Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The faaaaaahhhhhg.

Did you ever see that movie The Fog? If not, you are a) clearly not married to my husband and b) more likely to have accomplished things in your life other than watching b-movies. I myself have seen both versions (1980, 2005).

Here's a picture of what whispy horror we narrowly escaped in Hells Canyon. We got a flat tire in the rain and also managed to dig the Jeep out of snow with basically a crow bar and my bare widdle hands. J had the forethought to wear only Tevas and shorts, so it was up to me to get us out alive. I loved every single second.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wallowa Lake, Oregon

Drop what you're doing, get in the car and drive RIGHT NOW to the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Look at what you can do there! You should sooo click on that first one of the two of us because don't I look an awful lot like the bus driver from South Park? Sit dowwn and shuuut up, or Ahh will keeelll this bunnyyy!

There be stories to tell, aye... uh, sorry- we watched Pirates of the Johnny Depp last night. We'll post more about camping Jwards later. I have to go see if I remember which hand is for the bow and which is for the viola...

Friday, May 25, 2007

We're going CAMPING!

The location is J's surprise because this is an anniversary trip delayed a few weeks because I was working. I haven't really been camping in 4 years, and that makes me weep bitter tears of deprivation and longing.

When I was a kid we went for several weeks every summer, and it was so incredibly great. I have pictures of me practicing out in the woods along some Alaskan highway. The sheer 80's-ness of my permed hair and enormous tee roped in with a black patent leather belt buckle the size of a Buick is a sight to behold.

I used to think camping wasn't camping if there were parking lots and picnick tables involved. We did it old school: backwoods Montana & podunk arctic river access were our forte. Now we live where there are too many people and you need a reservation for a spot. A reservation!

While I really do look forward to taking him along, we are leaving the kidlet with his preferred caregivers for the weekend. Otherwise I know I'd be waking up in a sweat, convinced I'd rolled on top of him or that he'd been stolen by a pack of meth-heads from my sleeping hands. I know it makes no sense, but I can see the whole thing play out like a badly concieved episode of CSI.

Did I ever tell you about the time a bear stepped on my sister's head while she slept in a tent with my parents? (AHHHH! Do NOT google bear & tent: there are a LOT of bear attacks happening to folks with access to the internet. EWWWW!) She didn't even wake up, but I would bet Mom and Dad sustained grave injuries to their Holy Crap reflex nodules.

Merry Memorial Day! Happy Summer! See you on the flipside good buddy, 10-4.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Just in case.

We went to Salem yesterday, to play in a rad frog-shaped plastic sand box. Aren't you jealous?

We also went to Minto Brown park, which is, besides Central Park, probably my favorite urban place to walk/run in the United states. There's a river with nesting eagles, several ponds, and almost 900 acres with miles of sweet trails, both paved and left natural.

I wish my camera battery hadn't died. It would have been supercool to post a picture of Toby trying to manhandle a girl twice his age on the play structure steps. They played together nicely for nippers, actually. When we left I looked back and she was sitting forlornly on the hard-won stairs, watching us make our stumbly exhuberant way to the parking lot.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My grapes, they are not (too) sour.

The other screw-over-ee from that audition is talking about union action, an exercise in futility likely to make the complainer fairly unpopular in a short span of time in a town this small. I hope s/he reconsiders.

Either the committee didn't hear much difference between the candidates or they heard it but didn't have the moral fiber to do anything about it. Neither scenario makes me want to work there, so I'm mostly over it now.

It probably helps that I don't need that job right this second. There are some possible changes in the JWards future, up to and including moving aGAIN. (Just when I was thinking about changing the ol'blog name...)

I am supposed to know myself well enough to be clear about my abilities and shortcomings without need of approval. But I like to win, and I like having a job. It stings to work hard, improve, and still fall short.

One unfair audition is bad luck- but twice in one year? Blech, no point in thinking too hard about it unless it makes me want to work harder. If only I could get J to run a hot little orchestra for me and my lackeys friends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I am 34,0000000000 years old.

Minus the zeros.

So you know what God did to make me feel better? He made it so our good friends from back in Madison who've also moved to PDX could come over at the last minute for bbq brats, beer, wine and an embarrassingly large and sugar-sludgy cake from Cosco.

And then he put American Gladiator on TV. It was just like high school in Fairbanks, where we had only three stations. Two shut down at midnight and the third played back to back episodes of Matlock, Dr. Who and American Gladiator. It's like the free beer they give out on airlines- you'll take anything when it's all you can get.

If you watch an episode of this now, be sure to watch carefully when they scan the crowd- the fashion and hair alone are wellll worth your time and concentration.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Totally kissing up to you.

