Talk about a blast…

This evening and tonight were awesome. Sure, the cooking started and ended much later than they were scheduled to happen. However, the enjoyment of one another’s company initially was awesome, and the merriment had after dessert was spectacular. We ended up calling my man’s grandmother for her birthday after my mom and stepdad left. Today was her 91st birthday, you see. My man has been learning to play the piano, and we had gone through “Happy Birthday”, with him playing the top melody and my playing the bottom’s chords.

But get this: All of my instruments are at his house now. So…, we pulled out the xylophone and recorder for my brother and my sister-in-law to play, and my step-sister, who actually is a singer, sang with all of our playing.

I tell you truthfully, it was absurd. It sounded and felt like a little kids’ beginner band performance. But how else could it have been when the person leading the main melody on piano not only counted off wrong but played all weird timing throughout the entire piece(!)???!!! So, on his, “One, two, three,” my brother came in on the three for the pick-up notes on the xylophone – correctly so. But my man didn’t start his pick-up notes until the next beat(!!). So, it was a rocky start. But he then kept holding notes longer than usual all over the place, messing with all of us. So, that was terrible, right? Well, we also had my sister-in-law playing on the recorder, which was actually not an easy instrument for her – though she is not very musically inclined in the first place. She topped it off, sounding just like the little kid on clarinet whose reed squeaks on all the main held notes at the beginning and end of each phrase.

It

was

spectacular.

Truly.

And then we played “Heart and Soul” on the xylophone, my brother and I, even though there weren’t quite enough notes on the small xylophone for us to play the whole thing, even with us inverted, melody down low and chords up top.

And then we had an awesome time in general, just goofing around and hanging out, enjoying being ourselves together.

Thank you, God, for this amazing night. Please, grant us all beautiful and effective sleep and rest tonight, that we awaken ready and able to pursue your will fully tomorrow morning. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Oh, joy! I sing to thee!

And the piano progress continues! Tonight, he asked me to show him something new or else something to do differently with that four-chord progression (CGAmG). So, we talked about sheet music! He had played clarinet back in school, so he still somewhat remembered how to read treble clef, though he didn’t even know how I knew it was treble clef… 😛 Nonetheless, he may or may not have ever used bass clef, but he learned the notes in it on the piano tonight!

Note: He is not a fan of having to hit middle C with the left hand. Too far up, he says. Wait until he gets into music that actually has a load of ledger lines up in the middle! 😛

I pulled up easy “Ode to Joy” sheet music for him and showed him how to go through one clef at a time, and then how to start to put it all together slowly, but surely. And he played for an hour+ tonight, working on that piece and taking a mental test a bit to play around with the four chords for about five minute somewhere near the end. He’s doing an awesome job, and it really seems like he really likes it. I am so excited both for the now and for the future with this!

Thank you, God, for this wonderful blessing of a man and of music. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Music

And so it happens that he plays piano now. I heard him playing around with some keys as I exited the shower tonight. I asked him why he stopped once he had, and he smiled in slight embarrassment, and said because he hadn’t known what he was doing. I got him back over to the piano, and I explained some basics, and then showed him the basic C-G-Am-G chord progression and how to play with key strokes and rhythms within it – all white keys!! – and set him loose. He was practically fighting me at first, suggesting that he would be terrible and his hands are too clumsy and blah, blah, blah… Now, he has been going for almost half an hour, and it could be music he’s reading for all I can hear. He’s doing an amazing job already, and I’m thoroughly enjoying listening to him play, not simply because he’s the one doing it, but because it is actually enjoyable music and playing. Thank you, God.

We certainly shall have a house filled with love and music. Thank you, God, for such a wonderful blessing. Amen.

Update: He played for over 45 minutes, and I think he only stopped, because he was just so darn sleepy from a very long week this week and day today.

Post-a-day 2022

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday

I went to the gym for the early Saturday workout today at 7:30. Then I went to meet my mom and a friend to help remove and dispose of the Christmas wreaths that had decorated all the graves at the Houston National Cemetery for US Veterans. It was really neat, and there were loads of people there to help. (I even got to see the spots for an old family friend and my current housemate’s/host’s grandfather.)

Then I had food and goofed around with the baby for a while before finally showering and taking a needed nap before tonight. Then I went to our rodeo committee’s social, collected some tasty barbecue that I’ll eat tomorrow, danced with a friend to live Kevin Fowler music, and then rushed into downtown to attend another live concert – but this one was unknown to me until this morning: Elton John.

