Category Archives: Random thoughts

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?

Good Friday

This month is flying by. So is life! I realized I haven’t blogged in quite awhile. This is due to being busy, which is a good thing.

I was talking with a fellow freelancer about the concept of “busy-ness.” You’ve read various articles about how being “busy” is the new response everybody gives and how being busy shouldn’t be the goal, and all of this negative press about being busy. The thing about being a freelancer is, being busy means we are working. To me, though busy can be exhausting and overwhelming, busy means I’m paying my bills, I’m saving, I’m going to hopefully retire someday. Busy is good. I enjoy nights off. I enjoy having days off, on those rare occasions in the spring. (Saturday!). But I also enjoy working, I value it, and I’m sorry that I’m so busy I can’t do it all. I also hate turning down work, because every call for a new gig is a possibility for something amazing to happen, and having to say no means I’m saying no to that possibility. Sigh.

So I’m busy. What have I done since we last “spoke”? One thing is that my parents stopped by for a quick visit. We had a nice lunch, walked around Forest Park on an absolutely beautiful day, and then they were able to come see me play with the Metropolitan Orchestra of St Louis. Unfortunately Louie came down with a nasty stomach bug (he actually went to the doctor, which means something…neither of us are “go to the doctor” people) and couldn’t enjoy it with us, but it was a short and sweet visit. Then I hit the ground running (as always, it seems, even though I worry, I worry about work a lot) in preparation for all of the extra Palm Sunday/Holy Week concerts.

Dad had an unusual looking lunch.

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Mackenzie and I at Forest Park.

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Very large, old tree.IMG_7200

I guess nobody took pictures except Mom, since there aren’t any of her Sad smile

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The orchestra concert.

Looking back through my pictures, since then, I voted (again! If democracy is important to you, you need to vote in all the elections. Call your reps, show up, VOTE.)

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And I’ve been practicing, reading, dog-walking, running, doing it all.  Except hanging out with friends hasn’t really been happening. It turns out you can’t do it all. One day though, I shall be retired and have time for everything. Except work Winking smile

My parents were visiting after a bit of a camping vacation. I feel like Louie and I have a lot of interesting stories after our camping trips, but my folks really have more (except no bears, that they have been luckier/smarter). I suppose if you camp and travel enough, the stories start to add up. I made a new life goal after chatting with them. For instance, they had a story about having to pack up their tent in the middle of night due to bad weather, and drive away. And most recently, waking up and realizing the rain had turned to snow, and going to Denny’s for breakfast hoping it would melt by the time they returned. Maybe some people don’t like these sorts of adventures, but they do keep life interesting!

I’m finding it hard to be motivated to practice when the weather is so nice. The other day I was thinking to myself, did I have anything pressing to practice and decided, no, so I read a book instead. Later that night I realized I had completely forgotten the quartet concert tonight! (We are playing Haydn’s Quartet arrangement of 7 Last Words). I don’t know if that’s a sign growing old (as Louie suggested) or just being tired? Speaking of tired, I woke up an hour before my alarm today. I was dreaming of a day to sleep in, but then when I woke up, I couldn’t sleep anymore. I remember days I could sleep and sleep forever, but currently that is not in my cards. At least I can go to sleep pretty decently at night, and I’m just a little tired. Sigh.

On the bright side, there’s a great article in the New York Times (fake news!) about how 1 hour of running can add 7 hours to your life. Or it just feels like it Winking smile Read it! And then put on your running shoes and go for a run. If I weren’t about to go play a concert, I’d join you!

Is it the weekend yet?

Ah, Mondays. It’s especially hard to get up when it’s raining outside. Luckily my schedule is easier on Monday mornings. I wake up, have a panic of dread thinking about the state of the union and my to-do list, and then calm myself down Winking smile 

I did a good thing last night actually, and put a bunch of tasks on my to-do list. I just keep a running list on my phone and then occasionally add a date/time specific one if needed. I am often torn between making a more detailed and time sensitive list, but my method works mostly pretty well. I’m thinking of how to work on some longer term goals and if I need to revamp my routine, and I’ll ponder that some more. I’m not entirely sure of my long term goals, and I was thinking lately that maybe I should come up with some, since that’s what they say successful people do. At least some specific ones!

This week is sort of like the calm before the storm. I’m fortunate in that I have a ton of extra gigs over Holy Week, but I am considering that “the storm”. And it really starts this weekend with the Festival…so maybe it’s not so calm, but it feels it. I only have 4 students playing this weekend so it’s easier than last year. I do hope to convince more to do it next year…maybe I’ll try for a group photo and put it in the newsletter or something (also, must get back to doing newsletters!)

So there you have it, on this rainy day. I have no long-term goals and my to –do list is a mess, but I still manage Smile (I do have vague long term goals, like “retire” and “stay healthy” and “play more chamber music”)

Other randomness. We did Blue Apron last week (got a free week from Leslie) and it was pretty neat. Like Hello Fresh (which had terrible customer service) they send you a box of ingredients for three meals, along with a card for each meal telling you exactly how to prepare it. Unlike a meal where you have to figure out how the various parts fit together (what to start first, for instance) this is all done for you, which makes the meal easier. Also most stuff is already measured out, though there’s still lots of chopping and salting and peppering.

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I loved this catfish!

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The salad with tangelos and oranges was delicious.

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The last meal I was underwhelmed by but Louie really liked it.

Anyway, we might do Blue Apron again, though it’s hard to beat the price of “free.” We are lucky to have nice friends!

