Galitz JE's

The Galitz Journal for friends and family

Category Archives: Star Date Entry

Filling Up

My schedule is starting to fill up. Tuesdays I’m tutoring Music Theory I at MDC, then piano lesson and chamber music class in the evening. Wed/Thu is helping out the CPA in S. Miami. Friday is volunteering or subbing at MAST. Saturday is Suzuki Music Academy cello-ing.

Also, volunteered to help out with MIFF for a day in February and sponsor a hike the 3rd Sunday of Feb, March and April. No rest for the wicked.

Still have to work on losing 5 pounds and getting more exercise. Earl’s sister visited for a few days and that certainly didn’t help the diet.

Year in Review

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Hope this note finds you well. It’s always nice to take a moment to say hello. Life goes by so quickly.

Earl & I have been pretty lucky this year. Travel began in May with a trip to Boston for a family Bar Mitzvah. June found us in St. Petersburg, Russia where I found us a nice private room in a hostel to stay for the week. There we met an interesting America couple with a small child who had been in Riga for a fellowship. Earl showed his World War I at the stamp show there and got a Vermeil.

Short trip to Baltimore for the Ottoman Near East Philatelic Society over Labor Day weekend and then off to Turkey in November for the International Stamp Show Balkanfilia. I went a few days earlier to explore the center of Turkey — Cappadocia which has very interesting geology. The caves there have been occupied since prehistoric times. We refreshed our tourism of Istanbul and ate lots. Came back and a week later had to go to Chicagopex for the Czech Society meeting and its Pan Slavic Show. It didn’t snow but Earl won the reserve grand for his Classics.

On the pet side, we received a pair of lovebirds this year. One didn’t make it. However, the parakeets have adopted “Hamlet” as one of their own. We were also gifted a 90 gallon fishtank.

I’ve been busy learning the cello since the summer. Found one on Craigslist for $200 used — retail cost $1,200 and decided to take it up as my chamber music class is always short for cello players. Started a blog to post about cello and other stuff I’m studying.

This fall, I went back to college full-time to finish my Bachelor’s Degree. I had to take some social science classes as my CLEP scores were too old for credit toward the degree. Also took Musical History which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

Earl’s mother starting to decline mentally the past few months but that’s to be expected at age 92. Also we think a high fever she had last month might have fried her brain a little.

This month I’ve gotten into Facebook and Drawspace. I like Facebook much much more than MySpace. It’s an interesting experiment in six points of separation and in viral systems. I never bothered posting anything to MySpace. Started drawing again after a hiatus of thirty years and have been posting it online at the Drawspace.com gallery. Click here to see my gallery. I’ll add a link on my blog as well.

Gadget wise: Upgraded my 1st generation I-pod shuffle to a 3rd generation nano. New 26 inch HDTV for the home and a new LG Rumor cell phone.

I guess that’s all the highlights. Love to all and may 2008 be good to you.

Must Have Been Good This Year

We don’t actually exchange gifts in our household. However, new things occasionally pop up. Our old TV was fading away, so we went to Best Buy and found a 26 inch HDTV flat screen to replace it on sale ($150 off) and we had a coupon for another 10% off. Set it up this evening with a little help from our friends. THANKS GUYS!

Upgraded my phone to a LG Rumor. It’s very nice for text messaging and email.

Got myself an I-pod nano 3G for my birthday and trip to Turkey. It replaces an old first generation shuffle. It’s fun for listening to podcasts. Used some Amazon coupons to get an FM transmitter for the car for it.

Found a barely used Thermarest (Sleeping bag inflatable pad) on eBay and got it for a song.

So we’ve done our part to help the economy these past two months and it really didn’t have anything to do with the holidays.

Hope Santa was good to y’all too.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

It’s Almost Turkey Time

Next Wednesday, I’ll be flying off to Cappadocia in Turkey. It’s been hectic trying to get ahead in all my classes so I’m not too far behind when I come back November 7th. Cello practice has suffered a bit from schoolwork, but at least I’m getting an opportunity to play a few pieces for chamber music class. We’ve had a bout of bad luck with our love birds. Lost two birds this past week. My weight is up 5 pounds, I’ll have to be better about hitting the gym and not cheating so much. Been meeting Earl for lunch three times a week after classes downtown, that also might be a factor. Earl gained back the five pounds that he lost on his trip to St. Petersburg. It’s a constant battle to get him to do any exercise. It’s been so hot out at 90 degrees every day that I can’t justify going for walks.

