Tuesday, December 21, 2010
May the peace that surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds and bless you richly this holiday season.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Bob and I have already made our Cambria reservations (see the article for details about why we're going there).
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Many of you will know her as Elphaba, the green witch in Wicked:
I loved her as the girlfriend in "Enchanted":
As always, I am so tickled to be a small part of a performance of a musical hero of mine, and very, very grateful for the work.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I fear parties, so I have forced myself to go and MINGLE (I'd prefer a quiet night at home with my husband, or a corner where I can
I fear math, so I forced myself to learn Sudoku and not freak out over it. I can do medium puzzles with no problem now. I don't really care to hurt myself on the hard ones.
I fear, no, LOATH shopping for clothes, so I force myself to go WITH AN OPEN MIND and try things on that I might not like at first. If I don't find something on the first try, I force myself to keep trying. I'm getting better, but I still hate shopping for clothes.
One of the biggest fears that I nursed for decades was the fear of knitting. I can crochet with no problem, and enjoy it immensely. When it came to knitting, though, I gave up after multiple attempts that ended in dismal failure.
After repeatedly turning a blind eye to the "K" word, I realized that I had ignored the elephant in the living room long enough. I was going to gird my loins and plunge into the knitting arena.
Thank God for YouTube. After just a little searching, I found numerous basic instruction videos. It was then that I discovered that I was not stupid, I was just wrapping my yarn incorrectly when I purled. After that simple correction, I was suddenly able to knit rows of the kind of even stitches that I had secretly been longing to produce for years.
Here are some of my summer projects:
|Easy Lace Scarf|
|Ribs and Ruffles Scarf|
|Heaven Sent Baby Blanket|
|Another Easy Lace Scarf|
|Drop Stitch Scarf|
|Seeded Rib Scarf|
I am still fearful of dropped stitches, have started and re-started projects, and ripped out a good number of rows. I am finding, however, that knitting simple patterns is soothing and comforting. I love the feel of the (pricey) fibers and the beautiful results. I am learning to let small imperfections remain as a hallmark of a handmade product.
Overcoming fear. I'm working on it...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I lasted through the 4 hours of flute auditions at APU yesterday, and am planning on teaching Flute Choir tomorrow afternoon. Then I'm hitting the bed until lessons start next week.
I'll keep you posted.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Long Beach City Council met today for round two of Municipal Band budget talks. As I lay in the hospital recovering from this morning's surgery, I wondered how things were progressing. I was really tickled, then, when fellow Muni Band flutists Patti and Eileen stopped by to bring official tidings and a get well balloon. To hear tell, it was another emotionally charged scene. When I recover a bit more, I'll watch the video online. Meanwhile, I'll remember the emotion and joy my two lovely colleagues brought with them. Thank you, friends!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
I've been employed by the City of Long Beach as a flutist with the Long Beach Municipal Band since 1985. Last night the 40 members of band were shocked to learn that, after 101 years of service to the citizens of Long Beach, the band's final concert of the 101st season would be the last one in the band's history. Do you think the 70,000 people we see every summer will miss us?
Can this be stopped? The city council has the final say.
I'll keep you posted.
UPDATE: The City Council will meet on Tuesday, August 10 at 3:30pm at Long Beach City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd to decide the fate of the Municipal Band.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
My men's small shirt means I can eat anything I want this season and NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW!
I actually like this shirt which is fortunate because I've got 2 of them.
Our first concert is tomorrow, June 30 at 6:30pm in Los Cerritos Park.
You know you want to come see these shirts...
Monday, June 28, 2010
The first Long Beach Municipal Band rehearsal is tomorrow, with the first concert of the season on Wednesday. Bob and I will be occupied with 4 concerts a week until August 13. We're both working most weekends as well. On Tuesday, August 17 I'm undergoing major surgery with a 4 week recovery that puts me directly into the new semester at APU.
With all that in mind, I've been keeping my eye on the AP (Annual Passholder) rates for the Grand Californian Hotel at the Disneyland Resort. Last year's stay was so peaceful and restful that we've been longing for a return visit. Yesterday we struck gold with a room rate only $4.00 more per night than our incredible rate from last year. We've signed up for 5 nights starting at the very end of August. I'll be able to continue my recovery in style, and we'll both be able to soak up the peace and grace that is the Grand Californian.
