Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cutting Back

My roses get a little exuberant in the fall.

Okay, you need a machete to get by them at this time of year.

I go for the cottage garden approach.

In the narrow strip of earth I call my own, I try to cram as much fragrance as possible.

My landlord goes more for the military garden look.

The other day he politely requested that I "spend some time gardening". He had a painter coming to touch up the eaves, and hoped to provide safe passage for him.

It really is good to cut the roses back by a third at this time of year.

Well, they got cut back by more than a third. They were as out of control as a three year old on her third chocolate bar.

So I got my shears out and went to work.

The results?

This beautiful bouquet, newly painted eaves, and garden that, despite being more orderly in appearance, actually seems healthier.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Verizon Doesn't Care

Question: What's wrong with this picture?

Answer: That's Bob's phone line. It should be connected to the telephone pole.

Yesterday afternoon a large semi was illegally parked in the alley behind our home. A "Waste Management" truck tried to squeeze around the obstruction.

The trash truck got past the semi, but ripped down the poorly strung phone line in the process.

Bob went and tied off the dangling wire, then promptly reported the problem to Verizon.

He was assured that the problem would be taken care of next Wednesday.


Hey, no problem. Bob has always wanted to be relieved of those pesky work calls. Oh, and the fax that he uses to send his reports so he can get paid? Who needs it!

I spoke to Jan at Verizon this morning. With a perfectly straight voice she assured me that the problem would be taken care of by next Wednesday.

I politely and calmly pointed out that a week seemed a long time to wait for a problem with their equipment to be resolved.

She briefly put me on hold, then told me the problem would be solved tomorrow.

That's what Bob was told yesterday.

I asked that the calls to that Bob's number be forwarded to his cell phone.

Jan agreed to do this.

So, since he will be able to get his calls, the line probably won't be repaired until next week.

I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: When I tried to call Bob's line, instead of the call being forwarded to his cell phone, I got the following message: "Your call did not go through. Please dial '1' and place your call again." Just for the heck of it I dialed '1' and the number. Here is the message I received; "Your call did not go through. Please dial '1' and place your call again."

I called Verizon (again) and spoke to a very nice woman named Ora. She was polite, patient and kind. It took her about a minute to fix the snafu.

The customer service people themselves are very polite. The service that is being offered to their customers is what seems to be lacking.

SATURDAY UPDATE: As of 12:15pm the wire was repaired by a very nice, very competent person named Ken. He said that in the future if we can get the license number of the trucks that cause the wire to go down, Verizon will track them down and charge them for the repairs. Meanwhile, the phone is up and running for which we are grateful.

Final Grades

Politeness of Customer Service Reps: A

Politeness and Competence of Service Technicians: A

Timely Response to Original Problem: F

Timely Response to Original Problem after Follow-up Call: D

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Check That Translation

Did you ever have one of those nights where your dreams were so exhausting that you were physically hurting when you finally swam towards consciousness in the morning?

I experienced just such a one last night.

I dreamt that I was in charge of getting a large group of family and friends packed and to the airport on time for a flight.

No one seemed interested in preparing for the trip.

I was wrestling the procrastination monster.

It was like herding cats.

I woke up cranky and snappish, not realizing quite why.

Then I remembered my dream wrestling.

I'm trying to train myself to refuse to participate in these types of dreams.

Meanwhile, a trip to got my chin off the ground...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Crawling Down the Coast

Who knew that it could take 3 hours to go 95 miles?

I crawled down the coast yesterday to La Jolla.

The "freeway" slammed shut in San Juan Capistrano and never opened back up.

I was 15 minutes late to my destination, and I am never late.

Oh well. Once there, the occasion was sun kissed and serene after the pounding rain of the night before. I wish I had been able to snap some pictures of the breathtaking scene. That desire, however, was thwarted by the tardiness of the photog.

On the way home, the same distance that had consumed 2 hours of my Saturday afternoon was covered in 20 minutes. That seems wrong somehow.

Note to self: next time allow 4 hours for the drive south.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Broadcasting Peace

It's a beautiful morning.

The sky is blue, the air is cooler, and the promise of fall is in the air.

It's a perfect morning to go outside and enjoy the peaceful sound of...hip hop being blasted from an SUV illegally parked in the alley behind our home?

I do not share a similar taste in music with my neighbor to the south. By that I mean I don't enjoy anything being blasted into my home at 100db no matter who the artist is.

