Category Archives: Random thoughts

Lazy Days

Does anybody else lose all motivation in the summer? Have I blogged about this too many times already? I feel like during the school year, until the very first day of “vacation” I am a planning and organizing beast, full of grand ideas, goals, and action plans to get there. And then here it is, almost July, and I’ve accomplished so very very little. Maybe this is the ebb and flow of life.

Things I wanted to accomplish: Learn more how to play the viola. Read several very specific books on music and music history (I’ve read a dozen mystery novels, does that count?). Reorganize my teaching studio (to be fair, I’ve done some of this). Some boring stuff involving spreadsheets, oh, and learning how to use them. Oh, and finally finished blog recaps of LAST summer’s trip (to be fair, still waiting on some pictures from Louie, haha!). There’s some random stuff I’m leaving off but you get the idea.

I suppose I should cut myself some slack, as always. I look back and see that I’ve done a fair amount of working out, lots of interesting activities, read tons of fun books, relaxed a lot, visited with friends and family…also I’ve practiced a fair amount and made progress on a decent amount of rep for the summer and fall. I’ve made some new connections and friends, and I suppose, I’m resting and recharging. But I still feel unmotivated and lazy.

Resting and recharging is probably important though, right? We need the ebb and flow of life to sustain us? I have been getting a few more “around the house “ things done, and finally took care of some car things I’d been putting off. (For a long time!)

I am looking forward to a relaxing holiday weekend. I have a few gigs and only one day off from teaching, but overall it will still be relaxing. I find mid-week “Fourth of July” holidays to be odd—do you turn it into a long weekend or just take the day off? In previous cities I’ve lived I played on various orchestra concerts on the day but here I don’t have any groups I play with.  (Suddenly I find myself very sad and missing playing more orchestra music! Well, not very sad. Slightly sad. Where does the time go?)

ANYWAY. I’m now thinking of things to do, people to contact, and I remind myself, a little laziness probably isn’t too bad, particularly for somebody as high-strung as I can be! How’s your summer going?

Officially Summer

It’s officially summer (well, as of a few days ago, whatevers) and yet, the weather is gorgeous! We’ve had some of the most beautiful days of weather ever over the past few days.

I’m not even exaggerated. last year when my sister Leslie and niece visited, it was almost too hot to do anything outside. This year…amazing. We did a bunch of stuff: Grant’s Farm, the Magic House, various ice cream shops, lots of Asian food. It was a whirlwind visit, and unfortunately I had to work a bit, but it was great fun!

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I’d gotten Candy Land awhile ago with the idea of using it for teaching somehow. We opened it to play, but Athena (not 3 years) didn’t quite understand the whole board game concept. Good yogi though.

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Selfie on the Grant’s Farm Tram. I didn’t take too many pictures, but there were bison and ostriches and deer and more!

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The goats really liked Louie.

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Nothing better than getting a toddler to hug a giant poo emoji. I didn’t realize how many stuffed animals I had until I collected them all to play with.

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They have these outside pianos places. This was on the Loop. I think the moral is, don’t leave a piano outside. It kind of ruins it.

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I had to play a few weddings one afternoon so Louie put Athena to work washing the truck. She kept saying “bad, dirty truck!” and soaping over parts he had already rinsed. Gotta teach them young how to wash a car, right?

Anyway, it was nice to see Leslie and Athena (and brother-in-law Peter for one night too). Now it’s back to the “grind” of teaching and playing.

Yesterday we recorded two pieces for a CD of saxophone and string music I’m playing on, and then today I did all manner of car related things. I’m getting some car repairs (woo-hoo…wait…) and finally got my car properly titled after my divorce. (Learn from me, don’t put things off forever, especially when it turns out they are pretty easy to deal with.) Tomorrow I have another random chamber music rehearsal, and otherwise it’s just teaching, a few weddings this weekend, and reading. I’m loving this summer so far, honestly.  One month down, approximately two to go, and the living is easy and fun. Life as a musician might not be so bad after all Winking smile

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…