Monday, December 05, 2016

The Power of Punctuation



From my neighbors to the north.
This is huge!
I have no words!
Counting the days!


From my neighbors to the north.
This is huge.
I have no words.
Counting the days.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The Nightmare Before Christmas. Opus 2



Twas a night in December, and all through the house
no musicians were present (can't speak for the mouse).
The dress blacks were gone, no cuff links were there.
You'd have thought we'd been chased out, then eaten by bears.

Other folk were nestled all snug in their beds, 
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
We had no concert kerchiefs. No symphonic caps.
Musicians know nothing 'bout long winter's naps.

For ever December our lives seemed to shatter,
It's always the same. The year doesn't matter.
In dreams, to each concert I flew like a flash,
and hoped I had music -- there was a large stash.

Each night a new program and music, and so
I hoped and I prayed they were pieces I'd know.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a hundred new scores that all filled me with fear.

"Now high notes! Now low notes!
Now, difficult diction!
On codas!  Cadenzas!
Now sing with conviction!
To the top of the scale,
To the back of the hall!
Now sing louder, Sing louder, 
Sing louder all!

As dry throats that before the wild holidays fly,
they wiped out our mid-range.   We started to cry.
so up to the drugstore our old Chevy flew,
with a handful of cash, and three-fourths of our crew.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the preening and boasting of basses who goof
As I channeled my dread and was turning around,
a million sopranos shrieked out, "Homeward Bound".

One was dressed all in fur, from her head to her foot,
and her clothes were expensive.  On credit cards put.  
She had a poor flunky, a spine he did lack,
and paid for it dearly when notes he did crack.

Her eyes, they were wicked.  Her manners, not merry.
Her cheeks burned like lava, her nose in the air-y.
Her red lipsticked mouth was drawn up like a bow
that had want of an arrow for fierceness to show.
The heads of her foes she held tight in her teeth,
and the hairspray encircled her head like a wreath.
She had a thin face, and a much thinner belly,
or so you should say, lest she claim you were smelly.

She was bossy and mean, a right nasty old elf,
and I knew to steer clear, to protect my tired self.
A twitch of her eye, and a twist of her head
meant "shut up right now, or else you'll be dead."

She spoke not a word, but sang every work
and stole all the solos, like a really huge jerk.
Then, slaying an alto and several maestros,
she finally finished and struck quite a pose.

She bowed ninety times, and the crowd gave a whistle,
but no one could leave. There was not a dismissal.
But I heard her exclaim, 'ere she hogged the limelight,
"You all come back now for The Queen of the Night!"

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Check, Please








This popped up today on my Facebook "memories" page.  Normally I skip all the memory stuff, but today I happened to scroll through and as soon as I saw this picture I practically screamed YES. My daughter's response when I posted this last year was: We should check.  We should check right now. Truer words were never spoken. A year later?  We should still check.  Tomorrow?  We should still check.  We should check right now.

The beach seems to be a place where I can consider my life: past, present and future.  It invites me to sit, slow down and just be.  If I'm not ready, the ocean quietly yet insistently asks me to reconsider.  Again and again and again, with each breaking wave, it wears me down, convincing me to breathe in peace and breathe out the toxicity of everyday life.  

Once in sync with my surroundings, I dig my feet into the sand and will my toes to be strong enough to root my body and soul to this tenuous spot.  But no matter how hard I try, I know my time at the beach is temporary, so it's important that I cherish every second in this special place.

With no distractions but sand and waves, I notice everything:  Dolphins playing in the ocean, ghost crabs scuttling on the shore, and seagulls gliding over the ever-shifting dividing line between land and sea, searching for that next snack.  I'm a stranger in their home, and yet they accept me without second thought. A lone kite flying over the dunes seems to say, "There's always room for one more."  I'm so grateful for that.

The power of the ocean lies just beneath the intoxicating beauty of the surface.  It takes very little to be reminded how how weak and insignificant we are.  The ocean teaches us to remain aware and never turn our backs to danger.  It reminds us that sometimes it's better to duck and let the fury pass over you.  Approach with caution, and respect your surroundings.

