Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jim Brown's Violin Shop and Pet Store

Today I took my bow to be rehaired at my favorite violin shop, Jim Brown in Claremont. It's not my favorite because they have the biggest or best selection (pretty decent for student instruments, but I wouldn't be able to find much for myself there), but because it is closer than LA, I enjoy window-shopping at the boutiques in the Claremont Village when I'm there anyway, there is a nice bakery/deli across the street for lunch, and most of all, because I enjoy chatting with Jim and his wife--they are the sweetest people. They have two grey-and-white cats that prowl around the shop, and lately they have acquired a cocker spaniel named Pepper as well. So here you are, in this violin shop, discussing rehairs and the latest technology in strings, with one cat on your lap, another one rubbing on your ankles, and a dog sprawled out upside down for you to pet.

I thought I'd try out a couple of bows and half size violins for a student while I was there, and just as I started playing, I heard the oddest sound. I have never heard a violin sound this terrible--like two different pitches, one terribly shrieky and out of tune. It stopped as soon as I stopped playing. Very quickly I realized that Pepper was singing along. Yes, the dog has the habit of howling (shrieking is a better word) along with the sound of violins. As a matter of fact, the second time I started playing, Pepper came right over to me, sat on my foot and leaned against my leg, raised his head high like a wolf, and sang blissfully away. We had a lovely duet going until Jim's wife finally took Pepper for a walk (he would go to the door and ring the bell that was hanging on the doorknob when he wanted out). I wished I had a video camera with me; that would have made the perfect YouTube moment. 

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hard things

I don't know why I'm suddenly inspired to write about hard things.

Maybe I'm trying to keep up with my weighty blog title (not that it's visible anymore because of the poppies; maybe I should put that on my list--how to make the title visible over the poppies?) Anyway, I don't feel like writing an essay, and I'll spare my readers from a poem ("Like a mushroom/floating over lime cataracts/on the brink of cowcatchers laden with pomegranates...")--I think I'll just write a list. 

Hard things (in no particular order)

1. Remembering a 3-digit number more than 10 minutes. (Those who say music helps math skills are crazy.)
2. Keeping cat hair off black pants.
3. Dealing with students' parents who yell when you can't give them the exact lesson time they want.
4. Keeping sugar from crystalizing when making caramel.
5. Realizing that he just plain doesn't care about you anymore.
6. Fingered octaves. (If you are not a violinist and don't know what this means, consider yourself lucky.)
7. Praying about certain things when you just don't want to.
8. Trying to keep from praying about certain things when you really, really want to.
9. Paganini caprices and Bach unaccompanied sonatas and partitas.
10. Living in this dark, lonely world when you would much rather be with Christ. 

What are the hard things in your life?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Right Arm of the Gospel

Found in an SDA church bulletin (I am not making this up):

Yoga, anyone?