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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Musical Outcast's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
5:10 pm
I'm back from Ohio...
...and now I'm in Santa Barbara for viola lessons...

So much to say...so little time to say it.

Hope everyone is doing well.
Monday, June 23rd, 2008
3:04 am
So he went at it again...
...my brother once again stormed out of the house in one of his rages only this time it is not known for how long he will be gone.

It started with him planning to have about 8-10 friends come over to our backyard to smoke hookah and drink at 1am without bothering to tell anyone. My mother had just walked into the house about 12:30am and when she heard about this she told him she didn't want them here. Of course my brother was enraged talking back to her saying nothing bad was going to happen and for her to just ignore it and pretend that they weren't there. By 2am he started bringing in friends to the back patio to smoke hookah. My mother kept looking out the window watching them with disapproval on her face. I finally put my foot down and told her that "it's her house and he's 18. Tell him to either tell his friends to leave or they can all get out." So she tells him to come into the house to they can talk. They both make their way into the hall way and next thing I know my brother starts picking up picture frames and smashing them on the ground and yelling while my mom is in tears. I am so fed up with my brothers acting out that I was apathetic towards the whole situation. I braced myself for months anticipating his next outburst. So of course once that happened my mother called 911 as did I on my cell phone. To take extra precaution I proceeded to my room and locked my door as I don't even know what he's capable of anymore. I've seen pictures of him with a gun on his myspace, I know he owns a sword, I know he drinks and smokes all the time, I know he could very well be doing drugs, I know the people he hangs around are not a good crowd, I know he could even be possibly be involved in a gang. So there's no telling what he could do.

I'm tired of it all. I love my mother and she works hard but she's too much of a push over. He's her son so it's understandable but he's 18 now and his rage just gets worse and worse the more she caters to it. He never acts this way towards his friends but whenever my mother or I say anything he doesn't like he is quick to become angry. The simplest requests such as him moving his car, picking up after himself, or to not driving around so much as gas is expensive (my mother pays for his gas) sends him into a tantrum. Just the mere sound of my mothers voice has his fuming and hitting things. She doesn't ask much for him all she asks of him is to graduate and to find a job...both which he has not done. I feel bad for her but there's nothing I can do except be around for her. Ever since he pulled a knife on me I haven't cared for him at all. I only tolerate him for her. With her dealing with breast cancer, working double shifts all the time, and dealing with finances, the last thing I want to do is stress her out more.

The cops eventually called my cell phone 20 minutes later to address the situation. They had me ask my mother if she wanted to press charges and she said no. I told her that I wasn't happy about that choice and she needed to do something about it. She replied "What am I supposed to do?" I told her "He's 18 now and he's getting worse. How much longer do you think he would survive out there without financial assistance from you for gas, cell phone, internet, etc..." This kid is only 18 yet he comes and goes as he pleases. He talks to everyone anyway he wants, he has no consideration for others, he thinks he practically own the home when he does absolutely nothing but go out and party. I for one am happy that he's left. He's quickly spiraling on a downward path to who knows what. He has no reason to act this way to one of the only people that has ever loved him and supported him. He needs to learn that he's not a kid anymore and he needs to start taking responsibility. He'll soon realize that she can't always bail him out.

Aftermath of his rage:

Apparently he smashed all the photos with his picture on them:

All the glass and debris I had to sweep up at 3am:

Current Mood: annoyed
Saturday, June 21st, 2008
4:13 am
Another year comes to an end...
I have collected violins and music books today and my students had their last violin lesson. Chances are many will move away, many will drop violin, many will switch instruments, or many will change schools all together. You never know what will happen in the future but you only hope that they enjoyed what may have been their first exposure to playing music for most of them. I must admit that I was disappointed that I didn't get as much accomplished as I would have liked this year, but of all my kids, I think my fourth and fifth graders were the most enthusiastic and dedicated about violin and were a pleasure to teach. Every year brings a different out come and I never know if I'll see these students again so I like to take pictures of the classes to remember my kids by. I only hope that I gain more wisdom and do a better job teaching each passing year.

