Sunday, April 10, 2016

First Week of Back into Exercise Done and Thinking of Future Runs

I ran three times this week. I was supposed to run today, but decided to move it to Tuesday instead. Celebrating Carries' birthday today with good brunch and then a movie. So, I decided to not get up early to run.

Last week when I started this process, I said I would run a different route. Well, for the most part I ran the same exact route I have been running the past three years. It is a habit and I like the route. So, instead of trying to change it up and run a new route each time I got out, I will likely stick with this same route.

My first run of this process. It went well. I felt good after wards. My legs were killing me the day after. It went very well though and I felt motivated to get out and run again to keep the process moving.
The second run also went well. I decided to take my dog Oliver with me. Thus, a slightly adjusted route. I ended up only taking Oliver about halfway as he went number two once which I was carrying with me like a respectable pet owner. So, I was doing the Couch to 5K with the leash in one hand and a bag of poop in the other. Oliver was starting to drag behind as I would run and I was headed back toward the house. I decided to go ahead and take Oliver home and I would continue on. Overall, he did very well. He was exhausted following the run. It was his first run of the season (or ever) too, so I know he will need to ease into the running too. Granted, I cannot take him on many runs as it continues to get hot. See how he does though.

Final run of the week was Thursday morning. We had plans that evening, so I got up early to go running. I did not take Oliver on this run. I really enjoyed getting up early and running. I need to do it more often as it really feels like it started the day right.

Other than not running today, it was a good start to the process. I will be out running again on Tuesday and look forward to progressing back to being able to run a solid 5K without stopping.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Piece Selected for Final in Piano Class and Now Practice Practice

The piece I will be playing for my final has been selected. I plan on playing a piece called "Minuet in G" by Johann Sebastian Bach. There were a lot of options provided by our instructor and we were free to select anything. I had some piano books that came with the piano and then some that my Mom had sent home with me one evening. I actually played this same piece when I was young, but it was a long time ago.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period.
The piece was selected because I enjoy the piece and I think it will be challenging for me to site read and play for the final. The plan now is to begin learning the piece focusing on left and right hand reading the music. As I mentioned last week, we do not have to have the piece memorized, but it is fine if we do have it memorized. If I can get to the point, I would prefer to do so instead of having to rely on reading the music.

Picture of Piano with Lights
Piano at Home with Lights ... Need Music Light Instead
Below is a recording of my warm up and then first few bars of the piece. Not a very good recording, but you get the idea. You can hear a vibration sound which is actually coming from the two lamps on the piano. I already told Carrie we are going to have to replace this with something else as I need something where it provides light on the music and then also does not vibrate. The ones she picked out look great, but need more light and no vibration sound.

I am excited to begin practicing this piece and be able to provide a recording in a few weeks with the final product. I have really enjoyed my piano class. We get a third test back in class tomorrow and will begin chapter four. I came out of the last test feeling happy, so we will see how that turns out with the return of the test tomorrow night.

A lot of practice for me and I also need to start working on the paper that is due in a few weeks. I need to get over to the library to do research and write up that paper. I keep telling myself not to procrastinate and yet the days keep going by and I have not started the paper yet. The plan is to start the paper next week and it should not take more than a night or two to write it up and proof.

For now, I will continue working on "Minuet in G" and plan to post a update in a week or two with my progress.

Championship Game is Set with North Carolina and Villanova Facing off Monday Night

The NCAA Championship game is set. The games Saturday were not exciting at all. Oklahoma forgot to show up and Syracuse got close, but could not catch up with North Carolina. Monday night will be Villanova vs North Carolina. The only one seed, North Carolina, will face off against the two seek Villanova.

The Big East facing off against North Carolina. I expect it to be an exciting game to watch. Both teams have no problems scoring. Sometimes for the NCAA championship game, I will not watch. I will likely watch this game as I am pulling for North Carolina.

Yes, all brackets are busted at this point. I did not have one bracket with either Villanova or North Carolina winning it all. I do have UNC in a few brackets playing Kansas or Oklahoma. Not this match up though. How are your brackets?

