Thursday, July 19, 2007


♫ Summertime...♫

Work on the Lully Gavotte is progressing steadily. I can play it through well enough and have overcome my earlier rhythm difficulties. I still sometimes flub the first d-minor scale run but then it comes together with a few repetitions. I think my approach to learning this one has helped a lot (mainly, just following my teacher's advice - get the rhythm first, then the fingering - with pizzicato, then bowing slowly until I can gradually increase the tempo.)

Today, for the first time, I skipped playing through all the familiar Suzuki 1 and Suzuki 2 pieces that I've been playing through for the last year or so. That gave me an extra 45 minutes (not just the time but the extra physical and mental energy as well) to work on the newer pieces (including the last four in the Suzuki 2 book and the first three in the Suzuki 3 book). Even though I'm not yet satisfied with all those other pieces, it was a relief just to step away for a while. I'll come back to them every few weeks, but this should let me focus a bit better.

It's been a nice week of mostly sun (just one brief rain spell), but it has been cool and breezy. Great for mosquitoes, unfortunately. Our property sits on a creek, which was blocked by a fallen tree many years back, causing the creek to cut a new bypass channel. The old channel, which is upwind from us, by the way, is now filled with stagnant standing water - great mosquito breeding grounds - but good for the fishies, I guess.

It's a crazy week on the Kenai Peninsula. An unexpectedly strong run of red salmon has entered Cook Inlet, headed for all our rivers and streams. The commercial fishing (1) - both the set-net sites lining all the beaches and the offshore fishing fleet - are working overtime trying to get their share before all the fish reach the rivers; and have to work they way through the throngs of personal-use (meat harvesting) dipnetters (2) - mostly local and from Anchorage - at the mouth of the rivers; and then past the fleets of guided "sport" fishing boats (3) - packed with mostly out-of-state tourists paying $75 to $100 for a half day's fishing in the lower river; before reaching the crowds of shoreline (combat) fishermen (4) - locals and tourists alike - as they approach their destinations in the far inland streams and creeks. Anyone not directly involved in at least one of these four types of fisheries is probably working 16-hour shifts at one of the several canneries.

Except for me, that is. While I appreciate a good barbecued red salmon steak as much as anybody else, I just don't have any use for the crowds and intensity involved with any of these options. Way back when we first moved to Alaska, I too joined the mobs along the riverbanks up near Cooper Landing trying to "properly catch" (i.e., not to snag) a few of the millions of fish swimming by. A group of us would drive the 50 miles up into the Kenai Mountains after work and stand elbow-to-elbow with hundreds of others to catch our daily bag limit (3 or 4 each) before midnight, and then right after midnight (lots of daylight this time of year) we'd catch the next day's bag limit before stumbling back into work that morning. What a zoo of tangled lines, frayed tempers, and sheer madness! It all ended for me when a guy nearby pulled a knife and started slashing everybody's lines because his got tangled up and he lost his "fish on", and then he threatened to slash some throats as well. I laid down my meager rod and reel on the riverbank and left - never to return. Now we just cage a few fish from my brother-in-law who has a setnet site.

Hmmm... what else is going on? Well, our orchestra rehearsal Monday had three cellos and only three violins - a little lopsided. We talked about working up a cello trio piece (maybe even a piece for 4 cellos) for our fall recital. That would be fun - I think I'd be playing the second part. Oh, I also have a "real" job again. Yesterday I signed a contract to become a permanent (part-time) employee for the consulting group I've been casually affiliated with for the past few years. Now with a steady income maybe we can start looking for a new car.

Congrats on the steady income. My Suzuki teacher friend just asked me if I was interested in playing in their Christmas concert. Hoo boy.
You are so much more dedicated than I am. I really need to practice more.
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