Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I just watched "First Knight", which I got because I thought my 5 year old would like the sword fights. This has got to be the worst movie ever made! I thought at least if it wasn't good I could admire Richard Gere, and of course Sean Connery but NO- I felt embarrassed for them both. Just sad.

Yesterday however, we watched "The Truman Show", which was great! It stars Jim Carrey and he thinks he is just a normal guy, but in reality he is the star of a tv series about himself. His whole world is on tv 24 hours a day. It was very freaky weird, but beautifully done.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

garden spot

Wow! I just spent 8 hours in the garden! And it still is just barely a dent - this could be a full time job. I really should limit myself more, it is hard with 20 acres to pick an end point. But mostly today I was fixing the drip system - the best thing EVER for gardens - ours is on a timer so once it is set up, I never water again. YAY!

Also today I went to the gym and practiced - it is a red letter day! I should get a prize or something...I guess if I did this every day my prize would be a beautiful garden, super body and incredible chops of steel. I could live with that.

mo stuff

I finally practiced again, felt to guilty to blog before I played a little. So I worked on La Scala and Tombeau, I hope to work these up soon.

But it has been a busy week - with Memorial Day in there I had really hoped to get the kitchen floor ripped up; but we didn't actually get any of that done. Or any gardening (because the weather was terrible) today of course, it is beautiful! But we partied with the neighbors and various friends and relatives; ate way too much and watched a couple of shows that had been waiting for ages.

Jim has a "thing" about movies - he hates to go out to the show; 1. cost, 2. sticky floors, 3. loud people, 4. lines, 5. so much more comfy at home. I am ok with this, but we end up buying tons of dvds (because he has another "thing" about renting movies). We probably have close to 1000 dvds. I should count them sometime. hahaha. Anyway, we haven't been out to a show since before Daniel was born (almost 6 years). It seems like we have to save babysitting for the times I HAVE to have it, so we very rarely go on any kind of date. Before D was born, we had great plans for "date-night" every week. What happened there??? And my cousin came to stay at a fancy hotel nearby with his wifey for their anniversary - we have NEVER done that. I tried to impress Jim with the desirability of going somewhere overnight WITHOUT Daniel WITH a maid and room service, but he did not seem impressed. Well, our seventh anniversary is in December, so we have a while to work on this!

Friday, May 25, 2007


I just read that blogging is hurting critics. In Atlanta anyway. I have to say at first blush that seems great! On the other hand, NOT hiring art/music critics isn't good for the industry as a whole. I think critics tend to get a bad rap, but that doesn't mean they aren't useful.

I hate when critics do the blanket "it was lovely" review. Can understand why they would do that, especially in a small community (your boss's wife is the soloist in the Christmas cantata kinda thing), but educated discussion of a performance doesn't need to be "bad/good". However, I don't played in a group that regularly gets reviewed, so my comments should be taken with a grain of salt.


I decided to add a list of my musicals (ones I've played) --seems much shorter than what I thought it would be! If I put on all the musicals I love I guess that would be much longer; so many productions have reduced pits these days, and the oboe is usually the first thing to go. *sigh*

Just to give credit where credit is due - I got the idea for this on oboe insight, where Patti has done MANY more shows/operas that I ever will. But soon I can add Puttin it Together, Sondheim, can't wait to get my book for that.

I was checking out the "woodwind doubling in Broadway musicals" page (this is a great page) and I noticed that Wicked (my latest favorite) has a bass oboe part! That is cool. Sadly I can't listen to my cd because just yesterday I played it for a friend and it got stuck in her Explorer cd player (argh). But now I am lusting to play it. I might even consider renting a bass oboe if they did it for the big theater company - one of the 10 best places to see Broadway off Broadway! But I assume it will be some years before it is available to us.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

a miracle!

