Sunday, September 30, 2007

you'll punish thank me later

So the new Albuquerque Lorn is riding her bike wherever she can, because that's the responsible environmentalist thing to do (not to mention I'm trying not to be a big lazy-ass...oh and also, the cute boy that's really into biking...yeah...ahem) and it's about time I started saving some money on gas when I get to the bank, Blockbuster, the grocery store, the library, and a number of delicious eateries for free.

The first step, I'm finding, is making it up the hills. At this altitude. They aren't particularly big hills (except for maybe the one on Carlisle that nearly killed me today), but Albuquerque sits at about a mile high, just like our neighbor Denver to the north. While I'm for the most part used to this in terms of trombone playing and general day-to-day activity, I haven't broken in my exercise altitude tolerance yet, apparently.

The other option is that I'm just a wee bit out of shape, and I don't like to admit it to myself. Especially not when it comes to biking. For a girl that used to tear around Madison like a bad-ass, struggling to get three miles to Blockbuster and back is a bit of a let-down. As luck would have it, the Bb closer to me is closed for renovations, so I have to go to the one near UNM's campus. A nice dowhill ride...there. Today I compounded my ride with a trip in the opposite direction to drop off some books at the library, and while that's mostly flat, it almost wore me out before I'd even gotten to Carlisle and it'd dreaded incline.

I wonder if there's a point, for New Mexicans, when it all finally kicks in. When you've been working your ass off and feeling like shit for so long and then breaks, and it feels like flying again. I'm not optimistic that this day is anywhere near for me, but I'm determined to keep working. I want to do a trialthon, for crying out loud, and if I'm struggingly with the biking which for me takes up the least amount of energy (swimming is easy for me, sure, but it's draining, and running...well, that's a whole 'nother story)...I have some work to do.

Next up: I discover that I've also forgotten how to date, or at least be normal around people that might be interested in me. Chaos ensues.

Monday, September 24, 2007

attack of the travel bug

Lately I've been completely smitten with the idea of travel. I'm talking big time, far-away travel. I wanna see shit.

I'm reading a Henry James novel, Portrait of a Lady, and while it's not exactly a travel novel, journeys both real and emotional are part of the central focus. It's got me jonesing to go to Italy. I want to see Rome like you would not believe.

Somehow I keep coming across these images of China- either an acquaintence is there or has recently been there, or I"ve just seen more of it lately. But the result of that is I want to go to China. And Japan. Okay all of friggen Asia.

I'm still dying for a trip to South America (notably, Brazil and Argentina), thanks to the last two history classes I took with Dr. I.

My vacation in Crested Butte was so unbelievably god-damn good that I want to go up there again, and have a vacation without worries, with good friends I never get sick of, with my trombone and jazz and a minimum of inspirational and challenging personal growth activities (the one I did participate in not promising to be so until I was standing on the 20 ft high cliff overlooking a resevoir with 10 otherwise cocky and self-assured jazz guys chanting my name). Can I repeat it again? Best vacation I've ever had. I think I'd forgotten that that was what vacations were really like. You shouldn't mind going home, but you shouldn't particularly want to. The being there is good enough.

My friend Jon recently went to Australia. I want to there.

My friend Jeremy recently won the Vienna gig, because he's a bad-ass like that, so I want to go there.

Bethany and Phil are in Germany. Lesse, do I want to go there? Check.

Kristopher's going to Ireland and France over Christmas. Dammit!!

I've never been to NYC properly. I'd like to see Georgia. Camping in Utah is a must. There are eight million people I miss and want to see in Seattle. Colorado Colorado Colorado.

I keep thinking how much fun it would be to take the quintet on a tour of Europe, or Japan. Something along the lines of Crested Butte- a few performances in each city, a free day or two, the joy of being someplace and being appreciated as more than a tourist but as someone who is there to enrich that place in their own personal way and move on again, each side having gained something invaluable from the other.

My only complication to all these wondrous plans? All that silly debt. My lack of employment. I just got here.

Something will happen. Before I'm 30, I'm going to Asia. This is a promise.

talking=good for you

Less negativity now. Yay! But don't get too excited, it'll probably find its way back sooner or later. Just part of the cycle of being Lorn.

Besides, something silly and fun happened, and it really means nothing but it made me feel good anyway. Isn't that nice?