May Daze

Between traveling to visiting friends and family and being under the weather this past week, I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about not being able to get much work, exercise, and cello practice done this month.

Did get to see “Spiderman 3â€? and “Fractureâ€? at the movies. Both okay but “Spiderman 2” was the best of the series and one shouldn’t think too hard about “Fracture’sâ€? plot. Because I haven’t felt well enough to do anything else, got to watch a bunch of videos at home: Idiocracy (tragic comic prophetic political movie?), The Joy Luck Club (this one was torture for Earl who dubbed it a girlie movie), Assassination Bureauâ€? (fun oldie with Diana Rigg) along with a few documentaries “BBC’s Weird Nature and Comic Book Heroes Unmaskedâ€?.

Earl’s having conniptions because his new passport hasn’t arrived and its two weeks before the trip to St. Petersburg. He sent it for renewal on 3/27. He can’t reach the passport office by email or phone. They don’t even take messages. Also, he still needs to get a Russian Visa. I waited too long myself and will have to do the 3 day expedited visa process. Guess I was thinking subconsciously that we should submit our passports together for the visas. The worse case scenario will be that I’ll have to go to St. Petersburg by myself.

Endings and Beginnings

The last week of classes. Everyone was ready for the end, even goodbyes were sweet and short. It is said that this past term feels the longest for students because there aren’t many holidays between January and April. Decided against taking classes over the summer. I need a break, want to practice the cello and will be traveling.

Took advantage of having a free day to clean up some files, invoice clients, etc. Starting updating a script for a client and made the mistake of trying to clear up the previous editor’s formatting. Talk about cascading failures — now I’ll have to go line by line in 60 pages of script to fix the fonts. Had an out-of-town guest drop by one day and we sat by the pool and had lunch out at Bayside Hut on Key Biscayne. Bayside Hut is one of those little places that only the locals seem to know about and where one can get a good grilled fish sandwich for only $6.

Went to MDC’s musical performance of “Nunsenseâ€?. Lots of fun and one of MDC’s better efforts. Of course, this time I didn’t bring a video recorder because neither Earl nor I had to play in the orchestra.

Our pal, Al, who had been very sick with a bad cold for the past few weeks came over last Sunday. We watched “Day for Nightâ€? by Francois Truffaut. It’s one of Earl’s favorite movies. Also tried out Costco’s thick lamb chops. Marinated them in red wine and herbs, seared them in the frying pan and then roasted them at 525 degrees. Came out pretty good. Earl was enthusiastic about buying the lamb chops because they were so cheap at Costco versus ordering them at a restaurant.

Another work project has been trying to reconcile a law firm’s trust account (not Earl’s). Amazing that they have $200,000 in the bank that they are not sure how to distribute. Hope I can get this finished by next week.

Playing the cello has had some interesting side benefits. Met a bunch of cello bloggers and they have been very supportive of my efforts. Also gave me the courage to video myself. Its actually a good learning tool to see oneself objectively. If you’re interested it’s at my cello blog at http://practicemakesperfekt.blogspot.com/

On a whim I checked my retirement accounts and they are up over $10k from last December. Earl declared a stock market holiday so we ended up going out with Todd to the Tien Kue buffet.

Had a nice game night with our friends who play Pinochle. Baked tilapia with salsa and cheese, made my much raved-about multigrain rice and threw in a side of okra and tomatoes for dinner. We lost the pinochle game but I did much better than usual in Scrabble.

Not much exercise, but did get a 3 mile walk in with Jo around Brickell Key last Tuesday. It’s getting hot outside for this kind of activity.

Helping a neighbor with her 6 year old boy who is trying to learn the violin on Saturdays. She wants to enroll him in the youth symphony but he doesn’t know how to read music yet. It’s interesting and I get to use some of the teaching tips I learned in class.

Yearly review

Well, its been a year since I quit my day job and its been quite a year too. What a pleasure it was to be free to travel. Hiking the Alps and roaming Africa were certainly new stretches beyond the usual comfort zone for me. Going back to college to work on a Bachelors Degree is fun even if not exactly challenging for the moment. Even these past few weeks have been exciting with studying Russian and learning the cello.