For your viewing pleasure:


All smiles:

Now a normal violin day:

Here's also a little video clip:

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Star..."
4:07 am
Graduation and International Viola Congress!
I've been meaning to blog for a while but I've put it off for some reason, my apologies for that. A lot has happened since I have last written. For starters, I FINALLY graduated from San Diego State University. Besides the friends I have made at the University it was not a very good experience for me. I don't want to get into it as I can now put it in the past. However I will say that I have met many generations of graduates of that studied music at this University most of their experiences were very similar to that of myself. One thing I don't regret is studying with my long time viola teacher Mary Gerard. In many situations she had been my only support system and it was through her dedication that I managed to graduate with a music degree. Now I can start subbing and prepare to take the CSET exam so I can enter the credential program and start student teaching.

A whopping six of us got B.A.'s in music

Solo picture

Next was my experience at the International Viola Congress held as ASU. Let me tell you, I had never been around so many world class musicians. Because the Primrose Competition was going on at the same time, it felt as if most of the musicians were from Juilliard, New England Conservatory, Curtis, etc. I went through a few days of initial shock from being around such talent. I'm certainly not exposed to this level of playing in San Diego so it was quite an intimidating yet inspiring experience.

It really surprised me just how down to earth everyone was. I'm your typical amateur musician so I felt like I was surrounded by celebrities. I often find it funny how I could be engaging in conversation with someone then all of a sudden I'll read their name tag and realize I'm talking to the viola professor at USC. I was truly wonderful to see so many people so passionate about viola.

Throughout the week I got to watch many wonderful master classes given by Heidi Castleman (Juilliard), Donald Mcinnis (USC), Roland Vamos (Northwestern U.), and more. I actually met a fellow violinist.com member Mia Laity, at the congress. I instantly recognized her from her playing Scherzo and Tarantella on From the Top website as well as her "Singing Chihuauah video," posted on violinist.com Turns out she was helping out Nokolutha Ngwenyama coordinate the primrose competition. Pretty impressive responsibility for a 15-year old.

In addition to the master classes there were also daily play-ins in which we amateurs played viola choirs pieces for 2,4,8, and even 12 violas! We also got to watch the entire Primrose competition live from beginning to end. I now have a new found respect for the judge that had to listen to the same repetoire over and over. By the final round we listened to the ENTIRE Bartok concerto five times in a row and ended with the entire Walton Concerto. Needless to say we were all happy when someone finally played something else besides Bartok. When I drove five hours back home I kept hearing the Bartok in my head!

We were also able to watch numerous recitals daily but famous musicians such as Kim Kashkashian, Paul Neubauer, Nokolutha Ngwenyama, and more! We all know that viola doesn't have much selections in our "standard repetoire," so I was surprised to see so many pieces being performed that I never heard of. I will admit I wasn't a big fan of the 21st century music...I still have to get used to that.

Everything I've mentioned thus far is only a fraction of what went on at the Viola Congress. I certainly recommend it to everyone. The next one will be in South Africa but in 2010 they will have it at the Cincinnati College of Music. I for one can't wait.

Have you ever seen so many violas?

Better yet...have you ever seen so many violists?!

Learning from the Masters...

Just a few of the famous faces at the Congress!
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
12:07 am
Tomorrow I head to Arizona for the 2008 International Viola Congress...I'm very excited!
Monday, May 26th, 2008
3:46 am
I need to learn to get out of my comfort zone and open up more...

Problem is...I have a hard time trusting people.
Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
10:32 pm
I finished college on May 13th at around 6:45pm.

I attend graduation ceremony on May 24th at 12:30 pm

...of course nothing is official until all my grades are posted...so far so good...waiting on two more.
Thursday, May 1st, 2008
11:23 pm
Friday, April 25th, 2008
11:07 pm
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
1:24 am
Cancer becomes personal...
These past few months have been a nice change of pace from what I'm used to. I've been keeping up with classes, I've been teaching and making steady income, I've been able to go a bit of time without anxiety attacks, and most importantly I'm getting closer to my goal of finally graduating. Between my health issues last year, my brothers delinquent behavior, and a multitude of other things it was not surprising that all that changed today.