When beginning a long period of hard work ending with a serious medical procedure, it is wonderful to have an escape planned!
Saturday, June 5, 2010
That means, however, that we actually have to choose repertoire. So far we have
I was perusing Flute World and YouTube for inspiration this morning and came across the second movement of a beautiful piece:
The other movements are equally lovely. I checked with Joel, and we both agree that Summer Music by Richard Rodney Bennett is a go for the program.
Three down, some more to go.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Despite the small size, the bathroom was well appointed and very comfortable.
I especially looked forward to showering in the "Star Trek Tube". The water was plentiful and hot, and the water pressure was great.
For an added thrill, use it on 15 foot seas. Some fun!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Here is our home at sea:
I love the little slip of the tongue Captain Per makes when describing the Ice Show. Can you catch it?
There is nothing like looking out your window and seeing the sea:
I've also got pictures up on Flickr. They aren't yet organized and commented, but I have to go to work. I'll get to it.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy our view of our home at sea.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Anne Frank rehearsals begin next Thursday. Without the commute and long hours of teaching, I've got plenty of time to work out, clean house, AND practice opera. What a concept. Of the three, practicing is the only thing that gets done with any regularity during the school year.
Bob and I are especially looking forward to our anniversary cruise a week from Sunday. As I mentioned before, the pleasure of anticipating this cruise has been worth the price already.
One of the things I've come across in my months of anticipation is this video of a cabin similar to ours on the Mariner of the Seas. I especially appreciate the, um, enthusiastic camera technique:
I have to say, he captures my feeling of excitement if nothing else.
And if May is here, can Muni Band be far behind?
I am so enjoying the promise of this new season.
Friday, April 23, 2010
I am revisiting an old friend.
Long Beach Opera will present one peformance of "The Diary of Anne Frank" on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at the Barclay Theater in Irvine, CA. Reviews of our 2007 performances were excellent:
"..an emotional tour de force. [Maljian's] singing was commanding and brilliant, fresh and strong from beginning to end...this production functioned on an authentically high level. Mitisek conducted with authority and his nine piece ensemble was exceptional." - The Los Angeles Times
I picked up the music at the opera office today. I am grateful to see that most of my original markings remain, even though the rental music has traveled around the world since last I saw it. It is a bittersweet reunion.
The music is challenging and powerful. Ani Maldjian (last seen as Madame Mao in LBO's Nixon In China) is stunning as the young Anne Frank. The most moving part of the whole production, however, is Holocaust survivor Laura Hillman.
|Director/Conductor Andreas Mitisek and Laura Hillman|
Ani and I had a chance to talk about the difficulty of this opera at the Nixon In China cast party last month. I remarked that I spent the entire first rehearsal with Laura dissolved in tears as I struggled to play my part. After that I had to completely shut out what was happening on stage and focus entirely on the job of playing the flute. Ani said she has to remove herself even as she sings or she'd never be able to perform the role.
Laura is the one who suffers. Unlike Ani and me, she is not a performer. This was her life. She often falls ill after the performances for weeks at a time under the sheer weight of the memories.
If you can, please join us as we revisit this old friend. Hearing directly from a survivor of the Holocaust, one of Oskar Schindler's Jews, will leave you forever changed. As painful as it may be to be a part of this evening, you will not regret it.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I am grateful that, for the most part, the students in my care come to lessons with open minds, willing to try new things, and with the willingness to keep on trying until they can execute a new technique correctly and consistently.
Very rarely, I am presented with a student like this:
There is nothing more frustrating and exhausting than trying to impart to a belligerent, defiant pupil that challenges every word out of your mouth. It is difficult to keep frustration in check while searching for a chink in the armor of defensiveness. Sometimes a long term breakthrough occurs. Sometimes it doesn't.
I admire dance professional Tony Dovolani for his grace under pressure. He has the patience of Job.
I want to be like Tony when I grow up.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
We will be sailing on a "Cougar Cruise".
