Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reading while Driving

I hope that title certainly got your attention!  It's not entirely true, but as you might notice from the picture below, it's not entirely untrue either.

Currently in my life of non cruising, I'm performing for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and catching a few other smaller gigs around the area. I'm not staying in Little Rock so I drive or fly in from wherever I'm currently at for the gigs and yesterday I had the misfortune of driving from Nashville to Little Rock. I say misfortune not because a drive of that sort of length would be unfortunate for me normally, but this particular trip certainly was.The reason being that there was not only a significant portion of highway blocked due to construction, but there was an accident at the same place. So, after parking on the highway for an hour we were finally routed off to the state highway that runs alongside. Imagine mostly semi trucks driving 30 mph through tiny towns in the dark and stopping for every stop sign and stop light. It took an agonizing amount of time before we were rerouted back to the US highway. I did in fact make it just in time for a fast shower (much needed for everyone's sake) and fast drive to rehearsal.

I was very happy to have an inverter so I could plug in my computer. Also very glad that I have a twistable computer so that I could balance the computer pad on my steering column and turn the screen around to read. It wasn't my planned activity for that time, but hey, that's how I am, adaptable to any given changing situation. A must for an itinerant musician!

If any readers would like to come listen to the Arkansas Symphony, please let me know and I'll get you a free ticket to come hear us play! Next up is the Christmas Pops Concert!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vivaldi and Contra

This entry is about two entirely different subjects. I'll start with the negative one and end with the positive :)

On the way home from a contra dance yesterday I was listening to the classical radio station (which is what I do whenever I'm in the car), when the MC said they were going to play a Season by Vivaldi, but not in the typical way. This version of Summer was played on the harp with a fine orchestra, although I forget which one. Now, I'm all open to new ideas and version of all sorts of music so I was anxious and excited to hear this harp rendition of Summer. Unfortunately, it didn't take much time before my open ears wanted to close. The harp just couldn't power over the orchestra (not the orchestras' fault) and couldn't deliver the mood changes Summer needs. The harpist had done the transcription herself and I applaud her for the technicality that it definitely sounded like it required, but the musicality just couldn't compare. The harp just couldn't get the 'languor of the summer heat' in my opinion, or maybe the harp version just enjoys that heat. The second movement was played by the concertmaster because, I assume, the harp can't sustain notes. Disappointment. And then the third movement missed the anger of the violent storm to which the harp sounds pleasant and cheerful, if not jovial. Ach!

Before the extremely interesting rendition of Summer by Vivaldi, I attended my first Nashville contra dance.
I've never seen so many young people at a dance. Honestly, I felt like I was lumped into the older crowd and that we were in the minority. Now if you contra dance, you'll know what I mean when I say that was really really really really, yes, really weird. I have never ever ever ever ever, nope, never felt like I was in the older crowd at a contra dance. Think again? Nope, never.

But at this dance there were many youngsters, I'm guessing junior high through early college years. And yes, there were the older folks (like me lol), that you usually see at a dance but overwhelmed by the youngsters.

So I engaged in some tom foolery and taught some of the youngsters some funky moves and livened the place. Of course, the young kids thought what I did was awesome and went right along, though I got a few stiff looks from the older crowd....   I had fun though. Teaching them how to stray outside the lines, mess with the moves, and just have FUN was a great pleasure. I revel in the feedback of the kids that thank me for being so much fun and teaching them moves and bringing energy and liveliness to the dance.

Oh the joys of contra :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hoh! Land....

Ah Land.  It's a very stressful place for me. Amazing how at ease I feel out at sea and how out of place and awkward, for lack of a better word, I feel on land. Some people would say I'm just used to things being done for me on the ships, but I would gladly trade those things for the peace on land that I have at sea. Yes, it is nice to not have to do my dishes, clean my bathroom, make my bed, dust the house, but these things are insignificant to my mental and emotional and also financial state whenever I return from the mesmerizing ocean. Not to mention I sleep much better when I'm rocked to sleep each night :)

I wish I could write here that I've got leads to new contracts or possibilities on the horizon. Instead, I have nothing but bad news from my agent and a serious lack of time from reading all the music job sites and craigslist everyday in search of potential gigs.

