Sunday, January 08, 2006


Signed up for lessons, today

After last night's session, I decided I needed a teacher. The Violin shop in Anchorage had earlier recommended S who lives about 60 miles away from me. The second nearest teacher is 160 miles. I called her and setup an appointment for Sat 28th. First one will be an hour. She seems pretty good; her husband plays a violin, and a daughter the piano. She's got a masters in MusicEd and 20 years experience teaching. She played in the Anchorage symphony for many years before moving to small town life.

I told her a little about myself: that I was 55, retired, had a little experience in music, had rented a cello six weeks ago, and was studying scales and chords in the first position. I told her about my finger and she said she knew a woman who'd cut the tip off her forefinger, yet she still plays...

She uses the Suzuki method, which involves extensive listening to the music before playing it. Makes a lot of sense to me. I'd never have learned spanish (darn, I haven't gotten back to this topic yet, have I?) if I hadn't been able to hear it, too. I have noticed when playing certain pieces I knew when I was a kid, that I can play them without looking - my fingers just know where to go. On the other hand, it was kind of nice to discover the sound of a new piece of music by finally playing it from scratch.

I ordered the first four books and accompanying CDs tonite from Shar Music. I'm really curious about trying Suzuki, and am looking forward to it. I'm curious about what my teacher will say about my using my non-Suzuki books.

I played a few hours today. I went way back in my All For Strings book and worked all the way up to where I'd stopped. I felt pretty good about my sound today, although my left arm was tired from overtense fingering last night. Strangely my right arm worked twice as hard as it normally does, but it didn't feel tired at all.

Real Estate Boom!
Tonite, just as I was telling my brother about the previous two offers for our land in Hawaii, our realtor called (I swear, no sooner had I told him that the realtor had said it would sell quickly, then the phone rang) to tell me that the last person had raised his offer up to our asking price. We're going to make a bundle. All we have to do is pay the staking costs. Then the realtors get 10%, the State takes 5% (capital gains tax), and I'll have to pay federal capital gains tax next year on it. Still we'll clear a small profit! At the time, we had considered buying two additional lots, but chose to save the money in CDs!

I think we're going to reinvest the $ on that land on Tustumena Lake Road. What a nice piece! 9 acres, with views. We'll immediately put in a drive and parking pad, and run power onto the site. We'll want to be able to drive our 36' motorhome up the hill, turn it around and park it beside a cleared patio/porch area. Eventually we'll put in a deck and one day maybe a quincho with windows and screens and a firepit in the center. I'd eventually like to put in our parilla from Argentina. We'll probably put in a storage shed this year, too.

We've been debating whether it would be frivolous to put all that cash into land, but we realized that not only was it a good investment (which helped broaden the base of our portfolio), we'd also get an ongoing dividend of having our own private campground whenever we wanted, only minutes away from home, yet far enough out in the bush to get that camping feeling. The land will certainly increase in value over time. We'll save a lot on gas, too.

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