Category Archives: Random thoughts

Day Off

A random Friday off is always nice, even though this month is pretty easy overall.

I feel I’ve lost my motivation to do anything musical. I haven’t really practiced at all this week! Maybe I need the downtime, but I have a stack of music to be working on, at least in the abstract, so hopefully next week will bring more motivation. Then again, motivation is something that comes from within, so I’ll look there first.

I’ve been working on reorganizing my house, especially my music collection. I keep getting more music, and hate getting rid of things, so getting it more in order will be nice. I think I’m going to get some magazine holders in order to keep stuff more together, and try to organize somewhat alphabetically/by genre/category. Any musicians have any successful ideas to share? I am not organized by nature but can work hard.

I’m working on my fall schedule as well. Well, as much as one can in June. I’ve got some wonderful “borrowed” students over the summer, but definitely have openings in the fall, especially on Wednesdays. Pass it on! I’m sometimes surprised by how quickly I go from absolutely insanely busy to, well, blogging in my pj’s after spending a few hours organizing. That’s right, I may or may not still be in my pajamas. That’s what days off are for, correct?

I suppose I spend too much time here acting silly Winking smile I was thinking earlier that I’m getting to be old and should be mature soon. I’m in my last year of my 30’s now…but I don’t always feel like I’m an adult, in the same way that I always thought my parents were adults at this age. Granted, I don’t have kids, and did I mention I’m in my pajamas? But I suppose there are times I feel adult. Right now, for instance. Spending a day off organizing my house and doing laundry is pretty adult. Also the other day I gave a student advice on how to help a younger student with a posture issue. Sometimes, in fact, I completely surprise myself with my adult-ness. (Or I’m still being silly. I think I need more coffee. Even with the day off, the sun woke me up by 7:30 am and I was planning to sleep longer after having stayed up late watching an episode of House of Cards.)

Other things I’m doing: uploading CD’s to iTunes (this is a project I started years ago but never finished) in order to be able to listen to anything I want whenever. My current impetus is because Louie is putting in a new radio in my car (the old one works only as a radio because the CD player is broken, and has no accessory function) which I can use to listen through my phone and also use as a bluetooth to talk on the phone. If I have all my music on the phone, then I can listen to any of it anytime! I learn music best when I combine the visual and the aural, and I just haven’t been listening enough since my CD player broke Sad smile

Also making an omelet with leftover potatoes from my “birthday dinner” last night (one night late.) I’m doing what I call a spanish omelet where you mix up eggs and add potatoes and whatever else to it and then cook it on low heat in a cast iron pan for around 30 minutes until it sets. It better be good!

(Last night’s dinner at Peacemaker Lobster and Crab. Lobster doesn’t fit great into my mostly veggie/fish diet, but I am okay with it plus a little sausage for special occasions. )

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That biscuit is SOOO GOOD too. I wish I could eat it right now, but I already ate it.

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And some oysters. The night was quite a splurge, but was a lot of fun. Thanks Louie!

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How are you all?

The Livin’ is Easy

Summer is here! At least, school is out. I am probably one of the people who is most attuned to the school schedules without being a parent, since my livelihood depends on it.

In any case, I remembered I had a blog, and that I’ve been running all over the country (well, from Phoenix to Lebanon, Missouri, to St Louis) doing interesting or at least somewhat interesting stuff, and not sharing it with you.

I keep doing too much, I guess. Or I do a lot and then in my downtime I want to read, or chat with Louie and friends, or hike or bike or watch something on Netflix or Amazon. I want to document and share, but it’s been less of a priority.

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Life is good, overall. Except my friend April is moving…she is moving for a fantastic job and will be doing great things making the world better, but for those of us here, she’s making the world worse Sad smile I’ll miss her!

I’m working on getting ready for a retirement home performance this evening and a house concert on Friday. This house concert should be fun, but since it’s a brand new thing for me, there’s been a learning curve. I’m finally at the point of the year where I have time to think about things, and I started planning it before then, so some stuff got left behind…but it’s all going to be okay, and hopefully fun for everybody.

So I’m off to practice, teach, and then play for the older people. Who lately haven’t been the biggest fan of mine. (too loud! too unfamiliar! too classical!)

