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Oct. 18th, 2010

snowcake scrabble

Spirit Day

Originally posted by neo_prodigy at Spirit Day

It’s been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.

RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh (top)
RIP Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase (middle)
RIP Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. (bottom)

REBLOG to spread a message of love, unity and peace.

Oct. 10th, 2008

snowcake scrabble

Healing after miscarriage


Aug. 15th, 2008

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Taste the f*cking wine. Please.

Just got back from seeing Bottle Shock in New Haven.


Jun. 18th, 2008

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Still Indy after all these years

At about this time last year, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as it eventually came to be titled, was being filmed in the city where I work and where I went to graduate school. Filming took place in the city streets and also within the university campus. I could look down from my office window on the nineteenth floor onto the tops of the actors' trailers. Harrison Ford's was huge and was enclosed by big privacy screens, but I saw the top of his head a few times. I also got to watch some of the chase scenes being filmed along the city streets, although these were all done with stunt doubles.

Mr. Reedpipe and I finally got to see the finished product last weekend. It was so neat seeing our fair city on the big screen, even if it was only in about five minutes of the movie. There is a motorcycle chase scene that goes down one of the main streets in the city and past the university's School of Music, and then the motorcycle veers onto one of the university quadrangles and you see the bike (with Mutt and Indy riding it) actually enter the front doors of the famous main library. Because the university didn't want motorcycle exhaust messing up its precious books, the interior shots of the "library" were actually filmed in the dining hall where I used to have lunch with my organ professor after my lesson every Tuesday.


Jun. 16th, 2008

snowcake scrabble

Happy Birthday to E.

My younger son, E., turned three yesterday. For the past three years, his impish smile has lit up my life. The feel of him running into my arms, often pajama-clad, as I walk into the front door at the end of the day is what keeps me going. For all the effort, time and expense put toward therapy and treatment of his older brother's condition, and for all that his brother is in a very good place now (more about that in another post), I think E. has often been left on his own as the "normal" child needing less attention.

So it was wonderful yesterday, seeing him realize that the tiny party we threw for him was all about him. It was the first time, I think, that he was aware of being the center of attention, and the look of surprised joy on his face when we sang his name in the Happy Birthday song was something I will never forget. The two families who came to the little party were so gracious to have shared their Father's Day with us (I didn't realize that the 15th was Father's Day this year until after I had sent out the invitations), and even though E. shared the limelight again, I was glad to have given him, finally, a day he could think of as his own.

Jun. 5th, 2008

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The giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard

Text, audio and video of Jo Rowling's commencement address, extolling the benefits of failure and the power of imagination, available here.

"We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

Inspiring and unsentimental, infused with humility and splashed with humor, it's an address I wouldn't have minded hearing on my graduation day fourteen years ago.

Although, truth be told, Al Gore was totally hot in 1994.

Jun. 4th, 2008

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Our pretense of invulnerability

I apologize for all the navel examination of late, but I was moved by the baccalaureate address at my alma mater this year, given by the by the College's newly-minted first female president.

Regret is horrible thing, but I suspect we all live with a certain amount of it on a fairly daily basis. "No regrets" is a phrase uttered by undergraduates who are too young to know what regret is and old lovers who are either too optimistic or too vulnerable at the time they say the words. So I am giving up my pretense of invulnerability, and am hereby acknowledging that I harbor certain regrets. And as horrible as regret may be, it's actually somewhat liberating to recognize it for what it is.

During their baccalaureate service yesterday, this year's College graduates heard about the "parking-space theory" of life: "Don't park 20 blocks from your destination because you think you'll never find a space. Go where you want to be and then circle back to where you have to be." In other words, "if you don't pursue what you think will be most meaningful, you will regret it. There is always time for Plan B. But don't begin with it."

But what happens if you do circle back to where you have to be, and you find that Plan B isn't where you want to be either? If there is always time for Plan B, is there time for Plan C as well? Plan D? When is it that you have to stop planning and just get on with it? Is it when you get married? When you have children?

Regret is part of growing up. This past year was a year of retirements, not only of the phenomenal JS, but of my first organ teacher as well. The retirement of two beloved mentors -- mentors who saw me through the sometimes painful process of becoming an adult -- has gone a long way toward making me realize that it's time for me to deal with my regret, and perhaps even to turn my regret into a positive catalyst.

"Every decision means a loss as well as gain -- possibilities forgone as well as possibilities embraced." It's the "loss of roads not taken" that I regret, I suppose. And perhaps it's not such a bad thing to regret them.

Regretting makes us remember.

And sometimes, remembering just might make us try again.

May. 20th, 2008

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A tribute to a great man, and not a little introspection

So I'm going to make up for my long absence from LJ with this Long and Rambling Post, in which I attempt to work through some Issues.

