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REACHING PAST REGRETS-THE NAVY YARD MASSACRE

IN HAPPIER TIMES

IN HAPPIER TIMES

 

-DONT’T PUT IT OFF TILL IT’S TOO LATE…

We’ve been gone a wee little while. Mainly it was because we had started the physical aspects of the Dream Quest and sorting out doctor’s appointments. But this past Monday time stopped for me and the clock has yet to begin ticking again. Some of you may have seen the news coverage of the massacre in Building 197 of the Navy Yard in Washington D.C.

The very building where my oldest daughter works.

When I recieved a phone call from my middle daughter about the unfolding horrors I began immediately searching out more information on the internet. It was a very hard thing to accomplish when your hands are shaking and your eyes are blinded by tears. And the prayers to God saying over and over “Please don’t take away our chance for a Second Chance, PLEASE LET HER BE SAFE!”

Endless calls to the phone numbers posted for family members to call proved fruitless.

I finally posted a plea for prayers for my daughter and the rest of the employees of the Navy Yard on my facebook page. The response was immediate and overwhelming. One of her friends had seen the post and directed me to my daughters Employers facebook page where they had announced that all of their people were safe and accounted for. My feeling of relief was enormous yet I still couldn’t shake the terror and the tears. It would be hours before actual word from my daughter would be received.

What makes this situation even more unbearable is the fact that our relationship is strained. Complications of a divorce when my girls were teens and tweens and my efforts to protect them from more damage did not work out very well. All of my girls have suffered in various ways but my pain and regrets over my oldest daughter have remained strong as we have yet to heal the breach.

We came close to losing her on Monday as did many others and their loved ones. Twelve families are now coping with the reality that their loved one is gone. I cry for their anguish.

If I could have one thing…one wish granted…it would be to heal my families pain.

If you have a loved one or friend that has become emotionally lost to you…please reach out to them…past your former regrets and hurts…try to heal the rift between you because you never know when the chance for second chances will be gone forever. Don’t give up, no matter how much their rejection may hurt. My love for my daughter (all my daughters) is immense. They may not realize how much it is there because communications in the past have failed. But I’m not going to give up and I’m never going to stop loving them.

k-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
14 Comments

Posted by on September 20, 2013 in FATE, HEALTH AND WELLNESS

 

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The Benefits of Living with a Packrat

I know what you’re thinking: “p, aren’t you supposed to be talking about downsizing? Singing the praises of packrats only enables them.”

This may be true, but packrats can come in handy at the most unusual times. How many guys can say that their girlfriend gets more excited over a trip to Home Depot than a new pair of shoes? K is perfectly happy with Crocs, but show her a giant rolling toolbox, and you might just hear a Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor grunt. However, she’s much less likely to superglue her head to the table.

I can’t tell you how many trips I’ve saved just by asking k if she has a particular item. This is especially true with tools. I’m not just talking about simple things like hammers and screwdrivers and whatnot. Hand drill? Check. Reciprocating saw? Got it. Multimeter? Yep. Flux capacitor? Er… maybe not. But you get the point. I’ll give a few examples.

1-IMG_3605-001We have a small charcoal grill in the back yard. Naturally, you sometimes have to fan the coals to keep them going. This is more work than propane, but the extra effort is worth it. It was always my experience that when you need to fan the coals, you can grab a plastic lid, a paper plate, or just about anything on hand. Imagine my surprise when I stepped out back one day to find K using an actual bellows!

When my friend G was getting married, I decided to help him reduce his wedding expenses by baking his wedding cake. I had never attempted any baking project nearly as ambitious as this before, and didn’t even have the right supplies. Enter K with an arsenal of decorator tips, food coloring, etc. She also provided plenty of creative solutions that helped an amateur like me create this:1-cake1

Still, this lesson doesn’t always stick. Sometimes, an item might seem so obscure that it would seem pointless to enquire. So I go out and buy it only to find that k actually does have it.

open on one end

open on one end

I once read about primitive fire starting techniques and decided to make a fire

closed on the other end

closed on the other end

piston. Often, these were made of wood, but according to a video I saw, the easiest thing to use for the cylinder these days is a copper stub out (pic). Before seeing the video, I had never heard of such a thing. So I went to the hardware store to pick one up, along with the other materials I would need. Would you believe that k already had about a dozen of them?