I’ve had plenty of freelance work to keep me going in pin money and not doing the daily slog has given me some time to learn the newer technologies. Actually, I have to turn down work as I really don’t want to work more than a couple of days a week.

Health wise still doing okay, could lower my cholesterol — at 215 its still a little high. Going to have to strike fried foods from my diet. Could do better with my exercise routine — I think I was in the best shape last February 2006 when training for a trip to the Grand Canyon. As for making new friends — I’ve met quite a few new people this year but not sure if any of them will be constant, but that’s life.

So much for the retrospective.

These past couple of weeks were mostly finishing up classes and working long hours helping a CPA do tax returns. The highlight was the chamber music concert where I played classical guitar in a trio by Matiegka. I made an audio recording but its not worth posting. It was nice seeing Tanya and Josef at the Bulgarian Easter Picnic but they are getting older and older. Finally finished watching this season’s “24â€? . Earl had wanted to watch the show because he had heard there was lots of “blowing upâ€?. By the end even he admitted that the show was NOT relaxing. We didn’t watch the last episode because I was afraid it was going into a new story arc.

April foolish daze

Wow time is certainly flying by. The past two weeks have been jammed packed with schoolwork, rehearsing for the chamber music concert and general cleaning up. The 90 gallon fish tank project generated a lot of extra house work as lots of things had to be moved around.

Passover was spent with a friend from out of town. We went out to a Lebanese Restaurant in South Miami which was expensive and not very interesting.

My friend and associate, Todd, resigned from his I.T. position of 7 years so I cooked us all a nice T-bone steak dinner. I figure it’s not every day one quits their job.

Earl went fishing out in the Everglades last weekend. The water wasn’t as low as it has been in the past few months so he got a nice catch. One of the fish appears to be a baby bass. He threw back the 4 inch warmouth he caught. You can’t keep one in an aquarium and expect to have any other fish left.

Got around to transferring the DV tapes that Uncle Seth took of us in China 2002 into the computer and will start loading them to YouTube as time permits. Also, scanned and uploaded the snapshots that were taken of me in Africa by other people. A lot of folks have complained that there weren’t many pictures of me in Africa so this will remedy that.

It’s already midnight so signing off…

Bored, Board, Blog or Borg?

It’s been a pretty steady week of interfacing with the computer. Set up my blog. (twice — the first one didn’t play nice with IE) Set up a wiki which was fun, reminded me of the old bulletin board system days where you had to figure out how to get all the services to work. Ripped some old travel slideshows I had burned to DVD years ago and uploaded them to YouTube.

St. Patrick’s Day turned out to be super busy but still found time to go on a 2.5 mile walk with Jo on Lincoln Road. Caught the sunset on South Beach. The weather was pretty nice. However, didn’t get a chance to have corned beef and cabbage until tonight.

Sunday was the usual Earl mother visitation to take her grocery shopping. We did do something different this week and stopped at IHOP for pancakes. During the drive to and from Kendall we listened to Pimsleur Russian until Earl went into ADD shock.

Didn’t feel well on Monday so spent the day in bed. Tuesday, I posted my last eBay auction package in the mail — however, today I got a email complaint that the item wasn’t as described, so I’ll end up refunding $18. No big deal, I made over $500 in eBay sales this past month.

Earl joined me in Chamber Music class and felt the rehearsal of the guitar piece went well. Concert has been moved forward to April 10th.

Booked my flights for Baltimore with Southwest for May. Earl will only be going up for Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah, (5/10-5/14) but I’ll stay longer (5/10-5/23).

Trying a new language software called “Unforgettable Languagesâ€?. Its supposed to provide lots of mnemonics for remembering vocabulary. Will see how well it works for Russian.

MDC had various promos going on this week. One was advertising its wireless service with free coffee and cookies. Another was trying to let students know about the various student services with passport stamps, virtual photo postcard, a raffle for an iPod Nano, plus free food — hamburgers, hotdogs, and popcorn.

Marisa’s virtual postcard

A recruiter from Miami Dade Public Schools came and gave us cute green apple timers, triangular marking pens along with employment applications. The lady suggested that I should enlist to be a substitute teacher for the Chinese language classes. That might actually be fun!

Zai Jian (Chinese for CU L8R)