Nov 16, 2007

The fun never stops!

I was about to apologize (again) for not updating for awhile when I noticed that I posted earlier this week. Although I never promised to update regularly, my posts of late have been sporadic even for me. I suppose it's time we all (myself included) accept the reality, which is that it tends to be about a month.

Anyway!! I promised to tell you about lots of things, so I'd better get started.

1. I am writing this entry on my new and very lovely Macbook! This is exciting because my Dell notebook was dying a very slow, dramatic and irritating (for me) death. :( So it is wonderfully amazing, after five years of Windows dysfunction, to have a piece of technology that is so fantastic. Because I'm (still) a student, I got a rather nice education discount, and they also had a promotion where you could get a full rebate on a printer, so I also bought a Canon all-in-one printer, which I love as well.

So far I've had no issues at all with my new laptop, and actually prefer Apples to PCs. Plus, the commercials are so amusing!

2. As of now, I have taken both of my big exams. The first one I took was the language exam, wherein I had to translate a music article from my foreign language of choice into idiomatic English. This was sort of a fluke: I was under the impression that this exam was in December, when in fact it was in October. So one random day when I walked into the music office, the music secretary more or less made me take the exam. I had been worrying all semester about the fact that it has been seven years since I studied French, but the contents of a French/English dictionary and random fragments I remembered during translation proved to be enough to earn me a passing score.

The other exam was the Comprehensive Exam, also referred to as Graduate exams. This was the three/four hour exam during which my knowledge of all areas of my musical study were tested. I took this exam last Thursday, right before an orchestra concert and flying back to Iowa, and made myself finish in three hours, even though technically I could have had four. In retrospect I think I would have benefited from an extra ten minutes, but I had to get to rehearsal. I find out my score in two weeks. Keep your fingers crossed that I passed everything!

3. Something very unlikely happened a few weeks ago: I started teaching violin lessons. I had rather notoriously proclaimed that I would never be a teacher: I never really thought I had any good teacher-ly skills, and besides, performing and getting the practical experience is infinitely more valuable. Or so I thought. As it turns out, my many years of being a student has enabled me to instruct others. Anyway, my student is eight years old and has been studying for two years. In the three weeks we've worked together, she has improved and learned more than in her entire two years. I'm making her give a small recital for her family in December, so I guess we'll see then how good of a teacher I actually am ....

4. This month I have performances coming out my ears!!! There was an orchestra concert a week ago, and the conTempo concert is at the end of November. One of the provisions for being in conTempo is to play for the student composer concerts at the beginning of December. This semester, I have been approached by SEVEN composers, and will be playing in five pieces (I declined two of them) between the two concerts. I'm thinking that I'll be short on rehearsal time (I am involved with three ensembles outside of my collaborations with composers), but it is largely such great fun to play music that no one has ever heard or performed that I don't even care! (I probably should, because I tend to get stressed out about this sort of thing).

One of the composers for whom I am playing is making a recording of his piece. It's probably unlike anything you've heard before, but if it's possible, I'll find a way for you all to listen to it.

5. I guess the last thing to tell you about is my recent visit back to Iowa. Bubbie and Zadie (my grandparents) turned 80 and 90 this month, and celebrated by inviting the extended family and friends to a big party.

Though this isn't exactly a stress-free time for me, it was nice to see everyone, especially all of the extended family who came from all over the country to celebrate. Many of them I hadn't seen in a very long time, and to my surprise, they all seemed smaller than I remember. Hm.

Particularly entertaining were the speeches given on Saturday night. Bubbie's brother went first, and his speech was probably the nicest by far. Uncle Aaron presented Zadie with a glass cutter, the Rabbi spoke, Abe Rissman entertained, Riva and I expounded upon the important lessons we learned from Bubbie and Zadie, and Uncle David serenaded everyone with special lyrics he wrote to the tune of "Suddenly Seymour." Now, who could ask for anything more?

It's always an exciting time when the Geller clan convenes, but the weekend became even more exciting when I got to the airport on Monday (I know, I know, technically Monday is not the weekend. But it was the end of my trip, and so it still counts.). First the guy at the end of the security checkpoint took my violin away without warning to check it, even though I wasn't supposed to be searched, and had never had this happen when flying out of anywhere. Then I got to the gate in time for the lady behind the desk to announce that my lovely direct flight back to New York was cancelled due to mechanical problems. It was a full flight, I might add, and they had to reschedule all of those people (mostly businesspeople flying to meetings) out of Des Moines. Needless to say, a lot of them got rebooked to flights that arrived later than when they needed to be in New York, and so there were a lot of unhappy passengers. I was just desperate to get back and start in on all of my school stuff, and requested that they check the surrounding airports as well. I ended up on a flight to Newark with a very brief stopover in Chicago (long enough for me to grab a bagel and scurry to the adjacent terminal to my connecting gate).

Newark, as it turns out, is not very impressive to look at from overheard on a cloudy day. And although the airport is arguably closer to my apartment than La Guardia, the carfare is actually more expensive thanks to the lovely, also-not-impressive New Jersey turnpike. As it also turns out, Newark is the least expensive airport to fly out from, and so I may very well find myself back there in a few weeks.

At any rate, I arrived back at my apartment at about the same time that most of the other unlucky passengers on the original flight were arriving at La Guardia, so I guess things turned
out as well as they could have, all things considered. I do wonder, though, why I seem to have
such notoriously bad luck when it comes to air travel ....

Happy birthday Bubbie and Zadie!!!!

(Who loves you? Devora and Riva do!)

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