Yesterday we took a short hike in Babler State Park. I didn’t take any pictures because I forgot and really it was just trees and hills and mud Winking smile Typical Missouri spring hiking, but we had a nice time. Babler has a campground and we were thinking it might be nice for a short getaway (35 minutes drive) if I ever have the time for that. (Ha!) There’s a long hike there that we want to do another time (8.5 miles), but we hiked the Dogwood Trail which was about 2 miles.

Alright! I’d better get to it. Practice, teach, teach, teach, and then maybe dinner at Lulu’s on South Grand.

Never enough

(Note to readers, I started this on Wednesday, finishing it today!)

I find myself doing what I can when I can and constantly worrying it’s not enough. Plans are made, most are followed through on, and those that aren’t I feel guilty about. I can’t change the world single-handedly, though I’ll try.

Last night I joined the Lindenwood Orchestra for their concert. On viola. It was interesting. I am glad to have something new to work on and focus a bit—I’ve been seeing vast improvements on the viola every time I pick it up, which obviously isn’t the case on violin. For violin, I had a rehearsal Monday night, went home, got my violin and music out of the backseat to bring inside and realized I didn’t have my music. I had fears of having left it in the parking lot, but I am told it is safe and will be there for me at the next rehearsal. Am I losing my mind?

The weather is getting nicer. I enjoyed the rest of my “spring break.” I read a bunch and relaxed, and it already feels far behind me. This week started with a BANG, a 13 hour day followed by an 11 hour day, but today is easier, and I get Sunday off! (If you are new, I don’t get weekends off, I’m a musician. When I refer to a day off, I mean that otherwise I work all those other days!) My arms and joints feel sore today so I’m taking a “zero day” on practice—people tell us to act like we are athletes, and athletes do rest occasionally. No practice means a little extra time (sort of, because my practice isn’t as regular as it could be, so it often means that time turns into doing all the other things on my to-do list I’ve been putting off) and maybe I’ll do a little reading. I’m rereading the Cormoran Strike books (by Robert Galbraith, who is actually JK Rowling) and I’m on the third one. It’s been long enough I forget all the details. I love rereading good books!

So life is pretty good right now. I’ve finalized reservations for our August trip and I’m working on a trip to Phoenix in May.

I haven’t been as much of an activist this month. I’ve still been making calls, faxes (resistbot, text resist to 50409) and emails, signing petitions, all that, but I haven’t shown up as much. It’s hard to do it all! I hope to do more, but I must also focus on me. I don’t want to look back and wish I’d done more, but I also feel myself getting so tired and burned out. Balance is a tough one! I was planning a thing today and then like I said, got caught up here, waiting to do something online and figuring out my grades and computer stuff. I got a run in this morning too, which was lovely. I’ve been feeling quite flabby lately, but I figure spring is a great time to turn it around and I want to be in good shape for hiking and biking! This Sunday we are thinking of taking the bikes out (I should check the weather) on the Katy Trail and enjoying a day. It’s not supposed to snow or something is it?

Friday thoughts: The week has been good, gone by fast. This Sunday it’s maybe going to rain so we will play it by ear as far as bike-riding. If Congress wants to take everybody’s health care away I’ve done my part in dissuading them…today the weather is absolutely gorgeous.

I’m happy and sad for my friend April: she is moving to Atlanta in May for a great job! I’m happy for her and sad that she is leaving. We’ve been through a lot and had a lot of fun together over the past few years! It won’t be the same without her in St Louis, but I know she will be GREAT in her new position and that she will make a difference in the world.

Tired

Ooh boy, this has been a week. Winter Opera is in full swing with Carmen (rehearsals are finally DONE) and I’ll tell, opera is physically taxing. I find I am unable to do any other real practicing during opera weeks, so that I’m both busier and oddly less busy.

The weather got chilly again, even though today it is quite clear and sunny. Very nice day for a run! I don’t know how to feel about the weather. The warmer winter has been really nice, but then I worry about what it means for the world, and I also worry about the summer and the bugs. Sigh. No way to win, right?

New thing for me: I went with a group to meet with a member of my Senator’s staff yesterday to express our concerns about various things. It was really interesting. I didn’t feel I had a whole lot to offer, but I felt I learned quite a bit, both about how the Senator’s office works, but also just generally about how meetings work and how other people do things. Music can be such a lonely and insulating world and it’s good to get out of it sometimes and see how other people function. That’s an obvious statement, I think, but it’s important. Very often musicians want to live in their own world and pretend that how things are done there is how everything is done, and the fact is: sometimes it’s nice to not worry about music or who’s hiring who or who’s got what thing going on, and worry about the state of our democracy and meet some other people who are also worried. So it’s really all the same, but it’s different.

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That probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense…but I don’t know how to clarify! Just that basically, I’m glad I’m doing what I’m doing, both with music and with being politically active.  And that those worlds are separate, but I guess people are all the same.

There’s a lot going on this month. There aren’t too many performances after the opera, but April is FULL of stuff and that means this is the month to learn and rehearse. I’ve got several quartet performances, ranging from a Good Friday service to a day working with student composers…a solo performance to prepare for, several other Holy Week performances, Metro Orchestra of St Louis concert and Music Club Federation Festival (same weekend!)…there’s a lot going on. I’m taking a short spring break for myself—Louie and I talked about traveling, but it worked out that he is going to visit his day on his own because I didn’t want to miss too much teaching. Basically between now and mid-May, things are in full swing other than that short break, and so far it’s all under control. I need to get a bow rehair and change my strings after this weekend though!

So there you have it, a very boring blog entry.

I’m daydreaming about more fun activities…do you ever feel like work just overshadows everything else? Sure, I love playing the violin but doing it for a living is a lot of work! Yes, I do work. It’s work, even when I enjoy it Smile