Are teams are no longer in the tournament, but it was still a lot of fun watching basketball the past few weeks. A fun season and look forward to watching the game Monday night. It will all start again before we know it in the fall.

Enjoy the game Monday night!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

New Subscription via Email and Navigation Added to Site

Picture of Subscribe by Email
Option to Subscribe via Email to the Right
A few minor changes to the site that maybe you have not noticed. Added a option to be able to get email notifications with the posts in your email. I use this for some sites that I follow and thought it was a good addition to my site too. It uses Google FeedBurner to deliver the feeds. Easy way to get new posts when they are posted.

Cleaned up the right side of the page to remove unneeded items. The main thing that was added was an About page and a Social Media page. Also cleaned up the image at the top of the site to extend the full length of the content on the site. Also added a link to the top navigation to link back to the Home page.

If you have any suggestions for the site, please post a comment to let me know.

Start the Running Process Tomorrow and Get the Run Bug Again

Picture of a Drawing of a Guy Jogging
Finally! It is happening! Finally, I am getting motivation to start running. Not remembering the last time I ran, I had to go look at my apps to see. The last time was July 2015. I ran for approximately three weeks and then stopped. Not feeling like running since that time. It is time again to start running. Finally!

Plan is to get back into running. Starting out slowly using the Couch to 5K app. My plan, is to be able to run the Bow Tie Run which will take place in the fall. Starting now, I should have more than enough time to prepare and be in running form for that event. The plan is to run Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday each week. The Couch to 5K is a eight week process. The focus for this eight week process is to simply be able to run again. Not lose weight, although, that will hopefully happen as part of the process, but to be able to run again. Not be winded walking up the stairs in our house, but be able to do things that I was doing back in 2012 when I was running regularly (see Running Posts from my Blog).

Remembering back to running regularly, I recall how good it felt. How good it felt to run outside listening to music and feeling as though I was being productive. The best part was after a run outside, my dog Oliver would be so excited because he knew that part of my cool down process was to take him on a walk. He would get so excited when I was putting on my shoes because he knew what it meant and that he would be going on a walk.

The worst part is that I have been paying a gym fee each month for the past year and not been to the gym once. Starting the running will at least make me feel like that payment each month is not going to waste. Plus, I will not have any excuse to not run as I always have the gym as a backup in case of weather.

The worst thing I think I did previously was that I ran the same exact route every time I ran. The above being the route that I ran each time. I d not think that I got bored of the route, but I did get lazy and simply did not feel like running. Gradually during the past few months I have been telling myself that I am going to get back into running again and that time is now.

I am looking forward to running again and looking forward to taking my dog on regular walks again too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Test Three Done and Moving on to Chapter Four

Test three is done. Glad to be done with this test. I was not looking forward to the test being on a Wednesday. Not sure why, possibly because the previous two tests I enjoyed being able to prepare for them over the weekend. Granted, I could have prepared over the weekend for this one, but instead, I spent the weekend procrastinating and then on Monday decided I needed to study for the test. Tuesday night was the real cram session though trying to figure everything out.

I left the class and the exam feeling good about how I performed. In the first part of playing the piano for the instructor, that did not go great. She had me play one piece showing cords three or four times. She told me I was rushing or making the second and forth the same. We left it with we will work on that in the future. Other than that little part of the test, I felt good about the exam.

Following class, I spoke to the instructor and believe I have selected the piece to play for the final. Possibly this weekend, I will record a sample of where I am at currently with learning the right hand which has only consisted of playing out a few lines checking to see if I like it. This piece is by JS Bach. More on this later this weekend and hopefully I will finalize it this weekend with it being the piece.

The next step for this class is to write a 5 - 8 page paper on Johannes Brahms. This is due at the end of April, so I have some time. Originally, I thought that the piece we were to play for the final had to be tied to who I selected to write about in our paper, but I was told that was not the case. Looking forward to writing a paper on Johannes Brahms. It has been a long time since I have written in MLA style for a paper. I might need to go to the library to research that process.

