Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 11

Greetings, Internet! Hope everyone’s doing as well as can be given all of the seriously messed up things that happened this week outside of our quarantine bubbles. This week I got to see my family for an afternoon (pie was had, which was amazing), learned that perhaps now is too early to add flute into the mix, and posted my first split-screen video. Daily summaries are below!


Day Seventy-One (5/22/20)

  • Recorded next Thursday’s song on ukulele. I’m thinking one guitar cover and one ukulele cover per week. I want to keep up the split screen stuff especially for the guitar covers, unless the ukulele song warrants it. It’ll usually just be for backup vocals, but I’m going to try to get some flute action in there. Gosh, don’t I sound ambitious?
  • Tested out chords for one song I’m thinking of doing. I just have to replace a little bit of a guitar solo with the flute. We’ll see if I can actually make it happen. I tinkered around with my flute and I think I have the notes down, but I’ll have to play along with the song to make sure everything’s in tune.
  • Currently feeling: I practiced three different instruments today, and it felt amazing. Gosh, I’ve missed playing instruments. I hadn’t touched my ukulele since 2014, had barely played guitar within the past decade (I’d say last time I practiced on a guitar was probably in the  2013/2014 range), and had neglected my flute in any serious capacity since 2009. I’ve always felt self-conscious practicing instruments if I knew that someone could hear me (although to be fair, I played piccolo in middle school, and there’s no way to avoid hearing that), and now that I live alone and I can’t hear my neighbors (which I’m guessing is a good sign that they also can’t hear me?), I feel like I finally can play music.
  • Currently looping: I’m listening to a Sara Bareilles live show that’s up on YouTube now. Love her songwriting and creativity in general.


Day Seventy-Two (5/23/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Trying so hard to avoid the Sephora sale. So hard. But when something I know I’m going to use goes on sale, it’s like, but why wouldn’t I restock?
  • Did a work hangout with a friend. Finished Book Seven of Gregory of Tours (I know, it’s been a minute since I read Gregory’s stuff, but I’ve been doing reading for other things).
  • FaceTimed my sister. No wine tonight. She was tired and I was in my standing frame.
  • Just noticed that one of my tires is warped. When do bike stores reopen?
  • Currently feeling: Perhaps this coming week will be the week that I go outside for a stroll (for exercise reasons, because I’m starting to feel a bit of squish on my arms and I’m not thrilled about it). I miss fresh air. I mean, sure, it’s been over ten weeks indoors, and I don’t have cabin fever yet, so that’s good, but also, I should probably go outside so that I don’t get too accustomed to the great indoors.
  • Currently looping: Belle and Sebastian’s “If You’re Feeling Sinister.” I was diving into my “Mellow” playlist on Spotify (basically Belle and Sebastian, The Decemberists, Ingrid Michaelson, The Shins, and a random assortment of other tunes/acoustic versions that goes on for over nineteen hours).


Day Seventy-Three (5/24/20)

  • My family came over for some MDW festivities! We’ve all been self quarantining, and my mother drove everyone everywhere, so we’re being safe, okay?
  • Showed my niece gymnastics on YouTube. She tried to imitate athletes who stuck the landing by sticking her arms up over her head. I didn’t think she could get any cuter, but then she went and did.
  • It’s Sunday night. You know by now that I routinely get drunk with writing buddy (well, I get drunk, he keeps it together).
  • Watched a Tina Guo AMA livestream. Someone mentioned that they hadn’t played cello for five years and were looking to get back into it, and she was basically like, “Practice an hour a day.” And I thought, “Um, yeah, duh.” I love when people ask musical professionals things like, “How are you so good at your instrument?” and the answer is something to the effect of, “I practice a lot.” Like, you get out what you put in. No shortcuts. I’m sure most people don’t like to hear that because it means they have to make a real time commitment to a skill, but that’s actually the only way to get better at anything. And it gives hope to people like me, who aren’t terrible, but who still have lots of room for improvement.
  • Currently feeling: My weekly horoscope literally said, “Don’t intellectualize everything.” What are you, my therapist? Ugh.
  • Currently looping: Tina Guo’s “Wonder Woman” theme. Still my favorite warrior theme.


Day Seventy-Four (5/25/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Posted my cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” I’m so happy with how the split-screen vocals turned out, and I cannot wait to record next Monday’s guitar cover.
  • Had a Zoom hangout with two of my HGSE friends. I long for the day when we can have tea and cookies at my apartment.
  • Rehearsed part of next Monday’s video. As fun as it is to harmonize with yourself, it’s hard, guys. Also, I’m not so sure about this flute section I want to add in. Playing it today made me realize that my sister was right when she said that the flute was quite, um, cheap, when it was purchased twenty years ago. It has not aged well, and I’m not thrilled with the tone I’m getting. I need an upgrade. Oh, Flute Center of New York! So close, but so far away!
  • Oh hey, look at all the things that spread the ‘Rona. Singing in closed spaces is one of them. So, all the more reason for people to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
  • Currently feeling: I don’t think my hair has ever been this long. But you know who also has long hair? Lots of women in metal bands. Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel, Nightwish’s Floor Jansen, and of course Evanescence’s Amy Lee, whose songs I’ve tried to sing accurately since the age of twelve. Also, there’s Tina Guo, who is all about that metal cello life. I’m embracing the long hair look.
  • Currently looping: The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Otherside,” but it’s the live version from Slane Castle, which features, in my opinion, the greatest backup vocals of any version of this song. I will fight anyone who disagrees.


