April 2005

April 27, 2005 18:13

I haven't written in a loooong while. Was busy with work, and had a short vacation with the band. We went to the beach, walked on the shore under the moonlight, exchanged stories and lots of laughter, swam in the clear, warm sea, rode horses on the sand. It was great.

Now it's back to work for me, and back to rehearsals. Sigh. I can still feel myself floating on the water, staring at the clear, blue, sky, feeling the soft wind on my face as I lie on a sea of clear green, shimmering light...

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April 11, 2005 23:02

My, it's hot... I decided not to walk home for lunch coz there's hardly any wind to make the walk more enjoyable.

My office is next to a golf course and my house is a 15-minute walk away. Usually I walk home at 12 noon to feed my dogs, and then head back at around 1 pm. The walk is pretty nice. The streets are flanked by tall trees that I've come to consider my friends. At each walk I notice something different about the kaimito tree there, or that the langka tree is almost too heavily-burdened by its fruits. I also get pretty much acquainted with the dogs I meet on the way. I wonder why I haven't seen the dalmatian for several days now. And I wish someone would let the beagle out of his cage and walk him every now and then.

My violin practices are improving, slowly but that's okay. I've begun Wohlfahrt's (I hope I spelled that right) Book One again and am trying to master the first 20 exercises before moving on to the next 20. Still have no teacher, no one to tell me if I'm hitting the right notes or if I'm holding everything right. But there's no one rolling his eyes at me either, or seething, "Again!" Teachers can strike terror in your heart, but they're necessary.

I'm writing a 10-page report at the office, and it's already exceeded by 7 pages. The attachments alone are as thick as a book. I've come to a snag in the case problem and I can't find a solution to it. It's mathematical, but I just can't think anymore. Uuugh... I've hit this snag three days ago and I haven't been able to find a way to get past it. Uuuuggghhhhh....

My brother and his family are in Boracay, spending a week surrounded by white sand, blue water, and fine, fine scenery. If I could take my dogs on that trip I would've joined them.

The band is going to the beach on April 22 also. I can't go, I have work. Uuuuuuugggggghhhhhh...

I'll just fill a plastic kiddie pool with water and me and the doggies will splash in it. Haha.

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April 6, 2005 18:14

We held a Mass last night for Pope John Paul II. We're Orthodox Catholics, not Roman, but it made me feel very good to see that we could transcend differences and give honor to a man whose life truly deserves to be exemplified. A portrait of the Pope was placed on the chancel, right before the altar, and before the recessional, our bishop knelt before that portrait and prayed. I had hoped that they would meet each other in this lifetime. That was not to be, but I know that their hearts are somehow united.

I was handed my pieces for Sunday last night. This time I'm just going to mark the incidentals before some of the notes to help me out a bit. Playing at home and playing in an orchestra is a totally different thing. At home I can sound great, keep up with the beat, and repeat whenever I want to. In an orchestra, I find myself fumbling to keep up and most of the time I have to stop in defeat. We're on air, so it really adds to the pressure.

The funny thing is, no one asks me to stop playing or to just quit. The band master keeps telling me to play each Sunday. I guess he has more faith, or he probably has vision.

I'm excited about practicing tonight because it's the first time I'll do it without my usual marking in the pieces. I sure don't know where I'm headed here, or if I'll ever play as good as I want to, but I'm willing to take it one step at a time.

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April 3, 2005 19:26

I didn't do so well in church yesterday. I had to share my pieces with another violinist who forgot hers, and so I couldn't see my notes (she's much better than me anyway, so it's good for her to play). I have to start reading notes and stop encoding them. I'll start on that experiment this week and just put the incidentals on the notes as a compromise.

Another mom approached me after the service and said that her six-year-old son would like to learn to play the violin. Great! They're going to buy a 1/4th or something this week and hopefully get started on the lessons immediately.

I need a teacher but I can't afford one just now, not for two years I guess. The cost of lessons are pretty steep so I have to survive with what I know for now and whatever information I can get on the net. I just hope I don't develop bad habits--like encoding the notes--that will be difficult to get rid of later on. Any advice? I'd appreciate it very much.

A great man of peace died last Saturday. Our whole country is mourning--catholics, protestants, muslims, and buddhists alike--because Pope John Paul II was very close to us, like a father to an orphaned nation that's struggling to make it in this world. In him all the other issues seem to fade away, the haze clears and we see truth in its simplest and most powerful form: love. He taught us to forgive, he taught the way to peace and the need for human dignity. Most of all, he tried to find us--the lost who keep wandering through life, searching for something we can't name, something we don't even know. He tried to bring us together, whether we were of different race or religion. He knew the truth, that we are all God's children, regardless of what we believe or what we have gone through in our lives.

I'm not a Roman Catholic but I wish I could go to Rome. I will one day.

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April 1, 2005 00:37

"Who am I and why am I here?"

One of our preachers once said that we should always ask ourselves these questions, especially when we're facing a crossroads or trying to make a major decision in life. Unfortunately, those two questions are probably the most difficult to answer. Some people probably go through life never asking themselves these questions, or never knowing what the answers should be.

Last night I asked myself those questions again as I prepared my violin pieces for this Sunday's church service. There are about fifteen pieces to play, almost all requiring the first position only. It would be a breeze, save for the fact that I can't read notes that fast, that I've only been studying for less than a year, and that I haven't gotten past Wolfhart or Suzuki's Book One (I think I'm just a piece or two past Twinkle, Twinkle). I have to put codes into the pieces in order to play them... D1, AO, E2... and right now I don't even have a teacher.

I graduated with a degree in Journalism and am a thesis short of a Master's degree in business. I use the MBA for my office work and Journalism for several writing and editing jobs for church--but music? I'm completely unprepared for music. I wasn't born with the ear for the perfect pitch or the fingers for just the right placement. Again the question, "Why am I here?"

It's a humbling experience, being in a band/aspiring orchestra where most of the musicians play at least two instruments with their eyes closed. There are only five violins, two of which are already good. I marvel at how their left fingers find the exact place, at the fluidity of their right wrist and forearm arm as it glides the bow smoothly over each string, and I wonder if I can ever get to that point when I lose myself in the music and just flow. Right now I kind of sputter.

But something's happening despite all my inabilities. People are beginning to awaken to the violin. I started playing in the band in December last year, during the 4;30 am services for Advent. Since that time, two people have approached me. One, a young grandma, told me that she'd always wanted to play the violin but never thought she could. When she saw me playing with the band she realized it was still possible. She bought a violin and has been taking lessons twice a week since. The other, a mother of a 10-year-old boy, wanted me to teach her son to play-- wha... are you deaf? Her son's now taking lessons with one of our better violinists. Another mother has begun to take her daughter to violin class. We're growing! Our church's goal is to one day have a full orchestra.

Why am I here?

I guess I kind of have the answer to that question. The immediate goal for the violinists this year is to play in our December rendition of Handel's Messiah. Can I do it?

I think that question can best be answered by another: Who am I?

I'm a child of God. I can do anything through Him who strengthens me.

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