Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My next recital will be played sans pants.

I am totally ripping off this posting from Yarn Tootin because these people are very very awesome and I thought you'd want to see.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I'm fine, and you?

I have been busy taking inventory.

Sadly, I lack a boop-ing scanner-gun device like they use in commercial inventories and to make registries at Target.

I'm making another recording, this time a demo with my pianist friend Anne. We have to decide what exact path to world domination we'll take. We have thus far narrowed it down to not wanting to be a wedding gig duo. Our name is Nocturna.

Toby is obsessively walk/run/careening about. He did a face plant twice today in the same corner of the kitchen because he missed attempts at handholds on my skirt. The world is made of monkeybars for his feet. My day's work now resembles nothing so much as one of those people waving flashlights over their head in an attempt to help a plane land on an aircraft carrier. He's started saying Hi and Cracker. He doesn't mean it racially, as far as we can determine.

J bought us tickets to Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. Do I need to repeat that? I'd like to, but will do so on my own time. I want to see his show more than any other, edging out even U2 just very slightly.

As you can see I don't have much to say, but J told me I should post. There it is.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Excerpt 1, Take 2

False start.

The recordings are for audition cds. I had assumed I wouldn't have to make audition cds anymore, since I'm done with summer camps. Screw you, unnamed symphony. Unless you hire me, in which case praise your high paying yet slightly union-troubled ass.

Used to be, back in the day*, somewhere in this great country a violist would retire or perhaps be taken out by union sanctioned hitmen on the job for a recent graduate with a quillion dollars of student loan debt and expensive taste in name brand diapers and soft drinks.

A JOB OPENING would come to exist. Hundreds of violists would dust off their various rollercoasters of technical whizardry from Don Juan, their first-three-pages of the Bartok concerto, their sassiest (while remaining entirely rhythmic and soft but focused and consistent while sounding easy but confident) Mozart 35's. Hundred dollar checks would be sent to the symphony with the JOB OPENING, and if you showed up for the audition or gave proper notice that you had decided to live without anything LOOOOOOOOOOming over you for the next month or so and were NOT coming to their town to play for 4.3451 minutes for 5 bored and combative people behind a screen, thank you very much--- then you got that check back. If you flaked, they cashed the check and bought doughnuts for the brass section to chuck at the sound shields protecting the last stand of violas during the next rehearsal.

If you did show up, you would be in a room packed with more promiscuous folks than even a NASA astronaut convention could bring together. (I hope the people in charge of protecting our future have this in mind- we should all be aware of our surroundings, right, NSA?) Anyway, they would somehow narrow it down from hundreds to like, 7 or so, and then to 3-ish and then one or none of those would get to have health insurance and a "cushy gig" for as long as the orchestra remained in existance or the hitmen struck back. Or, there would still be a JOB OPENING and every single person who applied, prepared and traveled had wasted their money & lifeforce points.

Now, because as you can imagine auditions were such a hoot, a wrinkle has been added. No one told me, but it's probably been there a while. A Seartain Symphony has begun to require anyone who has yet to win a major job to send a cd of 7 excerpts and one movement of Bach
(Geeze, you guys, I totally just spelled that Back and had to go bach. See how you can end up almost getting something perfect and having to go bachk and do it over and over and over?) (Also, see how dulled a sense of humor becomes after recording oneself for several days?) (Really, really dull.)
in order to be given the honor of playing for them in person. It doesn't matter what's on your resume, unless it says "Section member, So-N-So Symphony"** somewhere on it.

So this isn't some cool "recording" like as in "studio" or "for money" or "glamour shots on the cover". Plus, remember, I play the viola- and I'm not that into self-tanner, so it's boring old home recordings for me for now.

*Phrases like "back in the day" drive me nuts. Also "and whatnot" (what not?), "know whut i'm sayin" and "and a bag of chips".
**Quote marks are also*** a terrible habit and annoy me greatly. I'm so agitated now, I'm leaving.
***I use "also", "so", and the comma way too much. Do NOT go back and look, I'm sure you've noticed before.

This one? No. Maybe this one?

It's awesome to recognize that my playing is the best it has ever been.

But making recordings still sucks out precious kilovolts of life energy.

Anyway, that's where I've been. My best teacher said perfection isn't as high a goal as greatness. But it would be nice.

Monday, March 12, 2007

My newest acquaintance

Isn't she a beaut?

Buying a lie.

What rights would you give up for your family's safety? What would you give up for the illusion of safety?

