Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Strange yet pleasant interlude

Whirlwind voyage to the heart of Red State America for a family reunion; pleasant times on a sunny warm beach, even unto getting into a marginally comfortable ocean. One day it was surfaced with crazy choppy surf; on another, calmer and more predictable sets marched onto the strand. Family drama was present, in various forms, but overall, a good time was had by all.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fighting the funk with funk

So cold and wet, moldering away; looking forward to another band session, and getting those little musical licks down.
Big article in the local fish wrapper, about how moss is thriving in this weird cold spring; everything's late, from wildflowers to the tulip fields.
At the moment, there's a spot of sunshine, so one must hasten to observe it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Big blast of fun!

Marching band season started tonight; we had a music practice and got a pile of new music, with a dance party theme. Such a different feel to the group, and some of the serious musicians have picked up other instruments, such as one of the bassoonists, who has a sax and is thrilled to be working on much easier material. She and I want to get out hands on the Holst piece chosen for an upcoming concert season, "The Planets". The bassoon part sounds incredibly difficult, and whether I get second or third clarinet, no doubt it will be challenging. Meanwhile, we're heading into fun and lightness of being.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A few steps forward, several back

Mere teases of sunshine, and then we get winter again; had to dig out the winter gloves and socks. Yes we'll have no tomatoes to speak of, I guess. When I went up to see my mother, the skies blackened, thunder sounded, and hail and snow fell. The poor little ladies looked out the windows and shook their heads. They won't be taking the air any time soon, they detect drafts instantly. There was quite a distraction, as the woman who's been the activities director for several years was being feted at a retirement party. She's separated from her husband, and is moving back to the Midwest to spend some time with her children and grandchildren before they go back to the Ukraine as missionaries. When I asked her why they were going so far away, she informed me that "When God calls, you have to answer. You may try to fight it, but it's too strong!" She was the person who railed against Halloween, saying it was the Devil's night, and wouldn't let her kids go out. Fundamentalist religious types sure as hell know how to spoil any kind of fun. She is a good-hearted person, but utterly brainwashed, and keen on doing it to others. Odd connection with my current reading, Colin Thubron's The Lost Heart of Asia, in which he encountered Korean fundie missionaries in Tajikistan. And several Russian people he met were heading back to the Ukraine, getting out of the 'stan countries after perestroika. I've started his next volume, Shadow of the Silk Road, although the cumulative effect of his experiences and observations of them is almost overwhelming tragic and horrible. Central Asia has been looted, plundered, raped and polluted for millenia, but the Soviets and Chinese have sped up and enlarged the process horrifically. It's all Thubron can do to find any kind of whisper of an unruined past.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Our final concert of the season was last night, Saturday; mostly a wonderful event, of course a few glitches, but I think our hard work showed. The pianist was amazing; he could play anywhere in the world. His solo, Debussy's "L'Isle Joyeuse", was sensual and lovely. Years and years ago, I listened to most of Debussy in my own home, as my dad had a collection of records. Last night, as I listened to Matthew play, I had an out of time and body experience; not so out that I couldn't get back to the reality of our next piece, Gershwin's "American in Paris". But what an astounding treat to just be able to sit there, not far from the piano, and let the sound rush into one's body. Now we are sitting here, saying, hey, we need to keep going. We're giving ourselves the night off from practice, but tomorrow, the practice cards come out again.