Creating Music (Notation) Together

My wife, Angela, stud­ied music for the first cou­ple of years at col­lege. She plays the flute and still per­forms a few times a year (most­ly at our church). How­ev­er, in all the years we’ve been togeth­er, we’ve nev­er actu­al­ly played any music togeth­er. In fact, we haven’t real­ly cre­at­ed many projects togeth­er (aside from two kids and numer­ous DIY house projects, of course).

Well, a cou­ple of weeks ago Angela was asked to play a short piece of her choos­ing at a Wednes­day night church event. She decid­ed it would be fun to have out daugh­ter and anoth­er young per­son from church, both of whom also play flute, to play a wood­wind trio. Angela picked one of her favorite hymns and asked me to tran­scribe it using Mus­eScore. Oth­er than help­ing the kids search that site for some piano sheet music, I did­n’t have much expe­ri­ence with it or the desk­top appli­ca­tion.

After a few min­utes, I had the piano tre­ble clef tran­scribed in a file. I dupli­cate that part into two copies. Then came the fun part. Using the arrow keys to start re-arrang­ing the piece. When I told it what instru­ment would be used for each part (in this case, a flute trio), it hand­i­ly would col­or code notes that were get­ting out­side the range of that instru­ment. Now, I don’t actu­al­ly play the flute and aside from that note range and the knowl­edge that a flute can’t real­ly play one than more note at a time, I con­sid­ered this a first pass. Angela then went through the piece and indi­cat­ed what notes need adjust­ing (a lot of them). She also bor­rowed from the bass clef and added in some flour­ish­es of her own lik­ing. The play­back isn’t per­fect (you’d nev­er think you were list­ing to any­thing oth­er than syn­the­sized instru­ments) but it’s very help­ful in arrang­ing. What’s more, Angela and I got to work on some­thing cre­ative togeth­er!

The three of them played the piece last night at the can­dle­light ser­vice. I though it sound­ed great but as I end­ed up as the litur­gist, I did­n’t get to record them per­form­ing. But, you can at least see and hear the piece here:

Today We All Are Called to Be Dis­ci­ples Flute Trio by amdy­er

Happy Christmas, 2007

While it’s not exact­ly the rea­son for the sea­son, watch­ing Angela rock out to her new copy of Gui­tar Hero III — Leg­ends of Rock (Wii) in her PJ’s is a pret­ty good rea­son to love Christ­mas morn­ing. That kind of sums up the Christ­mas we’re hav­ing here in Rich­mond this year. We’ve been just relax­ing, hang­ing out around the house, and enjoy­ing Ains­ley’s first Christ­mas. That includes play­ing lots of Nin­ten­do.

Beginning Rock Godess

As much as I thought I was pret­ty hard­core for hav­ing been able to rock Ains­ley to sleep by play­ing a cou­ple of hours of Metroid Prime 3: Cor­rup­tion, I was yet again shown up by Ange­la’s amaz­ing mul­ti-task­ing skills. She was able to play Super Mario Galaxy while feed­ing Ains­ley. There has to be sev­er­al rea­sons why I could­n’t do that myself…

So, any­way, have a very hap­py Christ­mas this year and enjoy what­ev­er hol­i­days you and your fam­i­ly cel­e­brate!

Ch-ch-changes!

First of all, let me announce what is prob­a­bly the worst kept secret since we announced we were preg­nant: Angela and I have made the deci­sion to move to Franklin, TN (that’s near Nashville for you non-Ten­nesseans). We had been dis­cussing the idea of doing so since July. When I say dis­cussing, I mean Angela kept try­ing to con­vince me we should move and I kept try­ing to con­vince her we should stay in Rich­mond.

I caved.

Then, just a cou­ple of days before she moved back to work, her com­pa­ny post­ed open­ings for her posi­tion in Franklin. She saw this when she returned from mater­ni­ty leave and they said a trans­fer was pos­si­ble. Instead of wait­ing until next year, as I had final­ly agreed to do, we would be mov­ing at the end of this year. I felt like there was no way we would be able to move soon­er and that this was the least I could do for my employ­er (I work for a fair­ly small branch office of a rel­a­tive­ly small com­pa­ny, so it just seemed the right thing to give them as much notice as pos­si­ble).

