Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to Bach

by Caren Crane

Dearest Banditas and Buddies, I have a confession to make. In my misspent youth, I devoted hours every day to study and practice of a cruel instrument of torture. I evoked scorn in my siblings, forbearance in my parents and derision in my friends. I suffered bodily pain and nauseating uncertainty on a daily basis. Some of you may have suffered a similar sort of obsession in your youth. My dear ones, I was a slave to...the violin.

Please do not mistake my devotion for actual talent. God gave me a boundless love of beautiful music and a very modest gift for it. I am not being modest, as Johann Sebastian Bach was when he referred to "the small talents for music which Heaven had granted him." No, I seriously have only a competence for playing violin. That is about what one can expect from 10 years of public school strings ensemble/orchestra and zero private instruction, so I try to be content.


Another confession: I have taken up playing violin again. This is after a 28-year hiatus. Twenty-eight years. Some of you haven't been alive that long! To recap: 10 years of enthusiastic, but dubious, study and instruction followed by 28 years of almost never touching my violin. This doesn't seem like it would bode well for my abilities these days. Believe me, it doesn't!


But I looked around at my little nest after we moved the second child to college last month. I scanned my calendar. I noted all the free time I have now that my neediest child is away for much of the year. I noted, with an aching heart, that my youngest - my baby! - is now a senior in high school. I wondered how I would fill the time after she, too, goes away to school. The answer seemed both obvious and crazy to me: start playing violin again.

So, I contacted a man at church who encourages members of the congregation every fall to "dust off their instruments" and join the String Ensemble. He was initially excited that I was interested, but was disconcerted with my level of need. I don't think he took me seriously when I said I hadn't played in 28 years. He figured out pretty quick, though, that I was in no way exaggerating my rustiness. (Actual portrait of me playing violin in high school - hand-tinted sepia, which was all the rage in the 20s!)


I picked up my long-neglected violin 12 days ago. Since then, I have spent lots of money on new strings, a new bridge, a new sound post, 2 new shoulder rests, a new chin rest, a new bow and getting my old bow rehaired (not to mention the labor that went into setting up the new bridge and soundpost). I remembered that I like the guys in the fiddle shop much better than the snooty "luthier" who caters to professional musicians. I also learned from the snooty luthier that my violin has a level fingerboard - a near-fatal flaw according to this guy and the source of some back pain. He looked quite disgusted when I told him I couldn't afford another violin, so I was going to have to work around it.


My fatally-flawed violin and I have been practicing - okay, relearning - absolutely everything in the past 12 days. We have also rekindled a deep affection for Bach. I am working on a Bach menuet for an audition with the Really Terrible Orchestra Of the Triangle (that's a real thing - Google it!). I may be too terrible for them; time will tell. I do know that my left-hand fingers have never been so sore and that I haven't been this happy in years.


So do you have an interest, hobby or love have you rediscovered from your misspent youth? Or do you have something in mind you would like to take up "one of these days"? Do share! And if you have any suggestions for toughening up tender fingertips, please pass them along. :)

63 comments:

Jane said...

Hi Caren,
I love Bach. I'm not musically inclined, but I do love to listen to all kinds of music. I hope to learn the piano, knitting and maybe take up martial arts.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Caren! Reading, blogging, and walking take up most of my free time. But I appreciate those with musical talents as I cannot carry a tune in a bucket!

Kim in Hawaii said...

Let me add that I always have time for the GR in Hawaii!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Caren, kudoes to you for returning to the instrument of the angels! There's nothing quite like a violin played really well. And, well you know the rest of it. My second son insisted on playing violin in 5th grade. Do not ask me why. We suggested other instruments, trombone, clarinet, tuba -- nope violin it was. And it was awful!

jo robertson said...

Meant to say congrats to Jane on getting the rooster. I'll bet he can teach you a few martial arts moves!

jo robertson said...

Oh, and to answer the question, I'd love to take up piano again, but right now our piano is "living" in someone else's house and the kiddies learn to play while their parents wait for the $$ to buy a baby grand!

Anna Campbell said...

Jane, looks like you and the chook will be making beautiful music together today!

Caren, what a lovely post! No, not a finger post. Hee hee.

