Archive for January, 2009

Favorite places

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

…about the music


It has dawned on me that I actually travel a fair amount. Much more than I anticipated when I moved up to this floating paradise. But despite how often I seem to fling myself off of this island (voluntarily, so far: I have not been permanently voted off yet), it is truly the place I most love to be. In short order, it has become home, in the most profound of ways.

I type this from sunny Los Angeles, where I’ve just landed to do fun music-related things that you can read about on my website. Among today’s emails was one from a friend in which he asked, “do you think the fact that you travel often makes you appreciate your home environment even more?”.
And no.
Yes, because I have yet to travel to a place that I find more alluring than the place I call home. In contrast to everywhere else my body lands, I appreciate this set of coordinates the most.
And no, because even if I never, ever left this island, I believe I would appreciate it every bit as much as I do sitting here, far from it.

Above: three very favorite views from home: South Beach after a storm, False Bay in dense fog, and a magical, Gilligan’s Island type spot on Turn Island right across from my house, to which I have paddled several times and have promised myself that I will camp there. And I will. The shortest trip of the year, yards from my driveway that’s nestled in the woods on the left side of the photo, will probably be the one I appreciate the most. Ahhhhhh.


Monday, January 26th, 2009

…about the music

A little seedy.

A young-ish buck has discovered that if he whacks the birdfeeder into my window hard enough with his nose, gravity will be his friend as seeds sprinkle down onto his cute pink tongue.

A less than young-ish composer has discovered that the sound of a birdfeeder being whacked hard into her window is increasingly annoying. No matter how cute that pink tongue is.

A young-ish buck may discover a sudden lack of seed distribution equipment upon his return tomorrow…

Home waters

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

…about the music

A view from lane 4.

It’s always striking when I leave the island I live on that dangles off the West coast, and spend time on the island that I was born and raised on, floating off the East coast. The latter is half the size of the former, but… well… only in terms of square miles. As for infrastructure, population, and 24/7 access to pizza slices that drip with a mysterious orange oil found nowhere else on the planet: fuggedaboutit.

Adding to the contrast are trips like this last one, in which I stay for several days right in the heart of Times Square. I think scientists should use me as a lab rat and examine my feeble brain as it attempts to instantly adjust from gazing up at a wide open sky beating down on green space and cute furry animals, to, hours later, gazing up from the bottom of a steel-lined abyss so tightly canyoned that it changes the weather system. Seriously: my room was on the 35th floor. One morning it was snowing ardently outside my window, and the impressive view across the Boeing jet fuselage-infused Hudson River to New Jersey was thwarted by whiteout blizzard conditions. But when I got downstairs to the street, it was merely a light dusting. Snowflakes are no match for this town, baby.

It’s indeed a miracle, what happened on the Hudson that day when the captain pretended he was piloting a little 7-seat seaplane and glided gracefully down onto, rather than into, the frigid water. I happened to be hurling myself through the air on a similar aircraft when all this was occurring. I must say, there’s nothing like watching a potential commercial airliner disaster as it unfolds live on CNN, from the comfort of a commercial airliner. Maybe they should rethink those nifty TV sets in front of all our seats…

In a week I’ll head back to yet another long-time home: Los Angeles. I’d like to avoid a water landing if at all possible, but if it must occur I’d appreciate it if the pilot could plop down somewhere close to Malibu’s Paradise Cove, so I can get a nice view of my old ‘hood.

Meanwhile, I’m very happy for my pong to have pinged me here in the San Juans once again. Above is a snapshot of what it looked like yesterday at 10:30 a.m. in Anacortes, as I waited to board the ferry. At about 11,000 feet, Mt. Baker is my kind of skyscraper, and having spent so much time in the air recently, I wasn’t all that unhappy to be viewing it from sea level– on asphalt.

Deese, dem and doe’s

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

…about the music

Not the prelude to “Afternoon of a Faun,” but….

From late this afternoon: two does at my studio do’. Mama and her growing faun, both of whom became regulars at the cervidae soup kitchen I ran during the blizzard three weeks ago. I think the species family name should be spelled “servidae” because it was serv-a-doe around here for two weeks straight until the snow melted and they could find their way back to the salal berries. For a while they stopped coming around, but recently they’ve fallen off the wagon and given into their jones for birdseed. I might have to close down the soup kitchen and open up a rehab facility to assist them in getting back on track with their lives.

I continue on track with mine, and in the early early morning hours I’ll hop a ferry for mainland America to head to a plane pointed toward New York City once again. I’m speaking at the national Chamber Music America conference on Friday afternoon, and I’m going to enjoy seeing lots of friendly faces in the concert music biz. Given the underfed temperatures in the city, our faces will be a little red from the cold, but a number of us have been going to this conference annually for years, and it’s always fun to reunite, do a little business, bend the elbows, and catch up. Regardless of the weather, it’s nice to be able to count on camaraderie. And birdseed.

Birthday suit

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

…about the music

From 0 to 47: funny looking, but cute.

I have a theory that if I were to spell my first name with three x’s at the end and register a website address as such, I would get a LOT more traffic. Of course, once the visitors arrived and found a smiling but far-too-clothed woman in all the photographs, they might be more than a tad ticked off. As a marketing plan, it just seems like it could backfire.

Well, this is all I can offer up in the way of nudie pix, anyway. Ok, I won’t talk about a few snapshots here and there, courtesy of cute camera-toting boyfriends over the years. Nope. Well, I guess I just did. But hey, that was a loooong time ago! Good thing I wasn’t going for that Miss America tiara. Innocent nudity apparently equals instant career destruction.