This afternoon I got home after work and to grab a quick bite to eat. Also home was my mother whom I had noticed had been acting funny the past few days but I left it to her either being overly tired or her being sick. A friend of my mothers stopped by and I over heard her asking how my mother was doing to which she replied, "Alright." My radar went off then and there but I tuned it out. It wasn't long after that she said she needed to talk to my brother and I.

Immediately I thought, "Shit! The only time she ever talks to me is because of something bad." Numerous possibilities ran through my head as to what she wanted to talk about ranging from financial problems, to health issues, to problems pertaining to my brother or father. Eventually she told us that yesterday she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. So now she will have to run tests and who knows what. Of course my brother being the way he is stormed out of the house crying and tried to drive off. As my mother went after him to try to talk to him, I just sat there in the living room emotionless. I knew at that moment I couldn't stay home in that environment. So as my mother was talking to my brother I told her that I needed to go to the library to study for an upcoming exam.

Even at this moment it seems surreal. I drove to the library and texted a few close friends about the news. I just could not stop thinking that my mother has cancer. Studying helped a bit to try to keep my mind on other things but in the back of my head I couldn't stop thinking about my mother’s recent diagnosis. Along with the shock came thoughts of what may lay a head: chemo treatments, hair falling out, sickness, medications, mastectomy surgeries, or worse... What surprises me more is how apathetic I felt about the whole ordeal. I know it's only a matter of time until it truly sets in.

Cancer to me it like a doge ball game. You start off with a large team of players. The longer you play the more of your team members are hit. It only a matter of time until you are hit yourself with the ball. Life is like that, it seems the older I get, the more my friends and family are "hit" with this terrible sickness. Now it has become personal hitting my own mother.

I can't help but think about the worse. I wonder did they catch it early enough? How fast will it spread? Will she have to undergo a mastectomy? Will my mother make it to my graduation? Will my mother make it to my 25th birthday? What if the inevitable happens?

I don't want to be one of those people that have to fear being around my mother cause she so sick. I don't want to have to fear how long she has to live. I don't want to dread her not waking up one day. I don't want to be one of those people that have to create an obituary with her picture, birth and death date.

Life these days seems to be an everyday struggle. The older I get the more complicated it becomes. I realize it's funny to say this at 24 years of age. At this rate who knows what to expect 30 years from now.

I do know this...it will be interesting to see how this year turns out.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
2:24 am
Music nerds will love this...
I saw this on a violin board and it struck me very funny:

"I was playing unaccompanied Bach too delicately for my teacher's taste. Then we had the following discussion:

"How many children did Bach have?"
"I don't know."
"Twenty one! He was all man!!"

My Bach is so much better now."

Here's another one:
"Last semester someone wrote on one of my jury sheets:
"Play your Bach with a fuller sound...after all he had twenty kids so he had to be romantic."

Point being: Bach + Masculinity = Beautiful music.
C'mon...you know you laughed too.
Friday, March 14th, 2008
3:47 am
What is our purpose in life...
While I was taking a hot shower I was contemplating this very question. "What is our purpose in life?"

Go figure...most people sing while taking a shower but me? That's when I do my deep meaningful thinking.

This all started when I was helping teach today. One of the kids told me that her cousin was in a coma due to a brain tumor. It came as a shock to me because it just a couple of months ago that her cousin had surgery to remove 80 percent of the tumor. However over the course of 6 weeks it rapidly grew even bigger then its original size. It enlarged to the point of being inoperable. They are just now waiting around for the worst. It was obvious this student was very worn out and devastated. I didn't know what to say, all I could do was sympathize. She stated that she was very close to this person and he was the closest thing she's ever had to a brother. I felt very bad for her, even more so for the boy as he's only 18. I just don't understand cancer. I don't understand how one day you could be fine then 5 months later you're on your death bed? Why is it that terminal illness tends to attack the ones most deserving of living? At 18 this boy had hardly lived.

