Buzzing Trumpet Mouthpiece

Since the boys are now taking trumpet lessons, I decided to ask their teacher to help me get started.  I had messed around with the trumpet some to encourage the boys to get started and then I stopped.  Any way, I was able to sort of play it.  But trying to buzz a melody through the mouthpiece seemed like an impossible task.  I was told to just relax and have fun with it… and yes, often adults have a lot more problems with it than kids.

Today when I picked up the mouthpiece, I tried to not over think the process and just messed with it.  Before I knew what was happening, I started thinking of it more like a kazoo and bingo!  I got it.  Yes, it’s not pretty and I can’t go that high yet, but I got the basics.

I think as adults we sometimes do put limitations on ourselves and handcuff ourselves to our preconceptions of how we should act and we worry about doing the “right” thing so people would look favorably on us.  I’d like to think that part of me is still rather childlike (hopefully not childish) and can be awed by the wonders around me.  So off I go to look and sound silly as I buzz through the house and not worry about “doing the right thing” and just experience the freedom to explore (responsibly of course).

Worry List

In college I was taught about keeping a worry list while praying.  Basically while praying, whenever something pops into my mind, instead of trying to remember it or stop praying to take care of it, to just have a worry list next to me, stop praying to quickly jot it down and then forget about it.

It’s a good practice that I need to get back to  in life.  So often there are little things that pops into our head, we can try so hard to not forget it that we end up messing up our current task, or if we stop to take care of that which popped into our heads, we never get back to what we were doing.

So now with phones and electronics all around us and my to-do list almost constantly next to me that are synced across platforms, I have no excuse but to start getting into the habit of using them and once they are on the list, to not to worry about them until I’m at a good stopping point.

Of course, like everything else.  Easier said than done and it will take time to get into the habit of using it and then not trying to get to the task right a way but to wait until when I’m good and ready…  So back to other tasks now…

News Reports

We’ve been following the news regarding the impact of Hurricane Harvey.  It’s always sad seeing homes destroyed and people stranded.  But then I started wondering how wide spread is the devastation?

I remember years ago there was flooding along the Willamette River and people began calling my parents to make sure that we were not sitting under water.  Well, the flooding literally was just along the river but the reporting made it sound like the whole of Portland was being threatened.

Then I started thinking about when I was in Kindergarten, one time probably after a Typhoon, part of the school field was flooded.  The water was probably chest deep (okay I wasn’t a big kindergartner) and the bus driver had to pick us up one by one and carry us to the bus just outside of the gate.  I can imagine if the camera was only zoomed in on the effort, it would probably appear as some heroic rescue of little children from a major flood.  Hum…

So anyway, I started wondering about the degree of flooding.  Of course I’m not dismissing that there is bad flooding in certain areas around Texas, nor am I down playing the suffering of the people impacted by the hurricane, but I am wondering about the degree of the impact especially when I have friends living near Huston complaining about being stuck with the kids at home for a whole week.  That doesn’t sound like major storm impact.

I remember after Katrina, there were aerial view and maps of the parts of New Orleans under water which is rather lacking here.  Also, knowing that yes flooding will be a problem for some  in the low lying areas, but given that the whole area is pretty flat so the water would probably be more spread out and there won’t be significant run off into just one small region.  Thankfully unlike New Orleans, the area is not below sea level so the water does have a chance to drain into the ocean.  So my hope is that the flooding and destruction is not as bad as what the media is making it out to be.

Again, I’m not dismissing the problem being faced by those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed or even those who had suffered minor flooding in their home since even an inch of water in the house can cause significant head aches and repair costs to the owners.  But it is worthwhile whenever we watch or read some news report to think through it critically and not to make broad general assumptions.  No, the whole of Houston is not under water :).

Ionic Covalent Bonds

Ah chemistry time in co-op.  The subject of ionic and covalent bonds came up and I could not remember which and some of the additional information associated with the bonds.  So quick review…

Ionic… I own it.

Keep an eye on (anion) the negative attitude of the non-metal that stole the electron (maybe the non-metal is so negative because it is jealous of the metal’s shininess)  and on the other side  cat eye (cation) is positively shiny, just like metals.