As always I am trying to loose weight, been going to the gym about 5 times a week; especially now that my insane schedule has loosened up a bit. I thought I really needed to be more rigorous on my diet (that has been slipping); so I got on the scale and I had lost 4 pounds! YAY! I am now at 179 (I will put that here since no one seems to be reading this blog anyway). For ages I was around 170 and then last fall I gained 28 my goal is to reach 160 by late August (pictures) and 140(ish) by the end of the year. The August goal is perhaps a bit unrealistic, but I'm not going to kill myself. Just the last time we had family pictures I looked pregnant (and wasn't).

oboey stuff

I sent my EH to the repair guy (Peter, the god of instrument repair!) for a new pad and some key unfreezing - I'm pretty sure Gary and I can get it adjusted well enough once the screws work. This is my old EH that I never play, I thought I should get it going and either sell it or play it! I will probably wait until Barb sells me hers (which is what I always play - it lives here with me)

I need to transpose the clarinet part for the Mozart concerto, I've been helping the section in band but my sight transposing stinks. It would be ok if I weren't leading the section, but that's how it goes! Helen has offered to let me use her software later this week, they are out of town til Friday.

Today I want to pull all the music we are doing next year, I guess highlights are Lt. Kiji Suite, Brahms Double, Haydn 101, Russian Christmas Music, and Firebird. I guess that will be fun. But I'm angry that our concerts ALL conflict with Big SYmphony's concerts, even the one with FIVE oboes. I am so frustrated that they are forcing me to make a choice (assuming the big symphony sub audition goes well).

dog update

Since our dog tried to eat the neighbor's dog she's been tied on the teather or in the pen (big pen, about 10x15 yards, with trees and dog house inside). She doesn't love it, but at least she is good about going on the leash and so on. I guess this is the way she will have to live from now on, I hate the thought of her not being able to run, but this wasn't the first time she got aggressive and we just can't take a chance. Otherwise I would feel we need to put her down (what if it had been a person?)

Other dog is perfectly behaved. she hasn't even dug up all my little flowers (yet); and I'm excited about the tiny dent in the landscape I have made (on 20+ acres it's hard to make an impression!)

Monday, May 21, 2007

a new leaf

It has been over a week since I last posted - haven't played the oboe all that time! I felt slight guilt (?!!) a couple of times, but it has been great! With all the playing before, and the company, I just needed a break.

So this week I actually went out in the garden and planted cute flowers, and weeded, and I watched a couple of movies, and played with Daniel! But now I'm ready to play again (since I have a lesson with G in about 2 hours) so I'm making reeds. We'll see what happens. My summer is actually shaping up pretty well - with several family trips and several gigs, looks like we are booked up! And all my summer stuff will pay, at least something. May have a wedding on 7-7-07 (why is this important to people?), a bassoonist wants a bassoon quartet but is having trouble finding one, so she'd settle for a ww5. *sigh* But it might be fun.

My goal this summer is to really work on great tone. Secondly pitch, which I tend to go sharp (still!) when I'm tired. And third technique. What else is there! I guess I just want to be a better player. Tired of just accepting my limitations, and next fall D will be in school so I will have hours free each day to work.

Other goals are to loose weight (I'm hoping for 20 pounds this summer, and 20 more by the end of the year). I have dropped a bit since January but I had really ballooned up there! And now I am having all kinds of problems with my knees and ankles. SO!

Also want to do fun stuff every day with D, and J if possible. Maybe do swim lessons, and last year our church did a park thing once a week.

So now I'm off to master the art of oboe reed making...I love having good reeds, they can make you feel like a musical god!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

and more playing!

This morning was the dress for big college wind symphony. I can tell I am really fatigued, I made some silly mistakes, and it was really hard to count. It is sad because everything is happening at once, and I just can't give any more than I am...tonight we are having our s'more party, invited the neighbors over and we'll have a little bonfire. Fun, but I'm so tired. And aunt and uncle will be back tomorrow, which is the big bell choir service in church, and then the wind symphony concert (and of course, Mother's Day, hahahahaha!) Maybe we can celebrate after all this stuff is over. I think I want to get a kayak - my friend has one and they are great, and there are tons of lakes around here. Of course Jim would need one too (Father's Day), D still can fit in the storage hole, so he doesn't need his own yet.


