Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I think I went back to gigging a bit too soon.

Don't get me wrong, both the orchestras I've played with this past month have been great. The first was for a conductor I adore who reminds me of a favorite uncle and we did Missa Solemnis with lovely soloists and the only thing I can think to complain of is that the venue was a shmancy catholic church and sounded exactly like a deafening bathroom. My hands would have been protecting my ears if it weren't for the viola they were full of.

Isaac was only a few weeks old at the first rehearsal for that noise, so J brought him to me at the breaks to eat. Let's take a minute and be thankful someone invented this nursing privacy blanket thingy, shall we? I'm working on making myself a couple of knock-offs so I can have one in every bag. If you have a pregnant friend who's planning to boob the kid, get them one of these puppies and I swear she'll remember you in her will.

I also played with the Portland opera, and I am trying to figure out if the woman who sang Aida sold her soul to get her voice or is simply an angel on break from the sparkling gates of heaven. She reminds me of Renee Fleming, whom I might cyber-stalk if I were a socially dysfunctional tecky dude. Amneris kicked it old school, too. I had no idea how much I enjoy Aida- it was almost never a countdown of page turns to the final notes, which really are haunting despite always being described as such by critics.

The conductor, who must be very closely related to Jerry Stiller, was fantastic. I am not kidding- these are four-hour rehearsals and the time skips by. Everyone calling him Gigi made me feel more familiar than we are, like I might bump into him at a streetside cafe in Venice, peer over my huge black sunglasses and offer to buy him a glass of wine while he fawns over my adorably precocious yet incredibly well behaved wonder children.

So why then, in the midst of all the wine and roses, did I wish I weren't working?

Isaac's early weeks were, as everyone warned, entirely different than our memory of Toby's. We joke that he had two moods: asleep and pissed. He has an adorable scowl. Once after I got stuck in old-people traffic exiting the hall's parking garage, J greeted me with a screaming baby and "What HAPPened?" before I could even put down my case. In his defense, there are few circles of hell deeper than The Baby Won't Ever Stop Screaming. Now that Isaac's got a few months under his wee little belt, the learning-a-stick-after-driving-an-automatic phase has mostly passed and we've laid off comparing every single thing he does to rosy memories of his big brother. That, and he has indeed stopped screaming. (mostly)

It surprises me, though, how much just one gig on my schedule made in the feeling of a day or even a week. He probably picked up on my tension. I've probably ruined him something awful by failing to grow my hair seven feet long and wear gingham recreationally, but he was in trouble from the beginning what with a viola being practiced within earshot and such.

In conclusion, if we have another one of these things, I hope I remember to beg off any work for the first three or four months. Even though he was only ever in my hands or his dad's and even though it was nice to get out and smell the Egyptians (Aiiiiida!).

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