Saturday, December 3, 2011

Missing the Frontier

I just had an opportunity to squeeze in some hang time with a friend during a busy life and I'm pondering the loss of the time to write.  Not really pondering, severely missing it.  I liked having the time to be captivated by a thought and follow its meanderings through my brain.  So perhaps, as the new year approaches, it is time to seek a way to formalize my meanderings and make that time for myself again.  I've been out of touch, out of sight and out of shouting range.  Use your best Arnie voice, "I'll be back."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sound Fourth, Bend Style 2011

After a one year hiatus while the Bend (Oregon) High School auditorium was being renovated, the Sound Fourth concert is back.  For you Bendites, the time is 3:00 on July 4th (gives you plenty of time to enjoy the festivities downtown) at Bend High School auditorium.  The pre-concert show is provided by the Bend High School band.  The concert features the festival chorus directed by Dr. Clyde Thompson and the Cascade Horizon Band

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shoppin' with the Easter Bunny

Resident Kid is becoming a little old for the traditional Easter basket and paraphernalia, but I indulged myself in a little frivolous shopping to celebrate the day this year.  Apparently, in my off-hand way, I hit on a fun thing for Kid.  The prize had been shown off for a few days and jealously guarded from the Mimsical creature, when one day, while lolling on the bed, Resident Kid asked where I had done my Easter shopping. 

Outraged, I sputtered that I did not do Easter shopping, that was the Easter Bunny's job.  Slight pause, then Resident Kid asked, "OK, so, where does the Easter Bunny shop?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day 2011

I post this with a bit of wistfulness, being a water professional in a former life.   I hope that I haven't left that part of me behind, and certainly the brain is still engaged, it's just my livelihood doesn't hinge on my participation in these issues anymore.  It's a sad commentary on the priorities in this world today.

Celebrate World Water Day, March 22, 2011
Water is a crucial resource for humans and life on Earth. To celebrate its life-sustaining qualities, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated March 22 as World Water Day to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. 

Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. This year’s theme, Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge, spotlights and encourages governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing urban water management.
According to the UN, one in two people on the planet now live in cities. As the world’s cities become more crowded, the need for water increases. Globally, however, government investment in water infrastructure has not kept up with urbanization. Piping water to growing populations can be complex and expensive. Governments often do not have the resources to meet the demand. And the populations that need the most help often are the poorest. Compound that with a lack of sanitation, and public health threats become worldwide headlines.
To meet this challenge, the UN is encouraging everyone to participate in World Water Day events. Campaign materials, brochures, and other information are available at

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On being busy

Some folks have told me that they don't understand how I can do all that I do.  I am busy, and I would be the first to admit that, especially at this particular point in time, I am too busy.  The busy-ness (perhaps this should be confused with business) seems to be cyclical in terms of coming to a head at about three or four times in the year.  Most of it coincides with the end of term at the local college, where I am NOT a teacher, and the other undertakings in my or my family members' lives. 

I think there are activities that will have to go come the end of this year.  I'll keep my favorites and jettison some dabblings and hope to simplify my life's schedule to a degree that approximates manageable.  But I think that having times like these, where I am overextended, makes me really examine what's important. Often, when I drift along comfortably, I don't question whether what I am doing is really important or worth doing.  There is also something to be said for that period of time where you are completely and utterly pressed for time that makes you value the moments of stillness.

Tonight I am going to a concert by Great Big Sea.  Yes, it's Sunday night and it has been a hell of a week replete with stressful work, choir concerts, dance performances, classes and lessons, but this concert tonight, while it will be loud and exhausting, is goof off time.  I don't have to perform, I don't have to produce, I get to go and enjoy.  So think about this the next time you are feeling stressed and overtaxed - perhaps it is time to rant and roar!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

All that jazz

I have long been a fan of jazz, with my active participation in the genre waxing and waning over the years with a recent long dry spell ending with a gift of a ticket from a friend for a concert at the local college.  The music at the concert, particularly the small combo pieces, evoked memories of former lives where I spent evenings in smoky bars in Rochester, NY listening to great jazz from musicians inspired by Miles Davis or Chick Corea.  No vocalists stick in my mind from that time, all instrumentalists.   The Manhattan Transfer had made their mark earlier than this time and Harry Connick, Jr. had yet to hit it really big.  Or perhaps if I did hear any vocal music during this time I blocked it out because the way smooth jazz was becoming white bread left me totally cold. 

What resonated with me vocally left me feeling very displaced in terms of the times I was living in because I listened to the likes of Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald.  Nobody was singing like that, at least not when I had the opportunity to listen.

I don't know where this came from, this affinity with jazz.  I remember my siblings (all older) being into rock, folk and the inevitable classical in piano and violin lessons.  There was a hefty dose of Broadway and movie musicals, too, I have a vivid memory of belting out songs like, "There is nothing like a dame," as a six or seven year old.

It was a long time later, when I put on some music, it might even have been a Sarah Vaughan album, when my dad, a Julliard-trained organist, expressed surprise at my knowing "those old songs."

Anyway, I'm grateful for the opportunity to re-explore some old territory and get to know some of the newer artists at work today.  Ella Fitzgerald is still unbeatable, and what a kick to listen to, especially on those recordings where she forgot the words and started making stuff up.  She also, which is a game in our household, inserted words or motifs from other songs into whatever she was singing. 

That's not allowed for a "legit" singer and it certainly wouldn't make a "best of" album these days.  You've got to sing what's writ.  With classical music, the most improv you might get to do is in ornamentation or coloratura, but even then I've heard about and witnessed directors who transcribed a singer's noodling in the expectation of hearing it sung the same way at the next rehearsal or performance.  Even worse is asking a singer to sight read and then perform a scat as written (yes, that really happened).  That particular experience left me speechless and just a little bit irked.  It makes me wonder if the quest for the perfect presentation can obscure the adventure that is musical performance.

Right on, Ella.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stimulating the economy

So I am going through a significant adjustment right now.  After 17 months of unemployment I am back at work full time and transitioning to what that really entails for my life.  Unemployment was probably not the traumatic event for me as it has been for so many people in the world right now, and for that I am very grateful.  We were able to protect the family from most of the unpleasant effects of losing my income but there were a few nailbiting episodes.  It was, all in all, a period of exploration and discovery.  I found that I really am a terrible house spouse, but I love to write.  Now, going back to work, I love the fact that I have, once again, reinvented myself in a completely new field and I'm doing OK.

So the shakedown cruise continues.  I've had to shed a few of the activities I took on during my "other employment" period, and there are one or two other things that will have to go over the coming months, but I do hope that this little space in the ether will survive to blurp out little missives now and again.

Cheers, m'dears!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Betwixt curse and gift

I say goodbye
but I don’t really feel
you’re fully gone
down that path
I can’t follow, yet

I said hello
to you for all those years
when your black doom
beckoned you
away down the road

I had hoped I
would be able to learn
what I could of
you, your art
while ever I could

So much not learned
so many things not said
Feeling that I
wasn't "it"
wasn't adequate

I’m grateful yet
I’m still learning from you
hearing echos
of times spent
together, apart

Grieving began
with the curse being found
But gifts live on
in mem’ry,
my heart and my voice