I am not really a dog person- but we have two big black dogs, mildly lab looking. One is a lab/blue heeler mix we know, the other was dumped on our road so we have no clue. The heeler is the older dominant dog, and she gets real growly when people (esp. men) come to our house. Then she gets to know them and is fine. BUT
Today our neighbor up the hill came by, we don't know him well (we both have around 20 acres - we're country folk). He said our dogs have been coming up to his place and one of them bit his dog, and her leg had to have the surgery! He SAID (and I believe him) his dog just hangs out next to him while he works, but our dogs came up (on his property) and were growly and biting his dog. *sigh* And this isn't the first time they have been up on his place and all threatening, but we thought they were staying home better.
So we offered to pay the bill (his dog is going to be ok, thank God), and we put our dogs in the kennel. I hate thinking of them locked in a cage with 20 acres at their disposal, but they can't be agressive to other people/dogs - esp off our property! We have considered getting the "radio collar" fence things, it transmits a signal and the dog gets zapped if they go out of range. But the range is small - like the size of a town yard. Wish we could get something the size of an acre or two. My husband is completely opposed to a fence (traditional) and to have any sizable area fenced is a big pain anyway. Wish this never happened, but now I wonder if we should have the one dog put down, or try to give her away. I think she would be ok in a fenced yard. So depressing

This must be the EYE of the storm...

Morning! AFTER the Hansel and Gretel performance - I was only subbing last night. I have several thoughts about this:
1. This was a hard opera! Not impossible, but lots of technical dodahs and part interweaving that I just didn't get. I did do pretty well on all that stuff though. It was the slow soft stuff that killed me.
2. Conductors should not stomp on the podium to get my attention (repeatedly, like throwing a tantrum) This is not only VERY audible to the audience (he's on a hollow wooden podium wearing dress shoes), but it is scary to me, and my fellow pit members. What we finally decided (after) was that I was behind his beat - but slightly (the flutist didn't feel it was a stomping offense!) AND I was totally watching him, if he had just moved the beat a bit I would have followed - it was really humiliating.
3. This conductor also "shushed" the orchestra CONSTANTLY. I guess it was much better than last week although I find that hard to believe. Every time it got quiet he would make this hissing sounds (LOUD hissing sounds) which were clearly heard in the audience (they told us). This guy is supposed to be a hot-shot conductor, and he seems to be good at the physical part, but he was very distracting during the playing. Also, I never got a cue during this very hard to follow score, the only time I noticed him interacting with a musician is when he cut off the bassoon (also a sub, she got lost) and when he stomped at me (see #2)
4. I am just not on the same level of playing as the pros. I practiced as much as I could in the short time I had - but it wasn't enough. *sigh*

Now I have to go to the dress rehearsal at big college (wind symphony). I have played all the pieces now - I don't think I'll be terrible, but I hope they don't regret hiring me. It is pretty fun playing with a good(ish) band again, would like to do it again!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Calm (?) before the storm

Today I got an early morning phone call - it was my father in law - I'm headed your way! he said. Right then. So I did know he was coming sometime this month, but of course it would be now - everything is happening NOW! So that was great, but I started worrying about the state of the guest room and towels in the bathroom...but then the phone rang again.

It was LJ, a contractor for the big musical theater group, which I have played at least one show each summer with for several years. Sadly this year they were not going to need me, the one show with an oboe/eh part they were only using keyboards. Anyway, great news! A big donor has paid for extra musicians so they are filling out the orchestra - I will be playing "Puttin it Together" by Stephen Sondheim (a review). Yay! It has always been great playing in these productions, very professional (and lucrative).

I actually made it to the gym today, and then I came home and FIL (father in law) was there! We had lunch and then I practiced for 4 hours. I think he was a little shocked, but I have the opera tomorrow (eek!) and I really needed to go over some of the wind symphony stuff. Of course I will totally wing it directing the bells Sunday, but I think I will bring them Krispy Kremes. I'm so nice I kill myself.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Can I do anything else wrong?

