Category Archives: My Life

Seeing Things

Scene 1:

I come downstairs to the sound of Fudge my pug barking. Thinking she wants to go out, I run towards the barks screaming, “I’M COMING!” because I’m afraid that she’ll pee in any second and I’ll have to deal with the complains and the mess. Instead, I find my mom sitting on the couch watching Heroes and Fudge still barking at something outside. My mom, knowing that I came down to let Fudge out, says that Fudge doesn’t need to go out. She’s only seeing spirits.

“What?” I say.

“Dogs can see spirits,” she says. “You didn’t know?”

“I’ve heard…but if Fudge is barking at a spirit that’s over there and you’re right here…aren’t you scared!?” I question. Automatically my mind goes to Paranormal Activity, and I shudder.(Notice how I don’t even question my mom)

“Nah, spirits are all around. And besides, they’re good.”

I stare out the dark window, but since I’m still a little creeped, I run upstairs.

Scene 2:

I just brought back the “dogs can see spirits” thing with my mom, and then said that I’ve read that baby’s can see spirits, too.

“Aren’t babies scared of what they’re seeing?” I say, truly concerned for my little brother. Oh, what he must have seen!

“First of all,” my mom says, “babies see angels, not ghosts. That’s why babies sometimes seem like they are looking at something that’s not there, and then suddenly laugh and smile out of the blue. They are seeing angels.”

Oh. I remember mom telling me about that a long time ago, when Johann(my brother) was still really tiny. I remember him doing just that, and I thought of how he must have seen his guardian angel. I thought that all this supernatural stuff was pretty fascinating.

Conclusions?

Dogs see spirits.

Babies see angels.

So what do cats see?

If dogs can see spirits, than cats can definitely see something, too. They even have better eyesight than dogs. So after thinking it over, I finally came up with this answer:

Cats can see angels and spirits, alright; they just don’t really give a crap.

Ah, those shameless cats.

11 Things I Love Right Now

  1. Eating Like a French
  2. Peanut Butter Banana Cinnamon Panini for breakfast 7 days a week
  3. Running
  4. us band geeks
  5. Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1
  6. Barbecue Sauce
  7. Holidays
  8. Carrot Cake
  9. Broiled t-bone
  10. the warm winter clothing
  11. *the family

Life’s been hard lately, so I wanted to post a few things that I am grateful for.

A Page a Day Keeps the Devil Away

That is, a page from the bible, of course. Inspired from the novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie, the main character, reads a page from the bible everyday.

Since I really have no clue about being Catholic besides a handful of prayers and some stories, where better to learn from than our holy book?? Personally, I can’t wait until I get to the “proverbs” chapter. I love wise sayings.

Hello, I’m a self-taught person who plays piano

Pianos are one of the most popular and beautiful instruments around. Just think about it: Those black and white keys have the ability to play any kind of emotion, any kind of singsong tune. It’s amazing! And once you learn how to play, it’s hard to stop. You can sing along to your favorite songs or rock out on classic classical. It’s no wonder I started to play piano.

Okay, so before I tell you my thought process that went into this decision of self-teaching myself, let me give you some kind of background. Everyone has their own story.

So, my interest started back in kindergarten. Someone had given us a keyboard, and I was fully aware of this new toy in our house. I tried playing songs at that time, but back then I was hoping that when I placed my fingers on the keys something would just happen. Nope. I wondered how music came out of this thing. Did one just randomly press keys? Because when I tried doing that to “Old MacDonald Had A Farm”, it wasn’t working out. And off I went telling my mom.

Turns out that my mom had been taught piano when she was younger, and was quite good. She hadn’t known the notes though, because she had learned by Do-Re-Mi (which I still don’t get to this day). Nonetheless, she agreed to teach me. We went and bought some random beginner piano books, and started playing. I had to learn the notes on my own, and so far I had barely known the G Clef. I would read the lessons and fill out the worksheets and follow the directions and strictly obey whatever the hell that book told me to do. I taped a piece of paper with the notes on it on the wall, and taped the note names down on the piano keys. Now I realize that relying solely on those notes instead of my memory was not the best idea, but I got along. I would learn the songs and play them to my mom, and when I got the “ok” to go ahead, I did. That was the start of my piano adventure.

