Happy Birthday to my baby... and the Best tour run in a very long time!
August 1, 2009
I've been very busy and happy on the road, but unable to blog. Here I am on the second to last show day... grateful for so much in my life, but first and foremost my beautiful daughter who turned 8 years old today (actually I was still in hard core labor at this minute 8 years ago... 20 hours and worth every scream!) So first - Happy Birthday to my darling girl. I called her this morning before I even got out of bed, sang happy birthday and had a wonderful conversation about so much. Parents will understand the feeling of love bursting out of your heart, crawling through your pores, the feeling of uncontrollable giggles and big, cheesy smiles at the thought of your little ones. The tears when your baby is hurting. The tears when the love becomes almost too much, and your emotions just spill out no matter where you are or who is looking. Because it doesn't matter. You are a parent, this is your child, and there is nothing more sacred, at least in my mind.
This run has been insanely great. Who knows why, maybe my little hiatus from touring has breathed new meaning into my job, has reminded me of my good fortune. We bring this to ourselves. We bring good to our lives. Do we bring the other stuff? Perhaps, or perhaps it's brought to us to show us how lucky we truly are, and to allow us to counteract it and realize how truly gifted we are in bringing good back in.
This has been a great trip. Chops are well behaved, hips remember how to sway, fantastic crowds, band and MB on fire... and I realize I am exactly where I need to be at this point. I'm feeling the love of the folks surrounding me and I try to give back more than I get. How awesome.
Yesterday was a big treat! I got to hit the Getzen factory and brought Elizabeth along... it was brass player heaven! Unfortunately the factory doesn't operate on Friday but I was in complete awe. Thank you to everyone there - and how exciting to play for the folks who support me and make such awesome horns!!! www.getzen.com
I had a first yesterday. I've done trapeze, gymnastics, cycling, weight lifting, trampoline, running, etc... but for the first time I did ROCK CLIMBING on the hotel grounds! Man, I think I found a new athletic obsession. And after every climb and descent, I did a gymnastic trick on the floor. Hysterical? Yeah, but it also felt so great that I couldn't contain my energy! After climbing? I lifted weights. Thought I'd be sore today but I felt fantastic so I headed back to the gym. No time for climbing but I had a great workout and passed the gorgeous flowers Getzen sent to my room to fabulous Pam, my climbing instructor and sister from another mister! She's like me but blonde and WAY cuter. ;) Being surrounded by such great energy ROCKS!
So I have to pack up now and check out. The lobby is miles away from my room so I have to leave a bit early to get there! Looking forward to the show tonight and after that? Long bus ride, another show tomorrow night, then HOME to my baby girl. I can't wait to hold her and hear all about life through her eyes. And of course, there's the cake... ;)
July 20, 2009
Rather than wonder why people are jerks, it's much more productive to remember that you can support them and realize it's not your fault or burden. But you do have a choice to support them in any way possible.
If they don't accept your support, support them spiritually and the universe will spit your support in their face. It doesn't sound nice, but it kind of makes me giggle and the intentions are still good.
G'night, all! I'm smiling and happy to not be bitter or misplace blame. We create our own happiness, and by the same token, sadness. Not the fleeting moments that are uncontrollable, but the long term sadness in believing the world, or certain people are the source.
Nobody can control your emotions long term, except for you.
I'm happy. How about the rest of you?
Curse you, Amy's Bread!!!
July 19, 2009
Yet another girl day with... my girl of course! :)
We started out with a lovely walk downtown and she actually sat on my lap as I got a pedicure. Relaxing? A bit. I felt her in my arms and that always makes me feel whole. However, toward the end, my bum started to get numb. But it's all good, and it's always better to have my baby at my side (or on me, I guess!) than not!
We walked downtown. A lot. City kids like her can walk forever. Something I've always done with her is wander. I love discovering new things, the city is constantly changing and growing, breathing in and out. I've been here for about 20 years now. And every day can feel like the first.
Hot dogs for her (how NY!), and then we decided to try some delicious ice cream from TLC - http://www.thelitechoice.com/
Now, I'm usually dairy and gluten free, but I caved. The truth? We shared a french vanilla cup and I barely had that wierd throat reaction. You know, the one where I can never quite clear it and my nose gets a little stuffed up. My throat is almost completely calm just a few hours later... So this is a treat that I can handle! Here are the ingredients for "original" : INGREDIENTS: PASTEURIZED GRADE A MILK, SUGAR, NONFAT MILK SOLIDS, CAROB BEAN GUM, GUAR GUM, CARRAGEENAN, VANILLA EXTRACT.
I'm impressed to say the least. It wasn't overpriced for what it is. It was really good, and no wonder I couldn't taste anything chemical about it. Yippee for hippies!
