Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What's My True Love's Sign?

Your True Love Is a Gemini

Why you'll love a Gemini:

Witty and sharp, a Gemini can keep up with your fast (and ever changing) mind.
You're both fun loving and free spirits. You and a Gemini can enjoy each other without expectations.

Why a Gemini will love you:

Not only can you keep up with a Gemini's sharp tongue, you can introduce a challenge or two...
You're appetite for fun and novelty will keep a Gemini interested - at least for a bit longer than usual!

Interesting - The Man is a Gemini. I knew there were reasons why I love him so and we get on so well. Lucky me.

What Kind of English Do You Speak?

Your Linguistic Profile:
65% General American English
25% Dixie
5% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern
0% Yankee

Saturday, February 24, 2007


My daughter and I had the opportunity to attend a masterclass in Dallas this morning with the preeminent flutist alive today, "the man with the golden flute" himself, Sir James Galway. Oh. My. Gawd. Becky. The man is truly phenomenal. I have enjoyed many of his recordings over the years and shared them with my students, but they don't do him justice. Even the Girl, who at 15 often bears the title "Miss Way Too Cool For The Room," was impressed.

Sure, the man is a true virtuoso in every sense of the word. His 50 plus years of dedication to the instrument shine through in his impeccable tone and technique, and he was all too willing to share his secrets with us. I got chills when he began Debussy's "Syrinx" and gracefully and seamlessly segued into "Danny Boy," before we knew what hit us.

It wasn't just his incredible flute playing that got to us though. It was Galway's charm, grace, sense of humor and ginormous heart that won over every person in that hall today. Consummately funny, we laughed at the stories and jokes he told throughout the class. The Girl confessed to me at intermission that she was expecting "some boring old flute guy," not a good time. She added that she only agreed to go along because we would be in Dallas, within a couple of miles of Herrera's, our favorite Mexican food restaurant and knew that if we were anywhere near, we would go there for lunch afterwards. At least we know where her priorities are.

The first student performing in the clinic was a high school sophomore from Houston. The boy's flute wasn't functioning quite properly, so what did Sir Galway do? He carefully inspected the instrument, mumbled something to the effect of, "Oh, that will never do," and without hesitation handed the kid his brand new (as in just acquired yesterday) solid gold handmade Nagahara flute to use instead. That unflinching gesture of kindness and generosity to a child earned him a spot in my heart.

We learned so much today about embouchure, technique and tone and how most of us (myself included) have received incorrect instruction on, as he so aptly phrased, "how to do it," from those who received incorrect instruction from those who received incorrect instruction & so on... It will take a little practice to do it his way but the reason we practice is to get better, right? I'm always game for a good distraction. The most important lesson we came away with though was to play from the heart or it's not music at all. Of course, that's similar to what I've been trying to tell my students all along ("Do it like you mean it!"), but it sounds so much cuter in his lilting Irish brogue talking about playing from the heart, not the head.

The Mexican food afterwards was out of this world, too. It was a guuuud day.

(Yes, I know the picture, taken at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center is really way past crappy but it was taken with that gawdforsaken Treo since I was too much of a spaz to remember to take a real camera.)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Did you see it?

Okay, just in case there's any doubt, I am a serious American Idol fan. It is my guilty pleasure since as a PhD student, I have no life. Did anyone see last night's performances? Jordin, Lakisha, Melinda, Sabrina and Stephanie kicked some serious skinny little bare-bellied fake white girl ASS all OVER that stage last night. It was a sad, sad day to be a caucasian female who thinks she can sing a little. The only one who ponied up and was spared their wrath was Gina. Oh? Did the boys sing Tuesday? I didn't notice after last night's ass-whuppin'. Silly lame lame lame boys. (Insert very best Texas drawl here-->) Here's the deal, y'all: If you are a remaining American Idol contestant and are either Caucasian or male, you'd best to just go on home now and save yourself any further embarassment. As of last night, you are officially toast.

I love when the bar gets raised.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ohhh, Mister President!

Then I'mma cut spending on educations...I'm gonna jeopardate - social security...and I'm onna leave millions without healthcares.

Yeah baby, that's hhhottt. Screw us all just like that.

So sad it's true.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

As I Suspected

Good thing I just write for me.

Yeah, It's Like That.

People are always asking me, "What's doctoral study like?" The coursework and clinical training were fine. Naturally I breezed through them without a hitch. However, although I tell them that the dissertation process is a bitch, that doesn't adequately convey the true nature of the experience. It's much deeper and all-encompassing than that. Honestly, I haven't encountered levels of stress and frustration this high since my first marriage. However, my inner band nerd has come up with a fitting analogy for the experience: It's like trying to march a halftime show in the La Brea Tar Pits. Yep. Just like that.

Back to work....

Monday, February 12, 2007

Houston, We Have a Boyfriend...

Well once again, against my will, we're slogging into uncharted territory that I am horribly unprepared for. Apparently my daughter now has "A Boyfriend." She invited him over yesterday to visit and have dinner with us. I was fully prepared NOT to like this kid under any circumstances. He's a senior, she's a freshman, so that was already one strike against him. He's a boy - boys have penises (penii??). That's two. All I needed was one more reason not to like him and we'd be rid of him in short order.

