Monday, September 29, 2008

The Day of Shofar Blowing

I love the shofar blowing!

"The Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah is widely known and celebrated as the New Years Day of the Jewish calendar, but actually Rosh Hashanah has a fourfold meaning - It is the Jewish New Year, the Day of Judgment, the Day of Remembrance, and the Day of Shofar Blowing.

* It is the Day of Judgment
As Jews worldwide examine their past deeds and asks for forgiveness for their sins

* It is the Day of Shofar Blowing
As the Shofar (the rams horn) is blown in temple to herald the beginning of the 10 day period known as the High Holy Days

* It is the Day of Remembrance
As Jews review the history of their people and pray for Israel

* And of course it is New Year's Day
Celebrated with it's holiday greeting cards, special prayers, and festive and sweet foods (to ensure sweetness in the New Year)"

Shana Tova!

Friday, September 26, 2008

BooHoo WaMu

I am a Washington Mutual customer.

Imagine my delight yesterday when I learned my financial institution had failed.

Just as quickly as the federal regulators seized WaMu, JPMorgan Chase swooped in and bought it for 1.9 billion.

A "seamless" transition is promised.

I actually need to make a DEPOSIT today. I'm wondering if I will run into long lines of panicked customers.

I may opt out of that experience.

As for me, I'm not panicking. It's only money, and I don't have that much to begin with.

I'll do a drive-by after I go to the library and before I go to Trader Joe's to scope things out.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Failure to Communicate


I love giving flute lessons. I love my students, I love the process, I treasure the relationships that are forged.

I have been teaching flute since I was 16 and afraid that I would render the junior highers under my care permanently un-fluteworthy.

It has always been easy for me to anticipate and spot lame excuses for not practicing, being late to lessons, and general laziness. Why? Because I employed each and every one of those lame, lazy excuses myself.


I can safely say that in all my years of teaching I had never been taken by surprise by an excuse. Ever. That was until Saturday.

A talented high school senior had been encouraged by her flute teacher to schedule a flute lesson with me. This young lady is considering attending APU in the fall. I am always happy to meet with prospective students, and this one came highly recommended.

She called me last week to set up a lesson time. I asked her if she wanted an hour or a half hour lesson. After agreeing on an hour lesson we went through our schedules to find a time agreeable to us both.

After comparing schedules we agreed on Saturday afternoon. I said, "I have you scheduled for an hour lesson at 2pm." She said she would send me her contact information via email and asked that I send directions to my home in reply.

Said email arrived and I sent the following reply (along with directions to my house which you don't need to see here):

"I will see you Saturday from 2-3. I'm really looking forward to meeting you."

Saturday afternoon 2pm came and went with no sign of the student. 2:05. Nothing. 2:10. Nothing. 2:20. Nothing. At 2:33 my phone rang. It was the student cheerfully informing me she would be there in about 15 minutes. I gently (go me!) told her that I was expecting her for a lesson at 2pm.

She was utterly horrified, apologized very profusely, then said, "Your email said the lesson was from 2 to 3 so I thought I could show up any time between 2 and 3."

I had never, ever heard that one before.

What we had was a failure to communicate...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Speaking of Chickens...

At the end of our Cambria vacation last month, Bob and I spent the day in Atascadero at my sister Christy's house catching up with our nieces and nephew.

Mason had a newly developing shiner from a cheap shot at karate the night before:

Great nephew Hunter was busy being adorable with dad Matt:

We all sat down together for an amazingly delicious, hilarious family meal. As we enjoyed dessert, the after dinner conversation took a turn to the revelatory.

Mason confronted his sisters for telling him that ice plant was aloe vera. He had been humiliated a few days before when, while hiking the ranch in Cambria with us, he broke off a piece of ice plant and rubbed it on a scrape. His mom asked him why he was rubbing ice plant on himself.

"Ice plant??? This is aloe vera!!!"

"No, it's ice plant."


At this point in the conversation Bethany's eyes widened with shocked surprise. She yelped, "That's not aloe vera???" Both siblings turned to Heather who was looking sheepish at the end of the table. I'm not sure if she herself knew the ice plant wasn't aloe vera, but she remained silent on the subject.

