2.22.2014

TGIF

I was going to write about this doozy of a week....all of the great things and the good things and the total drags that happened. (Cliffs Notes Version: Long days, horrible nightmares, wonderful music, interesting people. The scales are even.)

But some stuff has come up.


I talked with Lara St. John today about her campaign for live musicians. She's talking specifically about HBO's Game of Thrones, a show that I love and that I'm pretty sure she would too. And it struck me in that conversation that there is a generation of young people who can't differentiate between a live cellist and a sampled cellist. Or - maybe more tragic - prefers the cleaner sampled version to the real thing...because there's too much emotion, too much imperfection, too much - something - in the sound of the live player.

Imagine Stevie Nicks' voice cleaned of "imperfection" or Jeff Buckley...pallid, limp, clinical. As humans, I'd say that our very best parts are our imperfections.

Tonight these folks played a KICK ASS concert in my hall. Really, so good - the Shostakovich in the second half was crazy good. And part of me is a little sad...there were empty seats, and we just couldn't fill them. And they were SO GOOD. It wasn't a question of talent, for sure. But it hurts my heart that I couldn't give them a full house.

I listened to the trio play this evening. 
Thought about the empty seats. 
And felt completely defeated. 

Y'all, there is so much good art out there. So many good players, so many ensembles looking for opportunities. (And when I say looking for opportunities, I mean paid opportunities - these same artists have been training and rehearsing and perfecting their craft for years. For me a debut artist is a quartet who has been playing together for 5-7 years. YEARS.You'd pay your plumber,  please pay your pianist.) 

How do I convince people that washing the day's troubles away with music is worth it? That, regardless of genre, a chance to step away from the idiot box and focus on the aural world is not just a luxury but is a necessity? How do I give people the permission to daydream, to let their mind wander, to reject their to-do list for two short hours in exchange for a masterful tour of a sonic landscape that they might not find by themselves?

(Not expecting answers, though if you have some I'll gladly listen. Just venting quite late on a Friday night.)

2.17.2014

Thanks, George and Abe. You're the best.

The light was crazy beautiful this morning.
Oh, today was a beautiful day. And I'm not solely talking about the weather.

First off? I got All-The-Things done.
Dog? Walked!
House? Clean!
Laundry? Laundered!
Groceries? Purchased AND put away!
I even snuck in a shower amid all that busyness! (You're welcome, neighbors.)

And when I was finishing up, this great tune came onto Pandora. So I sang along. And then I bought the song on iTunes. And then I looked up the chords.

And then I sat down and did this. (First take. The piano is horrendous, yes, I know. Trying not to overthink it, but for a first take not terribly bad, right?) (If your answer is more negative than "yah...sure." please tell someone other than me.)

And then? I sat down with Garage Band, and played around with the tune and loops and my little midi keyboard until the tune sounded more like a techno version of a Pat Benatar song. I know...not everyone's cup of tea. Hell, if you'd have asked, I'd likely say it wasn't my cup of tea either! But I have to say that I really enjoyed putting it together. I find that technology makes me both musically smarter and more stupid. (It's difficult to chunk a song into sections when all you want to do is SANGit!)

And maybe I'll post that link here too...maybe. Someday.

I am so grateful to have had a free day to both get my (literal) house in order, and to be able to get a little creative. Days when I have that option are really the best days there are.

(Maybe I should make more time for that option? Maybe...)

Here's the source material. They're playing at The Barns, but they're sold out! (I know, I waited too long to get tickets and I can't get in. Le sigh.)

2.16.2014

A brilliant Sunday.

It's barely 5pm on Sunday evening, and yet I'm still proclaiming it a success.

It didn't start that way.

I was feeling pretty virtuous just for getting my heinie out of the house at 8:30 for a class at the gym. I had rewarded myself with a pair of cycling shoes, and was using them as impetus for getting to the studio and getting a decent workout in.

I walked in early, hoping to figure out the whole clipping-in thing without an audience. And I was alone, indeed... in an 88-degree room. Seems the heater is stuck on, and the room was TOASTY. And I was grumpy, and passively-aggressively tweeted my displeasure.

The heat created a bit of camaraderie, though...and the instructor created room for each person to adjust to their comfort level. And, let's face it, a little Billy Idol on a workout playlist is never a bad thing.

Fast forward to the end of class; over 1000 calories torched (likely way less, but I've NEVER had a four-digit output before). Mood: euphoric - both for the great stats AND for just staying in the room, in the heat.

I realize that I should be prouder of those moments when I push myself.
And that I should push myself more often.

The birds have been fed. The boys have been fed. I'm contemplating a walk with the dog, a soak in the tub, some time with a sketchbook and Oprah magazine and a good book ,and an early bedtime.