To close, I’d like to point out a comic that’s the perfect blend of me (synth nerd) and k, appropriately titled The Packrat.

-p

 
15 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2013 in Tools

 

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THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY-

PART 3 OF ORGANIZING THOSE DREAM STORMED THOUGHTS

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

WELCOME TO THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY ROOM

What is ‘The Moon Floss Strategy Room?’ I’m so glad you asked! Let me explain how the idea behind the Moon Floss Strategy came about. A decade or two ago I was faced with the challenge of accomplishing a major  task. I was famous for making ‘TO-DO’ lists in notebooks, however, I was equally famous for closing the cover and succumbing to the ‘Out of sight, Out of mind’ habit of procrastination. I knew I needed to do something a little more ‘IN YOUR FACE’ if I was to succeed this time. I asked myself, “Where would I put a list of ‘must do’ items so I would be sure to see it everyday–if not multiple times a day–and not be able to escape the tasks that absolutely needed to be accomplished?” “Where would I be a ‘Captive Audience?” It had to be somewhere I knew I would be guarenteed to be to see the list. The Answer was so simple…The bathroom, more specifically the wall directly opposite the royal flusher (just above the moon floss dispenser). Did this strategy work? YUP! Would it work for everybody? Well, You could ask the room-mate I had at the time, We both had to work on the same task and we both ended up succeeding 100%. We also had the bathroom mirror covered with data and the television screen as well. This was before the casual advances of laptops and we were temporarily residing in a hotel far from home, otherwise the laptops would have been kept shut off. We agreed that the only way we were going to succeed was by sacrificing and eliminating any ‘FUN’ distractions.

NOW ON TO THE BUSINESS OF ORGANIZING

I finally got the rest of the dream stormed thoughts sorted out and added to the temporary surface. With all of the life interuptions these past few weeks it has been a challenge. After the Dream Storming Task,  Part 1 and Part 2, this next bit took a while to get to the stage to blog about…after all I had to have something to show.

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY-that’s a whole lotta individual tasks….

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

SETTING UP THE STRATEGY ROOM WALL

Now some of you won’t have as large a task as we do. You might be able to just post your list on the mirror or just above the moon floss. But for us…We needed the whole wall. Because this is our dream quest we also wanted to post a little incentive to keep us motivated. I gathered some images off the internet that were representative of our goals and made a collage to place in the middle of the wall. Once you start putting the goals and tasks on the wall, you will probably notice some areas that need to be added to that you didn’t make task slips or categories for. To make things convenient for adding additional items, I hung a few buckets with supplies from the towel bar.

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A LIST OF STEPS

  1. Make an ‘Incentive Collage’ and post it in the middle of the wall. (What the heck! Make a few of these and hang them all over…the fridge…the front door…the back door…above the TV…the bedroom ceiling…etc)
  2. Hang a few buckets of additional supplies (extra post-its, markers, scissors, tape, etc) from the towel bar or someplace nearby. You want to be able to add items as the thought presents itself.
  3. Make sectional headers that will divide the goals into distinct areas. Ours are DOWNSIZING, THE RIG and FINANCIAL. Helps to keep the areas organized.
  4. Remember that each ‘category’ and ‘task group’ have double Post-Its. The reason for this is that once you select a task and finish it, you will then stick it on another available wall. This will become your ‘DONE’ wall! Whatever task group this task belongs to has a ‘double header’, Once you start on a group, the 2nd Task Group Post-It also goes on the ‘DONE’ wall. This way you can see at a glance that you actually are accomplishing something.
  5. Start by placing your General Categories (PINK) around the wall. Don’t worry about getting them just so, I guarantee you will be moving these around a bit as the groups grow or you think they’d be better in a different area than where you started them.
  6. Then put all of your Task Groups (GREEN) under the appropriate categories.
  7. Now start putting your tasks under the proper groups. Again, don’t worry about what order they are in, right now you are just getting them up on the wall.
  8. Take a look at your wall, is it laid out the way you want it. Shift things around until you are happy. As you see the need for additional tasks, just leave space to add them in later.
  9. Now organize your individual tasks in reverse chronological order. The tasks of that group that need to be done first should be at the bottom of the list.
  10. After you are happy with the placement, you will need to rub your finger over the Post-Its to make sure the adhere well to the wall. (shower steam will make them curl as the room re-cools, but just take the time to rub them down a bit and they will stay put.)
  11. Once you begin actually working on the tasks you set for yourself, you will find yourself eventually coming to the last task of that group. When that happens, put the last task on the ‘DONE’ wall as well as the Task Group Post-It. That shows that that Group is completely done. (I think this would then be a good excuse to have a little party when this occurs)

