Pete was looking for a lost screw in the house so I suggested he use the metal detector. Besides his finding every wire buried under the floor boards, I found out that the tuning of the detector is a very sharp F#. Good to know 🙂
Category Archives: Music
I Want to be a Jellyfish
The short version of my story this week is that I improperly lifted a very heavy weight (to help out a fellow volunteer at the gig on Sunday for the Children’s Cancer Society). It hit me full force on Tuesday to where Pete had to put on my socks and shoes for me because of my pain and inability to move. Flashback to surgery days.
I want to be a jellyfish. No spine, no brain, no pain.
The longer version of my story is that I have been through a lot of spinal trauma in my life. My spine has hypermobility, and misalignment, and torsion issues. I’m not an easy case for my physical therapist but he does work miracles.
I just want to be a jellyfish and float all day.
I am lying in bed and studying music theory, with cheapo drugstore glasses with which I can hardly see. My Rx glasses have been repaired so many times that the glue needs its own glue.
I want to be a jellyfish and float pain free. I hear that they are masters at music theory. 😉
Who knew that a large piece of nylon fabric (i.e. – a former military parachute) could be SO much fun for kids and adults alike?? I volunteered at the You Who concert at the Crystal Ballroom today, to benefit the Children’s Cancer Association. Here is a description of the event:
What: It’s time for another You Who Concert! This is a really fun variety show specifically for kids in the Portland area. Proceeds from this event go directly to CCA’s MyMusicRx Program. This event is always a ton of fun!
Indeed it was. A ton of fun and a super workout lifting and lowering the parachute for 2 hours. 🙂 There was also face painting, a crafts area, balloon hats, some super cool monster tricycles and music. I was in my element. Hooray for the Music Program at the Children’s Hospitals in town.
Watch the whole video below. It is SO good!!
Life After Facebook
It is SO nice, here in Portland, to get out of the house without snow, ice, freezing rain, slush, flooding, temps in the teens and the Apocalyptic Horsemen greeting us anymore as they had on a daily basis. Horsemen can be a little temperamental, I tell ya!
Life without Facebook is delightful. I am focused on my school work and instruments (which means, I have probably found more instruments 🙂 I am still on FB Messenger and I quickly scan notifications, but the rest of Facebook is merrily scrolling by without me.
And now for the must-have item!! Not only is the Heartland Carbon Fiber Harp super light, but it can be sterilized between patient rooms in the hospital. My goal is to be a Certified Clinical Musician through the Harp for Healing program. This harp is crazy expensive though. It will work out somehow.
1) Drive down the middle of the road, through slush, to get to the hammer dulcimer teacher’s house. Have a fun lesson.
2) Eat at Veggie Grill – YUM.
3) Go to JoAnn’s Fabrics. Buy 4 small felt squares and 2 pounds of polyfill. Those are going to be some mighty stuffed teddy bears!
4) Come home and resurrect clawhammer banjo playing and remember how much I LOVE it! See below.
5) Put on heart monitor. Open app on phone. Run up and down stairs like a maniac. Bounce on mini trampoline like a maniac. Heart rate feels like it’s way up there but it’s not. My resting heart rate is 47-52. Burn 77 calories in 10 minutes. Go back to the (incredibly rare, almost never watch) mindless TV. Stellar day. The snow and ice that turned into slush is now, with the rain, turning into flooding.
Patience = tuning 46 strings on my hammer dulcimer (the smallest model), and then having to go back and tune them all again, right away. They haven’t liked this Portland weather either.
Barring any infestation by locusts, I assume Portland schools will finally be a “go” again. Moms around town are doing a happy dance right now. They get awards for endless patience!
What you give is what you get
Whenever I go to play music at the hospital, I feel so unprepared. And in today’s case I was unprepared because I had not played anything since Christmas; at which point, I came down with a month-long respiratory illness. I lugged in all my equipment to the unit of the Children’s Hospital, promptly dropped music everywhere, and was too lazy to open either flute case.
So I ended up jamming on the handpan for about an hour and a half in 2 different locations on the unit. I came up with a nifty tune that had a heartbeat. And I went into trance state – hence the title of this post. A baby who was crying uncontrollably in a treatment room instantly calmed down. I always think it’s a coincidence but perhaps it is not. It’s also nice to hear staff say that the music is beautiful but I hope what they are saying is that it is calming them. (One nurse requested that I play closer to their station because they were all in high-strung mode).
I had the chance to practice calm and spread some calm as a code was called over the PA system and police were running around. My inner freak-out was lessened by the handpan and I also figured the metal instrument would make a good shield if it came down to that (yikes).
My intentions are:
To have a nice cart so I can pull around all my equipment and not have my shoulders take the brunt of the weight and bulk.
To be PAID to do what I love to do – even if it is at poverty level, but hopefully not.
I had the good fortune of seeing these 3 stellar performers and teachers at the Seattle Harp Conference, October, 2014 – Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter.
Enjoy and Be Blessed
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.