Finally, an animated primer on how to use the internet to answer questions.

Today was productive and I had a lot of leisurely fun with family - best of all possible worlds. Stretching feels good for sore muscles. I memorized "Someday my prince will come" and started soloing over it (somewhat clumsily, but this will improve over time) and can fluently sightread "Well you needn't" and feel way better on shell voicings in general.

It's not that the songs themselves are hard, but I'm going slowly because there are so many new concepts to internalize and soak into my fingers, like being able to jump automatically into a shell voicing instead of laboriously plotting out the chord and then finding the 3rd and 5th and playing those. Some stuff is in my brain but not my hands; I can work it out but need to stop and think before I place my fingers. Some stuff is the other way 'round, like when my fingers automatically hit the right sharps and flats for each key when playing scales and simple chords but if you asked me what notes I just played and what key I'm in, I can't tell you. I need to film my practice sessions so I can review my progress. I should also use my play-along book now that my CD drive works again, since I'm at the point for "Well you needn't" where I should start playing with soloing; there are some licks from Kevin that I need to try out on it.

Spent most of today going around Boston with Melanie. We stopped by the library and grabbed a bunch of cooking textbooks. It was a sort of disappointing haul; I'd hoped to find the knife book, but at least we got a textbook with a great section on eggs, so breakfast tomorrow is going to rock. Dinner tonight rocked; apparently nobody in the house ate lunch, so when we landed at a Chinese restaurant for dinner, multiple massive plates of food were demolished with somewhat alarming speed. (And oh, the crispy bottoms of pan-fried dumplings. Glory.)

Melanie has also fallen in love with my guitar and is rapidly catching up to my paltry stock of skill on that particular instrument. That's what we spent the rest of the day in Boston doing - trying out guitars, becuase she wants to save for one now. She has her eye on a particular Art & Lutherie Ami at Daddy's Music, a small-bodied steel-string acoustic with a slim rosewood fingerboard and a solid cedar top. I'm not sure what the relevant specs are for guitars that you're supposed to list, but she also likes the fact that it was blue. It sounds wonderfully warm and rich, and her first comment after playing was "this has a better tone than your guitar." (I agree, but mine sounds pretty good and the small scale and portability are killer apps for me, so hey.) It'll take something like a year, because she's determined to get a nice instrument she'll actually enjoy playing.

At this point, I had a flashback to myself at that age patiently saving for my first computer, a process that took almost 5 years - and how much I treasured that machine as a result. I hope that Melanie will someday have the same kind of "save for something you really want, then treasure it and use it all the time" experience, with a guitar or otherwise. It changed the way I looked at things I owned and things I wanted.

Oh, yes. The piano at my aunt's house has some weird resonance things going on with the living room. (I think it's also slightly out of tune.) And something strange happens to hot peppercorns when you don't cook them quite right; they taste... metallic, like sour copper. I'm not sure how that's caused or how to prevent or fix it, but it's something to find out. And for some reason, I was quite conscious today of how different kinds of lightbulbs affect the feel and chroma (is that the right word?) of a space. It's nice to notice things again. I guess this is what happens when you have a bit of breathing room and aren't all consumed by panicking about work. I feel too young to be writing a sentence like that, but - well, there it is.

Tomorrow will be awesome. We've got Eggs: The Project for breakfast, as previously mentioned. Depending on the freshness of the eggs in the fridge, we'll either have fried and poached eggs or soft-boiled and shirred eggs; either way, there will be scrambled eggs and possibly an omelet). And then the ILXO reunion at Sunset, which means I'll be stuffed silly with nachos and root beer (yes, I know it's not good for my cough, but you only live once) and possibly get to watch Coraline. Aside from the usual daily music and exercise stuff, there is nothing on my "have to do" list for tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to finding out what I actually do.

Ah, the wonderful feeling of abundance!