Midweek Sweat Check

Here’s my midweek sweat check:

Monday morning I did a home yoga practice and threw in a few extra Sun Salute S’s and rounds of agni sara (a yogic practice that creates heat like crazy) to get my heart rate up and create a few tiny little drops of perspiration. Then in the evening I met some friends for a Barre-dio class, which is basically an aerobic style workout mixed in with barre moves for toning. It was…interesting, but hey, I definitely burned some calories and learned some really cheesy dance moves so at least there’s that.

Yesterday…well, I hate to say it but I skipped out on my sweat sesh. I worked all day, had a few things to take care of when I got home, and then Dan and I had tickets to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (remember July’s lent?) and I just didn’t have time to do something sweaty and take a shower before the show. I know, I get an F, but does my cheat get cancelled out if Monday and Wednesday are both double sweat days? I’m going with yes…

And today, I started my morning with a chilly 2 mile run in the 20˚ Michigan weather and am planning on doing a little yoga before work once my breakfast has a chance to digest (yoga on a full stomach is never a good idea).

I’m sticking to my original plan for the rest of the week, but if you’re local and want to do something sweaty with me, lemme know!

ukulele_orchestra

Highlights of the show: When they covered Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols and Song 2 by Blur.

 

 

Summer Dog Days = Danne Brain Haze

We’re officially in the dog days of summer (my absolute favorite time of year), and although I’m technically a December baby, I’m a summer girl at heart—and for the record, my mom was this close to naming me Summer. This close…

So, what I’m getting at here is that it’s about that time of year where I literally have to force myself to do anything besides go to the beach and drink Sam Summer on the back porch. I’m not really exaggerating either. Maybe I’m just too hot, maybe I’m just burnt out (literally), but by the time August rolls around I’m kind of out. Call me Italian, but can’t we all just take the whole month off?

Welcome to the current state of Danne affairs.

Because my hazy-summer brain has officially taken over, I have fallen behind with just about everything: emails, keeping up with my various social media accounts, returning phone calls—and even text messages (because it takes so much effort to send a text), following through with any request that anyone makes of me that isn’t going to the beach, trip planning (more on that later), packing (more on that too), and of course…ukulele playing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been practicing my little Uke…just not enough to reach my BHAG of the month. But then again—wasn’t it a pretty tall order for a total newbie to learn how to play an entire song and sing along to it in only a few weeks? I think so. But that could just be my hedonistic alter-ego “Summer” talking. She’s really good at letting me off the hook and rationalizing ditching responsibilities in favor of a good time. What a bad influence…

In any case, here’s what I can report: I did indeed learn to play the ukulele…and I actually caught on much quicker than I thought I would. I’m certainly no Don Ho, but I know a bunch of chords, I somehow have the drive to practice until I “get it” instead of being discouraged and giving up right away (the norm), and I ditched learning how to play Umbrella right off the bat when I rediscovered my favorite pop song ever: Adam Lamber’s “Whataya Want from Me”, and I’m actually pretty close to making it sound like a real song.

So…Whataya Want from Me? Video proof? I can work on that…right when I get back from the beach of course, because that’s where I’m headed the second this posts. 

Oh, and I’ll disclose the details on August’s lent tomorrow…probably…

My Ukulele Hero

A few Fridays ago, Dan and I were flipping through the channels and stumbled on a documentary called “Life on Four Strings” about ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro, aka, my new ukulele hero. It was amazing enough to me that there was a ukulele documentary on in the first place (anyone else think it’s a sign?), but holy crap, this guy is unreal. He has such a great story, he seems like the nicest, sweetest, most humble person, and omg—can he play the uke…

Here’s his famous rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” as proof (Tip: It starts to get ridiculous at about the 3 minute mark):


Incredible, right? Love.

And in other coincidental ukulele news, the drum shop in my hometown was randomly having a “Ukulele Sale” this  past weekend (what the…), and a café a few doors down had a sign in their window for “The Barnstable Ukulele Club”. Seriously, what’s going on here? Is the universe trying to tell me something or is the ukulele the latest and greatest hipster trend that I’m the last one to know about? I’m always the last one to know…

Either way, I’m into it. I’ve got the #ukulelefever

Ukulele Lovin’ Week 2

Here’s my progress report for 18 days of ukulele strummin’:

  • Pinkelele is all packed up and ready to go home to the Amazon.com warehouse. I’m a little sad to see her go, but the more I’ve been practicing on Dan’s uke, the more attached I’m growing. Might be time to start brainstorming a name for her…
  • I officially finished all 7 lessons in my Learning Ukulele in 7 Days app and can now play classics like, “Hush Little Baby”, “La Paloma”, “Aloha ‘Oe”, “I Shall Not Be Moved”, and “Jetzt Kommen Die Lustigen Tage”—because everyone loves a good little German diddy on the ukulele, right?
  • I know 4 chords: C, G, G7, and F, and have been practicing changing between them with a decent level of success.
  • Uke came to the Cape with us last weekend and made her beach debut. Talk about the perfect beach instrument, I think that’s where ukuleles were made to be played.
  • I serenaded my family with this song (anyone want to name that tune?), to which my mom declared, “She’s a genius!”. Gotta love a little motherly encouragement:   

