I just finished up my week at the Mendocino Music Festival. I can’t write much for now: it’s way past my bed time, and I have a drive tomorrow. I just want to write, though, that I had a fantastic time. Working with Tom and Beth … what a great oboe section! Living with Nancy, a most gracious host, and enjoying her company was lovely. Attending chamber concerts was a joy. The area is simply amazing and I visited the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens a whopping four times. Oh how I wish I were a member of this fantastic group, but I’ll take this year at least … what a gift!

Ending up in a location that doesn’t have wireless, I am unable to post much. I’m currently sitting at Starbucks. Yes. Really. It’s the only way I can manage to post if I don’t want to use our cell service.

Today was the first rehearsal (of three) for “Concert #2″ in Mendocino. I have one solo in the Rachmaninoff that is, truly, a solo: no one else plays and the conductor just lets me do my thing. Nice! We have only two more rehearsals and then a performance. The Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 is a LOT of notes and a challenge to put together in such a short time. The other two works (a new work called Night Flower, by Julian Waterfall Pollack, and the Sibelius Violin Concert) shouldn’t be difficult (and I don’t play the latter).

It’s great fun to be in this amazing location. I’ve met some new people and have already struggled to remember names. I need to work on the name skill … I’m just awful at that. Truly the WORST with names.

I was hoping to go out and shoot a lovely sunset, but we are rather socked in so no sun is to be seen. Oh well … maybe I’ll get a sunset one of these evenings. I can hope. I did manage to get to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. It’s a spectacular place and I’ll go back at least once and I hope even more.

Meanwhile, I’m lost without wireless, yet I think it’s probably good that I’m not in a home with it because I’m sure I’d just hide away in the room and browse the web. (Instead I’m hiding away at Starbucks … hmm ….)

… because I occasionally need to remind kids of this, and I hope some finally read and catch on. (Mind you, only a very few kids look at this blog, and all are oboe players, I’m sure … but the TQOD is from an oboe playing kiddo so I think this is something to put up here.)

Y are all these oboe players so fake?

Let’s blame the reeds, okay? ;-)

But seriously, I see who you are, so it’s possible whoever you are referring to will see it as well. C’mon folks, be smart. No one needs to make enemies … or do they?! Maybe kids think enemies are cool? I wonder sometimes.

Speaking of that (or writing of that), I must admit that this “tweeter” had some other amazingly awful things written, with language, including the “n word”, that was fairly horrible. I had recently visited a local high school Facebook page (a local high school that is one of the top in the country), put together by the 2014 graduating class, that had equally horrifying things in it. Had I been the sort that liked to ruin kids’ lives, I could have gotten some kicked out of their colleges for next year. I’m really surprised that kids still haven’t caught on that using racist or otherwise offensive terms can get them in a huge amount of trouble.

Be kind. Watch what you write. Be SMART! Pretty please?

Yep. This is a crossover post. It can fit on either the patty or here. So I’ll post it both places. Just because.

I leave for the Mendocino Festival on Sunday morning. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m looking forward to it. I’m busy packing in my head. I’m planning. Oh, and there’s that practicing thing too!

We stay at people’s homes. I’ve “met” my host via email. She sounds like she will be quite comfortable to stay with. I’m a bit apprehensive, just because I’m an introvert, but I’m actually dealing quite well with that. Guess age can help with some things!

When I go on trips I “pack in my head” for weeks on end. I don’t actually stuff things in a suitcase (or, in my case, my Osprey Porter Travel Duffle, 46-Liter. (That thing carries enough that I used it for our three week trip to Europe! I refuse to check luggage unless I’m traveling with reed making equipment … and WHY would I ever travel with that stuff?!)

Now I have to figure out what to do for food. She allows me access to her kitchen, but as anyone who knows me knows, I’m not much of a cook. I can cook. I just don’t like to. But I also don’t want to go out and spend money. My natural, somewhat silly and not terribly healthy way of dealing is to just not eat if I have no leftovers available. I know I can’t really do that for a full week! So I’m pondering what to do. I think I’ll hit up Trader Joe’s and find pre-made dinners that would be tremendously easy to prepare. Like “Open box. Eat.” prepare. If that’s possible.

I’m also quite excited about getting back to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Dan and I visited two years ago and I was entranced. This time I know more about photography, so I’m looking forward to what I’ll find. Stay tuned for flower photos!

From 2012:

Shortly after I get home the IDRS convention begins. I can’t go to these every year, but I did want to go this year. After all, it’s in New York. I have family in New York! Makes perfect sense to mix business with pleasure, right? Or something. Of course August isn’t the best of months to be in NYC, but I’ll deal. I do plan on blogging live from classes there if I have internet access. I would assume they will provide that on the NYU campus.

I suppose I’ll be “packing in my head” for New York while I’m in Mendocino. What a contrast the two places will be. Quaint, calm but very cool Mendocino and then buzzing, crazy, hot and humid New York! I am guessing I’ll bring very different wardrobes for these two places!

Meanwhile … today is a “clean out the entire family room and move the living room furniture against the east wall” sort of day. Tomorrow the noise of new windows and wallboard begins. My oboe students who have opted to come during construction, rather than moving to today, will get to do the “can an oboe really be THAT loud?” thing.

03. July 2014 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

I just finished wasting an hour watching a TV show I’d never heard of until tonight called Black Box. The good thing? Vanessa Redgrave is in it. I always enjoy seeing her. The rest was “meh”. It was mostly about musicians tonight, and it’s just ridiculous to watch actors try to pretend they are musicians. I think someday we musicians should all pretend we are actors. I’m sure the actors would get a kick out of that, too.