Today is just one of those days - after the episode with the broken down car I took the truck (nice AC, but LARGE!!!) and was finally able to get it parked at the college. Actually worked out well because Daniel and sitter could hang out in the camper.

The rehearsal went pretty well, I thought I sounded pretty good (although they tuned to the clarinet - WHAT is up with that???!!!) The director is kinda full of himself but nice, and his prep measure is ALWAYS out of time. It was really weird - he would start out really slow - like ooonnneeeeeee, twooo, three, go! By the end of the measure he would always be in time, but strange. Also he really pushed the tempos, faster than the markings (eek!) but over the course of the piece it would slow down.

Of course I had underestimated the time to get back to drop off sitter, but Jim was able to meet me in the parking lot at his work and switch cars, so he took the sitter home and then had to figure out the other dead car at the neighbor's. So I go to bells, and everyone shows up, and they play pretty well - I'm stoked! I drive the convertible home, and Jim mentions something about filling up the (dead) car - remember I mentioned in the earlier post I took my precious time to do that - and I realized in my frenzied haste I completely forgot I was driving a DIESEL! ARGH. But at least Jim knows what is wrong now - apparently it is not that big of a deal in this type of diesel - he will just suck out as much gas as he can and put in diesel fuel, he says this motor can tolerate about 25% gas in the fuel! Thank goodness it's a reletively easy fix; although the $400 car is the one to mess up if I have to mess up!

Tomorrow will be a better day!

this day keeps getting better

This morning I played for a funeral and it went FOREVER!!!! Everything was fine, but I am a bit cramped for time since I have the rehearsal with the wind symphony this afternoon (then bells!) When I went to pick up Daniel at the sitter's, my car wouldn't start! Fortunately my neighbor took me home and I guess I will drive the big truck with the camper on it - hopefully there will be gas (which I stopped and filled the traitorous car on the way home, wasting precious minutes!) Oh well, at least the truck has AC, the car I was driving did not, and no cd player, and nasty cracked windshield is just an "in-between" car to drive until Jim fixes another one. Guess that's an advantage to having 17 cars. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

college wind symphony

Wow - just got a call from the college WS director, he said he had lined up a sitter for Daniel! I can't believe he went to all that trouble, and I feel bad because I had already arranged to have someone come with us who would watch him...But what a cool thing that he went out of his way to make that arrangement. I hope he isn't mad but I just assumed he hadn't had any luck finding anyone since I hadn't heard from him in a few weeks.

Getting nervous about playing with them tomorrow - the Adams Short Ride on a Fast Machine is crazy fast!
I've been reading some other blogs that have lists of the music laying around their practice areas - cracks me up because I have piles of music on every available surface. Currently on the stand:
Humperdinck Hansel and Gretel
Mozart Oboe concerto
6 copies of You Are My Hiding Place (from last bell choir performance)
Morricone Gabriel's Oboe

On nearby floor area:
Le Tombeau de Couperin
various other excerpts - incl. Rothwell books 1,2 and 3, and Belinsky book
Bach Double concerto
Paladilhe Solo pour Hautbois
4 different cadenza sets from Mozart oboe concerto
Copland Quiet City
Vivaldi Concerto in dm

Geckler Method
pile of "classical wedding" pieces, incl. Bach Arioso, Jesu Joy, Purcell Trumpet Tune, etc.
Singer Method for oboe book 4
Everybody's Favorite Oboe Solos
Rubank Method for oboe Elementary
Hindemith Quintet
etc etc etc

Tons of programs, posters and cds.

I really need to clean this up! That can be on the project list for after this weekend!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

more more more

I was really surprised last night at how much I actually played in the Schumann First Sym. I guess that means I wasn't prepared, although I thought it went very well. So fun to finally have a second oboe - we had tons of stuff together and it made a huge difference in sound.

Today my students played on a recital - they both did great! My other guy wasn't able to play. I get nervous for them, and it is so silly but I even breathe for them! One more thing off the list.