And besides that, I practiced for a good hour today. Real, honest-to-goodness practicing, which I haven't done in months because of...many things. Moving, not being in school, lots of rehearsing wearing me out, etc. It feels good to nail some stuf down and hear my real sound come back, not this half-assed out of shape trombone playing I've been getting away with lately. Time to shine! Quintet recital in less than three weeks!

Check out the movie Year of the Dog. It's quite fantastic in its quirky little way.

I will leave you with a Professor Smith quote.

"I just want to stand up here and get a big paycheck and not have to sweat over your entrance."

I miss that man's infinite wisdom.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

mémege à trois

On generous loan from Day (who will be here in the Nuevo in about 2 weeks!).

Classical Music Meme
1. Name a recording that you just can't imagine living without.

Well, ironically my favorite recording I have been living without: CSO and Reiner doing Pines and Fountains of Rome. Following that, since you're just not supposed to pick only one of course, Vienna doing Mahler 5, Berlin/Ozawa doing Prokofiev 5, Center City Brass Quintet's Streetsong album.

2. Name a piece written in the last 20 years that you've heard on recording or in concert that you found particularly gratifying, moving and/or stimulating.

Carter Pann's Slalom is not only exhilirating, it's fun to play. It'll be on the UNT Wind Symphony CD this year. Also, my friend at UNT, Mark Scott, wrote an awesome trombone octet called 'spectives.

3. Name a piece that you know from a concert or recording that you are very fond of but that you think most people, even in the industry, wouldn't be all that familiar with.

The Suite for Unaccompanied Cello by Kodaly is pretty friggin awesome. And most definitely Astor Piazzolla's operetta/musical drama Maria de Buenos Aires. Ginastera's got some underappreciated works too, like the piano sonatas and the Variaciones concertantes (wow, I think Professor I. should pay me for saying that).

Tag! You're it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

and falling back down

First off, a disclaimer: This isn't a post to make anyone feel sorry for me, or to get anyone to tell me how awesome I am or that I'm being too hard on myself. I kinda just need to write some of this down so I have a way of not thinking about it for a while. Of course I shall do this with Mahler's Symphony No. 2 as my soundtrack, because that's just what you do (and also because Mahler 2 will be associated forever with that one amazing concert that was followed by one incredibly ill-thought-out drunken evening: hurray for both inspiring and embarassing!) when you want some deep thought to pour out of you.

I'm caught up a bit in this cycle of negativity lately that I'm trying very hard to escape. The difference this time around, though, is that it's not affecting my whole outlook too terribly: in other words I think it but I'm not feeling it, most of the time. I'm able to see through it to a brighter side, or at least take the time to realize that it's just another part of moving and adjusting. Interesting how we can see ourselves get older and wiser sometimes, isn't it?

The general span of my negative thoughts is in most part a reaction (in that purely scientific sense) to the general attitude of a few people around here who seem to be made more happy discussing how unhappy things make them than they would actually taking steps to fix them. While I've never been of that particular mindset, the energy this creates takes its place in my mind as more self-directed and I start to find myself feeling pretty darn shitty about myself and my prospects.

For instance, I find myself thinking about what I would do in the event that this quintet self-destructs. Where does that leave me? What then is my musical path? I'd like to think that maybe I'd go back to UNT and study jazz, because other than the pure fun of it, I'd certainly be in higher demand as a performing musician wherever I chose to go than I am now. But how many more years of school is that? And is it reasonable? By the time I made myself useful in that department, would I be too old for the hip stuff and too young for the nostalgic? Why do I have such a bias against leaving my 20s? Am I succumbing to the national fear of obscurity and loss of youth?

And then of course my thoughts stray to love, because if I'm getting older, does that mean I have to keep up accordingly with those of my age who act grown up and serious about marriage and kids? Even if I know there are a lot of people who don't want that, aren't people looking more and more at what their prospective mates have accomplished? I'm just a kid still in that department. I have a master's degree and I've done two professional gigs that could be called a career path. I live in a house I can't presently afford and I'm struggling even to get some sort of nominal part time work, the kind of thing they generally hire 17 year old kids for. At least I don't live at home with my parents? What exactly am I offering? What do I care anyway, when all I want is to find someone pretty much similar to me? Why does it feel like those kinds of people are all 23? Am I that emotional age still?