Singles Travel Company describes this as a cruise for older women/younger men. After the first Cougar Cruise, the Carnival Cruise line banned future cougar cruises:
"Carnival's De la Cruz didn't say why Carnival had banned future cougar cruises. The International Cougar Cruise's organizers have said the first voyage was a smash sell-out with a lengthy waiting list of people wanting to get on board."
"We have no reason to deny this group the opportunity to sail on our ship," Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells USA TODAY. "We assume this group will follow our guest conduct policy, just like any other guest. We have no reason to think otherwise."
Bob says we don't qualify anyway since he's an older man traveling with a younger woman, and that we'll have a great time no matter what. Amen to that!
And as the cruise boards say, the people watching ought to be interesting...
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I've experienced some gut-wrenchers in my time, so I know from experience IF YOU CAN'T HEAR IT, THE EPICENTER IS FAR, FAR AWAY.
We didn't hear a bit of rumbling, so we were astounded as the quake increased in intensity to the point of concern. We knew that people somewhere were having a VERY BAD experience because it wasn't very pleasant where we were.
When we learned that the epicenter was down in Baja California, we were flabbergasted. The shaking we felt was significant, yet the quake was well over 100 miles away. No bueno.
It took me several moments to grab my camera and start filming (we had to make sure we weren't going to die first). By the time I took the following video on my Droid, most of the shaking had died down.
For those of you who have never experienced an earthquake and think it would be cool, guess again. Speaking from experience, when your home suddenly begins to collapse around you, it is FAR from cool. And if you're at Disneyland during an earthquake (been there, done that), they close all the rides to make sure nothing is broken. It kind of takes the fun out of the day.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Knowing that we would be facing some trying times, we took action before the rehearsals even began.
We booked a cruise.
We took our first cruise together 2 years ago. It was a short 4 night trip out of the Port of Los Angeles, close to home. Bob was unsure if he could hang with it, but it ended up being, as Bob would put it, an enjoyable experience.
As we stood on the brink of "Nixon", we agreed that a cruise in our future would be an incentive to maintain sanity. Believe me, the cruise has already more than paid for itself in the moments of escape it offered during the darkest of "Nixon" hours. I would be sitting in the pit completely overwhelmed physically, mentally, and emotionally (but never spiritually), ready to cash it in. Instead, I would picture Bob and myself lounging on our balcony breathing sea air and eating bonbons and I would feel refreshed. It worked every time.
As we make our way through the next 44 (but who's counting) days, we will be savoring every moment, even as we anticipate our escape.
Meanwhile, here is a glimpse at what we have in store:
Thursday, April 1, 2010
This is the view from the jury room. Santa Catalina Island is in the background "26 miles across the sea".
Two panels have been called (including the loud chatting ladies), but I remain listening to Chuck Missler on the i-pod, doing crosswords or Sudoku, or reading a variety of books (yay Sony Reader!)
We've just been given a 2 hour lunch break. It's a beautiful day here in Downtown Long Beach. Enjoying the new experience is on the agenda for the rest of the afternoon.
I'm making the most of it!
UPDATE: In all, three panels were called. I was not among them. At around 3pm we were all excused. I'm good for the next 12 months.
I've done my duty!
I'm sitting in the jury room of the Long Beach Superior Court near some extremely loud, chatty older women. I've learned WAY more about their personal lives than I'd ever hoped to know. Wow.Meanwhile, I'm trying to find my happy place by remembering these beautiful roses Bob and I came across at Disneyland yesterday. Called "Brass Band", they caught the eye of many people hustling through New Orleans Square, so much so that several stopped to get a closer look. It has been some time since I've seen a rose that I wanted to run out and track down. This little floribunda seems to be calling my name. Meanwhile, those ladies sure can talk...
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I was very grateful to get the work call for Long Beach Opera's production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" just two days after completing the massive "Nixon In China".
I am so grateful to be working on this opera again. This time we will be at the Barclay Theater rather than in a parking garage (I actually prefer the parking garages for this particular piece).
Details will follow. I'm still in a "Nixon" haze.
See you at the opera!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I'm sitting in the orchestra pit at the Terrace Theater waiting for the opening night down beat for Long Beach Opera's production of "Nixon In China". Bob is at the back of the house ready to run sound (a 16th mic was added to the mix a few hours ago).We're ready to go. See you on the other side!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
It is no easy task.