There is so much I could say about this man, this master of his art, but I will keep it short here: I grew up with this man already being a legend to me. He was unreachable status, and I never even considered one day attending a concert of his – it just wasn’t going to happen, so my brain didn’t even give itself the time to be sad about it. And then, at the gym this morning, someone invites me to go with her, and she states clearly that she won’t have me pay her for my ticket. She just didn’t want to go alone, and her friend had bailed on the concert. I was absolutely delighted to step in for the drop-out this time(!!!). The concert was fabulous. This man is about to turn 75 (on 25 March). This was his 20th concert in Houston, Texas, the first having been in 1971. He can’t sing really high anymore. He hobbles slightly with his walk. He wore two sparkly suits – one all white with a Long tail and a red snake on the back, and one like his famous red checkered blazer (super sparkly, though) – and then a pink lounge-y kimono with a sparkly butterfly on the back, which he eventually took off to reveal a sparkly red and blue track suit. He changed his glasses twice, but all three pairs had rose-colored lenses. He wore his iconic right pointy earring. He plays piano like on the record albums. His spirit is evident in everything he plays and in every arm thrust and body shake he does. And, get this, he gets up from the piano after every song, (sometimes walks around bowing and encouraging folks to cheer and make noise a bit) shuffles to a little table/stand behind him, spits in a bucket, takes a sip of water, and then shuffles back to the piano and sits back down.

I am extremely grateful for this lovely opportunity, in addition to the beautiful blessing that has been the works and passion and gracious giving and sharing of Elton John’s art. Thank you, Good Sir, for all you do and have done. And thank you, God and Universe, for letting me be part of this glory tonight. May we be blessed with such love often in our lives, and may Sir Elton John truly feel the loving gratitude so much of the world has for him. Amen.

One of my favorite songs ever is “Crocodile Rock”, which he played, of course. But he sang way low for the “la”s, and it was adorable and awesome!
Beautiful concert. And all the better for not having massive screens to distract us from just seeing him and listening to the music and the feelings thereby evoked.

P.S. He said that “Your Song” was his first hit in 1972. Is that right, or did I mis-hear him? Perhaps it released in 1970… But, also, that was 50 years ago. FIFTY YEARS, and his music and performances are still amazing. Thank you, Sir!

Post-a-day 2022

(Barely!)

He is back

Tonight, my cousin – who is back in town again at last – and I played a kind of duet. I played piano chords, and he played the fretless banjo that he made from cherry tree, a gourd, and a roadkill deer hide, and we both sang. It was “You’ll Be Back” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, from Hamilton. It was spectacular, and totally fun for the both of us.

And it was only one piece from a whole delightful chunk of music for the two of us tonight, all for which I am extremely grateful. 🙂

Happy eyes watched me bounce around with delight and freedom, as we listened to the track of “You’ll Be Back”, and warmed ears heard our self-produced music the whole rest of the time, feeling the passion and love through our notes and words. I even played one of my own songs for my cousin to hear for the first time, and it was basically no big deal to me, in terms of nerves – it was awesomely easy for me to do.

Man…

This late-night / early-morning hangout was a solid one, for sure. 🙂

Thank you… gratitude, dearest World… gratitude… 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Bedtime perfection

Tonight, sitting in a chair that traditionally belongs in an office, at a desk, and not in a living room with a blanket on it, I paused in my book reading to focus on the music that surrounded me.  My cousin was playing at the piano.  He had gone through many pieces throughout the evening, and even in his current sitting.  I had last paid close attention when he switched to “Für Elise” – not that I have anything against it, but I’ve heard it so many times, that I don’t often enjoy focusing on it anymore… plus, I was sitting in this same room as this same cousin learned to play this piece over a decade ago; I wasn’t in a mood to listen to him figure it out all over again.

But the current piece, now it was something different.  It struck me as perfection in the moment.  I was in a dimmed room, wearing my pajamas, reading while sitting in a comfortable chair, listening to perfect, full, live piano music.  It was as though I were in a novel of Jane Austen’s, or something quite similar (only we don’t marry our first cousins these days, and I think they did back then…).

Once I had paused to take note of the piece, I couldn’t go back to my book; I had to sit and enjoy the piece fully.  It was perfection in a scenario and in the music for that sort of moment.  I felt filled with the understanding that anything is possible in my life, and comfortable with all that had happened in my day, as though this were a perfect completion and letting go of it all.

And then, I couldn’t help but document it somehow – this is how I want my life to be.  This is the bedtime scenario I want more than once in a blue moon.  Man, where are you?  Or, at least, housemate, where are you?  Come to me soon, please, and stay with me.  I want this in my regular life.  God, ready me as I need to be ready to have this in my (at least) weekly life, please.