We then wandered further. Our outdoor adventure couldn't possibly end then! It had been a while since we'd gone to the Chelsea Market, so in we went. What a cool place. Bakeries, a great Italian grocer, lots of specialty stuff and a nice produce market and butcher and fish market etc. http://www.chelseamarket.com/
This is where Amy's Bread comes in. My girl decided she wanted a biscuit. Really? Not a cookie or a cupcake? Nope. A biscuit. So she didn't know if she'd like the cheese but I thought it would be good for her to try. *Stubborn kids*. She probably DID like it but didn't want to admit it. In a few months it will be her favorite, but she ate her plain one and I was too hungry to pass it up. However, in being mad at the dairy/gluten consumption there (the ice cream didn't bother me mentally... go figure!) it was really, really good. And I can have a light dinner and crunches for dessert. Ahhh. Balance.
For those of you in NYC who haven't checked this gem out yet, I say to you "Are you crazy???". It's one of the more interesting things that has sprung up recently. Like I said, it's a new city every day.
It runs runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street between 10- 11 Aves, and at some point will run to 34 st. Entrances are at: Gansevoort, 14th, 16th, 18th and 20th Street. It's not a frisbee kind of park, but it is a nice place to sit and get a great view of the city. The flowers are gorgeous, and there is even a wierd balcony style spot over 10th Avenue that lets you car watch. Not sure I totally get it, but it is cool nevertheless.
Finally back home. Not sure how many hours we were out walking but I sure do love days like this. Enjoy every day as much as you can, no matter who you're with and what you're doing!
A day in the life of the coolest Mom, ever.
July 18, 2009
I'm a lucky Mom. There. I said it. And I say it every day. :)
Finally home at almost 8pm. Sipping iced coffee (yeah, it's late for caffeine, but without it I'd be knocked out now, and I still have quite a list with that "To Do" heading).
Last night was a fun gig with J. Viewz. A scaled down version of the band which was interesting. I miss live drums and keyboards like mad, but we did ok. The problem was the set was short. Just when I felt like I was warm and buzzing free, it was over. Sigh. But still fun, of course! I think they're taking a summer hiatus which is fine since I'll be back on tour next week.
Anyway, my daughter had plans (my, don't they grow up quickly!) early afternoon so I did some running around of my own. Free time is actually not free, but I'm not complaining! Anyway, I had a lovely afternoon getting things done, and when my daughter came home, I told her we were heading back out. It was so beautiful and I didn't want to miss it!
What a good call. We walked and laughed and talked about life. We ran into a street fair and she scored a menacing dragon tee shirt, we shared a Jamba Juice, and we ended up going to a video game store. Her birthday is intensely soon, and while I normally don't go "all out" in the gift department, we've had quite a year and I thought maybe we could do a bit of research.
So now I'm in the Wii/X-box dilemma. Mind you, she does have a Nintendo DS ( that she gets to play a few hours a MONTH!) and the last system I owned was the Super Nintendo. So this is all new and strange to me. However, I've heard cool things about the Wii and of course the exercise components involved. Selfishly, I know I would love it too. But the dude in the store informed me that XBox will be coming out with a virtual doohickey converter attachment in the future. He seemed to think this would more fit our needs. But that means we wouldn't get the coolness now. Just games. Sigh.
We walked further and stumbled into an old favorite restaurant of mine, Dojo. Cheap. Faux healthy. Well, what we got is healthy but they do have a lot of fried things disguised as health foods, much like Zen Palate was (RIP). Anyway, after some brown rice and hijiki salad, we headed home. On the way, a book store beckoned us in, and we walked out with a new Calvin and Hobbes book. She's now fully engrossed in it, and when I asked if she wanted to watch a movie tonight, her reply was "No thanks, I'm just going to read". This kid is a bookworm and I do limit tv and video games so that her imagination does not have a complete meltdown. I was a serious bookworm as a kid and it warms my heart to see her reading.
Ok, off to clean house, practice and - I have an idea - READ!
Why don't people just have aqua lungs???
July 14, 2009
Indeed, my daughter...
It seems when things go well, when we're happy in the life we have been given to shape into awesomeness, someone will come along and try to bring us into their dark world. Why? Misery loves company. But happiness understands misery in order to enjoy happiness. We have choices to make. Things may be down the toilet in our minds, our lives may be a mess on paper. But the truth? We can change things. We can smile on the darkest days. We can laugh and mean it. No matter what.
So I'm continuing on my path of laughing and smiling, knowing that my baby girl is by my side, life is great, I'm blessed to have good friends and a lovely life, I love what I do for a living and what I do while living. Not everyone can be happy, but that's only because they won't allow happiness in.
I won't let it out. But I will share with those who can accept. :)
As far as the aqua lung thing, my daughter loves to swim so much that apparently she'd like to do it full time. Any swim coaches out there who are willing to barter swim lessons for trumpet lessons?
Wise beyond her years.
July 13, 2009
No, not me.
My daughter will be 8 in a few weeks.
Sometimes I'm completely blown away by her train of thought, by her insight on the world and on people. The way she can have fun and remind me to also enjoy life more than I do. Which is tough, 'cuz I'm really digging this thing I'm in!