The answer may not be at the beach, 
but peace, appreciation, acceptance, and respect are there.

These might be all the tools we need.

I think we should go check.



For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
It's always ourselves we find at the sea.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Beyond the Ledger Lines


Dear Melanie,

In two weeks, it will be graduation day.  And what a ride it's been.

It’s been four and a half years of everything college has to offer.  From dorms and cafeterias to apartments and roommates.   From late-night study sessions to Halloween craziness.  From tears and broken hearts to joys and wild successes.  You’ve seen it all, and come through on the other side, not just intact, but better.

Over these years you have grown, and you’ve learned how to navigate university red tape, apartment leases, and dealing with roommates, colleagues and professors.  Although there is no formal class, you have earned a great many credits in adulting.  And yes, although it’s not a real word, it is a way of living that, as unglamorous as it sometimes is, you do with more skill, less hesitation, and definitely less fear.  Be aware that this is a life-long course.  There will always be things you don’t know, but there are others who do.  Never be afraid to seek them out and ask. 

Your graduation regalia includes the pink tassel, representing the academic discipline, music.  I know it’s not your favorite color, but wear it proudly.  It represents the hard work, fierce dedication, and well-deserved accomplishments you've gained in the field you love absolutely and unconditionally. Hold onto that love and remember how far you've come, because, as you well know, this isn't an easy road.

You will find yourself explaining your choices and defending your career path.  There will be inane professional questions: Why that dress? Why those shoes?  Why is your hair up instead of down?  Why is your hair down instead of up? Why that aria?  Why that teacher?  Why that school?   There will be dismissive questions along the lines of, "but WHAT can you do with a music degree?"  People will tease you and make little jokes and then say they're just kidding.  But those little jabs hurt, and quickly become tiresome.  Be prepared for punchline where you ask people if they'd like fries.  It's as unfunny as the trope those who can, do, and those who cannot, teach and the extraordinarily wearisome it's not over until the fat lady sings.  The temptation will be to counterattack, but don't bother.  

Instead, live the life you know you are meant to live.  For many people, music is a hobby.  For you, music is an integral part of who you are.  Never apologize for that and never feel that this thing that brings you so much happiness is any less worthy of a degree than business or medicine or science.

We live in a world that is insistent on measuring things and calculating their worth.  We itemize, prioritize, and make action plans based on the bottom line of a ledger sheet.  Dollar signs are the universal language of the world, and money not only speaks, it also makes decisions for us.  But music doesn't work that way.  Yes, musicians like to make a living like everyone else, but it isn't the primary reason we are called to this field.  You've been told by some very important people, "we don't pick music, music picks us," and it's true.  We are musicians because for us, it is as important as food, air, and water.  It's how we express ourselves and how we communicate with others.  It's our tool for bringing people together.  In music, we share an experience, tell a story, encourage imagination, memory, and empathy, bring hope, joy and comfort, and ultimately, through this shared experience, strengthen our sense of community.

So, don't be bound by the ledger lines.  Listen to that still small voice.  It has served you well for all these years, and I have every faith that you will continue to make decisions and follow a path that speaks to you and what you value the most.  Everyone knows the saying, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  But as you look ahead to what comes next, maybe you should flip the script and remember: Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also.



Thursday, December 01, 2016

Happy Holidailies


It had been so long, I forgot the URL.
I was surprised to discover I had changed it to a "dot net" address.
I'd like to think I remember doing that, but I really don't.

It had been so long, the domain name expired.
Just yesterday, but still.
I found the email where they asked me to renew it, but I hadn't even opened it.
It was buried, with everything else unread.

I scrolled through my entries that have gotten drastically thinner over the years.
With today's entry, my count for 2016 will be..... one.
It won't take much to beat all of 2015 which topped out at a whopping 5.
I'm a far cry from the 660 posts in 2007 or the 932 posts in 2004.
Did I have that much to say then?  Why don't I now?