I have a word for everyone who wishes to share in that manner: HEADPHONES

What is the knee-jerk reaction to an invasion of aural space? I confess, my strong desire is to blast the artist of my choice in the direction of the offending concert.

I was considering the effectiveness of that approach this morning when an entirely new idea burst into my consciousness:

What if we could broadcast peace?

What if we could aim total, blessed silence at the source of disruption?

What if that peace could utterly cancel out the racket?

I vote for that.

Meanwhile, I have the peaceful music of my choice quietly playing on my i-pod through my headphones.

And while I do that, I'll work on broadcasting peace.

I'll start with myself.

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good News, Bad News

Bob had some bad news when I got home from a long day of teaching this evening.

Bob's birthday is in a couple of weeks. I made reservations for lunch at the Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland months ago. We were going to spend his birthday at The Park.

He was informed earlier today that his 4 night out of town job in Lancaster got pushed back a week to, you guessed it, his birthday.


We thought about it for about two seconds. Then I hopped on line to see if the hotel we stayed in for our anniversary had any rooms available for the Sunday and Monday night before his birthday.

We got a great AAA rate!

Now all I have to do is see if I can get reservations for lunch at the Blue Bayou on that Monday.

Even if I can't, we'll still be visiting the happiest place on earth.

That's good news!

UPDATE: Success! Our Blue Bayou reservations have been changed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Vintage Disneyland at Daveland

I'm not exactly sure how I stumbled onto Daveland. Maybe it was through BlueSkyDisney.

Anyway, Daveland certainly resonates with me.

I grew up in Whittier, California. In fact I went to elementary school, junior high and high school with (gulp) John Lasseter (he was two years behind me).

Disneyland has a huge place in my childhood memories.

Mom and Dad frequently loaded the family up into the station wagon and set out down surface streets (in the days before the 605 freeway which is now 3 blocks from our house) to the Santa Ana Freeway. That meant one of two things; we were going to the beach (Pearl Street in Laguna) or we were going to DISNEYLAND.

I loved, loved, loved those trips

I loved the E ticket rides.

I loved the Flying Saucers even though I was too little to make them go anywhere.

I loved the Indians in Frontierland doing sand paintings.

I loved the mule ride and the Grand Canyon Mine Trains.

I loved the Carousel of Progress.

I loved the Rocket to the Moon (my mom had to carefully explain, that no, we had not really just gone to the moon, that at that time no one had actually been to the moon. I didn't believe her. I saw people going to the moon in the movies on T.V. all the time).

I loved the House of the Future.

I loved the People Mover.

I loved the Journey Through Inner Space.

I loved the 360 Theater.

Where is all that stuff now anyway???

That's why Dave's blog trips my trigger. On any given day I can take a stroll down memory lane.

This week he's starting a series Disneyland's Tencenniel in 1965.

That's just about the time those trips in the station wagon were in full swing.

If you need me, I'll be at Daveland...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Changing Season

Have you noticed?

The days are getting shorter. The sun is lower in the sky. The shadows are longer.

The season is changing.

I love the fall. I don't know why.

School starts in the fall. I hated going back to school. I hated school...except for band. I loved band.

Somehow, though, when the frost is on the pumpkin I feel the most alive.

I was thinking on this long and hard the other day, just before the season in my life changed.

I have been teaching one day a week at a university that will remain un-named for the last seven years. Even though the instrumental music department is small and I only had a few flute students, I continued making the trip down the freeway week after week. I love to teach and I cared about the students.

Things started going south last fall. The details are not important. It started to become clear, though, that the season was changing.

Sadly, this semester, try as I might, change teaching days though I might, a studio schedule could not be resolved. I regretfully notified the music office that I would be unable to continue teaching on campus.

30 seconds later another person had taken over the teaching position.

Hmmmmm...was that a set-up?


Maybe not.

Does it matter?


I feel better than I have in years. I am grieving the loss, but I am rejoicing in the freedom. I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from me. I have one less day on the freeway. I have one more day to practice, clean house, work out, stop to smell the roses, go to Disneyland...

Seasons do change. It is right and good for them to change. Each season brings its own special purpose.

Meanwhile, I think I finally might have figured out why fall is my favorite season of all.

Fall is the time of harvest.

May your harvest be rich and pletiful this fall!

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Year

I wished myself Shana Tova as I started my new teaching year at APU on Wednesday, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Some would question my Jewishness.

