Thursday, December 17, 2009

Over a year?!

The jury says "Guilty." It has been over a year since I updated my already sporadic blog. My last post was after Thanksgiving 2008...we are just about at Christmas 2009-Ha! This is perhaps a very timely mirror of my life...

I love my job. I love to go to work, I love the students I work with, and I love the challenge of trying to figure out how to do my best every day. Music, as all musicians know, is an inherently time intensive profession. Nights and weekends are a given. It is a normal thing to be immersed in music related activities beyond the 9-5 (we do that too). Case in point - I am listening to Jim practice marimba right now at 9:00 at night (and he is just getting started).

Often our non-musician friends (or should I say "normal" friends) will comment on our busy schedules and it brings to mind a story from my days teaching elementary school: Once a month we would have a half day on a Wednesday when all of the teachers would get together for meetings and professional development. Our principal would often let me and the PE teachers go and work on our own area projects. One day there was a complaint and she addressed it publicly. The moral of the story: "You could have been the PE teacher." In other words we all choose our path, knowing full well what will be expected of us. When you grow up practicing, rehearsing, and performing on nights and weekends, and you know the only way to "make it" anywhere is to practice more than the next guy, it becomes a lifestyle. Of course there are times at the end of the semester when I am going to my 5th recital/concert/hearing/rehearsal in 5 nights and I dream about sitting at home with cats in my lap, but at the point where I feel a complaint at the tip of my tongue I think: "How bad can it be? This is MUSIC!" I really have nothing to complain about.

All that being said, there are times I slow down and think about balance and how important it is to recharge your battery, connect with good friends, and relax with family.

One delightful activity this fall has been Vegetarian Dinner Club. I wasn't sure how many people would bite at this idea, but after a Facebook post there were over 40 people interested! I hosted the first dinner, which was a Mediterranean theme. We had 24 people who brought the most amazing variety of foods: Smokey baba ganoush, hummus, homemade pita, spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, falafel, moroccan tagine, olives and feta, baklava, and much more! We live several hours from a Mediterranean restaurant, so all of this was made from scratch and a true treat.

Last weekend was our second potluck dinner and the theme was Indian! It was hosted by a new friend who lived in India for awhile so he treated us to some very authentic and delicious foods. Everything was mouthwatering. I finally found my ideal Sag Paneer recipe. Great food. Great friends. Pure joy.

Soon we leave for St. Louis to visit with Jim's family, and in January we are off to Las Vegas for a couple days. I am looking forward to this break and hope it will bring the scales back to balanced once again. Who knows? Maybe I'll even make another blog post....Well, probably not. :-) Happy Holidays!

P.S. In reading this over I got to the part about "bring the scales back to balance" and I suddenly got the urge to go practice scales. See? What did I tell ya?