Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Band Practice 1/27/09

This was a fun practice (even though we worked hard) for several reasons:

First, Mindy showed up. I've missed Mindy. (Dave's wife) She isn't a categorizable (if that's a word) person. Somebody you don't want to miss meeting in your life.

Second, Dave gave me a cheat sheet of the concert tunes with tiny little first measures on it, actual notes, not cantereachd! AND. It was laminated. This is the coolest thing. I love tiny things.

Third, everybody was nice to Dan and Karen, new recruits, and included them in the jokes and conversation.

SOAP BOX: Fellowshipping has greatly improved since I was a new recruit, but it will really help people to keep coming back to practices if we make friends with them one-on-one, not ignore them (as I was back in the day), and if we do all the other things such as we did last night. Sometimes I think it was only pig-headedness and stupidity that kept me coming back. I was GOING to learn to pipe, come what may . . .

Fourth, Matt our bass-drummer-for-the-year, also showed up. Turns out he and Sean attended the same college and were in the same degree program, so they talked physics during the break, extending said break longer than normal.

Fifth, and most important, I did good. I played well, getting 99% of the notes right, most of the timing right. Yay!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ugh! Still sick. Stayed home from church and slept all day.

The only piping thing I did was work on our Piper's Ghost puzzle, which it turns out, is missing 1/3 of the pieces.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Practice Victory . . . (sort of)

Yesterday, Friday, I insisted on practicing. And so I did. For about . . . . .

. . . wait for it . . .

40 minutes!!!

HH was wondering if I would ever be done. I ran through all the tunes for the recital and concert, but they need a lot more running through.

I was all psyched for practicing today. But in the middle of the night last night, I started feeling horrible, and I knew I was doomed. I woke up with a scratchy, gunky throat, plogged sinuses and a headache. I didn't even take the kids to swimming lessons. I took some meds, went back to bed and slept until 11:00. I tried going out to DI for some PJ's, but halfway through the trip I got dizzy and had to go home. So no hope of practicing today on pipes.

I'll try PC.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Getting Ready for the Recital

This will be my fifth recital, by the way.  For my first one in 2005 I played the Mill on the PC.  If I had known any more I would have melted into the ground with embarrassment.   

Recital performances for me have not been stellar.  Two years ago I tried some tune or other and just as I stepped up onto the center front of the stage, my chanter reed gave up the ghost.  Every time I hit a high G or A, it squealed some other 2-octaves-higher note as loudly as it could.  People in the audience looked at one another and wondered if they should laugh or cry.  I carried on, but the tune I had picked was filled with high Gs and As.  It was another meltdown.

Last year I tried Brogues on the Cobbles.  I had worked very hard on the last, most difficult part, and got it down perfectly.  And played it perfectly in the recital, too, I hasten to add.  But I had spent so much time on Part IV that when I got to Part III my mind went blank.  I don't know what I played, but it wasn't what was written.  Meltdown.

I'm supposed to be improving.  I'm actually just making bigger and more terrible mistakes.

So anyway, guess what tune the Grade IV Band-Ready group is playing for its piece for this year's recital?   Uh-huh.  Brogues.  I'm hoping to get all the parts right, for the sake of my classmates, if for nothing else.  My own solo tune is the one I melted down on at the Jackson Games last summer with Catherine drumming.   I think I'm setting myself up for failure.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Accept All Comments, Sincere or Otherwise.

The United States of America has a new president, the first African-American president in it's history. It's pretty amazing.

Band practice was last night. Pete handled the first hour. We tuned up a little and ran through the Mill Set and Donald McLean. We had Karen and Dan with us last night, for their first time, and they only had McCallum chanters, which ruined our beautiful tones (LOL). They were asked to play PC's and were promised Gale chanters on Thursday. Still no jewel tones.

Sean showed up at 8pm and we went into tuning in detail. Poor Lee, who had taken his pipes to England and Scotland, must have gotten an fantome in the chanter, because nothing Sean did made Lee's pipes sound acceptable. After we had gotten "mostly" in tune, we went through Green Hills/Battle's O'er and Minstrel Boy/Wearin' O' the Green and somethingelseIforgetwhat. We were given tune lists for the concert (which I left in my pocket and put into the laundry), but it was mostly sets I know (except for Donald McLean, which needs some work; so much that I didn't even play it last night).

Afterwards I approached Sean to advise him that I wouldn't be at band practice between the 2nd and the 12th of February (I was able to NOT tell him the reason and he didn't ask). He said I should be OK, I was playing very well.
"I'm gonna write that down!" I said.
"Oh, you are playing as well as some of the Grade III's. . . except you let your nerves get the best of you," replied Sean.

I then started talking too much, so I won't go into the rest, but . . . hey! As good as a Grade III!! Cool. If I can just get my confidence up . . . It's getting better, but not perfect. Those stupid butterflies that live in my stomach!

I got a new digital camera on Monday, so hopefully more pics will be in this blog. Hopefully.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Missionary Blues

We took Daughter #1 to the Missionary Training Center yesterday at 1100 hours.

I cried myself to sleep on Tuesday night and woke up feeling waterlogged and swollen. I made it through the breakfast buffet at the Grand America 4* hotel (ooooooo!) and the drive to Provo, and the dropping off of the bag, but as soon as we sat down in the chapel at the MTC and they started showing those 'spend time with your family' commercials, I was struggling to keep the lump down and the tears in. In the end, we all cried but we walked away, too. Now she is off on her great adventure.

Which is, I'm thinking, the biggest problem for me.

RoseE has been more than just a daughter to me. For the past 23 years, we have shared 2 relationships: mother-daughter and friends, We have shared every book and adventure (sometimes second hand, in the telling) with each other. Even when she went to college, and then later worked at the French Language Camp, I shared in the adventure, because I have been to both of those in her same capacity. We share the same two languages.

But this is an adventure that I cannot share. I have never been on a mission, and I will never be able to learn Korean anywhere near as well as she will. I am left behind, for the first time in our friendship.

I think this is the main reason that I feel like I am losing her.

I know she will be an extraordinary missionary. I know she will love the Korean people, and they will love her. I know she will be a different person when she returns.

I'm trying not to whine or beg or cry. I didn't whine or beg yesterday. I won't whine in letters to her. Just here, will I whine. So don't tell, OK?

I'm hoping I will feel better when letters start arriving. Which means I have to write some. I've started putting together a care package: index cards, mechanical pencil, mint Milanos . . . Symphony bars . . . chocolate chip cookies . . . . .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I have been reminded by a friend's blog that I have not set my New Year's Resolution for 2009 yet. I'm a week late, but I wanted to make sure I set a goal I could actually achieve. I wanted it to be measurable and trackable, too.

So, after a week's deliberation, here's my goal: I will practice 4 times per week as follows:
1) band practice on Tuesday nights.
2) group lesson on Thursday nights.
3) on Friday morning just after the kids get off to school.
4) on Saturday morning after swimming lessons.

I'm a sloppy piper and really need to work on certain grace-note-combos, including doublings . . . I have been practicing about . . . oh, 2 times a week (#1 and #2) and holding my own at band practice, so I'm hoping that with double the practice time, my playing with increase in quality. I think I got 2 awards this last year, 4th and 5th or something. The whims of the judges has something to do with these placings, of course, but I'm hoping to get a few (more) (higher) awards this year keeping to this practice schedule.

We'll see.