Actually I had a similar youth to you. Maybe that's why we're friends - we shared the horrors! Hours of time spent playing the piano. I mean literally HOURS.

I was just thinking this morning that it was good training for being a writer. You know, the more work you do, the better you get, the fact that you'll never get it perfect no matter how much work you do (although the more work the better!), the delayed gratification. Writing a book doesn't give you instant reward but long hard slog will. Learning a musical instrument is a similar discipline.

Always glad I had that background although I was also an extremely modest talent.

Just lately I've gone back to playing on a fairly regular basis. Not for long but I have a session most days. It always leaves my mind feeling cleaner and clearer. And then I have to go and do some writing and get my mind all dirty again. Sigh!

Helen said...

Well done Jane enjoy your day with him maybe he can teach you how to play the piano

Caren

Good on you I did play the recorder at school and always wanted to learn how to play the piano (something I would still love to do) but I have never owned a piano and not lilely to either so that is out of the question.

At the moment I have lots of books that I really want to read and spending time with the family takes up my avialable time LOL.

I am sorry I have no remedies to help with the sore fingers but I am guessing the more you practice the better they will get. Enjoy every minuite Caren and good luck with the auditions

Have Fun
Helen

Helen said...

Jo

I gotta say I am loving The Watcher so good better get off the PC I need to get back to it LOL.
I am looking forward to The Avenger as well Whoo Hoo

Have Fun
Helen

Landra said...

Caren, Oh Caren! Let me tell you... I am in your boat. How I love the violin and I play or did play for many years of school. I went to music camps in the summer. I played in the Renaissance Festival in Kansas City as one of the Maypole musicians (the best time ever!). I know the woes of pulling the beautiful child from the case and re-stringing just to find out that your fingers are too long or too big now for the instrument. And I'm reminded of how I constantly hold the bow incorrectly.
Vivaldi was one of my favorites, but I have an affinity for Bach solo pieces. I'm a huge fan of Mozart quartets. Good luck! If you were once sufficient, I know you can be again. My inspiration comes from Nimrod by Elgar.
For Anna- I played piano too! But that was self taught. Loved every minute of it. Unfortunately I wasn't that good.

Congrats Jane on the Rooster!

Sheree said...

Yikes, the violin. I started playing in 7th grade for school. I actually wanted to learn to play the cello but the violin was easier to lug around and my mother always wanted to play.

I quit playing during senior year of high school and it took some time but the calluses on my fingertips finally went away. And I haven't played since although I still have my violin.

marybelle said...

I learned to knit, sew, crochet & embroider as a child. It's only in the last ten years that I have really taken to it. I always have a project on the go.

I'm not musical though.

Daz said...

Caren, sounds like you are having tremendous fun with your violin. :-)

I have very fond memories of my early school years when we baked shortbread cookies and loved it. The cooking and baking never went beyond it (my mother never learned to cook till we migrated to Australia!) and as I got older, I never had the time, inclination or wanted to invest the time and money into learning to cook properly. I recently decided to take cooking classes and have (re?)discovered a love of cooking. I'm seriously passionate about it, which surprises me because for the most part, I have commitment issues with most things I take up (just in case it doesn't "take"). In discovering my love for cooking, I've been doing weekly dinner parties, looking for excuses to cook more often and just loving flipping through cookbooks, how to books on cooking and food magazines. I'm having a blast.

Anna Sugden said...

What a wonderful post, Caren! I suffered violin for several years at school too - never did find a way to deal with sore fingertips!

I found I preferred the piano, but somehow was never one for practising as I should. Plus, I didn't like all the crappy tunes I was supposed to play. I remember teaching myself The Entertainer, after hearing it in The Sting and taking great pleasure in shocking my piano teacher and actually enjoying my playing.

With both step-d's being crafty I've rediscovered the joy of cross stitch, though haven't yet had time to do any. My bag of goodies is at the ready. I also taught one of them to knit. I'd like to learn to crochet at some point too.

The only thing I've rediscovered from my youth is playing adventure games on the computer, as a whole new era of games has been launched lately. I loved King's Quest and others and there are some like that which I've been enjoying.

Caren Crane said...