I must practice now - I am supposed to have all these excerpts for G tomorrow, but I haven't had a moment to practice THAT, need to go through the opera and WS music. But it is a beautiful day and I would like to just lay around...we'll see if instincts overcome obligations!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Concert day!

This week has been crazy for me. But suddenly it is time for our final concert of the season, and after our dress last night, I feel a need to go over the Schumann #1 again. This was the FIRST time we had a second oboe, ever, and what a huge difference it made! Supposedly they are going to have auditions this summer - I really hope they get with the program on that. Last year we had two people switch off, and I think D figured they would do that again this year. But no one really asked these people, and oboe M decided it was too far to drive (for free) and she wanted more time with her family; and oboe A just never seemed to be available.

Interesting - oboe A used to have the principal spot, but she quit the week of a concert (before the concert) about 5 years ago. I guess the EH player (who is no longer playing with us) stepped up to play that concert - but then M told me to come audition; and I've been the principal ever since! There has been much more interest since they started paying the principals - hope they get enough to give everyone at least something.

So if they want I will offer to audition again (we don't have contracts or anything) just so oboe A doesn't feel like she is getting a raw deal, I know she really wants to play first. And she is a good player, but I can't imagine D trusting her after the episode where she left him in the lurch.

I guess I should mention that oboe C (who is playing 2nd on THIS concert) is wonderful but lives 90 miles away, so she will only come in for the final rehearsal and concerts. But hopefully she will be our EH player - this has worked out with the bass clarinet position who also lives in the same town.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

puttin it together

Yay! Someone actually CALLED ME about playing in the bell choir - she has come in for big events in the past, and she is great! I was so relieved, I had called tons of people, spent valuable time fretting (my specialty) and suddenly it was all good. If you don't know, bell choirs are essentially "one on a part" so you MUST have all the parts covered, unlike vocal choirs where there are usually multiple people on each part. This is especially troublesome in church choirs, where people don't feel a real sense of obbigation (at least in my choir) to show up! I should be fair though, MOST of my choir is great about helping out, and letting me know if they will be gone.

On other fronts, I told the little symphony I'm missing rehearsal, and my sub called and she can't come. This is a problem (for the orchestra) because the first flute is also gone (and she didn't bother to get a sub, there is a great player in town who would love to do it) and the 2nd oboe won't be there either (or 2nd bassoon). And this is concert week. *sigh* I feel guilt, but I decided I really had to go to one more Hansel and Gretel rehearsal. Too many gigs! H&G has many tempo changes (and some pretty tricky fast stuff) and I am just a sub, but this is for the big opera ($) so I really don't want to suck!

Then I was able to work out my student's recital times (how many hours was I on the phone yesterday??!) and make the programs, things are looking up. Of course I still have to get some sort of reeds going so I don't embarrass myself in the orchestra concert on Saturday - after blowing them off I'd better play perfectly in the dress/concert!

I have kind of put off practicing the wind symphony music (which is also a potentially lucrative future thing) and I haven't put the time into the big symphony sub auditions that I had hoped to - this is always the problem with auditions, the actual gigs get in the way! But fortunately they are letting me set the date, so I'll just put it off a while longer. No rush on my part!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

on my lips

After Hansel and Greteling on Sunday my lips were pretty shot, but I thought, power on! So Monday I took a lesson with G and practiced a bunch (audition freak-out, opera freak-out and windsymphony freak-out all at once) and then I had a concert at college orchestra (Prince Igor). Now my lips are in dried out medicated chapstick hell. THey actually don't feel that tired, but it is so dry here, I'm going through the little tubes of lip balm like crazy.

G had a great tool to measure air pressure while you play, very enlightening. Especially when you slur from E to A and it always seems to crack - I could have sworn I wasn't dropping pressure but the tool doesn't lie! So I'm working on the air thing and will have 4 excerpts by next week (of course the easy ones: La Scala, Tombeau, Stravinsky Cinderella, and just to be nice, Tchaik 4) There are so many parts to this audition; and of course each excerpt seems to have multiple parts of oboe hell. And big symphony just played Tombeau this weekend, so I know they will be asking for that first. *sigh*