Saturday, July 12, 2008

Payson Games

We had camped just 5 miles out of Payson near the Maple Dell Scout Camp in order to be able to get to the games in time. But, I forgot my meds, so HH graciously said he would drive back for them. He did, bless him. But the sleeping accomodations were so uncomfortable that I didn't sleep much and was pretty shaky come morning, so I blew off the parade and slept in the car until 10. By then, HH had gotten the boys up (we took Small Son and his Favorite Friend) and fed them blueberry waffles and bacon. He fed me that, too, and we cleaned up and packed up and drove to town.

The minimum pipers for a band to compete is 6. That is all we had: Dave, Andrew, Jack, Pete, Grant and me (Sande's playing bass drum this season. Yay, Sande!). So if anybody didn't show, we wouldn't be able to compete. I was afraid they would have cancelled by the time I got there, so I found Sean right away and apologized for being late and asked if we were still competing. He said yes. I also blew off my solos, as it was time to play as I arrived and I'd had no time to tune up or warm up. So I sat in the shade with my bottles of Gatorade and watched the world go by.

Then it was time to warm up for band competition. It was very crowded, so we had to circle up half on the kids playground and half on the sidewalk and go through our Quick March Medley (QMM) several times. We also went through the march in and march off several times (Thank you, Sean!) and then it was time. We circled up just off the line where you line up to start your march in, and Sean gave Last Minute Instructions: keep your blowing up cuz somebody said they could hear our drones wavering on the slow march. So I did.

And I squeaked twice.

But I didn't make ANY other mistakes. Somebody's chanter cut in early, but not mine.

We tied for 2nd place! Then they broke the tie by looking at the ensemble score (there are three judges and 3 scores: one for piping, one for drumming, and one for ensemble, or how we all play together), and White Peaks got one point higher than we did on that, so they got 2nd and we GOT THIRD!!! Yay! This is the first time the band has ever won anything since I've been playing.

Right after the competition, both Sean and Jason sat down next to me and discussed how to stop my squeaking. Jason thinks it's due to overblowing, and Sean thinks it's due to fingering. I did follow Sean's Last Minute Instructions to keep my blowing up, so it could be overblowing. I've tried to duplicate the error here at home, but can't make it squeak, no matter what I do with blowing. I was also being very careful of my fingering. So I don't know.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I guess it's a case of the best 2 out of 3.

It was overcast. I got to the DI/Fabric Store (the end of the parade) in Centerville about 0730, parked and started walking north to the start of the parade. There was a fun run happening, going my same direction. I figured somebody in a car would be along to give me a lift. Last year I parked at the beginning of the parade and was yelled at by Dennis for not having parked at the end of the parade and gotten a ride up. Well, I walked most of the mile-and-something, getting a blister on my heel that burst and bled, before Ginger, a friend of Jack's, picked me up. I did stop along the way at a Johnny-On-The-Spot because I'd had been hydrating, as per instructions of Jason and Sean, and was feeling the effects. By the time I got to the start of the parade, I had to go again, but because I was sort of late and there were no bathrooms there at all, there was nothing I could do. Got a bandaid from Erin to contain the bleeding on my heel, so that was OK. We tuned and got started. Because I was trying so hard NOT to pee, I was having a hard time focusing, and missed a cut-off for the drum break in the middle of the Mill Set, and messed up a couple of other places, like started the Mill on E when it's supposed to start on D in parades. By the time I got to the end of the parade, I was a mess. I called HH to advise, drove home, peed and changed, picked up family, and went to . . .