One GREAT idea has arisen within and I'm  gung ho to travel down this road; the road is one that leads to a guest entertainer gig or simply put, I am my own show.  I would not be in groups on ships anymore and would not have the stress of putting one together, keeping one together, and the stress of knowing they are hurting for money because I'm not getting them work. I'm so ready for this. The ideas had been mulling around inside my head for a while, but they all finally juxtaposed themselves into a brilliant scheme (or so I think). Now all I need is to get the research and taping and practicing and demoing and marketing and scheduling done. I do know, this will be entirely impossible without a producer or two so that is on the back of my brain. I can do research and practicing on my own and when that is complete I will then require a producer(s) to proceed any further. So now it's about keeping my fingers crossed that someone out there somewhere that has money, believes in me.

In the meantime, while on land, struggling away at my meager existence, with the help of my friends :)

....Lots of things are being pushed to the forefront of my brain and to sort it all out I thought I'd write it down.

Other major things on the forefront of my mind since I'm on land and continue to be here, are electronic items that are almost necessary to succeed in this society it seems.

Things I need that are replacements for things I already have:
A new computer:
My computer freezes constantly, doesn't have a functioning battery, can't run more than one large program at a time, doesn't have any memory, can't play videos without hitching or can't play them at all, and is just super duper slow :(

An alarm clock:
Alarm clock to replace my cell phone, which is not really an alarm clock. bkiid=SearchResults|CategoryProductList|590877p

Things I need that I don't have already:
An Ipod:
Ipod Touch 32 or 64 GB to use as an mp3 player, portable email around wifi, free phone around wifi, e-reader

Things I want that will be a big help and not just superfluous:
An e-reader

I read books on my laptop. Not sure this truly should be under this category, but I can use my computer as an e-reader even though I don't actually own one.

Otherwise, I really would just like to pay my bills and live peacefully. High hopes, I realize.

Friday, November 9, 2012

You know you're in the wrong place...

After rehearsal today I was starving so I decided to drive through Wendy's for a chicken sandwich so I could have enough energy to go to the gym. Since the Wendy's I chose to go to is sort of in the hotel parking lot I went in the back entrance and snuck into the drive through lane. When no one answered at the speaker I drove up to the window which had bars across it. Weird I thought. Isn't it supposed to be open at 10:45 p.m.? It says open late till 1:00 a.m. on the window. Hmm. Maybe I can go inside.

I drove slowly around the building noticing there were people inside but random cars parked places. And then I came around to the last side of the building that I hadn't seen and whoa! There were cop cars everywhere and the drive through lane was taped off and there was about 24 people all in cuffs and standing outside.

Knowing I'm staying in the hotel in the back parking lot of the Wendy's it was a bit concerning. Talking about being in the wrong place...  Yikes!

Needless to say, I parked in the front of the hotel this evening. I'd like to see my car in one piece when I walk out to it in the morning. Here's crossing my fingers I don't awake to gun shots tonight after I fall asleep!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Health Insurance

Arg. This is a most frustrating thing. It's not Canada so I can't just go to the doctor and as a musician I simply just don't make enough money to afford it. Part time side job, potentially having to reorganize life temporarily are in my near future. With numerous doctor appointments in my near future and yet another impending health concern that will most likely lead to life long drugs, the requirement for health care is no longer going to be an option.

Anyone have any ideas whether it would be better to just move to another country within the next 6 months and try out an entirely different health care system? I have no ties here to keep me other than one small part time job which I'm sure could easily be replaced just about anywhere.

I'm lost. Lost for a direction to head. Lost for a solution to my problem. Lost for any more creative ideas. Lost for any more motivation to keep going.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lost in a generation

As I sit in a corner of a waiting area at the airport I glance up from my studious reading on my laptop to see what the commotion is across the way. An army man and his family is getting ready to say goodbye. They're taking pictures in a countless ways and it's apparent they're all trying not to break down right there.

I watch because I can't turn away, though I feel like I'm spying into a private party. Carefully I make sure to not catch the eyes of the family as they flit nervously around trying not to appear conspicuous. The pictures don't take long and soon the hugs and whispers of love ensue. I stare back down at my computer screen and try to disappear into the chair in which I'm sitting. I wish they could have a more private and intimate place to say good bye and share their feelings of love without the world watching.

As I try to lose myself in the computer world again a loud voice interrupts my thoughts and I glance up without thinking to see the speaker. It's a tall, nicely dressed elderly gentlemen with a beautiful silver haired wife standing next to him. In their way down the hall they had encountered the little scene that had just unfolded before me and were touched. The gentleman told the young soldier how grateful he was for the service the man has done and is doing for his country. The soldier nodded and said thank you. And again, the older man stated how much it means to him and his wife to have this young boy serving his country. The soldier wrapped his arm around his mother by his side, blushed and nearly speechless, stumbled a "You're welcome" to the couple before ducking away back to the rest of his family. The old couple turned away, smiling, and continued on down the hall toward their destination having sincerely touched the lives of not just the soldier and his family but also of me and I'm sure the others sitting nearby.