Once the door of long term, spectacular deceptions was opened, the legends and their painful debunkings began to pour forth.

Bethany related the story of "The Chicken Farm". When they were little, Heather and Bethany were both given baby chicks to raise. Heather's grew up to be a hen, but Bethany's matured into a raucous rooster who delighted in crowing at 2:00am. The neighbors finally had enough of the night time serenades and complained bitterly to her parents. Her dad sat her down and told her that he was taking the young rooster to a chicken farm. He spun many a yarn of how delightful the place was with detailed descriptions of the many amenities enjoyed by the happy residents.

The story stood until a few months ago when her dad blurted out something about a "fictitious" chicken farm. Bethany was dumbstruck to learn that in actuality her rooster had been thrust into a pillow case and released at the side of one of the isolated roads on the way to the coast.

Talk about your myth busters!

We were on a myth busting roll. It was then that it occurred to Christy and me that our father had told a similar tale about our chicken Lily Rose. When we were little girls we visited the chicken ranch of the man who supplied eggs to our family bakery. We picked out a baby chick and took her home to raise. She was a faithful layer, but mean as the day is long. Our mother wearied of the vicious attacks whenever she tried to feed, water, or collect Lily's eggs ( did Mom end up with those tasks...). It was finally agreed that Dad would return Lily Rose to the egg supplier. Thereafter we heard many tales of how Chicken Lily was a great layer who provided many eggs to said supplier.


We had to know.

Bethany got on the phone to my parents. She questioned her grandfather at great length, but he faithfully confirmed that Lily really HAD gone to the chicken ranch to live out her days. Then Bethany asked for Gramma.

With Granmma on the line (Bethany had hoped Poppy was on the extension but he wasn't) and the rest of the family listening in for Gramma's confirmation of the chicken story, Bethany said, "Tim [her husband] is going to get an extra special present for his birthday in April. A baby!"

Tim and Bethany had been longing for a child for years and had been working hard to afford a baby AND their house payments. The time had finally arrived. We let out a collective gasp and broke into cheers of joy and excitement.

(Here's Tim and Bethany in her prophetic tee shirt):

We were then admonished NOT TO TELL ANYONE. Ahhhhhhhhh!!! Great news, a blog to spread it with, and I had to sit on it like an egg that needed incubating until now.

We are all thrilled beyond words.

Still thinking about the chickens, though...

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I'm processing a lot of emotional information, including the death and memorial service of a dear friend.

I'd prefer to do that processing in private rather than on the blog.

I'll be back soon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

We Clean Up Nicely

After spending the summer playing concerts with colleagues in brightly colored shirts, it was a real treat to see many of the same people formally attired in white dinner jackets this weekend.

The American Winds played a subscription concert at Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.

It certainly is different playing a band concert indoors.

There is no need for clothes pins to keep the music from blowing off the stands.

(John's music didn't blow around. He is just putting the music in concert order).

There is no competing with helicopters, C-17's, or people talking on their cell phones.

Conductor Larry Curtis looks even more distinguished in evening wear:

I am very grateful to be counting measures rest...

...and praying while I'm playing.

(See more on my flickr photostream)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Verizon Wireless: You're Doing It Right

Unlike my unfortunate experience with Verizon Fios customer service (the phone line is still working - thanks for asking), I had a transcendent moment with Rick at Verizon Wireless customer service this morning.

When my phone fried last month I had been promised credit for the ring tones I had to re-purchase. This month's bill arrived WITHOUT the credit.

I tried to remain calm, took deep breaths, and called Verizon Wireless customer service, preparing for a long battle.

Rick took the call, looked at my record, saw that I hadn't been credited, applied the credit, and thanked me for my business all in about 20 seconds. A quick check of my balance verified that it wasn't a dream and he had done all he promised to do.

What a great business concept!

Verizon Wireless: YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Yesterday was my first day of flute lessons for the new semester at APU. I got to school in plenty of time. Parking? No problem. I got re-settled into my studio, dug up some more music for the Flute Choir rehearsal later that day, and took care of paperwork in the Music Office.