It's easier when kids are small.
When the days are filled with stories and adventures,
and it's fun to retell the darndest things that have been said,
that become both family legend and blogging fodder.
Still, time marches on, and rightly so.  Things aren't supposed to be the same forever.
But December 1, 2016 is a world away from September 21, 2003, when this all began.

I no longer mark the years by lost teeth or school dances,
and while (at least in my family) there are always darndest things being said,
they are much more adult in nature.  Some funny.  Some serious. Some devastatingly sad.
And as I sit today to write a post, I'm still very aware of one thing:
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Maintaining a balance between public story telling and private life living
is something I take very seriously.

So here we are nearing the end of the year.
It hasn't been kind to a lot of people.
The world is louder than ever.  Angrier too.
I don't want to add to the noise, but I don't want to be silent.
And now, maybe more than ever (and maybe this is just for my sanity)
I have to remember and acknowledge and say out loud:
There are good things.
There are good people.

Thank you, Holidailies.
Even on the first day of December in the last month of 2016
when uncertainty seems to be the only thing I can count on,
You're there to remind me that my words don't need to be noise,
And a thoughtful voice still makes a sound that can be heard.
We've done this dance for many years, you and I,
and although I think it's fool's task to recreate the spirit of Blog-posts past, I'm OK with that.
Now isn't then.  It's not supposed to be.
I'm ready to accept the challenge of finding my today-voice and writing my today-stories.

....and post.

Friday, December 04, 2015

The Gentle Art of Persuasion


BUT SOFT, WHAT EMAIL THROUGH YONDER WINDOWS (7) BREAKS?  
IT IS DECEMBER AND THE SALES BEGIN AT DAWN.

Here are actual opening phrases found in the subject headings of emails still (and probably forever) unopened, in my Inbox.  It's easy to be annoyed, but it's much more fun to laugh.

From my friends at Sears, who specialize in passive-aggression

  • PLEASE OPEN ASAP! 
  • A special surprise!
  • NO JOKE
  • Psst... Friendly reminder
  • OMG (What?!)
  • Did you forget?  
  • (We're serious!)

From my friends at eBay, who just want to be my buddy, guy.
  • Here's an invite!
  • To: You, From: Us!
  • You're in!

From Gardeners Supply, who attempted a pun, then went for full-on guilt
  • Have a Crate Christmas
  • Come back!

From Best Buy, who wins the Grim Reaper award
  • It's Your Last Day!

From Expedia, who employs a Jekyll & Hyde-type strategy
  • Yay!
  • Oh no!
  • Woo-Hoo!
  • Uh-oh!
  • Calling all travelers!
  • Beware, all travelers!
  • Lucky you!
  • OMG Alert!

From Petco, who is convinced I'm too slow for their liking.
  • Run, Don't Walk!
  • Hurry!
  • You Have Until the Stroke of Midnight!
  • The Clock is Ticking
  • THIS. IS. IT.


But despite all the holiday hustle and bustle, it's clear that E! Online remembers the one true reason for the season.
  • Kylie Jenner shows her butt!


Happy December, y'all!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Thinnest Line







One word
Three lives
separated by the thinnest of margins

One Wants
It is consumed with resentment, jealousy, and rage.
It lashes out,
blind to the damage and loss left in the wake
of the fight for what it doesn't have.
There is no consideration of the terrible cost.
Justifications rain down through the destruction it created.
There is never enough.

One Surrenders
It is overwhelmed by sorrow, disbelief, and anger.
It weeps again and again
tears of betrayal, thought to have been fully spent the last time.
Hearts ache
Words of explanation echo dully while 
Words of consolation are impossible to form.
Was it only yesterday?
This enough is too much.

One Lives
It is satisfied with life on this thin line
that separates the too much with the not enough
It dances lightly and breathes contentedly.
It lives a life marked by love and grace.
It is full and rich.
It is enough.

Tell Pharaoh to stop the wars and set the captives free
There is enough.
Call Elijah from the mountain and comfort him
There is enough.
Stop and look around you.
From the starry heavens to the immense earth, beauty surrounds you.
Look in the eyes of neighbor, friend and stranger and see
that life on the thinnest of lines
is enough.



Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Love the One You're With



Over the many years I've taught singers, I've been a big advocate for songs.  Not any particular song
(though I have my favorites, to be sure) but just, songs.  All of them.  One my my familiar studio speeches is to have my students love the song for what it is.  That is to say, figure out what the composer wanted to express, and then appreciate the message for what it is, and convey it the best way possible.  But make no mistake -- even if you love the song for what it is, you don't have to love the song at all.  You don't even have to like it.  But what you do have to do is understand it and then convey the thoughts and feelings behind it.  To do this convincingly, one must have a wide set of musical skills.  But beyond that lies a greater challenge: the ability to study, learn, and perform any song with a great sense of empathy.

Empathy.  The understanding and sharing of the emotions and experiences of another person.

This is a concept that has been on the decline for quite some time.  The ability to set your feelings aside and consider those of others.  The ability to articulate and share the emotions of someone else.  The ability to share the experiences of someone else.  It's the polar opposite of selfie and in this increasingly self-promotional, hyper-politicized world, I have to admit that I really miss it.

To have empathy for something or someone doesn't mean putting yourself aside.  It doesn't mean you are less important or weak.  Quite the opposite, I think.  It means you are strong enough to look outside your own orbit and recognize there are other thoughts, other people, and other paths.  It might not be your path, or your thought, and that's OK.  In my studio a song might not be your favorite.  Maybe the problem is the poem.  Or the composer.  Or the music.  Maybe the song is too happy. Or sad. Or silly. Or somber. Or long. Or short.  Or boring.  Or weird.  Or atonal. Or monotonous.  It doesn't really matter what too it is.  There are a million reasons not to like something, and generally one  is more than enough for most people.  But when you approach anything with a sense of empathy, you allow yourself the opportunity to step beyond your orbit of existence.  You allow yourself to experience the the feelings and stories of others.  You allow yourself to hear their songs.  You give yourself the chance to understand.

You don't have to love it.  You don't even have to like it.  But to perform with a sense of empathy makes anyone a better artist.  And to live with a sense of empathy makes the world a much kinder place.


One of my least favorite songs.
But I love Purcell, and I have to imagine that
his composition made someone happy for whatever reason that may be.
And so, if asked, I would sing this song with great joy and imagine
my two most favorite words in the whole wide world are "Nymphs and Shepherds"
because they are repeated 95 bazillion times in 2 minutes.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Unconscious Mutterings

I say :: and you think ...

1.  Your point :: is?
2.  Scarf :: winter
3.  Termite :: wood
4.  Willing :: the spirit is
5.  Silk :: scarf
6.  Center :: of attention
7.  Flash :: never works
8.  Warehouse :: crime scene
9.  Costume :: NO
10. Candy corn :: gross


Been awhile, eh?  And guess what?  This was last week's list.  Maybe, just maybe I'll do two today.

#nanoblogmo
#needsanicon
#supershortstillcounts
#imstillhere

Unconscious Mutterings

I say :: and you think ...

1.  Your point :: is?
2.  Scarf :: winter
3.  Termite :: wood
4.  Willing :: the spirit is
5.  Silk :: scarf
6.  Center :: of attention
7.  Flash :: never works
8.  Warehouse :: crime scene
9.  Costume :: NO
10. Candy corn :: gross


Been awhile, eh?  And guess what?  This was last week's list.  Maybe, just maybe I'll do two today.

#nanoblogmo
#needsanicon
#supershortstillcounts
#imstillhere

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ice, Ice Baby. Part 3

Day 8.  I won the Pioneer Spirit certificate. Everybody gets a prize!
"Lucky octopus turned out to be as effective as local utility company. Just Googled "things that come in 9s". Welcome to Dante's nine levels of hell."  #endofdayeight #reallynotfunny
Meanwhile, things were an even bigger mess (if that was possible) with the BWL. The number of outages started increasing rather than decreasing, and that wasn't due to worsening weather.  It was due to the fact that NOBODY HAD POWER.


