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Entries by Becca Ruiz (202)


The Void

It's one of those days that just encourages distraction. I tried to make some eggplant hummus, but I forgot that I needed to clean the oven - that is, until I smelled burning. Which encouraged me to play a few video games, eat my lunch and get back to the oven.

Except then I noticed all the dishes, so I decided to do those instead. Which led me to the container drawer. It was odd though, the container drawer was fairly empty, however my lid drawer was pretty full. "Hm...." I thought.

So I decided to put all the lids on all the containers and ended up with this:


Isn't that pretty? All those containers ready to organize! Except I was also left with this:

There are 21 lids without a home. I can account for 2 of them, but the rest? I have no clue. And now I don't know what to do with them. Do I save them in case I find their counterparts some day, or just chuck them? Of course, disposing of them will only guarantee the arrival of the counterpart. It reminds me of another drawer in our home:

Oh the sock wormhole! I had no idea it had a sneaky accomplice. I keep the socks because you never know when the other sock will secretly be delivered back to you from wherever it was vacationing. That, and they're pretty handy.

Lids are not handy however. Perhaps they could be emergency plates. While pondering this quandery though, I did capture this:

RAWR!Mr. Clyde you are the best. I have the feeling my entire day was leading up to being able to take that photo. Well, the oven will have to wait some more as I must go off and teach some lessons!



Oh, doodle

So this summer got crazy - momentarily I had less students and then I got more. I am super happy to meet new students and help them figure out this monster instrument, but it has turned my schedule upside down. I am recalibrating and making lots of notes. Should be on the horse tomorrow.

Also, I really don't like dealing with photos. I have to do it in batches. Very small temperamental batches of not really feeling accomplished. This is my biggest problem, but I'm working on it, finding some relaxing music and getting through it. (doesn't help we took TONS of photos at festivals this year) I have a slew of topics I want to put up, so just sit tight (Or go for a walk, it's summer you shouldn't wait in front of a screen). It's possible that July could get blog crazy. Upcoming: Bonnaroo and River's Edge wrap-ups, my garden (including minikeg planters), my holiday tree, a few more helpful festival tips, couple of music games, and maybe even a musically themed Summer Oly... I mean musically themed Summer Tournament. (anyone else read about that knitting group?)

All right, technically I can tell myself I posted, and I have finished my lunch which means it's back to work! Students need to learn One Direction, Adele, Bach, Astronautalis, Michael Jackson, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, and more! (yay diversity!)


Survival of the Preparedest

It’s the end of May and my favorite time of year is about to kick it into high gear - Music in the great outdoors! If my husband and I had our druthers, we’d be festival hopping from Coachella to the Bridge School Benefit! Sadly we have not figured out the secret formula for growing money trees, or even change shrubs so we try to limit ourselves.

Yay outdoors

Outdoor concerts: a bunch of people all having a good time, watching a bunch of bands, and usually finding some good food as well. A lot of times you'll find it's also cheaper than seeing a bunch of regular concerts as most outdoor one day events will include multiple headliners. And it’s OUTSIDE! The downside? The risk of inclement weather (we’ve been through a tornado warning), health risks (dehydration, exhaustion, sunburn, heat stroke), and not minding your spending. But just a bit of planning and smarts can help you be ready and let you enjoy the music.

*These are our tips to spend less but still have fun. We usually spend $800 - $900 altogether for Bonnaroo, including gas, hotels before/after, food, tickets, etc.


In General:

Check out the do and don’t lists for wherever you’re going including: reentry policies, food and drink policies, and any other important information.

Protect yourself! Bring ear plugs, a hat/bandana, and sunscreen. Let’s just go for a long term goal of being able to hear and have healthy skin. Also nothing sucks like getting a sunburn on the first day of a festival and hugging the shadows for the rest.


Stay hydrated! Lots of venues let you bring empty or sealed water bottles and provide watering stations. Check the rules. Use it. And beer/wine don’t count as hydating.


There will be walking, most likely some dancing, and jumping. Or there might be a hungry shoe pit where two flip flops may enter, but only one at most will get out.

Be nice to security. Right before my turn in line, I empty my pockets and organize my bag so it’s just a quick pat down the sides, look in the bag, and I get waved in.

My Bag: This is my standard pack for any show in the wonderful outdoors no matter what.

Survival BagPlastic bag keeps everything dry if it rains, and your TP unmussed. Ear plugs and sanitizer clip to strap or belt loops for ease of use. My wallet is pared down to day's cash allotment, id, and debit card. Not Pictured: Schedule printout and snacks. Check rules if you can bring in outside snacks first. Make sure all snacks have a higher melting point. We bring cracker sandwich packs, a ziploc of trail mix, granola bars and beef jerky.

