Archive for 2007

Where’s Santa?

Monday, November 5th, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Horn music.

Maybe I haven’t lived in the woods long enough, but this is the first time I’ve seen a four point buck decide to sit down and lounge on my lawn in the middle of the afternoon. Looking like Rudolph waiting for St. Nick to come back from running a few pre-holiday errands, this fellow had been idly grazing on the grass just outside my studio door. And then, with about as much grace as a sack of potatoes discovering gravity, several hundred pounds of him chose the little knoll as a nice resting spot, in earshot of all the wrong notes I was trying to turn into right ones.

It was lovely having his company, and for half an hour there he lay, content to watch the birds flit on the feeders and the autumn sun shift lower against the sky. My notes discovered their own gravity as well, landing firmly on the staves and clinging to the expectations that the promise of holidays, wintertime and yet another finished piece always offer.

Boo.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Scary?

The scariest part is that this adorable fox has no fear of cars and wouldn’t get out of the road! He risks going from cute to squished if he’s not more careful. So what’s a blogger to do when a honk is useless, but get out her camera?

Worked like a charm.
Let’s hope I can use my witchy powers this weekend to work some magic on the new pieces I’m brewing.

In plane view

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Home again.

Back. Packed a lot of general business, public speaking, and private friend-visiting into eight days on two coasts. And as anyone within media earshot knows, I had the added experience of being in Malibu and L.A. during the first three days of the massive wildfires. The familiarity was eerie: years ago I was one of the soot-drenched Malibu minions defending her property with a pathetic garden hose in one hand and a wet towel covering her face in the other. Once you have stared directly into a wall of flame so close to you that it heats your entire body, and desperately stomped out spot fires on your porch from swirling embers, you never forget the experience. Since then, no more groovy red party lights for my studio ambiance: the fire-orange glow is frightening, not calming.

My trip began in a 10-seat puddle jumper from quaint Friday Harbor, with a quick, bouncy stop on a tiny airstrip on Whidbey Island to the south, as seen from my window in the photo above. The first time I landed here months ago I was convinced that the little one-lane road wasn’t even wide enough for a Volkswagen Beetle. I remain convinced.

Fast forward to five days later, lifting into the skies from Burbank airport headed to New York City. Aerial views of devastated airspace laden with smoke for hundreds of miles were sad reminders of one of the reasons I chose to leave southern California. But my dear friends still call it home, and that knowledge completely negated any sense of relief I may have felt. Below, you can just barely make out the skyscrapers of downtown L.A. in the center of the fury.

The air cleared as we flew upward and eastward, offering this view of the Lake Arrowhead and San Bernardino fires:

And away I went.
But after 24 years that included multiple southern California fires, earthquakes, mudslides, windstorms and other indelible events, I’m certain that a large part of the heart never leaves at all. Home isn’t only where our possessions reside. Home exists simultaneously in another place where our memories were created. Many of us have lost things we cherished, but nothing can take away remembrance.

Rock music

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

…listen
…about the music

I have no idea what kind of music this is.

I’ll be off the rock and off-island, as it’s called here, for the next week as I do business in Los Angeles and New York. Between the CD release today, the various events I’m speaking at and two new commissions that just rolled in, it’s an active time. Never too active to blog, but despite having a laptop in tow on the trip, I never quite know whether the technology will cooperate. Meanwhile, I have the bloginatrix decency to leave you with this soothing image from the shore that laps near this house. I very much look forward to being home again amidst this calm next week.

I noticed that Billboard has listed my new album under the category of rock. And a radio show in the midwest aired a track from it on their jazz program. And tomorrow I’ll be live in L.A. on a classical show. Frankly, I’m delighted with the lack of clarity here, although a few people might be scratching their heads when they take the new pup out for a spin if they expect the disc to adhere to one of these genres for very long. Categorization is the antithesis of listening openly, and I’m so pleased that I’ve stumped the judges with a collection of pieces for small ensembles, which pretty much describes most rock bands, jazz combos and chamber ensembles I know. Rock on.

Shifting perspectives

Monday, October 15th, 2007

I’m constantly amazed at the schizophrenic terrain on this rock. Water, yes, all around (thus making it pretty hard to get lost for too long). But then there are vast acres of old forests, thinner younger ones, meadows, barren wind-beaten bluffs, rocky cliffs, and miles of rolling pastures that go on forever and look as though they are part of the Midwestern U.S. landscape. I never get bored with all this stimulus.

Friends were visiting from, you guessed it, California this weekend and I took them on a drive around some of my favorite spots. Best of all, I discovered a new one to add to my list. We randomly pulled into a parking lot on the south end of the island, and walked through an enchanted forest, above. Dark canopies of old cedars and Douglas firs decorated with mosses, lichens, ferns and mushrooms of all kinds kept the sunlight out and the throbbing scent of life pulsing. Part of the fun was not knowing how long the little hike-ette would last. We chose a fork in the path and walked a little more, until the dense woods abruptly stopped at the water’s edge and and we were greeted with this expanse:

…listen
…about the music

Reflect.

I never get bored.

Friday cat listening

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Track 1, please.

It’s been a while since I’ve featured one of the cats for a blogger’s traditional Friday cameo spot, and this pic of Smudge last week atop a fresh box full of my new discs, seems most appropriate. The CD whose name is eponymous with this blog will finally hit the stores on Tuesday (wait, I don’t think there are any record shops still in operation). Already, I’ve been getting lots of heartwarming responses to it that make the many nights that the cats had to witness of me composing, grimacing, cursing, smiling, cursing, sighing, pacing, and when all else failed, reorganizing my paper clip drawer, worth it in the end.

