Holiday Travels Part 12 - Last Full Day In Manitou Springs CO

I just finished a marathon 90 minute practice session on my niece Millie's piano. In 2017, I am modifying my jazz piano practice system metrics slightly. In 2016, my daily metric was 60 minutes of piano practice per day (in blocks of 20 minutes) and my weekly metric was to practice five days per week, for a total weekly goal of five hours of practice. In 2017, I am decreasing the weekly metric to three days per week but increasing the daily metric to 90 minutes (in blocks of 30 minutes). You probably did the math in your head and realized that results in 4.5 hours of jazz piano practice per week, a slight reduction in the weekly goal. However, I think this system modification will actually result in more practice time because on off days I will more than likely do a short practice sesh here and there. The hard metric is just what I HAVE to do to hit my weekly goal, but soft practices will be gravy. We'll see how it goes. If it slows my progress, I can easily revert to the 2016 metrics, but I feel like these new metrics give me a lot more schedule flexibility with only a modest reduction in actual weekly practice time. I have noticed that having a day or two off between piano practices actually strengthens my playing more than rehearsing almost every day, and this is true not just of piano but of athletics too. If I skip a day in between going to the gym, it gives my muscles a chance to regenerate and heal, and I feel stronger at the next workout. Something similar must be happening with the piano playing neurons in my brain as well. I have no scientific evidence for this (though I am sure someone does), but it is what I observe and ultimately that's what matters.

It's my last full day of holiday travels in Colorado today and much like the previous few days I'm takin' 'er easy and chillaxin', gearing up to kick off the new year strong. I'm in my favorite comfy chair in my sister Kate's living room. My parents are working hard on a jigsaw puzzle nearby. My sister is doing various and sundry chores. There was some talk of going to a hot spring spa tonight, but my sense is that this plan is no longer on the table because my nephew Ty is going to bed soon. Maybe there is a new plan to go in the morning before my folks and I have to drive up to Denver around noon. I fly back to Wisconsin about 4 PM tomorrow and I have to drop my folks off at their hotel (they leave Sunday for Ohio) and then return the overpriced rental car that we scarcely used at all this week. In retrospect, we probably should have just saved the money and taken the airport shuttle down to Colorado Springs, where my sister lives (actually Manitou Springs, a suburb).

This morning I slept in until about 10 AM, which is late for me, and had a leisurely breakfast with lots of coffee. About noon, I packed some Christmas presents and assorted sundries in a small box to ship back to myself in Wisconsin via UPS so I didn't have to try to cram it all in my carry-on bag. I then did my daily meditation for 15 minutes or so. After that, a plan was concocted to go to a Mediterranean restaurant for lunch called the Jerusalem Cafe that we traditionally go to at least once whenever the family gathers at my sister's, with a stop at the UPS Store to send off the aforementioned box. The Jerusalem has excellent dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and I ordered some in addition to a falafel salad. We milled around the resorty part of Manitou Springs for a bit and did an informal tour of the hot springs spa place that we may or may not be going to. It was pretty crowded but we saw some of the hot mineral spring tubs you can soak in for a pretty penny to heal what ails ya.

After we got back to Kate's house is when I tickled the ivories hardcore. It's about 8:30 PM now and I'm still not hungry after the filling Mediterranean food this afternoon. But I should probably think about preparing some nutriment since I have a long day ahead tomorrow. I think I'll "julienne" some zucchini and try sauteeing it before  season it with butter and garlic if there isn't any red sauce to be found.

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