As power was slowly being restored (somewhere) customers were actually instructed to leave their lights on to show that they had power.  Why they thought driving down every road in a 50 mile radius was an effective way of determining outages, I'll never know.


But at least we got a new OUTRAGE map.


Day 9. On the 9th calendar day, and into the 10th 24-hour period, we finally saw the light.
"And lo, on the 9th day, The Lord got sick and tired of the whining, and he bestowed upon the land the Holy Transformer of Antioch, and said it was good. And at the end of the 9th day, there were lights and heat and all manners of comfort. And he said it was good.
There are so many people to thank who helped us, encouraged us, calmed us, sympathized with us, REPAIRED THE TRANSFORMER, hunted down utility trucks, bribed exhausted crews, tended to pets and to the home, dealt with the garage and everything else in between. You were our lifeline and our lifesavers time and time and time again.
The nightmare is over for us, but we're standing in solidarity with those still without power. "Endoftheninthdayforsome  #Timeforthistoend

Amazingly, and sadly, others were without power longer than we were.  And once power was restored across the grid, as it were, the story got interesting, and the people got very, VERY angry.



 
 






Ice, Ice Baby. Part 3

Day 8.  I won the Pioneer Spirit certificate. Everybody gets a prize!
"Lucky octopus turned out to be as effective as local utility company. Just Googled "things that come in 9s". Welcome to Dante's nine levels of hell."  #endofdayeight #reallynotfunny
Meanwhile, things were an even bigger mess (if that was possible) with the BWL. The number of outages started increasing rather than decreasing, and that wasn't due to worsening weather.  It was due to the fact that NOBODY HAD POWER.


As power was slowly being restored (somewhere) customers were actually instructed to leave their lights on to show that they had power.  Why they thought driving down every road in a 50 mile radius was an effective way of determining outages, I'll never know.


But at least we got a new OUTRAGE map.


Day 9. On the 9th calendar day, and into the 10th 24-hour period, we finally saw the light.
"And lo, on the 9th day, The Lord got sick and tired of the whining, and he bestowed upon the land the Holy Transformer of Antioch, and said it was good. And at the end of the 9th day, there were lights and heat and all manners of comfort. And he said it was good.
There are so many people to thank who helped us, encouraged us, calmed us, sympathized with us, REPAIRED THE TRANSFORMER, hunted down utility trucks, bribed exhausted crews, tended to pets and to the home, dealt with the garage and everything else in between. You were our lifeline and our lifesavers time and time and time again.
The nightmare is over for us, but we're standing in solidarity with those still without power. "Endoftheninthdayforsome  #Timeforthistoend

Amazingly, and sadly, others were without power longer than we were.  And once power was restored across the grid, as it were, the story got interesting, and the people got very, VERY angry.



 
 






Ice, Ice Baby. Part 2


Day 4. No power. No miracle. But incredibly grateful.
"Still very cold and very dark at home. Grateful tonight for family, warmth and light. Merry Christmas to all."
After Day 4, it was impossible to know what to do or how to feel, so life was a mixture of humor, despair, anger and worry.  The interesting thing was, between the three of us, we somehow managed to never all be angry or depressed at the same time.  It was as if we had silently agreed that one of us would be the voice of optimism to help the others 
"For those of you playing along at home, cue the sad trombone music. Despite it all, we were grateful for a warm sleep last night with family, and are mindful of what we DO have, even while we wish, pray, and yes, grumble loudly for what we don't. Merry Christmas, everyone."  #whereslinus #lightsplease
Day 5.  The situation was incredibly difficult, and no matter how we felt, none of it helped.  We had no power, and we were powerless.
"Knock, knock. Who's there? Not electricity."  #notfunny
Day 6.  No end in sight.  Nothing in sight.  It's dark.
"Answer: no.  Question: do I have power, patience, heat, any viable groceries, or hope?" #endofdaysix #bythistimegodwasgettingreadytorest
Humor, when we could manage it or stumble across it, was a savior.  Twitter came to the rescue as some genius made a fake BWL account (Board of Water and Light) to keep us updated in the manner that we were, thus far, accustomed, which meant, not at all.  Thank God for sarcasm.