I had an Orthodox conversion in 1984. I was assured that no one was to speak of my conversion from that time forward, that I was fully and completely Jewish. My rabbi often commented that I had a "Jewish Soul".

I was completely, utterly content worshipping Adonai Elohenu,
the L-rd our G-d.

Then I met a Rabbi who turned my world upside down.

I wasn't looking for Him. In fact I was doing my very best to avoid Him. He, however, was looking for me.

And "suddenly", I was one of them. Those Christians. Yes, I became a Christ follower. Believe me, that definitely wasn't in my plans.

Does that make me any less Jewish?

I don't feel less Jewish.

I do, however, feel Christian.

I guess I could say I'm a genuine Christian.


Because when I married my wonderful husband 2 years ago, I got a new last name:


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Banner at the Bowl

Six years ago I was still living in Seal Beach. I had no TV reception. I am grateful for that. I was spared the endless loop of horrific images re-played endlessly until viewers were numb.

It was years before I actually saw video of the events of September 11, 2001.

I was scheduled to play in a concert with The American Winds Concert Band at the Hollywood Bowl 11 days later. Interestingly the concert, programmed months earlier, was a tribute to patriotic music.

There was a real possibility that the concert would be canceled. In fact, I believe ours was the first concert at the Bowl following the attacks.

I remember sitting on the stage at the rehearsal on the morning of the concert, still feeling shell-shocked and dazed. The conductor called the first piece; The Star Spangled Banner.

I get choked up even now remembering how it felt to play our National Anthem that beautiful morning in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The experience was even more intense that evening. Thousands of people emerged from their homes, possibly for the first time since the attack, to gather in a large venue for an evening of entertainment.

It was far beyond an evening of entertainment.

I wish you could all feel what I did that night, sitting on that stage playing The Star Spangled Banner, listening to thousands of voices raised in harmony and unity, singing the words loudly and clearly. It was electrifying.

What a privilege.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What Kind of Cookie Are You?

Oh nooooooooooooooo....

A Blogspot outage is scheduled in 15 minutes.

This is the kind of cookie I am:

You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.

You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Keeping Love Alive

How many times have we heard the words, "I just don't love him/her anymore". In this day of revolving door relationships, it has probably been more than once.

So how do we keep love alive?

I plead guilty to having bought into the fairy tale, peddled hard to every young girl, that "some day my prince charming will come and we will live happily ever after."

Two failed marriages (long story, long time ago) brought that magical thinking to an end!

So how does one keep the love alive?

It's in the little things.

Take today, for example.

Somehow the original Disney "Cinderella" had gotten to the top of our Netflix queue (not my fault, man! We..uh...we were on vacation and...the queue just got away from me...)

Unbelievably, I had never actually seen it.

Bob and I finally sat down to view it this afternoon (and men, that is a true act of love!).

Picture this:

It's Sunday afternoon, we've just watched the ultimate princess fairy tale, and I've achieved the state of blissful relaxation that just demands a long siesta.

I'm poised to make my move to the air conditioned bedroom when Bob stands up and says, "I'm going to Fry's Electronics to return those cables I got yesterday."

What? Have a nice time, darling. I'm taking a nap!

I try this: "The lines will be really long today. Can't you go tomorrow?"

My eyelids are growing heavier, and the very thought of Fry's, much less the freeway, is interfering with my state of perfect lassitude.

Bob: "I thought the traffic might be worse tomorrow."

He's probably right.

Me: "Oh no, the traffic going south on the 405 mid day during the week isn't bad."

Bob (kindly): "I wasn't expecting you to go with me."

Me: "Well, you go have a nice time. I'm going to take a nap."

Then I realized something.

Bob is trying to get our combined office/studio into some form of order so I can teach in there on Friday.

Here's what happened next:

I thought about what would have happened at the beginning of our relationship. Unable to endure such a lengthy separation, I would have said, "I'd love to go with you."

We would have held hands in the car and talked all the way there.

We would have held hands in the store and indulged in the occasional smooch.

We would have held hands in the car on the way home.

Then I got to thinking, "Bob would come with me if I had to go somewhere, even if it was somewhere with lots of pink."

There I was, wrestling with the indulgence of a perfect nap (alone) or the prospect of getting on the freeway and going to a crowded electronics store (with my husband)

I'd love to say the decision was an easy one, but it wouldn't be true.
I wrestled with my selfish desire, my right, dang it, for afternoon slumber. It seemed so lovely. It seemed so right.