Jane, your love of Bach has won you...the GR! He claims to be a music lover, but I think he just likes to hit on chicks at concerts. =:-0

I hope you do pursue piano, knitting and martial arts. I must say, my husband and kids all took tae kwon do for a long while. I was never tempted to join them. Maybe I was saving my fingers for violin? No, I'm just clumsy and afraid of breaking bones!

As to knitting, I have a very patient friend who has taught me to knit THREE TIMES. When she leaves, all knowledge flees my fingers and my yarn and needles sit, untouched, until she comes over again. I'm hopeless!

Caren Crane said...

Kim, reading, blogging, walking and writing have been my fillers for the past 25 years. Add watching movies, too!

I did read that doing things like crossword puzzles and Sudoku, learning a musical instrument and learning a foreign language stimulate your brain as you age. Maybe I'll brush up on my German and go visit Bach's old stomping grounds. Though some of them are in the Czech Republic now!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I agree, there is nothing more painful than listening to someone learning to play the violin or any other bowed string instrument. There is so very much to master in the beginning. That's why so many people give up after 2 or 3 years. It seems you'll never get any better and then, like magic, one day you learn to play one string at a time! :)

Though I have to say, I suffered through listening to some pretty awful trumpet practices in my day...

Caren Crane said...

Jane, please take Jo's claims of the GR's martial arts abilities with a hefty dose of salt.

He practices something called chik kan do. It's mostly staring intensely at people while vibrating with tension, a la Bruce Lee. I've never seen him actually fight anyone using it, so I can't make claims as to its efficacy; however, I am skeptical to say the least!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, when the grands get finished with your piano, you should reclaim it! Of course, then you have to make room for it in the house. I currently have a piano sitting about 5 feet from me. I thought about taking lessons, then decided that learning to read the bass clef and play with my left hand was more than I could expect my beleaguered brain to handle. Snaps to you for mastering it!

Caren Crane said...

Fo, you closet pianist! I knew you had played in your youth, but didn't realize you had clandestinely taken up a daily practice. How wonderful!

Yes, I found the daily practice of writing to be just as infuriating, miserable and frustrating as playing violin. I think, like with violin, it's a long, hard endurance race. Show up at the computer keyboard for enough years, log enough hours writing, practice until you have no idea what you're doing anymore and, eventually, a book comes out.

Just like with violin performances, I am always dissatisfied with my writing efforts and often tempted to put it under the bed and quit!

It seems writing, music and any other creative endeavor belong in the same oddly-shaped box, nestled in a torture chamber! :)

Caren Crane said...

Helen, did the GR play piano for you when he was there? I think he must have taken it up while at Anna C's house!

All you need to do is come to NC and play the piano sitting right over there to my left! Though my younger daughter has been teaching herself, it has sat largely neglected since my older daughter stopped lessons almost two years ago. It needs a good home!

The only thing I've found that helps my poor fingers at all is rubbing alcohol (which are sometimes called surgical spirits). It is helping to toughen the skin, at any rate. I have enough callous to play at this point, but not nearly enough to produce a decent vibrato!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, isn't Jo's 'The Watcher' wonderful? Everyone should go to Amazon and buy it today!

Jo has logged many years and countless hours practicing the craft of her writing and it has really paid off!

Caren Crane said...

Landra, my sister in abandoned violins! Yes, the neglected child under the bed broke my heart. The good news was, I always played a full-size violin, so at least it still works size-wise.

However, I weigh about 50 pounds more than I did in high school and it really messes with my posture! As a teen, I played for countless hours at weekend workshops, festivals, and things like all-state orchestra. All I suffered was the occasional locked jaw from all those hours of playing.

Now, an hour of practice has my back screaming. What it screams is, "You are OLD!" Still, it makes me so happy, even as bad as I am! I wish I'd had the opportunity to play at the Maypole as you did. That sounds like a blast!

Have you thought of getting a bigger instrument and trying again? I was inspired by the RTOOT brass player who began again recently and said he hadn't played since marching band in college...in 1954!

Caren Crane said...

Sheree, drag that violin back and we can play badly together. We could Skype rehearsals and have virtual concerts! With you, me and Landra, we already have a trio. We may have a whole ensemble soon!

Caren Crane said...

