Thursday, January 31, 2008

Back Soon!

I'm playing my flute day and night, night and day. My brain is too full of flute music to hold any other thoughts. I'll be back soon.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rocking Voyager

I know, I know. I've been neglecting the blog lately.

I can explain everything.

First, Joel and I have been preparing for our Faculty Recital which is 2 weeks from tomorrow (be there or be square). Ask any of my APU students; my brain is so full of flute music that there is not a lot of room for anything else right now.


My brain's RAM is full and its 100GB hard drive is quickly running out of space, leaving little room for things like gentle speech and short term memory.


I have issued a "performance ahead warning", and my lovely students have been most gracious in bearing with me.

MEANWHILE, my new phone arrived right after a recital rehearsal on Friday.

Here I am, brain fried, trying to make heads or tails of my new purchase:

And the verdict on the Verizon Voyager?

IT ROCKS!!!!!!!

It is everything my last phone wasn't and so much more.

I could wax rhapsodic (and I'm sure I will at some point), but I've got to stuff more flute music into my brain and under my fingers.

So for now I'll leave you with this thought:

Voyager; Get one!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tornado Warning

Signal Hill has been under a tornado warning this evening. That is most unusual.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Unexpected Beauty

I haven't set foot in my garden since before Thanksgiving.

The garden is not that big or elaborate. I figured it would still be there.

I know, I know. It's time to cut back the rose bushes. I'm still not up to snuff, though, and what resources I have I've been pouring into my upcoming flute recital.

Imagine my surprise when I went outside today to discover these:

Who knew such things could spring from such neglect.

Although completely unlooked for and undeserved, what a pleasure it is to stumble on unexpected beauty.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's The Small Things

How is romance kept alive in marriage over the long term?

It's the small things.

My dear husband Bob has been suffering from a bad cold. Unfortunately he was only able to take one day off from work before hitting the road again.

As I left for church this morning, Bob was preparing to rise from his sick bed for a long day of work in Ontario, Riverside, and other garden spots of Southern California.

He looked really sick. I was hoping that he would make it out the door okay.

I stopped by Trader Joe's after church to pick up some delicious treats for my ailing spouse. As I entered the house, I was greeted by this note left on the floor near the front door where I would be sure to see it (I later placed it on my music stand while I practiced):

It just melted my heart!

It only gets better.

Before he left, he made the bed.

It's the small things...

Friday, January 18, 2008

B-1B Fly By

The phone rang at 8:30 this morning. My brother Ken is the Airport Secretary at Long Beach Airport. He was delivering a heads up: a B-1B bomber was on the taxi way preparing for take-off.

Photo: Ken Mason

According to "Boeing has been performing maintenance on the aircraft at its [Long Beach] C-17 facilities."

Long Beach Airport Public Affairs stated, "Boeing has advised that a U.S. Air Force B-1 Bomber will depart from Long Beach Airport on Friday, January 18th. This aircraft arrived in October and has been undergoing maintenance.

Please note, this aircraft must deploy its afterburners upon take off and will be louder than the typical airplane departure."

I immediately grabbed my camera and went outside for a front row view. My landlord, curious as to why I was standing in the front yard in my bath robe with my camera, came out to await the fly by. It turns out that his wife actually works manufacturing B-1B parts and his late father developed a metal still used in aircraft manufacturing.

My brother called back just after 9am and said, "I hope you're not outside freezing. It's powered up but just sitting on the taxi way. Oh, it just got cleared for take-off!"

And take off it did! It rose effortlessly into the clear morning sky, thundering away into the blue, looking close enough to touch.

Bob got off this shot from the back yard:

Oh and me? camera battery died.

It would have been great video...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bach to Work

I have now met with each and every one of the 13 APU flute students taking lessons from me this semester. I have taught Flute Choir, Flute Master Class, Flute Literature, and had rehearsals with my accompanist Joel and with the Faculty Woodwind Quintet.

I have loved every minute of it.

I'm Bach to work!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

What do you give to a much beloved aunt and uncle for Christmas? They can afford to work when they wish and travel to exotic locations when they're not working. Let's see...a tie? Some cologne? Fruit cake?

Last year Bob and I finally hit on the perfect gift: tech support! We (along with my brother Ken) took them out computer shopping, helping them choose identical laptops. We then assisted them as they went from complete computer novices to work literate users. They were ecstatic with the gift and we were grateful to be able to give something back to our truly generous and supportive relatives.

Yesterday we were back for Tech Support; The Gift II.

Bob is a patient, knowledgeable teacher. Charlo and Joe are avid students.

Charlo's HP had taken a turn for the worse earlier in the day. Bob was able to resolve several issues, but the faulty on/off button required a call to the Philippines (who knew?) for tech support. Charlo's computer is destined for the repair shop, but it's working for now.

Joe's computer was easy. It was refusing to talk to his printer. Bob resolved that with a simple driver download.

Meanwhile, my brother Ken stopped by with his newest acquisition; a Verizon Voyager:

He showed me all the bells and whistles on his cool new phone.

We all then trekked over to Katella Deli for some truly wonderful food and great conversation.

A good time was had by all.

Merry Christmas Charlo and Joe!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Phone Commitment Imminent

Since the month of January puts the "free" in freelancer, I've had more time than I need to think about my imminent 2 year cell phone commitment.