Eventually, sometime after first grade, mom’s job got in the way. She stopped teaching, and I slowly stopped committing. It wasn’t until fifth grade that I started being interested again. That’s when I began band. Since we had to actually memorize the notes this time, I started to play better on piano. Using my friend’s old piano lesson books, I taught myself once again out of those. And somewhere along the way, I learned the Bass Clef.

I finally convinced my mom to enroll me in piano lessons in 6th grade. We even bought an actual piano! During those two years of piano lessons, I learned the basics and discovered that I didn’t perform well in front of crowds. I would start to shake, freeze up, get all stiff, panic, break a cold sweat, the works. But God knows that I worked hard. Once again, I was a late-starter. I’m used to being one of those. It’s a disadvantage, but I always pull through.

My first idea to self-teach was at my cousins’ house. They are two sisters, who have a natural ability to play. In and around the piano were scattered books and sheet music, remnants of how much time is spent there daily. Like me, their mother also used to play the piano. They were self-taught, and have turned out just fine. They took formal lessons briefly when they were older, but the majority of their years were purely independent. As I looked through piano books, a saw notes-to-self scribbled along the margins, and pencil marks dotting the staffs like ants . Their mom led them through a piano book filled with progressive songs that got more difficult farther into its pages, and they continued to and worked hard to keep on playing.

When I started talking to them about piano, I discovered that they had learned things through self-teaching that most likely wouldn’t be found in a formal class. Like me, they have found out that along the lines you gradually start to gather little nuggets of information here and there. You find things out on your own, you figure things out on your own, and you get wiser on your own time. I can’t explain it, but somehow all of the knowledge collected throughout studying and experience will piece itself together. My mom told me that she’s noticed a pattern; those she knows who have taken lessons when they were younger have long forgotten how to play, although the people who have taught themselves still play to this day (like my cousins and my uncle). They can play any time and anywhere, and most of them use some sort of chord technique to play. I have just started to delve into chords on my own. Because of studying genuinely based off of their own interests and decisions, it seems that they have developed a deeper  ground with their music. Of course, this pattern doesn’t apply to everyone, especially if a student is practicing to become a concert pianist or something close to that when he grows up. Or maybe they just have a born gift. I don’t know.  All I’m saying is that self-teaching isn’t half bad if you have the discipline to stick with it.

Finally, that life story is over. Moving on.

Here would be my most general guidelines for self-teaching piano, or basically trying to achieve any sort of goal in mind. This especially helps if you were born an introspective freak who over-analyzes things to the point of stress and frustration (That’s me!)

  1. Strong Determination Commit people! You aren’t going to become a genius __________ overnight. Don’t give up. Be a bull, be a big, bad bull!
  2. If You Love It, Why Stop? Eventually, if you think positive and keep moving forward, there’s no way you can’t improve, am I right? Just keep on swimming, keep on swimming, keep on swimming, swimming, swimming
  3. Set Goals GOAL WRITING ISN’T FOR WEENIES! It’s what gives you a drive to accomplish, some kind of motivation to keep going. Make it personal, and reward yourself with a victory donut when you succeed. If you don’t write your goals down, they are only wishes waiting to come true. (A little cheesy, but true) I keep post-its on my wall with a bunch of goals. And when I finish, I keep it to track my progress. Make goals positive and specific. Decide whether it will be long term or short term.Look up goal setting on the internet, there are tons of information about it.
  4. Never Think You Are The Best otherwise there will be no room for improvements
  5. Be Inspired Spark your imagination. Try to have your goals be always on your mind. This way you’ll always see opportunities to learn from. Things to do? Practice, find a role model, record tips, look up videos on youtube about interests, order books, anything to get you closer to what you want to be. Be proactive.

And Good Luck!

