Saturday, June 30, 2007



A five-day, 3000 mile trek brought us home late Friday. Whew. That last 200 miles of the Alcan Highway through Canada has gotten worse since we last crossed it in late May - the best I could do was about 30 mph; unbelievable. Anyway, that's all behind us now. A ton of mail and a ton of mosquitoes were waiting for us. The house was intact and the cars all started without trouble. I'm so tired of driving I don't want to think/blog about the trip for a while... maybe later.

The cat entertained us.

But the best thing about getting home was pulling out my acoustic cello from its 5-week rest and finding it so full of music. It appears to have survived the long silent dry spell without any apparent damage. After such a long stretch hearing my electric cello only through the headphones it was quite a pleasure to hear the full, rich, deep ringing tones from all the strings. The wolf is hiding in its lair, for now at least. I played today hard, loud, boldly. I felt such energy coming through the bow. I actually felt like a real cellist... at least for a while. Until my rusty joints began to remind me that I'd not practiced very much for a long while. Nevertheless, I played through my Suzuki repertoire and even took extra time to work on the newest piece - still just rhythm and pizzicato.

Hopefully I'll resume my lessons in a few weeks; next week I rejoin our orchestra in preparation for our library concert at the end of the month.

One of the high points of the trip was getting a chance to meet Pink Fluffy Slippers and play some duets. While the internet has allowed a lot of us to get to know one another, albeit obliquely, there are so few chances for us to actually meet. For sure I never would have showed up at just anybody's door with my cello and amp, expecting to sit down and play for several hours. That's not me. But, having communicated with Pink Fluffy Slippers for more than a year now, I felt as if I knew her -- well enough at least to feel comfortable with those first few moments upon meeting.

I have never been comfortable meeting new people, socially. Work situations were somehow different. I could quite easily sit down at a table full of strangers and have no problem doing work-related things, and finding the necessary small-talk that goes along with it. But put me with that same group in a social situation and I'd literally freeze up and awkwardly hunt for the nearest exit hoping to be able to slip away unnoticed. I've been that way since high school, and frankly, one of the best parts of retirement has been the freedom not to have to do any more of those. But, playing the cello seems to be one way to get past all that. Although it wasn't very easy to go to my orchestra rehearsals, it has gotten better over time. I am quite content to sit there with my cello, quietly plucking a few scales, making small-talk, while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.

It's unfortunate that we all live so far apart and these opportunities are few and far between. It appears that Cellodonna and Maricello might be able to set up a meeting at a festival later this summer. Great! I hope they manage to do so.

Welcome home, Guanaco! Wow, that was quite the trek. Home is always so comforting after a long trip, especially when there is a cello waiting. :)

Cello(or making music) is a good way to "break the ice" so to speak, in meeting people. Much easier than ordinary social conditions. That common bond makes conversation flow and brings a much welcomed feeling of connection. I've been so happy with all my new "orchestra friends" even though I just see them once a week at rehearsal.

I'm in the process now of trying to figure out if my husband and I can make it to that music festival on one of the days to meet Maricello later in July. It would certainly be exciting if we can.
Welcome home. What a drive!

I had the pleasure of meeting the Russian mosquitoes in St. Petersburg. Managed to miss them during my brief stay in Alaska.

During White nights, Sunset was 11 pm and Sunrise was 4 am. Something like your neck of the woods, I suppose. It gets dark around 8:30 pm in Miami but it doesn't light up until 7 am.

It is great getting to know people through the internet. I had the pleasure of actually visiting folks I've met online.

I've never learned the art of small talk. E-communication generally begins with a interest in common to discuss. This makes it special. One could talk to someone at a party about the weather and food, and never know that they played the cello.

The web allows us to meet people all over the world. Unfortunately, most of them live a distance away.

I used to sysop a local bulletin board (BBS) back in the old days and there were opportunities to actually see the people that one met via this medium. I still have several friends that I met at BBS GTs (Get Togethers) whom I probably would have never hooked up with in a traditional setting.
Welcome home, Guanaco! Your travels have inspired me--though I haven't actually gone anywhere yet, except by kayak. Glad you are safely back home with your cello.

Donna, I hope you can make the bluegrass festival. There will be only a handful of cellists, but lots of music (most of the attendees play). I'll write more soon.

Marisa, welcome back from your trip too!
Your marathon drive beats the experience of someone overheard on a bus who, when asked where Lanzarote was, said, "I dunno. You get to it on a 'plane"!!
Isn't it a great feeling to come back after a very long absence, and play cello? I went to Europe for a month, and when I took out my cello for the first time after I got back it was slightly overwhelming!
So welcome back!
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