People die from natural disasters, car accidents, terminal illness, birth defects, etc. Does this mean that these people have fulfilled their roles in life and they have nothing further to contribute. Has this boy with the tumor already fulfilled his purpose in life? This had me thinking about my own life. If I died at 18 I would've missed out on so many experiences in life. College life, intimacy, a career, teaching, just to name a few. There have even been many instances in my life where I shouldn't have been alive due to my poor errors in judgment. Yet somehow I'm still here. There must be a reason that I've been kept on this earth to overcome the obstacles I have. But what is it?

Growing up I've always felt like I didn't have much of a purpose. Often it was through music that I felt significant. I remember taking up the viola not because I was in love with the instrument...but because they were needed and there weren't too many people willing to take up the instrument. I stuck with it through junior high and high school and often people were ecstatic to find that I was a violist especially as I became better with experience. This make me feel good. I felt wanted and needed. I was important. Of courses this feeling of significance diminished when I entered SDSU. If it were not for teaching to rejuvenate my feeling of being I don't know where I'd be. I think of how thankful I am to have had the teachers that I've had to instill passion, motivation and importance in me. Especially when I could've been pushed to the side and deemed as untalented. I will always owe a debt of gratitude towards, Arne Christiansen, Joni Hill, and Mary Gerard. I hope one day I'm around to help others as I've been helped.

I have also found that it is when I'm able to help others with problems that I feel useful. I think to myself "Ah, this is why I'm still around." I get a kick out of when people thank me profusely for helping them. I mean it when I often tell them that "it's me pleasure." I hope I still have plenty of years on this earth to come. To be able to motivate, inspire, and make other people feel like they have a significance in life as well. I still have much to contribute to this world.
Saturday, March 8th, 2008
11:06 pm
So it happened again...
Today I had the anxiety attack from hell. I usually have mild ones on a regular basis but I had not had one this bad in quite a while. Needless to say it was not a fun day.

My day started off with me heading to symphony and rehearsing for a few hours after only getting about 4 hours of sleep. Afterwards, I then had to sneak out a little early to meet up with some classmates to prepare for our history debate we have to present on Monday. After that, I started heading to the North County to help a friend with her student recital. As I was driving towards the freeways entrance, I was feeling some pains around my heart that would come and go but I tried massaging the area in an attempt to make the pain go away but it would just keep coming and going.

All of a sudden five minutes into driving on the 805 freeway I felt I like I was about to have a heart attack. I can't begin to describe the fear and sensations that overwhelmed my body without warning. One minute I was fine listening to music then the next, I felt tingling all over my face and arms, my heart was beating fast, chest tight, and couldn't breath. I seriously felt like I was going to pass out or worse, so I pulled over to the shoulder of the road for five minutes while blasting the AC. There is nothing worse than feeling like your health is in serious trouble and there's no one around to help you. After about 5-10 minutes while talking to my mother while on the side of the road I started to feel a tad better so I tried getting back onto the freeway.

Of course, 5 more minutes of driving I found myself in traffic so that only meant one thing..."Vehicle accident." Here I was thinking that there was nothing worse then having suffered an anxiety attack then finding yourself stuck in trapped in traffic moments later with no escape if another attack were to occur...well, I was wrong. As I made my way through the traffic I saw the accident which involved one car covering two lanes, a bunch of cops, and a body on the freeway. I don't know if the woman got ejected from the car or what. So here I was feeling near death; How ironic would it be and I had probably just seen a potentially dead person? All I saw were police moving the body a little with a "CPR Bag" by the side so I'm hoping the were able to resuscitate her. I couldn't certainly went the rest of the day without witnessing that.