I leave for tour again in a week and a half. Thrilled beyond belief that life worked out, that I could send a sub out and be with my girl, work on things at home, work on myself in many ways. And while I missed out on the cool Euro-travel, not to mention the cash and prizes, I know what I needed more, and who needed me more than anything on the planet. Even Europe.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and I plan on bringing my girl there. She actually was there, in my belly. I was her tour guide as she did the backstroke in amniotic fluid, and started utero kickboxing around that time.
I watch her grow up in body and mind, I listen to her stories, marvel at the way her brain works. And I know that I couldn't be more proud as her mom. Even when she has her occasional brat attacks, I have to be grateful for my abilities to talk her back to reality. Parenting is not easy, I can't lie. But I am so glad that she was given to me, trusting me to protect and raise her. Someone had a lot of faith, and I'm doing my best to be the rockin'est Mom ever.
So many tests are thrown in my way, not unlike other parents. And each time I pass, I feel us grow together, though I feel we can never be closer than we are, we keep proving that closeness has no limits.
July 9, 2009
As luck would have it, luck has nothing to do with success.
It seems trendy now to ask the universe for stuff. But it works.
And as my good friend Debbie Oliver says (www.ameriface.org
) - How do YOU measure success?
I certainly don't measure it in dollar signs, otherwise I would have done something else with my life. I measure success by happiness, being proud of my ethics and my abilities as a mother, who I surround myself with. And career, of course, but the kind of career that makes me think I can put a smile on a face that otherwise might not.
Yeah. I play pop primarily. Some jazz. A hairball of classical. Does it make folks smile? Most likely, if they are at a concert, they have not been brought against their will. Unless their nagging wife brought them along. And then it's my job to help distract them from their wife drooling over the main attraction. Not in a nasty way, but in a fun and musically smiley way.
I've been asked plenty of times to come in and talk to students about "what I do". My initial reaction is usually "RUN!", as students generally don't know that I'm not making millions from what I do. I love it. Yes. I would have made a lot more had I chosen a different vocational path. But would I be happy?
Of course, my number 1 job is being Mom. And not just Mom who hires a nanny or turns on the tv 24/7. I'm the mom with board games, tons of books, suggestions to cook and bake and go out and explore. Yeah, I'm an "old school Mom". As busy and tired as I might be, there's nothing that will make me smile more than my little girl interacting with me, laughing and enjoying life. Because life is too short. She won't be 7 in 3 weeks. And it flies from there, as it always has. I intend to savor every moment. Until further notice. I hear there are some sticky years in there where I may want to just tune out. But I never will - perhaps observing from afar and keeping love and good intentions with her always... letting her explore her cranky hormonal moments, her gossipping friends, and *shudder*... boys. Don't get me wrong, she is surrounded by boys, but all are apparently BFF's and that's about it. After all, she is still 7 for a moment.
And right outside of my happiness and awesomeness bubble, are a few pesky bugs, trying to get their stingers in me, make my skin itch, make me ask for medication. Luckily, as I grow older and more experienced, I've learned to shoo them away enough. They're always there, but I only hope they realize what karma will do to a bug who stings without purpose, or purpose with no good intentions attached.
I measure success with smiles. Mine has been awfully big and cheesy recently. Seems I'm doing well.
July 6, 2009
I'm exhausted. And inspired. How are you???
My daughter and I shared a lovely 4th of July weekend in the country. Yes, the city mice ventured out to the woods for a few days, and it *wasn't so bad*.
We landed after a 4 hour bus ride and upon seeing a beautiful fountain with a few children splashing around, my daughter begged me to let her go in. Go in? We're NYers. We'd get a ticket for that behavior - or even yelled at for walking on the grass! But I sighed and agreed she could roll up her jeans and get a little wet. Well, she did. She had a blast. And we went shopping for new, dry pants. Atta girl.
We had a bit of dinner next (for me, a Jamaican Chicken Salad which was hardly Jamaican - I've been there and was never served such food, but it was good anyway. More of an Upper East Side Chicken Salad, but whatever). She had 3 french fries. How do kids do that? Endless energy on 50 calories. I need to be more like her, eating for hunger only. But boy, sometimes you get halfway through a piece of cake and though you're not hungry... it's still cake.
There was no cake that night.
Heard some beautiful inspirational music. Lots of beautiful brass sounds mixed with just enough organ and timpani to make my heart pound. My daughter? She didn't complain which was a big plus and a compliment to the musicians. :)
The next day? Out in the country. I mean, not the 'burbs of NJ or something. Country. I almost wished I had brought overalls and forgotten shoes, but then again, I'm still me. We started our day by picking fresh strawberries (and I will never purchase them again here - much like tomatoes after Italy 8 years ago...) Some things are just so good that you don't want to ruin the memory with basement ripened crud. Organic or not. Anyway, after our encounter with strawberry fields forever, we did a little trailblazing up in the mountains. Beautiful views and air and wildlife. I can't say I wasn't in heaven, though my NYC brain did try to calculate how many apartment buildings could be placed in this serene area. Then I decided to shake that out of my head and just enjoy.