SO WHEN YOU ARE DONE-YOUR WALL SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HERE’S A CLOSE-UP OF A GROUP

This is a close-up of the Yard Sale Category under the ‘DOWNSIZING’ area. I haven’t put the tasks in order yet in this picture but you get the idea. (clicking on the picture will give you a huge exploded view)

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

THE MOON FLOSS STRATEGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So…Good Luck and Have FUN!!!

k-

 

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A Gallery of Art

Here’s a video I just uploaded displaying my mom’s artwork.  Enjoy!

-p

 
9 Comments

Posted by on August 26, 2013 in CREATIVE INSPIRATION

 

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The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

 

We were notified that we had a comment from the Courageous Lisa O, at Stumbling Onward stating she had nominated our blog for the Liebster Award! Thank you so much Lisa! It really is an honor to be recognised. WordPress is full of wonderfully supportive bloggers and we are proud to be among the WP family.

screen-shot-2013-08-21-at-22-53-04

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
-Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them. ☑
-Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator. ☑
-Nominate 5 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers. ☑
-Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer. ☑
-Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them. ☑

Our answers to Lisa’s questions are:

1. Can you pinpoint a moment in your life that you felt was life changing, care to share that moment? That would have to be that fateful day in 2007, we were on the way home from dropping a mutual friend off at the airport. The normally ‘reticent P’ and I, a ‘babbler’ from birth, discovered we had an awful lot to talk about.
2. What would be your dream career? To live on the road in a traveling studio, creating art, music and collaborating on our series of books-we have over 20 outlined at this writing.
3. If you only had three people (outside of family) to speak to for the rest of your life, who would they be? For k- it would be ‘p’ of course, Kay Petal a totally wonderful artist, teacher and full time RVer, and Robin Williams because the conversations would never be boring and it would be like talking to 100 different people all at the same time. For ‘p’ it’s ‘k’, Jay and Joe (they know who they are)
4. You have been given one million dollars to donate to a charity in your name, which charity do you choose and why? For ‘k’ that would be Fractured Atlas, They provide independent artists help and resources for obtaining healthcare.
5. What animal best represents you and why? For ‘k’ it would have to be the Magpie, with it’s packrat tendencies and chatty nature. For ‘p’ it would be a cricket (because it’s the only animal he can converse with in its own language)
6. What non-traditionally ‘beautiful’ celebrity do you find super hot? for ‘k’- why ‘p’ of course-he’s a rock star! For ‘p’ it would have to be ‘k’, a shining STARburst of creativity.
7. What would be your last meal if you could plan it out? For ‘k’ Fresh smoked Alaska Salmon, fresh smoked mussels from Maine, Asparagus broiled in olive oil, cracked  pepper and seasalt, till the tips are crunchy, a perfectly baked potato with real butter, a 4oz piece of ribeye charred rare, a few tidbits of seared ahi tuna and for dessert–chocolate mousse. For ‘p’ it would be the best dish of Chicken Marsala money can buy.
8. Would you want to know when you will die if you could? Actually no, we wouldn’t like to know but in anticipation we have submitted our application for a 2nd life, as we have so much planned, it will be next to impossible to finish all of those tasks. It’s a lot of red tape (you know how  bureaucracies are) and we have yet to hear back, but we are confident in the approval coming as we submitted our request well before the DEAD-line.
9. You can go back to school, completely paid for, do you, and if so, for what? For ‘k’ it would be a 4 year bachelor degree in aviation at the Univerity of Alaska-Fairbanks campus, to be a ‘Bush-Pilot.’ For ‘p’ he is torn between an audio engineering degree and piano tuning/repair.
10. Would you rather live in a desert or a tundra?k’- TUNDRA for sure! ‘p’ says Tundra too because you can always add layers to get warm if you get cold…but if it’s hot…sometimes even getting naked can’t cool you off.

