Saturday, November 30, 2019

Dear Diary

My plan to catch up after a week of not-writing almost worked. But time marches on and just a little bit faster than I can manage at the moment. So before November comes to a close, a short synopsis for the historical record:

• Saturday, Nov. 23: With no workshops to teach and no kids to perform with or take care of, I had a delightful day actually going to workshops. Some from former students in our summer training course (hooray!), some people I didn’t know and hadn’t seen teach, some I had seen teach doing something different. It was mostly fun, but truth be told, by the end, I was not excited about getting into small groups and making something up. I just wanted someone to tell me what to do and in the last workshop, she did—and it didn’t turn out to be much worth doing. Oh well. 

There was a closing session that deserves its own entry, a continuation of the shift-in-the-wind feeling of the Conference with 4 out of the 5 teachers people of color and leading us into helping three quotes come to life in speech, song and movement. The quotes? From Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela. We ended with concentric circle singing and the tears were flowing. As they should.

That night was the annual banquet and the by-now usual kick-ass dance band and everyone kicked their shoes off and got down to it! Fun! The only thing missing was the ritual conga line and truth be told, I didn’t miss it. Post-banquet, happened into my California peeps and headed up to their hotel suite (someone had perks) and played a fun 14-person game of Cheers Guv-nor! Until 1 in the morning. Most of these folks in their 30’s and 40’s and all my former Orff students and I love ‘em to death. And was both grateful they let the old guy hang with them and proud that I could!

• Sunday: A meeting of the Summer Course teachers with small group discussion about where we should be going in the next 50 years. (My world music sharing from that discussion in the last post.) Again, where often there is discord and a sense of different camps, “we” was the predominate pronoun. Hooray for that.

Lunch with my old Orff buddy Pam looking over a draft of her Orff/ Bali book I hope to publish with my Pentatonic Press and off to the airport. But not home. Straight to Portland, where my daughter and two grandchildren met me at the airport and whisked me off for the first 5 hours of our 12 hour drive to San Francisco. Wheee!

• Monday: Woke up in Grant’s Pass and off we went in my preschool-music-class-in-the-car as I worked on engaging my 4 and 8-year old grandkids. Three stories, a few rhythm games, many songs, some recorded stories and songs and the seven hours whisked by—well, not that rapidly, but we made it. Barely, it turns out, as the car was doing weird things up hills and we took it to a mechanic right away who noted the oil was almost out (a separate problem) and had we driven another hour, we would have ruined the engine. Whoops. 

• Tuesday:  A morning of hanging out with games, drawing, eating, etc. and then a film crew came for the afternoon to interview me and then later my wife and two daughters. Part of a project chronicling my last year at school and I’m pretty casual about it, but the film folks (led by a school parent) are pretty serious and already have some 15 hours of filmed material—classes, performances, interviews and more. Yikes! That night, off to daughter Talia’s house for dinner and a family celebration of her 35thbirthday. Yikes again! (My second daughter is 35!) Our first rain came and how it came! Arriving at Talia's house, there were twin rivers running down the hill, almost too wide and swift to cross! (And apparently, we will have rain for 13 out of the next 14 days! But of course, we can always use it.)

• Wednesday: Spent a lot of energy thinking about kid-friendly things to do in San Francisco and opted for just walking down Irving St. while we did little errands, stop for a lunch of fresh dumplings (inspired by a Japanese story I read to them 4 times!), visited Talia’s new apartment where she will soon move, came back through Golden Gate Park. Perfect grandkid time and no tickets needed. Son-in-law Ronnie flew down that night.

• Thursday: Thanksgiving at my sister’s house in Sebastopol. A lovely family time and great walk on Florence Avenue where all these fabulous metal sculptures are (see photos below). Talia, Karen and I drove home while the Portland crew spent the night to get a head-start on their 3-day drive back home. 

• Friday: My house was so quiet! And clean! I love the little kid energy, but find myself quite happy to get a break from it as well. Spent the day getting e-mail down to 0 and other such business-like things and treated myself to the Tom Hanks “It’s a Beautiful Day” movie that night.

• Saturday:  Drove down to San Jose to gather at one of the Interns’ house. We’re all getting a bit sad that we only have three-weeks left of this marvelous four months together, so nice to have some time eating Chinese and Persian food, playing a card game about sushi and sashimi. Came home and played Bach for two hours, realizing how much I’ve missed the piano. 

And now here I am. December a mere 3 hours away, I bid farewell to a vibrant and memorable November and prepare myself for the next round of intensity before the Holiday break. Breathe in. Breathe out. And off we go!…………

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