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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Haven’t posted for a while for several reasons.  I made a fast trip to the UK in mid-March to spend a week staying with my niece, Margaret, and her family and from their spending days at the bedside of my dying brother.  Diagnosed with brain cancer just before Xmas, ’08, I visited him in Australia last spring. He returned to the UK just before Xmas, ’09, so as to spend his last weeks closer to “home.”

Also, a fall on some icy steps in mid-February left a colleague with a nasty concussion from which she is making a very slow recuperation. I picked up some work related projects while she has been out.  And pray for her full recovery.  Be thankful for each day – you never know when it might be your last, or at least the last of being the “you” that you now are.

And, piano has become a borderline obsession.  In fact the whole subject of music has grabbed my interest in a way that I would never have dreamed.  The morning routine has now settled in to accommodate this passion and secure its hold on my day, whether or not  a work day (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and half of Thursdays.) Upon rising, there’s the immediate sit in the hot tub communing with my mountain (Mt. Juneau) and spruce trees (not to mention the heron roosting in its branches above the tub) followed by a sit in the living room with Bill, coffee, a few poems, and the newspaper. Then a bit of stretching, make the bed, get dressed, and head for the piano.  Daily practice is expanding its grip – and introducing to my life a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure at the (sometimes noticeable) progress.

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Lot’s going on, missed posting.  Too much work (but seems to be productive) and trying to scale back.  Did a day-long training workshop on Strategic Planning followed by a day-long retreat for my favorite non-profit.  Took a lot more prep time than I recalled.  Since it’s a decade since I had my head in that bucket it was a bit like re-inventing the wheel – thank goodness for Bill’s help.  Like much of my life, couldn’t have done it without him.  Bill spent 3 days in the hospital a couple of weeks ago hooked up to an IV machine after some (one or more) bacteria/fungi blew up his left foot.  Nasty it was. The buggy culprit(s) not yet identified, but he (or rather his foot) is fully recovered.

The big news is that I have found a wonderful piano teacher. I think it’s OK to say her name out loud (Mary Watson) since she’s a well known and respected Juneau gem. Can’t tell you how psyched I am.  She let me make a copy of her tree of keyboard masters and students (Bach, Mozart, Clementi, Beethoven, Czerny, Liszt, Leschetizky, Kullak, etc. to the present) showing who of all the greats had been her teachers, all the way down to me….  Mind blowing.  So far I’ve had 3 one-hour biweekly lessons.  I feel like I’m making unbelievable progress and my motivation has moved through the roof.  This morning’s practice I finally felt like I made the piano SING!!!!!  Reflected on my 8 years of lessons when I was young, and my self teaching since then floundering around as a mediocre intermediate player. Think I never did have a good teacher – and all of a sudden I’ve landed in a gold pile.  My vision of being able to play the piano for hours on end when I’m a stuck-at-home very old lady (if I make it that far)  may now become reality. Heartfelt kudos to good teachers of everything, everywhere.   Plus, I signed up to take a 5-week Marimba class at the Canvas beginning February 7th.  Looking forward greatly to that.  Bill’s friend John came over last night for their weekly guitar get-together and the 3 of us had a fabulous 40 minutes gabbling about all kind of things musical before the two of them went off into the music room.

Romeo has disappeared.  Juneau’s favorite black wolf hasn’t been seen since September. His canine and human friends are very sad.

Strange weather – warm and sunny, not much snow left at sea level.

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Bill and I were discussing some of our travels in sweet Callipygia (still anchored in my heart) in the Caribbean last night and remembered the beatiful music of the New Dominion Steel Orchestra, which we listened to while anchored in Prickly Bay, Grenada, back in 2004.

This thought led me to search the Internet (I’ve been hoping to find a CD of their work somewhere) where I found this YouTube video.  Enjoy – it surely brings back the immense pleasure and enjoyment of our cruising years.

Reminiscing is one of the great pleasures of growing old – so long as one has enough “hooks” to hang on to that help to recall those memories. Thank goodness for the notes I made and collected on our website!

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Forgot to do a new post last week.

I spent it in a week-long workshop put on by the Grantsmanship Center, Inc. Very useful content and process for public and non-profit entities. Thoroughly enjoyed meeting others from around Alaska.  Among our 26 participants, were 10 native Alaskans so it was a great cultural exchange. Three flew in from the isolated (half-way down the Aleutian chain) community of  Sand Point to work on a proposal to secure funding for a cold-weather greenhouse (to be heated by wind-power) that would raise some local produce for Sand Point’s 950 residents. Right now, all food comes in by barge (takes 6 weeks to get there) and half of it is borderline or rotten on arrival.  Cabbage, e.g., costs $8-$10 per head.

Other participants came in from Ketchikan, Sitka, Hydaburg, Larsen Bay, Anchorage,  and Dillingham to join the rest of us from Juneau. I enjoyed looking up their locations in our Alaska map bible from DeLorme.  If you follow those place-name links you’ll get a flavor of the diverse makeup of communities across our vast, wonderful state.

Then on Wednesday, at 6am we took our dear ones next door to the airport for a 10-day rest and relaxation time on the Oregon coast, collected their 2 dogs to stay with us, and then down to the  dock to spend half-a-dozen hours with Bill’s brother and sister-in-law while their cruise ship was in Juneau. Enjoyed taking them on a tour of our town, opened their eyes a bit I think.  [I think they were expecting red-necky uncouthedness instead of our beautiful little cultural capital.]

Friday evening to the Canvas for a Marimba concert by Zimbabwean musician Paul Mataruse and his band Ruzivo from Whidbey Island, WA.

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Piano Practice

I love my Yamaha YDP-160 digital piano, bought in a box right before we began our journey to Juneau from the east coast. I acquired it as a result of one of those “going to the store to buy a loaf of bread” situations* – the details of which I won’t go into here. (more…)

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