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.
What else does one call a post when one has not posted in so long?
I have been snowed under with countless things since the end of March. I knew that at some point, I would miss those long, lonesome days of just sitting on the couch (not missing the chronic pain and vertigo), just crocheting and watching the mailman make his rounds. I have drawn all kinds of opportunities to myself but some “opps” were not altogether fun – there was an outpatient surgical procedure that had me on Vicodin for a week. I now declare that there is nothing left on me to cut, burn, poke, biopsy or stitch! The husband unit was carted off to the ER with a kidney stone. BUT…
….drum roll… there was a ton of good stuff. For the first time in *years*, I am feeling sheer excitement again. I went back to Bikram yoga last night for the first time in well over a year. Who knew that having had a cantaloupe sized fibroid tumor removed last year would make such a difference in postures and balance? I’m training for a half marathon that I’m doing as a fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Association. I’m hosting many house concerts and music jams. I’ve started an online school program to become a therapeutic musician. (That is someone who plays one on one, bedside, for patients who are facing surgery or are in Hospice. I calm them through music! It’s a new field and I hope to blaze a trail and be employed again for the first time in ages!!). I started playing the harp and love it way more than I thought I would (along with way too many other instruments).
Just one good thing after another. Life is grand. Never thought I’d make that statement after having been virtually suicidal – or at the very least, almost completely hopeless – not all that long ago. HOORAH!
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.
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?)
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!!)
Wintergrass, the mega super, awesome, amazingly spectacular indoor bluegrass festival in Bellevue, Washington was…SO good! Not too much hardcore traditional bluegrass this year but that’s ok. What was there, was stellar. Below are some fun pictures of the event. I recorded a few of the musicians but you just have to see them in person. An iPhone video does not do justice.
The first picture is from the window where a permanent “coat check” sign appeared. I guess the clerks got tired of telling people that the *real* coat check, for this event, was downstairs. Love their humor. The second picture is what happens when you hear too much bluegrass over 3 days. (We “did” 11 straight hours of music on the 2nd day).
Above we see the mother – make that the ueber grandmother – of all hammer dulcimers, to which I aspire someday. This is a big ol’ honkin piece of fabulous equipment that virtually needs its own forklift. For now, I am on the training-wheels model. Look at all those pretty, shiny (I’m supposed to tune a gazillion strings every time?) work of art.
Unlike the various notes on a flute, one string on an HD does not feel differently nor is it hammered differently than another string. To make it even more challenging, there are 3 areas, on the baby model, in which strings may be struck. Their location is confusing though because the pitch of a note does not correspond to its placement on the soundboard. In other words, there’s an F# on a lower location on the far left set of strings that is higher in pitch than the D, that is lower in pitch, that is located on a higher location on the middle set of strings. Confused yet? I was. I emailed my teacher tonight because I could not find my F#. Vanna – I’d like to buy an F#! But it was hiding in plain sight all along. Who knew?
The age old joke amongst those of us who play these beasties is:
Yesterday, I got a bit of sunburn on my face. In Oregon!!! In October!!! The weather here has been glorious. Sure wish it could always be like that. I can live just fine without rain.
I also played music at one of the Children’s Hospitals and had great interactions with the staff. One PT knew that I was playing an alto flute. A nurse asked if I was a professional player. The facilities man said my playing was very soothing. I have to chuckle at the undeserved last 2 comments because I was “jamming” – essentially playing glorified scales while watching the happenings around me.
One thing I am proud of is that I can play through anything – patients doing PT exercises right in front of me, facilities people moving equipment up close, children screaming and crying down the hallway (ok, that’s a bit tough but I figure I can help them the most with soothing music) and loud noises such as alarms or espresso machines (from the hospital lobby snack bar).
BUT – I finally met my match!! A very cute, bald from chemo, sweet little boy was completely mesmerized with my flute. He walked up and stuck his finger in the end of the flute while I was playing. He then proceeded to mash keys and pry the flute out of my hand and attempt to play it. There is something about these kids that I just hand over my $2,000 flute and think nothing of it. I finally blew air through the mouthpiece and let him mash keys. And throughout this whole time, neither of us said a word. I’m not even sure he spoke English – or spoke at all. But it was as if we had had a meaningful, heartfelt conversation.
Ahhh – I always receive so much more than what I give at the hospital.
Alto flute with curved head piece.
Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys
Today, I played music at the children’s hospital where I am on the floor – unit, technically speaking – with the sick kids. I love when I am tuning up and some bystanders say they like the sound. Easy audience! I hadn’t even played anything yet; so sweet. The ad-lib numbers on the alto flute and therapy harp went well. Had some boo boos and one really bad song on the concert flute along the way. Oh well. The most interesting thing was struggling to get notes out of my alto flute because I was sliding off of it from sweating. Wheeeee.
Some of the kids I play for are literally fighting for their lives because of cancer. I couldn’t believe, while driving home and listening to the radio, that a blurb came on about “how to survive a bad haircut”. Survive? Seriously??
Once home, I opened a letter from our sponsored child in Guatemala.
Ahhh. Fabulous day.
(If I could get paid to crochet and play therapeutic music, that would be the ultimate!!)