I really am sorry about that blog blackout, and to prove it, I'm going to post more for a while and include a lot of pictures.
When Toby's sleepy he sucks his middle fingers and pulls on an ear. We've taught him a few baby signs because it's our duty as whatever yuppies of our generation are called. He signs milk, more, bird, no, plane and some mystery one that resembles the chopping motion fans of whatever baseball team that was with the un-PC Native American name used to do. Or else it looks obscene, a stunningly inappropriate (ergo pretty funny) possibility pointed out by everyone who has witnessed it. It even freaks me out when he delightedly grabs for the jewels during diaper changes, so I am hopefull we'll discover he's trying to imitate a conductor or perhaps a physicist writing formulae on some imaginary Nobel-winning chalk board.

Anyway, since we don't yet have a good pic of him demonstrating that mystery motion (just the SIGN, people) here he is requesting a nap.


For my birthday I got a really great carpet, a bunch of beautiful plants & plantars and (drumroll..................................) an off-camera flash set from Midwest Photo so I can do some of the things taught at!

Here's the first fruit- I promise it will get better, but doesn't he look like thaaat kind of lawyer here? Have you been injured due to negligence or carelessness? Heh.


And... we're back.

Sorry about that. I played a bunch of concerts here, then went to Montana for almost two weeks to visit relations. I thought I'd be posting on the road but just never got myself to a computer while one was available.

I will think of something to say soon.

Meanwhile, I played the strangest audition.

First, in the cramped loud communal warm-up room, a former member of a famous string quartet was recognized as one of the auditioners. That was kinda wild, especially because he sort of freaked and left before even hearing results for his group. Then, when they finally gave us our own little rooms just before playing, they came around and asked to take our solo piece so they could copy it for the committee.

Let me tell those of you not privy to the joys of auditioning that this is really freaking wierd. First of all, did they seriously not know the 2.5 pieces they would hear? Second, it was like five minutes to T-time, and what were they futzing with our minds for? Thirdimous, have you ever looked at the music people play from? I've played from the same three pages of the Bartok for about 5 years, spanning 3 teachers and one new instrument: there are all kinds of markings on it I would rather not show while being judged. Do I want them ogling my mess of bowings, fingerings, phrase reminders, pitch corrections, phone numbers from pianists in three states? I don't even need the sheets, but with the committee behind a screen there is NO point in even risking playing without them. Apparently when the committee's gopher finally made it back to the big room to collect everybody's solo parts (I was alone in a little one by then) the mighty violists gave them a big veetoe, and refused to provide parts to be copied.

Soooo, we played the first round. It went well for me, so I was really going to be pissed if I didn't advance- I can deal with screwing up and getting cut, but the constant re-evaluation of my entire life and perceptive capability gets a little old. This time I made it to the next round, so, yippee!

And the next round. With the same two other violists.

And the next round. With the same two other violists.

And the next round. With the same two other violists.

Funny thing about that. We played the same stuff repeatedly (there were only 5 excerpts) and we always played in the exact same order. And they never asked me to do anything differently. Usually in later rounds they have already determined you have the chops they require. So they see how flexible you are- what you'd really be capable of in a rehearsal when the maestro makes a request.

Apparently they had candidate 3 do lots of things. They told candidate 2 about a wrong pitch she had learned. They said nothing to me. Four times.

And then they picked the guy whose wife is on the committee.

Haha. Funny. Thing is, I didn't know that bit about the nepotism until hours after, and in the interim I had a key-throwing, sniveling fit involving seriously questioning what the point is in my continuing to play. I wasn't being dramatic- just practical. I would rather pack it in than be relegated to lame per-service ensembles. I whined about how I won stuff all through school, graduated and BAM. Haven't won crap (and I have really been auditioning for some serious crap) since.

Sorry for not blogging. And that this post is such an enjoyable romp through my insecurities, but I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of things soon.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


When we own the amazing house with a stream running along the generous property line, I would like to buy these benches and arrange for a canopy overhead and play string quartets while sipping mint juleps and/or margaritas.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Amish parents have balls of steel.

We are watching this jawdropping documentary called Devil's Playground, about the tradition called Rumspringa within the Amish church. Literally translated as "running around", this is one frightening concept.

The Amish let their children go out and do whatever they want at 16 until they either decide to join the church or are found passed out, knocked up under a buggie somewhere with a bag of meth and a can of bud. Yet another reason I could not be Amish; Toby won't get out of our house until he's 28 and a half, and even then the microchip will help us monitor his activity. In case you were wondering what Jack Bauer's got on tap after saving Audrey Raines, he'll be serving at our pleasure keeping Tobias in line.

Frankly I feel bad for these kids, even though I can respect the spirit of the excercise. Committing to such a stringent life would have to be a choice, or most kids would rebel at some point anyway. But it's a little cruel to put all that temptation and opportunity in the hands of the ball of hormones that is a sixteen year-old boy.

One kid they focus on goes through the world's horrible things like the devil himself is holding his hand. Meth, narcing on murderous dealers, rehab, falling back into alcoholism and finally running off to Florida to follow a girl. Every parents' nightmare.

"It's like a vaccination. You get a little taste of the world... and you'll be a happier Amish person if you have a choice."

Except vaccines are safe. Balls of steel.