The struggle continues with remembering the treble clef and reading notes for my left hand. I came across a cool app last night for the iPhone that is free called NoteTutor. I used it some last night following studying for the test and then during the lunch time today. Easy to use and it makes it a game to recognize notes on either treble or bass clef. I think it is going to help a lot with being able to recognize notes on the staff.

That is all for tonight. Have a  great rest of the week and I plan to record something this weekend to post by Sunday with the piece I selected for the final.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Royals Opening Day is this Sunday

Panoramic Photo of Royals Stadium from 2015 Season

Excited for the start of the season for the Kansas City Royals. It all starts on Sunday evening with the Royals playing the New York Mets at 7:30 pm CST. Ready to get the season started and the hunt for blue October going again. A few changes in the team, but the core is back and it sounds like they are out to prove again this season that the Kansas City Royals can play ball.

I was hoping to get tickets to the home opener, but that did not happen. Plus, the tickets are way too much, so instead, Carrie and I will be going to the game on April 8. We then also have tickets to a game in a few months too. My brother and I plan on going to a game in July and just need to figure out when we will be going.

The overall hope is to make it to a number of games this year. Last year, I only made it to four regular season games. Then of course there was the Game 1 of the World Series game which I will never forget and would gladly give up going to regular season games to repeat that experience again. Using the Ballpark app from MLB, it tracks games that I attend and my keeps my record when attending those games. It is cool to be able to look back and see the history of games I have attended. The first game I attended using the Ballpark app was June 8, 2013 and I have been using it ever since to track games I attend. My record since 2013 is 15 - 2 for Royals home games. Not bad!

Hoping the weather is nice for the start of the season. Keep the snow away and get off to a great start! Makes it feel as though spring is almost here with the baseball starting up.

Get ready Royals fans!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Final Four is Set for Next Saturday

The Final Four is set. Only one of the teams that were seeded a one made it to the Final Four. North Carolina took care of business tonight beating Norte Dame. Syracuse beat Virginia to advance. Next Saturday will be (2) Villanova vs (2) Oklahoma and then (10) Syracuse vs (1) North Carolina. One team from Big East, one from Big 12, and then two from ACC.

I was happy today that Syracuse beat Virginia, but then I am hoping North Carolina beats Syracuse next Saturday. Pulling completely now for Oklahoma Sooners to beat Villanova and then beat North Carolina.

Fun evening of basketball. Surprised three one seeds were eliminated before the Final Four. 

Bob Davis Final Sign-off for Kansas Jayhawks

Bob Davis called his last game on March 26, 2016.

Good memories of hearing Bob Davis on the radio. Growing up listening to him call games for the Kansas Jayhawks. Hearing his voice on the radio reminds me of listening to games with my dad or my grandma. Usually listening as we were traveling in or around Lawrence. Of course back when I was young, you could only listen to Bob Davis on the radio. There was not the Internet or listening on our phones.

Sure, he would get excited and you could hear it in his call. I remember listening to Bob Davis call games in my dorm room at Washburn University. He would get excited and barely understand what he was saying about the game. I enjoy hearing him call the games all through these years and that familiar voice.

Hearing Bob on the broadcasts for the Kansas City Royals and then the familiar voice for the Kansas Jayhawks, he will be missed. Great career of broadcasting!

Happy Easter!

Picture of Bunny Ears and Happy Easter

Picture of Easter Eggs with Ears

Awaken today for Easter Sunday to snow again on the ground. We are late into March and yet there is snow once again on the ground. We had a dusting of snow earlier this week too. Crazy Kansas weather!

I recall painting eggs when I was little and then getting up early Sunday morning to hunt for the Easter baskets. The candy was always good, but I still love a hard boiled egg with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Brings back good memories!

Happy Easter to all! Have a wonderful day!

Two Major Upsets Saturday with One Big 12 Team Advancing to Final Four

Big upset! The Kansas Jayhawks, number one seed overall, lost Saturday evening to Villanova 64 - 59. No, we did not play well. We struggled the whole game. Villanova had a good game. They did what they needed to do to advance to the Final Four.

The early game, Oklahoma won and advanced. Leaving only one Big 12 team in the Final Four. Sure, we were hopeful that there would be at least two Big 12 teams playing in the Final Four after Saturday evening, but it did not happen. Oklahoma played very well against Oregon knocking off the first number one seed of the tournament.