Covalent – they COoperate and share what they have so each side has what it needs.

If I own the stuff, I’m not going to give it back so easily, so in general, it takes more energy to break apart an ionic bond thus it’s in general a stronger bond.

That’s it for a quick chemistry review…

Praying for people affected by Hurricane Harvey

So sorry to hear that Hurricane Harvey took on so much more power before landfall.  I’m glad that it was not a direct hit on Corpus Christie.  But as it is, we know a number of people who will be affected by Harvey.

It’s always hard when natural disasters hit.  I think part of it is that sometimes we do have the Star Trek false sense of belief that someone we can control nature.  Yes, we have made a lot of advancements in terms of controlling our environment.  We have been blessed through irrigation technology and the ease of transportation to have plenty of food though sometimes we do complain about the prices when there are some agricultural difficulties in producing the foods we want.  For the most part, we live under decent shelter and have our indoor temperatures well moderated.  If we get sick for the most part, we expect the doctors to be able to solve our problems.

So, we are quite comfortable and in comparison to people of the past and of other cultures, we are quite well off and our lives are very sheltered.  I think that’s why when things like Hurricane hits, it’s much harder for us to deal with it because it exposes our vulnerability and how we are anything but in control.

I’m praying for those in Harvey’s path that they will be okay and be able to recover quickly.  But I’m also praying for the realization and the remembrance that I need to be thankful for the good that I receive every day as it is the grace of God but also to recognize that life is not mine to control and to live accordingly.

I Sound Awful

My little guy was sick last week and since I had already written the check for the boys’ trumpet lesson so I decided to ask if I can just take his place.  I had messed around with the trumpet a bit before when they were first getting started with the horn so it’s not the first time that I’ve tried to play it.  But it has been a while since then.  Though I was surprised that I was able to buzz better than I had before.  Thinking more about the air stream rather than the buzz helped a lot.

Yes, I was able to play around some in the Essential Elements Book 1 and more or less hit the right notes.  But oh the tone was awful.  I’m glad that I have messed with enough instruments to know that this is the normal learning curve.  There’s usually a big hump in the beginning just to consistently make some reasonable sound.  Then it’s kind of fun just messing around for awhile then all the little details begin to become important for improvement.

Unfortunately, music instrument is one that kids often quit before they get really good.  Band or orchestra is great because the group motivates the student to continue practicing.  But sports often takes precedence over music.  I think sports in many ways is easier.  You only practice while you are with others, there is a lot more freedom in sports as opposed to music where for the most part you need to follow the directions on the printed music (unless it’s jazz) and it’s the same thing over and over again until the group comes together to perform.  And if you talk to any teacher of solo instruments they often see the big drop off once the students hit high school.

I’m glad for the opportunities that many schools offer for kids to learn a music instrument.  I do wish that more kids would stay with music because studies have shown that playing music is good for the mind and I do think it takes discipline.  Yes, even if it sounds awful in the beginning and there are times when it is kind of boring working on the same things to get it right.  But I think in the end it builds character and isn’t that one of the more important things for success in life?

Annoying Webpage Ads

Have you ever been annoyed by all those ads on some people’s webpages?  I am not opposed to ads as they do supports some great materials to be available online.  Even things like on YouTube where you need to watch certain amount of ads before getting to the content of interest, yes they get annoying but I think of them in terms of TV ads so you are receiving the benefit of the content through the support of the companies (although, not having the same ones keep coming up would be great and being able to tailor the ads of choice would be great, but I’m not complaining).

The ones that I really mind are the ones on the website that are almost virus like.  It gets in the way of seeing the content you want and so many things pops up left and right and right over the content that you want and sometimes due to slow connection, the ads are taking up so much bandwidth that the information you were looking for is no longer of interest and you are just desperately trying to extricate yourself from the tangle of ads and popups.  There are also pages that have so many ads that you wonder where the real contents are.  You can’t get through three sentences without being confronted with an ad.  I hope that people who do that realize that they are actually discouraging people from going to their site.

Today, I was trying to print a page from my phone and the print preview just kept having ads show up so I finally quit.  I would have put a link to the page, but decided that I do not want anyone else to suffer the same fate as I did.