We then entered butterfly land. A gorgeous sanctuary to flit around with a squillion butterflies, and also quail, some awesome lizards and uber-cool frogs... my girl was actually freaked out by the butterflies a bit, probably their sudden movements and ability to fly in your face, but at some point she changed her tune (must have been a medley!) and became the butterfly tamer. The little guys liked her a lot, and she even shared her friends with some of the children who were eagerly awaiting the chance to become a butterfly landing area.
I made a friend. A gorgeous butterfly landed on my arm, and proceeded to crawl up to my shoulder, and through my hair to perch on top of my head. It remained for at least half an hour, natures hair ornament. When we were ready to go, my friend didn't want to part with me (or the scent of my conditioner?) so I said my goodbyes and had to lift my sunglasses off of my head to set him free. What a great memory.
After that we hit Yankee Candle to enjoy the snow, see Santa and Mrs. Claus, make a mold of T's fist in wax, and let her make her own candle... and we met up with friends Karin and Andrew. Oh my Goodness, T is so into her new friends Andrew, Eric and Karin. We had a great time, broke my diet a few times and enjoyed some insane fudge (I figured fresh strawberries would cancel it out, right?) Now T can't wait for everyone to come stay with us in NYC! I'd better get prepared for Pokemon battles and lots of smiles!
After our waxy adventures, we hit an ice cream place with actual cows! I mean, like really there, mooing and eating and peeing (this was the first time I saw a cow pee. It's not cute, FYI.) And believe it or not, they had gluten free ice cream cones and amazing frozen yogurt so I didn't have to feel too much guilt. After all, smiling burns calories, right?
We then had lovely grilled hot dogs, burgers and pink marshmallows. Again, smiling. Mmmmm. Pink Marshmallows.
Then off to check out gorgeous fireworks! I don't do that every year. Yeah, I live in NYC, Macy's fireworks, blah blah blah. I'm kind of over those scenes, much like the new years eve ball drop. Never went to either in person but have watched a couple of times on tv. Boring. However, being out there in the fresh air, great company, it was just perfect.
I then FINALLY got a moment to practice! I'm so used to being in my egg carton of a studio at home, that it was nice to hear my sound. I guess I AM pretty good. But was out of shape from the couple of days before so that was a bit frustrating. However, my daughter made a fun exercise for me. Playing a video game, I did a little ear training and played the theme songs off of the games. It was actually really fun, in a trumpet dork sort of way.
The last day, we enjoyed a stellar performance of Rite of Spring on a perfect summer day, stretched out on the lawn at Tanglewood. I had some moments where I missed being a classical musician, but I realize that I always will be. No matter what I perform, classical is at the root of my horn, my sound, and the love that propelled me to where I am now and where I am going. And I do occasionally get hired to play wedding ceremonies and at Christmas and Easter. And nobody complains. That I know of...
Have an inspired week, everyone. I can still feel that butterfly crawling up my arm, and can still remember the sound as it flitted past my ear to perch on top, surveying it's world. I was so lucky to share so many moments with so many beautiful creatures this weekend.
Music, karma, and the universe.
June 29, 2009
I never got a chance to mention the 2 shows I'd been to recently! First was at the Blue Note to check out the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band of Awesomeness and Testosterone! Ok, I morphed the name slightly. But you know... that pretty much summed it up. It was nice knowing some band members and meeting others too! Even last chair is frightening on that stage! Kudos to the folks in that band and the cajones required!
The week after, I was THRILLED to see Earth Wind and Fire AND Chicago together! So many memories, that is some amazing music that made me proud to be a horn player, even when I sucked. Even though I was 100% classical and wouldn't budge much otherwise. I did the jazz band thing but sounded so classical for so long. I do think that all of the horn rock and lots of Miles and Chet I was listening to helped me out in my career, though I thought I'd never be able to loosen up enough to even pretend to try.
Otherwise, I had a great night this past Saturday playing for Le Scandal Cabaret again. I love not knowing what to expect, getting to dress over the top and rock the horn. And I got to try out my Soundback for the first time, since the gig is in a cabaret style room with no monitors. Normally a hateful space for me to play in, but I had a *blast* being able to hear myself! Yippee!
I was also very happy to have a few recording sessions in the past week. It's fun being on stage, but there's something cool about putting things down on tape. Even without tape.
AND I am asking for good vibes for my daughter and I. I'm really hoping that something spectacular will come through for us very soon... *anticipation*
Life has been nothing short of wonderful. While sh*t happens from time to time, sometimes pretty bad, smelly stuff, the truth is that I'm totally and utterly blessed with so much. Every morning I wake up with a big, cheesy smile and I thank the day in advance for it's awesomeness, and every night I smile again, thinking about how it actually WAS awesome.
There are those who are perpetual Debbie Downers, even guys - I just love the thought of that character! Funny but true, that someone can look at a gift and be bummed it's not bigger. Or handed a challenge and instead of rolling up their sleeves and digging in, just sighing and thinking it's a curse. Life isn't easy, but it's great! We're here for a reason, and I love the many reasons and challenges before and around me. I'm thankful for the love and support around my daughter and I. The good things flying through the universe aimed at us. We all have those things, and if you open your eyes, you'll see them.
