Thursday, October 29, 2009

Piano Club: Take 3

I have to get myself a real piano. This is absurd.

Last year when I began taking lessons I had this gorgeous huge machine of sound, this curved box of faded black keys and teeth of ivory waiting for me every night when I got home. The uncomfortable wooden seat, Bailey asleep underneath, me plunking out a note alone, then a few notes together, still not knowing anything about music or how to make it.

And now here I am a little over a year later knowing much more and unable to practice or play because I don't have a piano waiting for me at home anymore.

Last night we went to the house of our newest member of Piano Club who began lessons back in April and went out and got herself a piano on which to play. How logical, right? The house was lovely. It seems everyone except Carrie and I live in cape style homes and have a particular sensibility; ornate imitation things- chairs in the Victorian style, plushly upholstered chaise lounges, paintings in muted tones of orange and ochre. We ate warm artichoke cheese dip on crackers or with cold slices of baby carrots, some croissant sandwich finger roll things made with prosciutto, salami, some other meat and cheese melted on top. Carrie made a delicious cinnamon apple strudel a bit like an apple pie mixed into a croissant.

We played, we talked (we talked a lot), we drank a bottle of Smoking Loon California Cabernet (a recent favorite of mine. Not pretentious, not trying to be something it's not. Just a smokey, smooth cab). We all laughed when the old rust colored retriever nosed her way into the room to see what was going on. We applauded after every performance with words of encouragement and support and I laughed the loudest after Elaine (who has been taking lessons the longest and is quite good at playing) sat down and played Beethoven's 5th symphony from memory but tried to dismiss it with "Oh, that old thing?"

But after my own average performance, and after listening to a beginner who is greener than me sit down to play very well I realized with some sadness what I've been missing for some time. My piano. A piano to call my own. The simple pleasure I haven't felt of going home and sitting down and playing whatever simple tune I'm working on mastering this month, this time, before my next lesson.

The thing with losing your job and being smack dab in the middle of a recession and struggling to finish what might very well be a good book but one that is months away from being published is that it doesn't leave you in very good financial standing. It certainly makes buying a piano sit on the back burner for awhile. But as they say anything worth having is worth working for.


In other news, my dad's friend who is 102 years old and is the richest person I know is being put into an old people's home by his son. It's got my dad pretty sad about life, if you want to know the truth. In my own search meaning all of the lessons I can find here are quite cynical.

That it doesn't matter how much money you have nothing will spare you from the greed of your own children?

That you'd better hurry up and die before the holidays so you don't get in the way?

It's really heartbreaking. Yes, the man is old and they have 24 hour nursing care at home but he could live another hundred years and not put a dent in the interest his money earns per year. It's a matter of convenience for the son. I can't help but wish his mother was still alive, she was the absolute Matriarch and I imagine she would eviscerate her son for doing this.

But it's almost Halloween, perhaps I'll turn my frustration into a ghost story.



The babies are going as Spiderman and D-d-d-d-Dora.

I'll post pictures don't you worry.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The quality of this youtuble is a bit tinny but that is to be expected. I believe this video was taken by Steven Kellogg's mother who stood in the lodge box beside his grandmother for the whole show. The last 3 minutes of the song are the very best since SK does one-line covers of a dozen songs including "The Wheels on the bus go round and round," "I wish I had Jessie's girl," a song by White Snake and by the end of it I am giggling. Everytime.

So deal with the tinny-ness. It's WORTH it.

In the meantime, we've heard back from one publishing house which gave DUCK! a very supportive refusal (it actually bolstered my belief that we've got a good little story here). I feel good about our chances with the other two houses. I'm also looking into getting a version of the book published as a galley to send around to possible book agents. I think our hard work will catch someone's attention. The work will speak for itself.

On that note, I'mago ink some pages.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finally Friday

Me feeding squirrels in the botanical gardens, San Fran.

Winter skipped Autumn and it's chilly outside today.

The babies have pajama day at school and they both wore the silky Kung Fu pj's I got for them in San Francisco's Chinatown. Ethan slid in bed with me this morning and talked up a storm. The fire department came to their school yesterday and they were all a twitter about it. Got to sit in the big red fire engine and wear their own plastic fire fighter hats. It was all very exciting.

In more grown-up news I am going to be doing a bit of party-hopping this weekend. With the flag football soiree tonight and the JP house party tomorrow (bring your own carved pumpkins everyone!) and of course football Sunday. I have quite enough to keep me busy. Winter coats for all! Time to break out the scarves and mittens! (Did I mention I hate being cold?)

Duck is moving along pleasantly. To get your advanced peeks go to my DeviantArt gallery and check it out. I haven't decided how many pages to post (There are over 100 in total!) But I am thinking maybe 22 or so? A good chunk to give people a nice sense of how the story will be unfolding. In the meantime I'll just keep inking my pages one at a time.

Steven Kellogg and the 6ers were AMAZING. It is (or was) the best show I have ever been to in my lifetime! It was an intimate venue, his NANA was there beacuse they are all from New England, Carbon Leaf opened for them and they were not nearly as douche-y as I previously believed they were and the beers were only $5! It was just great. Really, really wonderful.

Happy 11 months, Eraff.

And today is Friday and it's rainy and cold and I thought I would re-post this brilliant poem by Mary Oliver. It's all I could think about last night after the gym. Enjoy:

Mocking Birds
This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing

better to do
than listen.
I mean this

In Greece,
a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door

to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,

but gods.
It is my favorite story--
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give

but their willingness
to be attentive--
but for this alone
the gods loved them

and blessed them--
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water

from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,

and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down--
but still they asked for nothing

but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.

Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said

I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying

through my own soul,
opening its dark doors--
I was leaning out;
I was listening.
~ Mary Oliver ~


In other news I have no idea what I am being yet for Halloween.
I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, Happy Weekend You all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Tonight I am going to see Steven Kellogg and the Sixer's! To celebrate being with Erika for 11 months. (Can you believe 30 days from now it'll have been one whole year? I certainly can't.) I don't really know their music but I checked them out and this video looks cool. Takes place at UMass with the UMass band playing back-up:

I haven't written a peep about San Francisco partly beacuse I had so much to do when I got back home. Work has been scary crazy and the babies require a lot of attention but the short story is that it was absolutely fantastic. The weather was perfect, the wine tastings were delicious (I like that California Cabernet!), the people were perfectly odd and I got to see the sun set over the Pacific ocean. We hiked in Muir Woods and ate tons of great food and walked all over that great hilly city.

Sunset over the Pacific. It's gets chilly up there.