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Highlights include:

I have a new music crush. That is to say, I was listening to Kelly McKernan's Spotify and heard "Gun" by Emiliana Torrini. The track is very spare and echoey- starting out with some repetitive bass for tension and her soft and breathy vocals, gradually layered with some atmospheric guitar and soft drums, but still very stark. The lyrical content and concept piqued my interest, so I had to go back and listen again. Her voice has a cute Icelandic lilt and a slightly Bjork-esque timbre that I really like, but it's not experimental and accessible in a way that I don't need to be in a particular head space to listen to it. Ben calls her "Bjork-lite," but I don't know if that's really accurate. I have listened to the albums "Tookah" and "Me and Armini" on repeat. Working my way backwards through her catalog.

Ben and I tried a new sushi place. Sunday night, I was not in the mood to cook and I mentioned it had been a while since we'd had sushi. We looked at a number of places and settled on Atari-Ya because it was the closest one to our house that didn't look too sketchy.



The place actually looked legit, which I liked. We were the only patrons, though, which made me a little suspicious until I realized that it was Sunday night and there were playoffs. Since it was cold and rainy out, I wound up ordering tempura udon and sharing a rainbow roll with Ben. Both were really good. Even though there were a couple of restaurants further away that had slightly more appetizing Yelp photos, I have a feeling it's the place we're likely going to frequent.

Many visits to the Home Depot. I decided that I wanted a pegboard. Unfortunately, in the middle of shopping for said pegboard, I got a call from Ben saying the curio cabinet was going to get delivered, so I did not quite grab enough things. Also, the cheap plastic shelving I bought to try and make up for the lack of shelving was shattered on one side, so I went to exchange it.

I got my first ever pair of rain boots. I ordered them off Amazon, because there are holes in the soles of my fake uggs and even if there weren't they get soaked through easily. The rain boots have a cute flower print on them, but only on the rubbery part so it's kind of weird and unflattering 'cause my feet are not dainty. I don't care though, because any rain boots I'd get would be kind of unflattering. Of course, the oddly plentiful rain we've been getting that has been preventing me from going to the dog park seems to have let up, so I don't know when I'll get to use them, next.

I had a lunch date with Claire. It turned out to be a whole afternoon, really, since we didn't get back to Santa Maria until 5. We went to Bacon and Brine in Solvang. They changed their menu, so I could not order the sandwich I got before. I ordered the roast beet and arugula salad because I thought a sandwich would be too heavy and I planned to order their salted caramel bacon doughnut, but the salad was oddly salty, which did not pair well with the bitter arugula. They brought me a second one because I really couldn't handle it.. it was the first time I ever sent food back. And it was still a little salty because they salt the beets, but less salty than the original salad. I only finished a little bit of it, but they took it off the check, so it was fine. Plus the doughnut more than made up for it. The bacon was amazing. At least Claire's sandwich was fine. I think there was salt in the arugula because her side salad was weirdly salty, too. Anyway, we looked at all the cute tiny stuff in the stores, and then had ice cream and lost track of time talking about D&D, since she and Lawrence would be joining us for their very first campaign and I wanted to make sure she had an enjoyable and not terribly confusing experience.



This black raspberry ice cream was awesome, btw.

We finally started a new D&D Campaign. I miss Bob as DM, but Ben did a good job- arguably better than his first time DMing. Ben's co-worker, Sheryl, and her boyfriend Brian, who apparently hail from Raleigh, NC, originally, joined us, in addition to Claire and Lawrence. I'm just a little sad that we had to reschedule to Friday night instead of Saturday afternoon, because we didn't get to play as long as Ben and I would have liked and the next opportunity we'll have to play will probably be in March.



D&D would not be complete without cheesy poofs, so I bought one of these tubs.

My Christmas cello replacement arrived.



It is frickin' amazing. It's a Cecilio 4/4 student cello, and it's purple. I have named her Aubergine, not just because of the color, but after the Night Dodo in Cat Valente's Fairyland series. I think it's appropriate. Anyway, I can't remember if I mentioned it, but Ben got me a cello for Christmas. Unfortunately, it arrived damaged because they tried to ship it with the bridge installed, so the part between the f-holes was smashed up. So, it was sad, but I was kind of glad we had to return it because I found out that Cecilio makes purple ones.

She arrived on Tuesday, so I applied the finger tape and set up the bridge, but the pegs kept slipping, so I ordered some peg drops, which should be arriving next Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday, I tried tuning her again and had better luck keeping her in tune, so I messed around for maybe half an hour to try and get a feel for it. The only feel I got was a cramp in my bowing hand, so I gave her (and Ben's ears) a break. The next time I picked her up, I'd watched a couple of youtube videos on the proper way to sit and hold a bow. I'm guessing that I must be getting it right at least a little bit, since this time around my bowing hand didn't cramp up at all. Instead, I just felt a little fatigue from posture and movements I wasn't used to making.

Today, I screwed around just bowing in the morning. I picked her up again after dinner and practiced some scales I improvised based on a chart I found on the internet. I also ordered a copy of Cello Playing for Music Lovers: A Self-Teaching Method. Of course the reviews of the book varied, but I'm hoping it will be useful. I've kind of glazed over music theory and learning how to read music in the past, just going straight for playing songs by ear or by looking up chords in GTab. Pretty sure learning this instrument will be different, seeing that I will be focused on the instrument as the primary means of making music, as opposed to thinking of it more as accompaniment for myself.

It's kind of weird, starting a new instrument. I mean, I play guitar and ukulele, and I'm not great at either; just good enough to accompany my voice. I hit a wall with the guitar. I got a little further past that wall with the uke, probably because it was smaller and had fewer strings so fingering is easier. The cello... man. I will have to build some muscle memory. Bowing is awkward and challenging. Holding down the A-string is awkward and challenging. Holding down the A string and bowing it is really awkward and challenging. C G and D are kind of OK. I worry if it will be a lost cause because I'd love to be able to use it in some pieces eventually, but it's hard to imagine getting to the point where bowing is intuitive. It's only been three days, though.

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