I won! I won!

Monday, October 8th, 2007

…listen
…about the music

My one and only game show theme, quite obviously from the 80’s.

Y’know, my humble career has been blessed with many a fine honor and award from many a fine institution. But this past week, I got a big surprise in the mail.
A check for $5.
From the San Juan County Fair.
I was awarded first place in their essay writing contest!

The Fair is a big deal here: three days in August… or was it four? We were there for two of ‘em, gorging on shaved ice amidst throngs of islanders showing off their horsemanship, or their pigs, goats, sheep and cattle in livestock auctions, or their craftiness in the Trashion Show, in which contestants parade up and down an Astroturf runway donning outfits created from very, very recycled materials otherwise headed for the dump and sure to be seen there later that week. There was plenty of live music, food of all kinds, plus quite a number of terrific non-profits tabling for their good will. As often strikes me living here, I felt like I had stepped into a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and that at any moment the joyful people of Friday Harbor would break into unified song and snappy choreography.

While I didn’t happen to see the “Essay Contest Entries Display Table” (I strongly doubt there was one; nerdiness isn’t usually a big draw at these shindigs and old denim shirts just don’t look quite as hip with pocket protectors), images dance in my mind of the big blue ribbon attached to my winning offering. The photo above, shot yesterday of a leggy pal who’s taken up residence by the side door, gives you an idea of my subject matter. Like all bloggers, I do love the web.

That’s why they call it bird brain

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Flittingly amusing music.

Don’t call the Avian Protection Services; no need to report any further bird abuse on my property. This one is fine. He is, in this photo however, on the wrong side of the feeder. Also known as, the inside. Well, I suppose that’s the right side of the feeder when you’re hungry and want to grab that very last sunflower seed laying smack dab in the middle, just out of reach. But after consumption of the aforementioned ultimate seed, this situation quickly deteriorates.

It was the wildly loud and incessant tapping of beak to glass that got my attention. Standing on the deck taking [yet another] photo of a beautiful buck who’s nearly become a pet since he’s here every day, I heard insistent sounds. They were so loud I thought it was one of the Pileated woodpeckers carving another rectangular imprint in a tree (these guys are about the size of a Buick and once I get a decent photo, you’ll see for yourself and wonder why I didn’t run for cover). I walked over to where the odd sound was coming from, only to see this little chickadee flitting about helplessly. He had managed to squeeze his tiny body through a feeder hole even tinier, but then couldn’t figure out how to do this Houdini stunt in reverse (he did not read the manual, apparently). Luckily for him I was home and able to come to the rescue (but of course, shameless, opportunistic blogger that I am, not before quickly snapping some pix since I already had the camera in my hand). Self-caging birds could be a real selling point for some, but I much prefer they stay in the wild and clearly, so do they!

Still falling

Monday, October 1st, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Prelude to winter.

I know, yet another tree photo. What can I say? I haven’t lived in autumn for 24 years. The thrill is back.

Fall

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Unabashedly bright.

A noun. A verb. A season.
It’s here in Friday Harbor!
After so many years of living in a world of palm trees whose only color variant was the bright bulbs people wrapped around their skinny trunks as Christmas approached, well, nature’s own design sense is very refreshing.

An exbird in his field

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Elegy.

Lovely as this adorable fellow appears, he sits in my palm floating into whatever afterworld little birds float to upon hitting a house window at full throttle.
Oops.
I heard the telling sound… thwackud!… from upstairs earlier in the morning. I hoped that like many of his luckier pals, this guy merely boomeranged and landed in a dazed state, with little cartoon stars swirling around his head for a while until he snapped to and was able to fly away, a tad more mindful of his direction.

In the afternoon I stepped outside to refill my tree feeders for the open woodland aviary I’ve quickly created. Juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, towhees, sparrows, finches, woodpeckers and others are on the dole from the benevolent Shapiro government. The percentage of my publishing income going toward raw oiled sunflower seeds is growing at an alarming rate. I looked down at my feet as I passed a window, and there on the deck was this beautiful kinglet. Motionless.

I’d actually never seen one before. I had to consult my trove of bird books to identify this creature, gifted with such beautiful markings and no larger than a hummingbird. I hope the next one I see is flitting among the seeds in the yard, and that the reflections in the largely glass house that shows me his world, never tempt him to leave it to visit mine.

Camel lot

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

…listen
…about the music

Not Purple Haze, but electric guitar, nonetheless.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve waxed enthusiastically about Mona the camel and blackberries. To most, these topics would be unrelated. But now, for your mindless surfing enjoyment, thanks to the fine lens of my talented photog friend on the island, Ken Serratt, we here at Notes From The Kelp Industries, Inc. proudly present the ultimate in full service blogging: Mona the camel gorging herself on blackberries.

It’s highly doubtful that the desert environs of East Africa or western Asia– the Dromedary’s natural habitat– have ever sprouted a single juicy blackberry. But then again, I can’t account for my cats’ love of fish, since kitties don’t swim. Mona has gleefully discovered a new food group, and a happier purple-lipped Dromeberry you’ve never seen.2.2l credit 4cyl quotes 4a20 distance-learning mba programs aacsb-accreditedunion 1sttech credithertiage federal credit union americancosmotology accreditation schools ofcheets credit 1000 vmkaccredited articles helthacredited apostolic bible fl in colleges Map