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November 2013

October 2013

Throwback Thursday: My Little Drummer Boy

Yesterday, I shared a video clip of Brian's band.  Today, I thought I'd share some of Brian's drum story (and maybe get into a bit of a rant because I can't help myself).


You see, when Brian was a little guy, he was very interested in playing the drums.  He was really looking forward to 6th grade -- when he could start band!  Now, at this point, my kids happened to be in a very serious-about-music school district, and I discovered that the band program was very . . . particular . . . about which kid got to play which instrument.

It wasn't like you just got to choose your instrument in this band program.  Oh, no.  It was all very controlled and exclusive.  (I mean, it would never DO to have a sixth grader simply choose to play an instrument now . . . would it?)  There was a series of surveys and tests to measure interest and aptitude for even being IN band in the first place!  And you had to score within certain ranges to be eligible to TRY to play certain instruments. 

(As a parent with some knowledge of band and orchestra, I found this "testing" to be a "gatekeeping" kind of tool, rather than an aptitude kind of tool.  This particular school music program didn't want to have, say, hundreds of flutists and no bassoonists, for example.  So they limited who was eligible to play flute.  And trumpet.  And clarinet.  And percussion.)

Further, if you wanted to play drums, not only did you have to achieve the HIGHEST score on the music aptitude test, but you also had to come into the program with at least 2 years of piano lessons under your belt.

Talk about restricted!

So Brian, who really, Really, REALLY wanted to play drums, suffered through two years of piano (all through 4th grade and all through 5th grade). 

But.  Guess what?

He scored 1 point under the required score on the aptitude test to be eligible for percussion!!!

I was ready to take it to the mat!

But the band geniuses in this music program convinced my child that he really wanted to play trombone!  (Because he had a high enough score for trombone, and long arms to boot!)  And so . . . he did. 

2004 b trombone

(I mean what 11 year old boy DOESN'T want to try a really loud, silly-looking instrument that makes most excellent fart noises???)

2005 mouthpiece man

And although Brian made the best of it, and became a pretty darn good trombonist, he still really wanted to play the drums.

To make a long story short, we let Brian learn to play the drums, too.  Just not through the school band program.  (Because, heaven forbid!  A child can only play ONE instrument, y'know?)

Right away, he started playing with bands.  Here he is in 6th grade with The Genuine Rebels.  (Man, they were loud!)

2004 Genuine Rebels 5

And that band morphed into The Insurgents.  (They were even louder!)

2006 the insurgents

By late middle school, he had started playing with a really talented band that specialized in covers of Radiohead tunes.  (And they were good covers of Radiohead tunes!)

2006 new drum set

But, still.  There was no room in the high school band for a trombonist that also played percussion!  (Ridiculous, isn't it?)  Ultimately, the marching band did him in.  When he heard the drumline, but couldn't PLAY in the drumline, the trombone was just not gonna cut it anymore.

Enough of band.

Enough of the trombone.

But never enough of the drums!

On to college . . . and jazz combos . . .


and now with the Fever Haze.


Those school band programs?  They really don't have any way to measure what's in your HEART.  Y'know?






Same Old Same Old

This week for Ten on Tuesday, Carole asks us what we did this weekend.


My weekend was busy - but, for the most part, routine.  I . . .

  1. Worked (it's what happens on concert weekends when you work for a Symphony)
  2. Continued fall garden chores (lots to do this time of year)
  3. Enjoyed Brian's visit home (just one night and part of a day - but great to see him for a bit)
  4. Packed Tom's suitcase and bid him adieu (off to Mumbai again)
  5. Read a lot (finally finished Paris . . . what a slog!)
  6. Knit a little (very little)
  7. Walked the dogs (perfect days for long walks)
  8. Went for a run (starting to feel like 3 miles is "normal" now)
  9. Decorated my house for fall (finally buying in)
  10. Started re-organizing my closet (even got out the boots!)


How about YOU?  What did you do this weekend?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.



Color Watch 2013: Oct 11

We had a lot of rain last weekend, which doesn't do much for the leaves . . . when it comes to color-watching.  Still, change is happening and colors are popping.

My views this week, though . . .


are not terribly different . . .


from my views last week.


It's only a matter of time now.


Because my color-watching is still pretty . . . dull . . . I'll give you a couple of bonus shots.  While the leaves are slowly turning, my grasses are putting on quite a show!


Definitely one of the best parts of my garden in fall.


Happy weekend!

Ravelry to the Rescue!

Tom and I headed Up North to our cottage for a quick fall weekend break.  You know . . . get away, see the leaves, run a race, do some fishing.  And while our weekend didn't quite turn out as planned (Ahem.  Understatment.  Car problems - mine.  Doggy diarrhea - Jo-Jo.  Grumpy man - Tom.), it was still good to have a little break (if not stressful on the way home).

I took my knitting.


And on Saturday, after the race, I settled in for a long, open afternoon of nothing but knitting.


I forgot to bring my instructions and - more importantly - my chart.  So all I had was my bag full of yarn and my project.

Really.  I was heartbroken.  I had near-endless of hours of knitting time . . . in the middle of a lace section . . . with no chart.


And then . . . I thought of something!

I had my phone.