Marybelle, I used to cross stitch and do needlework and embroidery. I think when my body gets too broken down to support violin any longer, I will take it back up! My mother has these lovely, framed samplers I did as a teenager hanging in her home. I did very nice work!

Now, knitting is a whole other thing. I seem to have no brain space for that. But cross stitch and crewelwork are my friends!

Caren Crane said...

Daz, what tremendous fun! Cooking is wonderful, because it's something you can share with your friends and family and watch them enjoy and appreciate your efforts. My family has recently decided to try our best to eat vegetarian (though we still have dairy). It is very challenging!

So, now I'm scouring for recipes and ready to take a journey into the world of cooking with tofu! It's quite exciting.

You're right, I'm having a TON of fun playing violin again. I hope you invite me for dinner if I get to Australia so I can come watch you cook! :)

Caren Crane said...

Anna, you should take up jazz piano! You'd probably just love it. Kudos for taking up cross stitch and knitting again, too. That can consume your life if you're not careful! :)

Computer games and video games in general are a weakness with me. I am obsessive enough that I could lose days gaming. My whole family is that way, which is really dangerous! My son is one of the best gamers I've ever seen. He is 25 now and still has mad gaming skillz! I only play things like Mario Party now, where I can just have fun. I have to stay away from the cut-throat competition, because I get too invested in it!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I am trying to get back into sewing Caren, I used to make everything from crafty pretties to clothes for my daughter and myself. Like you it is going to be expensive getting my machines back in working order, they have sat for years now with no maintenence, I can only hope I haven't killed them with neglect. I don't dare try using the machine or the serger until a professional has worked on them. I could probably do the machince myself but I don't even know how or where to tend the serger.
I started sewing way back when I was in junior high (middle school to your younger BB's), at that time I had no machine and it was all done by hand, to make strong seams I used an embroidery stitch that basically double sewed the seams. One of the first things I bought myself (after I got my mother a refrigerator/freezer and a washer and dryer) was an honest to goodness sewing machine. I was very slim and fairly tall, no bust to speak of and needless to say there was no buying clothes that even came close to fitting. So I made my own. Now, I am shorter, a little busty, and a whole lot rounder in places I shouldn't be and again I can't find clothes that fit and definitely none that compliment my body style. Time to make my own clothes again.

Deb said...

Hi, Caren. I, too, love Bach. I grew up in a church that had a lot of classical music sung and played during services.

I played the piano when I was younger; took lessons for 9 years. I was never an accomplished player, but did well enough to sit down and play for enjoyment. The piano I have now has lead weights, so it is much harder to play than my parents' piano. I have thought about taking lessons again to "tune up" (hehehe) my ability, but probably won't. I need to get some of the keys fixed because my daughter got ahold of a hammer when she was 2 and "fixed" the piano; the bench has a nice, little dent in it, too. (It's still an argument between DH and me as to how she got ahold of a hammer....)

My niece and nephew both play the violin and they are very good. My niece plays on the violin that my great-uncle brought with him from Denmark and, according to a musical expert, it's a well-known and VERY good instrument made in the early 1900s in Sweden. My daughter is now taking piano lessons (hates it, but I told her she still has to do it for another year to make it at least 4 years) and she started playing the clarinet in school last spring. I love to listen to her play, even with all the little squeaks and all.

Deb said...

P.S. I like Handel and Pachelbel, too. I had Pachelbel's "Canon in D" played at my wedding as I walked down the aisle.

jo robertson said...

Helen said, "I gotta say I am loving The Watcher"

What a sweetheart you are to say so, Helen! Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying the book.

jo robertson said...

Caren said, "when the grands get finished with your piano, you should reclaim it!"

My plan exactly! It's the piano Boyd learned to play on so it actually has ivory keys.

Joan said...

Why do I get a vision of Lucy playing "Glowworm" on the sax???

I applaud your endeavor though sounds like for all the parts you had to replace, maybe a second hand new violin would have worked?

Does this make you a fiddle player too? Cause I love me some fiddle music esp. within context of Irish Trad and Bluegrass.

I took a few lessons on guitar when I was in 4th grade. Had a REALLY crabby nun who turned me off to it as quickly as I'd turned on. My deepest wish now would be to learn the banjo and the bodhran...Irish drum. Something about that drum awakens stuff in m that.....

ahem.....