So many have walked by, so many have sat still. So many of those of us in the younger generations have lost the appreciation and then the forwardness and care to speak up and move forward. The generation that showed us the way to say thank you, the way to pause in a busy life, the way to make a positive impact on the lives of others through simple words; this generation is nearly lost.

I, for one, am truly sad to see it go.

Thank you to them for teaching us through their words and actions and thank you to those service men who  leave their families behind to serve our country.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Autumn Glimpse

Today was spent sightseeing around the island for the most part. The weather was mild and not to chilly and it didn't rain until after we returned home. All in all, the day was marvelous. There were so many beautiful cliffs and isolated beaches and colorful trees and bright green grass and docile deer. It was just amazing. I've included a few pictures from today because I couldn't decide on just one!

 The docile deer in the field. We drove by more than a dozen deer. Some so close I could reach out of the car and almost touch them. Some were laying down in fields and this morning on a nice solo stroll through the woods I happened upon a young buck who eyed me with curiosity and then walked off, evaporating into the misty woods 20 yards in front of me.
 One of the beaches we stopped at to walk around. There were so many but this one had the best vantage point for a good picture. This also happened to be the coldest beach and just on the other side to the right of the picture was the ocean and a giant sea lion swimming around playing in the freezing water.

We stopped for coffee at Roche Harbor and I took ample time to walk down the docks and stare at the boats as well as the growing sea life attached to the undersides of the wood. The smell in the air and the feeling of the moving dock underneath my feet made my body feel so alive. It was like being in a fairy tale where I didn't know the ending but there wasn't an evil villain any where to be found. As I was walking back to the mainland I spotted this lamp post and couldn't stop my imagination from running wild.

 There was a nice sculpture garden near Roche Harbor that had some neat creations and with the brightly colored trees and crisp air and all the time in the world I simply couldn't keep myself away from wandering through and around and under and by these towering pieces of metal. This is one of my favorites entitled Convergence. It seemed the perfect spot to lean back and gaze at the breathtaking clouds flitting quickly across the sky.
 I've never seen a speed limit sign as such until today. I'm making a wild guess and betting I never will see another in my lifetime unless I return to this spot. I'm not sure how to judge the 3/8ths of the mile per hour, nor am I aware if the cop might ticket you for going the 5/8ths over that...

Needless to say it caught me by surprise and I was so glad I had my camera handy so I could remember the sign always and share it with you.

This was the last place we stopped today before heading home for a very late lunch and a relaxing evening in front of the fireplace. The grass was so green and the sky was so blue and the clouds were so white and fluffy and the air was so chill it was just perfect. The sun peaked its way through the clouds for just a few minutes as if to wink at me and say, "I'm here. Don't you worry."

I honestly can't believe how much fun I've had here. And I also really hope that someday I can come back and visit again for a little longer. There is so much more to explore and so much more to do and see. But until that day comes I'm thankful for the time I did have and for the friends who made this time possible.

I'm a lucky girl.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fabulous Friends in Friday Harbor

Today has been quite the day, but yesterday was wonderful.

In a not too rainy Vancouver I got to enjoy lunch with friends, and go shopping at my favorite thrift store chain, Value Village. Of course I walked out with less money than I walked into the store. But I only bought things that I will definitely use and needed to replace and one gift for my mother :) Then it was a lovely dinner at a delightful pub before a late night of chatting and book reading.

After just over 2 hrs of sleep it was time to rise and get ready to leave today. I've learned to utilize coffee very quickly in the last few days. Had so many cups today I made myself sick, but I was able to stay awake on two separate hour and a half ferry rides as well as more than two hours of free time spent at terminals and bus stops and a 45 minute bus ride. At least today my travels weren't delayed for three plus hours and I arrived in Friday Harbor safe and sound and on time, although slightly ill and very tired. But I was super happy to see my friend there to pick me up and to go grab a nice beer and just enjoy having arrived in town.

Then it was time to go home :)  Spent the afternoon playing ping pong which left me super exhausted but dinner was delicious and rejuvenating and the company was more wonderful than could be asked. I'm so blessed to have such amazing and fabulous friends!  I'm so looking forward to spending the next few days with them and experiencing this area together.