OUR QUESTIONS FOR OUR NOMINEES ARE:

  1. If you ever wrote a novel–what genre would it be and what would the name of your main character be?
  2. If you ever wrote a Non-Fiction book–what subject would it be about?
  3. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one?
  4. What is your favorite season? List your five favorite things about that season.
  5. If you had one minute to talk to your 17 year old self, what would you say?
  6. What song would you choose as your theme song?
  7. If you could witness one event in history, what would it be and why?
  8. Who has been the biggest creative influence in your life?
  9. What is your Dream Quest?
  10. Have you started it yet?

OUR LIEBSTER AWARD NOMINEES ARE

David at Not All Wanderers Are Lost

Peter and Peg at Life Unscripted

Anasera’s (One of Many blogs) Wildersoul Rainbows

Nancy at Camping In My Happy Place

CJ at A View From Under the Prep-Room Table

These are just a sampling of the many wonderful bloggers it has been our pleasure to encounter. If We could we’d give a Liebster Award to all of them we would! They all have wonderful, helpful and insightful blogs!

Thank you again for nominating us Lisa!

Without Wax,

k&p Catalano

 
16 Comments

Posted by on August 24, 2013 in AWARDS, CREATIVE INSPIRATION

 

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Veni MIDI Vici

*DISCLAIMER: The following post contains synth nerd jargon.

Isn’t it Ironic?

Image

I’m a sucker for a good pun. Okay, I’m also a sucker for a bad pun.

On the day that I decided to write a blog that concerns the downsizing of my music studio, I received a package in the mail. I haven’t ordered anything online lately, so I wasn’t expecting a package. I opened it and found a copy of I Dream of Wires: Hardcore Edition. This is a documentary that I ordered several months ago while it was still in production. It’s a film about the history of Modular Synthesizers. These can be the largest synths out there: a single instrument can potentially weigh hundreds of pounds and fill an entire room! Obviously, this isn’t something that can be taken on the road, and I never had any intention of doing so.

Back to reality…

1-IMG_3572

An amazing synth. A good MIDI controller?

Instead, I will be downsizing to two keyboards, I currently have twelve, and this is after already downsizing from seventeen. One I will be keeping is a Roland V-Synth. This is one incredible keyboard, and its ability to twist and mangle sound still amazes me after nearly a decade of ownership. This will also act as my main controller board, where I can play various software synthesizers. More about this in a bit…

1-IMG_3571

A compact classic

The second keyboard is a Moog MG-1. Yes, “technically” the V-Synth can do almost everything the Moog does and more. You can even run them both through an oscilliscope, and the wave shape would be nearly identical. But there are certain nuances in the sound of an analog synth that a digital just can’t emulate. Thankfully, the MG-1 is very compact.

The Problem

Even though I’m slimming down to two keyboards, my sound pallette will actually expand. Like most modern keyboards, the V-Synth is fully MIDI capable. Basically this is a way for one instrument to communicate with another, or in this case, with a computer. I’ve used MIDI plenty of times to play one synth with another, especially synths that don’t have a keyboard attached. This is fairly easy, and I thought that connecting to a computer via a MIDI to USB cable would be a simple task. I’m sure Odysseus thought the trip home would be a snap.