As I was saying, good luck to you and no, can't think of anything from my youth I'd want to tackle now unless kitties count :D

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, what wonderful skills to renew! My grandmother was a wonderful seamstress, so my mother sewed as little as possible. Sadly, that meant she didn't instill any love of sewing in me or my siblings. Only my younger sister ever had an interest and she picked that up in Home Ec. She still sews things for her house.

I never took Home Ec, because I always had String Ensemble instead! I feel like I missed out on a lot, but then I have no burning desire to make curtains or anything, so maybe it's okay.

It would be nice to make clothes that actually fit my body. Like you, I'm tallish with no chest. I also have a smallish waist and enough hips for two people! I could use some tailoring skills at the least!

So, what will be your first sewing project once the machines are ready for business?

Lori said...

Wow! I admire your spirit and courage of taking back your instrument. Mine was, and again is, the piano. I am still fairly good at it and getting better.

I think you find a different depth of talent that you never knew you had. My music has a very different tone and quality than it ever did before. It's almost intimate...something the innocence of youth can't capture.

Enjoy!

Caren Crane said...

Deb, I was thinking of Bach's vast repertoire of sacred music on the way to church this morning. He is better known for his secular music, written when he worked for Prince Leopold, but he wrote such a vast array of sacred music!

Good old Pachelbel. That Canon in D has been used in so many weddings. They even recommended it as birthing room music.

My husband liked it for that when our older daughter was born, but I found it got on my nerves when I was actually in labor. I wanted REM's 'Out of Time' album. I kept having him loop it until he refused to do it again. If there had been a heavy object for me to lob at his head, I would have! There's a reason they don't keep much within reach of a woman in labor. 'Nuff said!

Minna said...

I started to knit and crochet again a couple of years ago. I wasn't too good at it at school, but I'm doing much better now that there are no deadlines and no one breathing down my neck when I knit or crochet -like there was at school. Caren, there are some great books about knitting and crocheting for beginners by Debbie Stoller. I learned to knit and crochet again from those books.
Resently I started to crochet amigurumis. Lately I've made quite a few Angry Birds amigurumis and since I don't need any crocheted dolls myself, I've traded them for other things, like more yarn. Here's one amigurumi I've made:
http://www.titletrader.com/invinfo/TT_1005087_1313581246.html

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I hope the grands don't take a hammer to the piano, as happened to poor Deb's piano!

I never played piano, but one of my friends who did came to visit and was appalled that our piano rests against an outside wall. Apparently, this is the kiss of death for pianos. Of course, I reminded her this was NC, not Ohio, so we don't really have the temperature extremes - at least in the winter.

Plus, I don't have an inside wall I could put it against unless I rearranged the entire library. I may do that someday, but it won't be anytime soon!

Keira Soleore said...

My dear friend: Another thing we have in common: Music. I, too, learned the violin as a child and hated it. I learned for nine years, played for five years after that, and since then haven't touched it and have no desire to do so. However, I've recently restarted voice lessons, which I had stopped for ten years. And oh, yes, it's glorious to be singing again. I've also joined a church and their choir with rehearsals, services, and concerts. Fall's going to be busy-busy-busy.

Love Bach for his complicated polyphonic music. Every time I hear a harpsichord, I'm reminded of him.

Caren Crane said...

Joan, Joan, Joan. You do not understand the snobbery involved in buying a violin. Even with all the work done and things bought, I've only spent about $250. To get a decent violin appropriate for my (former) level of playing, it would easily be three times that much. To get a really lovely, old one (like Deb's great uncle's) would be much more than that.

The problem is, most "student" violins are factory made these days. The two I have are handmade. The one I'm mainly using was made in the 70s by a West German company. The older one that needs cracks repaired (but still has a nice sound) is American-made. It was made in 1917. I haven't researched the company yet, but it seems like one of the many small midwestern companies that were in business around the turn of the 20th century. No idea what, if anything, it might be worth but a violin with good structure and tone is definitely worth keeping and repairing!

