Monday, July 05, 2010


The holiday weekend is almost over. We've had a good time. On Friday, Charlene and her band Wyndel played a gig at a local restaurant. The music was infectiously joyous; Gary and I sat at outdoor tables and watched the folks in the audience who got up and danced (something neither Gary nor I is brave enough to do). I was really touched when Charlene played Ashokan Farewell and dedicated it to "my student Susan, who's learning this tune." Awwww!

Part of my homework this week is to record myself playing it. Ack! If I sound halfway decent, I'll try to figure out how to post the soundclip here.

In other fiddle news, Charlene's husband's graduate funding at UNR has been badly dented by the budget crisis, and instead of staying for a PhD, he plans to get a masters and leave next May . . . which of course means that Charlene would leave too. Waaahhhh! I suppose there are other teachers in town, but I hate the idea of switching. Charlene recommends, though, that I think about attending a fiddle camp: a week-long gathering of folks of all ages and at all levels who spend the week in classes and then play together in the evening. A friend of mine goes to a fiddle camp up in Washington State and loves it. Looking for one around here, I stumbled on Alasdair Fraser's Sierra Fiddle Camp, which is only two hours from here. I adore Fraser's playing, so I e-mailed Charlene to ask if this camp might be a good fit. She said it would be. I'm now on the camp's e-mail list. I told her, "I'd be the worst one there," and she assures me that everybody's scared of that. I'm really glad the camp advertises itself as supportive and non-competitive, and hope they walk their talk!

Saturday, I went to the hospital and then we worked on deck furniture. Yesterday, we finished working on deck furniture. One of my former students had invited us to her house to watch fireworks, but I was feeling really lazy and wanted to stay home, so instead -- very much on the spur of the moment -- we wound up inviting four friends, one of whom brought a friend of hers. The seven of us sat on the deck, drank beer or iced tea or juice, ate Gary's homemade guacamole with chips followed by ice cream, and tried without too much luck to get a glimpse of fireworks. We couldn't see much of any of the official ones, although someone in the neighborhood was setting off some doozies, and we had a great view of those. (Later in the evening, Gary saw a sheriff's car rushing up the street and wondered if the firework-blasting neighbor was about to receive an Official Visit.)

Aside from unofficial fireworks, the evening's entertainment came from my friend Marin's dog Squid. He's a terrier mix and looks like Toto, although he isn't a Cairn. He's a cute little guy who was content, for the most part, to snuggle in Marin's arms, with a few notable exceptions. At one point, he let out a piercing howl and tried to leap off Marin's lap into the yard; she grabbed him, and we all turned around to see a rabbit racing across the yard. Later, Squid was exploring the deck when he saw the three cats glaring at him from behind the deck doors. (I'd had Marin bring him through the gate into the back yard so he wouldn't have to go through the house and traumatize the cats.) Squid was enchanted. He ran up to the glass and licked it. Bali puffed himself up, in full Scary-Cat mode; Harley tried to bat at Squid through the glass; Figgy jumped up on the kitchen windowsill so he was taller than the dog -- classic mammalian domination tactic -- and stared down with narrowed eyes. Squid, oblivious (ya gotta love dogs!) discovered our unused doggy door and tried to get through it to visit his new friends, but of course he couldn't. Poor Squid!

For the rest of the evening, the three cats sat in the windowsill overlooking the conversation area, just to make sure the dog wasn't up to anything sneaky. And Bali was very affectionate with me this morning. I think he wanted to make sure that I still love my puppy-cat more than that dratted puppy.

So, anyway, the deck's maiden voyage went very well, and we look forward to using it for other parties. I've been spending a lot of time out there every day; the only problem is that I can't write there, since my netbook screen isn't readable in sunlight. I'm considering investing in a pricy Pixel Qi replacement screen, but have to do more research to find out if the screen will be compatible with my machine. It's guaranteed to work on the Samsung N130, but I'm using a Samsung N110. If anybody has any information about this, please let me know!

Tomorrow would have been my mother's eighty-fifth birthday. My sister and her husband are going out for dinner, to the very fancy restaurant where Mom took us all on her seventy-fifth birthday. Gary and I will drive up to Truckee, a trip Mom always enjoyed, for lunch and shopping.


  1. Congrats on the looks fantastic. Ours is being started today, not nearly as large as yours but adequate for us. Enjoy your trip (buy some jewellery).

  2. Anonymous7:03 AM

    Can't wait to hear you playing Ashokan Farewell - it's one of my favorite tunes!


  3. Wonderful how you are enjoying your new deck. I know I love my front porch too except for the mosquitoes.


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