Blog hero beFrank caught Bob at work the other night:
15 wireless mics with as many as 9 on at one time is a lot to handle just blocks from the Port of Long Beach and its jammed radio frequencies.
I can tell the stress is beginning to get to normally unflappable Bob. Today when I asked him what he would like to drink, he said, "Reverb" instead of root beer...
Photos by Bryan Frank
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The first orchestra rehearsal for Long Beach Opera's production of "Nixon In China" was last night. Fellow Muni Band flutist Eileen is joing me on this quest. The music is challenging and never boring. Eileen and I both laid in a supply of Girl Scout Cookies from keyboardist Lisa as a balm against practice related brain depletion. We're back at it this afternoon at 2. Thin Mints anyone?
I'm guest blogging on LBO's Blog.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Three days after our final performance, Schweik is still swirling around in my head.
Things are about to change.
I just picked up the music for Long Beach Opera's next production.
Nixon In China will dominate my March.
Practicing for it begins today.
I love this part - adding another magnum opus to my musical data base. Today is like the first date of an intense relationship. Can't wait to see what lies ahead!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Without and audience, what we do doesn't really matter.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
A 60 second spot:
An in depth interview with Conductor and General Manager Andreas Mitisek:
Tonight's show is SOLD OUT, but tickets are available for the Santa Monica performance next Saturday.
Please join us!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
We all slogged our way through horendous weather to the Center Theater in Long Beach to rehearse the opera "Good Soldier Schweik". Here is General Manager and conductor Andreas Mitisek conducting as if he didn't have a care in the world. In fact, the ceiling of the company's administrative offices caved in during the torrential downpour this afternoon causing severe damage and taking out the box office running at peak capacity 3 days before opening night. You would never know it by looking at him. Andreas defines grace under pressure. Rock on!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I have been hankering after a Kindle for a couple of years. The price tag, however, kept me from acting on the hankering. Still, I was firmly set on someday acquiring a Kindle.
That changed when I discovered that the Kindle could not download ebooks borrowed from the library.
I am a big library fan. I LOVE books! I just can't afford to purchase them. The library feeds my hunger for new reading material.
When I learned that the Sony Pocket Reader could download library ebooks, I sat up and took notice. Although both the Kindle and the Sony can download free public domain books, the Sony Reader was the only one of the two that could supply me with large amounts of current books FOR FREE.
That sealed the deal for me. My mother-in-law's generous Christmas gift made it possible for me to indulge in the luxury of the Pocket Reader. Purchased from Costco.com, the price included an AC power adapter AND a leather book cover.
Downloading books from Project Gutenburg and the library is painless and blazingly fast. I've powered through several books already, and find the reading experience pleasing and comfortable.
Kindle, you had me at hello, but the Sony Pocket Reader is the one that delivered the goods.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
What could go wrong?
I will say that Christmas Eve was lovely. I felt especially fine and enjoyed the company and massive amounts of delicious food immensely.
Christmas Day started at 2am for me in our hotel room. No, I wasn't hyped up wondering what Santa had left for me. I was, how shall I say, stricken with an exceptionally violent case of stomach flu.
The next 24 hours were spent in a misery of extreme nausea with attendant body aches, headache, and other, um, other interesting manifestations.
What were the chances?
By the next day I could drink Gatorade and smell food without wishing for death. I spent the afternoon at my sister's, prone on the couch, hiding under blankets until our late afternoon departure.
I'll admit to a few tears of frustration and self pity as we pulled out of their driveway. I missed Thanksgiving AND Christmas. BOO HOO. Poor me.
It was almost a week before I could stand up for more than a few minutes without getting dizzy. No matter. I had a delicious stash of books to read. Who needs to stand for that!
New Year's Eve arrived and I was feeling pretty good. Bob went out and rounded up some delicious treats, and we spent a quiet evening at home enjoying each other's company.
The new decade dawned warm and bright here in Southern California. And guess what! I felt FINE!!!!
I'm putting the ills of the old year behind me and embracing the fresh promises of a fine New Year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!!!