I had 4G service.  (Very slow and spotty 4G service, but 4G service nonetheless.)

And the pattern (with chart!) was stored in my Ravelry library!


After a half hour (like I said:  slow; spotty), I had logged on, downloaded, and saved the pattern to iBooks.

Back in business!


Thanks, Ravelry!

Full of Surprises!

Running in that 5K last weekend . . . presented me with PLENTY of surprises. 

Pretty surprised that I'm running at all.  (I hate running.  Always have.  Tom, who is a life-long, serious kind of runner, has tried to get me running a few times in our lives.  It's never really worked.  He had nothing to do with it this time around, although he's been very supportive.)

I truly have a love-hate relationship with running:  It just plain sucks while you're doing it.  But you feel so awesome when you're done!


Really surprised that I can run 5K without stopping.  (Granted, I'm in pretty good shape to start with -- from aerobic dance and kickboxing and spinning and such.  But running?  Not so much.)  The Couch-to-5K program really works!  If you're interested in trying to get running, I highly recommend it.

Totally surprised that I felt confident enough to register for a 5K.  (It helped that it was called the "Salmon Run" AND that it's run in the town nearest our cottage Up North.)  I didn't sign up until a couple of days before, though.  I just wasn't sure I'd be able to do it, and I knew once I signed up, I'd be committed.


Not so surprised, actually, that the running of the 5K was really pretty awful.  (Especially because I made the ultimate rookie mistake:  I started too fast . . . and then paid the price for it on the hills later on.)

Totally surprised that I could pull it together enough at the end.  (Based on my runs over the past couple of weeks, I set my race goals as follows:  I wanted to run in 30:00, I figured I'd run in 32:00, and I didn't want to go over 35:00.  But, because of the too-fast start and the unexpected hills in the middle, I was reaping there on the final mile.  As I neared the finish line, I could see the digital clock ticking away . . . speeding ever closer to that 35:00 mark.  Could I do it?  Barely!  34:59.  Phew.)


Not so surprised that Tom finished the 10K race just a few moments AFTER I finished the 5K.  (He's very fast.  Still.  After all these years.)

A little surprised that Tom WON the 10K event. (He even won a bottle of wine!  That was exciting!)


And absolutely, mind-blowingly surprised that I placed 2nd in my age group!


Isn't that something?


Life is FULL of surprises!

Embrace the Season

At heart, I'm a summer girl. 

I like the sun and warm air.  I like flip flops and tank tops.  I like iced tea on the patio.  I like sprinklers and lightning bugs and butterflies.  I like the sound of wind chimes and bird song.

I hang on to summer for as long as I can.

But, eventually, even I must accept the change of season! 

(in the parking lot at my gym. . .)

This week, I'm accepting the inevitable.  Fall has arrived.  Here's how I embrace the fall (once I accept that it's here, that is!):

  1. Sipping Pumpkin Spice Latte (skim milk, please . . . but go ahead and add the whipped cream!)
  2. Cooking up heartier fare (bring out the lentils, the squash, and the crock pot!)
  3. Bringing out the mums (decorating my porch and my pots)
  4. Decorating the house (with pumpkins and scarecrows and leaves)
  5. Burning candles (to counter the darkness!)
  6. Hauling out the handknits (it's time!)
  7. Winterizing the garden (shutting off the sprinkler system, bringing in the patio furniture)
  8. Admiring the trees (my favorites are the ones that seem to glow in the dark)
  9. Loading up on apples (especially the Honeycrisp)
  10. Wearing tights and boots (I got them out yesterday, but you can't make me wear 'em yet!)

How about YOU?  How do you embrace the fall?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.



Can't Stop

Today . . . I need a soundtrack. **


Five years ago right now, I was in the midst of being diagnosed with cancer.  Although I don't think about it quite as obsessively as I once did, I still think about it every day.  And, in many ways, that whole experience - from concern to worry to diagnosis  and right on through treatment and into  "survivorship" - has defined who I AM now.

This life is more than ordinary. 

If there's one thing that my cancer experience has shown me, it's that life really IS more than ordinary. 

So, reach out.

Grab it.

Wring as much out of it as you can.


Go write your message on the pavement.

Figure out what you really want to do.  And then do it.

Travel the world.

Learn new stuff.

Move.  Jump.  Stretch.  Run.


Can't stop, addicted to the shindig.

So, go do something big.

Something you never thought you could do.

Because . . . you can!  And, in fact, you ought.


This life is more than just a read-through.



**  This weekend, I ran a 5K.  Not that big a deal, really.  But, for me, it was a Big Deal.  My personal 5-year "thing."  I need to acknowledge the Couch-to-5K app for getting me going . . . and the Red Hot Chili Peppers for providing the soundtrack that worked best for getting me through the actual running part.  Their songs, in my ears, kept me moving.  (Can't Stop: Definitely my running mantra.)  But, mostly, I need to thank Tom . . . who never laughed and only supported my running efforts


Color Watch 2013: Oct 4

Every year, as the leaves begin to turn, I like to keep track of the process with my camera.  So join me this month . . . on my annual Color Watch.


The photos here today are the views I see from various points in my yard.


Watch along with me this month . . .


as the trees in my world . . .


Put on their fall color show!

Happy weekend!