Day 7. Now what?  It was hard to keep saying the same thing over and over again, but all that was happening was the same thing over and over again.
"My house has been declared an Amish-only zone.  Cats are currently growing long bears and learning to craft quality furniture."  #endofdayseven #buyingluckyoctapustomorrow
The biggest problem (aside from the whole ice and electricity thing) was the abysmal lack of communication.  For example, we were told not to call BWL to let them know that the power was out because they already knew exactly where all the outages were.  That would later be classified as a pants-on-fire lie.


The next thing missing was the lack of any sort of outage map which would show people where the outages were, or in other words, provide visual proof that BWL knew where the outages were.  But, since they really didn't know, nor had any mechanism for constructing such a thing, an outage map never happened.


However, we DID get an OUTRAGE map, which was amazing.


One week gone. What next?








Ice, Ice Baby. Part 2


Day 4. No power. No miracle. But incredibly grateful.
"Still very cold and very dark at home. Grateful tonight for family, warmth and light. Merry Christmas to all."
After Day 4, it was impossible to know what to do or how to feel, so life was a mixture of humor, despair, anger and worry.  The interesting thing was, between the three of us, we somehow managed to never all be angry or depressed at the same time.  It was as if we had silently agreed that one of us would be the voice of optimism to help the others 
"For those of you playing along at home, cue the sad trombone music. Despite it all, we were grateful for a warm sleep last night with family, and are mindful of what we DO have, even while we wish, pray, and yes, grumble loudly for what we don't. Merry Christmas, everyone."  #whereslinus #lightsplease
Day 5.  The situation was incredibly difficult, and no matter how we felt, none of it helped.  We had no power, and we were powerless.
"Knock, knock. Who's there? Not electricity."  #notfunny
Day 6.  No end in sight.  Nothing in sight.  It's dark.
"Answer: no.  Question: do I have power, patience, heat, any viable groceries, or hope?" #endofdaysix #bythistimegodwasgettingreadytorest
Humor, when we could manage it or stumble across it, was a savior.  Twitter came to the rescue as some genius made a fake BWL account (Board of Water and Light) to keep us updated in the manner that we were, thus far, accustomed, which meant, not at all.  Thank God for sarcasm.





Day 7. Now what?  It was hard to keep saying the same thing over and over again, but all that was happening was the same thing over and over again.
"My house has been declared an Amish-only zone.  Cats are currently growing long bears and learning to craft quality furniture."  #endofdayseven #buyingluckyoctapustomorrow
The biggest problem (aside from the whole ice and electricity thing) was the abysmal lack of communication.  For example, we were told not to call BWL to let them know that the power was out because they already knew exactly where all the outages were.  That would later be classified as a pants-on-fire lie.


The next thing missing was the lack of any sort of outage map which would show people where the outages were, or in other words, provide visual proof that BWL knew where the outages were.  But, since they really didn't know, nor had any mechanism for constructing such a thing, an outage map never happened.


However, we DID get an OUTRAGE map, which was amazing.


One week gone. What next?








Ice, Ice Baby. Part 1


The one-year anniversary of day 1 was December 22nd.  It was a Sunday morning, a huge church music morning (Lessons and Carols) and we got an ENORMOUS (caps-lock, bold, leaned over) ice storm.  I woke up several times during the night thinking I was hearing things, and at about 4 am I was playing window monitor, trying to figure out where all the noise was coming from.

The answer was, it was coming from the ice.  Breaking things.  Mostly trees.  Which then broke other things. 

I could see periodic flashes of blue in the sky just barely over the tops of trees.  If that would have been Northern Lights, I would have oohed and ahhhed for quite awhile, because it was strangely beautiful.  But I knew it wasn't The Northern Lights. It was transformers that were exploding.

The ice was causing branches to break and trees to fall which took out power lines and transformers, and consequently, the electricity.  At about 5 am we thought maybe we should open the garage and free the cars just in case.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions we made.  At 5:15 am we lost power.  And thus it began.  Day 1.