Lately these symptoms have been starting to get bad again but I don't know why. Is stress taking a toll? Is it sleep deprivation? Is it the weather? I just didn't know. I started thinking about it and I realized that it was now exactly a year ago that my grandmother passed away as well as my having to take an ambulance to the hospital. For those that didn't know, my being admitted to the ER and my grandmother passing away not only happened on the same day but also at the exact same hospital. Thing is, I hadn't really been thinking about this all day and this was pretty much the last thing on my mind. I'm sure there could be a variety of reasons that my attacks have decided to resurface. All I know is that I'm fed up with them. I hate having to go the day wondering if it is going to happen today. I went 23 years of my life with out them...why did they have to appear now? I always go through classes, driving, teaching, rehearsals, thinking to myself "Please, let me just get through this would out any problems."

I am so over this.
Sunday, February 24th, 2008
3:45 am
17 Years later...some people just can't let go...
So tomorrow my brother returns home from a very brief stay with my father. Apparently my father had spent those few days filling my brother's head with negative information about my mother. Information ranging from him "giving" her the house yet never allowing him stay there to visit us, him giving her giving half his income for child support, her bringing her boyfriend to live at home without telling him, and various other issues from the past. In addition to this my father has even told my mother that I told lies about my brother that were not true because my brother denied my accusations. (i.e. pulling a knife on me a few months ago.) He has even gone so far to buy my brother cigarettes, treating him as a roommate rather than a son. His reasoning? “Well he’s an adult now, he smokes, and he’ll do what he wants to?” Granted I’m no saint, I have been known to have a cigarette from time to time but what kind of parent allows their 17 year old to do such a thing or worse…BUY it for them?! My brother has told our mother how he wants to come home. He doesn't like living there nor does he like the instability of our father.

Growing up things had always been rough for my parents. I remember the nights of shouting, the arguments, and the tears from my mother. I was 7 or 8 at the time but I still remember those moments well. Throughout the years I remember my parents talking negatively about each other like any divorced couple would when we went back and forth in between parents. Sure it was not a smart thing to do around a kid however it eventually ceased for various reasons. For my mother, because she had moved on.... and for my father, because I eventually stopped seeing him at 12 years old. He always had an excuse for something...depression, an emotional break down, health issues, financial problems, etc. It's always the same thing over an over. In addition to this he always made it a point to say that he still loved our mother and he was never over her however she doesn't feel the same...making it sound like it's HER fault. As his son, I will always feel for him but along with that comes much resentment for his lack of taking responsibility for himself and trying to put his problems on everyone else.

After speakign to my brother my mother confronted me about the negative things my father had been telling me about her. Asking why I hadn’t told her all this time. I explained to her that I never thought anything of it...I figured that it was because he was never over the marriage. I told her that I could I had known everthing that had happen since I was about 9 or 10 years old. My father gave me his side of the divorce, my mom gave her side, various relatives gave their side, and eventually I figured out the truth of it all. However I never thought he would be trying to fill my brothers’ head up with nonsense to have him look like the good guy and her the heavy. In actuality he isn’t the. I still remember one summer when about 13. I was so thrilled I was about to get to spend some time with my father. I played with my neighborhood friends one last time then excitedly state “Okay, I have to go now. My father is going to pick me up any minute now.” As soon as I got home I sat on the living room couch peering out the window. I listened for every passing car in hopes it was his. I waited minutes, minutes turned into hours, and hours turned into a phone call from him saying that he could not get me. I think that was one of the times that I learned to lose faith in him and his word. He did the same to my brother just last summer. My brother had a ticket ready and he was to leave the next day however my father being the “stable” person he is cancelled claiming that he couldn’t financially afford having my brother there.

I often state that I dislike talking to him and try to avoid it if I could. I never understood why...until today. I didn't realize how unstable and manipulative he is emotionally. When I speak to him I always feel uncomfortable. I fear he will discuss the marriage problems he and my mother had. I fear he will discuss the woes in his life. I fear he will discuss wanting me coming there to visit him. If I’m ever to have some sort of relationship with him it needs to be free of any manipulation, free of past issues, with more emphasis put on a father son type relationship rather then friend to friend relationship. Most of all I need him mentally and emotionally stable. He'll never be able to make up for all this time lost but he could at least move onward.