Friendversary

4 years ago April and I ran a little race together, and bonded over various things going on in our lives. She is moving away soon and I will miss her dearly!

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We had a lovely dinner at Treehouse last weekend. Did I mention how sad I am that she is moving??

And next week I’m visiting Phoenix. It will be nice to get out of town and take a week off teaching. I’m playing a gig while I’m there, so it’s not a total vacation, but it will be good enough. I don’t mind admitting I take vacations, because I work pretty hard. There’s this one, there’s a bigger on in August (longer that is) and there will be a few long weekends over the summer. I need to rest and recuperate…sometimes people think freelancers dare not take a vacation lest we miss something. If I miss something, I’m sorry. I need to be able to clear my head, and it’s important to me to travel as well.

Stress levels are sort of low. The semester is over. Recitals are behind me. Summer is basically here. Maybe soon I’ll even get more chances to sleep late!

The Rain Finally Seems to have Stopped

This rain has been out of control. And all the flooding is just terrible. We’ve had some garage flooding, but nothing too bad, thankfully, but I have friends who have definitely had worse situations and I am thankful the rain has finally stopped!

It’s been a busy time, as I always tell you. And I’m worn out. I just want to lie around and read, or go and walk around in the sun (finally sunny again today!). I don’t want to work, or worry about the future of our country and my health care…I’m tired!

I am basically on a semi-summer vacation, which is fabulous. I finished up at Lindenwood on Monday, and I’ve just got a small amount of grading to do still, but then that’s it until next fall! As for Wash U, I guess I have one more student left to teach, and I already submitted my grades. This week was jury week for some of the students (all at Lindenwood, one at Wash U) and it was nice to see the students perform and demonstrate the work they’d put in. I think every one of them could have practiced more, but I suppose most teachers think that, always.

And then Wednesday night I taught a lesson to a student who is graduating and found myself getting quite sad—he’s been my student for 4 years and is going away to college, and I started worrying that I hadn’t encouraged him enough, or that I should have pushed him towards a double major, or insisted he get a better violin…but the fact really is: he teaches himself, mostly, because he is one of the only students I have that actually puts in the hours of practice time needed, and if he wants to double major, he will. Nothing I have done will stop him! And he knows he could use a better violin, but it’s always a question of money. And I am just not going to be pushing students to go into music. I encourage them to be the best violinists they can be, but no one should be pushed to major in music, because the career path is just exceedingly difficult, and should only be navigated by somebody who insists upon it!

I don’t know though. I do doubt myself a lot…that is to say, on whether I’m doing a good job teaching. I’m easy going and I want them to have a good time. I don’t yell, I don’t tell them how terrible they are, I don’t pit them against each other. I don’t believe that music should be a competitive sport, and I hate that the orchestra audition circuit has made it so…but for a 7th or 8th grader there is absolutely no need for them to be stressed out about making mistakes. So then they think I’m soft…or that I’m not picky enough. I suppose you can’t please everybody all the time!

Anyway, just rambling. I am constantly learning and thinking about my philosophy and my methods of teaching, and how I’m interacting with my students. I hope it makes me a better teacher, always adjusting and reacting. I’ve learned a ton this year teaching at two colleges (and really enjoyed it!), and look forward to starting again in the fall (after refreshing over the summer)!

Scenes from the last week…Friends of Music Concert and a Rally. Fun stuff included dinner with April after the concert and a three course Italian dinner for Restaurant Week on the Hill. And reading: I’m well into a long series of mysteries by Mary Daheim, called the Bed-and-Breakfast Series. They are silly but fun. Sometimes it’s nice to read a long series where the characters become like friends.

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Always up for more, as you know! Though I’m planning a most-excellent summer of fun interspersed with gigs and teaching. Hiking, biking, camping, and more…

Saturday Morning

I wanted to sleep in this morning, and I did my best. I woke up at 8:30 (they tell you that when you have kids you won’t be able to sleep in anymore…they don’t tell you that it’s actually not because you have kids, it’s because you are older…maybe “they” don’t know this) and now I’m drinking coffee and doing “stuff” online. I even did a short workout, though not outside because it’s cold and rainy enough that I just didn’t feel like it.

