Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Why Things Don't Happen

Some of the fun from the past week: Playing in the water sprinkler

I have three blogs now: this one, my professional blog, and my piano-practice blog. None of them are updated on any semblance of a regular basis, though I was doing a pretty good job with the professional blog for a few weeks. I was blogging every Saturday morning, but ... my professional life got in the way. I've spent the past few Saturday mornings working instead of blogging. And so the professional blog appears to be in the middle of a long summer's nap.

I posted a couple of things to the piano-practice blog last week, after getting Henry (my new old piano) tuned. I was hoping to practice every day, even if it was just 5 or 10 minutes of Hanon or scales or arpeggios. I was hoping to post my progress. But ...

Sigh.

Things just don't happen the way I want them to. To blogging and piano practice, you can add exercise, voice practice, and quiet time in general. And cooking and housework--not things I want to do, but things that need to get done.

Usually the issue is work: I have more work to do each week, than I can fit in a week of 8- to 9-hour days. So I work a few hours on Saturday, and then another hour or two on Sunday. And I'm still not caught up.

But we've had a lot of visitors lately, too. My parents and my sister and her girls were here for several days, and then this past weekend we had some friends from the neighborhood over for dinner. And then yesterday, my brother and his family visited and stayed last night. Don't get me wrong; these were all wonderful visits. I loved seeing my family, I loved spending time with my neighbors, and I particularly loved seeing my brother, my sister-in-law, and their sweet little ones, whom I hadn't seen in over a year. But now I need some quiet time: a few aimless hours at a coffee shop where I can sit alone, write, and think. Or a few aimless hours at the piano, where I can do those scales, practice some Chopin, improvise some stuff.

Normally, my "quiet times" come on Saturday mornings. And/or Sunday afternoons. But I have something scheduled for most nights for the next couple of weeks, as well as for the weekends. I see no quiet time in sight.

And that stresses me out. And the stress makes me feel exhausted because my mind can't rest. When my mind can't rest, I can't sleep. And when I can't sleep, I can't wake up early to exercise or write. And when I can't exercise or write, I feel yucky. And I just wake up and go to work. And work all day. And then play my mom/wife role after work. And next thing I know, it's 11:00 at night, and it's been another day without a single quiet moment. And this is how life flies past.

I guess I'm having quiet moments now, though, taking time to write something.

I need to find some quiet moments where I can figure out a way to better plan my quiet moments. I have to plan them, because they won't happen on their own. They rarely do.

All righty. It looks like I might have a half-hour of quiet time right now. So I'll write a quick letter to my niece (who is at summer camp) and maybe practice a bit of piano.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Henry the Grand


This is Henry.

I am in love with Henry. He makes my heart feel like it's going to burst. He's a rickety old Everett grand piano, but even a rickety old grand can work miracles. His ivory keys are yellowed and chipped, and he has some water stains in the wood that I may never get rid of completely. But he's my Henry, and I love him.

George has been a good piano. He's the piano my parents bought in 1974, and he's the piano I've played and loved for more than 40 years now. He's been my solace so many times. And he's been moved from apartment to apartment, state to state, ever since my parents gave him to me to keep back in the early 1990s. I still have him, but he's going to go to a very good home soon.

And now I have Henry. I have so little experience playing on ivory keys, and I just can't explain how they feel under the fingers. Warm. Responsive. Like they're communicating with my deepest self. It's weird. Perhaps it's just my imagination. (Ya think?) And I write all this, knowing that I may eventually replace them all with plastic.

And the power of the sound ... it's nothing like ol' George.

Still, I will cry real tears when George goes to his new home. He is a part of my most profound identity. He helped shape it; he is part of my soul. When I give away George, I'll give away a part of myself.

But Henry is already part of me, too. He came to me free, from a church that didn't want or need him. Moving, cleaning, and tuning ended up costing almost $1,000, so he wasn't totally free. But now I have a gorgeous antique piano with a surprisingly good sound, and a magical feel under the fingers that just makes my heart overflow with love.

I know all of these descriptions sound a overly sensual, but that's what piano has always been for me.

Sadly, I am so out of practice. I'm tempted to start taking lessons again because I know I need them. Not that I have the time ...

I love Henry. Henry loves me. I've loved my sweet George for 44 years, and now he's going to go to someone who doesn't have a piano but is going to love him as much as I have for so many years. (Well, maybe not as much. But almost?)

Life is good. It really is. So why can't I stop crying?

Noodling on Cm7

This is the kind of thing I've been doing lately , now that I have Henry. I'll practice other things, but I fall back into "noo...