So if you are planning on placing ads on your site.  Please preview them to make sure that they are not unambitious and virus like in their behavior.

Okay, that’s my rant for the day.  Hope you have a great and frustration free day.

Lasagna for a crowd

Yea!  I did manage to make the 24 serving lasagna without any major mishap.  I think the serving size is a bit on the low side as I did supplement with couple loaves of bread and couple heads of lettuce for salad.  Here’s the recipe with what I ended up using.  Unfortunately, I was not there to serve it and so it was not pre-cut so someone at some point took all the mozzarella off the top.

Note to self.  Next time try using an offset spatula to spread the ricotta mixture.  And pre-cut the squares.  Also just heard that some lemon juice with the mozzarella sometimes helps it not to be one stringy thing so I might try that next time.

The nice thing about this is that I can do this early, stick it in the oven and not worry about it while getting other things done.  Two hotel size pans can fit in my oven at once (just need to increase the time).

Print Recipe
Lasagna for a crowd
Get a hotel size pan and get ready to feed a crowd!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 hours
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Ricotta Mixture
Meat mixture
Additional ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 hours
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Ricotta Mixture
Meat mixture
Additional ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mix together the ricotta mixture and set aside.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic. Add the rest of the meat mixture ingredients and cook until done.
  3. Assemble the lasagna starting with sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then three layers of finish with sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and cook for 1-1/2 hours.
  5. Let rest for 15-30 minutes. Enjoy!
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Dragon Scales

My girls always like to comment that I have dragon scales when it comes to heat.  It seem like I have an abnormally high tolerance for heat.  I never thought that being able to occasionally tap my way around an hot oven with bare hands and cooking over a full extra size gas burner was that big of a deal until one day working with of of my boys with a low temp hot glue (it’s low temp right?) that some of it got on his hand.  I was very nonchalant about it and told him to just wipe it off.  Ops, he ended up with a blister–so sorry…  But blister or not, I should have been more understanding.

Some times it’s easy forget that we all have different sensitivity levels in life whether it’s towards heat, or pain, or our emotions.  It’s so easy to assume that others have the same tolerance that we do and accidentally hurt them, or vice versa like my girls sometimes are amazed when I actually reach for hot pads while cooking.  So likewise sometimes because a person may have a higher tolerance level, others can become less caring because they don’t think what is being done or requested matters.

I have over time become more aware about the fact that I seem to have a higher level of tolerance in many areas of life and I can’t assume the same about others.  Also, sometimes just because someone does not seem to show signs of wear and tear it is no reason to assume that all is well.  Like I said, I still do reach for that hot pad from time to time, even if I know there’s little chance I’ll end up with a blister from handling the hot stuff.

Cooking for a crowd

Recently I’ve taken up the task of cooking for a dinner at church on a fairly regular basis, so I started to search for “cooking for a crowd.”  It was really sad that I’d get recipes that has 6 servings and that is defined as a crowd.  I guess I’m always cooking for a crowd then.  And maybe having hung around too many home school families with families of unusual size (okay I like Princess Bride and the ROUS’s reference–rodents of unusual size and that’s almost how people today react to even our family with just four kids), six almost seem like a non consequential number when it comes to cooking.

At some point, I’ve done full multi course meals for up to 50 people and since I like baking, I’ve done enough to feed people at church functions.  So I guess my definition of a crowd is also rather skewed.

Anyway, then I stumbled onto cooking with hotel size pans.  Now, that’s what I mean by cooking for a crowd.  If started off when I stumbled onto this lasagna recipe.  Then it ballooned into school cafeteria recipes and I think food bank type homeless shelter recipes.  Okay, it does bring back some bad memories of school days where the rice was still crunchy and the meat felt like leather, and the vegetables were mush, but not all cafeteria food were bad.  I remember sophomore year in college staying in a school owned but privately operated dorm that was just two blocks from my department building.  For the most part, the food was great, the service was great and it was cheaper than the regular dorms to boot.

I have not tried any of these recipes yet, but I will try to comment on how things went as I start down this journey of baking in hotel size pans.  I will start with the lasagna recipe tomorrow and then go from there.