Day Seventy-Five (5/26/20)

  • Recorded the video for next Monday. Tried to incorporate the flute, but it just sounded janky in comparison to the guitar (which sounded nice) and the backup vocals (which, I mean, I think I nailed the harmonizing this time), so I thought it best to leave the guitar and vocals alone.
  • Did a work Skype with a friend. Read the article for my reading group tomorrow. What even are the global Middle Ages??
  • Caught up on “Legends of Tomorrow.” Season finale is next week, and then another show that I adore won’t be on television until 2021. <sobs quietly> I guess I could catch up on “Batwoman”?
  • Currently feeling: I feel so bad for calling my twenty-year-old flute janky. She’s been with me to auditions, concerts, and countless practices. We have so much history together, and here I am, calling her janky because she’s old. I mean, have I watched “Toy Story” and its sequels so often that I’m convinced that countless objects have anthropomorphic qualities? Maybe. Maybe I’m also super sentimental about things that hold a great deal of emotional value. And, on another note, maybe I haven’t picked up the flute in such a long time that I suck at it now, and I just don’t know it. I don’t know. I’ve got a book of Harry Potter sheet music here. Let’s see if I can get through it and recognize the themes.
  • Currently looping: Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” I’m just looking for songs with backup vocals, and one of my trainers has spoken highly of this song. I hate to admit it, but I might have to look into country songs.


Day Seventy-Six (5/27/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. Read a review of last night’s “Legends of Tomorrow” episode and read through what some people have been tweeting about it. For reals, this is one of the best shows on television. I mean, season one is not great, and season two is meh, but season three onwards is just spectacular.
  • Went to a Zoom reading group with one of my professors and a few other grad students. Talked about the Global Middle Ages, which doesn’t seem to be well-defined, but is apparently all the rage when it comes to tenure-track hiring. Leave it to higher education to want a professor who can teach a millennium’s worth of history (500-1500 CE) that spans several continents, and then hire another professor who can teach 19th-century American history. Those Americanists only have to study one century with the vast majority of their sources in English. Pft. Lightweights (oh yes, I know them’s fighting words. Come at me, Americanist bros. We all know there’s nothing new after the third century anyway).
  • Currently feeling: I was talking to someone about my gap year earlier today. Like, the one I took between high school and college. It’s funny, I remember I had all that time with zero school obligations (when I wasn’t doing PT), and I spent it reading things that had nothing to do with academics, watching all of the sports (even golf, which, I don’t even know what got into me), and, yup, learning guitar. I remember being super lonely though, because despite all of the hobbies and reading and everything, I had no friends, on account of high school being the absolute worst. This time around is so much different, which has made this bit of self-isolation very doable. Thanks, friends ❤
  • Currently looping: Patti Smith’s “Because the Night.”


Day Seventy-Seven (5/28/20)

  • Posted my cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” I feel like this is a ukulele staple. Although, depending on the day, the song will either remind me of a charming Disney film, or a horror movie. Such a versatile song.
  • Attended a Zoominar on the Cyprian plague (took place in the third century around the Mediterranean). I think about how in-person seminars will become a thing again eventually, but would it be possible to continue having a Zoom option in the future? Like, what would be the harm in having a livestream going at the same time as a real-time in-person seminar? Sure would save me a ton of travel. And others, probably. Just saying.
  • Survived a therapy session with my mascara intact. Yes, I wear mascara to my therapy sessions. I’ve gotten really good at crying without smudging my mascara or ruining my concealer. These are vital life skills.
  • Recorded next Thursday’s ukulele cover. Is it another Disney song? Yes, yes it is. Making up for lost Disney covers here. Although now that I have the split-screen mostly down, I can start doing proper Ingrid Michaelson covers (she sure loves layering vocal tracks).
  • Donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, because that’s probably the only thing I can do to help at this point.
  • “The Princess Bride” is on Disney Plus. This is not a drill, people. <happy Snoopy dance>
  • Currently feeling: Kind of toasty. It got really warm, and I can’t reach my thermostat (or open a window). I was supposed to have the thermostat lowered, and have something installed to make my windows possible to open while seated, but neither one of those things happened. And then quarantine happened. I wish I could sweat below my level of injury.
  • Currently looping: Garbage and Screaming Females’ cover of “Because the Night.” 

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe, everyone!

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