Sunday, January 15, 2006


Volcano is quiet now

After several days of belching and puffing, the Volcano rests. Not sure how much ash has fallen on Homer and Seldovia the past few days; fortunately so far, we've ducked it. The winds are blowing towards the east and southeast but I expect we'll get hit sooner or later.

I hate that Volcano. Most of the time, it looks so fine with an impressive sharp cone snowcapped in white above a gray rocky base. This is the third time in the 30+ years we've lived here, that the Volcano has burped awake.

The first time, in early 1976, I recall some dust in the air for a while, but no noticeable buildup. Then, one night in January or February 1986 we got a quarter to a half-inch layer of Augustine ashfall. It coated everything, and since it was cold, the ash was powdery and stayed in the air for days. The roads were dust bowls. Even wearing dust masks, it coated our throats and lungs. In our hair. In our eyes. In our clothes. On our shoes. You could taste it. Whenever the dog came in the house, it was like Pigpen from the Charlie Brown comic strip. I put nylon stockings over the air intakes on the cars, and changed them out several times, but I'm sure it took years off those poor engines.

After a week or so, it snowed enough to cover all the ash. At least we didn't have to sand the roads that time. A few snowfalls later, the ash was almost forgotten. Then came breakup. Within a week or so, the top layers of snow had melted and like all the dogs--t the brown/grey ash was back as a muddy mess. Several days later the snow was gone, leaving behind a layer of muddy ash (and soggy dog turds) on top of everything. And when it dried, the dust ordeal started all over again. Spring rains eventually washed most of the open areas clean, but all that summer, and even into the next, we'd stir up little clouds of volcano dust whenever we walked out on the tundra. And years later, I'd come across dust piles in our old firewood stacks.

There's not much you can do about it, especially in the winter. In the summer you can hose things down.

I thought I might be getting sick, like first Z for three or four days, followed by Y up to today. Z missed four days of school. Y stayed in bed since Thursday. I've been assuming it would soon be my turn. Even though my stomach has been uneasy all day, nothing else, so far. It could be all the vitamins I take; the extra C is supposed to help. It could also be the Zinc I've been taking for the last week. Z's friend T was getting over a cold when he stayed over a few weeks ago.

Ugh. I hate colds! It's like hell. What purpose do they serve? As I understand it, the symptoms that most aggravate us - the fever, the sinuses, and the coughing, are all part of the body's defense mechanism against the infection. Great, so it turns out that we make ourselves sick to fight an invasion.

Y has been secretly hoping I'll get sick, too. She thinks it's not fair that I always seem to skate. I tell her that it's because I wash my hands a lot whenever I've been around someone sick. Even when Z was sick, I wiped down the keyboard and mouse and phone every morning with a alcohol/soap based HandiWipe. I washed before eating.

Suzuki Cello

I played an hour and a half this morning in my bedroom - I thought Y was going to wake Z up and I knew he'd want to hop on the computer as soon as he got up. But she didn't get him up till after noon.

Anyway, I worked from the Suzuki book 1. It was pretty easy to work all the way up to the start of the second-finger placement. That's pretty much where I've stopped in the other two books. I didn't listen to the CD yet. A lot of overlap, with some of the pieces showing up in all three books - "Go Tell Aunt Rhody", "Long Long Ago", and a few others. Trouble is, according to the Suzuki theory, I'm not supposed to be sight reading this music, only repeating what I hear.

I'm a little concerned about having to switch over to Suzuki. I've not seen anything, yet, that suggests that Suzuki works with adults - especially if they already have some basic music training. That's not to say I don't have a lo-o-o-ong way to go, but will Suzuki make me unlearn what I've done? My teacher says she's taught Suzuki for a long time - even with adults, so...

Last nite I logged into another strings-based forum I found through Google groups, and I even posted a comment. That was before realizing that one poster was dominating more than 80% of the last four weeks. Most of the postings were violin-related. I logged off.

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