Today, four teams play all of which are from the ACC. No doubt that at least one team in the championship game a week from Monday will be from the ACC. Hopeful that the other team that plays is Oklahoma to represent the Big 12.

Kansas did not play well. Perry Ellis was non-existent throughout the game. Not the time to lose one of your best players. Sure, Villanova had a lot to do with taking Ellis out of the game. They had a lot to do with 6 of 22 from behind the three point line. Even though we were playing horrible the entire game, some how, we were still in the game down to the end.

We never got Perry involved in first half and Ellis didn't get himself engaged. --Bill Self

Congrats to Villanova! They played well and did what was needed to advance. Congrats to Kansas on a great season. No, it is not where we wanted to end the season.

All of my tournament brackets are now broken. Even the second chance bracket is gone with the majority of my selections going towards Kansas as did most of the country. Pulling for Oklahoma at this point and look forward to watching the games today and next weekend.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Elite 8 Starts Tonight with only Four Conferences Remaining in the Tournament

The second day of the Sweet 16 to determine those teams that go to the Elite 8 is now complete. Last evening four more games were played. Once again, four more teams advanced to the Elite 8 for a chance to play to make it to the Final Four.

The two number one seeds playing yesterday (North Carolina and Virginia) both won and advanced. Syracuse struggled in their game early against Gonzaga, but ended up winning the game. As you might recall, Syracuse was one of those teams that some were questioning how they got into the tournament on Selection Sunday. Yet, here they are playing Sunday for a chance to play in the Final Four.

Nothing too exciting from the games last night. No upsets and the better seed advanced in all four games. Much like the Thursday night games, there were not any upsets and no surprises.

Tonight Oklahoma verses Oregon in the early 5:09 pm CST game and then Villanova faces off against Kansas in the late game at 7:49 pm CST. The last two Big 12 teams that remain in the tournament after starting off with seven.

ACC: 4

Big 12: 2

PAC-12:  1

Big East: 1

Out of fifteen teams from the ACC, four remain. The ACC has a lot of teams and thus a lot left still in the tournament. Out of ten teams, the Big 12 has two remaining. Not too bad with two teams remaining. Would have preferred to have more of the seven still in the hunt for the Final Four, but we will take what we can get.

Going into tonight, I am hopeful that Kansas plays well. Comes out strong to start the game and stay aggressive throughout the contest. Another late game, but at least no work tomorrow and Kansas is still in the hunt. I am hopeful to post tomorrow with news of the two remaining Big 12 teams advancing to the Final Four.

Enjoy the games tonight!

Progress Update in Piano Class with Test Three Wednesday

Preparing for test three in piano class. As the weeks have gone along in piano, I feel more and more lost. So, that is my fault as I have not been practicing the way I should. Doing nothing for the class during spring break did not help matters and then this next Wednesday we have our third exam of the semester.

We are also supposed to be selecting our piece to play for the final. We started reviewing pieces in class this past Wednesday and the teacher would like for us to have what we will be playing selected by the start of April. There are some suggested pieces and some I have heard, but still trying to figure out what would work best for me to play for the class.

No, I have not forgotten bout the paper we have to write too. That is due at the end of April, so I need to start working on it too.

Overall, the class is going well. Some of the items that I missed when I was a kid are starting to sink in and I understand them. Reading music with my left hand is still a struggle. I do intend to ask the instructor what next steps are following the class. If she gives lessons, I might do that with her too. Or try working on what we have learned during the course of the class for six months and then do a lesson. I am not sure yet.

The goal for taking this class was to be able to sit down and site read a piece. By no means can I sit down and play a piece even well at this point. Possibly with the right hand, but even then it will be slow. Possibly as I continue to work on this art, I will get to the point.

With our review for the test on Monday, I will be spending Monday and Tuesday evenings studying and reviewing for the test. Wish me well!

To close, I share a piece my mom shared with me with her being excited I am taking lessons. She sees me playing this piece one day. Enjoy! Ok, it is going to take me a while!