None of this matters of course, since I'm afraid of making any sudden moves around anyone I'm interested in these days. Two bad experiences and I'm psychologically fucked. Somehow I'm too worried that rejection is inevitable, so I just don't risk it. Why does rejection scare me so much? It's not usually so much as it is, but you know what I mean. I'm tired of feeling that what I've worked to make myself is somehow odious to anyone who might consider any sort of intimacy with me. And that of course lends itself to all sorts of self-image issues. Hurray!

(Mahler 2 Interlude: Don't you just love those triumphant, joyous sections? So happily Mahler, so gracefully exuberant and celebratory. And then just as suddenly as they began, they turn dark and dancing...the original soundtrack for some Tim Burton film)

And what's with the way I take criticism? I don't mean musical criticism. I think I've attuned myself enough to that to understand how to make it constructive. Why do I feel like I should be so perfect in the way I deal with things while I'm so quick to fault other people for the way they react? Why do I like to see other people put down in the same breath that I am praised? That's not very nice! Sure, I think I handle things very well, so why shouldn't I want a little help in doing even better? But even in the short time I've been here I feel like I'm getting worse and worse at that, maybe not so much when it comes to business and professional issues, but things that affect me emotionally. I seem to be regressing, allowing things that mean nothing to make me angry and inconsolable. Nobody here is going to change for me; I either have to change myself or find people that fit.

I just think that maybe, if I could just feel for a little while that I've done well or been funny or pleased someone else in some way that makes a lasting impression, I could stop this viscious cycle and get back down to the busienss of being me.

And here it comes. Mahler's genius in bringing in the trombones just when they're needed the most. Extraordinary.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

stepping up

There are several things I know I'm good at, in the realm of leadership. I know I can be diplomatic, I know I can play devil's advocate and see the validity of any and all sides of a particular problem, I know I can talk at great length with some eloquence, I know I can see both long-term and short-term goals with clarity and how to approach both. It's for these reasons that I've never felt uncomfortable taking charge of a chamber group and helping to structure it both musically and professionally. In fact, I think it's because of these traits that I feel most comfortable in chamber groups: I have the luxury of input and control over my own show (as opposed to being in a symphony and having little say in the artistic direction), but I also have the quality ideas and energies of my fellow members, who diffuse some of the stress and spotlight of doing the music business alone. Of course, any chamber group is only as good as the relationship between its members, but I think with the right group of people it's the most rewarding experience I could ask for.

I've been holding back from taking too much of a leadership role in CSB since I moved to Albuquerque, mostly because I was feeling unsettled and unsure, and also because it seemed like there was an even distribution of leadership among us. I think that's true to a certain extent, but it seemed like we were all holding back from something. While either we were getting frustrated with each other or just focusing on our individual tasks, there wasn't much forward motion in the group. Last year, as I sat in a meeting with my old professor who had agreed to coach my trombone quartet, it was mentioned that, democratic as a chamber group may be, it needs someone to step up to the plate as unofficial leader in some way. Whether that leader simply delegate tasks to other members or have a large say in the direction of the group depended mostly on the personality and make up of the group in question, but either way a balance needed to be struck in order for the group to function effectively. I guess we Westerners are just helpless without our precious direction from someone else.

Long story short, after several conversations about various aspects of the group's frustrated forward progress, and after having delved into my new bible (The Musician's Business and Legal Guide), it all just came spilling out. This is the group and the musical direction I've wanted to take with my professional life since my first foray into chamber music. Why would I waste all the time and the money I've spent to get out here and get this started just because people were frustrated, when I knew I could fix it and make things move forward? I'm no stranger to leadership and I'm no stranger to stating my mind.

I can fix things. I am a fixer.

And a leader.

I feel good for doing this. I feel stronger and more competent and ten times more hopeful than I did yesterday, or last week, or even when I moved out here to start this crazy ride. This will work. This will be an experience I can use and hold near for the rest of my life. This is what I want to do.

Okay. Pep talk over. Let's quintet.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

how i made myself official

The Land of Enchantment having accepted me willingly within its boundaries, I've begun to make steps that will insure the path of my eventual transformation into a New Mexican. It's weird. Even in Wisconsin, I never really let go of those things that made me distinctly Californian; I kept my driver's license and my voter registration, I hung on desperately to certain kinds of clothes even though they were woefully inadequate for the harsher northern climate. Sure, in Texas I had a house, my house, but I still had a CA driver's license and a fierce loyalty to the Pacific Ocean.