Ever protective of my only child, I had my fine-toothed comb out, locked & loaded for bear and was ready to knock his dick in the dirt for the slightest infraction. What I was not prepared for was the cute, sweet, funny, smart, engaging and polite young man who arrived at my doorstep. He actually spent the bulk of his time here in conversation with the rest of the family instead of trying to sneak my daughter off to defile her virtue.

As it turns out he appears to have a good head on his shoulders and has a realistic plan for what he wants his future to look like. He's planning to enter the Air Force after graduation so that he can pay for college, wants to go to graduate school to study psychology so he can give back to the community and considers himself to be in training to be "a good husband, someday." He even offered to help my daughter with the dishes after dinner and loaded some things into my mom's car as she was leaving - without being prompted to do so. In fact, he didn't say or do or even hint at anything even remotely out of line. He's bound to be some kind of pro at this stuff, right?

That said, as long as he has testicles, I still don't trust him any farther than I can throw him.

Do they still make chastity belts?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Golden Ticket, Baby

As it turns out, I did go to my daughter's competition today. Her band director, upon learning that I was not planning to attend, flipped out because apparenly in the last four years he's come to depend on me as a chaperone if I'm not judging at an event. He told her point-blank that he needed me there whether she liked it or not.

She played a Grade 1 solo: 3 movements from Bach's Suite #2 in B minor. For those unfamiliar with these types of events, Grade 1 is the most difficult level and if the student plays one of these from memory and gets the highest rating, Division I, then they advance to the all-state solo and ensemble competition held in San Marcos at the end of May. As of this morning when I dropped her off at the band hall she was not going to attempt to perform the piece from memory, per the advice of her private flute teacher, who is a professional flutist and holds a doctorate in music, so her word is usually golden around here. Somewhere between the kiddo boarding the bus and my arrival at the place where the competition was held, she changed her mind and spent most of the day working on the memorization component. Since I stay out of her way, I wasn't even aware of it until it was time for her to play and I showed up at the room where she was to perform to find her bug-eyed and blowing across the headjoint while fingering madly through the piece with no sheet music in sight. It was her gig so I didn't even think to try to talk her out of it. Kids have to learn by the consequences of their actions, right?

So I waited outside the room and listened through the door instead of going in like I've always done in the past. Toward the end of the last movement she froze but recovered and came in at an appropriate spot, keeping up with the accompanist. My heart sank. She's been working on that piece for nearly a year. She came out of the room dog-faced and said, "Guess what? (long pause...looking at floor...) I'M GOING TO STATE!!" Apparently the judge took a liking to her and told her that if she performed like that at the state competition she would probably receive a Division IV, but that she had plenty of time to finish polishing it between now and then and deserved another shot (maybe she's related to Paula &/or Randy?). She gave my daughter the Division I rating anyway and told her that she's looking forward to hearing her play again. The kid has the most amazing luck.

Oh, and now that it's all said and done, my sweet girl just told me that she's really happy I was there to share it with her after all.

Friday, February 9, 2007

What's a Mom to Do?

My daughter, a high school freshman, is a very talented flute player. I'm not saying that just because I'm her mom either. She has the awards to back it up, going all the way back to beginning band. She told me that she would prefer I not to attend her solo and ensemble competition tomorrow. As long as she's been in band I've attended her events, not only in support of her, but of my other flute students as well. While I am truly saddened that she doesn't want me to go (with the exception of her performances, she goes her way & I go mine at these things because I don't want to interfere with her socializing), at the same time I want to respect her wishes. From a developmental standpoint, the next few years are all about her preparing to leave here and make a life of her own on her own terms. That knowledge doesn't take the sting out, though. Sigh. I need to write a test this weekend, anyway.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

It's Almost That Time

One great thing about living in this part of the world is that no matter what that rodent back east has to say about the situation, my daffodils and hyacinths will be blooming Valentine's Day. That's also the day I put out my hummingbird feeders. The little guys will be here within a few days of that. It was 75 degrees and sunny today without a cloud in the sky - a wonderful and hopeful precursor of days yet to come.

I never outgrew playing in the dirt. I love the experience of dirt - the smell, the texture, getting it under my nails, the whole thing. I love watching the sprouts grow into something nourishing to serve to the people I care about. Back in the days before graduate school, I kept a full garden. Now that I'm in the final throes of dissertating, all I have time or energy for are some perennial herbs in my flower bed and a few pots on the patio. Tragic, really, but I'll tend to those with the same love and care as if it were a full garden.

Sadly, this will be another year without a garden since the finish line is so close. Next year though - my friends will be begging me not to give them any more vegetables. I can hardly wait.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

One of Those "Wheel of Life" Kind of Days

How the hell do preachers do it? This was one of those days where as "the strong one," everyone around me drew from my native strong positive energy. Even extended family members I hadn't met before were drawing from me. Although I was not close to my mother in law, it was still difficult and draining. As such, by now at nearly 9pm Saturday after the Tuesday she passed, I am emotionally and psychically spent. I am thankful and happy that I could comfort the family and friends of my spouse in their time of need, but am beyond tired from the effort of keeping everyone uplifted for the past several days. I have to wonder though if anyone will be able to give me the comfort I will need when my own mother, who has numerous health problems, is on oxygen 24/7, and with whom I am very close, passes that way. We'll see, I guess.