle version? And I wonder what will be the last print book I order.

When Pandora was Life

I never come back to this blog because I don’t want to write “I’m-coming-back-to-this-blog” post. It seems so daunting. Do I have to update everything that I’ve done in the years since I’ve last posted? Do I have to apologize for the random few posts when my daughter was first born and I wanted to try out Amazon affiliates? Do I pretend like it never happened and start fresh?

I’ve decided upon: sit down and write. Write it like you used to write. I’m the same. Except I’m not.

The samely different, I think.

But I remember. I remember when Pandora was life. I loved my stations. I worked hard to create them. They were beautiful. They helped me write. They helped me run.

Two things that have fallen the way of Pandora.

Except I write every day. I did it. I’m a full-time, work from home curriculum write. Full time. Like for real. I’ve been plugging away at this for over a decade. Tiny little projects. Huge projects. Breaks from freelancing because it was too hard to maintain and still teach. And then I quit. Again. And then I panicked. For the first time ever. And I told myself – three applications a day until you get it. And I did.

And bam! A year later – a year of extreme sweat and sacrifice – my company brought in a quarter of a million dollars. Like seriously.

I made it.

The girl who dreamed of this. Who developed these playlists and listened to them ad nauseum plugging away at my life dreams.

I did it.

And this was the first week that I didn’t work an insane amount of hours, and I wanted to write something for myself. So, I dusted off — my, uh password? – and came back in here.

And guess what?

Pandora is playing. I started with the station made from my favorites. And they’re still favorites. It’s like a little slice of nostalgia.

Everything’s changed but it’s still exactly the same.

I don’t teach anymore. At least not for now. Who knows what will happen. But the fact that I actually left the classroom is monumental for me. It was such a huge part of my identity for so long. It was me. And now it’s not. And it’s weird. It’s really weird. I don’t miss it in my day-to-day life, but I miss it theoretically if that makes sense.

I’m a mom. For real. Of two kids (I’m ignoring those Amazon posts). A girl and a boy. And they’re my everything. They are the reason that I have pushed so hard for the past year. And you know what? It’s an amazing feeling to be able to care for them and feed them and buy things they want and need. It’s all I could have wanted.

Layla just came on. I always said I’d name my daughter Layla Rhiannon. I didn’t. Probably a good thing. But it’s good.

Life is good.

It’s not Pandora anymore, but it’s beautiful.


about the Rolling Stone cover

Over the past ten years, print journalism has suffered badly. One of the remaining bright spots in reporting and writing over this period has been Rolling Stone. This is evidenced by Matt Taibbi, who has been an extremely positive force in a very weak pool of reporters in this decade. He has written extraordinary pieces on the financial crisis, on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many contemporary social issues.

So, when Rolling Stone decides to feature Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover, I had to believe that it was for purely journalistic reasons. You see, in my mind, journalism not only seeks to tell the truth, but it tells the truth so well that it helps us to think.

I am so disappointed with the backlash over the Tsarnaev cover, with some news stands even pulling the issue from their racks. 

The editors at Rolling Stone didn’t try to make Tsarnaev look like a rock star. They merely printed a picture of a young man who – without our knowledge of what evil he is capable of – happens to look like the typical teen. Who happens to look like he wants to be a rock star.

And that is the very point. 

It is very troubling to me that there is expressed outrage over what this young man looks like on this cover. You see, we have been conditioned to believe that there is a certain way  a terrorist should look. He certainly shouldn’t look Americanized. He certainly shouldn’t look like a rock star. And he certainly shouldn’t look like he belongs on the cover of a rock magazine.

Except for the fact that we are talking about a magazine with exceptional journalistic practices and principles.

Further, had any of these detractors bothered to read the article before decrying the editorial decision, they might have realized exactly what Rolling Stone was trying to say.

There is no “other” in the war on terrorism. There is no easy way to identify a terrorist. And sometimes, there is no way to “Americanize” a child enough. 

AIDS/LifeCycle – Long Ride #1

The plan was to bike 65 miles last Saturday. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition sponsored a Three River Ride that included the Rio Hondo, the San Gabriel and the Los Angeles rivers. It was a 44-mile loop led by one of the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles.

Since G and I are training together for this, we decided that we would ride 10 miles to and from downtown Los Angeles to reach the necessary 65 miles.

I have to admit that setting an alarm for 6:30 on a Saturday after a long week of work was not my first choice to start off the weekend. My disdain for the plan was furthered by the fog that appeared once daylight hit downtown. But out the door I went.

The first 11 miles to the park (we were already off in our calculations) was a lot faster than we had planned, which made me feel really good about the start of the day. And at that point, I was warm and ready to go.

We met with a group of about 20 riders – most older than us. My initial comment was, I bet they’re faster than us anyways. And they were definitely faster than me, but they were extremely nice people. They were very caring and the whole group was attentive to each other and looked out for all of the riders. So, it was a lot of fun.

Which is probably why we rode five miles past our first turn off. This added an additional ten miles to my overall ride, which was good and bad. After having trained for a half marathon a couple of years ago, I try my hardest to keep increases in mileage reasonable at 10% per week, and at the moment that I figured out what the increase in miles meant, I had a brief moment of doubt. The truth was, though, I felt great.

We ended with the group around 64 miles, which meant taco time as a break. This is my second long ride, and both times I have had carne asada tacos to refuel. So, that might be a tradition for me. Who knows…

The next five miles were not too bad. I was definitely tired. The food gave me a little energy, but my legs were tiring quickly.

Then, we hit some really good head winds, which are my biggest enemy psychologically. I think they are going to become the equivalent to my “Mile 8 Issues” from running. So, I was less than thrilled to finish the ride.

But I do have to say that when all was said and done, I’m extremely proud of this ride.

The lessons from this ride:

  • Check the map! Even if other people are leading. Still check the map!
  • My hydration plan is not a good one. I can’t keep a solid pace and use a water bottle. I was planning on a CamelBak, and I guess that’s going to have to be sooner rather than later.
  • Eat. Eat. Eat. The day before mostly. I did a good job on this one, I think. 
  • Stop to reapply sunblock. 
  • Get more than six  hours of sleep the night before. Particularly if I’ve gotten six or less hours for consecutive nights. I don’t know how realistic that’s going to be for the next two weeks, but it’s a goal. This didn’t hurt my ride too much, but I was done for the rest of the day.