So, that’s where I’m at folks. I’ve decided that my focus for the rest of the month is to learn “Umbrella” by Rihanna, which I’ve chosen as my big ukulele finale song.  My goal is to play and sing the whole thing, but since that’s definitely a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious, goal), I might have to line up a plan B. Time will tell…

And now since the “real feel” temperature of the day is 103˚F, I think it’s about time I went to the beach. Holy heatwave, good thing it’s never too hot to play the ukulele…

 

 

Today’s Chord and Ukulele Update: F

So, as some of you probably saw on my various social networks today, Pinkelele came in the mail—horray! Not so fast…

While she’s certainly pretty, and shiny, and pink…she’s also plastic, and difficult to tune (and even more difficult to keep in tune), and well…cheap. Maybe if I hadn’t been spoiled with Dan’s “real” ukulele I wouldn’t have known the difference, but when the 2 of us sat down to tune it tonight we couldn’t help but notice it sounds more like a toy than an instrument.

Ohhh…

So, I’m sad to report that I think Pinkelele might be heading back to the Amazon.com warehouse. As much as I’ve dreamed of owning a pink ukulele, I don’t think this is the one for me. Sigh and sad face.

I figure that maybe if this month goes well and I end up deciding to continue my ukulele studies, I’ll reward myself with one that costs more that $30. Good idea?

For now, you can find me practicing today’s chord—F —which is aptly named for today if you ask me…

I should add a crack to the middle since my little ukulele-loving heart is broken...

I should add a crack to the middle since my little ukulele-loving heart is broken…

Ukulele Lovin’ Week 1

Here’s week 1’s ukulele update:

  • As I wrote about in my last post, I purchased a pretty pink uke which should be arriving in the mail later this week. My Aquila strings came today and “Pinkelele”—the winning ukulele name (thanks Yoon!)—is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday, woohoo!
  • I downloaded an awesome app called Learning Ukulele in 7 Days that I’ve been loving. Not only does it go through the chords one by one, but it teaches you songs and strumming patterns, it has a tuner, and it gives you fun ukulele facts like this one: “The ukulele was brought to Hawaii by a Portuguese immigrant named Joao Fernandez in 1879. He came from Madeira and brought a cavaquinho, a small guitar-like Portuguese instrument to the island. Portuguese immigrants were the first ukulele makers.” Who knew?
  • I’ve got the C and G chords down, and spent the majority of last night poorly playing “Hush Little Baby”. Tonight’s lesson highlights the G7 chord and my 3rd song: “La Paloma”.
  • And if you missed it on Facebook and Twitter, I was featured on The #ukulele Daily on Saturday (scroll down to the bottom), YES!

The verdict for this challenge so far? A+. I’m really loving learning this fun little instrument and I’m picking up on it more quickly than I thought I would.

Now onwards and upwards to the G7 chord…

ukulele1

 

 

On My Way to Becoming a Ukulady

Because I live with a musician, there’s already a ukulele in the house for me to learn on—not to mention a guitar (acoustic and electric), a bass, a mandolin, a banjo,  an accordion, a keyboard, a harmonica, 2 flutes, a piccolo, and a trumpet—but one thing at a time here…

Even though I don’t actually need a ukulele of my own, I feel like because I’m devoting so much time to playing it this month that I should have my own, right? That’s what I thought too, so I went ahead and ordered this baby today which should be coming in the mail sometime next week:

roseI’m officially on my way to becoming a ukulady. YES. Now the question is what to name my little ukubaby…any suggestions?

Thanks for the Memories: Memory Lane Wrap-Up and July’s Lent

When I started this challenge, I had a grand vision of recording a memory a day for the entire month, ending up with 30 perfectly written little life stories by May 31st. Ha! As with almost everything in life though, things usually take at least twice as long as you think they will—which was certainly true in this case. Recording all these memories took quite a bit of time, and even after extending the challenge into June, it was still tough—or let’s be honest: impossible—to fit them all in.

Alas, I wasn’t able to recall every last beautiful moment of my life thus far, but I’m happy to have at least some of the best and brightest on record. Before I officially sign off with this lent, I’d like to give a sincere thank you to each and every single person in my life—whether I was able to write out a memory about you or not—because without you these memories wouldn’t exist and my life wouldn’t be as blessed and beautiful as it is. So, thanks for the memories guys, I mean it xoxo

And on that note, cue the Bob Hope send off:

 

So, now what? If you like 12MOL of Facebook or Twitter you may have seen my post last Saturday polling which challenge I should take on for July: a 21-Day Sugar Detox, or learning to play the ukulele. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the uke so I’m goin’ for it—for my very first musical challenge, I will teach myself to play the ukulele (and take advantage of my in-house stringed instrument expert, Mr. Dan Kaplan). I don’t have the details entirely worked out, but I’m feeling like this month will involve lots of embarrassing video updates and definitely a pretty serious grand finale performance that’s TBD. Any suggestions?

Next Step: Buy a ukulele and figure out how to play it. Piece o’ cake. Anyone have any resources for me? Books, YouTube videos? Local ukulele experts to hit up? I’ll need all the help I can get…