But I think if I'm going to make it here, if I'm really going to take this opportunity to grow up and be on my own with a big-kids musical ensemble and a large amount of rent to pay, I need to settle down a little quicker.

As I mentioned, I already have a library card and a bank account. Today I got a New Mexico driver's license. The first time in 10 years I haven't held a California ID card, and surprisingly, I'm okay with it. My picture's even...acceptable.

Next step: NM plates for my car.

I've even gone so far as to set up an online personal ad, one that says something to the effect of 'Hi! Hi! Look at me! Cuteee! I need love in the location I am currently at!'. I feel like a puppy at the pound. I have to admit I was a little wary, not wishing to recreate the events of the last time I tried to meet people online (heartbreak, while it may heal emotionally, always leaves some little psychological mark on our brains). But it was late, I was a little delusional from watching so many episodes of The Office, and I had finding a Jim Halpert on my brain. Here goes nothing!

In other news, CSBQ has a gig this weekend. Two weekends in a row with a gig! I'm hot stuff!

Friday, September 07, 2007

anyone still out there? hello? hello?

My apologies for my continued absence, even though I said previously that I was back. I was wrong.

So, I'm here. In New Mexico. Starting a brass quintet. Going broke. Kind of lonely and missing- of all things- UNT jazz and the people in it.

Other than that, things are pretty good. I have a nice house, a library card, and a reattached retina. I got to flirt at the bank the other day and I can ride my bike most places I need to go. The weather is perfect, the scenery is amazing, and I have high-speed internet at home. In other words, I'm on my way both to feeling like myself again and to inventing the New Mexico me, the person that will adapt to the people and places here and become some new evolution of my ongoing personal development.

This first picture is the view from my front porch. Hello, Sandia Peak! I have been up there yet because of eye-bubble related issues (changing altitude was a strict no-no), but now that's it's for the most part gone, I can go exploring. I checked out a 'Hiking New Mexico' book from the library (along with all the CDs I could I love having a perfectly functioning computer again) whih I intend to use extensively until I find my favorite trails and get my hike on properly.

The Diesel Sweeties comic is a fair indication of the conflict I feel in my personal life right now. Let's just leave it at: it's nice to be myself and have my time and do what I want...but...but...*sigh* Never mind, it's pointless.

Heh. Silly me. How easy is it to be happy and content when you've surrounded yourself (finally) with the kind of friends whose company you both enjoy and never get weary of, only to leave it and have to start over again? The first realization of that for me is the wave of physical and emotional loneliness, the one that says, 'just how long now has it been, seriously, since you even made out with someone?' Why does that have to be the first thing? Why can't it be, 'Oh man, these people don't get all the Eddie Izzard references I make in a day! I miss Ben.' No. It's gotta be the one thing that makes you feel the shittiest.

Thanks for that. Moving on.

I'm having a house-warming party tonight, and I'm making penne and salad and hopefully getting nice and drunk, although not terribly, since I have a gig tomorrow that I should be on the ball for. The trouble is, I don't know which grocery store to go to that will provide me with the proper cheese. The one closest has a poor selection (although they do have Manchego...hello, Kristopher!), the Trader Joe's is miles and miles away, and Whole Foods is expensive. What ever shall a girl do?

I will say this: it's nice living in a fair-sized city again. Sure, ABQ is lacking in some of my basic needs (a WaMu branch, Chipotle, free jazz on Monday and Thursday nights with $2 wells at the bar), but it's got other stuff. A nice downtown. Trader Joe's. Excellent Mexican food. Chama River Brewing Company. A relatively stress-free freeway system. Mountains. Hard to explain...but the feeling of being here is so different from Texas. It's a relief and yet it's weird. It's home and yet it doesn't have Thai Ocha. It's big...but still it's kinda smallish. But it has an airport (next to which I have taken up residence...the pros and cons of living near an international airport will be discussed in a later post). I dunno. I miss Denton...but I don't.

I'll leave that confusion for another day. It's time to go hunt for cheese and vegetables.