Tonight was magic turned reality, and I loved it.  I hope to dream this just-created, extended piano version of “La la lu” tonight.

The Brief Documentation

Music is magic, when used properly.  Remember that.

Post-a-day 2018

The answering machine commands

Tonight, as my cousin and I had a pause in our music-making, we heard our grandma’s voice on the answering machine, telling us to pick up the phone.  My uncle rushed into the kitchen and picked up the phone, and then spoke with her for a little while, while my cousin and I moved to and sat quietly at the warming fire.

Not one of us had had any idea that the phone was even ringing.  We were simply playing the opening song from Jesus Christ Superstar on the piano (well, my cousin was playing that part), and singing along to it with the odd word discrepancy here and there (It’s amazing how well I can remember the words, despite having not heard it in possibly years.).  With that song, as you must know if you have ever heard it, it is impossible not to sing and play passionately and, well, loudly.  So, it’s no wonder, really, that we hadn’t heard the phone ringing, even though the phone is actually quite loud when it rings…  If you don’t know the song, look it up and listen to it.  Imagine playing and singing that in your living room for some evening time fun.  (Hint: It’s a blast.)  ;D

Post-a-day 2018

Music creates life

You know, music really can make life feel worth living.

These past few weeks have been really odd for me, and this week, especially, has been quite filled (to partial explosion) with stress, and an odd kind at that.  This afternoon, as I had still two hours to fill, after what had felt like a day’s worth of work and several hours of painful efforts to sleep, I put on my jacket and rushed out into the hallways to get myself moving around, and in hopes of finding something to help pass the time, preferably involving movement (thus my vague plan of aiming for the gymnasium).

The music students are currently preparing solos (with piano accompaniment), and so I came across one of my lovelies (the Bass player) rehearsing in the hallway/student entrance area (there’s a piano there) with her accompanist.  They welcomed me joyfully, and so I watched and hopped around (it was filthy cold) with semi-frozen delight for a bit.

They finished after not quite ten minutes, and so I wandered on my way toward the gym again.  As I was making the final turn, I was caught by a trumpet and a couple clarinets (which was fine by me).  One of them had told me that she wants to play with me, but our scheduled time for today had to be canceled, because she had to go home after rehearsal.  But she was here now, and practicing…, so she dragged me in and got me to play a bit (though not together, since we only had one trumpet).

Then, when I thought they were all leaving, they told me to come with them upstairs to what turned out to be a brief a capella singing rehearsal.  They were sopranos, so I got to stand with them and learn the soprano part to a very pretty Japanese song.  It was almost spooky how cool it sounded and felt to be in the group, making such beautiful music.

Afterward, we established that one girl is crazy, and I declared my similar mental state.  She and I, and others off and on, proceeded to dance around to the music of others rehearsing… we high fived as I was about to leave, as a sign of joint craziness and joy, and I said my goodbyes to the room, with lots of love in reply.  I truly felt myself at home with this goofy group of musicians.

As I rushed out the door, and put back on my shoes, a flautist was in the hallway, next to my shoes.  He excused himself, and I said, “Play!”  Instantly, and with a smile and an “Okay,” he played part of his solo piece for me.  It was beautiful.

And it was standing there in that freeing hallway, listening to this boy play flute, that the thought crossed my mind, unbitten, “Music really can make life worth living.”

As I have struggled with life lately, – and no, I don’t mean in the sense of giving up on life as a whole, but just on giving up on this part of life, living here and doing this job and all of that – what has gotten me through every time has been music.  Sometimes it has been live music from these kids at school, or from the guitar I got as an early Christmas present last week.  Sometimes it has been from Spotify or my music collection.  And sometimes even just a single song that a friend sent me from YouTube.

Whatever the case, the source of my survival, my strength, my belief that this life is worth continuing and working at, despite its near-overwhelming hardships, has been music.  I finally understand a bit what a friend of mine meant, when she said she felt like she had died, when she lost her hearing and, thereby, music.  When I don’t have the music, I just get used to the solemn melancholy, the deafening silence of a lifestyle I don’t love – I grow accustomed to not living, and I despise the existence (but that all just becomes the norm).  And when I do have the music, I am excited for today, for right now, and for what tomorrow might bring – I feel the life inside me and all around me, and I yearn to spread myself around and live to the fullest.

Music really does give life and make life worth living, even when it feels like you have nothing else for you.

I'm part of Post A Day 2016