All right, so have fun you day-goers that’s the end of the general list. All you multi-day festival campers, here’s a few more for you.

Camping for Pearl Jam 20 Festival

Our Packing List for Bonnaroo

Share a sign-up online to coordinate who's bringing what.

Conserve car space. Buy perishables and items you will consume at the site the day before or the day of entry.

Check ahead about the camping rules. No glass? Leaving and reentry rules? These are all good things to know ahead of time.

Check message boards for festival specific advice.

Practice setting up your tents at home. Sometimes you need to be able to quickly claim your space and set up your footprint, especially if someone is setting up one of those 5 room tents next to you... But don’t be mean. You are going to live next to them for awhile. We lay out all our tents right away to make sure we have enough space, and adjust as able afterward.

Have a living space. Whether it’s a tent or a tarp you’ve suspended off the back of your car, make sure you have someplace you can sit and escape the sun or rain. A place to cook at your campstove and chat.

Get to know your neighbors, that way you have other people who are looking out for your site while you’re away hopefully.

Don’t leave anything valuable where it could easily be taken (ie. your tent).

In a group? Bring along a spare key.

Our food diet: egg scramble in the morning, sandwich for lunch, hot dog for dinner, and trail mixes 24/7! Also, instant oatmeal and soup cups for times where you must eat NOW.


An appreciation

Just as I was starting to develop a rhythm for posting, our Frankencomputer started misbehaving. Namely, randomly turning off whenever it felt like it without ever asking if I wanted to save first. I definitely began to dislike doing any work involving the Frankencomputer. Turns out it was just a short in the power cord, and perhaps it wanted a new name (we figured out the problem shortly after I renamed it Monster Mix). But I have a lot of ideas stored up in my head and in my Idea Book, so new posts should be around the corner often.

Today does not come from the Idea Book or brainstash, instead it came after learning the sad news of Maurice Sendak.

I find it amazing that the death of someone I have never met can cause such an emotional reaction in me. Perhaps it’s the connection of my time spent as a child reading and listening to his books, or the admiration and inspiration I find in him as an adult. Probably both.

My family had a little 45 with “Pierre” on one side and “Chicken Soup With Rice” on the opposite. I listened to it countless times and knew the whole thing by heart. I have no clue the last time I listened to that record but I can still sing parts of “Chicken Soup With Rice” today. Those two along with “Where the Wild Things Are” are the ones I remember  best. I learned how powerful words can be through the story of Pierre and Max, one sentence made one King, and the other a lion's lunch. Silly yet dangerous, serious and fun, the balance of his books was amazing. I had always wished I would be able to meet him, but now I can only send out my gratitude for his work here.
Thank you, Mr. Sendak.

Oddly enough, my lunch today is leftover chicken soup. With noodles though, not rice.


A pillow for my cat.

Well, two pillows actually. While Clyde, our cat and roommate, may not like to have direct attention showered on him at all times, he does have a tendency to want to sleep in whatever room I'm occupying. While typing away on the not-so-portable laptop in the bedroom, he would curl up on my unmade bed and snooze happily. If I was reading a book on the couch, he would snuggle up on the recliner. Cutting fabric on the dining room table? Clyde had his pick of 6 different chairs, sometimes 7. Even in the kitchen, he will stretch out in the middle of the floor - often reveling in some sunbeams. He's always happy, as long as he can look up and check on what I'm doing without having to leave his roost.

But then there was my workroom. Full of bookshelves, desks, and a low lying table covered with whatever projects I was working on - he had nowhere to go. As I sat at my keyboard playing away, my poor cat would walk in, look for a snuggly spot to lay, and seem to plead with me on his way out of the room, "Why can't we work in a comfortable room today?" I have to admit, I also feel some comfort when I can reach down and give him a little ear itch while passing by.


Which is why I decided to make him a pillow to lay on. Actually, I had intended my low table to be a bench to sit on in front of the window. A place to inspire myself, write and read, but it quickly became laden with tubs of material, parts for craft projects I am always meaning to do and the like.

I made this decision around 5 months ago. And about two weeks ago, I finally finished the pillows. Ta-da!

Which is pretty good for me because the couch still looks like this:

And I started to make a couch cover for it 2 years ago in May to disguise the clawed area on the left with stuffing hanging out and mystery stains dotting the lower right end of the couch.

Back to the pillows though, the best part is that Clyde actually loves the new pillows! We have found him sleeping on them when no one else is even in the room. He even likes them if the corduroy side is up:


It's been a pretty craftastic time around here lately, I even finished up my business cards.


(Little clever musical thing with that logo there. Maybe a little cheesy, but I'm made of cheese and my name only uses the letters A-G, so why not?)

Hopefully I'll also be able to finish up that couch cover now too under the sleepy watchful eyes of my roommate on his pillow.