BUT … one of the things they dealt with were “ear worms”. As far as I’m concerned the person was suffering from music hallucinations, since he saw performers when he heard his ear worms, but whatever. I suffer from ear worms a lot, especially on my walks. The character on the show started with some Bollywood music but, thanks to a suggestion from someone else, it moved to Yankee Doodle. It was all pretty silly.

The end of the episode ended with a group singing “Beautiful Dreamer”.

Ack! Guess what ear worm I have in my head now?!


… and here is Marilyn Horne AND Martin Katz (I’ve done two operas under his baton).

But maybe I’ve not planted the same song in readers’ heads now?!

You’re welcome. ;-)

Yep. I chose it. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I did that, though. I landed my first job when I was eighteen. There weren’t that many auditioning for English horn in San Jose Symphony: not a whole lot of competition for an orchestra at that level back then. These days it would be a lot tougher. I am very certain I wouldn’t win an audition there now, if the dear orchestra still existed.

I learned, quite some time ago, to whine about it. I learned to complain about reeds. To ramble on about losing weekends. To sigh about a lost holiday because I had to work.

And yet … I would like to state publicly that I love my job. I love sitting on stage and, even more, in the pit. I love working — collaborating — with wonderful colleagues. I love working on and performing incredible works from eons ago and from just a day or so ago.

Is it work? You BET. Do I make as much as someone outside of the arts? Most often not. But there are many that do earn less. I’ve not had to work at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store or … well … you get the picture. My last job like that was back in 1982. Even then I was working at a bookstore and who would complain about that?!

Do I stress over it? Absolutely. If I make a mistake I live with it for far too long. If I make a large blunder someone might even write about it in a newspaper or an online publication. That eats at me. It hurts. I say I don’t care, but I lie a lot about that. Of course if I play well I might get a good mention, which is always nice.

I hear people complain about their jobs. The long hours. The lack of respect. The poor treatment. Many of these people earn a ton more money than I do. They are unhappy. They hate it. They own their houses outright. They don’t fret over money. But they are so darn unhappy it makes me sad.

So let me say again. I love my job. I am grateful to do what I do. I love music. I love the arts. I love creativity.

I’ll probably still whine. I excel at whining. But I chose to be here and I continue to choose it. I would do it all again.

I love my job.



Performing: symphony, opera, musical theater, chamber music. And then there’s teaching! I love introducing oboe to newbies and encouraging those that already play.

I love my JOBS.

27. June 2014 · 2 comments · Categories: Fun, Ramble

… and if I still made my “bag lady dresses” (oh how I loved to wear those! I bought challis fabric and the dresses were large and flowed nicely and of course they really hung on me like a bag, but whatever!) … I would buy me some of this fabric. Really!

I don’t usually go for the music sorts of clothing (although I do wear my music socks now and then), but these are so darn cool!




25. June 2014 · 8 comments · Categories: Ramble

It’s happened a few times now. Not only recently, but in the past as well. Students who are going off to college inform me that their parents won’t allow them to play oboe while in college.


While I understand why some parents might not encourage children to go into music, why in the world are they forbidden to play while in college? It won’t harm them. It very well could help them. After spending six or seven years with me, they suddenly get the oboe taken away? This seems so darn unfair. And unkind.

If I were a student with such a controlling parent I think I’d go to the music department at the college and see if I could sign up for band or orchestra despite being told I am not allowed. Is that horrible of me? Oh dear. I suppose so! I don’t like to encourage disobedience, and I would never tell students to do this, but once a person goes off to college I think they should be allowed to make their own decisions.

Music. Good for the soul. Good for the brain. Good for SO much.

Double sigh.

I was surprised to be hired for a few things this summer. Surprised AND delighted! I’ll be playing Streetcar Named Desire with Merola, and later I get to go up to the fantastic town of Mendocino and play two of the three orchestra concerts. The latter has me very excited, because I love that area. Believe me, I’ll be busy with a camera when I’m not busy with the oboe and English horn.

Another big change is that I am no longer employed by UCSC. I resigned, having decided the drive was too much for the one or, in rare instances, two students I had. These past two years, in fact, I had no students at all for most quarters. When that happens I could get asked to play concerts. I simply don’t have time to drive over that hill to play concerts with a university orchestra. So I’m finished with the school. I’ll miss the few colleagues I met there, but I was never fully connected. That’s the life of an adjunct. I know it’s just that way it works, but it was frustrating.

I was going to post a few photos of Mendocino, but I’m having blog issues these days. Apparently I’m using up too much space in the internet world. Or something. Images won’t post here. So never mind … for now. (I’ll keep trying, of course. I want you to see why I’m so excited about Mendocino!)

Update: as you can see, the photos are now appearing. See what I mean about Mendo?!





… and then there are weeks. Last week was the latter. I’m experiencing so many emotions following a week with Symphony Silicon Valley.

(Note: yes, this is double posted — it’s also at the pattyo. I just figured it should be both places!)

I was SO excited and thrilled and proud of my friend Debbie for her fantastic bassoon soloing. I could never do what she did (of course I don’t play bassoon, so there’s that!). She played with such refinement and beauty, and truly did a fantastic job. BRAVA, Debbie! What a DELIGHT that was!

There was the joy of Beethoven. How can you beat something like the third symphony, after all?

My friend Pam played the oboe solos beautifully. Another friend, Carolyn, playing principal bassoon in Debbie’s stead for the concert and did great.

There was also a lot of pondering about how long I’ve been doing this, as I worked again with George Cleve. He was my first real conductor. 1975. SO many years ago! He reminded me that the first thing I played with him was An American in Paris. Ah, the memories and the joy of this crazy life of mine.

Of course there’s always the end of the season feelings. The saying goodbye to friends and colleagues.

I feel as if I live such an easy life compared to oh-so-many. I think I’m spoiled rotten, really.

And then, of course, I did go on walks last week. And I did see flowers. There are always flowers!