May 2016

There was a time when I worked in the high tech industry that I had to write status reports every month.

I hated that.

I tried to get creative, but more often than not, I was asked to keep with the ‘standard’ format.

So, now that I’m retired, I often wonder: ‘Just what did I do last month?”

So maybe I should write a status report.

May, 2016

Accomplishments

Windblown Studio work:

  • Did two gas firings.  One was a regular glaze firing which came out fairly good considering the cones were made pointing the wrong direction.  Instead of them falling away from each other, cone 9 fell into cone 10, and 10 fell into 11.  The firsts time I noticed that was when cone 9 fell at the bottom and pushed the other two cones down with it.   This make it somewhat difficult to tell when to shut down the kiln. But experience paid off and the results looked good.  The second firing was to fire four saggers.  This was to go to 1650 degrees Fahrenheit.  It, also came out good.
  • Private Raku firing:  On May 30th, we did a private Raku firing.  The rain hold off until our third and last firing.  We finished it in light rain. The results were very good. The kiln held up for another firing, only needing some minor door Kaowool repair. Rita got the best piece out with a platter that was turned upside down in the can – giving the red bronze luster glaze good reduction and a copper that is just spectacular.

Medical:

  • An call to my skin doctor got me an appointment to have him check a lump on my temple.  He removed it (with a scapula)  and the lab tests showed it benign.
  • A call to eye doctor got me an appointment to check my left eye. It was having rings of light flashing when I moved my eye a certain eye. Being concern about a detached retina, he checked it and said it as note the retina but rather the vitreous pulling on the retina.  Had it been accompanied with lots of new floaters or other material floating in my vision, that would indicate a torn retina.  But is wasn’t, so now, I just get a light show when I’m out at night.
  • My normal annual visit with my GP was more of a discussion with her about my heart and blood test results. My cholesterol was up (over 200) as was my triglycerides. This was disappointing since I have lost about 13 pounds since April and have been eating much more healthy than ever.  The doc said a weight loss can actually increase triglycerides. However, keeping with the cardiologist’s desires to get my cholesterol down,  she put me on a statin called Atorvastatin ( a Lipitrol generic product).  Her quote was: “If cardiologist had their own way, they would have lipitrol in the drinking water.”   She also ordered a pulmonary respiratory test to make sure my shortness of breath is not due to some lung problem.
  • My stenosis  still haunts me. Cutting grass, walking up the hill, playing ball with the dog, cutting up wood, walling to the mailbox, and anything strenuous causes shortness of breath. frequently minor chess pain.  At night before I go to sleep, my heart and I have this conversation:  It says: “I’m not healthy” and I say: “keep on pumping.”

Other:

  • Zoe got sick. Some kind of allergic reaction. I suspect it is the flea collar.
  • On May 13th,  I went to MA  to visit Chris  and see his boys play little league games. The game was canceled but I did get to see them practice.   I stayed at Eric’s and we had a few drinks and conversation together. I caught Neil and Dianna going to the movie: Jungle Book, so I tagged along.  I also got to see Georgia’s piano recital, which was a great experience. (see blog post)
  • Technology consulting this month was just under 10 hours.
  • Replaced the kitchen faucet.  The difficult part was getting the old one out of the sink. I actually had to take the sink out in order to get the nuts removed from under the faucet.  The new one went in easy compared to that.
  • Finally finished the wiring from the drawing room project. I installed the two way light switch in the kiln room and wired up the outlet to finish all the circuits in the drawing room.
  • When I cut the upper field of grass, I had to rake and pick up the ‘hay’.  Hope to not have to do that again.

The Recital

Recital

May 15, 2016
Northampton, MA

After spending over 70 years on planet Earth, I find little that moves me to tears.  But I recently attended a piano recital to see my granddaughter play and was surprised that I was touched by the other kids playing.  This recital was a special moment.

Click to play the music recorded below while you read on.  (I was going to make it auto play, but find that aggravating in other sites, so I put the playing control in your hands.)

If you pressed the play icon, the Beatles piece you are hearing was performed by a boy named Levi who was somewhere between 10  and 12 years old. All I could see is his blond curly hair as he sat on the piano.  He not only played the  piano, but he sang into a microphone. With his lips almost touching the mic,  he looked like a 12 year old  Randy Newman.  The audio is not very good for I recorded it with my cell phone  from the back of the room and Levi  had trouble keeping his mouth close to the mic while he played the base notes.

What touched me was not necessarily the quality of this performance, or any of the other kids that performed, but rather the expression of their passion for music.  I saw  Madeleine perform a piece she wrote herself,  Noah move his body in beat while playing the Star Wars theme, the tapping foot of Nicholas when he did his own jazzed up version of Lightly Row.

Kids age 10 – 12 do not  exude their passion for music, especially at a piano recital. They are normally terrified of missing a note, or forgetting what comes next.  They just want to get their playing done quickly and off stage.  But, what I saw that Sunday afternoon were a bunch of great kids that love  music and they were not ashamed to show it.

My granddaughter’s performance was good. She showed her feel for music when she put in the appropriate pause between notes for effect. She was not in a rush to get the performance done. She wanted you to feel the music, using the silence between notes to instill that touch.  If you were not noticing, you may think it was a mistake, but it was deliberate and effective.  Who teaches kids to do that?  This is special.

A few days later, after I got home,  I would catch myself humming  Ob-La-di, Ob-La-Da.  When I listen to these pieces, it still  brings tears to my eyes.

I emailed the teacher thanking her for doing such a great job and wishing her to never stop. Teaching young’ens to play the piano, a number of people can do that.  But to teach them to improvise,  compose and put a happy Beatles  tunes in your head for days,  now, that is great!