I have no problem signing an extended contract with Verizon. I've been a satisfied customer for more than 16 years. My commitment phobia is over the phone I'll call mine for the next 731 days.

Up until 2 years ago I'd never had to think twice about my phone. I had one. It worked. End of story. In fact my phone from 2 years ago is still holding its charge. Talk about reliability.

Then I was seduced by a slick piece of under-performing junk. You know what I'm talking about: the Razr. You've heard this rant from me before. I know it's wrong to hate stuff, but God forgive me I hate this phone. I just want it to work whenever I need it, all the time; not 7 out of 10 times on days when it feels like performing. ALL the time.

My brother just got a new Voyager. So far he is in love with it. I'm tempted to go that route, but wonder if it's too much phone for me.


So in between practicing for my upcoming recital (and sometimes while I'm practicing) I'm wrestling with this decision in the back of my mind. Well, sometimes in the front of my mind. Actually, I can't claim much depth of mind at all since I'm still snarfing Sudafed in order to hear.


That's what's been going on here at FlutePrayer Central. That and lots of naps. I hope I feel up to snuff soon. Meanwhile, you'll find me in a corner mumbling, "Voyager? Blackberry? Envy?..."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Continuing Car Drama

Remember that incident with my car back in October?

I restrained myself from blogging about the appalling condition my car was in when it was returned to me.

The body work was superb:

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, when the rear window was removed (why was that necessary anyway?) a thorough trashing of the interior and the molding of my car took place.

Oh, and did I mention that my car was left without a rear window in a torrential downpour?


I immediately called the person at the-body-shop-that-will-remain-nameless who was responsible for my car. He said bring the car back in and they would fix it but they wouldn't supply me with a rental car.

After they had held my car hostage for 3 days and hadn't completed any work on it I called and asked when I might expect it back.

Let's just say the person I was dealing with should not be in any form of customer service.

Fortunately, in the midst of this, the claim adjuster from Mercury Insurance called to follow up on the problems. She immediately gave me the name of the regional re-inspector for Mercury.

I am extremely happy to report that he was wonderful. He told me that I would never have to talk to the person at the body shop again, that he would take care of all the communication, and that he would call me right back after speaking to the auto body guy.

True to his word, the re-inspector called me right back. He said the auto body guy was as rude to him as he was to me, but that my car would miraculously be ready later that day.

That was except for the headliner that had been somehow unattached. That would have to wait until after the first of the year.

So here it is, after the first of the year. I called the Mercury re-inspector yesterday. He called the auto body shop and arranged for a rental car (at their expense) for me. All I had to do was take my car in this morning.

The auto body guy couldn't have been nicer to me. He wasn't being condescending. He was actually polite and even friendly. What a lovely change.

I was picked up and whisked over to Enterprise for my rental car.

All they had available was a pick up truck or this:

It's a little bigger than I'm used to. I'm sure its carbon foot print is not as petite as my Corolla's. None the less, it's mine until the headliner is fixed.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Just Wait It Out

"Just wait it out."

That's what the doctor said to me today. I woke up feeling worse instead of better. My right ear is painfully clogged, I can't hear, and I've been dragging around even though I've spent the last two weeks indoors, sleeping more than I've been awake.

Bob and I waited for 2 hours at the local urgent care to get the prognosis: there is nothing to be done but wait for my sealed up Eustachian tubes to open.

What to do in the meantime? Take Sudafed.

Well lock me up in the loony bin. Sudafed makes me hallucinate and keeps me awake for days.

However, I am desperate. I've taken said Sudafed and am now hyper-alert and not in complete control of my motor skills.


I'll just go and practice my flute now.

I'll let you know when those tubes open up...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Just Do It

As I was wrestling with the idea of working out this morning, wondering if I was indeed well enough to pursue it, I shot up an "arrow prayer" to the Lord:

"I don't feel as if I can exercise. What should I do?"

I heard the reply loud and clear:

"Just do it."

Later, I was trying hard to get with the practicing. My right ear is still throbbing and plugged. My left ear has had better days. I wasn't sure how hard I should push myself.

Again I prayed.

Again the reply came:

"Just do it."

How many times do we wait for the "perfect moment" to arrive before doing something?

How many times do we use the excuse, "I just don't feel motivated."

How many times do we pray, waiting for divine intervention for a problem, wondering when the miracle will occur?

How many times has the answer been there all along:

Just do it.

Friday, January 4, 2008

It Has Been A Long Time

You know it has been a long time since you last exercised when:

You can't find your workout clothes

You've forgotten how to use your heart rate monitor

You've forgotten which knee gets the knee support

You reach your working heart rate while you're stretching

At least I felt well enough to actually exercise today.

I still haven't set foot outside my house since December 26.

I have finally gotten a real practice session in with my flute (yesterday)

My right ear is still blocked. That is a real inconvenience for a professional musician who makes their living listening.


Having said all that, I am happily married to a wonderful man who has cared for me tenderly through these days of woe. Being with Bob is an indescribable joy.

There is a bright new year ahead!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Bob and I spent a quiet New Year's Eve at home enjoying one another's company. There's no one I'd rather usher the New Year in with!

I haven't set foot outside since this cold tackled me a week ago. I am ready for my right ear to clear out so I can hear the fabulous fluting that I'm going to start, um, tomorrow. Yea, that's right. Tomorrow.