Follow your heart, use honesty, embrace karma (I explained that one in some detail tonight to my daughter and believe she already gets it, and has lots of great karma points waiting.) I strive to be as good as she is.
June 28, 2009
For all the sayings we have in this world involving our "lifetime", nobody seems to explain that it may not be as long as it sounds.
When one is chronically ill, or in a battle zone, we expect passing to happen earlier than not. But healthy, in a safe environment, with a family and career and love all around them - we assume we'll be in touch in 40 years to complain about the nursing home, or the taxman, or the disappearance of social security, or those damn kids on our lawns.
I got a note this afternoon about the passing of a childhood friend. I was immediately sad, knowing that her husband and children were left alone way too soon, memories of being friends growing up came back to me - her crazy frizzy hair, her silly laugh, her clarinet playing (yes, I had woodwind friends, go figure!)
It took a couple of hours, though, to get the sucker punch that knocked the wind out of me and brought tears. It was amazing. We'd only been back in touch for maybe 6 months, a year at most. Otherwise, we lost touch in the mid-late 80s. That's a long time. But upon getting back in touch, it was business as usual. I wish I had more photos of her back then. We didn't have digital cameras or cell phones to capture every second. So time went on, life went on, and we had fun without enough documentation.
RIP, Lori. You grew into such a beautiful woman, I could hardly believe it was you when I saw your recent photos. Your children are simply angelic, and your husband - I pray for his strength. I'm a single parent in a different way, and it's difficult. But I can't imagine losing such a wonderful partner in this way. It's just not fair.
That look in her eyes
June 22, 2009
My daughter was mellow this evening. She had that look in her eyes. She didn't finish her favorite soup or her pear - which is one of her favorite fruits. Actually she took a bite and though it was perfect, it remained.
She had some ice cream (ok, non-dairy etc...) and proceeded to fall asleep with her head on the table next to it. Sudden fever of 101. Parents know that feeling. Uh-oh.
She asked me to feed her the ice cream so I did. We made a game of "playing baby" and she laughed at my silliness. I carried her to the bathroom and brushed her teeth for her. I carried her to bed and gave her a massage and very light gua-sha (which she really enjoys, just like mom!) to help release the bad qi. I massaged her feet and she simply asked if I massaged my own feet after my mother died, her lids half closed and her inquisitive mind in another universe.
I put a light shirt on her and tucked her in. She asked why her eyes burned. She asked why grownups have hard feet. When I explained calluses, she said we should put sandals on our hands and walk on them instead. But when I explained that would not solve the callus issue, just transfer it, she suggested that we fill our shoes with water. Then they would always be soft.
I stroked her hair with flecks of gold and red hidden in the brown, until her eyes closed and her mind quieted. I kissed her warm forehead and told her how much I loved her and would check on her throughout the night. I hate that she's sick right now, but it's always amazing to feel the shift of energy, the surrender of trying to be a big kid. The willingness to become my baby again.
I'm hoping she'll wake up and feel all of her almost 8 years, ready to run down the sidewalk in the morning after scarfing down a huge breakfast. Ready to complain about school when I pick her up. Ready to still hug me and let me know that she'll always be my baby.
June 17, 2009
Passion in Music
June 16, 2009
Thanks to Eric for sharing this video. It reminds me of the best moments, and we all need to make every moment the best instead of waiting for it to happen - music or whatever else we do. Life is not an exercise. Life is passion - a wide range of emotions that the best intentions will bring to new heights.
June 9, 2009
The other night I had the most vivid dream of Al Green.
We were back in time, back in his heyday. I guess early or mid 70s? Somehow I was sitting listening to a rehearsal. Maybe I was dating someone in the band, but you know how dreams are.
Al kept looking at his backup singers. "Something is missing". Finally one of the guys in the band points at me and says "You should have her add more harmony". Me, beet red, 70s, shy asian girl just there to listen... I try to refuse, but they insist. Al insists. I go. He is happier for it.
Then, the trumpet player never arrived. Al is mad. "Where the hell is..." and eventually someone points at me. "She can do it!". Me, shy asian girl just roped into singing backup for the great Al Green is thinking, "Yeah, right". In the dream I was unsure if I even played trumpet!
Off I go into the horn section. Where the trumpet appeared from, who knows? I did give the mouthpiece a good wipe on my groovy dress. ;)
And it was good, apparently.
I woke up with this odd feeling. Like so many years of "I don't think I can do it" bottled up into one dream. I've been listening to Al Green for the past 2 days now, remembering my shining moment with him. And thankful for the opportunity, even if it was only a dream. And knowing how people, including myself, underestimate what they can and can't do, not believing fully that it's possible. It is. You have to work, but the work pays off. You have to believe, or the work is just work.
What a day!
June 6, 2009
I'm so tired.
What a long and beautiful day with my gorgeous girl! The Central Park Challenge for www.yai.org
was a great success, gorgeous weather, and we had an absolute blast! Thanks to everyone who contributed, participated, or just sent awesome vibes!