On Monday evening, May 12, Mr. Reedpipe and I made the three-hour drive back to my alma mater to attend a tribute concert for my former music theory professor, JS, who is retiring.

We've probably all had at least one teacher who's had a particularly significant role in shaping who we are. Even though I'm no longer a professional musician, hardly a day goes by that I'm not reminded of a lesson I learned from JS, or a turn of phrase, musical or otherwise, that he somehow inspired. Among all of the wonderful teachers I have ever had in music, English, divinity, and law, he is unparalleled both in the amount of knowledge I gained from him and the profound effect he has had on my life.

Although I wouldn't have missed the concert for the world (I even endured the ire of a judge to move a trial that had been scheduled for the next day), I wasn't sure how I'd feel being back at my alma mater, among so many musicians. Two years ago, JS had called me at my previous firm, and during the course of the conversation asked me, very simply, whether I was happy with my decision to leave music behind in favor of law.

I couldn't give him an answer. I still can't.

For reasons that I'm still trying to process, going to the tribute concert was a huge step for me. I have long acknowledged that my personality is profoundly unsuited to my career as a commercial litigator. I hate conflict. I despise public speaking. I suck at negotiating. While I find a vague satisfaction in meeting the intellectual challenges of being a member of the bar, my only real reason for remaining a lawyer at a large international firm is the fact that I'm able to provide for my family so that they want for nothing.

With the possible exceptions of my parents and my wonderful husband, JS believed in me like no one ever has. He knew just how much to push, and exactly when and how to encourage. He trusted me with showcasing other students' keyboard compositions and even with performing one of his own choral works with the student choir I co-directed. The one time I remember him ever expressing true disappointment in me was after I had performed a rather difficult composition by a classmate with whom I didn't particularly get along. I can still feel the sting of hearing JS tell me that I had effectively ruined the piece by playing it too slowly.

He was my theory professor in my freshman year, my musicianship professor in my sophomore year, and my thesis advisor in my senior year. He took me on as a teaching assistant during my junior and senior years. He introduced me, with wonderment, to the glory of the Bach chorales. He taught me how to use an augmented sixth and how to play a five-part fugue in open score. He gave me my first choral conducting lessons and taught me jazz harmony. He also taught me to use freshly-grated Pecorino and that raw oysters can cure a headache. He taught me how to slice a bell pepper.

Most of all, JS taught me how to listen -- and live -- with open ears and an open heart. He taught me to listen to the music in other people. By example, he taught me how to be a compassionate person. While I don't always live up to his example, I am both proud and humbled to have been his student.

The tribute concert last Monday evening was put together by JS' current undergraduate students, many of whom were visibly feeling his loss already. There was so much death imagery in the program, which included a Stravinsky song lamenting the death of JFK and the Bach chorale Jesu, Leiden, Pein und Tod, that I briefly wondered whether the reason JS was retiring (he is only a very young 62) was ill health. But he was looking as robust as ever -- in fact, with the exception of a little more gray around JS' temples, he and his wife haven't changed at all since the last time I saw them, which was at our wedding almost eleven years ago.

The performances were given by both current and former students and were, as expected, astonishing in the depth of feeling they portrayed. The endearing sadness of the undergraduates (it's they who will be deprived the most from JS' retirement, after all) and the gratitude of the alumni were almost palpable in the performances. The program included works by Bach, Stravinsky, and JS himself. The best and most moving piece on the program, by far, was a piece written by JS in memory of his own predecessor in the music department. That, at least, should have been comforting to the undergrads: as gifted and compassionate a teacher as JS is, he is equally gifted and passionate as a composer. He'll have more time to compose now, and share his prodigious gifts with a wider audience.

But being with the undergrads was comforting to me in completely unexpected ways. They will get by without JS -- partly because he will have prepared them well, partly by virtue of their own considerable gifts (as was evidenced in the uplifting concentration of talent on display that Monday night), and partly because the things they learned from JS will never leave them. And the things I learned from JS -- compassion, generosity, curiosity, loyalty, the value of hard work -- will never leave me either.

JS once said that when you study something for the first time, you inevitably lose a certain amount of your innocence. What he didn't have to say, because he lived it all the time, was that to the intellectually curious, the wisdom that can replace that innocence never lets the wonder fade. While my music studies and my professional career as a musician are both over, I am still the same person I was when JS was my teacher: a little less innocent, perhaps, but wiser. Seeing JS again, talking to him in the brief moments we had that Monday night, I realized I've never left his class: he's with me every day, whether I'm listening to Bach, singing nursery songs with my little ones, or battling it out in a courtroom. I'm quite sure I'll never be completely at peace with being a lawyer. But in the midst of my next trial, I'll know that he's there, and I'll remember the wonder I'd forgotten for a while.