We’ve put our beloved Colo­nial up for sale here and found some nice tem­po­rary hous­ing in Franklin, very close to Ange­la’s work. Angela of course has her job lined up to change over, although the appli­ca­tion process for her to get a license in a dif­fer­ent state is very long and com­pli­cat­ed. It’s all in place now, though.

I, on the oth­er hand, was­n’t so sure about what I’d be doing for work. I’ll expand on that more next week, though. I haven’t post­ed in quite a while and I would­n’t want to sprain a thumb or some­thing writ­ing too much. For now, though, I’ll just say that it has been an excit­ing turn and it’s got me look­ing for­ward to all this change after all…

Ains­ley? Oh, she seems to be grow­ing by the hour. Of course, that was the one bit of change we were expect­ing.

A Nice Spring Weekend

Angela and I had a relax­ing few days (most­ly) at home over the past week­end.

We spent most of the week­end at home, although Fri­day night we went to pick up our race num­bers for the fol­low­ing morn­ing’s 10k as well as hit the gro­cery store for the first time in weeks. We cleaned up the kitchen that evening as friends were com­ing over the next day.

I guess most peo­ple don’t con­sid­er run­ning 6.2 miles ear­ly on Sat­ur­day morn­ing relax­ing, but it real­ly did feel that way. This week­end was the Mon­u­ment Ave 10k, Rich­mond’s largest race, with about 25,000 entrants. Run­ning the big races in Rich­mond is a lot of fun, as I’ve said many times before, because of all the crowds that come out. Sat­ur­day, with near­ly per­fect run­ning weath­er, was no excep­tion. Angela and I rode with our neigh­bor, Teri, down to the race, along with friends Meredi­z­zle and Jess (who I dubbed “wing-nut” this week­end for no real­ly good rea­son). We were run­ning a lit­tle late, which end­ed up work­ing out just per­fect­ly. After rush­ing to get my bag checked in, I made it to the start line just about a minute before my coral start­ed. I had a good race. Even though I was about five min­utes over my best 10k time, I felt great after cross­ing the fin­ish line. Prob­a­bly a sign I could have pushed hard­er but also a sign I’m not that bad out of shape, either.

That after­noon, a bunch of friends came over for lunch off the grill (ham­burg­ers, most­ly) as well as play­ing the Wii. We sat around talk­ing and get­ting to know one anoth­er for quite a while (we have a num­ber of friends who don’t yet know our oth­er friends, like most every­one does). Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this meant that not every­one got to play the Wii as much as we would have liked. Also, it meant that I did­n’t get embar­rass­ing pho­tos of peo­ple play­ing Wario Ware.

Sun­day after­noon, we went to a baby show­er for one of Ange­la’s co-work­ers held at yet anoth­er of her co-work­er’s home. I have to say, if more baby show­ers were like this, I bet folks would­n’t dread them so much, espe­cial­ly males. There was a keg of local micro-brew, great music, and good food. I had met the cou­ple before and enjoyed get­ting to talk to them (well, actu­al­ly, most­ly him) more. The host, his girl­friend, and the rest of the guests (again, a lot of Ange­la’s new co-work­ers) were all lots of fun to talk with, as well. We love the peo­ple at Ange­la’s old job and miss them. How­ev­er, it was great to know she’s again work­ing with a bunch of nice folks who are fun to spend time with.

Inci­den­tal­ly, hav­ing co-ed baby show­ers is prob­a­bly much more com­mon now. Not that dads-to-be did­n’t have any inter­est in their chil­dren before, it’s just that now we don’t feel this need to hide it1. Read­ing some great sites online writ­ten by dads as well as talk­ing with oth­er cur­rent and soon-to-be dads has real­ly done a lot for me, both in encour­age­ment and in excite­ment. Any­way, Angela and I have agreed that hav­ing a dads-are-wel­come baby show­er is real­ly the way to go. Of course, there was at least one mom­my at the baby show­er who seemed to be upset.