I’ve used several different versions of the same recording/editing program for years (Magix Music Studio), and it has always worked like a charm. But most of the time, I’ve recorded audio. The few times I’ve used MIDI with this program was when I used a MIDI editor to control a virtual instrument (VSTi). This is fine and dandy, especially for accurate notation. But it’s only dragging and dropping notes. Many musicians dismiss such a method because you’re “not really playing an instrument.” Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of this approach, so most of my music is played by hand. However, I’ve composed music with the “drag and drop” technique that I would never have thought of if I played the traditional way. This has led to compositions that are actually beyond my own ability to play.

The big problem with “drag and drop” is that unless you spend countless hours tweaking each individual note, it lacks expression (hear example below). So I need to be able to play these VSTi’s with a physical keyboard.

1-IMG_3573And so I started. I opened up Magix and started a new project. I opened the track editor for Track 1 and switched the record mode to MIDI. I plugged the cable into the MIDI ports on my synth, and the USB jack on my laptop. The program recognized the MIDI setup. Great. I selected the VSTi I wanted to use and routed it to Track 1. Then I hit “Record” and started to play. I didn’t hear anything. Uh-oh. I reopened the track editor and made sure that the MIDI channel on the laptop matched the one from the synth. Then I tried to record again. Still nothing.

At this point I decided to check out Youtube for a tutorial. The version in the video was a bit different than mine, but that shouldn’t be a big problem. I wrote down all the steps shown and tried them out. Still nothing. So I went to the Magix website to find some answers. Unfortunately, the site is rather confusing, and it only seemed to have info on the latest version, which is not the one I have.

After striking out there, I went to the Vintage Synth Forum, a very helpful site that I’ve been going to for years. I feared that I might get a snarky reply like “Use Program X instead.” Thankfully this didn’t happen. While no one was sure exactly what I need to do, I was pointed to a Magix specific forum. I’ve posted my question there, so hopefully that will shed some light.

If any of you out there in Blog Land have any tips, I’d be forever grateful. I’m using Magix Samplitude Music Studio MX ver. 18.0.0.43.

-p

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 21, 2013 in NEW CHALLENGES

 

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POST-ITs, POST-US, INTERUPT-US

WOE TO THE PATIENTS OF A GIMPY NURSE

This is a quick update for all of our patient readers waiting for the next installment of Organizing Your Dream Stormed Thoughts. A BIG BAD BUG paid this house of overstuffed insanity an un-announced visit. Two of the three adults in this home have been brought low by this dreadful throat raspy, snifflelumptipus. (Yes this means P and my daughter). So it is left to me to be nurse to them and toddler wrangler to the grandyboys (ages 2 and 4) Usually this would not be a big deal…BUT (notice this is a big BUT)…their nurse and wrangler-ette, currently known a Gimp-a-Long Grussie, is hampered by some serious physical limitations at the moment. Due to an injury at work (the reason I’ve had so much free time to start this blog), I move at a snail’s pace, can lift nothing, can stand and walk for only short durations, sit for slightly longer, and can manage a lie-down for about two-hour increments. And I can’t drive (for a professional driver this is maddening). We are hoping the back surgery they have planned for me will set things right again.

So, what this translates to in terms of nursing the sick and entertaining the troops, this is what I can do!

I fix a mean cup of tea. I can peel off the top of a new box of tissues and dispense. I can remind and dole out the meds. I can push fluids on resisting sickies like a fiend. I’ve got the chinese restaurant on speed dial and can have on assortment of hot, nourishing, delicious soups in house and ready to serve in 30 minutes or less. I can make and minister a cool wet cloth to a sweaty brow or spread a blanket over a shivery mass of limbs.

I have two of the most wonderful little helpers. They bring me books to read to them, they can select and insert their favorite movies into the DVD player. They let me control the remote. They take turns bringing me my ‘grabby stick’. They make the most delightful messes with help of their imagination and are very good about picking up their tornadic debris when I start to sing ‘The Clean Up’ song. They pat their mommys head and give her kisses.

So …this means that currently I have my hands and heart otherwise engaged and will get back to the business of proper blogging once everyone is feeling better. If I get the chance I will try to answer comments and acknowledge our wonderful new followers.

Best Regards from the Sick Ward!

k-

 

 

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