I had no idea how much fun we would have today. But after the walk, my girl ran a race and was SO proud of herself - so was I!
I figured, she must be tired. Got up early, lots of walking and running and climbing trees, but she decided to go to Sheep Meadow. It was so cute when she saw it, nothing like a kid realizing they know where they are! :) We threw a frisbee, we had hot dogs for lunch, we climbed rocks, we laughed and enjoyed the sunshine.
Then she decides there is MORE to be done! We started walking through nature trails, past the water, watching turtles, over bridges, through tunnels, up and down hills (yes, she rolled down a few too!) and then announced that she wanted to find Belvedere Castle! http://www.centralpark.com/pages/attractions/belvedere-castle.html
It's a cool place, not huge but so beautiful, and what a view!
We walked and walked... laughed, just mom and daughter, and for the zillionth time, I thought about how lucky I was to have such a great kid.
Finally, almost 7 hours later - we got on the subway with the intention of going home and having dinner.
BUT... upon getting off the train, we remembered that there was a flea market on our block. So we went. Saw some neighbors, saw some cool stuff for sale - scored some vintage jewelry and some Pokemon cards and a book for T. Since it was the end of the day - they were seriously almost giving things away. The funny thing is that as I get older, I don't care if a "cute top" is $1. If I think about how often I will wear it, and I don't see a lot of opportunity, it's just not worth it. I love that.
I just love these days.
Days where some higher power reminds you of how lucky you are.
I actually didn't need the reminder, but always welcome it!
ITG! Curry! Sunshine and love!
May 31, 2009
Wow, I'm slacking on blogging, perhaps because life seems to be at warp speed. Just got back from a 3+ hour walk downtown and felt like a tourist, it had been so long since I've wandered those streets. I know folks associate chicks with shopping - and I can do it when it's right, but all I bought were a few necessary things for my daughter and some curry powder and hot sauce for me! Life is great! :) Chicken simmering as I type, and I decided to blog a bit instead of honk on that horn of mine. Heading to a meeting in a bit, so I'm hoping the chicken will be salmonella-free before then. Otherwise I'll have to wait. (And it smells so good! I added some chili powder my good friend Janis got me in Cali- I like to call it "Punch me in the face and call me a girl") Mmmm.
Obviously, I should talk about ITG. 2009 - Harrisburg, PA. The town will never be the same. At least, the hearing in the town!
I was fortunate and honored to have Getzen invite me to help represent their awesomeness along Legendary Mike Vax (his new record Vaxuosity is so fun and full of great playing and unashamed freedom! Definitely takes you to a day in the park, go buy it now!) and Dave Surber from Getzen. If I only blog about the high note wars going on in the room, well, I could go on forever but I won't bore you. If you've ever been to one of these (this was my first!) you probably know. That Trippa Squeak made many guest appearances. My earplugs were a welcome addition to my ear canals, but the memory lingers.
Met so many fantastic players and people. Some things that surprised me: people know who I am. People didn't throw valve oil in my eyes. People didn't run away screaming, "Ewwww, a girl!"
It was absolutely wonderful. While there were SO many insanely talented players all around me, people still liked me! :) It's a whole "I'm not worthy" thing, but in truth, I'm a different performer than Mike Vax, than Arturo, than Jon - who by the way is a fantastic guy and even gave me a lift home! 3 hours in a car with Jon F. and I'm full of stories and laughter and quiet wisdom longing.
One of my favorite meetings was young Natalie Dungey. Deceiving petite 10 year old girl, shy, sweet, and just so cute you want to put her hair in pigtails and a Shirley Temple dress. Nah. This girl can PLAY! I mean, better than most adults, definitely better than me! Look out for this girl, she won the National Trumpet Competition and I'm hoping someday she'll take me into her studio so I can tap into some of her amazing passion for the horn! http://nataliedungey.com/
So many others, I'm hoping to have made many friends. All my friends at Dillon's Music in NJ - http://www.dillonmusic.com/
were right next to us so we could throw dirty looks at each other, laugh together, and enjoy the insanity as one. A nice little shout out to new friend Eric Berlin, I just listened to his CD last night. Holy crap, that dude can play. http://www.majesticbrass.com/quintet_eric.htm
I used to strive for that kind of playing. It's no longer my "thing", but to hear it is inspiring enough for me to ask the age old question, "What if". But as I always say, that can be thrown into future tense too. I love what I play, and I know my striving for awesomeness in classical helped me shape my sound and other aspects. I do sometimes pull out "scary music" from the past and laugh as I muddle through like I'm 10 (oh wait, Natalie can play circles around me on that... crap!) SO many other folks, so much talent, so many chops of all styles.
I can't forget about Dan Gosling from CHOPSAVER! Not only a kick-*ss guy, but apparently an incredible trumpeter himself! Buy lots of Chopsaver today. I showed up to the event - no kidding - with 6 tubes in different compartments. Horn case, makeup case, toiletry case, and one in my pocket. www.chopsaver.com
The SPF is a great thing for ANYONE, take care of your skin, folks. The sun is getting scary!