I’d love to be able to sleep like I used to, but I just can’t anymore. Maybe it’s aging, maybe it’s the constant stress of the last year…either way, I am enjoying my morning and relaxing. There’s also something so precious about waking up before you have to…it’s like bonus time.

The next week is pretty overwhelming. Maybe I overuse that word. I know I can handle it. I was looking at my schedule and trying to figure out what I need to do this weekend to prepare for it. I just have (as always) a few extra things added into my schedule and one of those is looking like it will require more practice than I’d initially thought. And as we are just SO close to the end of the school year/semester, I find myself wanting to just do outdoor activities and daydream and read rather than continue to buckle down. It’s hard to keep at it, day after day, isn’t it? I know plenty of folks work way harder than I do, but I feel like I put in a good week of work every few days Winking smile

I know that the emojis I like to use tend to throw off the formatting, but I don’t want to give them up.

Are you going to the March for Science today? I am working during it, but considering the Climate March next week. I’m also considering not doing it and focusing on getting all my work done, and maybe over the summer I’ll be able to be a better activist. I still make my phone calls, at least occasionally, and I am an active resistbot user.

Unrelated: don’t you feel like a real adult when you handle fairly complex banking issues? For instance, I had a small amount of stock with a brokerage company and recently found out that company was changing to a monthly subscription model and I needed to transfer the account to another company. My initial impulse was to hide under the couch and then maybe just give up and cash out, because that seemed easiest, but I did a little research, and I think I’ve successfully submitted the proper paperwork. ADULTING for the win! (We’ll see. If I messed up, I suppose they will let me know.) See also: filing taxes and paying quarterly estimated taxes (as adulting examples.) I’ll still say that my biggest financial success to date is paying off my student loans, but I want to continue financial successes. I figure that these things are supposed to be complicated, but if somebody with a master of music in violin performance can figure it out, it isn’t rocket science.

I think I shall get a little bit more coffee now. I have to play a wedding, practice, and then tonight attend a symphony concert. Tomorrow is a bike ride, a rehearsal, and a piano concert at Wash U. Last night we had dinner at my favorite Mexican place, Lily’s, and then I stayed up late reading. It was fantastic.

Looking to Summer

What is it about warmer weather than makes me crave a vacation? Laziness?

Honestly though, only a few weeks ago I was completely gung-ho over all kinds of musical/career ideas. And now I’m exhausted and dreaming of vacations. May is a good month for those, of course, since the college semester is tantalizingly close to an end (along with those paychecks though Sad smile). We’ve got a camping/float trip planned along with a WEEK in Phoenix visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and, of course, niece. Perhaps she will be a fancy violinist by the time I leave.

I’m also looking at ways to make this summer more relaxing and rejuvenating than last one. The nature of mine and Louie’s jobs are that the fall and spring semesters are busier and we need to try to get back on track over the summer in order to hit life hard in the fall. Last summer we ended up being too stressed out, annoyed, and then ultimately took what was supposed to be a great trip (and it was!) but ended up being even more stressful and ended up with all kinds of car damage from the bear and hailstorm, and came home more frazzled than before. I’m experimenting with ways to make the summer better. I’m going to reclaim more of my time—no more days where students come with huge breaks in between, so it’s a day I feel like I work all day but for very little money. I’m planning to take a few short trips during the summer in addition to our longer, more relaxing trip in August. The August trip is still camping and hiking, but we aren’t driving as much and we are spending 3 days in each place. Hopefully the bears leave us alone too.

Does anybody have any good weekend getaway ideas from St Louis? I’m looking for inexpensive, relaxing, outdoorsy, and fairly secluded. 2 to 4 hours drive? Maybe a little more if worth it. Dog-friendly a plus.

Anyway, I’ve got a stack of things to do today, but thought I’d pop  in and say hello. Other fun summer plans include visits from and with family, playing an opera (maybe more), and teaching some students for other teachers, so it’s like having new students except you don’t have to stress out over messing them up entirely Winking smile I’m also teaching at a new summer camp one week and playing a series of concerts at a series of retirement homes with a flute trio. Wait, where did all that stuff I said about relaxing go?