New Path

It should come as no surprise, to those who know me, that I have applied to yet another training program today, exactly 4 years and 2 months since I (unwillingly, through disability) left my career as a sign language interpreter.

I write this with a great heaviness in my heart and gut because today there was a shooting in an Oregon HS; the 74th school shooting since the Newtown massacre 18 months ago. I have cried and ranted and been so distressed today that I’ve almost made myself sick. I know – that’s not helping anything. It’s the mom heart in me that cries for the 2,800 kids who had to march out of school today with their hands over their heads amidst SWAT teams. And yes, I cry for the kid who went so wrong (and certainly the kid’s parents) who felt their only way to deal with something was through violence.

There are no easy answers to this and I will forgo any political/gun talk. But I think many people will agree that something has *drastically* changed…changed from the time I went to school when the worst offense was getting caught chewing gum. If the “climate” can change for the bad, it can change for the good. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and countless others are all testament to that.

So – I have applied to an online program to become a Certified Clinical Musician. CCMs play soothing music to distressed people; to those facing surgery (I know a bit about that!) or other medical procedures, to hospice patients etc. It is one on one, live, soothing music tailored to that person’s needs. While people are somewhat familiar with Music Therapists (Gabby Gifford had one after her near fatal gunshot wound), the focus is a bit different with being a therapeutic musician.

I will have to blaze a bold new path because being paid – if even minimally for part-time work – is not a standard yet nor is it in the consciousness of hiring parties. I’m already providing something similar in the hospitals through the Children’s Cancer Association but if they can get the musicians as volunteers – and I certainly advocate being a volunteer  - then it’s harder to make even a slight subsistence from my training. But alas – I must keep the faith.

Here’s to changing the world for the better, one distressed person at a time. Today, I need to start with myself.

 

The Promised Land

I have been allegorically wandering in a musical desert for the last 41 years. I have played in all kinds of bands, orchestras and ensembles, and have absorbed most of my music theory via osmosis. Right now, I am taking a pre-requisite class to the 2 year music theory program I would like to begin this fall. Lo, I have been led to the Promised Land of the Circle of Fifths (and no, that’s not an alcohol reference, folks). It’s SO COOL. Why didn’t I get any of this stuff along the way? Love, lovin, lovin it!!!

It’s the Circle of Fifths AND a wardrobe color chart. I think I want to dress in B major with an accent of D minor today.

 

Hiccup on the Way

Hey y’all,

It’s been eons since I’ve posted. In the last few months, I have been super busy with all kinds of things. How is that for nebulous? As of late, though, I’ve been dealing with the results of a surgery from last year not having “quite worked” (my words). Doc wants me to go under the knife again but I’ve given her a resounding NO. So it’s not anything life threatening but this latest issue is absorbing a few brain cells, and causing pain and not-so-fun stuff. I’m in good spirits, though, and playing as much music as possible. Some house concerts, and hopefully jam sessions, will be happening here soon.

I’m sending y’all sparkly rainbows and happy unicorns (who has been hitting the Vicodin again, I wonder?)

 

Leap of Faith

 

I was singing in the rain, now I’m wheezing in the breeze….

Hey Y’all!

It’s been a whirlwind of activity since I last posted anything. I fit about 2 week’s worth of hoop-de-do into a 5 day visit in Alabama with family and friends. The sunshine was incredible. Seeing friends, whom I have known for many decades, was divine. Hanging with family was super. And of course, I love the ever polite and warm southern folk. If I could blend Portland and the south, that would be Hippie and Grits Utopia!

Now for the LEAP OF FAITH – dun dun dun (ominous background music). That leap entails the moment after jumping from the airplane but a moment before the parachute opens. I just signed up to run the Portland Half Marathon on October 5th, 5 days after I turn fifty mumble mumble mumble – early 50s in any event - as a fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Association. The last sports event I did was a Half Ironman swim in 2007. Time to dust off the inner athlete and connect with the “wow, free food at the finish line” warrior. I need to raise at least $1,000 and be able to run a gazillion miles. Piece of tofu, low sugar cake, right? :)

 

 

Hey Y’all

Lovely Pen Pals – you shall hear from me soon. I am returning from La La Land, also known as a computer crash and having been under the weather.

So – a question for all y’all out there. (I’m warming up for my trip back South with that kinda lingo. Sure wish the lightning bugs were already out at home. Oops – I digress). How do y’all keep up with all the social stuff – emails, Facebook, blogging etc.? I have so many lovely folks following my blog but I’m not able to keep up with all of it myself. Please know I think of you all and I’m sending a southern blessing – may you have abundant fireflies and (vegan) moonpies. :)

Here’s the song I am playing for my lesson on Wednesday – nowhere near as good as my teacher in the video!!!

Shout out to Terratonz

Through all kinds of harmonic convergence (and persistence on my part!!), I recently received my Terratonz awesome musical wonder. Some call it a handpan, or a terrapan. I like to think of it as a resonant glorious metal sculpture of wok-like musical amazement, but that is a rather lengthy title. :)

I cannot say often enough how incredible are: Daniel Waples, the musician whom you will see momentarily in a video who connected me with this instrument, and CR PanMan, of Terratonz, who built the Waples 8.

CR just spent AN HOUR AND A HALF on Skype with me, explaining cool things about the instrument and giving me pointers. Daniel made sure I had demoes of 2 instruments before I could place my order and he kept me posted on the progress of the instrument being shipped to me. CR continued the process of building my terrapan while down to the use of one hand because his other hand was BROKEN and in a cast!!! This kind of attention, while I think is not sustainable when dealing with mass quantities, is unheard of. I adore Daniel and CR and know they are awesomely good people.

Here’s a video of Daniel being his brilliant self. And if you want a terrapan, and you know you do!!!, connect with Terratonz via pathtopan@terratonz.com or http://www.terratonz.com

Peace, love and happy music (2 videos below)

An addendum that is near and dear to my heart: Watch this whole video. You’ll be so glad you did. I applaud everyone who thinks outside the box. If Jake Shimabukuro didn’t follow his vision, we’d all still be playing “Tiny Bubbles”.

Rebuilding

My Humpty Dumpty computer is being put together again, without any help whatsoever from the king’s horses or the king’s men! Last week the computer crashed and took with it my pictures, files, histories, address book, my stash of coupons and half of my  pantry.

And – I’m wrestling with a cold and/or allergies. While playing the banjo, it is good to have a raspy voice and sound pitiful, as if my partner and my dog ran off the same day. However, I will be playing the flute in the hospital this week – two days even. Getting air, and being able to breathe out air sans sputtering and hacking, is a lovely thing with woodwind instruments! (This week, I’m in a hospital lobby – nowhere close to any sick kids who are up on the units!!)

I see only cold meds

I see only cold meds