At first we were good humored about the entire situation.  From Facebook:

"Obligatory post about losing power.  Slight annoyance that across the street seems fine. Major win that we opened the garage 20 minutes earlier.  Wondering about church, knowing cleanliness will NOT be next to godliness. 

All weather considered, church turned out to be a rather heart-warming event.  Despite the fact that an overwhelming percentage had lost power, the choir turned up en masse, and sang our traditional service of Advent and Christmas music.  It was as if nobody was going to miss this Sunday, no matter the weather.  We returned home hoping for the best but expecting the worst.  We got the worst.  But still, we kept a good attitude.  We'd rough it out for the night, wear lots of extra clothes to bed and be surprised in the morning with the roaring heat and blinding lights.  From Facebook that night:
"Power update.  Still none.  Looks like I'm going to make good use of my hoarders stash of candles."
That was another fortuitous event.  I had been forever working on cleaning the basement, and had run across of an obscene number of candles.  I had previously gathered them all together and stashed them in a plastic bin.  Thank Goodness.

Day 2 brought nothing.  No power.  No heat, and now the temperature had plummeted and it was COLD. Luckily (which one never says on a Monday), it was Monday so I headed to work (no use staying home and freezing) with every electronic device possible.  With two days until Christmas, all things considered, the mood was still optimistic and upbeat.
"Why yes, I do look like I got dressed in the dark, but the upside is it's warm and not dark at work and I'm busy charging a pile of electronics.  #LemonadeOutofLemons"
 and later....
"I have achieved master ninja level in finding the only available electrical outlet in any given public establishment.  #ChargeItUp
This was starting to become a challenge. Working at the University meant work closed down at 5pm due to the holidays, so I couldn't stay late, and warm and lit.  We began to travel to different locations with a bag that was stocked with the essentials: a multi-plug power strip, a massive tangle of cords, and every electronic device necessary.  We'd find a restaurant, find an outlet and charge up phones and tablets so we could communicate with the world.  It was annoying, but at least we had contact.  And believe me, we weren't the only ones.  The power outage had crippled the city, not to mention much of the state.

The only thing missing from this picture are all the phones,
which were in our cold, communication-starved hands.

Meanwhile at home, the cats were NOT amused.  They seemed resigned to the situation, assumed a cranky attitude and just hunkered down on the bed, glaring but not moving.  For once I was grateful that they were the hairiest beasts known to man, figuring that had to help because the house was really, really cold.  And dark.

As bad as the cold was, the darkness made it worse because by 5pm it was DARK. There was only so much my candlepalooza was able to do, and even with candlelight, what was there to do but look at each other being miserable?  So, we went to bed really early and just hoped for the best.

Day 3.  Christmas Eve.  No power.  This was no longer an adventure.
"That was the most realistic dream I've ever had. Dammit." #StillNoPower
"You may now call me 'travels with power strip.'"
"They always warn you about carbon monoxide poisoning, but never about the toxic fumes from competing scented candles."  #woozy  #whiffy
We gave up being hearty adventurer's on Christmas Eve night, and after late church, we headed to stay with family, and fell asleep, hoping for a Christmas miracle.


Ice, Ice Baby. Part 1


The one-year anniversary of day 1 was December 22nd.  It was a Sunday morning, a huge church music morning (Lessons and Carols) and we got an ENORMOUS (caps-lock, bold, leaned over) ice storm.  I woke up several times during the night thinking I was hearing things, and at about 4 am I was playing window monitor, trying to figure out where all the noise was coming from.

The answer was, it was coming from the ice.  Breaking things.  Mostly trees.  Which then broke other things. 

I could see periodic flashes of blue in the sky just barely over the tops of trees.  If that would have been Northern Lights, I would have oohed and ahhhed for quite awhile, because it was strangely beautiful.  But I knew it wasn't The Northern Lights. It was transformers that were exploding.

The ice was causing branches to break and trees to fall which took out power lines and transformers, and consequently, the electricity.  At about 5 am we thought maybe we should open the garage and free the cars just in case.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions we made.  At 5:15 am we lost power.  And thus it began.  Day 1.