For the time beign I'm done with it all. I'm not a kid anymore. I’m an adult. On a daily basis I go to school full time, I teach at three different locations, I gig around town, and I eventually head home and crash. I’ve moved on with my life years ago. In the process I’ve been fortunate to have had the help I needed while receiving an education, free boarding, free meals, free internet, etc. As soon as I graduate and obtain a full time job I intend making the one of the final steps into complete independence and get a place of my own. All this will have been made possible because of my mother not because of my father. Ironic thing is he’s so adamant about attending my graduation as if he had a role in that becoming possible. Part of me will always love him and care for him despite all of this. I still hold many wonderful memories of him as a child. Somehow through the years things just changed and not for the better. I would like him to just stop living in the past, move on, and start acting like a parental figure. Before it’s too late.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008
2:52 am
How much burden can a person take?
It's funny how life can turn to hell in a matter of moments...

It started this evening when I got home from a symphony rehearsal. The moment I got home one of the first things I did was take Verdi outside to use the restroom and went down the block to check the mail. When I return about 5 minutes later I come home to find my car missing with my violin in the trunk. Didn't take me long to figure out my brother had stolen the car keys from my room when I briefly went hour. He returns home a half hour later and my mother inquires about his whereabouts as it was obvious he didn't just go out to get food. As usual he gets very defensive and starts yelling back.

About ten minutes later I ask my mother to help me put ear drops into Verdi's ears. Well during the process somehow Verdi managed to take off his muzzle and bite my mother in the arm. My mother walks into the house to examine the wound and my brother storms into the patio hitting Verdi so I push him away. He gets defensive once again. He takes off his shirt, yells expletives, and makes threats to kill me. At this point I'm furious and tell him to go ahead and hit me I would love nothing better to see him in jail. While all this is going on my mother is in between us. She tries to calm him down but he doesn't want to hear it and walks into the house ranting and raving. He disregards her pleas to talk to her and just listen to her and eventually just breaks down into tears. By this time I'm just fed up and just go into my room with Verdi to try to tune all this out.

About 20 minutes in tears my mother asks why my brother and I are so hostile towards each other. Fed up I told her that she needed to stop enabling him so much. She's obviously in denial about everything. Every passing day he becomes increasingly violent and more and more offensive, he smokes cigarettes at 17, he drinks, and he constantly ditches school. I explained to her that he's almost legally an adult; he needs some sort of juvenile prevention program or jail time before it is too late. I try to get her to realize something about him is just not right. He has no respect for authority, comes and goes and he pleases, and the way he talks to my own mother is utterly unacceptable. By he hears me say all this he storms out of the house to who knows where.

Obviously my mother is now devastated but this time I around I feel apathetic to this whole situation. Actually that's not true…part of me feels anger for her enabling him so much and the other part is feelings of hatred towards his very being. I never hate anyone...but I can honestly say I hate him. I've hated him since the day he was capable of pulling a knife on me. Feeling helpless my mother calls our father in Arizona. Until this day my father was clueless to everything that had been going on. We all made it seem like everything was fine and there were no major problems. On my mothers' part, I think she did this so he didn't think she had failed as a mother. I did it so my father would not put any blame on her. She works constantly to provide a good life for us and there's only so much she could do. I talked to my father for about an hour and I just spilled my guts about all the problems that had been going on with my brother. I myself would get defensive anytime he would talk about my mother in a negative light and I think he would realize this and back off. In a way I'm glad we were able to talk. This is the longest we have been able to actually talk in well over a decade. Things are far from being resolved but at least almost everything is out in the open with my father. Assuming my brother shows up home tomorrow my mother will ship him out to Arizona in hopes he will be able to get the help he needs as well as the discipline from my father.

It's now half hour past 2am and I have class at 9am. Tomorrow is going to be hell. My mother will try to fly my brother out, I will have to once again try to comfort my mother when he leaves, and I will have to return Verdi to the shelter.