“Why is he open­ing the presents?”

Well, maybe because he has an inter­est in his daugh­ter, too, just like she does.

  1. I’ll write more about it after I’m done with Preg­nan­cy Sucks – For Men, but the book I’m read­ing right now kind of falls into this. It was the only preg­nan­cy book for men I could find and it plays up the whole dads-are-too-man­ly-to-care-about-preg­nan­cy thing. I’m not just try­ing to do stuff because that gets my nag­ging wife off my back. She’s not nag­ging, actu­al­ly, and I gen­uine­ly am excit­ed about being a dad. []

How I Know I’ll Be Married A Long Time — Part III

This past week­end, it had final­ly got­ten warm enough I could no longer put off my duties as house grounds keep­er. I spent part of Sat­ur­day trim­ming, edg­ing, weed­ing and mow­ing. After Angela got home around 6:00 pm, I wrapped up and took a show­er. After­wards, I decid­ed it was time to shave the beard off for the Spring. Pale, sweaty guys are dis­gust­ing enough. You add a beard on them, and man, good luck hold­ing down your lunch.

As Angela stood there with a cer­tain smile on her face that only comes from months of antic­i­pa­tion (not a fan of the beard, that one), she said to me:

“Now you’re going to have change you Mii as well.”

I was think­ing the exact same thing.

We’re Having A Baby

Well, it’s prob­a­bly the worst kept secret of our lives, but just so the whole world knows:

We're Pregnant!

…and we’re both real­ly excit­ed. We had our first doc­tor’s vis­it this after­noon and every­thing looks great! So, around late August the whole world will get to know baby Cole­man-Dyer (or Dyer-Cole­man, we’re still work­ing that out).

We’ve been dying to tell every­one, and lord knows Ange­la’s spilled the beans enough, but just want­ed to wait out the until going to see the doc­tor. We’re both real­ly neu­rot­ic like that, as you all know. How­ev­er, I’ve been post­ing stuff here and else­where online over the past few weeks for my own san­i­ty. Just look back through my Flickr account or here for any­thing tagged ‘baby.’ No, you did­n’t miss it before. It was just all marked as pri­vate until tonight.

It’s so weird, I’ve nev­er been actu­al­ly ner­vous about writ­ing a blog post before but I am now. I’m not even real­ly sure why, but I am. We were real­ly ner­vous when we told fam­i­ly, too. It’s just such big news (good news, though) and we real­ly have no idea how to tell peo­ple. Every­one has been real­ly excit­ed for us and we’re just as excit­ed to share the news.

So, We’re Pregnant

About 7:00am on Sat­ur­day morn­ing (Nov. 16th), Angela ran into the bed­room, threw off the cov­ers, and yanked me by the arm.

“Come here. You need to see this.”

Of all the thoughts run­ning through my head (not that many, since I was still most­ly asleep), none of them had any­thing to do with fam­i­ly. I nat­u­ral­ly thought some­thing was wrong or that she was angry with me (both hap­pen from time to time). Most­ly I just fig­ured the dogs were doing some­thing she want­ed me to see since that hap­pens a lot. How­ev­er, when she turned back around to me stand­ing at the sink hold­ing a lit­tle white plas­tic stick I was kind of shocked.

First Pregnancy Test

“Does that look like a plus sign to you?”

“Uh, yeah. Yeah, it real­ly does.”

“Okay. Lis­ten to this: ‘It does not mat­ter if the plus sign is light or dark. A plus sign means you are preg­nant.’ Hon­ey, I think we’re preg­nant.”

“Oh! Well, okay then. We’re preg­nant. Wow, that did­n’t take long.”