Park City
We were to meet at the Dan's market at 1015, but didn't finish the Centerville parade until 1000. When we pulled into the parking lot, everybody else was loaded into the two vans. I handed my pipes to Dave and squeezed onto 6" of seat next to Dennis and we were bussed to the start of the parade, Swede's Alley. More tuning, some rushing up the hill to our place, some tempers flaring about where we should wait and how much we should tune. I wish Jack and Jason would work out who's in charge. I've followed Jack's commands in the past but got yelled at by Jason because he's the pipe major and nobody else, etc, etc. No mistakes. I made all the cut-offs. I played all the tunes (except for the 9/8's). I started everything correctly. No mistakes. My family met me at the end of the parade, we strolled through Dan's getting things for lunch, me in my stockin' feet cuz my shoes were pinching my little toes, then drove up into the mountains behind Park City. It was really beautiful. I did sleep some. At home, I washed my socks and tried to sleep, but it was too hot. At 1630 left for . . .

Grant and I were the only Grade IV's that showed up. I felt sort of intimidated. Jason told us we will not be doing the Sandy parade next year, as we don't get paid for it and it's too miserably hot and long, but that Ian was mad about it and was leaving angry messages on his voicemail. He was trying to stay calm. It was still miserably hot and long, and we were again behind the motorcycle cops doing their routines in the street ahead of us, but it was still overcast and only got to 95F, and even rained some. I used sunscreen, but still got burned all over my face. My arms are just browner.

Another perfect parade. I started to mess up a couple of times in the middle of tunes, I guess because I was tired, so I just quit playing and faked it. That seemed to work. Gave me a break, anyway, and Jason didn't say anything.

Now, my face hurts and my little toes hurt and my legs hurt and my lip is swollen. Some sand fleas took advantage of my standing around tuning and bit me all over my legs. Other than that, I'm still alive, not dehydrated, not heat stroked, a little tired, and fireworkless. I'd say it went very well, and for that I am grateful.

D#2 has set her wedding date for 18 Sep 2008. We are going to look for patterns and fabric this afternoon with Amy (sister of groom) and Paula (mother of groom) and . . . somebody else? I can't remember. Small Son likes to sleep in the family room anyway, so I will let him, and will move my sewing stuff into his room and sew between calls for the next 8 weeks until all the dresses are done. It's gonna be a roller coaster ride until then!

Update: I looked in the mirror this morning and discovered I wasn't sunburned on my face at all. I must have looked in the car mirror last night when I was still flushed from exertion. But, my face still hurts a little.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I hadn't really intended to practice yesterday. I guess I hoped I would have the time. And then, voila, no meeting as Marjie is out of town. Even then I wasn't going to practice since D#2 and SS were watching a video upstairs.

So, I decided, I'll just hemp my joints cuz I noticed the chanter was getting loose at band practice. For this, I had to actually attach the chanter and see how loose it was. Then I noticed that the tape that tells me which way is front on the chanter was slipping sideways and not really doing it's job, so I removed that, too, and got all the sticky off. In order to know just where the chanter was supposed to align, I had to go out and play it to make sure my fingers would be on straight and not squeaking at every low A, so I ran through the 9/8's and the Smith's Set.


Tape just wasn't working to mark the pipe-chanter alignment, so I put marker on instead: silver for the black chanter and black for the silver . . . thingy. It'll wear off, but hopefully not until after the Payson games.

Thursday I need to wet the sponge and dry out the kitty litter. And practice.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm very afraid for Friday, the 4th of July. It's supposed to be 103F, and we have to march in 3 parades: Centerville, Park City, and Sandy. I don't want to get heat stroke again; that was miserable on 6/14.

Here are my strategies for keeping my cool:

1) wear my shirt wet from the beginning, and rewet it between every parade

2) drink a litre of gatorade before every parade, and after the last one, too

3) possibly wear my hat wet, too, just don't wring it out.

4) of course, sunscreen.

I hope it works.

Band practice was last night. I did an early chanter, and one missed cut-off, but all the rest was good. We played our set perfectly, and afterward, as Sean stood there in amazement, I whispered aside to the band, "Be careful: now he knows we can do it!" I'm going to really try to practice every day, just a little bit. I hope I can do it.

I'm very afraid, even though I AM prepared.