And I WISH I could play fiddle. It's an incredibly different style of playing and it's difficult for classically trained violinists to get the hang of. Still, I'd love to try one of these days. You take up banjo, we'll get Jeanne on mouth harp and Suz on whiskey jug and we'll have us a string band!

Caren Crane said...

Lori, congratulations on taking up the piano again! You know, I've already found that I'm a much more relaxed player than I used to be. I'm still learning the art of playing on after making mistakes, though. Being a musician is hard for perfectionists!

I hope your piano playing brings you endless joy!

Caren Crane said...

Minna, those amigurumis are so cute! I'll bet the Angry Birds ones are much in demand. You could probably barter them for any number of things!

I may hunt up the knitting book you recommended. My brain has a really hard time translating 2D directions into 3D hand movements, so things like knitting or origami instructions tend to baffle me. I do much better with an instructor where they can show me or do something hand-over-hand so I can make a sensory memory.

Except with knitting, which for some reason never takes. I have a feeling it would just require more perseverance. I hope to have some one day in the future! Meanwhile, my daughter would really love a Hufflepuff scarf... :)

Caren Crane said...

Keira, did your parents force you to keep playing violin? I've found that most people who despise their former instrument, no matter what it is, were either forced by their parents to continue LONG after they wanted to quit or they had some horrid teacher - like the nun who taught Joan guitar!

I'm so glad you're singing again. What a joy! I love to sing and have great pitch, but I don't have a lovely voice. I've always thought it was a huge waste of good pitch, but there you go. I sing in the car and at church, but I won't be torturing others with my voice anytime soon. Only with my playing!

Enjoy your song-filled autumn, darling Keira!

Anna Campbell said...

Chik Kan Do???? You crack me up like an egg before an omelette, Caren!

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, I've actually kinda decided one of the things that keeps me writing (and sporadically coming back to the piano) is that you NEVER get it right. You can get it better but never right. Therefore you never get bored with the process - it's always a struggle. Seems odd that we make ourselves suffer, but I think in a strange way we do. Does that make any sense at all.

By the way, I LOVE Nimrod!

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, what a lovely musical family. Actually it's lovely to be able to play for your own enjoyment, isn't it? Something I loved was I got to a point where I used to accompany a few singers. That was fun - piano playing is lonely compared to being in an orchestra.

Kate Carlisle said...

Ah Caren, how wonderful that you get to revitalize your violin playing! I love listening to a great violin player and I love Bach, too. And no, I can't play a darn thing! I tried taking piano lessons in college and also tried guitar. Those were sad, sad experiences. I think the technical term for my musical ability is ... sucky. Yeah, that's me. And yet I remain a music lover. :-)

I hope we get to hear you play in the Lair one of these days!

And congrats to Jane for snagging the Golden Choookie!

Daz said...

Caren, when you get here definitely look me up. I will cook for you for sure. In the meantime, I am blogging about the cooking. dazinthekitchen.blogspot.com.

Louisa Cornell said...

Good job, Jane! Wonder what musical instrument the GR plays?

Brava, Caren for taking up the violin again! Definitely one of the toughest instruments to play. The only thing violinists ever told me they did to toughen up their fingertips was to play, play, play!

I started piano lessons at nine, clarinet and bassoon lessons at twelve and voice lessons at sixteen. I still practice voice (and thus use my meager piano talent,) but I haven't touched the other instruments in years.

I have let my cross stitch, quilting and tatting go by the wayside since I started writing and I would love to have time to take them up again.

I haven't ridden a horse since my last horse passed away 13 years ago. I wouldn't mind riding again, but I'm not sure the body could take the pounding!

Caren Crane said...

Fo, I think you're onto something with the imperfection driving us back to the creative process. I think most writers are closet perfectionists.

We keep thinking that one day the story we see in our head will magically be transcripted onto the screen as we type. Of course, we know full well that NOTHING ever turns out as we hoped/dreamed/imagined. The times when it gets close, even somewhere in the neighborhood, make all the crappy writing worth it.

Either that, or we get disgusted and quit - just like musicians! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Foanna, I KNOW you took the GR to a Chik Kan Do tournament. He told me all about it at the Christmas party when he'd had a few rum and Cokes!

By the way, I do NOT recommend giving the GR rum or whiskey of any sort. Especially not if he's talking about martial arts!!