I’ll spare you all the details, but here’s why I said that: we had sex with­out using con­tra­cep­tives twice. The hor­ror sto­ries you heard about get­ting preg­nant if you don’t use ‘pro­tec­tion’? The ones which you scoffed at say­ing it was so unlike­ly to hap­pen the first time or two that you need­n’t wor­ry? You were wrong, they were right. Appar­ent­ly we rolled some pret­ty amaz­ing dice on this one. Shoot me for say­ing so, but I so wished we’d put our pants on an dri­ven up to Atlantic city that morn­ing. Hey, we could have paid for a lot of dia­pers and pri­vate school. That’s all I’m say­ing…

Short­ly there­after, Angela noticed that the preg­nan­cy test she used had expired six months ago. She’d done some short research dur­ing phar­ma­cy school on var­i­ous preg­nan­cy tests and their effi­ca­cy but she was­n’t sure about how reli­able they were after their expi­ra­tion date. We decid­ed we’d try again the next day. That day was spent over in Char­lottesville with Meg and Travis. We went to a win­ery, out to lunch, on a short day-hike, and then out to din­ner. I know it had to suck for Angela to watch me sam­ple wines at the win­ery under the white lie that she had an upset stom­ach, so I don’t plan to do that to her in the future. We had sched­uled the win­ery vis­it some­time ear­li­er and did­n’t want to change plans at the risk of rais­ing sus­pi­cion. On the dri­ve home, we stopped off at the local 24 hour, chain phar­ma­cy to pick up anoth­er preg­nan­cy test.

The direc­tions said it could be used any time of day (most say morn­ing only) and might take up to three min­utes to pro­vide a result. Well, it turns out Angela is so preg­nant it took about thir­ty sec­onds to read “Preg­nant!” So, with­out any real doubt:

We’re hav­ing a baby!

Uh Huh

Now, why all the screwed up time­line? Why am I writ­ing about some­thing just after it hap­pened and you did­n’t hear about it until some­time lat­er? Well, we’re only about a month preg­nant (or less) at this point. Right now, there’s some­thing small­er than a raisin in Ange­la’s low­er bel­ly and hav­ing nev­er gone through this before, we sim­ply don’t know what’s going to hap­pen to her body and with the preg­nan­cy. We’re hold­ing off on the news with pret­ty much every­one until Angela sees her doc­tor and has a check­up. Until then, we’re read­ing every book imag­in­able and try­ing to plan for some­thing we real­ly have lit­tle idea what to do for. Oth­er­wise, we’re real­ly excit­ed. Also, to tell the truth, I feel incred­i­bly guilty for not telling every­one. I want to so bad­ly but I also don’t want to try and assume too much.

Surprise Birthday Party

Upon return­ing to Rich­mond after the VA Beach Half-marathon, we were pret­ty much in the mood to take it easy. We spent most of the time here around the house, all being pret­ty tired. Mon­day morn­ing was labor day, and Jason J. treat­ed the house to a big stack of waf­fles. Now, I hear that some folks down in Cookeville take their waf­fles pret­ty seri­ous­ly, and Jason seems to know what he’s doing (although, I’d put Ange­la’s bak­ing up against any­bod­ies — have I men­tioned what a lucky hus­band I am?). He even made sure we had some maple syrup to top off those square grids of deli­cious­ness. Hav­ing had a rather large break­fast at around 11:00 am, none of us felt much need for lunch. Jason, Matt, and I stayed home with me hang­ing up some pho­to frames while Angela and Sta­cie went shoe shop­ping.

On The Lee Pedestrian Bridge

Me, Angela, Jason J., Sta­cie, and Matt all pose for a pho­to on the Lee Pedes­tri­an Bridge in Rich­mond, VA.

That after­noon, we drove around Rich­mond for a lit­tle while since Matt had nev­er been here before. We stopped at Tre­de­gar Iron Works and walked over the Lee Pedes­tri­an Bridge. I had hopes of tak­ing some pho­tographs of the bridge for wall art, but as it turned out, Angela had some secret plans which required get­ting back home. In my bliss­ful igno­rance, I drove us back home. Jason, Matt, and I went off on some­thing of a fool’s errand while Angela and Sta­cie stayed behind (Jason claimed he want­ed to buy a mem­o­ry card read­er). We hur­ried and then wait­ed while Jason was receiv­ing radio com­mands from the moth­er­ship as to when we were to arrive back home. I remained unaware that I was the cen­tral pawn in much larg­er events than elec­tron­ics or gro­cery shop­ping. Upon return­ing home, the only strange tip-off I might have got­ten was that there seemed to be a lot of traf­fic on our block. I mut­tered to myself that the neigh­bors must have com­pa­ny over. As I opened the front door to our house:

Sur­prise!