Then I's the little things.

So we got in the car together.

We held hands in the car and talked all the way there.

We held hands in the store and indulged in the occasional smooch.

We held hands in the car on the way home.

I'll remember that longer than any nap.

what keeps love alive.

Friday, September 7, 2007

February Recital

Dr. Joel

My excellent accompanist Dr. Joel and I are preparing for a faculty recital.

We've got a date: Monday, February 11, 2008

We've got a time: 7:30p.m.

We've got a venue: Munson Recital Hall, Azusa Pacific University

We've picked out some of the repertoire.

We even have weekly rehearsal time carved out.

We start this Wednesday.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Curb Your Chimera

"Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal." Maryann Mott
National Geographic News
January 25, 2005

An ancient Etruscan statue of a chimera found in north-central Italy. The mythic beast had a lion's body, serpent's tail, and goat's head.

Photograph by James P. Blair, copyright National Geographic Society


Function: noun

Etymology: Latin chimaera, from Greek chimaira she-goat, chimera; akin to Old Norse gymbr yearling ewe, Greek cheim On winter -- more at HIBERNATE

1 a capitalized : a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail b : an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts

2 : an illusion or fabrication of the mind; especially : an unrealizable dream

3 : an individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution

Could the possibility of animals who are part human be the inspiration for the inscription on the door of the Washington Mutual Bank branch in Uptown Whittier:

"Please ask your pets to remain outside."


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We Found Nemo!

Bob and I took advantage of our last day off and headed for The Magic Kingdom.

It was in the upper 90's, but clear and beautiful.

Bob had yet to find Nemo so we joined the queue.

I was grateful for the strategically placed umbrellas!

Little did we know when I snapped this picture...

...that the Argonaut would be the sub we boarded.

I love this view. It takes me straight back to my childhood. I remember looking at those barnacles and impatiently anticipating my "journey through liquid space".

Bob waits with more patience:

The water is a lot clearer than it appears in this picture:

After the ride that completely rocks, we headed for lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant.

We enjoy the river setting.

We walked straight on several other rides. There were no waits for anything but Nemo. We even cruised right into my favorite Disneyland ride, Indiana Jones. Why is it my favorite ride? I'll tell you about it sometime.

We then headed for California Adventure and our all time favorite ride, Soarin' Over California.

Our friend David happened to be working the ride today. It was great seeing him.

I still had to take care of some business, but it didn't take long. No one knew I was sitting on a bench near Monsters Inc wearing a Mickey hat.

We had dinner at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante. It's an open air restaurant tucked away between Big Thunder Mountain and the shooting gallery in Frontier Land. The food is good and it never seems to be crowded. By then a breeze was trying to come up. It was lovely to sit outside and relax.

We had to find Nemo one more time before we left. We waited no more than 45 minutes both times we rode. It was well worth the wait. It's a fabulous ride.

Hope you too can find time to find Nemo!

Monday, September 3, 2007

On The Road Again

It's time to morph back into the professional road warrior that lurks within each freelance musician.

I greatly enjoyed the summer hiatus. The farthest I got away from home was 7 miles. Working in the parks of Long Beach has many advantages.

Today, however, I made the 74 mile round trip to Azusa Pacific University. Classes don't officially start until Wednesday, but I was on a mission of fear: Flute Auditions.

It wasn't fearful for me.

Pity, though, the freshman flutists who just yesterday bid their family good-bye and moved into a completely foreign environment.

Today, said flutists are required to play for the flute professor they've never met (me) to determine their flute-playing fate for the entire year.


I am happy to report that each and every flutist walked out of the audition under their own power.

Meanwhile, the traffic was light.

I'm just getting warmed up...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hunkering Down

A little over 3 years ago (July 21, 2004, but who's keeping track?) a colleague from work offered to install an air conditioner for me.

The weather had been brutally hot, and this kind soul took pity on me.

We'd worked together for 9 years, but I barely knew his name.

He didn't talk much.

When he left after the job was done, he gave me his card.

We were married 10 months later.

Today, 3 years later, we are thankful for that act of kindness as we hunker down in the exquisite coolness of what used to be my studio but is now our bedroom.

While our neighborhood melts under the stifling heat, we thank God for that air conditioner...

...and for each other.