In regards to Verdi…as much as I love him I have to put my mother's well-being above him. I have felt depressed and lonely for a long time and having Verdi in my life was something I am grateful for. It had allowed me to forget those feelings, to feel happier and needed for a change, but tomorrow that will once again come to an end. It will be difficult to look at him one more time as I bring him to the shelter, it will be difficult to take his id tag off his collar, and it will be difficult to come home to a home that is once again lonely and full of silence. I've only had him for a short while but I'm truly grateful for our time together and I will miss him terribly.

I just wish things could've been different.
Saturday, January 26th, 2008
10:43 pm
I have with me a piece of history...
So today I went to the violin shop today to buy a new cello bow for the school I work for. I don't frequent this place much but the guy does know me well. He asked me randomly "Does the name Howard Hill mean anything to you?" I replied, "Yes, he was my former viola teacher about 8 years ago..."

Turns out his daughter had found a bunch of sheet music at his estate and didn't have a clue as to what to do with it. So she took it to this violin shop. The store owner felt it would be best if the sheet music were in the hands of people who would make good use of it...particularly his former pupils otherwise it would've either collected dust or worst, in up in the garbage. He let me look through this collection and take whatever I liked. I was shocked... there were some amazing works: Beethoven Violin Concert, Brahms Violin Concerto, Schubert Viola Sonata, Bach Sonatas, etc....many having his fingerings and what not. This man graduated from Juilliard so he definitely knew his stuff. So the store own let me take all home for free. Granted, the music is quite old so a lot of the paper has become brittle and there is discoloration. Still...I'm very fortunate to be able to have a piece of history.

Hopefully one day I will reach a point where I can become accomplished enough as both a musician and education in order to teach this pieces to my future students.

R.I.P. Howard Hill and thank you.
Sunday, January 20th, 2008
6:32 pm
I didn't realize I was going to become a full time parent...
When I adopted Verdi from the animal shelter I knew he wasn't exactly in 100% good health yet. However I didn't realize just how much medical attention he needed and how much it would affect me financially. In the two weeks I've had him I must have spent almost 500 dollars. About 350-400 of that towards vet bills.

Before I even took Verdi home he had tartar in his teeth, a bad ear infection, an eye infection allergies, and badly matted hair. I'm sure his previous owners meant well but just did not know how to take care of him. Before even allowing me to take him home they also had to neuter him.

First thing I did after he recovered from neutering was take him to the Groomer. I suspect they were rough when they shaved his hair as he not constantly rubs against walls when he walks, licks at his genitals and rear. His personality has also changed he is now far more snippy. If you're doing something he will growl at you...rarely even try to bite you lightly.

After the groom visit I took him to the vet where they told me about the ear infection, eye infection, and possible swollen anal glands due to the groomer. So they gave me antibiotics, antihistamines, drops for the ears, and drops for the eyes and nostrils. The pills he takes just fine however the drops he will absolutely not let me put the drops in his eyes or ears. Especially ears since he's had infections in the past.

So today I take him to the vet again to get an ear cleaning as well as get his anal glands checks. Due to his allergies the vet also suggested that I give him a hypo-allergenic brand of food. The vet said that I must also start training him so he understand sit, stay, down commands so Verdi knows who's boss. (Verdi already knows "sit" so that's at least one less thing to worry about)

I've tried to shorten this as much as possible but as you can see I've put this poor dog through so much already.

As you can see this has been a huge learning experience for me. Some major questions I have for you fellow dogs owners is:

1) Do any of your dogs have allergies and frequent ear infections?
2) Do any of you have to alter the dogs diet and/or living style due to the allergies?
3) Do you have any suggestions as to how I can apply the drops to Verdi's eyes and ears? He now growls every time I try to apply them and it's very important he gets them. I don't want to have to pay 4 dollars twice a day so the vet can put them in themselves.

