Salzburg – Vienna – Prague Wrap Up
The last tour with Toccata turned out great. There are a ton of memories, but I think I just want to lay out the ones that still are sticking in my brain after all this time.
First one: I got sick. For the first time in 5+ years I got an actual cold. The illness landed on me the day we got to Vienna, and pretty much knocked me down until we got to Prague (3 days). Cathedrals in Europe do not have internal heating or air conditioning. So I sat through 2 performances with chills, fever, and no heating (average daytime temperatures were around 40-50 degrees F). I lost an entire day to sleeping and high fever. I think the most hilarious moment of the entire illness was racing through the streets of Vienna with my newfound friend Hope at 6:30 PM in a cab trying to find a pharmacy that was still open so I could purchase the Austrian version of NyQuil. Bless our cab driver – he was yelling into his radio the whole time with his home base getting addresses of pharmacies still open. If I wasn’t running a high-grade fever, I would have recorded the whole thing for posterity.
The next notable part of the trip was making friends! On my previous trip, I met Marcia and Mary Anne. They came again on this trip (YAY). This time Elizabeth brought her friend Hope. And we all 5 bonded. I still am marveling at how you meet the best people in the oddest places. I got to know Liz better, and I got to meet Hope. I was traveling buddy-less on this trip, so having the five of them to spend time with made the entire excursion that much better.
The last notable part was the oboe-ing itself. I got to play the Bach duet again with Liz and Allison (they doubled the part to match my awesome output, haha). The next best part of the music we played was the arrangement of Amazing Grace we did. I had played this before – it starts off with an oboe intro (meant to mimic bagpipes). I usually make Rebecca play it with me (our other oboist), but on this trip I was alone. I thought it would sound wussy, but park an oboe in the middle of a cathedral, and when the sound comes bouncing back, it sounds like bagpipes. Someone actually wrote an email to our orchestra saying it was the coolest thing they had heard in a long time. I made people happy. That makes me happy.
More Orchestra Stuff
Beyond all of that, I returned from the trip, had a few weeks, and then I was back into orchestra. I seriously feel like I haven’t had a break from my oboe in MONTHS. It’s just been a cycle of making reeds, doing performances, and then working through the next set of music. It’s our busy season (summer). I did get to do some fun stuff. I generally get copies of my performances on DVD, so the audio quality is not great. This time around I got a smidge smarter and just ripped the audio track raw and uploaded it to SoundCloud. So here you are:
I think in the future I’ll stick with SoundCloud – the audio quality from the DVDs could always be better, but raw audio trumps compressed audio + video on YouTube. I got a DVD of me doing the 2nd movement from Dvorak’s New World Symphony (English Horn), but it’s outdoor so we’ll see how that sounds before I bless you with that.
The Tooth Fairy
Fractured my tooth way back in October (I have this thing about clenching/grinding my teeth). Two surgeries and several dental appointments later, I now have a post and crown. Dentists didn’t lie – it feels like a regular tooth. The only problem I’ve run into so far is I’ve had to ease my reeds up a bit, otherwise my jaw gets sore after about 3+ hours of playing. Still working through that. Also, I may be one of the few patients on record to have a panic attack when getting fitted with a mold for a crown…
As a result of the Europe trip + orchestra-in-the-face whammy, I didn’t get half of what I wanted into the ground this year. I have 3 very healthy cucumber plants, 3 jalapeño plants, and 4 tomato plants. I’ll just roll with that this year. I see pickles in my future.
I don’t even know where to begin. I own a townhouse in Vegas. Lived in it for 5 or so years. Moved away from Vegas. Rented it. It’s had its ups and downs. Well, it hit a slump. My tenant was evicted for non-payment of rent in April. Less than 48 hours after the tenant was thrown out, squatters moved in and demolished the place. My property management company (Robinson Realty) has given me a property manager that can’t be bothered to ever answer my emails or phone calls or get work done on the place so it can be rented out. I’ve been fighting with this for two months, and I think my brain is about to explode.
After years of running, I finally hit a wall. I stopped running earlier this year – I was out on a 4 mile run and just realized it was no longer fun. I hated thinking about it, I hated doing it, and when it was all over I hated the idea that I’d have to do it again. Not a healthy place to be. I tried walking for a while but it was too slow and ultimately unsatisfying. So I bought a bike. Aside from a 10 day gap in June, I’ve been out on that thing 2-4 times a week. It’s enjoyable for me – just long hauls in any direction I want. I get the same amount of time to think, but it’s not interrupted by my knees or hips hurting me. I’m still slow, but I’m getting faster. And the time I can go is much longer. I’m up past an hour now (yay). It’s still a challenge carving out 1-1.5 hours in the morning to get out there, but I’m trying hard to make it happen.