Fired up about work

This guy is climbing out of a manhole in Bratislava, Slovakia. Notice how the top of his helmet is all shiny? Folks rub it for luck.

I just got a promotion at work, and will get to use a lot of my favorite expertise to do it. Like blogging, promoting good stuff, networking, designing, and working with cool, very smart, creative people. What's not to like? Working for decades in non-profits and other universities, I'm accustomed to getting the best artistic value while running on a modest budget.

Looking forward to applying a little social networking to marketing, maybe even in a virtual environment. Both music and IT. At first, I wasn't so sure about how music and technology would mesh in my life. Now I know. It's the Saraswati principle. The Hindu goddess of music AND the sciences.

The first time I took an HTML class, I was struck by how the code resembled musical forms. The closing tag = a cadence. There's an arc of tension in both that is equally important.


Barbara Jordan: the Constitution's staunchest defender

They should round up all of Congress, and replay the clip of her famous speech about her utter and complete faith in the Constitution of the United States. Barbara Jordan KNEW how nasty it had been and could become in an augenblick. You can't say she didn't warn us. We need her now. Or at least call her and her rock solid politics to mind and heed what she says. We need someone who will defend the Constitution as astutely as she did.

That's something relatively new in aging for me. Living long enough to have seen a pretty interesting chunk of politics, from Truman on. It was always on our radio, and TV when we got one.

I miss Barbara Jordan, one of my earliest sheroes. I miss Nina Simone, as well, and talked about her at The Good Musician.


So long to The Good Musician

This is one of the many altars, or groupings of art in St. Vitus basilica in Prague. This piece is solid silver, one of a grouping of five. It's quite stunning, as virtually everything else is gold.

The Good Musician blog will retire on July 31. It's been an interesting four months, I've certainly learned a good deal about the world of blogging for pay. I loved the writing discipline, and at the same time had a great lesson in my personal boundaries and commitments. b5media are the greatest--supportive, congenial, and their admin is superb. I hope to work with them again.

Freakin' hard work. My lovely readers are familiar with my freewheeling style, and I believe that's when I write my best. Or at least my most satisfying. Not to say that I am not quite proud of my work as TGM, I was in heaven writing about music. Fried Okra Productions and the people who pop in and say hi, and share fascinating ideas and stories, is home. I missed it.

Of course, that's all very self-serving. It's kinda like my relationship with my flute and my voice. I got my first flute at age seven, a Bundy nickle plated wonderful shiny music-making real instrument. Of my own. To play as much as I wanted. A black case with blue velvet lining. A St. Louis music store sticker nestled by the cleaning rod.

I've sung all my life, except for a period from age 12 to 18, after a grumpy church choir director made a snide remark about me being too sick to sing, but singing anyway, and lousing it up, sneezing, head aching, NOT wanting to be there. Withered my little feelings so's I didn't sing again til college, and by that time I was heavy into the instrumental groove.

For a very long time, through grad school and as a performing musician. Then I got tired of being so focused on going to the edge of flute playing. I just wanted to sing for a while. So that's what I've done. Taken lessons, always a member of the muni chorus, paid section leader, contractor, ringer, et al for several decades now, and I like a chamber chorus to keep my chops up. Or just any singing, wherever--Ballet Austin, ASO, Festival at Round Top, Georgetown Festival of the Arts.

Over time, I've learned to supplement singing by combining it with arts management. Dashing up on stage at the last second after hauling a portativ organ in my station wagon for 80 miles, my entire wardrobe was black so that I didn't have to worry about changing into concert gear in addition to putting the show up.

So where was I? Comparing TGM and FOP. Different instruments. Exceedingly cool at different times. So what do I do? My head is into repertoire at the moment, working with a group of musicians and admins to set programs for this year, while supporting the group during the transition in conductors. Listening to scads of music, going through old programs, awash in fond memories. There's so much good music out there. You might think about searching out the chorus in your town and having a listen.


It furthers one to find a good teacher--I Ching

Change is inevitable. You can frequently turn it to your advantage if you keep a sharp lookout. Other times you just have to sit and grieve over the loss of a situation you held dear. And then move on.

Decrypting, our choral director is retiring from our group to focus on his university duties. This is as it should be, and everyone is pleased for him, and grateful for the time he spent with us. He is truly a gifted rehearsal technician and director, and coaxed the ensemble to shine. I was privileged to participate in some uncommonly good music making, singing stuff I adore. He will be sorely missed. I look forward to participating with him and other colleagues at the 2009 Georgetown Arts Festival.

So tonight I'm articulating my appreciation for two of the good teachers I've had the opportunity to learn from and grow with as a musician.

I especially am honored to have experienced the totally awesome Central Europe tour with our director and his wife, who is an equally gifted artist and teacher. I learned much from her about digital photography, both through her gentle tutoring and by observing her interaction with all the glorious sights around us and what her eye was drawn to. She created some absolutely gorgeous mementos of those dazzling experiences for the group.

Thanks, Kenny. Thanks, Star.


Elderbloggers and Zona Rosa Austin

I have sorely neglected my first two writing loves: elderbloggers and Zona Rosa Austin. Rather than posting on FOP, I yearn to catch up with my elderblogger buddies and see what's going on with them. The eldersphere has been so supportive and, well...wise, it has become a real source of authentication and friendship.

So I am finding time to visit my pals online and see what they're up to. As well, I have missed practically the last year of Zona Rosa Austin, the group started by Rosemary Daniell, that also is a source of inspiration and support. I finally have a free Saturday to visit with my friends f2f and share our writing ups an
d downs. I have watched some fine writers develop in that group, and their successes and heartbreaks are mine as well.

Meanwhile, here are some garnets I picked up in Bratislava and Prague.


Central Europe--more photos

These were taken at the Meissen porcelain factory. They do unbelievable, incomprehensible, absolutely gorgeous stuff, and have been doing it the longest of anyone in Europe. It was a treat to tour the showroom and workshop. I learned more about porcelain in one day than in my entire life.

And then learned that Dresden was full of Meissen porcelain, including the frauenkircher, the Lady's Chapel, which was destroyed in WWII, but rebuilt--the interior is brilliant white porcelain and gold. We were not allowed to take photos in the church.

Equally as stunning, there is a wall that runs an entire city block, several stories high, of German heroes and leaders through the millenia, painted on small squares of Meissen porcelain!
Nope, still haven't gotten them all on-line.

I am still awed by being in those places.