Well, not for me. At least, not yet. The day’s still young. Here I am in New York City after my bath in the kitchen sink, looking like Calgon took me away (you actually have to be around my age to even appreciate that reference). I think I was about 23 in this photo and about to towel off and grab a pizza and a beer. Ok, no, I lied. I couldn’t have fit into the sink at 23. 19: possibly. Now: fuggedaboutit. I’m quite small, but not quite that small. But I’m pretty sure about the pizza and the beer.

I’ve now completed 47 rotations around the sun, and am very happy to be beginning a 48th swirl on the cosmic dance floor. Whheeeeee! I think the music clip I’ve selected for the occasion sums up my wacky, often-in-perpetual motion life nicely.

I neglected to mention last week that there’s another birthday here: that of this salinity-laden blog, which is starting its fourth orbit through the internet tubes. Since January of 2006 I’ve been nurturing this little beast like a beloved child, and it’s resulted in a lot of joy and virtually no frustration at all (which indicates to me that given the way my life is, opting for the blog and not the toddler was a good plan).

Should any of you kelphistos who have not lost every dime in this sad economy wish to get me and my little blog a present for our birthdays, we both would be thrilled if you’d download, or buy the physical CD (which I will inscribe to you!), of my chamber music disc, Notes from the Kelp. The links have been staring at you for a year in that right-hand side bar… c’mon, you know you’ve seen ’em, you know you’ve looked away and thought to yourself, “darn, she’s so nice, it’s got a groovy cover, I know I should buy this CD, but… uh… not today!” Well, now’s your chance. Makes a great gift for all the algae specialist biologists in your life! Makes a great coaster for that wheat grass and seaweed protein energy drink your weird friend is always trying to get you to try. And, it even makes a decent 80 minutes of music, too!

Otherwise, I might end up just looking for the rest of the year like I did my first year:

And we wouldn’t want that!

Upon reflection of these photographic blasts from my past, I hereby open up a caption contest for one or both of them. Be creative. Go nuts. Make me laugh. Make everyone else who reads them positively hysterical. You cannot hurt my feelings, trust me.

Well, well, well

Monday, January 5th, 2009

…about the music


I am hoping that the small handful of human neighbors and the multitude of deer, foxes and raccoons within earshot of my property will forgive me for what happened today. I apologize to them all and trust that their upper partial hearing will indeed return in the near future after their little furry ears stop ringing.
A well was drilled.
Into bedrock.
Imagine what that might sound like.

I was fascinated that the house, only yards away, did not shake a millimeter throughout this ordeal. Really, a bore-deal, I suppose. The whole process is amazing. Just the thought of bearing down, down, down into the crust of the earth to gain access to precious fluids within is quite something. Rather sensual in metaphor, even. In some places on the island wells go down 700 or more feet. Ours will probably find water around 150, maybe sooner; not much further. In this case, less is definitely more.

I am slightly conflicted. There’s the positive aspect of tapping into the earth’s resource and being self-sufficient and off the grid (as we already are; just on a community well rather than one of our own until now). But then there’s an uncomfortable feeling of physically invading the orb, even just a small bit. Happily, a small bit is exactly what is used: the bore is only inches wide.

I admit that it’s unsettling to see huge machinery in the middle of one’s wooded bliss. As the truck bed and crane passed by my kitchen window I was immediately dwarfed; the scale of everything around me suddenly became tiny and the the red monster loomed larger than I could have imagined. My snapshots don’t do it justice. Watching the driver thread not one, but two enormous trucks in between hundreds of closely congregated shore pines and Doug firs was worthy of an Olympic event. The judges would give him a 6.0 across the board. Heck, I can’t even parallel park a moped.

And, in a final tip to the thankfully past-tense potential embarrassment of U.S. leadership: Drill baby, drill!

Happy new oven

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

…about the music

Years, ascending.

Last night, also known in many circles as New Year’s Eve, we threw our first real party since moving here two Mays ago. Our house was warmed by an amazing, diverse, fascinating, and loving group of new island friends. As long as we’ve lived here we’ve not been able to get over just how terrific the people on this island are.

As midnight grew near, many of us stood in the kitchen, our feet warmed by its toasty, radiant heated slate floor. Like many Northwest homes, we’ve got a mostly shoes-off policy indoors and had encouraged revelers to arrive wearing their nice socks without the holes. All complied. I was impressed by some of the creative approaches to sock fashion, my favorite being the guest who came with a pair of foot “gloves,” sporting a separate opening for each toe.

With no television service and no clocks in the house, like casinos that maintain 24/7 timeless, windowless choronology-free environs, it dawned on us that the sole source of external confirmation that the year had indeed changed, would be the oven clock. Why humankind enjoys proof of an otherwise randomly determined calendar moment that will occur whether we observe it or not is a mystery to me, yet I participate in the folly with glee each year.

So there we were, a cadre of warm-footed, nicely socked, New Year’s Nerds, staring intently at the digital readout on my Thermador convection oven and cheering as the numbers clicked over. Anyone can watch a ball fall in Times Square, but few revelers can tell the tale of how they spent New Year’s in a kitchen watching an oven turn.

When we bought this lovely kitchen appliance, little did I know how socially valuable this particular feature would be. I remember commenting as I programmed the time, date, and yes, even the year into the electronic keypad, that if anyone actually needed an oven that told them what year it was, then they probably shouldn’t be operating an oven or any other potentially dangerous kitchen device, like, say, an egg beater.

So, let’s see what’s cooking for 2009. And do our best for a good recipe! Happy New Year, Happy 2009!