Skip to main content

She's Gone Again


In 2002 Steve had a one-year position with the Oregon Symphony.  I was working steadily in Chicago, and didn't want to jeopardize the network we had built up, so I stayed in town.  We visited back and forth a few times, but I lived in my apartment and he lived in his, and it was fine.  In some ways, I really enjoyed it.

I had never lived alone, after all.  I had had a roommate in college, and had lived with Steve basically since we met.  I found that I easily got used to eating, practicing, and sleeping on my own schedule, and I liked being able to walk into a room and see the book I had set down exactly where I expected it to be.  I missed him, but I'm pretty  self-sufficient.  I got my work done, talked to him on the phone, and lived my life.

The challenging part was when Steve's position ended and he came back home.  Suddenly my apartment was our apartment again, and I had to relearn how to live hour to hour, day to day with another human being.  Of course I loved him, but the crazy early-relationship excitement that had eased the original transition was no longer there, and it was hard for us to work out the difference in our lifestyles.  Sometimes he was hungry and I wasn’t.  Sometimes I wanted to cook and he hadn’t cleaned the kitchen from the last meal.  Sometimes we ran out of things just because neither of us had realized how fast two people would use them.

We worked through it, obviously, and are great together now, but I don’t want to go through that again.  Not for a year and not even for another week, not with Steve and certainly not with Zoe. 

Since Steve’s father’s illness became very acute in October, he’s been traveling to Tennessee a lot.  And now that he is working to probate the estate I anticipate many more long trips.  He takes Zoe when he goes, as his family is happy to sit for her.  I love my career, but it is simply the case that if I am not WHERE the work is, and DOING the work - the concerts, the reed-making, the teaching - I don’t get PAID for the work.  Going on extended trips just to keep close to Zoe is not the best choice for our family, and she is in perfectly good safe hands. And she loves her Nana and her extended family. 

But I hate this.  I used to thrive on being alone, and I admit that for the first few hours with no baby in the house I sort of luxuriate in the quiet and the freedom and the possibilities.  But I have no real tolerance for this anymore.  I want my child with me, and I want to put her to bed at night, and take her for walks around the neighborhood, and catch all of the little developmental milestones that fascinate me.  I don’t want us to grow out of the habit of each other, and to have to relearn our rituals each time.  

While they are away, I am maximizing my time with ruthless efficiency.  Practicing, exercising, reading and studying.   Working on venues for my spring programs.  Cleaning the house and running bags to Goodwill.  Eating healthy meals and missing little girl’s demands like crazy.  This has been a long, hard fall, and I’m hoping right now for a short week, and the safe return of my family, and a general return to normalcy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discouraging Words

I can remember at least two old cranky violinists coming to talk to young me about NOT going into music.  There was a session, for example, during a Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra retreat in which a real RPO professional (who was probably 47 but whom I remember as ancient) told us that, statistically, no one who graduates from music school wins auditions for jobs because there are only like 4 jobs out there in the world and 7000 hotshots coming into the job market every week. 

Quit NOW. 

I may have misremembered the details of this speech, but I remember the emotional jolt.  It was designed to discourage.

Last weekend I was presenting at a Double Reed Festival, and heard some oboists grumbling about another presenter who had evidently given something of the same talk to a roomful of masterclass attendees and participants.  High school students and cheerful adult amateurs.

And look, there's an element of truth to this.  Classical music is not a growing field, and it is leg…

Shaq and the Oboe

Here’s my FAVORITE thing about that Shaquille O'Neal video everyone's sharing this week - it’s how HAPPY he is playing this silly game and how little he CARES what the oboe actually SOUNDS LIKE or how to play it. 
Almost as if the oboe is not a giant obstacle to overcome.

Instead of focusing on the CRAFT of the instrument, the precise fingerings, the quality of the sound, the finesse of the vibrato - his focus is on DELIVERING the SONG.   It’s on COMMUNICATION, not perfection.


What a LIBERATING concept!


When I am playing my best, I find that I can surpass the STRUGGLE and come to a place where my focus is on communication.   I can sing through the instrument, and I can use that voice to reach out and find someone else.  This is really what being In the Zone means for me - it's when I don’t have to engage with the OBOE and instead can be generous with my VOICE for the audience.


I seek and strive for this Zone all the time - it’s the whole point of practicing! I practice long…

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

We took a vacation this summer.This is not news to anyone in my life - anyone who knows me or especially Steve on Facebook followed along with all of our pictures.We took our travel trailer out to Arizona - via St Louis, Tulsa, Amarillo, Roswell, Santa Fe - and then stayed a week in Clarksdale and Flagstaff and visited some ancient pueblo ruins, Sedona, Jerome, the Lowell Observatory, the Grand Canyon.We swam in swimming pools, lakes, and icy mountain streams.We hiked.Eventually we came home again, via Albuquerque, Amarillo, Tulsa, and St Louis. (our inventiveness had somewhat worn out).After a week at home we took another trip, and drove to Vermont via western NY and the Adirondack Park (stayed an extra day to hike a mountain), lived four days in East Franklin VT, and came home via Catskill and eastern Ohio.
This vacation felt different from all of our previous ones.In the 21 years we’ve been married, I can name only one - maybe two trips we ever took that were not For Work or For …