September

Growth

I had another two shows this month, both at Barrett Cellars, which meant I spent a good number of hours practicing. I ran into a couple of problems though. First, I’m not sure having a 4th set (or hour) of music is necessary. I don’t think I’d even say yes to a gig that would require me to play guitar for four hours. I also noticed it takes time to maintain the three hours I do have. It’s like trying to balance a ton of spinning plates, and you keep adding more plates and more plates. At some point, some of those plates are just gonna come crashing down. The second problem, I admit, is completely irresponsible of me. I carved out some time (more than I should have) to resubscribe and play WoW. I know it’s a waste of time, but in moderation, it’s a fun form of entertainment for me, and is a good way to relax and escape, much like watching a movie, or a series on Netflix is.

I’ve also realized that the few difficult pieces that I’ve been trying to learn are always about 70% of the way there. Never quite perform-able, but prepared in some fashion. So rather than stacking more music on top of music, maybe the best path forward is to phase out difficult pieces for other difficult pieces. Other than my guitar chops, I’ve started to consider learning drumming. In particular, auxilary percussion. So not a drum set, but rather things like a cajón, djembe, congas, etc. Hand drums, that’s what I mean. So, while I may not feel like I’m growing much in the way of guitar, having a secondary instrument to learn about and improve on, will help alleviate that feeling.

Health

I’m continuing to keep up with my swimming routine. It’s not any longer, or harder than it has been in the past. I find it’s just right. I have noticed a slight improvement in times, as well as finding myself less and less tired, but I have no desire to add to the workout. I checked my pulse between laps on my most diffcult portoin of the workout and I’m keeping a steady hear rate of 180bpm and maxing out at 200bpm. Phew. That’s fast. My resting heart rate, by the way, is at 54bpm. I’m proud of that. Also, with the weather change, you might find me hiking out in the hills or the aqueduct with Bella. It’s been a while since I’ve done any sort of hiking.

Social

I ran into three former students this month. Which is a lot in one month. First, I ran into Matt Moua over at Transplants Brewery. He’s an awesome kid, although maybe not a kid anymore. The one thing I remember most about him was a question he asked me out of the blue one day… “Mr. Estrada, will you be my dad?” It was funny, a bit scary, and my answer was a solid, “Uh.. No.” I ended up buying him and his friend a beer. Turns out he’s a test car driver… car tester… however you say it. So he hits up Death Valley and drives all kinds of cars. Sounds like a lot of fun.

I also ran into Sara Salazar at AVC. I guess she was waiting for her theater class to start and ended up waiting in the music lobby, which is where I ran into her. We only talked briefly. I had a student I was teaching in a practice room, so I had to make it quick. But I was glad to see her.

The third student I ran into was Crystal Delgado. This was also very quick. We didn’t even stop to chat. It was a quick hello while walking in and out of Walmart. I was in a rush, and dead tired, as it was the end of the day. I quickly asked her how she was while continuing to walk, and she siad, “Uh… Just finished shopping?” in a very obvious almost sarcastic tone. I got a good laugh out of it. She was a quite one, that I remember.

Actually, I did run into a fourth student. But this one didn’t say hello. And this was what happened last month. Only this time I can explain why I don’t like these kind of run-ins. I walked by her, without noticing her and I faintly heard what sounded like“Is that Mr. Estrada?” I wasn’t sure that that’s what I had heard, so I didn’t turn and just ignored it. I stopped by the Admissions desk at AVC and here she comes walking out of the hallway, and we make eye contact, and that’s when I recognize her. She quickly turns to her friend, mumbles something and keeps walking. Now, I didn’t feel hurt at all by the encounter, but it certainly made it seem like I was an object to be sight seen, if that makes any sense. So maybe I felt a bit disrespected as a human?

Anyways, back to Transplants. It turns out my buddies bought me seven free beers. I saw my name on the “Beer it Forward” chalkboard. It was a pleasant surprise. So I returned the favor. I also spent some time chatting with a potato farmer. Cool dude.

to be continued…

Dreams

I had a dream sometime this month and it really made an impression on me. I can’t seem to recall a few of the details but it was generally about me going about my business, having made a decision that was the wrong decision. What that decision was I have no idea. That’s kind of how dreams work right? Things are established, without reason. Anyways, I can say that the decision was bad, and everyone I knew was trying to convince me not to go through with it. I kept resisting and not listening, and then eventually walk away and I’m walking down a neighborhood street. I end up walking between two homes and instead of ending up in a backyard, I end up in an alleyway. That alley way then ends (or just disappears) and I end up in this vast open area of all colors swirling in the background. I’m not really standing on anything solid, but I’m definitely standing. One of my brothers shows up, I don’t remember which one, and he prevents me form moving forward; trying to stop me. I push him out of the way, and he stands his ground. I then threaten him, and he doesn’t budge. Now, I can’t remember who asked the question, but the question why was asked. Why was my brother stopping me. Why won’t he let me pass? He then replied, “Because, I love you.” In an instance, I started crying. Here’s the kicker though. I woke up almost crying too. My face had cringed like I was about to. That’s never happened to me before. It was odd.

Chickens

Well, I put off the completion of my chicken run for the entire month of Oct. It’s almost done, I just need a to add some weather protection for the bottom half, and then some kind of enclosed area for nesting and roosting. I have noticed that I tend to start things/projects and just as I’m about to finish them, I stop working on them, including this chicken run. It just became more clear to me with this project. I do similar things with my compositions, with work related projects, yard work, home organization. It’s all encompassing. But at least I’m aware. I’m just not sure why it took so long for me to realize it. And it’s something I need to address. It’s not a good habit to have at all.

As for where to get chickens, there is currently a ban on birds entering my area. But, luckily for me, I ran into Cindy! Cindy is a regular at the AV Guitar Society Meetings, and I never knew she had a ranch. This month, she came into the coffee shop with eggs for sale, from her farm. So I had a conversation with her and she invited me to her farm to check it out. I have yet to visit, but it’s something I plan on doing. She’s willing to sell some chickens as well, which is perfect! So I’m excited about that.

Peace

The last thing I wanna talk about is peace. And by peace, I mean inner peace. Acceptance, if you will. I know a topic like this can sound rather “new-agey,” but we all have to admit, its an important part of all our lives. I can say with complete honesty, that I’m not as happy as I know I can be. But I can also say with complete honesty, that that’s ok. I am happier than I was a year ago, even more so than 2, 3, 4, 5 years ago, etc. The thing is, I’m still teaching guitar, and I had labeled that particular part of my life as the cause of my unhappiness. Yet, clearly, it can’t be the cause if I’m happier. Maybe it’s all the extra time I have to myself now? Perhaps. I’ve been doing a little reading from this book, A Course in Miracles. It seemed interesting enough. Then once I started reading it, I was put off by it very quickly. But, there was one or two take aways from that book. I have to live a life full of love, and I have to see things as they are. I know this can sound silly, and over emotional and what not, but hey it makes sense to me. Treating everyone as family, detaching yourself from outcomes (good or bad), or insults hurled your way. Helping others. A life of service. I mean, all the things that are taught to us as children. It’s all so simple, and important, yet we, (or I) tend to not live that way. I can go on and on about all the little (and big) things about my choices, decisions, lifestyle, judgements, thoughts, that keep swirling around my head at any given point; but that’s not really the point of this. I need to continue to improve this aspect of my life, is all. It’s just tough to change. But I’m trying.