Also a big thanks to Philip Biggs of THE BRASS HERALD. I was lucky to be featured on a past magazine, and was sooo excited to meet Philip! There he was, a big ol' poster of my cover and others, and we shared a lovely dinner along with Mike V and Dave S. These guys are so genuine, the real deal.
Business contacts? Maybe, but at this point in my life, I'd rather not keep my fingers crossed that people will hire me. Things come when needed, at the perfect time. I know how I perform, others do too. I seem to luck into getting calls for the perfect jobs, usually by friends and colleagues whom I consider friends anyway.
I guess that is a pet peeve of mine, and maybe some people don't care, but it's a thing. The minute I think to myself "Hmmm, I wonder if this guy/girl can get me a gig" I feel my karma points plummet. Work on yourself - playing, person, inside and out, be healthy and happy, be true to who you are and where you want to be. And throw a little faith into the air. I always defer to hiring someone I like personally. Music is intimate. Performing with someone on stage is like a friendship. Help each other, compliment each other, be honest with each other. I recently had to chose between two people for a gig, and while one was actually a bit of a better player all around, I chose the one that was nice and NOT a jerk. There are too many musicians out there- and if someone can cut the gig well and be kind and loving on stage and off, who would YOU hire?
Ok, that chicken should be done about now. Enjoy every drop of sunshine in your life. Not just from the great ball o' fire in the sky - but your friends, passions, loves, talents, challenges, whatever stimulates you or mellows you or makes you YOU!!!
Etching memories physically
May 23, 2009
I have a few tattoos - I think they're fairly noticeable, but folks wonder if they're just decorative as folks always do with tattooed folks. I can honestly say that each and every speck of ink on my body means something so deep that I allowed them to live with me and on me forever.
For the past several years, I've been envisioning a new one, and a few months ago I found the perfect drawing online. I decided yesterday to print it out and carry it with me. After running some errands, I decided to pop into a local tattoo place and "just see". I had been in there previously and really liked one artist (Japanese, naturally?) but he was unavailable then. And I didn't have my "perfect drawing" so it would have been a lot of hunting and piecing and it just wasn't the right time.
I'm so incredibly happy with my new piece. It's yet another tribute to my mother. Her giving life to me, her illness that lingered for so long. The pain started to lull me in strange ways. It felt almost like a glimpse into how she may have suffered - hard to explain but I was laying there, paralyzed with memories of her keeping on her brave face for 10 long years, being a wonderful mother while many may have crumbled. She fought cancer so hard, until she knew my brother and I were safe and on our own. It was so hard to lose her at such a young age, but I also knew that her pain was over. I am always amazed at her strength and wonder if I could ever be as strong. I look at my daughter through her procedures, pain I have never felt, and I am amazed at her ability to go with the flow, her turning away from pain medication when she was obviously feeling major pain. I see so much of my mother's spirit in my daughter. I guess it skipped a generation, though people say I'm strong too. I just don't see it through my eyes as being as deep as theirs.
Speaking of my daughter, we had a glorious day, lots and lots of walking, a lovely girl day, in search of a sweatshirt she really wanted, but we didn't find anything. However, upon noticing the huge hole in the front of her sneakers that she has obviously loved and used well for a year, we ducked into a shoe store and she traded in her flaming guitars for dragons.
The joy on her face when I picked out the "perfect" sneakers for her was something that only a mother can understand. She even told me that she hoped her BFF would get the same ones. When I told her at the register that she could just wear them home, her face lit up. The whole way home she talked about how much she loved them, how comfy they were, what a great day we had, and I just smiled and held her hand and kissed her head from time to time. My daughter is the greatest gift, her spirit is so beautiful, her heart is so giving, and she rocks my world.
When I look at my life now, even compared to a few months ago, I'm just amazed at the changes, the positivity that has come to me. What have I done to deserve all of this? I've learned to not question, just accept and never take for granted all that has been entrusted in my care. Sometimes I'm just amazed.
"Do you think a Vampire would marry a dragon?"
May 11, 2009
(Yes, a small one.)
"Do you think the Pink Power Ranger would kiss Spiderman?"
While sharing a lovely cantalope with my daughter, these questions came out of left field. While she did math homework.
What goes through children's minds sometimes makes me miss being a kid. I don't know that I thoroughly got a chance to be one, too many unexpected responsibilities and stresses from a young age. I try to let my daughter's mind stay inquisitive and young while she will allow it. Within reason of course!
Had a great Mother's Day weekend, being mom as usual! I even did laundry on the "Sacred Day". I can't wait until she's old enough to grab the laundry cart and do it for me, while I soak in a hot tub, or watch a movie, or nap. Ok, I'll probably practice or clean, but you know what I mean... she does help quite a bit around the house, scooping the cat box, washing the table down, feeding the kitties, and giving much needed hugs and smooches!!!
April 30, 2009
I can't believe it's just about 2 weeks since my last blog! Where the heck did time run to? I swear sometimes it just takes off and I can't catch up! But it's all good and my heart is smiling. You know, life rocks.