Overall Verdi is a wonderful social dog with both people and other animals. I always receive compliments as to how calm and wonderful looking he is. He's only two years old, I would like to see to it that it makes it to 20. So any and all advice is very much appreciated.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2008
7:01 pm
What have I done??!!!
Since my dog Verdi has allergies the vet suggested I get him groomed. So today I take him to the groomer to get another bath, nails clipped, hair trimmed, and flea treatment. Well the vet told me that since Verdi had many mats they would have to cut him short. I thought "Oh, okay, no big deal...a little extra trim won't hurt him." A few hours later I come back to pick up Verdi. When they bring him around the corner I was shocked! I thought they had brought me the wrong dog. I brought in a Lhasa Apso not a near bald Chinese Crested! I could only imagine what the poor guy went through. I best he wasn't too happy with me for bringing him there.

Word of caution... when groomers say SHORT, they do mean SHORT!!!

Before picture:

He's saying "Look what the hell you did to me!"
Poor guy...
Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
8:25 pm
New companion...
Today I just brought home a 2 year old Lhasa Apso I adopted from the animal shelter. He was given the name "Verdel" however... to make things not so complicated I was thinking about shortening it to "Verdi" after the Classical composer. (Yes, it's the music nerd in me.) So far he seems to be getting acclimated well despite his urinating quite a few times in the patio. Hopefully it's a phase that will pass. He also just got neutered today so he will be grungy looking until it is safe to give him a bath.

We seem to be much a like in personality. He's very calm natured, doesn't get excited very easily, yet he craves and seeks out attention. I guess we're both introverted attention whores if you will. He seems to favor adult women (another thing we have in common, hehe) however he is weary of strangers and children. Typical of his breed.

If you know me well then you'll know that I've wanted another Lhasa Apso for a long time since I had to give mine up at 10 years old. Should be interesting to see how this turns out!

With out further ado, Pictures!

Me and "Peaches" circa 1994

Introducing "Verdel"

Lounging around:

Ready for close-up:

On a random note...check out this hairstyle!
Monday, December 24th, 2007
5:48 am
Another year, another day...
It's almost 5:30am and I have not yet slept a wink. My day will most likely consist of sleeping in until about 1pm because I have a music gig that involves me playing for two services. Afterwards there's this tradition my family has which is we go to midnight mass at the catholic church. Not sure why exactly...I guess in a way to thank God for another year of survival and to pray for another year full of happiness, success, wealth. We may also celebrate Christmas with relatives a day early in Temecula however I'm usually never told about that until the last minute.

Thankfully this past week has been a nice one. No teaching, no classes, no studying, no stressing (well...not as much anyway.) I've been fortunate in that many of my friends, whom I have known for a long time, share birthdays around the same time. So it's always fun to celebrate each others birth and the holidays in a nice fashion. A week ago it involved a friends party and yesterday it involved a secret santa exchange.

I've been fortunate in that many people have already wished me a happy birthday. One friend was even nice enough to create a count down. To me cakes, presents, and parties don't matter much. What makes me feel good is when people acknowledge the celebration of my birth. Words are powerful things. It only takes two to make me feel like my presence important and valued.

We always anticipate turning a year older as if something magical were going to happen once the clock struck midnight. Maybe our hair starts to fall, maybe we lose an inch in height, or our wrinkles become more apparent. Fact is, midnight comes and goes but physically we remain the same. However emotionally we feel different. Today is our day. A day of relaxation, a day free of drama, free of problems, a day celebrating our existence. As usual it will take me away while to let it sink in I'm not a year old...especially when people ask "How old are you?" I will often pause to make sure I give the right number.

This year I turned 24 on the 24th so supposedly this is my "star birthday," according to another friend. My year is suppose to be a good one and consist of much luck and fortunate. I will definitely test out this theory as I need a good year for a change. Like myself, many of my friends have had their own set of problems whether it be finances, family issues, health issues, etc. My only wish for my birthday is that I'm able to spread some of my "good fortune" to my friends this year so that they're 2008 year is far better than 2007.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
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