More Party GoersParty Goers

Lot’s of smil­ing faces; per­haps because they’d nev­er seen me so speech­less before.

…a liv­ing room full of all our friends! Angela had thrown togeth­er a sur­prise par­ty for my 30th birth­day. I had been com­plete­ly fooled. I mean, who expects a sur­prise birth­day par­ty ten days after their birth­day, par­tic­u­lar­ly when their wife’s birth­day is in two more days? I was com­plete­ly at a loss for words for the next fif­teen min­utes, which is unlike me around our friends and fam­i­ly. I dis­tinct­ly remem­ber ask­ing my friend Travis when his 30th birth­day was com­ing around and he kind­ly remind­ed me it had been months ear­li­er, and I had been at his sur­prise par­ty (although he appar­ent­ly had fig­ured out what was going on before hand, unlike me).

Well, Angela had got­ten us ten Bot­tom’s Up piz­zas and a large assort­ment of cup­cakes for food. Instead of just hav­ing every­body bring me presents, we had a White Ele­phant par­ty (called a Dirty San­ta par­ty in my fam­i­ly at Christ­mas). That proved to be great fun, and far bet­ter than just watch­ing the birth­day boy open up a bunch of cards. You can see some of the best pho­tos from the par­ty on Flickr. We had all the peo­ple who had birth­day’s in the months of August and Sep­tem­ber get togeth­er for the singing of Hap­py Birth­day, which proved to be about a third of the par­ty.

I’d said all along that I felt great being 30, and that par­ty real­ly only made me feel even bet­ter. I have a lot of great friends, and it was real­ly won­der­ful to get to see so many of them all over hav­ing such a great time. I real­ly want to say thanks to every­one who came and to Angela and the TN friends who schemed on this thing with her. It real­ly meant a lot to me.

Thrity Something, Something Wordy

Near­ly two weeks ago now, I cel­e­brat­ed my thir­ti­eth birth­day. How­ev­er, you can save your old jokes for some­one else. I just don’t feel old. In fact, I feel like I’ve final­ly reached the point I’ve been work­ing towards all my life up until this point. It’s actu­al­ly a great feel­ing. Of course, a big part of that is because I have a won­der­ful wife to spend my days with, not too men­tion good friends and a lov­ing fam­i­ly. Those things will make any­one feel great, no mat­ter how old they are.

Angela got me an appoint­ment for a mas­sage at one of the fan­cy spas in Cary­town. It’s not some­thing I do a lot, but man is it relax­ing. My back and legs felt great after-wards, which was nice after all the mov­ing the pri­or week­end.

Next, Angela and I went out to a real­ly nice din­ner to cel­e­brate all three decades of me. She too me to Book­binders in the Bot­tom. It was a real­ly fun evening and she let me just geek out over cam­eras (more on that in a moment) dur­ing din­ner. While he did­n’t exact­ly come over to wish me a hap­py birth­day, the May­or was over at the next table chuck­ling with a guest. Angela and I shared a nice bot­tle of d’Aren­berg Grenache Shi­raz with our din­ner. We had a seared tuna appe­tiz­er, served with soy and wasabi. I had the spe­cial of fil­let and New Orleans grilled shrimp served in gar­lic sauce, while Angela had the fil­let with crab meat. We shared some of the mashed red pota­toes with our meal. For desert I had the black choco­late cake ala mode and Angela had The whole meal was won­der­ful and while I may not be back there too often, it will be some­thing well worth the wait.

Oth­er ran­dom things that hap­pened on (or right around) my birth­day that are of inter­est to me and felt like gifts:

I’ve got lot’s more to tell about my birth­day and what all has been going on over the past cou­ple of weeks, but I want­ed to go ahead and get start­ed and start from the begin­ning.