Seems to me most rational people can find sacrifices they would make for the first category. The problem comes when they believe they're getting tangible results, but are in fact getting 100% illusion in the end. And in reality, a false sense of safety makes life more dangerous, not less.

We watched part of the evening news on one of the alphabet channels (abc, nbc, cbs) the other day and they ran a story about neighborhoods banning sex offenders from buying a home and living there. Sound reasonable? They recheck all family's records every 6 months.

These families are paying a premium and are voluntarily sacrificing privacy for what? It is so very exceedingly rare that a predator will strike outside of children who have some remote aquaintance with him. If he is that one-in-a-jillion kind of evil, isn't your neighborhood just as susceptable anyway? Do those parents relax a little? Are they tempted to just let their cloistered kids play in the culdesac unsupervised? Do they wait just a little longer before telling their innocents that not everyone who wants to be your friend really can be? That not all adults are in charge?

It surpised me how mad and frustrated this story made me. I just couldn't believe what they were buying into. It didn't help that every homebuyer they interviewed was a WASPy guy in a cardigan. The people selling this are nothing but predators themselves.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I'm holding on to my upswing so far. Yesterday I didn't get as much done (really no good reason there, except that I took a huge nap) but when bedtime came I didn't mind myself.


After writing the incredibly well-crafted fascinating post above, I drove to Salem to practice and schmooze with 50% of Toby's genetic donors. First I had a locked-in keys false alarm involving my gnat-sized short term memory and the hood of my car, but it all worked out I suppose. I kept saying, "I just HAD them in my hand," to J who was about to drive home from work and to my parents who were going to drive an hour and a half round trip just to make sure I hadn't forgotten the Toby, too.

So today I've left him and his snot (geeze, the little guys sure can produce in quantity) in their doting hands and am back in Portland for a lesson with another more high-profile local violist. I realized as I prepared to practice that this is the first time I have been alone in our house. Since moving here. Ever.

It's pretty quiet.

Look how much his hair has grown. How am I supposed to cut it? It's so cute when it curls up. Maybe I should just buy some baby gell and give him a gericurl.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I've been downhearted, baby.

Last night I was trying to describe it to J in a wee hour of the morning, a time when I often bring up weighty tearful sleepover-in-pjs topics. In my defense, he asked and encouraged me- nay, propelled me- by listening like he does to my rambling quivery-voiced confessional.

It's not that I'm unhappy, generally. I have the rare privilege of enjoying some semblance of perspective on my life just now. I can savor most of it on most days and appreciate the grace I've been given and so on.

It's just that I'm not very happy with myself.

I know I could be satisfied with a few small changes, could put small routines in motion now that will keep me on the level for the next few years. When I get to the end of a day I generally feel a little disappointed in me, and where that used to be enough to get me going the next morning instead it seems to pile on like green cookie dough, encasing me in a thick goo of inertia.

Today helped. It's 63 degrees here, and the sky is a very fashionable Scandinavian blue with high cirrus clouds wisping around whimsical jet trails. It looks like the folks up there are drawing something recognizable from some other angle.

The air smells. It's a distinctly Oregon mix of grass growing + sun on rich soil + a breeze blowing across mountains & vineyards & Nordstrom's perfume counters from the sea. It makes me feel cleaner, even though I could frankly use a shower and am hoping for a late evening nap to help me out there.

I wonder about the ways being a mom has changed me that have nothing to do with my actual parenting. Maybe these are just things that come when you've done all the schooling they can come up with degrees for, and you move to a new town from a place with your first truly adult life. Maybe I've always been lazy like this but the structure of my schedule helped me ignore it.

Anyway, today is better and I hope tomorrow will be like this, too. Even if it rains I'm going to try to sit on the deck for a bit and catalog the fresh air.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Recipe: Greenies

Don't say this blog never gave you nuthin'.

So t'other day I was sitting in my living room and a craving overtook me for something a little sweet but also substantial, y'know? And I thought to myself: Oatmeal Cookies.

Just minutes later I found myself thinking another thought entirely. That thought? Vanilla extract and green food coloring bottles should look differenter.

Luckily last night was a New Music concert, and the green thumb went over well.

Friday, March 02, 2007

More stuff lust.

So, I am totally not getting paid for this- sadly. And I promise I am not spending all day shopping the internets.

But I love metal and glass. Stone's nice. Substantial, elemental. Neat.

This bowl's spendy ($88 at Resource Revival) but how groovy, for the cyclist who has it all.