At first we were good humored about the entire situation.  From Facebook:

"Obligatory post about losing power.  Slight annoyance that across the street seems fine. Major win that we opened the garage 20 minutes earlier.  Wondering about church, knowing cleanliness will NOT be next to godliness. 

All weather considered, church turned out to be a rather heart-warming event.  Despite the fact that an overwhelming percentage had lost power, the choir turned up en masse, and sang our traditional service of Advent and Christmas music.  It was as if nobody was going to miss this Sunday, no matter the weather.  We returned home hoping for the best but expecting the worst.  We got the worst.  But still, we kept a good attitude.  We'd rough it out for the night, wear lots of extra clothes to bed and be surprised in the morning with the roaring heat and blinding lights.  From Facebook that night:
"Power update.  Still none.  Looks like I'm going to make good use of my hoarders stash of candles."
That was another fortuitous event.  I had been forever working on cleaning the basement, and had run across of an obscene number of candles.  I had previously gathered them all together and stashed them in a plastic bin.  Thank Goodness.

Day 2 brought nothing.  No power.  No heat, and now the temperature had plummeted and it was COLD. Luckily (which one never says on a Monday), it was Monday so I headed to work (no use staying home and freezing) with every electronic device possible.  With two days until Christmas, all things considered, the mood was still optimistic and upbeat.
"Why yes, I do look like I got dressed in the dark, but the upside is it's warm and not dark at work and I'm busy charging a pile of electronics.  #LemonadeOutofLemons"
 and later....
"I have achieved master ninja level in finding the only available electrical outlet in any given public establishment.  #ChargeItUp
This was starting to become a challenge. Working at the University meant work closed down at 5pm due to the holidays, so I couldn't stay late, and warm and lit.  We began to travel to different locations with a bag that was stocked with the essentials: a multi-plug power strip, a massive tangle of cords, and every electronic device necessary.  We'd find a restaurant, find an outlet and charge up phones and tablets so we could communicate with the world.  It was annoying, but at least we had contact.  And believe me, we weren't the only ones.  The power outage had crippled the city, not to mention much of the state.

The only thing missing from this picture are all the phones,
which were in our cold, communication-starved hands.

Meanwhile at home, the cats were NOT amused.  They seemed resigned to the situation, assumed a cranky attitude and just hunkered down on the bed, glaring but not moving.  For once I was grateful that they were the hairiest beasts known to man, figuring that had to help because the house was really, really cold.  And dark.

As bad as the cold was, the darkness made it worse because by 5pm it was DARK. There was only so much my candlepalooza was able to do, and even with candlelight, what was there to do but look at each other being miserable?  So, we went to bed really early and just hoped for the best.

Day 3.  Christmas Eve.  No power.  This was no longer an adventure.
"That was the most realistic dream I've ever had. Dammit." #StillNoPower
"You may now call me 'travels with power strip.'"
"They always warn you about carbon monoxide poisoning, but never about the toxic fumes from competing scented candles."  #woozy  #whiffy
We gave up being hearty adventurer's on Christmas Eve night, and after late church, we headed to stay with family, and fell asleep, hoping for a Christmas miracle.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Best Is Yet to Come


There are days when I can and will gut it out late at night to get my post completed.  And then there are days like today where, after 40 minutes of nodding off at my desk and not being able to form complete sentences, it's just better to make the post short and sweet and come back fighting tomorrow.  So, a thousand pardons.  I have a topic, and I have two paragraphs or so, so that's better than nothing.

In the meantime, enjoy some holiday images and pay no attention to me while I collapse.


One of the reasons I'm so tired?
Today was taco Tuesday.
On a Wednesday.
Taco Twednesday?



This is me right now.
And two hours ago.
And six hours ago.
As long as it isn't two hours from now,
it's all good.



This is also me right now
in the form of an exhausted yet lovable cuddly polar bear.
Or, maybe this is my Petronus.
Expecto Patronum?


More tomorrow.  And dang it, it's already tomorrow.