Brilliant, indeed.

p.s. I'm spending this month creating lazy journals - one-sentence journal entries that allow me time to doodle. i'm cataloguing the results over at instagram.

2.13.2014

Remembering.

I had been trucking along on my latest cockamamie self-improvement scheme...eating pretty well, exercising, journaling (well, kinda...#lazyjournaling. better than nothing, right?)

And then a foul mood descended on Tuesday and I couldn't get it to leave. Snappy. Anxious. Blue.

I had a glass of wine last night, and then another, trying to feel a little less...well, a little less everything. And then it hit me.

It's been six years to the day since my dad died.

No wonder my mind had been roaming around a sketchy neighborhood!
I'm equal parts relieved that I figured out what it was, and mortified that it took so long to figure it out.

I miss him.

But today he seems pretty close...this wonderful snowfall (and day home from work), a kitchen experiment gone (mostly) right this morning, and finally holding crow pose for two breaths (instead of my usual one...baby steps!) during my yoga practice seem to be signs that he's checking in. Or, at least, that's how I'm choosing to read them.

I'm grateful to him for so much. He had the ability to see both sides of an issue, and to treat both sides with compassion and humor. He was constantly learning- not only did he teach French and coach the football team, he was the yearbook advisor; he gardened; he made stained glass windows and lampshades and a little jewel box for me; he photographed weddings; he taught himself how to cook (after some spectacular failures, admittedly). He was a strong, constant source of love and acceptance.

To my dear friends who have recently lost family, I can only hope that they've met my dad in heaven; because if they have, they're all having one hell of a good time. :)

2.12.2014

once a teacher, always a teacher.

and sadly, i am not talking about educating and inspiring tomorrow's leaders.

i am talking about snow days.

when i taught, the most beautiful moment was that phone call at 6:30am from the person right above me on the phone tree.

"Classes are cancelled."

(full disclosure: oftentimes my roomie and i had banked on the possibility, and i was more than happy to have a few extra hours of sleep and no prospect of having to entertain bouncy teens.)

we're on track to get a good batch of the white stuff overnight, and i'm already counting on staying home tomorrow. (if the office is open, i might seriously bawl.) i have some work to do, and some projects to play around with, a new recipe to try, and a labrador who treats snow as a gift from the heavens.

(in this instance, i think he's right.)




2.07.2014

I heart sleep. A lot.

I don't know about you all, but I feel like this winter has been all about TRYING TO DO ALL THE THINGS while dodging bitter cold and trying to keep the norovirus away. It's a pretty complicated little two-step, and I'm not doing all that great a great job.

But my perspective has shifted significantly this morning. (The result is most likely due to having fallen stone cold asleep on the couch last night before NBC even had a chance to air the Olympic figure skating semis.) Sleep is awesome - it's free, and enough of it makes most problems seem totally conquerable.

My friends who have kids will talk about their sleep getting heavier right before they take a big developmental jump. And honestly, with the amount of change happening at work (good stuff, to be sure), I guess that my brain just needs some extra rewiring time.

Big weekend coming up: Today, a site visit with one of our artistic teams, some prep for a weekend event, and a saxophone quartet concert at The Barns. Saturday I'll likely spend cleaning my pigsty of a house (Labrador + rain = MUD. Sweet heavens.) And Sunday we have some singers coming in, and have a chance to meet with a group of our people to give them a sneak peek of the summer season. (It's gonna be AWESOME, for the record.)

In the middle of all this, I'm trying to restructure some programs, and we're interviewing for a third staff member. After 14+ years of being 2.5, the addition of another person isn't something we're taking lightly, and it's something that will be helpful, but is forcing this kind of rewiring. Lots of big decisions to be made.

But today? I'm ready for it.
(if you're interested, I'm keeping a one-sentence #lazyjournal over on instagram)
(In other news, we're welcoming one of these little squiggles home at the end of March. Wheeeeee!)

2.02.2014

Lazy Journal, Day 2

Today was all about warm temperatures, a trip through Michael's (yay for markers!), and springlike temperatures. (Oh, and also about sloth and shirking duties.)


(If you don't read Fluid Pudding, she's over here. And you should.)

2.01.2014

Blurb Journal

I'm tagging along with Fluid Pudding (but can't link to her...damn you, Blogger iPad app!)  this month, and instead of writing pages and pages for my morning journal (or, more recently, ignoring the writing completely) I'm going to write a sentence. With some doodles. And some unintentionally ambiguous sketches. Like today's!

Join us, if you're inclined. 
Three cheers for fountain pens and single sentences!