My first Pigout and One Day Lemon Cleanse

Today I have decided to do the One Day Lemon Cleanse. And like for everything, I have a pretty reasonable reason for doing this. Well, yesterday my family and I had decided to try this restaurant called Cheeburger Cheeburger. It’s this awesome place that is set up like a fifties diner, and let me tell you, ordering there is a lot of fun too! What makes this place so fun is that you get to concoct your own burger, and who wouldn’t want their own personalized piece of heaven? I mean, c’mon people. Anyway, you first have to pick your burger size and how you cook it. I got the smallest, which is The Classic, cooked to medium, the juiciest (Sounding good already). Next, you pick your cheese. I picked pepper jack. And finally, you pick the toppings. This is where the pandemonium begins. You get to pick AS MANY toppings as you want.(Including peanut butter on your hamburger!) And as first-timers, we were all pretty overwhelmed. They even had specialty toppings like bacon, which you had to pay extra for. (Because bacon just comes naturally to everyone). I decided to start out small though, so I got some honey mustard with lettuce and roasted red peppers. But making good stuff takes time, so they remind you to be patient and wait about 15 minutes for your burger. Okay, so I ate the burger, and it was delicious, as suspected. But the real reason I decided to take the lemon cleanse was because because of the dessert. For their milkshakes, you get to mix as many different flavors as you want! And they had about 70 flavors or so, which also equaled up to 3,000+ combinations. So I thought, “What the heck? Lets do it!”

Yeah, not so smart. It’s not like the milkshake wasn’t good, cause it was a dream come true. My combination was cinnamon bun and cookie dough, two of my favorite things. But about a quarter of the way through, I felt full. That cup was huge! And I’m not use to chugging stuff down all at once. That’s why I felt full when I had barely gone through half of it. So what did I do? I just kept on chugging.

And chugging.

And chugging.

After I finally devoured the remaining pieces of cookie dough at the bottom, my body basically slapped me in the face for not obeying it’s “I’m full you can stop feeding me now” signs. Long story short, I felt like I had to throw up. I didn’t feel like I wanted to, I felt like I had to. And being in that car didn’t really do any justice. I was like those kids at amusement parks who eat to many hot dogs, ride a roller coaster, and run to the trash can all green in the face, I felt so sickly and a little light-headed that I started tearing up.(I know have a new-found respect for that guy on Man vs. Food) I couldn’t eat another piece of food, especially something sweet. So what did I do? I laid like a potato on my bed trying to wait out this horrible feeling in my body while watching Kid in a Candy Store on Food Network (out of all the other channels on direct tv). Turns out that nothing can take away my love for food and cooking after all!

And that’s the story of my first serious pigout.

Big is most certainly NOT better......oi....

Now I do this cleanse to rid of all the bad stuff in my body and to leave me feeling new once again. Basically, the lemon cleanse is a drink made out of lemons, honey, white pepper, and water. It tastes pretty good, like a less sweeter version of lemonade. And the pepper gives it this tingle at the back of your throat. What is supposed to happen is that I’m only supposed to drink this drink every 1-2 hours without eating solid foods. It will then clean your body of harmful toxins and leave you feeling great!(That’ the part I’m looking forward to). I’m very curious as to how I’ll feel though, because I’ve never gone a day without eating solid food.(Except when I was a baby, but that doesn’t count) Most people think that this gives them an easy excuse to not eat anything and lose weight fast, but it’s not.(to be healthy, you have to change your lifestyle, and I don’t think you want to drink only lemonade for the rest of your life) It’s about the wellbeing of your body and how you feel ultimately feel, to make yourself feel fresh inside and out. (and if you really want to be serious, they even have a 10 day cleanse) Wish me luck!

You can get the instructions for the One Day Lemon Cleanse here.

Excuses

This past week, my computer has been acting really funny. Every time I try to upload or download, this pop-up comes up and matter-of-factly states, “Start-up disk is almost full; delete some files to free up some space.”

What in the world does this mean! Yup, it’s certainly stumped me. From my eyes, it’s like an omen saying, “you are doomed to never upload any more photos on your blog. EVER.” (But then again, that’s just me overreacting.) So, giving up oh so easily, I have stopped blogging for a number of days. I figured that I’ll just get back to it when mom calls Apple and fixes the problem. That gave me a fairly good reason for my “break”. But then, my mind started wandering back to the book, The Success Principles for Teens by Jack Canfield and Kent Healy. Given to me from my mom, this book has continually been  proving to be a motivational, inspirational, and priceless tool to work for the life I’ve always dreamed of; to be successful in my own view. And in one of the 20 Success Principles, I remembered a lesson about taking responsibility for my life, which explained how excuses just slow you down. I realized that I was using this glitch in my computer as a reason to stop writing, but then I realized how lazy and silly I was being. I don’t need pictures to blog! The main idea I started this blog was to simply write. Images are just a bonus :).