Here's to a great man, a hero in every sense of the word, from whom I suspect I will never stop learning.

Aug. 21st, 2007

snowcake scrabble


This post is especially for adaveen, to whom it's been owed forever, and for deeindiana, who held my hand (online if not in RL!) during my solo trip to London last March. Smooches, ladies!

The day I left for London, which was a Wednesday, while I was waiting to get picked up and driven to the airport, I hopped online figuring, what the heck, I'd see if there were any tickets left for Saturday night's show. I called the number on the website (there were no tix left for online purchase), and lo and behold, there was a SINGLE ticket left in the entire house, and it was a STAGE seat, FRONT ROW CENTER. Wheee!

So I ended up seeing Equus on Saturday, March 17, and managed to find the theater amid the throngs of St. Paddy's Day revelers in Piccadilly Circus. "Stage seating" for this production apparently meant sitting in the back of the stage on an elevated, mezzanine-like platform, facing the stage and the rest of the audience. Most of the action was directed to the "house" audience, but there were a few lines directed toward us in the gallery as well.

Daniel Radcliffe, as the disturbed teenager Alan Strang, was fantastic. I admit I had been worried that I wouldn't be able to get past his HP persona, but very soon after he walked onto the stage singing the Milkybone jingle I had forgotten all about Harry. Which in itself is testimony to the fact that the boy can act. I have no idea how hard it is to play a weird kid with a thing for pretty horsies, but DanRad definitely pulled it off. At times your heart just broke for him; at others he was electrifying.

I'm not going to get into what happens in the play, but it's one of those strange commentaries on life that probably speaks to different people in different ways. To me, Equus is about why we worship whomever/whatever it is we worship, why worshipping is more about ourselves than whomever/whatever we worship, and what happens when that need to worship is denied.

DanRad spends most of the second half of the play in the buff, as does the fine young actress Joanna Christie who plays Jill. The nude scenes are tastefully done even though the scenes themselves, as written, are meant to be overwrought and disturbing. The props and "horses" were apparently very similar to the original production and were extremely effective.

Richard Griffiths was riveting as the psychiatrist charged with curing young Alan of his horsie problem. I'd heard he'd been ill and couldn't do the early performances, so I'm glad I got to see him.

I remember seeing the Richard Burton film version with Peter Firth (later of AABA "Bunny" fame) as Alan many years ago, but I don't remember being as affected by it. Seeing Equus on stage in March, however, left me exhilarated and devastated at the same time, as only great art can do. Rumor has it that the play is transferring to Broadway next year; I'd see it again in a heartbeat.

Aug. 1st, 2007

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Walking on the moon . . . still

NOTE: If you have no interest in The Police or Sting or *gasp* don't know who they are, just skip this post.

Tomorrow is my tenth wedding anniversary, but since Mr. Reedpipe is speaking at a conference abroad this week we celebrated by going to The Police concert at Fenway with a couple of dear friends last Saturday . . . and holy CRAP did we have an amazing time!

The concert was phenomenal -- just the thing for the Snape-induced melancholic funk I'd been in all last week. I've always been a Police/Sting fan but that concert made me wish I'd followed them more closely when I was younger and they were still together. Christ, can Sting sing!!! And Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland were fantastic!!

I'd read some reviews of earlier concerts on this tour that said they were a bit off, but they seemed to have gotten their shit together by the time they got to Boston. They opened with "Message in a Bottle," which was terrific. Things really got going, though, at the concert's midpoint, with "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." Woo-hoo, was that fun, and it looked like the band really started having a good time at that point, and seemed genuinely happy to be there. The familiar tunes all had a fresh twist, and I think all three of these guys are better musicians today than they were at the breakup.

But I was genuinely surprised at what an amazing musician Sting is. He has a fine sense of phrasing and an innate musicality that doesn't necessarily come through in the recordings. I don't know if he was classically trained but judging from Saturday's performance he could well have been. The improvised vocal lines in "Bed's Too Big," for instance, were hair-raisingly beautiful. Like AR, Sting knows what his voice can do, and he does it to great and powerful effect. And he's a magnificent showman too -- his easy interaction with the crowd was both natural and masterful. Nothing like echoing "Io, io yo yo" at the top of your lungs back at the man himself.

As a child of the eighties one of my favorite songs of all time is, rather unoriginally, "Every Breath You Take." It was what I had really been looking forward to hearing, but when the song finally came up as an encore I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed each and every minute sitting (and standing and bouncing and singing) with my loving husband of ten years and two good friends on that hot, sticky night in the Fenway grandstands.

And honey, if you're reading this -- the bed's too big without you. Be safe and hurry home.

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