Caren Crane said...

Fo, I think one of the really great things about playing violin well, but not really well was that there were no solos. There is a kinship in an ensemble or chorus or orchestra that soloists don't have.

I imagine playing piano is a very lonely pursuit. All those solo recitals! That was one upside of no private lessons - no recitals on my own. We just had incredibly painful concerts where the whole school was forced to listen to us and we had to endure the mocking afterward. We grew thick skins. ; )

Caren Crane said...

Kate, hopefully we will get our Bandita jug band together and get work up some tunes. Someone will have to ensure the GR is cooped up somewhere far away, though, or he will try to hog the limelight by "singing" along. Quelle horreur!

Caren Crane said...

Daz, your cooking blog is amazing! I really want to try your cauliflower soup, but I don't have truffle oil! Is the truffle oil a must-have ingredient or would some other nicely-flavored oil work as well? It sounds marvelous!

I'm so impressed with your creativity and variety. It could keep you and "the Boy" busy for many years to come! Oh, and you might want to mention some wine pairings, too!

Caren Crane said...

Louisa, I'm so glad to hear you still sing. I hope you sing where others get to hear you - as I would love to do one day!

Hm...maybe we'll have to con you into singing some folk tunes with the Bandita Jug Band! (Please note, we are now in capital letters and, thus, official - but not Facebook official. Yet.)

I keep telling myself I'll have time to pursue all the many things I want to do in the years to come. I am still just 46 and will be only 47 when the baby goes to college, so hopefully I'll have years to work everything in!

Of course, there's the DDJ to consider...but there will be no more meetings to run and events to chaperone, etc. Whee!

Caren Crane said...

Kim in Hawaii, my husband told me that in Hawaii it's considered good luck to have a little lizard in the house. Is that true? 'Cause, apparently we have a little lizard in the house. They don't freak me out too bad because we had geckos EVERYWHERE when we lived in Houston. Still, it's strange for them to dart indoors in NC!!

Joan said...

Still, it's strange for them to dart indoors in NC!!

Was he wearing anything???? Spy gear? iPod? Semi automatic???

:D

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Caren said: Still, I'd love to try one of these days. You take up banjo, we'll get Jeanne on mouth harp and Suz on whiskey jug and we'll have us a string band!

Hey Caren! Now, you're talking! That's an instrument I can actually PLAY. Grins.

I ahve a fiddle, which I tried to play as a violin with only moderate success all the way through school. Fiddles have flatter bridges, so I had to change out the bridge. I made do.

I also play piano - well, don't let me fool you - I LEARNED piano. Just like I learned the fiddle and violin. Oh, and the oboe. (Whole 'nother story...)

The only instrument with which I have any talent is my voice. I can technically play the piano, the violin, the fiddle and the oboe (and lord help me I'll never pick up the oboe again!). However, I cannot "do" anything with them that doesn't require squinting, squeaking, a lot of cursing under my breath and so on.

Singing? Whoooolllleee different story. I've been known to be like a musical, and break into song at random moments, both appropriate and in appropriate. SNORK!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, and as to a skill I'd love to pick up again, I'm with Jane - martial arts.

I'd love to go back to Tae Kwon Do, now that I'm not thinkin' 'bout birthin' no more babies.

Grins.

Caren Crane said...

Joanie, I didn't actually see the lizard, but I've been told he's around. I told the DH we could live in peace with him as long as he wasn't scurrying across the bed while I sleep. That's just creepy!

He may, indeed, be a spy. If so, I'll have to activate my counter-spy - when he returns from Jane's house!

I figure I'll find the lizard hiding behind my computer tower, since it's nice and warm there. Either there or in the laundry room by the dryer. Sheesh!

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, that makes you PERFECTLY qualified for the Bandita Jug Band. You, as official mouth harpist, will often be called upon to sing lead. Take it away!!

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, when you go back to Tae Kwon Do, just watch those mouth harp-playing fingers. I mean, we welcome drop-ins of all types, but it's hard to find a decent mouth harpist!!

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, also watch out if the GR comes over. He said he has an aubergine belt in Chik Kan Do. I have no idea what that qualifies him to do!!