I hope everyone is feeling blessed and keeps striving for a great today and a better tomorrow. I'm excited for my second gig (and actual meeting!!!) with J. Viewz at Irving Plaza on Saturday! I swear I popped into soundcheck and it felt like family the first time we met. I'm good at studying tunes, especially those that I dig. I hope to see some of my friends/fans out there in the insane audience! Also doing a gig Monday at a much smaller venue in Brooklyn with the same group, but I'll have to take off immediately after as I have a few doc appointments starting first thing in the morning for my lovely baby girl. :) It's all good, it's all life, and she's excited to miss some school. I'm excited about the existence of coffee and her warm smile on those days.
Life has been busy, beautiful, and full of love recently. Well, always - I suppose, but maybe I've been open to allowing the truth in. Sometimes accepting happiness is tough, depending on where you started and what you've been through. Give it a try, it might sting a little bit at the beginning if you're not used to it, it might make you cringe at the butterflies in your heart, but I promise, trust yourself and your instincts and let the good in. You'll get used to it but never get bored with it! :)
Life is Beautiful
April 16, 2009
Sometimes we make tough decisions. Sometimes we fear the unknown. One decision could alter our lives in either direction. Or it could just work out.
I made a decision that could have screwed it all up, but I kept my faith that it would all work out, and it looks like it did! Instead of fearing and hiding and being afraid to simply ask, I made it happen and believed it would not go in the *other* direction. And it didn't! Life is good, hard decisions sometimes make us realize how much faith others have in us, and how others care about our lives and how that affects their worlds as well.
I'm very thankful to those who helped me out, who helped me compare scenarios, what might, what might not, and for my own belief that I may just be a valuable commodity in certain situations. I'm learning how to value what I do for and with others, and I've always been grateful for every gift and interaction and association with others that have enriched my life and career.
Thank you, all! From my daughter and I. We're a powerful team and while life throws some curveballs our way, we don't run from them. We simply go for it and usually catch them and turn them into points for our team.
April 14, 2009
"And if there's a thing that you need
I'd give you the breath that I breathe"
If you tell someone you love them - child, lover, friend... you probably should understand how this feels. (Thanks to Maxwell for the inspiration and groove!)
April 10, 2009
So, along the road of life, I lost some organized religion stuffs that were engraved into my life from birth to about the age of 16. No disrespect to those who attend church, synagogue, or other meeting places for like-minded God or other universal Ruler joints. Mad respect for finding what works for you. And hopefully that is why you are there, after looking within and realizing your own truth in faith.
My faith? My own concoction of different beliefs, gut feelings, experiences, reflection... stirred in a pot and poured into my soul. Baked to perfection for my taste.
So here we are, Good Friday. The best way I could think to celebrate the Goodness of it being Friday today was to take my daughter to a favorite diner a hairball outside of our neighborhood to enjoy an amazing burger and fries, and pancakes. Yeah, I told you it was a Great Friday!
Sunday? Easter? We fully believe in coloring hard boiled eggs in this house. Bunny shaped cake. And probably udon noodles or sushi or a splurge on pizza and chicken wings, depending on how hormonal Mom feels. Hehe.
Whatever you believe in, believe for you and not for anyone else who raised you in that belief. It's ok to disagree with those you love, as long as you stand by your truth they should respect that. If not, well - what the heck are you hangin' for???
Happy Weekend, everyone!
April 4, 2009
It's always lovely to come home. I loved this last trip, though short - and busy - and tiring - what awesome shows in Canada! Thanks to everyone involved, good laughs, good gigs, good sightseeing in Toronto - what a smart subway system there.
I love not only discovering old friendships and reinforcing present ones, but some recent additions have been mindblowing. Methinks Karma is working on my side at the moment. Lots of reflecting, lots of realization, and lots of forgiveness. Life rocks if you let it.
Sometimes you just have to place your order and wait a minute for customer service. But live your life right and check your mail.
March 28, 2009
Yeah, I have a twitter thing. I'm not positive I understand why I do.
I am not following a lot of folks, just because. Some friends and important news from The Onion. I do also follow that amazon thingy and sometimes pick up some cool free or cheap mp3s.
For now, I'm enjoying some organic granola and soymilk. And no, I didn't twitter about it.
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Late night workout
March 24, 2009
Well, late for me, since I do get up at 6am to honk on that chunk of twisted metal I love so much. I should be sleeping but of course, all that adrenaline and whatnot is coursing through... and stuff.
I'm laughing silently as I look at things that are presented, delivered, and disguised. Is everything a lesson, or a test? Maybe. In the end, we learn from every moment of our lives. Or we can... it's up to us to open our eyes and hearts and take lessons with us onto our next adventures!
So, for all of you living in denial or fear of the truth, what the HECK are you thinking??? This is life, take everything, improve what you can and what you care to, enjoy what is good, but if you can't be true to yourself and others, then you're not really living.
God, I hope my abs are sore tomorrow...