I let my first student into the studio 5 minutes early while I sorted through things and checked my email one last time before the teaching day began. That's when I got the news. A dear friend of ours had passed away very unexpectedly but peacefully the night before.

By now the big hand was pointing to the teaching time, the first student of the semester was waiting expectantly for flute wisdom to flow forth, and I had major news to digest and set aside in .005 seconds.

I explained to my student, with tears in my eyes, what I had just learned. She asked me if I wanted a minute to myself. "No," I said. I told her that I knew Lourdes was dancing on the streets that are golden and that I would see her again. It's just that, for now, I would be missing her very much. Then it was on to the teaching day.

Fast forward to this afternoon. Just before the last student of the week I checked my email and was stunned to learn of the sudden death of Patrick Flynn, conductor of the Riverside Philharmonic. I had played for him many, many times over the years. This was truly shocking news.

3 minutes later my student entered the room. No time to process now.

It has been an interesting first teaching week of school, bookended with sudden, unexpected loss.

I think I'll stop checking my email for awhile.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Duck And Cover

Bob and I had a really lovely afternoon at Disneyland. You can see my flickr photo set here.

As we were leaving we got an added bonus:

Yes, that is an F-18 flying over the Mickey and Friends parking structure.

We are assuming that it was doing a fly over with full after burners before the Angels game just a few miles away.

It was LOUD.

We were prepared to Duck and Cover.

Just in case...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Verizon Fios - You're Doing It Wrong

Bob and I agreed to give Verizon FIOS a try. The promises were dazzling: lightening fast internet connection, crystal clear phone service with unlimited long distance, lots of cool TV channels.

The reality is a little different.

The biggest problem is with the phone. It has an intermittent buzz (more like a roar) that makes conversation impossible.

No problem. Just call customer service, right?


Try as I might, I have been unable to reach customer service either by phone or online.

When I call by phone, the automatic attendant transfers me to an extension that promptly disconnects.

When I go online, the completed repair request form will not go through, saying I haven't provided my email address even though I've tried 3 different ones.

Fortunately, Bob understands wiring. He went out to the box in the alley and discovered the problem.

When the box was installed, the plate covering the box was tightened down so hard that it was cutting into phone line that goes into the house.


Bob smoothed out the cut. The phone line has cleared up.

For now.

I have been a faithful, satisfied Verizon customer since long before it even WAS Verizon. I have never had any trouble contacting a real person for repairs.

Until now.

We have 90 days to bail on this set-up.

It's something we're very seriously considering.

Update 11/19, 2008: After the initial problem was "straightened out", everything has worked well. The download speed has been consistantly blazing. The TV and phone work fine. It was not too difficult (could have been easier) to talk to a real person to discontinue the premium stuff we never used that they gave us for the first 3 months. Once I got to the real person, she was extremely nice and seemed to be able to take care of the item in question. Overall the product has been quite satisfactory.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

If I Told You...

The things that have tickled me the most in the past week are un-bloggable.


I haz them.

If I told you about them, I'd have to kill you.

Thou shalt not kill = Can't tell you.

Uncensored life should resume soon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Because We Can

Azusa Pacific University auditions took place yesterday. Classes start tomorrow.

Today, after I dutifully practiced my flute, Bob and I headed to Disneyland.

We hadn't visited since the end of June, at which time it was pretty painfully crowded.

Today it was empty.


There is nothing like ample elbow room as you stroll down Main Street. Only then can you appreciate the amazing attention to detail lavished throughout the entire park (well, except in Tomorrowland). You can actually see more than the frantic posterior of the person directly in front of you as you race to the rides.

No racing for us today. We meandered over to our restaurant of choice:

It was almost empty.


We enjoyed the peaceful guitar music and our delicious meals:

Such a natural, unposed portrait:

This is my new favorite menu item:

We were in no hurry. We wandered onto a few rides and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Then it was time to mosey on down the river and home.

We'll be back before too long.


Because we can.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Under Pressure

Some pictures are self explanatory:

(My nephew Mason and his dad enjoying the great outdoors)