Author Archives: Brinestone

I got a piano!

I started piano lessons when I was almost five years old, and by the time I was a senior in high school, I was pretty good. I’ve never been precise enough to be amazingly good, but I’ve been told I have a nice touch, and I love playing with tempos and dynamics to make a song come alive. I later learned to play the flute and also got heavily involved in choirs, but through it all, I considered myself a pianist first.

But since my sophomore year of college, I haven’t had an accessible piano, so I haven’t been practicing more than a few times a year. Even then, I’m not practicing. I’m just playing songs I already know. As is to be expected, living without a piano for over five years has been really bad for my abilities. When I sit down to play, I often feel embarassed that I stumble through songs that once were easy for me.

When Jon Boy and I were engaged, my lovely, generous, eccentric Granny offered to buy me a piano as a wedding gift. I was floored, but after talking with Jon Boy about it, we decided that the time wasn’t right. First of all, we had no room in our little apartment for a piano, and second of all, we knew we’d be moving a lot in the next few years. Time went by. I figured Granny had completely forgotten about the piano idea, and I was okay with it.

But about two weeks ago, my mom was browsing Craigslist. She accidentally came across a beautiful, perfect-condition Yamaha console piano for $1000. Now, if you know pianos at all, you know that cheap-o, non-name-brand pianos in perfect condition don’t sell for $1000. Yamahas are not cheap-o pianos. No, they’re not Steinways or even Baldwins, but they are definitely considered one of the better pianos to buy.

So my mom called up Granny, who agreed to buy the piano. My family then brought it over here a week ago in a U-Haul (packed securely inside by the seller’s professional movers). The hard part was getting it from the U-Haul to its home in Lego’s room (the only place we had room for it).

But, oh my gosh, it is beautiful. It’s not in tune yet (apparently you’re supposed to let it acclimate for a month first), but the sound is lovely, the touch is just how I like it, and there’s not a single scratch on it. I can’t find the exact model on Yamaha’s website, so I guess Yamaha doesn’t sell it anymore. But it’s somewhere along the lines of this one.

And luckily, Lego is finally getting bored with banging on it while I play, which means I actually get to play in peace sometimes.

Daddy-Daughter Date

Ambrosia’s post today reminded me of this one time that my dad took me on a date. I was probably seven or eight at the time, and we decided to go out for dessert. I ordered a brownie sundae, and it was delicious and rich. About halfway through I realized I would never be able to finish it.

Once I declared that I couldn’t eat another bite, my dad poured steak sauce, salt and pepper, horseradish, and various other condiments on it. I was terribly embarrassed. My dad assured me that my food would not have been used anyway and that it would not go to waste any more now that it was covered in sauce than it would have without all the decoration. I didn’t care. I could only think about what the waiter would think of us when he came back to get our plates.

I guess I must have seemed really put out by it because after we left the restaurant, my dad drove us to the grocery store. Inside the store was a table stacked high with Barbies in spring-themed dresses, hats, and yellow shoes. He bought me one. I was floored; I had never gotten a toy just because before. The Barbie wasn’t the prettiest one I owned, and the dress was kind of ugly, but I loved that Barbie because my dad had gotten it for me.

I later learned that he had bought me the Barbie to make up for “ruining” the date by pouring stuff on my ice cream and brownie. I know I went on other daddy-daughter dates, but this is the only one I actually remember. I guess my dad was onto something with that steak-sauce ice cream.

Soliciting Feedback

Okay, so I’ve gone through several iterations of blog design, and I’m starting to realize that design really isn’t my strong suit. So I need some feedback:

1) White picket fence: yes or no?

2) If I go with the white picket fence, is the shade of blue I’m using the best option for the background of the rest? What other options do I have?

3) The font in the header was green before. Now it’s dark brown. I’m not sure I like either all that much. Any suggestions on something else? Maybe a darker shade of the background blue?

4) If I were to take down the fence (get it?), I would change the color scheme entirely. I’m thinking of a very cool light tan (khaki or somewhat darker) with brick red and coffee brown accents (text, headers, links, etc.). Does that sound more appealing than blue and white with a picket fence? Which is more “me”? (Yeah, I know I should know that more than any of you . . . )

Thanks for any help you can offer. 🙂

Freelance Editing

I posted a while back about how great my freelance editing job was. The sad thing is, the writers I was working for are now working on a project with its own editor, so they don’t need me for the time being. I don’t know when I will be needed again.

Since then, I have been applying to one or two freelance jobs per week. I only apply to jobs I feel well qualified for, but I have yet to hear back from any of them. Well, there was that one guy who wanted me to edit his website. He emailed me back asking for rates for proofreading and a heavy edit, and I gave them to him. Then he said he’d do the html part, and I wrote back asking if that meant he wanted me to do the rest. He never wrote back.

I’m beginning to wonder what the freelance market is like. Do most people start freelancing after their careers are well established? Are most of the people competing against me editors with over ten years of experience? Are my rates too high? Am I missing out on jobs simply because I’m not local (even though the ads say that telecommuting is okay)? I know my resume and cover letter are strong for someone of my experience. So why does no one want to hire me?

I kind of suspect it’s that I’m not local to many of the jobs I apply for. Some jobs explicitly say they need someone to work on site, and these jobs are always in New York City or Boston or Washington, DC. I have to wonder how many freelancers there are in these cities. There must be enough that companies can say they want someone local and actually get it.

And that makes me wonder if trying to get several hours of freelancing per week is foolish for someone who lives far from any major publishing city. Maybe I should give up and go work for the gym my friend told me about. They hire mothers to watch other people’s kids while they exercise, and you can bring along your own kid. Thing is, it pays dirt. But dirt’s better than what I’m getting from the freelancing I’m not exactly doing right now.